Thread Theory

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


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How to stop a waistband from rolling over or buckling.

Have you ever had a problem with trousers that buckle, crumple or roll over at the waistband?  Even though they seem to fit nicely at your waist or hips and are comfortable, by the end of a day of wear the perfectly pressed waistband is a squished mess.

This ‘roll-over’ can be caused by the difficult to fit proportions of a rounded tummy but this isn’t always the case – some people find it is amplified by the size of their belt loops or the width of their belt.  They notice that some pants buckle all of the time and other pairs do not.  They find that pants that fit higher on their waist are less likely to buckle than low rise options (or vice versa).  It can be a tricky problem to deal with!

Thread Theory Menswear Notions (18)

One easy solution I have found is the use of Ban Rol instead of a regular fusible interfacing.  Ban Rol is a stiff polyester trim that you can insert between the waistband and waistband facing during the construction of the trousers or skirt.  It’s really easy to use and creates a gorgeous stiff waistband!  Aside from preventing waistband crumpling, it also keeps the corners of your waistband at a perfect right angle.

Thread Theory Menswear Notions (19)

I’ve carried Ban Rol in our shop for quite some time now (for $1.20 CAD per metre) but I haven’t really explained its use on the blog or created a tutorial!  I’m in the midst of making all new samples for our Thread Theory patterns and so thought I would take the opportunity to photograph how I insert Ban Rol into the waistband of the Jedediah Pants.  It’s really easy!

My method does not involve stitching the stabiliser to the waistband at all – it is simply floating freely within the waistband casing.  This is a quick method that I find works just as nicely as other methods I have seen…as long as your Ban Rol matches the finished width of your waistband.  You can trim Ban Rol so that it is narrower to match a thin waistband but I wouldn’t recommend using Ban Rol that is too narrow for an extra wide waistband.  We carry the correct size for the Jedediah Pants or Jutland Pants patterns (1 1/2″ wide).  It is also a pretty standard size for most trouser and jean waistbands.

Ho to use Ban Rol-1

Cut the Ban Rol to approximately the length of the waistband.  I just cut it the length of the pattern piece and trimmed off the seam allowances later.

Sew your waistband as per normal.  Various pattern instructions will include different waistband construction techniques.  Regardless of the technique used, stop construction when there is still an opening into which you can insert the Ban Rol.  In the case of the Jedediah Pants, this is after you have sewn the waistband to the pants and created the corners (Belt Loops & Waistband Step 9).

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Gently push the Ban Rol behind the seam allowance and, if necessary, use a point turner or tweezers to push it right into one finished corner of the waistband.

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Here, looking at the wrong side of the pants, you can see that the Ban Rol is tucked underneath the seam allowances:

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Before pushing it into the other end of the waistband, place a pin through the first corner so that you do not pull the Ban Roll out of place.  Also, make sure that the Ban Rol is the perfect length.  If it is too long, just trim the Ban Rol slightly.

Ho to use Ban Rol-6

Now close up the waistband as per the pattern instructions so that your Banrol is encased but still sitting freely within the waistband (you don’t need to stitch through it at all).

Here’s how your waistband will look from the right side (sans a jeans button):

Ho to use Ban Rol-10

And from the wrong side (I love my buffalo check binding!):

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Enjoy washing and wearing your perfectly crisp waistband…crumple and roll-free!


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Lazo Hack: Elastic Waist Joggers

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As promised, here is my contribution to the ongoing Lazo Hack contest.  I’ve made a few simple adjustments to the Lazo Trousers pattern to produce elastic waist joggers with a satin ribbon drawstring!

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While working on these joggers last night I snapped a few pictures to create a tutorial for you.  I’ll show you how to adjust the front waistband so that it is one piece, switch the fly from functioning to a mock fly, and add elastic and buttonholes for a drawstring.  You can hem the trousers as per normal or you can add some narrow cuffs at the ankle as I did.

anthropologie-joggers

(Velvet jogger inspiration from Anthropologie.  I love the tassel drawstring!)

Transforming the Lazos into joggers is a VERY simple hack that could work for both woven and knit fabrics.  Any woven fabric that you might choose for a regular pair of Lazos will work for these joggers (chambray tencel or velvet would be awesome!).  If you want some jogger inspiration, here is a good series of styled images.  I’m probably a bit late to the jogger trend (I think it began in 2014) but I’ve never really adhered to trends anyways, I just choose my clothing based on my current lifestyle and mood.


Ok, let’s convert the Lazos to joggers:

Begin by selecting and altering your pattern pieces.  The only pattern piece you do not need to use is the Zipper Shield.

The only pattern piece you need to change is the Waistband Front – simply fold under the extension at the notches and cut the waistband on the fold (just like you cut the back waistband).  There is no need to cut interfacing pieces for the waistband or fly.

