Thursday, April 10, 2014

/how-to: sew a flat-felled hong kong seam

Unlined jackets are awesome in spring/summer, so I thought I'd do a little run-through on a fun seam finish I used for my Albion jacket. 'Tis the season!

Warning: "unlined" sounds like it's less work, but believe me- lining sounds like a luxurious shortcut when you're binding/felling every single raw edge inside. But it's totally worth it in the end (and pretty addictive)!

inside / outside

As the name I made up suggests, this is a combination of a Hong Kong seam finish and a flat-felled seam. I like it simply because it adds more interest to the inside of your garment than an unembellished flat-felled seam, is STRONG and gives a nice clean finish.

This old j.crew blazer has seams that look similar, but they are fully bound (the bias tape is folded under twice on the side you can't see) then flat-felled. I liked the look, but full-on binding added an unnecessary step and unnecessary bulk. On my jacket, I just folded the bias tape under with the raw edge still exposed on the underside (like the Hong Kong seam finish), then stitched it down in a flat fell.

1) Sew seams completely normally (5/8" in this case). Determine which direction your seams should be sewn down; on this two-piece sleeve and the j.crew jacket they face toward each other. Trim the side of the allowance that is underneath by at least half.

2) Sew 1" bias tape to the untrimmed seam allowance at 1/4", right side down.

3) Press bias tape away from the seam allowance. Here's the inside looking a little sloppy. It's okay though!  No one will be able to see it once you enclose the whole thing in just a minute.

4) Press bias tape under and pin the seam allowance flat to the garment.

5) Sew the seam flat to the garment. You'll want to get as close to stitching in the ditch as possible, but it is more important to stitch evenly parallel to the seam line. You'll be able to see this line of stitching on the outside of your garment, so you want it nice and straight!

 You can see here that my stitching in the ditch fell a little off track in favor of keeping the line parallel.

Here's a terrible photo of the outside.. but you get the idea.

 I finished the sleeves, hem and hood of the jacket starting at step 2.

Hopefully you'll find this helpful if you're on a bomber/blazer/rain jacket quest this spring!

Monday, March 17, 2014

/olive twill albion jacket

A good olive twill jacket is one of those things everyone searches for, right? Like brown boots and the perfect tee? Well, these were all true for me (and I'm still looking for/trying to draft the latter). I do have an olive twill bomber, but it's too big in a weird-bad way. And so the search continued...
Then as many sewers/makers do, I came to the realization that if I couldn't find it I should probably make it myself!

necklace: native clutter
Enter: Albion by Colette Patterns.
When I first got the pattern, I cut a coat out of coordinating wool and wool scraps I've had for 2+ years... and bought some flannel for the lining. No coat yet. I still think it will make a great winter duffle, but I guess I just couldn't get into making something for the cold when it was (and still is) on its way out. What I really wanted was this jacket I had first sketched out; my olive twill ideal!

My absolute favorite parts of this jacket are the toggles and buttons. This is true because I got to get my woodburning tool out of the closet and burn things. Admittedly, they still smell pretty singed but it's sort of nice. Reminds me of that extra care that went into them (and makes me want to make/eat s'mores).

I also changed the front and back of the jacket to include patch-style yokes and a rain flap instead of the plain yoke detail included in the pattern. I know the rain flap makes no sense on a duffel-style jacket, but I just have a thing for them.

The innard finishing got a little complicated (well, I made it complicated); I sewed Hong Kong seams, bias bound seams, flat-felled seams and combination Hong Kong/flat-felled seams. The latter were my favorite and inspired by my trusty twill j.crew blazer (as seen on the sleeve seams, lower left corner). I actually want to make more jackets for the express purpose of using this finish. It's fun and looks pretty nice, if I do say so myself.

I did end up entering this into Colette's Albion contest, just barely. There was a little scrambling to get it done just in time. You should really check out all of the entries here. SO much amazing work went into all of them! I'm just so glad to finally have the staple olive twill jacket I've wanted.

project notes:

PATTERN: Colette Albion

FABRIC: 1.5 yards quilting cotton for bias tape, 2.5 yards 100% cotton twill

NOTIONS: 2.5 yards 3/16" cotton bolo cord and wooden toggles and buttons I got for free 5+ years ago.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

/lil towel aprons

Happy New Year!
I wanted to get that out before the year isn't so new anymore. Yikes, time is moving more quickly than ever!

