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FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO SEW

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113

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The best new


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Three ways to
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Tips for pattern
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JULY 2004 NUMBER 113
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READER SERVICE NO. 1 68 READER SERVICE NO. 1 80

june/july 2004 3
BEST SUMMER

FASHIONS TO SEW

JUNE / JULY 2004 N UMBER 113


42
features
up front 34 COVER Exploring Chinese Silk-Faced Brocades

6 Contributors 20 Questions
These dressy Asian fabrics offer a lot of everyday western style
by Sarah Veblen
8 Letters
Cotton velvet, finding
discontinued patterns,

14 Tips
shaped godets, proper
gown storage
39 8 Reasons to Remove Your Pattern
Seam Allowances
24
Mini patterns visualize
design, keep scissors Basics Sewing is simpler when your patterns end at the seamlines
handy, take a toddler's Stay tape adds strength Online Extra: For more on using slopers to alter patterns,
measurements, fix a and stability to seams see the author's article from Threads 79
No.

30
warped cutting mat, by Karen Howland
folding design board
Fitting
To alter for a diminutive
bust, you must change
more than the darts
42 Summer Fashion Report:
The Best Styles to Sew
Dresses hold court along with pretty colors, girlish fabrics,
and whimsical embellishments
THREADS DESIGN

CHALLENGE VIII
by Anna Mazur
72 48 Add Style with Graphic Fabric Insertions
Master Class: This decorative couture piecing technique keeps
your fabric lightweight and fluid
by Pamela Ptak

RESIZING A

MULTISIZE

PATTERN

56
The
InspiratTaunton
ion for hands-onPress
living'"
www.threadsmagazine.com
52 Fabrications: Variations on a
Classic Shirt Dress
Always appropriate, yet sometimes dull, this summertime staple
offers more than the expected safari and beach looks
by the Threads editors
56 It's Easy to Make a Multisize Pattern
Larger or Smaller than Its Printed Range
Need a pattern a size bigger or smaller than you can buy? Let the
multisize outlines on the tissue guide you to the size you need.
by Kathryn Brenne
61 Creating a Designer Knockoff
You don't need t o b e a trained patternmaker t o duplicate a garment
you've seen. Start with the closest pattern you can find and adapt it.
by Anna Mazur

in the back
66 Machine 78 Tools of
Embroidery the Trade
Hand embroidery Custom fitting system, GRAPHIC

by machine silk dyes, lighting, pro- INSERTIONS

72
style pressing system
Exploring
Design 88 Advertiser
48
VIII:
Threads Design Index/Web
Challenge Directory

90
Sophisticated
sportswear with Closures
an ethnic accent A skill to be proud of
Online Extra: Learn and pass along

92
and see more about
this Challenge Back Cover
Hand-embroidered
handkerchief
C o ntributo r s
TH READS
Kathryn Brenne ("It's Easy to Make a Multisize Pattern Larger
or Smaller than Its Printed Range") was inspired by her h i g h
school sewing teacher t o make a career i n fashion sewing.
Kathryn was the first female student in her school to sign u p for Editor
a work-study course, which exposed her to the daily workings of Carol Spier

a custom tailor, an upholsterer, a shirt factory, and a furrier, all


while operating a successful "test" business as a custom clothier Senior Editor
David Page Coffin
for her fellow students. She attended Ryerson University i n her
native Canada, then plunged into custom-clothing and teaching- Associate Editors
Carol J. Fresia, Jennifer Sauer
sewing enterprises, wh ich culminated in the creation of her Academy of Fine Sewing and
Assistant Editor
Design (www.finesewing.com) in North Bay, Ontario, where she offers a series of hands-on
Judith Neukam
sewing and design workshops to an avid audience of American and Canadian sewers.
Copy/Production Editor
Jennifer M. Themel

Associate Art Director


Pamela Ptak ("Add Richards Jarden
Linda Boston
Style with G raphic ("Hand Embroidery by
Editorial Secretary
Fabric Insertions") is Machine") is an artist April Mohr
the owner of Ptak whose career has
Contributing Editors
Couture, a custom moved from sculpture Susan B. Allen, Barbara Emodi,

design atelier near to mural painting Linda Lee, Mary Ray

Philadelphia. She and architectural


studied at the Pratt restoration, to the Publisher
Elizabeth Conklin
Institute and FIT, and learned haute couture more minute but no less detailed world of
Marketing Managers
techniques at Maison Sapho School of monogram design and digitizing. As president
Nancy Clark, Karen Lutjen
Dressmaking and Design. Pamela is the author of www.embroideryarts.com. Richards seeks
Single Copy Sales Manager
of
Techni ios 101,' Present
Fashiqueson Portfor fInoldependent Desi g ation&
ners out, researches, and designs alphabets for
monograms, then digitizes them for home
Mark Stiekman

Dressmakers (Glass Lane Press, 2003). She


teaches couture sewing at Drexel University
embroiderers. For reference and inspiration,
he collects vintage and antique embroidered
Advertising Director
Jeff Dwight

and does freelance hand-sewing for the haute handkerchiefs; a sample from his collection Advertising Sales Manager
couture fashion design firm Chado Ralph appears on this issue's back cover. Angelyn Termini

Rucci in New York City. Account Managers


Anna Mazur Lori J. Galanis, Tracey Lenahan
Sarah Veblen ("Creating a Designer Senior Sales Support Associate
("Exploring Chi nese Knockoff" and "Summer Marjorie Brown

Sil k-Faced Brocades") Fashion Report: The Sales Support Assistant


is a custom fashion Best Styles to Sew") is Cindy Nesline

designer who runs her approaching her new


business from home. role as author of the Threads: (iSSN: 0882-7370) 06470-
is published bimonthly
by The Taunton Press, Inc., Newtown, CT
She began sewing her twice-yearly pattern 5506. 203-06470
Telephone 426-8171. Periodicals postage
own clothes in ju nior high to accommodate her review with the same enthusiasm she applies paid at Newtown, CT and at additional mailing

long legs and arms, and developed her first to all her work. Tracking fashion trends has
offices. GST paid registration #123210981.
line of ch ildren's clothing on a machine she always been a part of Anna's sewing process,
one year,
tion9Rat5 es: $78.95 $32.95
Subscrip$54. U.S. and Canada:
for two years,
for
for three years
received as a college graduation gift. Her and the fine embellishment on the runways this (GST included, payable in U.S. funds); outside the U.S.
design philosophy is that "every garment
needs to stand on its own and make a
season inspired her to start a wish list of spring
projects. Anna admits that the steady stream of
years,$96.95$6.$38.9995
and Canada:

Single copy,
$66.95
for one year, for two
for three years (payable in U.S. funds).
$8.99
in the U.S., and in Canada.
statement:' To that end, she incorporates some review patterns arriving in her mailbox has
kind of "soph isticated, yet subtle" detail in forced her to organize her own large pattern
Postmaster: 63 Send address changes to
Taunton Press, Inc.,
Threads,
5506,
S. Main St., PO Box
The

everything she creates, and says her design collection-a bit of spring cleaning is in order Newtown, CT 06470-5506.
process involves a g reat deal of experimenting. before she tackles her wish list. Printed in the USA
6 T H R EA D S
EXpressiotlS in textiles 2004
August 19 - 21, 2004
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june/july 2004 7
Le t t e r s
FROM T HE EDITOR
break the topstitching at the stand-I really
like the way it looks. That's what makes

Many of us sew in order to have unique gar­ sewing so much fun: I can make my own de­
sign choices and I never feel I have to copy
ments, yet sometimes we forget to enjoy or ready-to-wear.
trust our creative instincts. In our last issue,
the editors introduced a new feature, "Fabrications: one pattern/ Inspired by Fa brications
three looks;' to encourage you to view a purchased pattern as a I loved the "Fabrications: one pattern/three
looks" feature. Please do more of these. It's
foundation that can support a host of fashion whims. You'll find
a great way to get the creative juices flOwing
another example of "Fabrications" on pp. 52-55 of this issue. If these articles inspire
and some outside-the-box thinking started.
you to make your own pattern interpretations, please post photos of your work on our
Loved it, loved it!
forum, Gatherings, at www.threadsmagazine.com. We'd love to see them.
Kathy Wetherell, via email
And while you're on the Web site, be sure to print out the schematic diagrams for
the bags on the cover of this issue. Additional tips for pants-fitting
Carol Spier, Editor Sandra Betzina's article, "Everyone Can Have
Jeans That Fit" (issue No. 1 1 1 , February/
March) is a real winner. So much valuable in­
formation packed into just a few pages.
Level, sq uare, and the right length little gems like these that make your maga­ I agree with shortening the back crotch ex­
I was reading "Closures" in Threads No.
and I really enjoyed it. I just laughed and
Ill, zine so outstanding. I can't wait to see what
other treasures I will find tucked into the rest
tension for a flat seat, but I would like to
comment on the instructions for altering
laughed. I was imagining every word that I of the issue. for a "very flat seat" described on p. 36.
was reading. I'm so happy that I subscribe Eileen Clark, via email When a seat is very flat, the crux of the fit­
to Threads magazine; it is one of the best. ting problem often lies not just in a dearth
Thanks for making me smile. A topstitch i ng debate of derriere, but in a backward pelvic tilt.
Damaris Trujillo, Puerto Rico I have read Threads for years and absolutely Shortening the back inseam as suggested
love it! However, I have a problem with the not only causes easing problems when
Gems of i nformation cover of issue No. 1 12 . The article dealing sewing it to the front inseam, it does not ad­
I had only gotten to p. 26 of the April/May with the cover photo is on topstitching, which dress the possible root of the fitting problem.
(No. 1 12) issue when I found an amazing bit I specialized in while working 1 5 years in When the pelvic cradle tilts back, less fabric
of information from Karen Howland. Her garment factories. Never in those years was length is required in the back (and at times
method of determining the proper length of a garment topstitched that had a break in more in the front).
a zipper is something I had neither heard of the front edge/ collar line. The stand on the The solution? Shorten the center back pat­
nor read about in the many books I own. It's collar of your garment wasn't topstitched to tern by folding out the excess back crotch
match the front or the collar. I don't know if length horizontally between the waist and
this was a design choice or simply wasn't back crotch curve, tapering to nothing at the
On the road noticed, but it gives the garment a home­ side seams. The back crotch curve may then
Threads ,vill have a booth at the show
listed here. Please stop by to say hello.
made look, rather than a handmade look.
Kay H utchison, via email
need to be lowered. (On ready-to-wear, the
back crotch length can be shortened from the

American Sewing Guild (ASG)