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Assemble the trousers as per the instructions all the way up to the Fly Front section.  If you are working with a knit, you might like to use a stretch stitch or a serger so that your seams are not at risk of snapping when the fabric stretches.

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To create the mock fly finish the seat seam as instructed.  Next, sew the inseam, but instead of stopping just below the zipper placement notch, ignore the curved fly facing and stitch in a straight line all the way up to the fly facing notch (which is the centre front of the pants).  If you prefer to leave off the fly altogether (perhaps you would like to insert a side seam invisible zipper instead), you can trim off the fly facings.  To sew the mock fly, press the facings towards the right side of the trousers (if you were wearing them).

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On the right side of the trousers, topstitch as you would normally to give the illusion of a functioning fly.

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Now we are ready to assemble the waistband!  If you would like to add a drawstring later, now is the time to add buttonholes to your waistband front.  Apply a small square of interfacing to the centre of the waistband on the wrong side of the fabric.  This will help to stabilise the fabric when you sew your buttonholes and it will make your buttonholes less likely to become misshapen with use.

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To position your buttonholes, fold the waistband front in half and measure in from the fold 1/2″.  Place a pin through both layers of fabric and then mark the pin’s position with chalk (preferably on the wrong side of the fabric so that you don’t have to wash out your chalk as I did!  Sorry for the wet waistband later on in the post…I was on a roll while I was sewing and didn’t want to stop to wait for the fabric to dry!).

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I chose to add 1/2″ buttonholes but you can add whatever size you prefer based on the drawstring that you choose.

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Now place the waistband front and back with right sides together and sew the side seams.  Repeat this step for the waistband facings (the second set of waistband pieces).

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You now have two waistband loops.  Place these with right sides together and sew along the entire top edge.  By the way, at this point it would be easy to make your waistband shorter by simply chopping off the top of the waistband before you sew the two loops together.  You could choose to match the width of elastic you plan to use for instance.  I left my waistband the full height because I wanted them to be high rise trousers.  Centring the 2″ elastic within the waistband resulted in a bit of a paper-bag silhouette.  If your waistband does not extend above the elastic your trousers will not have a ruffled top edge as mine do.

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You might like to understitch along the top of the waistband to prevent the facing from rolling outwards.

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Attach the waistband to the trousers while keeping the waistband facing free.  Place the waistband and trousers with right sides together.  Make sure to centre your buttonholes over the seat seam and align your side seams.

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Press the seam allowances towards the waistband and then press the waistband facing downwards to enclose all of the raw edges.  You can either finish the waistband facing edge at this point or you can press under the seam allowance for a very tidy look.  I left my serged edge visible because my fabric is pretty bulky so I didn’t want to add another layer of fabric.

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Pin the waistband facing in place carefully.  I would highly recommend basting it in place so that you don’t have to worry about it shifting during the next step!

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From the right side of the trousers, start 1″ away from one of the side seams and stitch in the ditch all the way around the waistband.  Finish your stitching 1″ away from the same side seam so that you are left with a 2″ opening at the bottom of the waistband facing.  You will use this opening to insert the elastic.

Circle elastic around your waist to find the perfect fit.  I circled mine at my natural waist but if you have shortened your waistband to fit your elastic width, circle your elastic a couple of inches below your natural waist since the trousers will now sit lower.  Remember to include some extra elastic so that you can overlap the ends later to create a loop!

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Thread the elastic into the opening using a safety pin.  Once both ends are pulled out of the opening check that the elastic is not twisted within the waistband and then overlap the ends and stitch them together.

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Close the elastic within the waistband by stitching in the ditch over the 2″ hole.

Try on your Lazos to check the length of the hem (and to admire how they look!).  Hem them in the style that you choose (a regular hem, a wide cuff or a narrow ribbed cuff like mine).

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Now you have several options to prevent your elastic from shifting around in the waistband.  The simplest option is to distribute the fabric nicely around the elastic (while you are wearing the trousers) and then place a pin through the side seams and elastic.  Stitch in the ditch of the side seam to secure the elastic in place.

To create the paper bag waist and more thoroughly secure your elastic in place, you can toptstitch along both the top and bottom of the elastic around the entire waistband.

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Now all you need to do is thread a drawstring through the buttonholes using the same safety pin technique is before and your joggers are complete!

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I hope you like my fresh interpretation of the Lazos Trousers!  Have you tried hacking them yet or do you prefer to sew them as is?

Edit Jan 25th: Some of you asked me to model these Lazos for you – here I am in my jammies 😉  They look pretty cozy eh?

lazo-pjs


To finish off Friday in a happy sort of way, let’s do the third Lazo Hack contest draw!  Today’s winner is Meg (@madebymegblog)!  Check out the awesome way she styled her Lazos.

