Thread Theory

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


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What everyone else has been sewing:

This morning I’ve been busily linking away so that I can show you some of the great things currently happening around the world that involve our sewing patterns.  It’s so rewarding to see what our patterns have inspired.  Matt and I may not have time for an in depth sew-along for every single pattern (though, we do have more planned, don’t worry!), or to sew up the millions of different cardigan’s, pants and henleys I have swirling around in my head, but that is okay because there are many other people out there who are doing exactly those things!

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If you are a Spanish speaker then you really are in luck – our Spanish stockist, Telaria, is mid-way through a thorough and easy-to-follow sew-along for the Newcastle Cardigan pattern!  Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you might want to make use of Google Translate and have a look at all the hard work Miren has put into documenting her Newcastle Cardigan sewing process.  We are thrilled that she has taken this large project up and love how her cardigan turned out.

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Once you’ve had a look at the Telaria “Just for Men” sew-along, make sure to add your Newcastle to the Flickr group that Miren has set up!  If you enter your photo by March 17th you will be entered in the draw for a chance to win one of three awesomely manly prizes (including manly fabric, a Japanese menswear pattern book and even some of our patterns).  Even though you missed the beginning of the Newcastle Cardigan portion of the sew along, you still have time to get ready for the third segment of the “Just for Men” series.  The Strathcona Henley sew-along will begin on March 3rd.  If you are nervous about sewing with knits, this will be an invaluable resource for you!

The next thing I want to share with you is a brand new blog called Tinker, Tailor, Sewster…Spy? created by a male sewer based out of Brisbane, Australia.  He began his blog to document his Jedediah Pant sewing process and also has plans in the works to sew up the rest of our Parkland Collection.  He is a very careful and thorough sewer who seems to have an endless pool or patience to pull from.  His most recent blog post details his decision to scrap his original plan to use bright blue top stitching (pictured below) and instead switch to gray.  This means he will be redoing the back pockets that he embroidered, blogged about and even filmed!

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I really admire his commitment to making the perfect garment.  After all, why put all that effort into sewing if you are only going to produce something that you aren’t really happy with?  To me, this is one of the most rewarding parts of sewing menswear.  Since menswear is dictated by details and fit, imperfection in either of these areas will stand out very obviously in a finished garment.  While it might be incredibly frustrating mid-sewing process to re-do top stitching over and over again or to make multiple mock-ups, the result is something that is very easy to feel proud about!

You would never guess that the author of Tinker, Tailor, Sewster…Spy?  is new to blogging – his posts are full of information, inspiration, lots of photos and videos.  Head on over to comment, follow his blog and encourage him in his new blogging endeavor.  It is great to see another male sewer join the sewing and blogging community!  Good luck to him on his quest for the perfect Jedediah Pants!

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Last but certainly not lease in today’s parade is a new project from the most prolific Thread Theory customer: Huff Makes Stuff.  I can’t believe how many Jeds and Straths Jen has whipped up over the last few months!  Her goal is to create a new outfit for her husband and herself each month for 12 months.  She has already completed four outfits for her husband which include four Jedediah Short and Pant variations and four Strathcona Henley, Sweater and T-shirt variations.  I love how her husband’s taste for colour and print is displayed in each outfit and I especially love how all of these garments display how versatile these two patterns are.  Each outfit looks well planned and stylish and must make Darron’s wardrobe very easy to pick from each morning!

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The latest outfit is wonderfully summery and bright and makes a nice Australian contrast to the dark mid-winter renditions of the patterns that I always sew.  She has mixed and matched the Strathcona variations to create a short sleeve henley without buttons.  She is toying with the idea of adding buttons to the placket but I think she should leave them off because I love how casual and cool it looks – perfect for a day at the beach or on the backyard patio!  She has paired this orange henley with awesomely out-there postage stamp Jedediah Shorts.  Her husband is fearless when it comes to prints (Matt has something to learn from him – he even steers clear of stripes!).  She made the legs slightly less tapered and did not cuff this version of the shorts.  Check out all of her outfits (both those sewn for her husband and those she’s sewn for herself) to see how rewarding an organized outfit-oriented approach to sewing can be!

Do you have any menswear projects, blog posts or tutorials to share with us?  We would love to feature them on the blog!  Send us an email at info@threadtheory.ca to let us know what you have been working on.


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The Parade – some of your finished garments!

Today I’ve compiled a few of the really outstanding finished (and in progress) garments that have been popping up in the last couple weeks.

I was going to post a parade of finished pants and shorts yesterday as a finale for the sew-along but I thought it might be better to wait until the end of the Kollabora Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along contest as I know there are a quite a few of you still steadily working away on your versions.