Adam's Mark Hotel
Author Pamela Howard replies: It's great to be Threads abbreviations key
Dallas, TX
able to do something that provokes com­
ments, be they good or bad. I have always
Towesave space, CB cent
sometateimes 5.CFa. seamer back
centeralfrloontwance
www. asg.org
August 4-9
wanted the clothing I make to be interesting,
abbrevi
thesetferrms.
equently WS
RS riwrong
ght sidsiede
very well made, but a bit different in the
way it's finished. I made an artistic choice to
used
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june/july 2004 9
Letters (continued)
waist, although the alteration may be limit­ ric. Since I developed this method through ex­
ed by pocket placement or yoke length.) perimenting with many embrOidery deSigns,
The photo on p. 52 of your article, "Pants it is in a sense based on how the "average"
for Every Body" (issue No. 54, August/Sep­ motif is shaped and how its stitches are dig­
tember), shows a model with a backward itized. There are undoubtedly motifs for
pelvic tilt. The "Pants that fit well" (lower which this calculation will result in a mis­
right photo) still sag at the back, perhaps not leading score, but I hope the embroiderer
only because her heels accentuate the tilt, but knows to make a test stitchout before em­
because the slacks were altered for crotch barking on his or her project.
width but not for pelvic tilt. Fitting slacks is
complex, but analyzing bone structure often Sewing for fun a nd profit
gives clues to solving fitting problems. Looking forward to receiving each new issue
An excellent book on this subj ect is, of Threads, I await learning much new and
Fitting & Pattern Alteration, A Multi-Method
Approach, by Liechty, Pottberg, and Rasband.
useful information. Although I don't do any
sophisticated sewing yet, (I will) your
It's a hard read, but the diagrams are fantastic. magazine has inspired me to start sewing
Thanks again to Sandra for a terrific article. again. I am now making beautiful silk dec­
S andy Ragets, B rooklyn, N.Y. orative pillows that are embellished with
hand-dyed silk ribbons, and in some cases
Comments on embroidery density with glass beads. They are very architectur­
I would like to comment on Susan Fears' al. My question is, how do I get started in the
article on Machine Embroidery in issue business of selling retail to interior deSign­
No. 1 12. A problem with her method of com­ ers, and how do I go about pricing my prod­
puting stitch denSity jumped out at me ucts? Do interior deSigners showcase up­
immediately when I read her article. Her for­ and-coming artists?
mula for computing the area of an embroi­ Thanks for the info. I've got many pillows
dery motif (height x width) is wrong except made and enjoy sewing them. I'm sure I
in a couple of simple cases, namely a rec­ can find a market for my product, but am so
tangle and a parallelogram. For any other new to this world of fashion. This project is
shape, her formula is incorrect, and could be motivating me to learn about bobbin-work,
wrong by a large factor. Hence, her compu­ in addition to trying all sorts of fabric col­
tation of the stitch denSity is also incorrect laging. I'm having too much fun.
and the number she derives is meaningless. Bon n ie Blanchard, via email
Eve Kovacs, via email
The editors reply: Home accessory prices
Author Susan Fears replies: It's true that the for­ vary widely by location and market condi­
mula given for calculating the area of an em­ tions. Why not explore your local market to
broidery motif (height x width) doesn't yield get a feel for where your pillows fit? Ask at
the area of the motif and only the motif. In­ a nearby decorator fabric store for refer­
stead, it incorporates some surrounding fab­ ences to interior deSigners you could show
VISit your Semina Deafer or www bernlnausa com for a mall-In
certificate and complete rules Good only on purchase of a new
ric, more or less depending on the shape of your work to-or ask if you can post pic­
11/04 200E5/31104
artlsta
and
from an authorized Bermna Deafer, made between
Completed mall-Jn certifIcate and receIpt must
be postmarked no later than 6130/04 Only at participating dealers
the motif. However, my experience (I've tures or leave a sample. Visit a local spe­
scored and sewn out hundreds of deSigns Cialty furnishings store to see how they price
to test this method) has shown me that the comparable work-and ask if they would
density score formula works nonetheless, consider carrying yours. Be sure to decide
and does provide-in the vast majority of cas­ up front if you are interested in doing cus­
es-a useful guideline for determining the tom work (always in demand) or want to
compatibility of a motif and a particular fab- stick exclUSively with your own line.
o 0

artista 200
BERN INA

" .
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READER SERVICE NO. 75
FROM READERS TO READERS

Mini patterns help visualize design


I was having trouble followin g the directions on a new desig ner pattern

u ntil I photocopied the pattern layouts from the instruction sheets and

en larged the pattern pieces to about Barbie-size. Then I cut the main

pattern pieces out of lig htweig ht fabric and sewed the

miniature pieces together, which enabled me to learn

how the design should be sewn. Obviously, it's not

incredibly accurate, but it's enough for me to get the

picture. I was then able to successfu lly cut and sew the

pattern from expensive fabric and save myself m u ch agony,

doubt, and possibly money. J


-Maureen Tayse Miller, New Carlisle, Ohio
Make mini mock-ups to learn

how tricky patterns go together.

Sew the two seams with the fabric right sides together M a ke a q u i ck-a nd-easy closet, and fit it into a car, but
and then turn right side out before topstitching.
fold ing design board it expands into a 4- by 8-foot

I- 5% yd. cut to 201 i n . before sewing


,\-in. seam a l l owance
_I I made a 4-foot-high folding
screen and use it often as a de-
surface for display that can trav-
el with examples pinned to it.
TClc: Q)0 sign/ display board for sewing The screen will zigzag open for

.�Q)VI <CJc:� projects. It was easy to make-I


just sewed it together. I slid four
double-sided displays or a pri-
vacy screen, it can be arranged

....;;Q) Cij �3i


Q) ..2 24- by 48-inch panels of �-inch as a column, or used to keep
E foam core into a large fabric the dog or toddlers out of your
.0 <CJQ) c
c: c:
VI envelope divided into four pock- sewing room. :20
v �
�en ets, as shown at left. (The pocket -Judith Neu kam,
J].
.�c
.L 2- stitching forms the hinges and Threads
6�
."�
allows the panels to swing in
by 4-ft.

�"
foam core Stop topstitching 1 in. from raw edge.
Tuck in raw edges and whip stitch closed.
both directions.) I hand-stitched
the bottom closed and the fold-
Fix your warped
cutting mat
ing screen was ready to use. I hated the idea of throwing "g>
:.:.c
c.
I use my screen as away my warped rotary cutting
a n 8-foot-Iong de- mat, even though I'd been told


Foam core panels and a large Sign/bulletin board. repairing it was hopeless. But af- c.
fabric envelope make a versatile I can nail it right to ter a few attempts I successfully ".!lE00
folding screen. the wall or stand it found a way to flatten it. I laid "E0�

on my cutting table. the mat on my carpet and cov- Ic

I can fold it up and ered it with a thin terry-cloth ii50
slide it under the towel. With my iron set to the �c.c.
bed, store it in a hottest steam setting I pressed '"
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READER SERVICE NO. 163 READER SERVICE NO. 176

june/july 2004 1 5
Make a quick scissors holster from

a pot holder-pin it to your iron ing


board to keep scissors handy.

over the towel until my mat be­ lightweight, soft Then I open this part
came warm and flexible. Then backing for heir­ of the elastic to make
I flipped the mat over and loom sewing. a small loop and pull

Have a tip? pressed the same section. Next,


leaving the towel in place, I
When the flannel
interfa cings or
the other end through
the loop to form a
Share your tips, stacked three of my thickest underlinings are knot. I tug on the long
tricks, and phone books and catalogs on pressed to the fash­ end of the elastic to se­
sewing/embell­ top of the softened area ; I put ion fabric they hold cure the knot. Next, I
ishing resources. the books in a bag so they didn't together long enough slide the free end of the
Send us details, get damaged. (I left it until the to be sewn in place. elastic through the handle
sketches, photos, mat had cooled completely, and As a n underlining, the of my sewing machine and
or samples. We'll then progressed around the flannel lends a soft, sup­ tie it in the same manner as
pay for each mat, ironing one section at a ple drape to the garment. the scissors. Now the scissors
item we publish. time.) It took some patience, and Of course any printed de­ stay with my machine even
Please send I did have to iron a few spots sign on the sheet will show when it travels-and they never
them to: twice, but it worked and I saved through a lightweight fab­ get left behind.
Threads Tips, my mat. ric, so be sure to test your fabrics. I also made a scissors holster
PO Box 5506,
Newtown, CT
-Lynette Damian,
Milford, Mich.
-S heri Rand, Eugene, Ore. for my ironing board using a
kitchen pot holder folded into a
06470-5506. Add support to fabrics
Two tips for keeping
scissors handy
cone. I stitched (or you can hot­
glue) the cone together with the
with old flannel sheets
U sed flannel sheets provide just
I
Here's a way keep my scissors
from wandering away from my
hanging loop up, and then pin­
ned the loop to the ironing board.
the right backing for many of sewing machine. I cut a length Now it's handy when I'm press­
my sewing projects. One sheet of 'A-inch elastic, 24 to 48 inches ing and need to cut something.
can supply various weights from long, and tie the ends together. I -Rachel Pfaffendorf,
the worn center section to the fold the elastic in half, and place Clear Lake, S.D.
thicker edges. I use them for about 3 inches of one end
underlining, interfacing, a nd through the scissors handle. Prevent piping puckers
on sli pcovers
I found the key to preventing
piping in a seam from puckering
or bunching up and changing

Taking a toddler's measurements the shape or size of a slipcover:


Don't sew the piping into the

Last sum mer I needed to make a d ress for my two-year-ol d to wear in a slipcover a s its own step. All
those extra rows of stitching can
wed d i n g, but she couldn't stay stil l long enough for me to take her cause problems.
measurements. I was fi nally able to take accu rate chest and waist To install the piping I cut my
seam allowances to an exact
measurements while she was asleep, but getting her length m easu rements

I purchased a rol l of butcher paper and asked her to


� inch, draw a line on the slip­
was sti l l troublesome. cover where my piping belongs,

l ie down on it. After I traced her she decorated her sil houette, which I used
and pin it loosely to one layer. I
cover it with the second layer,
to measu re. And I have a n ice memento of her at two years of age. align the edges, and sew the
three layers together in one step.
-Jennifer Larson, Frederick, Md.
It takes some practice to hold
the three layers and sew at the

16 TH R EA D S
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READER S ERVICE NO. 1 44

iune/iuly 2004
T i p S (ooolio",d)
same time; I use my fingers be­ hear or feel a thread break. If tape sticky side out. When sew­
tween the layers to hold the both the top and bobbin threads ing, I put the taped rectangle to
cording in place as I stitch. Even break in exactly the same place, the right of my machine on the
though it seems awkward at the tension is perfect. If only one floor and either drop the clipped
first, it's really worth the effort. thread breaks (usually in two threads or clip the ends just
- Patricia Ferrito, Angola, N.Y. places) that thread's tension is above it. The rectangle is big
too tight, indicating that I should enough to catch what falls. When
Perfect th read tension either loosen the tension for that both sides are full I cut off the
every time thread or tighten the opposite tape and rewrap the cardboard.
I perfect my tension setting for tension; most of the time a very When machine-embroidering,
the fabric in my project by cut­ small adjustment does the trick. I put the taped rectangle to the
ting a 6- to 8-inch square from -April M o h r, Threads left of the machine on my cabi­
the fabric, setting my machine net. If I'm going to save the
with the thread and settings I Make a th read catcher thread bits for future use, I lessen
plan to use, and stitching a I found an easy way to catch the tape tackiness by first press­
straight line diagonally from cor­ threads. I buy the least-expen­ ing the rectangle against fabric; it
ner to corner across the square. sive wide packing tape I can find. catches the threads, but you can
Then, with a stitched corner in I cut a corrugated cardboard rec­ easily remove them from the tape.
each hand, I stretch the square tangle about 8 by 1 2 inches and -Mary A l lenspach,
along the stitching line until I wrap it, mummy-style, with the Winchester, Wis.