The rolled hems and boot combo is really wearable and cute!  Congrats Meg, your use of #lazotrousers has won you $25 to Blackbird Fabrics.  Thanks for sharing!

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I will draw the last Lazo Hack prize on Friday, Jan. 27th.  The winner will get to choose which goodies (from our shop) they would like me to fill this sewing caddy with – up to a $100 value!

You have 7 days to take a photo of your Lazos whether they are still a work in progress or finished and share them on Instagram or Facebook using #lazotrousers.

Download your Lazo pattern >


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My Mother-In-Law’s latest Thread Theory sewing projects

Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory

In case you are a relatively new follower of the Thread Theory blog, let me introduce to you Sue, my mother-in-law!  She is a talented sewist who sewed quite a lot in the past, stopped sewing for many years and then picked up the skill again when we launched our first patterns.  She has since sewn many renditions of our designs and has even contributed to the blog!  You can read her first blog post from Thanksgiving 2013 here.  Above is a photo of Sonia (our graphic designer and my future sister-in-law), Sue and I bedecked in Camas Blouses on Thanksgiving this year.  Apparently the modelling of Thread Theory sewing projects is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition!  Sue sewed both Sonia’s blouse and her own and I sewed the one I’m wearing last winter.

Our photoshoot was complete with a photobomb:Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory-6

This is Charlie – Matt’s grandparent’s very rambunctious and adorable puppy!Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory-4

All three Camas Blouses are really unique – the outer two are sewn using slightly gauzy and light sweater knits and Sue’s features a very drapey and dense viscose knit.  I love how each print suits our personalities:
Three Camas Blouses Thread Theory-8

Recently Sue had another Thread Theory project on her sewing table.  She created a pair of dressy trousers for her husband in time for a cruise holiday.  They are the result of combining both the Jedediah and Jutland Pants patterns.  She did quite a bit of pattern manipulating for this project and took the time to write down some of the thoughts and challenges that occurred as the project progressed.  As I’m sure most sewists will agree, it is always very interesting and also relatable to read about the sewing thought process so I’m very glad that she’s shared hers with us!

Without further ado, here is Sue to explain her project:


I wanted to make a pair of dress pants for my hubby and had found a lovely light to medium weight wool blend material  that I thought would be perfect for the project, but I didn’t have a dress pant pattern. I had already made a semi-casual pair of Jeds for him, that he loved the fit and comfort of, so I had that pattern and the Jutland pattern.

The thought occurred to me that I could combine the two patterns to get what I wanted. My aim was to have front slash pockets like the Jeds, back welt pockets like the Jutlands, and a leg width somewhere between the two. I at first started to try to match the front of the Jeds pattern to the back of the Jutlands, and was struggling with it. Then I talked with Morgan (why I didn’t do that in the first place I don’t know) who reminded me of a previous post by Roni describing how to modify the Jeds pattern to remove the yoke, and add welt back pockets…perfect! So, I followed those instructions, and also widened the legs from above the knees down to the hem. Morgan also suggested that I do a mock-up first to ensure a correct fit, but I was limited by a deadline (wanted to get them done before our cruise), so I forged ahead and hoped for the best.

I wanted to end up with a professional finished look to the pants, so tried my best to do the fine finishing touches suggested in the patterns. So I used bias tape to finish the seams, and french seamed the front pockets.

Trousers 1

Like Roni, I couldn’t figure a way to do a french seam on the rear pockets, so I just used the nicest finishing stitch I could find on my machine that worked with the material.

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I knew I didn’t want flat felled seams on the legs as that was too casual a look for these pants. As well, this material was starting to fray quite a bit, and I had troubles with fraying and getting a good flat felled seam on a previous project. So in the end, I decided to do french seams for the outer leg seams, and then a standard seam and zig zag finish on the inner leg seam. I was really happy with the french seam finish on the outer leg, but not so happy with the zig zag finish on the inner leg, as my material tended to bunch up. In hindsight I think I should have had some kind of stabilizer on the material to do the finishing of the edge.

Trousers 7

Trousers 6
The last modification I did was to use the waistband from the Jutland pattern so that I could sew the belt loops into the upper seam and lower seam when I attached the waistband to the  waist of the pant, for a more finished look. I later hand stitched the bottom of the loop to hold it in place against the upper pant.

Trousers 2
Trousers 3

Both my husband and I are very pleased with the end result, and he has worn his pants with pride while on the cruise and many times since. These are a couple  photos  of the final product.