Instead, here is a smattering of inspirational projects covering the whole range of our patterns (all three, anyways! I guess that might be too few to properly describe our offerings as ‘a range’…but we have more patterns in the works so it won’t be too long until the selection grows again!).

First off, are Jana’s amazing Jedediah Shorts which she completed as the sew-along came to an end (a miraculous feat since her sewing machine was giving her no end of problems…you would never be able to tell from the beautiful stitching on her end result!).  I love the hand embroidery she placed on one of the back pockets!  After seeing it, Matt is wanting something similar on his next pair.

Jana used a black variegated linen for these with a great pop of yellow as contrast.  She added double top-stitching to the hem as per her boyfriend’s RTW pants and she customized the fit of the pattern by shaving off a bit of the width.  I hope these shorts will get lots of wear ; I bet the black linen will look really nice and comfortable as it ages – I love how linen does that!

Thanks for sharing these pictures Jana!  And thanks for following along and commenting on the sew-along; it was really fun to be working away on our shorts at the same time!

 

Next up is Layla’s Strathcona Henley!  She was one of our test sewer’s for our newest pattern and she wrote a great blog article about her experience over on her blog, The Old Fashioned Way.  Layla miraculously whipped this up on short notice after her email sneakily sorted our response confirming her as a test sewer into junk mail.  I think she is a sewing super-hero for completing this in time to give us her two-bits before the Strathcona Henley and T-shirt pattern launch.  There is nothing I hate more than sewing to a deadline…it’s the only time I ever seem to break needles as I sew!

 

The third gallery of photos on display are of Erin’s rendition of the Newcastle Cardigan.  Her blog post, complete with a funny story explaining how this first menswear project came to be realized, is over on her blog, Seamstress Erin.

We’ve had steady rain for the last week and suddenly I feel more like sewing with cozy wools and sweater knits again rather than linens and light cottons.  Erin’s version of the cardigan has really inspired me to sew up another version of my own (and this time, I actually mean MY own because I’m going to make a women’s version so that I don’t have to steal Matt’s anymore!).  I love the purple and black knit that she used – it’s drape really makes it look soft and cozy.  It pairs really well, I think, with the structured contrast shoulders and cuffs that she cut out of a heavy sweatshirt material.

She took some great photos – I especially like the cell-phone ‘action’ shot!  Thanks for sharing a link to your post on Facebook, Erin!  I am thrilled to have seen your version of the pattern! (And by the way, I love your anatomically correct heart embroidery pattern!  I don’t know how you find time for all your projects while working on your Ph.D. – very impressive!)

 

To finish off this parade, here are a few single shots that I’ve found around the internet.  Below, is an in-progress photo of Sarah’s cowboy pocket lining that she is using for her Jedediah Shorts – she’s uploaded the work in progress over on Kollabora so head on over to ‘heart’ her wonderfully whimsical fabric choice to give her a chance to win the Kollabora Jedediah Sew-Along contest!

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And last, but certainly not least is a Newcastle Cardigan sewn by a man for HIMSELF – this is the first finished version I have seen that has been sewn by a man – something that Matt and I really want to encourage through Thread Theory.  So we’re stoked to have seen this posted on Reddit!  I really love the contrast band that he added, it turns the Newcastle into more of a bomber jacket than a cardigan which, I think, really works well with the silhouette created by the shawl collar.  For someone who claims to not be very skilled at sewing yet, I think his results are SUPERB!

Im not that great at sewing yet, but I finally finished my Newcastle Cardigan. - Imgur

Thanks, everyone, for sharing photos of your projects!  Seeing happy sewists sew up versions of our patterns is the reason I continue to love running my own sewing pattern company – nothing makes me happier than encouraging people to sew!  If you have a photo of your work in progress or finished project made from one of our patterns, email us the photos at info@threadtheory.ca or send us a link to your blog post because we would love to add your photos to one of our blog posts or slide shows!


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Day 8 – Finishing the Shorts! (Jedediah Shorts Sew-along)

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This is it!  The last day of the Jedediah-Shorts Sew-along!  Today we’ll be sewing the cuffs, or if you prefer, sewing your 3/4″ hem.  To accompany us as we finish our epic sewing process is some epic Gregorian Chant.  Is this not what you usually listen to while sewing?  Well you should!  Nothing like solemnly belting it out along with the rest of the choir while you victoriously finish the final step of a project 🙂

First things first, put your shorts/pants on the wearer and make sure that they will end up being the proper length.  I pre-folded the cuff and pinned it in place so I would see exactly where it would fall.