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18 T H R EA D S
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Q u esti o n s
�------------------------------------------
A N SWERS TO Y O U R S EW I N G , Q U I LT I N G , A N D EM B E L L I S H I N G Q U ERIES

Q Cotton ve lve t, explaine d


In a catalog , I saw a d uvet cover made of cotton

velvet. I'm o n ly fam i l iar with silk or rayon velvet. How


percent cotton. Velvet and vel­
veteen, however, actually refer
to the weave, and not the fiber
content. Velvet is woven using a
double-cloth method, by which
plusher pile, also has a heavier
backing, so it's durable enough
for home-decorating proj ects,
and even upholstery. Cotton vel­
vet and velveteen actually look
two fabrics are woven face-to­ and feel better after washing, and
does cotton velvet com pare, and where can I fin d it?
face from five yarns: two pairs of should always be washed before

-Georgina Elgin Strandberg, Kenmore, Wash.


warp and weft yarns forming cutting because they shrink.
the backings, and a third warp They're both very easy to sew,

A
yarn looping between them; the especially when compared to
Velvet is made from many third warp is cut to form the slippery silk or rayon velvets.
different fibers these days: pile and separate the two fab­ Craft stores and chain fabric
cotton, rayon (also known rics. Velveteen is woven using a shops sell cotton velveteen, but
as viscose), silk, silk/rayon single-cloth method: extra weft rarely stock cotton velvet. Cotton
blends, and even linen. Cotton yarns are looped over the warp velvet is more likely to be found
velvet (in photo) is the strongest. yarns in a single fabric layer and in independent clothing and
Such a variety of velvets wasn't then the loops are sheared to home-decorating fabric stores.
always available. In fact, cotton create the pile.
velvet is often confused with its Velveteen's shorter, denser pile Lori Hill is the manager of Banks­
close cousin, cotton velveteen, makes it a great choice for cloth­ ville DeSigner Fabrics (www.banks
because velvet was originally ing with gathers or fullness, such villedesignerfabrics.com) in Norwalk,
made from only silk fibers, and
velveteen was traditionally 100-
as an elastic-waist skirt. Cotton
velvet, besides having a thicker,
Conn., which has over
vets in stock.
100 cotton vel­

Q Tips for tracking do wn


discontinued patte rns
Can you help m e fin d a source for d iscontin ued patterns?
Vogue (www.voguepatterns
. com), Butterick ( www.butter
ick.com), McCall's (www. mc
call.com), and Kwik Sew (www
.kwiksew.com), carry a surplus
inventory of discontinued pat­
-Maggie Davidson, Inkster, Mich.
terns for a few years, or until

A
their stock runs out.
Every season, a number fabric store or on the pattern Discontinued patterns from in­
of patterns are discontin­ company's Web site is unfortu­ ternational companies, such as
ued to accommodate pat­ nate, but not hopeless. The first Marfy (www. marfy.it). Burda
tern companies' new offerings step is to call the pattern com­ (www.burdamode.com). and
( for a larger company, that can pany directly. You may find that Neue Mode ( www. neuemode
be up to 90 new patterns), and the pattern was simply reas­ stil.de), are harder to find. Your
the first patterns to fall out of the signed a different name or num­ best bet is to check with local
catalogs are usually the seasonal ber. But if the pattern is truly distributors: SimpliCity ( www
or trendy ones; classic styles discontinued, the good news is . simplicity. com) for Burda pat­
have a longer shelf life. that the bigger U.S. pattern com­ terns, Sullivans Inc. (www.sulli
To discover that a pattern can panies, like Simplicity/New vans. net) for Neue Mode, and
no longer be found in your local Look (www. simplicity. com). www. fashionsewing.com for

20 T H R EA D S

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READER SERVICE NO. 1 79

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READER READER SERVICE NO. 52

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READER SERVICE NO. 1 58 READER SERVICE NO. 1 41

june/ july 2004 21


Q u e s t i o n s (continued)
Marfy catalogs. Smaller, or bou­ nity available within an arm's
Where to sea rch for patterns on l i n e
tique, pattern companies, like reach, so all you need to do is
Post your pattern request on discussion boards such as the Gatherings
The Sewing Workshop Collec­ log on to a site listed at left.
and Creative Machine forums on www.threadsmagazine.com. or in the
tion (www.sewingworkshop If your online efforts fail to
classified section of www.PatternReview.com. Also try:
.com), Loes Hinse Design (www turn up the exact pattern you're
• www.eBay.com
.loeshinsedesign.com), and Sil­ seeking, just look for a similar
• www.oldpatterns.com
houette Patterns by Peggy Sagers style. With creative modifica­
• www.rustyzipper.com
(www. silhouettepatterns.com). tions, you might end up with a
• www.sewingpatterns.com
• www.debsrecycledsewingpatterns.com o ffer just a few new patterns pattern that's even better than
• www.angelfire.com/trek/mypatternbox each season and rarely discon­ the original.
• www.thesewingplace.com tinue any of their offerings.
If contacting the pattern com­ Deepika Prakash is the founder of

pany leads to a dead end, turn to www. PatternReview. com. which fea­
your sewing peers. The Internet tures reader reviews, and offers online

has made the sewing commu- sewing classes.

Q S lash and spre ad for


an unusual gode t A
A godet can take on all
kinds of shapes, and the
pattern work and sewing
couldn't be simpler. Just draft the

In Threads No. 1 1 1 , you had a great article on drafting and desired style line on your skirt
pattern, mark the center point,
sewi ng triang u lar godets ("Skirt Godets Make Sleek and then cut out the marked
Hemli nes Swing"). Is it possible to create other shapes? shape. Draw slash lines on the
cutout, as shown at left, then
-Anne E. Edgar, Baltimore
cut along the lines and spread
evenly to the desired width. Draw
Round-top
godet the grainline (and foldline for a
circular ruffle) as shown.

.
To sew in an unusual-shaped
godet, first staystitch the skirt
piece along the shaped edge
1 Desired width1 where the pattern was cut to
make the godet; clip to the
Square-top stitching along curves or at cor­
godet ners. Pin and sew the godet into
the skirt piece, aligning the cen­
ter marks. Note that a circular­

Desired width
-
, ruffle godet can be inserted in a
seam or slit as well as in a tri­
angular opening as shown.
Circular­
ruffle godet Sandy Scrivano designs and sews in
Sacramento, Calif.

Desired width

22 THREADS
Q P ro pe r go w n stor age
What is the best way to store a bridal gown and

that once-a-year holiday dress?


soda, can cause permanent
stains if they're not pretreated.
Once your gown is cleaned,
proper long-term storage is vital
to its preservation. Choose a
box, and fold it to fit-layer
paper between each fold, and
finish with the bodice on top.
Store accessories such as gloves,
a train, and veil in a separate
-Carrie Demirgian, Broad Brook, Conn. cool, dry, and preferably sun­ acid-free box.
light-free environment, such as a If you prefer a less permanent
well-ventilated closet or under storage arrangement, you can

A
a bed (never in a damp base­ hang your dress on a padded
Distinctive, cherished any trim; if it will be damaged ment or hot attic). Buy an acid­ white silk hanger, fill the sleeves
gowns require special care during cleaning or is susceptible free box and line it with acid­ and bodice with acid-free paper
and storage. First and fore­ to drying out in storage (i.e. free white paper (both can b e as described, then cover your
most, remove metal fasteners or pearl and feather trim), care­ found at www. containerstore gown with a clean white sheet
hooks, as well as covered but­ fully remove it. .com). Fill the bodice and sleeves or muslin.
tons, because these items can Next, have your gown cleaned with more paper (the paper will
corrode and leave permanent
stains. Detach foam padding,
by a reputable dry cleaner, and
be sure to point out any spills
settle, so overstuff rather than
under-stuff) to maintain the
Diana L. Carswell is a Jashion and
beauty editor, and wardrobe stylist.

which dries out and disinte­ or dirt. Even colorless beverages, shape and prevent creases. Place Her assignments require careJul stor­

grates over time, and examine such as white wine and clear the bottom of the dress into the ing and care oj garments.

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READER SERVICE NO. 1 66


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READER SERVICE NO. 78
.J
june/j u ly 2004 23
Basics
S tay tape adds strength and f stay tape isn't already your se­ for details), so there's a version
cret weapon when it comes to that's right for any fabric.
stab ility to seam s garment sewing, it should be.
This skinny strip o f fabric i s an Use tape for stronger,
by Paddye Mann
invaluable addition wherever beUer-looking seams
Necklines, shoul d ers, armhol e s, and pocket you need to control, stabilize,
or reinforce your fabric. The
Stay tape should be used wher­
ever and whenever you need a
openings benefit from tape reinforcement term "stay tape" doesn't refer bit of staying power, excuse the
to any particular product-nar­ pun. Tape is most often used
row tapes come in several widths
and weights, and with varying
along garment seams and edges
(see below for some common
degrees of stability-and you can applications). It makes the con­
even make your own (see p. 28 struction process easier because

Common uses for stay tape


There are really only two hard-and-fast rules for positioning stay tape : 1 ) always add to the it
wrong side of your garment, and 2) to minimize b ulk, cut and butt the tape-never overlap-at
seam intersections. Here are a few places where stay tape comes in handy:

On trousers
Tape areas of stress to ensure a long-lasting, good fit.

Pleated waistl i n e
Pocket Press pleats i n place, then center and apply tape
on the seamline.

Pocket o p e n i n g s
Center and apply tape on the seamline for the
,I length of the pocket opening.
II
Crotch seam

11,n1 7
I '\' 1
Back
:,: I
,
A fter you sew the inseams, center and apply
tape on the crotch seamline of one leg, starting
at the center back waistline and continuing

,, I,
" onto the front about 3 inches or up to the zipper.

On a n eckli n e
Use bias stay tape to reinforce the shape of
necklines-especially if they are scooped or low-cut.

Tape the front a n d


back separately Front

Apply tape to the neck seam


allowances before sewing
the shoulder seams (the
tape should butt against,
but not cover, the seamline. Back
If necessary, clip the tape so it
lies flat in corners (such as in
a V or square neckline) and
around curves once the
seam allowance is turned
and pressed against
the garment body. .\
The sh o rtest d ista nce between
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READER SERVICE NO. 1 07

june/july 2004 25
B a s i ( S (oocli""od)
i t prevents your fabric from such as polyester or other syn­ Decide when to apply
slipping or stretching out of thetics. Stay tape prevents un­ the tape
shape as you sew or serge. I t wanted stretch in knit and Generally, I prefer to apply stay
also helps you t o mold fabric bias-cut garments, especially tape right after I cut out my fab­
(for example into a soft curve along the shoulder seams; it ric (and have interfaced it as
along a lapel roll line) and can keeps loosely woven and/ or del­ necessary) because it's easier to
even help you create a sharp icate fabric from fraying at the apply tape to a flat fabric piece.
crease or edge (along the fold seams; and relieves wearing The only exceptions are when
of a vent, for instance) in fabric stress, thus preventing seams I want to anchor the tape over
that doesn't hold a crease well, from popping. an intersecting seam, such as

Tailored jackets have specific tape requirements


Stay tape enables you to control the contours of a jacket. Slipstitch all edges of the tape
in place by hand.

Lapel roll l i n e
Measure and mark two-thirds o f the roll line Front a rmhole
Ti ps for flat, length from the shoulder seamline, then Center and apply Back neckline
b u l k-free cut stay tape to this length minus % inch.
Align the tape along the roll line, as shown.
stay tape on the
seamline for just
Apply stay tape t o the garment
(the tape should butt against,
s u p port Distribute the extra garment fullness in the the top half of but not cover, the seamline).
bust area, then sew the tape edges in place. the armhole.
The lighter the fabric, the
lighter the tape: choose a
tape that's as lightweight Back s h o u lder
Cut stay tape the
and narrow as possible, but
length of the front
firm enough to provide the
shoulder, then
stability you need. center and apply
the tape to the
Preshrink now to avoid
back shoulder
puckers later: dip the tape
seamline. The
(whether purchased or a back shoulder is
strip you cut from fabric) in
warm water and let it dry
usually � inch
longer than the

completely before you front shoulder,


so you 'll need to
apply it.
ease the fabric
onto the tape.

Back a rm hole
Center and apply
stay tape on
the seamline.

Front edge
Starting at the shoulder, apply stay tape to the garment
along the front neckline edge, pulling the tape taut
along the top and vertical edge of the lapel, in the
button area, and along the bottom hem curve (the
tape should butt against, but not cover, the seamline).