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All in all a very successful project. What I learned: If you are thinking of modifying a pattern, talk to Morgan before you start, she may have some valuable suggestions that can save you a lot of time and energy! (Note from Morgan: Yes, please do contact me if you are wanting help with a project or just a chance to mull over your ideas with someone!  Email me at info@threadtheory.ca)


 

Thank you for taking the time to write a blog post for us Sue!  The results of your thoughtful sewing are, as always, very professional and very wearable!


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Silk Tie Sewing Tutorial

Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 1

Would you like to try your hand at tie-making this Father’s Day?  It isn’t difficult to make your Dad a tie since the internet abounds with beautiful tutorials and even free patterns for all skill levels!  Since a quick search for “tie tutorials” can lead to fairly overwhelming results, I decided to compile the fruits of my research into one handy blog post and a tutorial that brings together all of my favorite elements from the instructions already available on the web!  Britex has a wealth of tie making supplies that can be very difficult to find elsewhere.  For my tie I used this sunshine yellow Italian silk faille featuring nothing less than hot pink embroidered crabs!  Since ties are cut on the bias, this silk was ideal for my purposes – the crabs run 45 degrees to the selvage!  The silk is from Britex Fabrics and is currently sold out – there are all sorts of other gorgeous silks in their online shop though!

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I consulted Matt (the prospective wearer) on the direction of the crabs – he elected to point them downwards so they wouldn’t be aggressively pinching at his neck.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 3

While you will find my tutorial below, first (or afterwards) you might like to read all of the tutorials and other resources that I found so that you can truly immerse yourself in the world of tie-making.  Here are all ofthe links sorted into the various categories that I researched:

The Anatomy of a Tie:

Tutorials geared towards the average home sewer:

Tutorials geared towards the advanced home sewer/menswear enthusiast:

Videos on Tie-making:

Particular Tie-Making Techniques:

Pattern Options:

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Now that we’re prepped, let’s move on to my tutorial!  For this project you will need:

  • 1 yard silk of medium weight.  This may seem like a lot of fabric but remember that your tie must be cut on the bias!  You may be able to squeeze a tie out of less if you are careful.
  • 1 yard interlining (described below).  This will also be cut on the bias.

Most ties are created with a sewn in (rather than fusible) interlining comprised of wool or a wool/nylon blend.  This interlining gives the tie body (a good tie shouldn’t be flat, it should be lightly pressed so it maintains a three dimensional quality) and also a bit of rigidity.  It is important to match the interlining with the fabric otherwise you run the risk of making your tie too stiff and negating the point of cutting your tie on the bias!  You want your tie to look fluid and smooth…achieving this is probably the trickiest aspect of tie-making.
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Since this silk faille was quite stiff I decided to use a loose wool interlining.  In retrospect, I wish I had chosen an option with a touch more rigidity such as this classic wool interlining.  Aside from the lack of rigidity, the color black was not the best pairing with the yellow silk – it shows through ever so slightly on the finished tie.  All the same, the amount of body this wool gives the tie is ideal and I am happy that the tie ended up fluid enough to allow it to hang nicely (though I worry it might become misshapen over time).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 9

Since there is quite a bit of hand sewing involved in tie-making, it’s a good idea to use fine silk thread to avoid knots.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, establish the exact bias on both your silk and interlining.  Some tie patterns represent the entire tie so they must be cut on one layer of fabric while other tie patterns require that you cut them out on the fold (making it easy to fold your fabric on a 45 degree angle).

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A tie shell is comprised of three main pieces (pictured below from left to right): The blade (the wide front), the neck (the middle), and the tail (the narrower back).  The interlining is usually cut from one piece but I joined two pieces of fabric for mine by abutting the seams and zig-zagging them together so as to avoid adding extra bulk.  On the right hand side of the photo below you can see my two “tipping” pieces – the tie I have made is “self-tipped” rather than “decorative-tipped” because I used the same silk rather than a contrast material as the lining.  I also added a garment tag and a little strip of fabric to create a keeper loop.  A man can choose to feed his tie tail through it if he desires (though some fashion blogs say this is not currently fashionable…who knew?!).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 11

I chose to start making my tie by sewing the tips.  Some people like to join the three main tie segments together before embarking on the tip but I wanted to avoid handling the tie as a long strip too much since the weight of the tips could cause the bias cut fabric to stretch out of shape.  Here is an example (of a store bought tie) so you can see what we are aiming for when sewing a tie tip:
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It is not easy to achieve something this precise (as you will soon see!).  While all the sewing involved in tie-making is basic, the precision and skill employed is key to a high-end tie.  I think I have a long ways to go before I could consider calling my version a ‘luxury’ tie!

If your tie pattern came with two pattern pieces for the tips, they will likely be the same size as the blade and tail tips.  Trim them down 1/4″ on all four sides (not along the top).