I've been sewing a lot of projects that aren't quite ready for their debut, but I do want to share these awesome (though the Easter egg palette isn't quite my style) aprons I was commissioned to make by my elderly neighbor lady. She wanted me to repurpose her kitchen towels into these little aprons and I thought the idea was so smart!

I love to cook and bake, and spend lots of time in the kitchen. These had me realizing that I probably spend too much of that time trying to find a towel to dry my hands with after washing. (I'm really hands-on in the kitchen... totally not messy. Uh huh.) Anyway, these are insanely utilitarian, which is my thing. They're repurposed and look good doing it, so I'm making some for myself next!

These are pretty self-explanatory to put together. You'll need to buy one three yard package of .875" double fold bias tape for each apron (or make some yourself). The width is for the waistband only, and cut down to half for the edges. One towel for each, just the normal sort you hang on the oven door.

For some reason I feel like I have to reinforce that these colours totally not my style... this palette is making me weirdly self-conscious, HA. But they are completely my neighbor lady's style, and she'll get a lot of use out of them. I delivered them to her yesterday, and she was so cute trying all of them on right away. Thanks for the idea, Veronica!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

/grandma's mini quilt

This is nothing new, but I realized that I'd never shared this mini-quilt/wall hanging that I made a couple years ago.

My grandma lives in assisted living nearby, so when we go visit we sometimes change up her decor with the seasons. This one is her spring/summer wall hanging and cheers up her room quite well.  I'd hoped that putting this little guy together would give me the confidence to make a full-sized quilt, but that has not happened yet. Hahah. It's still the only thing I've ever tried to quilt. So sad. (If you could see the binding corners up a little closer, it would be even more sad.)

I was completely inspired by this Liberty mini quilt on the Purl Bee and followed their instructions to a T, hoping not to mess it all up. I do wish I had left a little less negative space and bought a few more printed fabrics, though. Retrospect, what can you do?

This thing is hand quilted, but only very minimally, around the circles. I love how the fabric dimples with big hand stitches, which you can see better on the plain back of the quilt.

 The back is pretty boring (alright for a wall hanging) but does make me want to experiment with nuanced neutral quilts and more intricate hand quilting in the future.

Maybe I'll do another mini quilt that actually involves piecing and see how I like that before I tackle a big one for my bed. I loved the entire mini quilt series that Purl Bee did last year, and there are always more crazy good quilts to drool over by way of Pinterest. If you've seen any amazing quilts lately, please share the goodness!

Monday, October 14, 2013

/the portland flannel

That's right, another Archer here. I'd been attempting to buy plaid flannel many times in the past month or so, with failed searches online and at Joann (actually found this same one in 41" width, but there wasn't enough yardage). So, on a super quick trip to Portland a couple weekends ago my friends obliged me and we made a quick stop at a fabric store! Hooray! For some reason I thought there would be a bigger selection of plaid flannels in Portland but there were just a few. Two yards of this one did the trick, though.

For this shirt I took extra care in sewing on the pockets because I cut them (among other pieces) on the bias. In the past I've used a fabric glue stick for a little extra security before sewing, but didn't want to accidentally warp them while applying the glue, so I found some Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 among my sewing stuff and it worked super well. It's basically double-sided tape that bonds when ironed. Just apply to pocket allowances after folding, place it and press. After that, no worries about that pocket shifting anywhere while sewing.

 Just before starting construction, I remembered that I'd seen little loops sewn in right above the pleat on lots of store-bought shirts in the past. After Googling something like "loop on back of button-up shirts", I actually got the info I was looking for- it's called a hang loop/hanging loop. A few of the sources I looked at said they were added to shirts because collegiate athletes only had a little hook in their lockers and needed a way to hang their shirts without wrinkling during practice. There were also many horror stories about classmates ripping them off of shirts... um, yikes. I just think they look cute.

I've washed and worn this thing a few times and it keeps getting more and more soft. Pretty sure I'll be loving this for a long long time, until it's all holey a la Nirvana.
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