26 T H R EA D S
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SERVICE NO. 27

june/july 2004 27
B a s i ( S ("cticeod)
across the inseam on a crotch
D i ffe re n t t y p e s o f s t a y t a p e
seam, or to control fullness, for
There are four categories of stay tape. You r choice for which to use depends on your fabric and the instance along a pleated waist­
amount of support you desire. Keep a variety of tapes on hand and test them to find the one that is best line seam ( shown on p. 24).
for the job. Secure the tape i n place by basting (or fusing, in the case of fusible tape); this ensures that it When in doubt, refer to your
won't sh ift when you sew your garment seams. pattern instructions-they'll let
you know when tape is required,
and when to apply it. It's only

\
M a nufactured sew - i n tape necessary to tape one of the

For mediu m-weight and fabric layers in any given seam,


and it takes only a few minutes;
heavyweight woven fabrics, use
you'll find that the resulting
manufactured, plai n-weave
strong, beautiful garment is def­
cotton or linen tape (sometim es
initely worth the time.
called tailor's tape). It's available straig ht­

(Y., and
g rain or bias (wh ich has slight g ive for Paddye Mann (www.paddyemann
c u rved areas) and in two widths . com) is a designer and master tailor
% inch). To apply, pin i n place, then hand­ in Pakenham, ON, Canada.

o r machine-baste to secure.

M a ke-your-own fabric strips

For fine or l ig htweight fabrics, cut bias


or straight-grain strips of thin cotton,
organza, or lining fabric; the selvage, i n
particular, makes g reat stay tape. To
apply, pin in place, then hand- o r
machine-baste to secure.

For kn its, or even woven


garm ents where you
desire flexible, yet stable,
straight o r curved edges and seams, choose thin,
C l a rify i n g ta pe stretchy elastic (available i n a variety of widths).
term i nology Cut the e lastic the same length as your edge or
Narrow, plain-weave tape seamline, pin it i n p lace, then stretch it slig htly
is sold by some notions as you machine-baste o r serge it i n place.
vendors as tailor's tape, but s u p port, pu rchase
other vendors call it twill
straig ht-grain or bias fusible tape (usual ly
tape. True twill tape, which
%-inch wide), or cut narrow strips from scraps
has a herringbone weave, is
too heavy for most seam of fusible interfacing. To apply, s i m ply fuse in
taping applications. place with your i ron.

28 TH READS
F i tti n g
To alte r for a dim inutive bust, you
m ust change m ore than the darts

Most patterns seem to come presized for a 8-cup

bust ; can you help me convert them to fit an

A-cu p figure?

-Eliza Gring, Orlean, Va.

t's important to reduce both measurement 2 inches greater are from bust point to bust
the length and width of the than their high-bust measure­ point, from shoulder to bust
pattern front, not just the ment, while an A-cup represents starting at the shoulder line mid­
dart size, when reshaping a I-inch difference. To check point, and from shoulder line
a pattern for a smaller cup, your own measurements, posi­ midpoint to the waist over the
says fitting expert Karen tion the tape as if you were tak­ bust, as shown in the below
Howland. Also, smaller busts ing a full-bust measurement, right drawing.
may require a change in the then shift it up in front only,
bust-point position, compared across the chest (about where Each dart style req uires a
to B-cup figures. But assuming the top edge of a strapless dress un ique adj ustment
that the pattern fits in all other would fall), to find your high­ The step-by-step drawings on
respects, neither the back pat­ bust measurement, as shown p. 3 2 show how to reduce the
tern nor the width of the front in the below left drawing. Add fronts on three bodice styles, in­
pattern between the armhole 2 inches to this measurement cluding correcting the front
notches will be affected by the and use the resulting number length and repositioning the
alteration for a smaller cup size. as your bust measurement when side seam to reduce the front
A B-cup pattern is specifically purchasing the pattern. Addi­ bust circumference. The exam­
sized for figures with a full-bust tional measurements you'll need ples all start with a bust point

Measurements needed for an A-cup alterati o n


Ta ke your
h i g h - bust \",�--- Shoulder to
bust (take
m easurement both sides)
Position the tape

,--+-+--+-
for the full-bust
measurement,
Bust point to
then shift the tape bust point
up in the front
only, as shown,
for the high-bust
measurement. I-....---l'- Shoulder
to waist
over bust
(take both
sides)

30 T H R EA D S
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READER SERVICE NO. 21
READER SERVICE NO. 97

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READER SERVICE NO. 86 READER SERVICE NO. 55

Poly Sheen®. So the seduction lasts.

It's frustra t i n g . S o m a n y h o u rs spent e m br o i d e r i n g d e l icious desi g n s a n d i n n o time they fade. Because


Mettler Poly Sheen has all the good q u a l i ties of rayon. B u t n o n e of the bad. Its trilobal polyester construction
creates u n p a r a l leled color fastness and b r i l l i a n ce. And because it's 50 Ofo str o n g e r than rayon, it prevents the
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READER SERVICE NO. 32

june/july 2004 31
F itti n g (continued)
shift, which might not be nec­

Altering a side-seam dart to fit an A-cup essary on your figure. If your


pattern has vertical darts, pin-fit
Step 1. Reposition the bust point them after making the adjust­
if necessary, and move the dart ments shown here. Dartless
so it points to the new bust point. CF CF
styles can also b e reduced, if
Don 't redraw the side seam until
New New necessary, simply by locating
Step 3. bust bust
the likely positions or the un­
Step 2. Fold a horizontal tuck
across the pattern, through the
point
� point
� Tuck stitched darts in the pattern and
dart, making the shoulder-to-waist following the same steps as
measurement match yours and
those shown for the darted style
reducing the side dart opening.
with a similar shape.
Step 3. Fold the dart closed and
redraw the side seam, removing
Waist
level
Waist
level
� inch at the bust level and
tapering to no change at the
Fitting expert Karen Howland writes
in Chillicothe, IlL
top and bottom.

Altering an armhole dart to fi t an A-cup


Step 1. Reposition the bust point
and move the dart so it points to the new
if necessary,
CF CF
bust point.

Step 2. Slash through the dart to the bust point


and then down to the garment hipline or hem.
Tuck
Step 3. Fold a horizontal tuck across the center
front piece at bust level, making the shoulder-to­
waist measurement match yours.

Step 4. Pivot the side front from the hip-level Waist Wa ist
slash line over the center front piece at the bust level level
by � inch. Tape to secure. Redraw the dart legs
from the compressed dart opening to the point. Pivot.

Altering a princess seam to fi t an A-cup


Step 1. Reposition the bust point if necessary.
.u
Step 2. Fold a horizontal tuck across the center
front piece at bust level, making the shoulder­ CF CF

0:
to-waist measurement match yours.
c3e�
."0�m
Step 3. Keeping the waist and hip levels
aligned, overlap the entire side front on the
....... Tuck
center front piece by
Tape to secure.
� inch at bust level.
�15
II "C
Step 4. Draw new princess stitching lines that
pass over and drop vertically from the bust
point. Make the seamline on the side piece the
Waist I II
II
Waist

en.
-g
level I level "0
same length as the seamline on the front piece
by shortening the side-piece seamline at the II '"ci
c0
."0�a.
underarm as needed.
I 0>C
Overlap.

32 TH READS
You r Total Sewi ng Solution
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READER SERVICE NO. 23


Exp l o ri n g Ch i n ese
These d ressy Asian fab ri cs offe r

first started experimenting with silk­ teristics of the fabric itself, and explore some have since been used, but regardless o f
faced brocades from mainland China appropriate patterns, details, and techniques the content, brocades are inherently sub­
about 10 years ago, and as I've contin­ for using this exotic material that deserves to stantial fabrics because of the sheer number
ued to work with them, I'm more and be more familiar to all sewers. of threads required to produce the intri­
more impressed. This elegant, luminous, cate patterns and motifs. The high thread
and seductively supple fabric has many An a n cient, royal fa bric denSity gives the fabric an almost-padded
wonderful qualities, and few poor ones, Brocade fabrics were first made in the look. Contemporary brocades are neither
and it's in no way limited to Asian-inspired Far East, and they've been an imported lux­ heavy nor bulky, but look deep and solid,
garments, as you can see in the examples ury for Europeans since the 1 3th century. and have structure without being stiff or
shown above. In fact, I feel the sky is the Their signature floating satin threads hard. Since they're pliable, and because
limit; silk-faced brocade can add a fascinat­ allow the weaving of complex patterns, they press beautifully, they can easily be
ing touch to dressy day- and eveningwear, figures, and motifs, and Simultaneously shaped and molded.
casual clothing, and even business attire; produce the beautiful luster of the cloth. Current brocades from China are called
I've listed my favorite garment choices for Originally woven exclusively for royal silk-faced because silk is used for the face of
brocade in "Fitted garments are the best courts, with raised patterns in gold or silver the fabric and rayon for the back, lowering
choice" on p. 38. Let's examine the charac- threads on a silk ground, all fiber types the cost with no sacrifice in suppleness.

34 THREADS
Chinese brocades

offer a glowing,

decorative alternative for

almost any slim silhouette...


and there's a built·in companion
fabric on the "wrong" side.

.......

S i l k- Faced B ro cad es
a lot of eve ryday western sty l e by S arah Veblen

Brocades in other fibers-primarily poly­ there's a much expanded range of patterns: or muted look to them, as shown in the
ester-are also becoming available. I prefer many types of flowers, decorative motifs, swatches above.
'"�ci the silk-faced fabrics for their greater com­ butterflies, etc. Most patterns come in several Polyester brocades are usually 45 inches
oc fort, but I've tried the polyester and poly­ colors, and many more colors are available wide, but the silk-faced brocades from
�oE
0- blend brocades, and I've been happy with than previously, still delightfully seductive, China are only 30 inches wide, so you'll

� the results. with all of Chinese brocade's characteristic


clarity and glow.
need to think through your fabric require­
ments. I often wind up with large scraps
Brocade's colors and motifs h ave Always check the wrong side of any bro­ with these narrower fabrics, but at least
been updated cade you see. If several colors appear in they're big enough so that I've always found
When silk-faced brocades first appeared in the motifs on the face, these will often recur a use for them eventually: for patch pockets
fabric stores, the selection was interesting in beautiful alternating bands of color on another garment, accents in a pieced
but somewhat limited. There were only a on the back, as you can see in the right garment, or as small handbags (see photo
few typical motifs: dragons, cherry blos­ swatch on p. 34. Even if there are no bands, on p. 37). In New York City's garment dis­
soms, chrysanthemums, and medallions. the color or colors that appear in the motif trict, you can sometimes find Chinese bro­
You could count on finding only black, on the face of the fabric will predominate on cades for $9 or $ 10 per yard. A more typical
red, beige, yellow, and greenish-bronze. Now, the back, and they tend to have a silvered price is $20 to $30 per yard.

june/july 2004 35
Brocade motifs are still typically
1I /
Asian in flavor, but more variety

appears with each new season.

Brocade's easy to sew with­ shoe on my gravity-feed iron, which lets me line over the bust) before pressing. Brocade's
but it ravels use high heat without a problem. Other­ smooth, glossy surface shows needle marks,
In a nutshell, brocade is a pleasure to sew wise, stick to a silk setting. so think twice, and stitch once. I don't like
with, but because it frays, be cautious when Actually, brocade doesn't just fray .. .it frays the way it topstitches because of the satin
trimming seam allowances. It takes both like crazy. I serge-finish the edges to keep the weave, so I skip all topstitching.
the needle and thread beautifully. It presses fraying in check, or use a lining that closes I often use a silk dupioni or taffeta for my
and shapes like a dream, but if you acci­ off the inside of the garment. Carefully trim facings in order to reduce bulk, but self­
dentally press a crease in the fabric, it's very seam allowances and clip curves of facings fabric facings can work in many instances.
hard to get the crease line out. I use a Teflon and other shaped seams (like a front princess I prefer to interface facings with something

36 T H R EADS
Co m p l e m e n t b roca d e w i t h d e l i cate d eta i ls

Silk-faced brocades lend themselves to a l l kinds of high-visibility, contrasting­


texture detail treatments, l i ke the large gripper snaps and contrast piping on
the author's jean jacket, shown i n detail at left below, and the bound-edge
closure, shown at right above. The author recommends iridescent silk dupioni as

a piping material; it has one color in the warp and another in the weft, which gives
it the ability to combine or bridge contrasting colors and fabrics. Consider pocket
flaps of silk organza (at left above), which can add a light and semitransparent

and fem i n i ne touch; combination buttons (above middle) where a specific motif
or color of the brocade is used in conjunction with another fabric (which acts as a
bridge fabric); self-fabric covered ball buttons made from a specific color or
motif in the fabric with loops (above rig ht) made out of organza ribbon, rattail,
mouse tail, velvet, or suede, and other types of narrow braid (above).