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Starting at the top edge, sew the tie and tie tip together with right sides together and a 1/4″ seam allowance (you can see my stitching on the right hand side of the photo below).  Stop sewing 1/4″ from the end of the tie tip.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 15

Here is a detailed photo showing you where to stop sewing:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 16

Pull the tie tip over to the other side of the tie so raw edges meet and sew the other side of the tie tip in the same manner.  You should sew up to but not over the previous stitching to form a precise point.  Be careful to push the excess tie blade fabric out of the way (it will form a bubble).
Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 17Here is a close up of the tie tip with the bubbled tie blade below:
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And here is a photo of the bubble from the wrong side of the tie blade:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 19

And a close up of this bubble:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 20

Finish the tie point by folding the blade in half and stitching across the point from the center of the blade to the raw edge.  This stitching will be perpendicular to your stitched point and within the seam allowance  it should not cross your previous stitching.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 21

When you turn the tip right side out, try pinching the point seam allowance to stop it from crunching up and becoming misshapen as you fold.  The goal is to have your point seam allowance fold neatly within the tie.  I wouldn’t advise trimming the point when you are working with silks since the danger of fraying drastically is very great!Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 22

My point did not turn out perfectly but stitch ripping was only an option once due to the amount of fraying I was experiencing!  The point is not 100% angular but it is certainly passable from the distance most will be viewing it.  From the underside you can see why it did not end up appearing precise:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 23

Practice will hopefully make perfect!

 

Now it is time to sew the three tie segments together.  Carefully press open the seam allowances (don’t push the iron along the fabric as this will cause your bias cut fabric to stretch out of shape, instead, just lift the iron up and move it to the next position).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 24

Now that the points are assembled and the tie segments are joined, it is time to insert the interlining and prepare to hand stitch the final seam!Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 25

Turn under the seam allowances 1/4″ along the entire length of the tie (again, make sure to press instead of iron!).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 26

Press the tie edges inwards to meet in the middle.  As you can see in the store-bought tie below, sometimes this seam can be slightly overlapped – depending on how you like to slip stitch, you can either abut the seam or overlap!  You can also see how the keeper loop is inserted into this seam prior to stitching it down.  We will do this now:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 27

Create your keeper loop using a scrap of the silk.  Ideally you would create a tube and turn it right side out.  You could also avoid the frustration by simply creating binding and top stitching the open edge closed (keep in mind this makes the keeper loop a little stiff).

 

Stitch the loop to the seam allowance on the tie blade:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 28

You can see the positioning of the keeper loop below:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 29

Pin the entire seam together and prepare your thread for hand stitching!  It is a good idea to run your thread through beeswax because you will likely be working with a very long piece of thread if you are trying to stitch the entire seam in one go.  While it is possible to stitch the seam using several shorter lengths of thread, this is not ideal due to the nature of the slip stitch you are about to sew.  Adding too many anchored points will cause the thread to restrict the natural fluidity of the tie (you will see what I mean in a moment!).Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 30

Begin stitching by anchoring the thread at one end of the tie:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 31

Create a large and loose slip stitch all the way along the seam (I allowed the thread to travel up the silk 1/2″ between each stitch).  See the list of tutorials above to learn how to slip stitch.  Be very careful when stitching to avoid stitching into the front of the tie!Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 32

To end your stitching you will be creating another anchor/tack – but this time, the first loop of the anchor will not be pulled tight.  Leave a loop of thread (as pictured below but about half the size) that you can tuck into the tie.  This loop will allow your slip stitch to adjust in tension as the tie is worn and rolled over time – it will seem strange to leave your hand stitching so loose and seemingly fragile, but it is very necessary when trying to achieve a fluid tie.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 33

Now it is just the finishing touches left!  Press the keeper loop flat and tack each side to the back of the tie.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 34

Bring your thread and needle down through the inside of the tie to stitch on the garment tag.  Make tiny stitches along either short edge of the tag.Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 35

Your tie is complete!  Give it a final gentle press and examine your work:Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 36 Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 37

Before giving it to the wearer, fold the tie in half and roll it gently – this will allow the bias cut fabric to settle smoothly so that it is not stretched in any off-kilter sort of way.  Your loose stitching and anchored loop of thread will have a chance to work while you do this!
Father's Day Tie - Thread Theory - 38

I hope this tutorial saves you a lot of time researching before you embark on tie-making!  Have you tried making a tie in the past?  What resource or tutorial did you find most helpful?  Did I miss any key resources during my research?