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We decided that Matt liked the ‘hipster’ length that I cut his previous pair of Jedediah Shorts to sew we took two inches off of this pair as well.  If you are going to hem the shorts using a 3/4″ hem instead of the cuff, you will need to take even more length than this off so that your shorts don’t end up looking like capris!

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Now that we’ve determined the proper length, we can go ahead and sew the 3/4″ hem.  First, fold the hem up 3/4″ and press:Edited-4

And fold up the hem 3/4″ again, press and then pin in place:Edited-5

Now, we are ready to finish the hem by stitching 1/8″ away from the top edge, all the way around the pant leg.  I like to start at the inseam so that the back stitching isn’t very visible when the shorts/pants are being worn.Edited-6

Okay, time for the cuff!  This is a quick and dirty version of a cuff that I designed to look like the shorts have been casually rolled up (and what better way to display the awesome binding fabric you chose?!).  All you have to do to form the cuff is fold up the hem, with right sides together 3/4″ and press:Edited-7

Then fold up the cuff again, this time 1 1/2″ and press again.  Put a few pins in the roll to keep the side seams lining up.Edited-8Edited-9

And now, stitch in the ditch along each side seam to keep the cuff in place!  It’s as simple as that!  If you are using a floppy material (such as linen), you could hand tack a few spots along the top of the cuff so that it doesn’t flop downwards in the middle, but if you are using a stiff denim or twill you won’t have to worry about that.Edited-10Edited-11

And we’re done!!!!!!! Yahoooo!!!!!Edited-12

Here is a photo gallery of my version of the Jedediah Shorts(below).  We’re so excited to see what you’ve sewn up!  Kollabora is so kindly hosting a Jedediah Shorts/Pants Sew-Along Photo contest (as you probably saw in the earlier blog post about it!) – so be sure to head on over there and submit your photos for a chance to win an awesome Kollabora gift package as well as a free Strathcona Henley pattern!  All you have to do is submit your project and the person with the most ‘hearts’ by September 17th will be declared the winner by the Kollabora team!

You can also send along your photos to our email (info@threadtheory.ca) or post them on your blog and other sewing network sites and leave a comment on this post telling us where they are and we will add them to our “Jedediah Pants Photo Gallery” as well as our Sew-Along parade post next Thursday.

Thank you so much for joining us on our first sew-along!  We had a lot of fun and hope that you did too!  Please feel free to refer back to our sew-along page whenever you sew up the Jedediah Shorts or Pants in the future, and if you ever have questions, you can still leave comments on any of the sew-along posts and we will help you out the best that we can!

Triptych


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Day 7 – The Waistband and Belt Loops (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

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After yesterday’s success with the fly, you’re ready for anything, right?  Well here’s what we have coming at us today: The belt loops, the waistband and then, the button/closure on the waistband.  A big day!  But it’s totally achievable (and couldn’t really be separated) because the belt loops are finished after the waistband has already been started…so before you know it all you will have left is hemming!

First off, iron your fusible interfacing onto the waistband piece if you haven’t already.  I like to use a medium weight interfacing for this but you might also like to try a heavier interfacing if you are using something thin such as a linen.  It’s nice to have a lot of structure in this area.

Next, I’ll show you my belt loop method that DOESN’T involve making a tube and turning it (painstakingly) the right way out…I really can’t stand doing that!  Instead, we’ll prepare the belt loops by folding in each long edge 3/8″ and ironing.

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We can now fold them in half and iron, just like making bias binding.
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To finish the edges, all we have to do is top-stitch 1/8″ from either edge (the folded edge and the open edge) and give them a press.
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To make enough belt loops for the shorts (or pants), just cut each belt loop in half.

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There will be one extra strip so toss (or save in your scrap bin?) the one that has the ugliest top-stitching.

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Now that the belt loops have been made, it is time to position them on the pants in preparation to sew the waistband.  We’ll do this by pinning them with the right side facing the right side of the pants (choose whichever side of the belt loop you had facing up on the sewing machine bed when you were top-stitching as your stitches will look nicer on this side).  Pin them with one raw edge of the belt loop lining up with the raw edge at the waist of the pants and the rest of the belt loop extending downwards.

Choose your placement based on the line diagram in the instruction booklet (or based on these photos here), or you could place the belt loops as per the wearer’s favorite pair of RTW pants.  You could even use the extra belt loop to form an ‘X’ shaped double belt loop at centre back if this is your preference.

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To keep the belt loops in place while stitching the waistband, we can simply baste along the top of each loop.

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And now it is time to begin the waistband!  Place the waistband and pants with right sides together and match up any notches while pinning in place.