Try i t o u t !

Threads editors had fun making these bags. The drawstring bag
features a turned-down cuff and is just a tube gathered onto a
circular base. Each of the others has boxed bottom corners; the
little bags are pleated at the top; all have added flaps. Find
schematic diagrams for making them at www.threadsmagazine.com.
pliable that gives a bit of soft structure; of its body, becoming even softer and more
Sofknit from HTC is my favorite choice. pliable, and it needs to be ironed. I always
Although I usually have brocade dry­ dry-clean lined garments, but laundering
cleaned, it does wash successfully; use a would be an option for an unlined top.
mild soap, cool water, and a gentle cycle, or
wash it by hand. There is very little shrink­ Brocade's not j ust for b a l l rooms
age when laundered, but it does lose some This fabric is a natural for eveningwear,
but I've had a lot of success-and fun-using
it in casual, office, and knockabout clothing.
I'll choose a casual style that's normally
made in a nondressy fabric and start imag­
Fitted ga rments a re the best choice ining it in a brocade. My j ean jacket (right
Because of the inherent body of Chinese brocades, they're inset photo on p. 35) is a perfect example.
inappropriate for a loose, flowing garment. Consider them for Despite the glossy, rich fabric, it reads as
garments that need to hold their shape, and sit fairly close to a j ean j acket, with all its characteristic
the body. The author prefers brocade tops to have some bust detailing. The fabric gives the j acket char­
shaping; usually a side dart, French dart, acter, but it's still just a j ean jacket, albeit a
or princess line. Any of the following
special one.
types of garments would work well:
Brocade can shine as an accent garment
in your wardrobe , such as a close-fitting
Coats and jackets (as long as they vest. Worn under a business suit, a slice of
aren't too full)
the brocade will show dramatically under
Capris of all lengths the jacket. A vest serves double-duty in the
wardrobe, because it can be worn under
Cheongsam-styled tops or dresses the suit j acket and as a top with slacks for a
totally different dressy or casual look.
Fitted or semifitted tops
Brocades combine wonderfully with other

Fitted or semifitted vests


fabrics, whether they predominate or play
second fiddle. Velvet or velveteen, wool, cor­
Straight skirts of any length duroy, and even denim would be high on my
list to use as companion fabrics.
Sheath dresses
Naturally, brocade is perfect for closely cut
Asian and Asian-inspired garments such as
Trim pants (with a straight leg or
a cheongsam, cut either as a top or dress.
narrow ankle)
Anything with a mandarin collar is a natur­
al, and there are many ways to cut a man­
darin collar. It can meet at the center front or
be shortened to create a gap; you can square
or round the corners, or add points to make
a wing collar; it can be any height. I some­
times allude to the fabric's heritage with a sin­
O rder brocade
Contact these vendors gle eastern element, using, say, a frog clo­
for swatches and prices sure on a top that is not ASian-looking at all.
The key is to define the direction in which
Anjoorian Silks
www.anjooriansilks.com you want to go, and then choose one or two
design elements that will help you get there,
B &J Fabrics such as the detail options in the photos on
2 1 2-354-8 1 5 0
p. 37. Brocade is such a rich, evocative ma­
Oriental Silk Co.
www.orientalsilk.com
terial-let yourself get swept away by it. •
Royal Fabrics
Sarah Veblen writes in Sp arks, Md. You can
2 1 2-398-0 2 1 5 contact her at www.sarahveblen.com.

38 THREADS
Reasons to
Remove Your
Pattern Seam
Al owances
Sewi n g is s i m p l e r w h e n you r
patterns e n d at t h e seam l i nes

b y Karen Howland

first decided to remove all the seam allowances


from my patterns when I was using a lot of Bur­
da patterns, in the days when that brand came
without allowances. Since some of my proj ects
had allowances and some didn't, I kept adding
them when not needed and assuming they were
there when they weren't. Removing every seam al­
lowance I encountered greatly reduced my errors.
But it wasn't until I began to
make my own patterns, and
When you cut fabric, choose the best seam allowance make fitting slopers for each of
In all professional sewing, seam allowances On some fabrics the seam allowances
my dressmaking clients, that I
are adjusted as needed to fit the fabric being
cut, the planned construction techniques,
must be wider in order to lie flat when pressed
open, and some seam-finish techniques require
really fell in love with the effi­
ciency and simplicity offered by
and the need for any future alterations. wider allowances. To adjust your seam
allowance to match the needs of the fabric and
patterns without allowances. On
The industry standard of 'A-inch seam the seam, make a test seam, finishing and the following pages, using a se­
allowances is typical for many reasons: The pressing it as you intend for the garment. ries of everyday sewing situa­
edge of the presser foot can often be used tions, I'll demonstrate how a
to guide the stitching; curves don't need as Other commonly used industrial seam pattern free of seam allowances
much clipping or trimming to turn easily and, allowance widths include: greatly simplifies the task at
when you want to grade the seams (reduce
bulk by trimming layered seam allowances
to graduated widths), trimming a bit from
11'h% 'h
to inch for seams that will be serged
inch for seams with a lapped zipper
inches for fitting seams, to allow for
hand-from pattern redesign
and fitting to cutting out and
construction. I think you'll un­
one allowance is all that's needed. adjustments during construction
derstand, as I did after working

june/july 2004 39
WITH NO S EA ALLOWANCES . .

Des i g n ch a n ges a n d pattern a lterations a re fast a n d easy to see


The following examples
demonstrate the efficiency of
having no seam allowances in
the way when restyling a pattern
or comparing it to a sloper or
another pattern. Measuring
pattern dimensions is also
simplified when all seaml ines
are clearly established as the

[j/:
pattern edge.

To change from a darted design to one To eliminate or shift a seam,

I
II
with princess seams, draw the new abut adjacent pieces and tape
seamline through the approximate bust them together (shown here to
point and add construction notches by delete a shoulder seam). If you
drawing hatch marks across the drawn line. want to shift the seam to a new
Cut the pattern on the line and close the side dart, location, draw in your preferred seamline, add a
trimming the dart ends to smooth the side seam. hatch-mark notch (as shown to add a front yoke
Transfer the front grainline to the new side panel. effect), and cut on your new line. A good use of
this method is for converting a separate facing
to a turn-back one.
To merge pattern pieces that don't have a
straight mutual seamline, fill in any gaps
between the pieces with additional paper.

set the copies aside, then draw a facing/lining seamline on the originals (or vice versa), make
hatch-mark notches, then cut on the new line. If your new line crosses a dart, fold and tape the
dart legs closed before cutting the pattern; leave the facing pattern taped to cut the fabric.

To compare one pattern to another


or to a sloper, align the patterns at the

8 centers and at the waistlines. Pivot the


sloper's side seam so it's parallel to the
pattern's, to compare the amount of dart
control. Here you can see that the pattern
is too short from neck to waist, too broad
across the back and, depending on the effect
6
.
desired, might need a wider armscye dart.

><;��;��
II,1I,
8G77

II',I
!.
patterns, see the author's article

from Threads 79.


No.
this way, why seam allowances are not in­ they show you their seamlines rather than cut fabric, choose the best seam allowance,"
cluded on most of the patterns used by their cutting lines, either because the cutting on p. 39, you'll find a list of appropriate
garment-industry professional s, in high­ lines obscure the pattern's real shape, get in seam allowances to add when cutting a va­
volume factories all the way down to tiny the way of needed changes or the most use­ riety of seam types. Having the freedom to
dressmaking or tailoring shops. ful markings, or because they might vary choose the seam allowance width you want
each time you use the pattern. Of course, in at the cutting out stage is just one of the
The stitch i ng l i ne is more useful almost every case, your fabrics must even­ many compelling reasons to remove preex­
than the cutting line tually be cut out with seam allowances if isting seam allowances from your patterns in

% inch is almost never the best


In every case, the examples I've included
here demonstrate the fact that it's easier to
you plan to join them to other fabrics with
a seam, but
the first place. Give it a try. •
use, adapt, and interpret your patterns when allowance width for the job. In "When you Karen Howland writes and sews in Chillicothe, Ill.

WIT NO S EAM 0" CEC

Cutting out the pattern is faster and easier


to control
Every aspect of cutting out and
marking patterns is simplified
and improved when seam
allowances are gone. Leave
room for your desired seam
allowances when arranging the
pieces on the fabric. Since all
seamlines can be so easily
and accurately marked during
layout for clear alignment
during sewing, you might
To mark stitching lines, simply trace
decide it's not critical to cut
around the pattern with chalk, with fabric
precise seam allowances,
right sides together. Cutting lines can be
and let your cutting be
marked at the same time if desired or
guided by eye i nstead.
needed. Mark the other side after you cut
touching the paper pattern. You can out the piece by removing the pattern, flipping
reuse a favorite pattern without fear the fabric stack, repositioning the pattern, and
that its perimeter has been cut smaller tracing it again; you'll find this faster than using
or subtly reshaped by previous use. carbon and a tracing wheel.

S�
\
..... ..../.. "I To match
plaids, mark
prominent
horizontal and
vertical plaid
lines on one
pattern's seamline

"0]
E and transfer the markings
o when cutting out lace following its motifs, instead of
to the same point on an
with a regular seam allowance. Here the leaf and
'"'"@ flower inside the dart will be carefully cut around and
adjacent piece (side seams
ci are shown here) to guide
oc then overlapped so that the thread tracing in the dart

�.9
joining them accurately.
legs is aligned; then the dart will be sewn by hand.

june/july 2004 41
S U M M E R FASH I O N R EPO RT:

The Best Styles


to Sew Dresses hold court
a l o n g with p retty c o l o rs ,
g i rl is h fabrics, a n d
w h i m s i cal e m b e l l ish m e nts
by A n n a Mazur

his spring! summer is the season to If you love to make and wear dresses, as I
glory in femininity-and the sewing do, you're in luck. Designers were inspired by
couldn't be more enjoyable. Choose screen stars and style icons of the past, and all
all-out frills or opt for sweet and ro­ sorts of dresses that accentuate the waist and
mantic, rich and sophisticated, even bustline, as well as corset details, are the re­
sporty, chic styles. And, by all means, sult. Also watch for the tidal wave of pretty
have fun with fabrics, colors, and embellish­ and glamorous bikinis and maillots-and not
ments. You'll note that some trends from sea­ just at the beach: swimsuits are made to be
sons past-trenches, polka dots, pastel tweeds, worn under striped or chambray button­
and bold florals, in particular-have found down shirts for weekend wear. Layered tanks,
their place among the pretty confections. cardigans, and oversized boyfriend sweaters
(See "Trends" on p. 43 for more details.) are noteworthy in the "Tops" category.
Mastering proportions is more impor­ Sweet sorbets, warm pales, and rainbow
tant than ever. Simple boxy, swinging hues fill out the color palette, and yellow is
trapeze, and dramatic fitted garments the front-runner this season. Tone-on-tone
were spotted on the runways, but combos look fresh, as do unexpected pair­
the silhouette of choice is a fitted, ings, such as lemon and bright blue. In terms
shrunken j acket or top, a defined of fabrics, knits and sheers are perfect for
waist, and a fuller, relaxed bot­ lightweight, layered dressing; florals, stripes,
tom. Skirts are, in a word, volu­ and fanciful prints increase the fun factor;
minous: floaty, flounced, tiered, and satins and silks dress it all up.
layered, ruffled, pleated, gored, Last, but certainly not least, this season's
with handkerchief hems-you name it-as fashions feature a sewer's grab bag of em­
long as the effect has feminine flare. Pants are bellishment options. Try your hand at mini
Vog u e straight and tailored, yet soft and slightly ruffles, piping, lacing, beading, fTinging, ruch­
2449
slouched-and the legs are cuffed, rolled up, ing, fabric flowers, and creative seaming, to
Kwik Sew or cropped for added style. name a few. It's definitely good to be a girl.
3 1 95

Anna Mazur would like to thank the testers: Leslie Ashaaf� Tijeras, N.M.; janice Averill, West Haven, Conn.;
janith Bergeron, Barrington, N.H.; Marilou Bonnetti, Stow, Mass.; Betty Brown, Culver City, Calif.;
Gretchen Clements, Lowell, Mass.;jenny Freedman, Aptos, Calif.; Elisabeth Gillem, Portland, Ore.; Linda
Henry, Fair Oaks, Calif.; Marion Higa, Honolulu, Hawaii; Pam Howard, Newnan, Ga.; Barbara Kelly, Ann
Nutting, Allison Page, San Francisco; Anne Kendall, Seekonk, Mass.; Eve Kovacs, Woodridge,
Kwiatkowski, Danbury, Conn.; Gayle Moline, Manson, Ia.; johanna Mramor, Surrey, BC, Canada; Pat­
rH.; Michele

ty Robison, Bellingham, Wash.; Mary Ann Shannon, Columbiaville, Mich.; Gail Yellen, Glastonbury, Conn.