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Tutorial: Easy ways to create a roomier trouser crotch

Let’s say you have just sewn up a muslin of the Jedediah Pants or Jutland Pants pattern (or any other trouser pattern) and notice strain lines radiating from the fly of the trouser when you try the muslin on.  The trousers seem to pull and bind between the legs and are generally tight feeling and restricting across the stomach and upper thighs.  Don’t worry, this fit issue can be overcome!  Here is how:

With the muslin still on the wearer, cut a horizontal line through the center front of the crotch.  The fabric will release the tension and you will be left with a smile shaped gap.  Measure the widest point on this gap – this is the total amount you will need to add to the crotch seam so that there will no longer be strain lines.

muslin

There are two common pattern alterations that you can try to add this measurement to the crotch seam.  The first common and quick fix to try is to simply lengthen the crotch depth by slashing across the pants front at the hip and adding the appropriate amount of length.  This simple pattern alteration maintains the shape of the crotch curve but just makes it a little longer.

lengthening crotch depth

If you try this pattern alteration and it does not seem to work for you (for instance, your new muslin now looks like you are wearing drop crotch pants!), this is likely because the fit problem isn’t about the crotch depth being to short for you.  Instead, the problem is that the crotch circumference is too narrow and the seat seam curve does not suit the shape of your body.  This may be because your abdomen is slightly more rounded than the fit model’s shape or it could be due to roundness in the crotch caused by specifically male body parts!  Either way, you will need to perform a slightly more complicated alteration to your pants front pattern piece.

Here is how to add crotch circumference: 

1. Mark all the seamlines on your pants front pattern piece.  The seam allowance included within the Jedediah Pants and Jutland Pants patterns in 5/8″.  When performing alterations to a pattern piece you need to work from the seamline (where you will actually be sewing) rather than from the edge of the pattern piece so that you will retain the original shape of the pattern.

Mark seamlines

2.  Draw a horizontal line across the hips of the pant front pattern piece.  Slash along that line from the fly front to just before the side seamline – don’t cut all the way through the seamline and seam allowance because you will need to leave a little bit of paper here to act as a hinge.  Now cut into the seam allowance without removing that tiny paper hinge.

3. Draw a line from the inseam seamline at knee level up to the crotch seam.  Try to end your line somewhere before the fly extension curve.  Cut from the crotch seam down to the inseam at knee level and again leave a little hinge of paper at the seamline.  Cut into the seam allowance on a diagonal without removing that tiny paper hinge.

Slash lines

4. Spread the two slashes slightly so that the crotch seam extends to the left and the waistline swings upwards.  You will notice that the little clips you made into the seam allowance will allow the seam allowance to overlap as you spread the pattern.  When measuring along the seamline (not the edge of the pattern piece), the total size of your two gaps should equal the measurement that you found when you cut across your first muslin.

Spread

5. Secure your spread pattern piece in place by taping the pattern to a couple new sheets of tissue paper.  Smooth the curve along the crotch seamline and smooth the seam allowance to match.

 

6. Depending on the pattern you are using, you will likely need to adjust a number of other small pattern pieces to suit the changes you made.  These will likely include the pocket pieces and facings and the fly shield.  The easiest way to make these changes is to line up the paper pattern pieces underneath the pants front pattern and trace the new angles onto the pocket.  Lengthen the fly shield to match the new length of the fly facing.

Other pattern pieces

 

*** If you are experiencing lines radiating from center back across the bottom and the pants seat seems generally too tight and flat for the rounded shape of your body, the same alteration can be applied to the pants back.  Slash and spread along several points at center back – try to pick points along the seat seam where the seam seems to least match your body.


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Secret Weapon: How to sew perfect buttonholes on to delicate fabrics

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I recently sewed an extremely delicate and drapey silk Camas Blouse as a guest blogger contribution to the Britex blog.  It featured a very soft silk jersey knit and I added a contrast panel to the back of the blouse using a floaty grey silk chiffon.  The result was a blouse almost as light as air!  To tell you the truth, it feels a bit disconcerting to wear – almost like I’m wearing nothing!  It was also quite disconcerting to sew – I had to employ some creative thinking and secret weapons to ensure the delicate fabric wasn’t destroyed by my sewing machine.  Apart from experimenting with a variety of needles (I chose a thin and sharp needle) and using fine silk thread (thoughtfully provided by Britex for my project), I also used my favorite trick for sewing buttonholes which I will share with you today:

Let me introduce to you my secret weapon for perfect buttonholes (even on the lightest, stretchiest or unruly of fabrics): Tear-away embroidery stabilizer!