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Make sure that the seam allowance extends out on either side of the fly, as pictured below:

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Now, we can stitch the waistband to the pants.  There are a few things to watch out for while you do this:

  • Be very careful when you sew over the zipper – it is safest to use the hand crank on your sewing machine instead of the electric foot at this point so that you have time to shift the zipper teeth out of the way when you feel the needle hit them.  Either that or you can wear goggles as is done over at Cation Designs!
  • Ease as you sew and try to sew over your pins rather than taking them out so that nothing shifts around
  • Check your belt loops are lying straight and flat before sewing over them

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Once that is done, we must do quite a bit of grading – this area can get pretty bulky so trim the pants seam allowance and the belt loop seam allowance short and keep the waistband seam allowance long to eliminate this issue.Edited-35

Good!  Now, let’s apply the binding to the long raw edge of the waistband.  When test sewing, Meg of Made by Meg mentioned to me that she prefers to apply the binding to one of the waistband edges before she sews it on to the pants so she doesn’t have to deal with the bulk of the pants while completing this step.  Feel free to do this!  The only reason I sew it on afterwards is because I don’t find the bulk bothers me at all (maybe it’s because everything feels small and un-bulky compared to sewing massive duvet covers for my work with The Heather Company!).  Note that the raw edge of the binding is lined up with either end of the waistband – there is no need to tuck it under to create a finished edge as this will be tucked inside of the waistband later on.

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Wow, don’t those insides look nice?!

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Okay, so now comes the tricky part which we’ve THOROUGHLY documented with photos – I hope this helps anyone who has ever been a bit confused when finishing the corners of a waistband!  This is what our waistband looks like at the moment:

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To begin sewing the corner, we have to fold the waistband in half with right sides together with the raw edges of the waistband (well, one raw edge and the other bound edge) lined up.

When you go to do this, you will notice that the entire bulk of the shorts/pants gets in the way.  Pull this bulk away from the short edge of the waistband so it is still sandwiched by the waistband but is out of the way when you go to stitch the short edge.  Here is a photo representation of how to do this:

In the photo below, my left hand is holding the bound edge of the waistband and my right hand (the lower hand) is holding the raw edge of the waistband to which the rest of the pants are sewn.  The zipper/rest of the pants are visible in the middle.  I am beginning to fold the waistband in half with right sides together.

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Here is what it will look like when it is properly folded in half:

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And here is the bulk of the zipper and pants being sandwiched in between (and pushed away from the short edge of the waistband so it is out of the way).

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Keep a firm grip on what you’ve done so it doesn’t become unfolded and place a few pins in if it will help you to keep things in place.  (The photo below is a good example of how far the rest of the pants have been pushed inside of the waistband, and then to the left, out of the way).

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Now we are ready to stitch from the top, folded edge of the waistband to the stitching line where the shorts/pants are attached to one edge of the waistband…

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…and then pivot and stitch (with the shorts/pants tucked out of the way inside the waistband) approximately 2″ along the already stitched line, this time catching both layers of the waistband.

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This is what it will look like when you are done this stitching:

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Now you can turn the waistband corner right sides out for a moment to check that everything looks square and properly stitched.  Turn it wrong sides out once again so we can grade this area closely – clip both corners and grade both seam allowances.  I like to start grading about 1/2″ from the end of my stitching so that when things are turned right side out there is a bit of extra binding on the waistband that will tuck into the sewn corner – you can see the extra binding in the photo below:

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Once the waistband is turned right sides out, we must carefully poke out the corners (a knitting needle works well for this – try to avoid using the tips of your scissors…they’re handy but wouldn’t it be disastrous if you snipped a hole in your fabric after all this work?) and press everything flat.

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Here is what the inside of my waistband looks like at this point (I’ve only sewn one waistband corner). You can see how the bound edge of the waistband tucks into the finished corner.

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With that done, we can now secure the rest of the inner waistband to the pants.  First, pin from the inside so that the waistband is positioned as it will be when it is finished:Edited-49

Flip to the right side of the shorts/pants and edge stitch 1/8″ away from the bottom of the waistband, catching the inner waistband and sewing over your pins as you go.Edited-50

This is what it will look like from the inside:

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Now it’s just a matter of finishing our belt loops!  While the belt loops are still pointed downwards, stitch across them, 3/8″ from the bottom edge of the waistband (this simply allows more room for a wide belt).  Fold the belt loop up from this point and fold the raw edge under as pictured below.  Fold them fairly loosely so there is still lots of room for a belt to be threaded through.  I’ve cut off a bit of excess from the end of the belt loop – how much you cut off will depend how loose you would like the belt loops to be.Edited-54

Stitch across the folded top of the belt loop several times (to make sure it’s extra strong) and, if you would like, trim the raw belt loop edge even shorter.Edited-55Edited-56

And that’s that!  All that you have to do now is add a button hole and button.  Start your button hole 1/2″ away from the edge of the waistband and sew it horizontally along the waistband.  Sew your button directly above the zipper on the other side of the waistband.  If you don’t really like sewing button holes (welcome to the club!) and the wearer always wears belts anyways, you could consider hand sewing a large hook and eye (not the tiny little versions meant for dresses, but the big, heavy duty flat ones that are more like clips) to the inside of the waistband.  I’ve seen this quite a bit on RTW shorts so I tried it out on Matt’s first version of the Jedediah Shorts and it worked really well!