42 THREADS
TR E N D S
Colors
• Pale blush, peach, rose
• Canary yellow, lemon,
butter, gold; grass green,
celadon, sage
• Warm and cool pinks; lilac,
lavender; raspberry, fuchsia
• Blues: Mediterranean, royal,
and powder; aquamarine
• Rainbow brights

Fabrics
• Wispy chiffon, organza, voile
• Textured tweed and boucle
• Florals: mini to bold tropical
• Conversation prints; stripes;
polka dots; ombre; madras
• Jersey; sweater knits; crochet
• Satin, silk; lace; metallics

Key looks
• Feminine dresses: vintage,
layered, body-skimming
• Ladylike, fitted suits
• Trench coats, in unusual
fabrics, with innovative details
• Preppy, boyfriend sweaters;
cardigans
• Swimwear (maillots and
bikinis) paired with street wear
• Skirts: full, 50s-style; unusual
seaming; shredded hems
• Trousers; slouched and
cropped pants; skinny pants
• Polo and button-down shirts;
empire-waist tops
• Sport-inspired track suits

Details
• Fabric flowers; monograms
• Pleats, pintucks, smocking
• Feather and lace trim; piping
• Strategic and unusual seaming
• Lingerie details; ruffles;
layering
• Beaded embroidery; sequins
• Bags: every shape imaginable
• Belts: shaped, wide,
and skinny
• Feminine, embellished
sandals; pointed and
round-toe pumps
• Gold accents; big, bright
baubles; long, layered
strands of pearls

june/july 2004 43
ENSEMBLES

Vogue 2778 offers this


season's shaped, uneven hems.
The loose-fitting boat-neck top
(22 in. long/size 1 0) and bias­
Marly 9087 and 9088 (www
cut tunic with peplum (4 1 % in .
. marfy.it) are not an ensemble
long) feature baby hems, which
package, but this fitted sailor
can be tricky in the tunic's
blouse/jacket (22% in. long/
deep V-neckline; a facing may
size 1 4) and long, straight,
be a better option. Follow the
slightly flared pant (20'1.; in. at
fabric recommendations, as
hem) are meant to be worn
even a poly sheer is too puffy
together. The blouse collar
for the peplum. Although our
attractively frames the face,
tester preferred to angle the
and the darts allow for easy
skirt (34 in. long and 90 in. at
fit adjustments; the sleeves
hem) gores to align with the
( 1 1 in. at hem) are slim in the
peplum, each gore forms a
bicep area. Construction is
pleasing scallop. To make
straightforward, but there are
hemming easier, she suggests
no instructions or seam allow­
sewing the vertical seams only
ances. (Sized 1 2- 1 6, for busts
to the finished hemline. (Sized
34-39 in. and hips 36-40 in.)
Misses/Misses Petite 8-24,

"�"
for busts 3 1 '1,-46 in. and hips
33'1,-48 in.)

o vog
patterns.com) is a formal
e

ensemble of lightweight,
flowing garments, perfect for
summer weddings. Our tester
enthused that this is "a great
classy-looking design that
drapes well, and is fun and
easy to sew" (though the
envelope categorizes it as
Simplicity 5353 (www.simpli difficult). She noted that the
city.com) is an easy-to-sew, V-neck of the dress is fairly McCall's 4391 (www.mccall
athletic-inspired collection that deep; she suggests raising it .com) is a simple "ladies who
includes a jacket ( 1 8 % in. for more coverage. The sheer lunch" suit (22 in. long/size 1 0).
long/size 7/8), full- or ankle­ coat has well-placed darts and The lined jacket's fit is good
length sweatpants (34 in. at can be hemmed to below the and it is easy to make. Our
hem), skirt ( 1 3% in. long and knee (42 in. at hem/size 1 2) tester loved the fringe option
40 in. at hem), and T-shirt or left floor-length; the obi and two-piece bell sleeve. The
( 1 7 % in. long). This pattern is offers embellishment straight, slightly pegged skirt
great for a beginner as well as possibilities. The pattern is a (22 in. long and 37:6 in. at hem)
for an advanced sewer who g reat canvas for art-to-wear, and straight pant (2 1 in. at
wants to use an unusual fabric, but in a more casual fabric hem) have a flat front and a
such as silk. Instructions are and minus the obi, it's a classy contoured waistband that she
clear and concise. (Sized suit/coat. (Sized Misses/ found comfortable and flat­
Junior/Misses 7/8 - 1 5/1 6 and Misses Petite 8-24, for tering. (Sized Misses/Misses
8 - 1 8, for busts 30'1,-40 in. busts 3 1 '1,-4 6 in.) Petite 6-20, for busts 30'1,-
and hips 33'1,-42 in.) 42 in. and hips 32'1,-44 in.)
PANTS/SKI RTS Islander Sewing
Systems, Classic
Sport S h i rt 201

Stretch &Sew, French


Trim Swimsuit 1 31 1

The Cutting Line


Designs, One Seam
Pants 3 1 37 1
Neue Mode J231 49 (www
Silhouette Patterns by
.sullivans.net) is a fun, quick-to­
Peggy Sagers, Susie's
sew pleated skirt. Short ( 1 5 in.
Skirt 2550 (www.silhouette
long/size 1 4) is the latest style,
patterns.com) features
but you can simply lengthen it
curvaceous feminine lines and
to conceal more leg. The
can be made with or without Design & Sew Patterns, My shaping is achieved in the side
1 6 bias-cut mini godets. This Favorite Pants 341 (www and yoke seams, which leaves
skirt (2 1 � in. long and 50 in. .designandsew .com) has the the hemline on the crosswise
at hem/size 2) is dart-free, slouchy, relaxed fit spotted on grain (it's ideal for plaids). For a
but the five panels allow for the runways. The full-length Chanel look-alike, fray the hem
easy adjustments. Our tester pant is a good basic pattern and along each pleat (after
found sewing the godets with many options: inter­ topstitching near the fold).
easy because clipping wasn't changeable pockets, a variety Seam and hem allowances
necessary with the bias of hems, three different waist are not included. (Sized 8- 1 8,
pieces, although she would treatments, and two leg widths for hips 34%-42'h in.)
have preferred wider seam ( 1 7 or 20 in. at hem). Our
allowances C-i.-in. seam tester found the crotch depth
allowances are included). a little deep, but said the look
Sagers' patterns are uniquely was fine for this type of pant.
sized and include clear Easy-to-follow instructions.
instructions. (Sized 1 -8 W, for (Sized XS-XXL, for hips
finished hip measurements 32-50 in.)
of 40-55 in.)

...
..
The Cutting Line Designs,
One Seam Pants 3 1 371
(www.fabriccollections.com)
Burda 841 1 (www.burda
is the epitome of comfort. The
mode.com) is stylish without
Kwik Sew 3 1 95 (www.kwik loose, straight (20% in. at hem/
being overly trendy, and
sew.com) offers pull-on skirts size XS) or tapered ( 1 5% in. at
includes wonderful fitting
with slimming style. One hem) pant, sans side seam, is a
details. Back darts give the
version (26 or 34 in. long and no-brainer in a soft, casual
pant a smooth fit; our tester
66% in. at hem/size L) has fabric, but for a dressy look, try
loved the gently curved waist­
funky diagonal and vertical silk. Our tester noted that the
band that sits slightly lower on
seams and side-seam front crotch is % in. higher than
the waistline-very slimming.
godets-great for striped the back, and the front and
One view has a deep cuff; the

/
fabric. Follow the instructions back inseams are at different
other, a seam down the CF of
carefully to match the puzzle­ angles, but found the pant to
the pant leg (you can add a
like pieces. The 1 6-gore hang perfectly. With six pages of
zipper if you like); both have a
version (26 or 36 in. long and instruction, recommendations
fairly wide leg (23% at hem/
1 1 5 in. at hem) offers many for personalizing the fit, and
size 1 0). If you're petite, the
places to fine-tune the fit, and clearly marked hip, crotch, and
tester recommends reducing
you can omit or add gores. The knee lines, our tester found
the leg width and cuff depth.
included Yo-in. seam allowance this pattern a breeze to fit and
Easy-to-follow instructions.
simplifies the sewing. (Sized sew. (Sized XS-XL, for hips
(Sized 1 0-20, for hips
XS-XL, for hips 32'1.-47 in.) 37-50 in.)
34'1,-44 in.)
TOPS!JACKETS
Stretch & Sew, French Trim
Swimsuit 1 3 1 1 (www.stretch
-and-sew.com) has flattering
princess seams, and can be
fully or partially lined. Our
The Sewing Workshop
tester self-lined her suit,
Collection, Era Jacket (www
eliminated the leg binding, and
.sewingworkshop.com) wowed piped the princess seams for
us. This stylish, loose-fitting, emphasis. Pattern directions
cropped jacket (23% in. long are thorough and provide tips
Butterick 41 9 1 (www.butter
on adjusting the torso for a
and 38� in. at hem/size M) ick.com) is a fitted, empire­
custom fit. (Sized 30-46, for
has a high collar that looks 'Al
waist blouse ( 2 1 in. long/
busts 30-46 in.)
wonderful turned down; the size 1 0) that's great worn
back collar shaping is achieved alone or under a jacket. The
with a horizontal fish eye dart. bodice is lined; the bottom
All edges feature deep, panel is cut on the bias for a
turned-back mitered hems; slimming fit. Our tester
directions for creating hem recommends cutting the
pressing templates are interfacing strip for the back
included. (Sized XS-XXL, buttons on the bias and
for busts 3 1 -46 in.) adding a small square cut on
g rain to support the button­
--� - - .. ---_.' ....-- .-
holes. The pattern markings
made construction easier:
bias g rainlines for the bottom
panels meet at gO-degree
angles along the CB; sleeve
ease is appropriately
distributed to allow more at
the cap; and the grainline
Silhouette Patterns by in the wrap bodice is parallel
Peggy Sagers, Joan's Jacket to the neckline opening-no
1 400 is a nicely proportioned need to stabilize. (Sized
notched collar, single-breasted Misses/Misses Petite 6-22,
jacket (27 in. long/size 1 ) for busts 30'/,-44 in.)
with wonderful seaming. The
seamlines really pop on
smooth surface, single-color
fabric. The pattern has unique Vogue 2449 is the season's
sizing and includes a chart to top trend-a trench coat (38�-
help pick a length based on 54� in. long/size 1 0) with
your height. Our tester fitted lines and classic details,
marveled at the clear and such as epaulettes, rain shield,
concise instruction sheets Islander Sewing Systems, back vent, belt, welt pockets,
and found the pattern a real Classic Sport Shirt 201 three-piece sleeves, and sleeve
pleasure to work with. For (www.islandersewing.com) is a tabs; there's a single-breasted,
intermediate and advanced basic camp-style (32 in. long/ hidden-button version too.
sewers, and art-to-wear size 1 2), oversized shirt (with This is a good pattern for an
enthusiasts. (Sized 1 -8V11, for short or long sleeves, and intermediate sewer, as some of
finished bust measurements patch or in-seam pockets) the details could prove difficult
of 36-54 in.) that our tester plans to make for a beginner. Our tester
many more times. Pattern encourages each sewer to add
directions outline industry a unique touch, whether with
serging techniques; for more topstitching, contrasting
in-depth information, the details, or unusual bound
designer recommends her edges. (Sized 6-22, for
supplementary videos. (Sized busts 30'/,-44 in.)
4-22, for busts 3 1 '/,-45 in.)
DRESSES