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The stabilizer I chose features a very lightly sticky side that adheres to your project just enough to prevent slipping and doesn’t stretch or tear even the most delicate knit when it is removed.untitled-19When I was ready to stitch my buttonholes I cut a strip of tear-away stabilizer slightly wider than the button placket.
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I peeled off the backing (the half with blue markings on it) and applied it to the wrong side of the button placket (the inside of the shirt).untitled-23

This is what it looks like from the right side of the shirt:untitled-25

This is what it looks like from the wrong side of the shirt:untitled-26

Then I went ahead and stitched the buttonholes on my machine as per normal.  I placed the stabilizer/wrong side of the shirt against the bed of my sewing machine – this prevents the knit fabric from being sucked down into the bobbin chamber.untitled-27

And look at how beautifully the button hole turned out!untitled-29

From the wrong side you can see that the act of stitching the buttonhole has pretty much torn the stabilizer off of the placket.untitled-30

It takes hardly any effort to rip off the stabilizer from the placket:untitled-33

And voila!  A perfect placket of buttonholes!
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I hope you find this to be a useful trick when sewing your next buttonholed Camas Blouse!  It would be useful for all manner of detailed sewing tasks paired with delicate fabrics.  I’d like to try it out when sewing bras, I bet it would really help when top-stitching along the cradle of the Watson Bra!
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Have you tried sewing with tear-away stabilizer?  Do you have any tricks and tips to add to this tutorial?


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Tutorial for a Fall Picnic Set: Featuring the Bag Making Supplies Kit and the Portside Duffle Bag

As the leaves begin to change color this and Autumn evenings become shorter and more crisp, I have been longing to head out to the local beaches and forests for picnics.  I know many people might think of a picnic as something to enjoy in the heat of summer with lemonade and watermelon, but my favorite sort of picnic is of the fall variety – sitting on a windswept beach or amid crunchy burnt orange leaves at the park with a blanket wrapped cozily around me and a cup of hot apple cider in my hand.
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With that image of an ideal picnic hovering in my mind, I made a Fall picnic set! I made this set as a guest blogger for Britex who provided me with this gorgeous Etro Olive & Pumpkin Plaid Wool!  This Italian wool is a unique mix of colors that are cheery individually (teal blue, bright orange!) while still decidedly autumnal over all.  It is a large weave and it is quite light but strong – perfect for a blanket, and, with interfacing, as a bag!

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I paired the wool with the contents of  our Bag Making Supplies Kit to create a Grainline Studios Portside Duffle Bag and a car blanket.  The kit includes 1 m (1.1 yards) of canvas (the canvas I used was from our old colour/weight choice but as of today we have two new colours in stock to choose from!) along with a separating zipper, Chicago Screws (like rugged rivets that screw together) and a bar of Otter Wax.  The 1 m (1.1 yards) of canvas was enough to make all the lower half of the Portside Duffle and the blanket wrap while 1.8 m (2 yards) of wool created the top of the duffle and a 60″ square picnic blanket.

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First, I will show you some of the bag and blanket set’s details and then, below, I’ve created a tutorial so you can make a picnic blanket and blanket wrap yourself!

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The Portside Duffel is the perfect size duffel bag.  It could easily carry a week’s worth of clothes for a light traveler or act as an exceptionally roomy weekend bag.  I really like how the pattern includes all the details to create a professional looking bag – there is even a tiny pattern piece that you can use to create a leather zipper pull!  I skipped a lot of the hardware and details for this bag because I didn’t have much choice in hardware at my local notions shop.  I even had to use twill tape for the handles instead of webbing because my colour choices were so limited locally!  Next time I sew the bag I will take the time to source all of the hardware and straps but for this picnic version, the lack of metal hardware makes this bag very cozy and it could maybe even work double duty as a back rest while lounging on my picnic blanket!BritexBag-107

The bag can be as slouchy or as structured as you desire.  I added heavy interfacing to all sections of the bag to stabilize the wool and create a more rigid bottom.  I also ended up adding a rectangular cardboard insert between the lining and the canvas to fit the bottom of the bag.  I think thin plastic would be the ideal material for this as the cardboard is a bit weak and sometimes buckles but it was a good experiment and certainly works well enough for my first rendition of this bag!BritexBag-99

I applied OtterWax to the green canvas after sewing the bag.  I love the rugged look it gave the bag!  The waxed canvas is very water resistant so I can place it on damp Fall grass without worry of water soaking through.  The wax also made the canvas stiffer and heavier which added a nice touch of structure to the bottom of the bag.  I left the blanket wrap un-waxed so you can clearly see the huge difference that the wax made to the canvas:

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To continue my earlier story of unavailable notions, the only metal zipper large enough for the duffle bag at my local shop was a separating one. That wasn’t a problem at all though – I just added a folded piece of canvas on top of the opening bottom end of the zipper as I stitched the zipper in place and it functions much as a regular zipper stop would!  The zipper pull stops at the folded fabric rather than continuing to the end of the zipper…and voila, a functional closed-end zipper!BritexBag-100 BritexBag-103

I used a heavy floral cotton for the lining.  The colours pair superbly with all the varied tones that the wool include – only the wool’s cheery orange isn’t represented!BritexBag-86And now, a little bit about the blanket and blanket wrap!  When I saw this wool on the Britex website, I had all sorts of ideas for a funky peacoat or maybe a series of rustic bags…but when I opened up the parcel and it spilled out onto the living room floor, all I wanted to do was wrap myself up in the yardage!  So cozy but also wonderfully light and airy!  If you don’t like the feeling of wool against your skin, obviously you might disagree with me – but wool is my favorite fibre for scarves, sweaters, blankets or, really, just about anything, so a wool blanket suits my idea of cozy perfection.