Tomorrow will be the home-run stretch during which we sew the hems and optional cuffs!  If you are sewing the pants variation rather than the shorts, you don’t need to wait for us…you’re probably too excited to finish them off to wait a whole day just to sew a simple 3/4″ hem!  For those of you doing cuffs – these are super easy cuffs that allow us to display all the hard work we put into seam finishes!  See you tomorrow!

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Contest Alert!

Triptych

We’re thrilled to announce that Kollabora, the awesome social site for makers of all types, have collaborated with us to host a Jedediah Shorts and Pants sew-along photo contest!

They are graciously giving away a prize pack worth $25 to add to the Strathcona Henley pattern that we will be giving to the winner.  That’s right…you could win the Strathcona Henley pattern AND a bunch of amazing things from the Kollabora shop!

All you have to do to enter is upload a photo of your pants or shorts and accumulate the most ‘hearts’ by September 16th.  You can post some project shots now and update them as you get further along in the sewing process…that way you don’t have to wait until you are done the shorts or pants to start accumulating hearts.

Find out all the info over on the Kollabora blog!


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Day 6 – Sewing the Fly (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

Eeek!  Today is the big day!  We have been working away in secret for a couple weeks now in order to prepare for today’s post…and here it is: A You-Tube video on how to sew the fly!

We hope that you like it and find it more helpful than photos would be.  This is our first time (ever!) making a video so it is far from being professional quality (we have already learned so much that we want to do differently on the next one).  And, since I’m really shy, I just have to say – please excuse my nervous awkwardness in front of the camera…it was terrifying!

If anyone would prefer a photo tutorial to the video, let us know in the comments and we will take stills from the video and turn them into a traditional photo post on how to sew the fly.

Good luck with your sewing today!  Just pause the video whenever you reach a tricky point and re-watch.  It goes a little fast compared to the real life sewing process as we cut out anything repetitive but we were careful to include a video for every sewing step so you can follow along using the written instructions.


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Day 5 – Sewing the Inseams (Jedediah Shorts Sew-along)

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Has everyone had a chance to catch up since Sunday?  I hope so, because today, with our cup of milky Lady Earl Grey and a little Otis Redding, we’ll be sewing our flat fell inseams.  It’ll be a nice, easy, and short day since we’ve already perfected our flat fell seams on the back yoke!

First, I’ve started by pinning the inseams together with the WRONG sides together.

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I sewed this seam at 5/8″ (you may need to ease a little bit as you sew so that the hem ends up even) and then carefully trimmed the seam on the Pants Back to 1/4″.  Don’t catch the other half of the seam (the one belonging to the Pants Front) when you are trimming!

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I’ve pressed the seam open (this will ensure your flat fell seam is crisp and even when it is done).

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Next, I’ve pressed the seam entirely to one side (with the narrow seam allowance laying on top).

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And here comes the fiddly bit: I’ve folded the wide seam allowance in towards the narrow seam allowance so that the two raw edges meet in the middle.  To do this I press as I go…keeping my fingers folding the seam allowances with one hand and following along with the iron with the other hand.

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I’ve then flipped this pressed seam allowance package over to the other side of the seam so that all the raw edges are enclosed and then I’ve pinned in place  (use lots of pins so your careful pressing doesn’t become a bit wonky!)

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Now I’ve sewn 1/8″ away from the loose edge, permanently enclosing the raw edges and creating a lovely (and strong!) flat fell seam.  Sewing along the pant legs is a bit tricky because they form a narrow tube (though it’s easier with shorts than pants!) but believe me, it’s possible…and you can do it if you take it slow and steady!

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And just like that, we’ve sewn our RTW worthy flat fell inseams and our shorts are beginning to look like shorts!  Now that you’re in the groove of things this week, we are ready to tackle the fly tomorrow!  Stay tuned because we have worked SUPER hard on this next post and think it will fully demystify the previously oft-dreaded fly sewing process.  I can’t wait to show you what we’ve done!

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