Petite Plus Patterns 303


(www.petitepluspatterns.com)
flatters a petite, full-figured
Vogue 2784
woman with narrow shoulders,
a full bust, short waist length,
and rounded tummy. The
Vogue 2784 is a bias-cut, knee-length, close-fitting dress
pullover dress (46 in. long and (47 in. at hem/size 1 6) has
1 66 in. at hem/size 8) and partial waist seams and
slip combo with a vintage feel. princess panels, which offer
The tester tells us the poufy strong vertical lines and ample
sleeve can be easily replaced opportunities for fitting.
with a fitted sleeve-and the Specially designed for stretch­
dress also looks g reat woven fabrics (a spandex
sleeveless. Godets add weight blend with 20- to 25-
to the hem, so she cut the percent stretch).
seam allowances at 1 'h in. as (Sized 14-24, for
a counterbalance. Instructions busts 40-50 in.)
don't cover sewing with bias
in depth, so you might want to Marty 9 1 50 is an updated
supplement with a book on version of the laced-up corset
this topic. (Sized Misses style; choose a feminine
6-22, for busts 30'/:,-44 in.) cocktail length (85'h in. at
hem/size 1 4) or lengthen as
desired. The ruched bodice
panels are cut on the bias to
shape the body, and the back
has a small panel on each
side of the center V for a
great fit. The dress calls for a
lining but no pattern is given;
our tester recommends
cutting a front lining without
ruching to eliminate bulk.
Although this was an easy
and fun dress for her to make,
it required problem-solving Vogue 7873 is made for
skills due to the lack of seam summer living. The casual
allowances and instructions­ dress (46 in. at hem/size 1 0)
truly a sewing adventure for is offered knee- or calf-length,
a more experienced sewer. has sleeve and pocket options,
Neue Mode 5231 24 flatters
the body's curves. The lined,
(Sized 1 2- 1 6, for busts and can be worn with a self
34-39 in.) belt. The dropped-waist style is
just-below-the-knee (with
very flattering and makes a
optional ruffle) or ankle-length
short-waisted individual look
dress (8 1 in. or 1 24 in. at
hem/size 1 0) has a high, but taller and slimmer. The pattern
comfortable armhole. Our is well-marked and the tester
loved the fit in the shoulder
tester recommends stabilizing
and sleeve area. She noted
the front neckline to avoid
that the bodice length was just
stretching. Seam and hem
right on her petite (5-ft.) body.
allowances are not included.
(Sized Misses/Misses Petite
(Sized 8- 1 8, for busts
8-24, for busts 3 1 '/:,-46 in.)
3 1 '/:,-39'/:, in.)

june/july 2004 47
Add Style with
Graphic
Fabric
Insertions
Th is decorative cout u re
p i e c i n g tech n i q u e
keeps you r fabric
l i g htwe i g ht a n d fl u id

by Pamela Ptak

Dramatic insertions replace

darts and, in some cases,

vertical seams in this all-bias,


4-ply silk dress (author's design).

48 TH READS
---------------- 1
ILMASTER CLASS i
______________ _

hen I was study­ specific area on one fabric with


I nsertions ca n su bstitute f,o r d a rt
ing couture sew­ a second fabric that is cut on the
ing at Maison same grain, so that the flow of a n d sea m s h a p i n g
Sapho in New the garment remains undis­ A couture insertion doesn't have to be

CF
Bust
York City (see turbed by the seemingly inci­ the exact shape of the flat background apex
"Couturiers are dental seams used to attach the fabric it replaces. In fact, you can opt

taught, not born" on p. 50), I second, insertion fabric. I rec­ to incorporate dart or seam shaping
into the insertion's seams.
learned a wonderful technique ognized this as the perfect way to
For instance, an insertion that
for adding decorative motifs to a add visual excitement to simple
covers the center front of
garment while maintaining the garment styles, without adding
a bodice can be used to replace
draping characteristics of the any layers or bulk. This tech­ vertical darts, as long as the outside
original fashion fabric. This
method essentially replaces a
nique requires attention to fabric
layout, marking, and cutting,
line of the insertion comes within
approximately � inch of the apex of the bust , ,,:, , �
_ _ Pivot
inward.
You'll need moderate pattern making experience
to make these changes, since you'll be pivoting
and then deleting darts. Here's an example.
P re p a r e f a b r i c a n d p a tt e r n s
�I
Trapezoidal insertion on dress front
f o r p e rf e c t i n s e rt i o n p l a c e m e n t
p
Trace the insertion pattern onto the dress front patt rn, aligning the

ft
Begin with a garment pattern that features large, open areas. Draw insertion upper edge with the bust apex. Pivot the I wer points of the

t
your insertion shape on pattern paper, and add match points around vertical darts toward the center front, so that the da fold lines lie

l
exactly on top of the sides of the trapezoid. The ou er dart legs
its edge if needed (smaller insertions may not need match points).
represent the seamline for the garment piece; the i mer legs

�m
In these demonstration photos, the author uses a partial pattern for
represent the seamline for the insertion piece. You ay gently soften
easy visibility; when working with an actual garment, always use a these lines to create a smoother transition; once s wn and on the
full pattern and a single-layer layout. body, the insertion seams will give the illusion of being straight.

Transfer motifs to the Refine the pattern lines. Trace patterns and motifs onto the fabrics.

g a rment pattern.
Remove the i nsertion pattern, and Lay out the background fabric, right side up, over a large sheet
Position the insertion pattern refine the design l ines by tracing of white dressmaker's carbon (available from www.greenberg­
(here with a thick outline) over them, using a French curve h am mer.com). Secure the pattern to the fabric with pins or weights,
over the garment pattern, as a g uide. and trace the motif seamlines, match points, and cutting l ines with
hold or pin it in place, and the tracing wheel. Repeat with the insertion fabric, aligning the
trace its seamline and match pattern and fabric grainlines precisely as for the background.

.c:::����g. �1�
points with a tracing wheel
u -"0-
and dressmaker's carbon, Thread-trace all of the markings .

��_ it�
marking the grainline if Remove the paper patterns and turn the fabric wrong
necessary for reference. side up. Cut out the garment pieces, but don't cut the

�,:;�8�O <J)ci.
� '"
insertion shapes out of the background pieces. Cut out
the insertion pieces, leaving a wide margin outside the
� c
'"cDci�00 seam allowances to prevent distortion. With fine silk
C 0- thread, thread-trace the motif stitching lines and m atch
o
if]£0 =0E points on both the garment panel and the insertions.
i-----------------,
��STE� �L��SJ
and some basic hand-sewing, out as an overlay applied to the mize bulk and retain the fabrics'
but it's otherwise almost suspi­ right side of the background flexibility) complete the process,
ciously sensible. If you under­ and stitched temporarily in and yield a supple insertion
stand applique, then you'll have place by hand. Once the inser­ with smooth, flat seams.
no trouble understanding cou­ tion is anchored, you cut away
ture insertions. the base fabric from behind it, Match fabric characteristics
and sew the seam that j oins for perfect results
Hand- and machi ne­ the insertion to the garment A couture insertion can be cre­
sewing work together by machine. Careful clipping, ated in straight grain or in bias
Although a couture insertion pressing, and finishing of the clothes and can take on any
ends up replacing a portion of seam allowances (use a hand­ shape you desire. It can be com­
the background fabric, it starts worked overcast stitch to mini- pletely surrounded by another

H a n d - t h e n m a ch i n e - sew fo r s m ooth i n s e rt i o n sea m s


Sewi n g the i nsertion into the garment section i s a m ultistep process.

Pin the i nsertions

to the fabric.

Pin the insertion onto


the right side of the ,,
garment section, \(
turning under the
seam allowances as
you go.
/,
Hand -stitch the Slash and trim the garment fabric.

i nsertion i n place.
From the wrong side, slash the garment fabric
By hand, slip-baste the insertion onto the garment, using behind the insertion. Tri m away the fabric to
very small stitches and a second color of silk thread. Take leave a seam allowance of % to 1 inch, and
care not to shift the fabric as you sew. The stitches should carefully snip i nto any corners to release the
be all but invisible when the insertion is fully attached in folded insertion seam allowances.
this step. Press the insertion flat.
Machi ne-sew the

i nsertion into
Coutu riers a re taug ht, not born
the garment.
The author (front row, in teal) learned the couture insertion
technique at Maison Sapho School of Dressmaking and With the insertion
Design in New York City. Miss Alice (front row, second from against the feed dogs,
the right), the owner of and instructor at the school, taught
stitch the insertion to
a full array of specialized draping and couture hand­
the garment, sewing
sewing techniques, and insisted that having these in
sample books would almost guarantee her students jobs exactly on the thread-tracing lines. At corners, unfold the
in designer workrooms. Techniques like couture insertions turned-under seam allowances and pivot at the exact
aren't usually taught at fashion design schools because corner. On any long bias seams, stretch the fabric slightly
the added hand-sewing they require makes them
to match the expected easing of the fabric after the bias
impractical for the mass production of industry sewing.
hangs out. Pull the thread ends to one side and tie them
However, this insertion technique continues to be used in
haute couture. off; remove all silk th read tracing and hand stitching.

50 TH READS
fabric, like an island, or open ing the patterns onto the fabric, tion, you must be sure that the aligned to that of the back­

3,4 to
to the edge of the pattern piece or simply leave a margin (on in­ characteristics of the insertion ground fabric.
on one or more sides, like a sertions I prefer a width of fabric and background fabric If you're interested in trying
peninsula. The most difficult
version of the insertion is a com­
1 inch) around each insertion
section. Avoid placing insertions
match, even if they are not the
exact same type of fabric. In par­
your hand at couture sewing,
this is a wonderful technique to
plex shape with corners and
curves set into a bias garment.
much closer together than
or so; the background fabric­
1 inch ticular, they must have similar
easing behaviors, or the seams
experiment with. It offers end­
less design options, and will
As you plan your design, take especially if it's cut on the bias­ can pucker, either immediately exercise your hand- and ma­
note of any seam allowances
you'll need to add, on both the
can lose stability if the insertions
are spaced too tightly.
or eventually. Further, it's es­
sential that, when you arrange
chine-sewing skills. •
background and insertion fab­ When selecting fabric for a the pieces, the straight grain Pamela Ptak owns a custom design
rics. Either mark them when trac- garment with a couture inser- of the insertion be preCisely atelier near Philadelphia.

eli res s for a b e a utifu l f i n i s h


These final touches yield a s mooth, flat insertion.