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The selvedge of this fabric is a lovely scallop that would have been such a shame to cut off.  I pulled and tugged at it to make sure it would remain strong and refrain from unraveling over time.  It passed the test without breaking a sweat and so I used the selvedge to form two sides of my blanket.

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For the other two sides, I created a sumptuous fringe!  It was incredibly easy and only a little bit time consuming to do.

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I stitched from selvedge to selvedge 3″ in from the fabric edge to prevent the fabric unraveling further into the blanket.  If you are nervous about the risk of this occurring, you could stitch this length several times for added security or top-stitch ribbon or some other sort of trim as a ‘bumper’ to prevent fraying.BritexBag-4

Next, I tugged, snipped and teased out all the weft fibres (extending from selvedge to selvedge) leaving only the warp fibres remaining.BritexBag-7

My hands and shoulders were pretty sore by the time I was done but it was a mindless task that I could do while watching a show or just chatting with Matt!BritexBag-95

To create the blanket wrap, I used the remaining canvas from the Bag Making Supplies Kit, the kit’s 12″ seperable zipper, a strip of leather and the kit’s two Chicago Screws.  Once the blanket is rolled up, I use the wrap to keep it compact in the duffle bag which leaves plenty of room for a thermos and as big of a feast as I would like to bring along!  The blanket and wrap could also fit under the front seat of a car so that it is ready if a passenger is chilly or wants a nap.  Or…if you’re like me and get cold way too easily, you could simply keep the blanket in the duffle at all times while travelling so that you’re not rummaging around hotel rooms or extended family’s linen closets looking for an extra layer of blankets in the middle of the night.BritexBag-34

To make the wrap, cut four rectangles of canvas measuring 11 1/2″ X 13″.  If you aren’t using the Bag Making Supplies Kit to first make a Portside Duffle Bag, you will have more fabric at your disposal and you can skip the wrap’s seam by simply cutting two 22″ X 13″ rectangles.BritexBag-9

If the seam is necessary for you, sew two rectangles together along the widest edge using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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Repeat with the second set of rectangles.

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Press the seams open.BritexBag-15

Pin the two large rectangles with right sides together along their two longest edges (this is where you will start following the instructions if you only had two large rectangles to begin with).
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Stitch using a 1/2″ seam allowance (leave the two narrow ends open).BritexBag-17

Trim the seam allowances if desired to reduce bulk.BritexBag-18

Flip the rectangle so right sides are out and press both seams.BritexBag-20

Top- stitch 3/8″ from the finished edges if desired.BritexBag-22

To finish the narrow edges I applied decorative twill tape (the remainder of the tape from my duffle bag handles).BritexBag-24

Place the twill tape centered over the raw edge and extending 1/2″ to 1″ on either end of the wrap.BritexBag-25

Fold the twill tape over the finished wrap edge and pin in place.BritexBag-27

Stitch along the edge of the twill tape, catching the folded twill tape on the other side of the wrap.BritexBag-28

Fold the ends of wrap over 1″ (plus half the twill tape width which extends over the raw edge of the fabric) and press.BritexBag-29

Stitch along the other long edge of the twill tape to enclose the raw fabric edge completely.  This will now become the right side of your wrap and the twill tape functions not only to finish the raw edge but also as a decoration.BritexBag-31

Add the separating zipper by aligning it with the folded edge of the wrap.BritexBag-32

Fold under the ends of the zipper tape and stitch the zipper in place using a zipper foot.  Make sure to catch the folded zipper tape in your stitching!BritexBag-36

Create a handle for the wrap by cutting a strip of leather.  I used a 1 1/2″ X 13″ strip and cut pointed ends.BritexBag-38

Using an awl or some other pointy device, punch holes in the leather for the male part of the Chicago Screw to poke through.  Punch corresponding holes in the canvas where you would like to place your handle.  Insert the female portion of the screw up through the canvas hole from the wrong side, bring the male screw to meet it and tighten by hand.

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And there you have it, a perfectly Autumnal picnic set!  It was fun stretching out the 1 m of canvas to create so many items!  I ended up with only one little rectangle (maybe 6″ long and 4″ wide) as a scrap!  If you’d like to try your hand at bag making, head on over to our store to check out the new (super manly) canvas colours!