- � (.-.'
�;;-'$:�'..c\
- -. ..� .- . �.
., '

Press and trim the seam al lowances. Hand-finish the seam al lowances.

On the wrong side of the garment, press the seam allowances open. Finish all raw edges with tiny hand
If the motif i ncludes points or corners, clip-notch into the inner seam overcasting. Where the seam allowances
allowance about % inch from the point; press the seam allowances as have been pressed together at corners,
shown. This will ensure that the points and overcast them together as well. Then press
corners lie flat. Trim the seam allowances to the insertion from the garment's right side,
% to % inch, and clip any curves. using a press cloth.

Try i t o u t !

A few artf u l ly placed i nsertions tu rn a


basic l i n e n ca miso l e i nto a couture
top-without d isrupting the flow
of the l i g htweight fabric.

june/july 2004 51
Variati o ns o n a C lassic
h i rt Dress
A lways appro priate, yet sometimes d u l l , t h i s s u m m e rt i m e staple
offers m o re than the expected safari and beach looks

by the Threads editors ORf.�, nvoo: . ...... ........


Iml! lmll l1!
" OI1119iH2.'1
II 322* 2 ABC: Semi-fitted, sernf-ajuSlt, sttmI-"IuSlado.
II
\ ��----��--���
II
erennially as fresh and fashion show, former art director II
appealing as daylilies and Karen Meyer has a passion for retro II
hydrangeas, the shirt dress fashion, and associate art director
II
is always in style. But it's Linda Boston has a closet full of II
such a classic it warrants a artfully detailed outfits.
II
bit of jazzing up to avoid
II
cliche status. Threads editors loved Imagination spa rks
II
this Burda interpretation because many ideas
II
II
... .a::.,. f �
the princess seams give a gentle Each deSigner gave the editors
fit-and-flare silhouette and provide
a good starting place for some
a pile of sketches shOwing stylish
twists on this pattern. We selected
II
II NTHEEW....Q: ...SCMSUI.__
�uuru ...
... _ .. _ .-n.
I
design innovation too. one design from each, and then
shopped locally, in New York City,
Three deSigners, three styles and online to find the perfect fabrics.
Ideas for B u rd a 3222
Style details Fabrics
We turned to our graphic design Once again we turned to Profes­
team and one regular author for sional Association of Custom Cloth-
• Roll up the sleeves • Charmeuse for party chic
• Lower the waistline a n d • Sheer prints for retro
ideas for this dress iers (PACC) mem-
blouse with a belt sophi stication
because each has FABRICATIONS: ber Norma Bucko
• O m it the collar • Ethnic prints for fun
an appropriately for expert sewing • Change the neckline shape • Silk noil for soft tailori n g
distinctive sense of Change the fabric, and professional • Add trim to the princess • Rayon broadcloth or
style. Contributing tips to gUide anyone seam s crepe for cool comfort
change or add trim,
editor Mary Ray is who wishes to em- • Use frog closures • Stripes for a crisp effect
loved for the un- lengthen, shorten, ulate our ideas. Of • Cinch the back waistli n e
derstated sophisti- course, we encour- with a drawstring

cation she often fold the edges, but age you to develop • Reshape or reposition
the pockets
brings to our pages don't change any your own restyling
• M a ke it sleeveless
and to the Bernina preferences.
• Shorten to jacket length
fitting seams.

52 TH READS
Mary Ray sees
:'�!�A L E L E GA N CE
Aqua s ilk d
amas k, ver
y Ii gh twe .
b uttons . lg ht. Co v
Fus ible kn ered
I·t In
. te rfacin
Style ch g.
anges : O
mit th e c
Om it the ol/a r; cut
slee ves, off th e la
raise the pel.
arm h o/es
Insert ruf
fle s in th e
front Pri.n
cess sea
1 in ch.
m s.

Se/Habric
ruffle
an d cove re
d
button s ad
d
a d res sy
to u ch

Sle e vel
es s
cO lIarl '
es s
lin es s e
t
o ff th e
ru ffle
trim

Sewi ng t i ps
• Create a V-neck along the
lapel roll line, leaving %-inch
seam allowance .
• Raise the armhole by 1 inch. Cut
bias binding 1 % inches wide;
press it in half lengthwise. Sew
the binding to the armhole using
%-inch seam allowance; hand­
sew the folded edge to the dress.
• Serge the pieces individually to
preclude raveling .
• Utilize the reverse of the damask
fabric for the ruffle and buttons .
• Ruffle is 1 -inch wide finished; cut
it 3'1. inches wide on the straight
grain, twice the length of each
princess seam. Fold it in half
lengthwise and press, then sew
one end right sides together and
turn right side out for the bottom
edge. Gather the ruffle; d istribute
the fullness evenly along the
princess seam between the hemline
and the s h oulder.
• Press princess seam allowance
toward the center front; do not press
the ruffle o r it will be flattened.

-Norma B ucko, PACC member

june/july 2004 53
r1_ ONE PATTERNITHREE LOOKS -II
FABRICATIONS
---- - - --- - -----

Sewi n g t i ps
• Cut the sleeves with a
6-inch hem allowance.

Kare n M eye r goes for a


Press under 'h inch, stitch
close to the fold. Turn under
3'h inches for the hem, stitch
on the previous stitching line. S AS SY R ET R O
Then fold up 2 inches for the
cuff and press. Tack at the
E F F E CT
underarm and the middle of Fabrication
e
with a bri ght littl
the sleeve. White g eorgette
t, interfa ced
• Triple-stitch the seam s for tos sed flora l prin
she ll org a n z a, fasten e d
d i screet stre n gth: first o n with e g g
button s. Blu e
t h e seam line, then l1. inch with s m all b l a ck
the slip .
away, then zigzag less than cha r m eus e for
Cuff the sleeves
l1. i nch from the second Style changes:
u p. Belt a n d
line of stitching. Trim the by rollin g the m
t. Ad d a Purcha sed
allowance close to the zigzag. b l o u se t h e wais
accent the belt cre ates
• Eliminate the back neck col orfu l slip to blo use d
it sho rter
facing; turn the back neck sheer fabr ic; cut bod ice
d dresS.
seam a llowance into the collar. tha n the b l o use
• Press u n d e r the h e m a llowance
o n the h e m l i ne. Then turn
u nder the cut edge
and press; stitch the hem
Yo inch

by machine.

-N. B.
Blu e slip
brin gs out
colo r of
print

54 TH R E A D S
Linda Boston uses Sewi ng t i ps
color and pattern for • Be sure to choose

DRAMATIC fabrics of compatible


weight and hand .
FLAIR • Cut the fabric for the
tabs 1 -inch wide on the
Fabrication
straight grain; press in
Red silk noil; Japanese
half lengthwise; then
yukata print (www.kasuridye
fold each raw edge to
works.com); wooden toggle
the center and press.
buttons; fusible interfacing;
Topstitch the open
snaps at the center front.
edge closed.
Style changes: Cut the left
• Mark the button
front panel from a vibrant
placement along
print. Add asymmetrical tab
the princess seam.
and button closures.
Overlap the d ress
fronts, aligning on
the center front line;
the length to cut
each tab is twice the
distance from the front
Self-fabric seamline to the princess
tabs provide a
visual bridge
seamline plus 1
for seam allowances.
� inches

Print panel creates


sophisticated • Cut each tab to its needed
contrast length; fold in half
crosswise; slipstitch its
long edges together,
leaving an opening at the
fold just large enough for
the button. Insert the tabs
in the front seam when
attaching the facing .
• To prevent gaping, sew a
snap at each tab end on the
center front. Also sew a
snap at the center front
collar roll line.
• Topstitching is nearly
invisible on silk noil;
use it as you wish.

-N. B.

june/july 2004 55
It' s Easy to Make a

Mult isize Pattern Larger or Smal ler


th an Its Pri nted Ran g e

,..... N eed a patte rn a s ize b i g g er o r


smal l e r than y o u can b uy ?

���
Let the m u ltisize o ut l i nes
18
� � �
I I"�-
o n the tiss u e g u id e you
, "'��
�"'-�'"
��":�
to the size you n eed .

4 8 2 8 ,�'::: by Kath ryn B re n n e

10 . 12 . 14. 16 . 18

Including multiple

sizes on a single

pattern sheet is

becoming the norm,

and it makes grading up


or down to a new size a
- no-brain er.
- -
--44--

56 T H R EADS
Deta i ls that g row ... a n d those t h a t d o n 't
Pattern details that usually change with grading:

he garment-industry term [or the process o[


converting one pattern size to another is "grad­ Collar length
ing," and it's traditionally been considered
beyond the reach of untrained home sewers,
Facing length
requiring elaborate tools, extensive charts and
tables, or expensive software. But with the pro-
liferation of multisized patterns, it's become a breeze to
accurately add more sizes to those that come in the
package, so long as the pattern you want to resize in­ Button spacing
You may need to
cludes multiple sizes on a single sheet, like the examples
lengthen a waist-zipper
shown overlapped on p. 56. Resizing, or grading, isn't
the same as pattern alteration-the process of cus­
opening as the hips
increase in size.
rr-u-.r-I..:::::y::;.���,----
Belt length

tomizing a pattern to your unique measurements-and


doesn't eliminate the need for it. But it will give you a
pattern in the best size for any further altering. The
most obvious application for the resizing process I'll Pattern details that typically don't change with grading:

demonstrate is to increase or decrease a multisize pat­


tern beyond the availabl e sizes, but the process can al-
so be useful if you've bought a pattern in the wrong size, Collar depth
or are one size on top and another on the bottom but
can't find both sizes in a single multisized pattern. Facing width

Graded patterns grow in fixed increments . . .


A close look at most multisized patterns reveals that each You may want to
'*----"'4--Button size

included size gets larger by the same amount as it rescale pockets Dart width

b. .+++-lf----
increases horizontally from an unchanging center front and/or flaps if
or center back. If the pattern also increases vertically grading beyond Belt width

��-\---
(pants and skirts don't, as a rule), each vertical increase the minimum or
maximum size. Pockets

J0.
Hem depth

1i�� is also a fixed, repeated amount, as you can see in the


•-- "Nu

�", 0]
.�Q-o:::0 photo at left. In a nutshell, my method for grading up or
down is simply to repeat the increment of change at each

00'" -0.
Ul0;8 .�g>00 1
seamline in the direction want to go, until I've shifted
every seam line and all reference points (such as notch­
�0� "�Qi
o.�
es and dots) that were shifted in the original pattern. (See

�sE�gc "Details that grow. . . and those that don't" above for a list
0. 0
.� of pattern elements that do and don't change when the

-EtO��o.��. '"ci. pattern is graded.)

�"'o.ci -0.C­�m�
As you'll see in the photos on pp. 58-59, any multisized
I0 00 pattern will show you exactly where to shift its outline,
<0 • and by how much: You simply need to draw straight
lines across its cutting lines and through each set of key
oc i:0
150 0m
�• reference points, measure the increment of change be­

�d"� �0� The difference between the sizes is consistent on each m u ltisized pattern
piece, but can be different from one size range to another.
tween the corresponding lines or points on each drawn
line, and then, moving out to increase the size or in to

june/july 2004 57
decrease it, mark that increment on your drawn line. You
then connect the marks to draw a new cutting outline,
and draw notches and dots as appropriate on your lines.
If your pattern includes elements that are graded in­
to separate pattern pieces for each size, instead of being Next, locate every graded set d i rections, or further if you
marked on a single piece, like the buttonhole place­ of key reference points (cor­ want to grade by more than
ment guide in the inset photo below, locate and line up ners, dart ends and points, one s i ze.
a fixed reference point on the graded pieces (usually a notches, and dots), and, using

center front, center back, or waistline), and draw parallel a ruler as a guide, draw a l i ne Also draw l i nes across every
through each set. You' l l f i n d multiple out l i n e on each pat­
lines through the points of difference on all pieces, to re­
that you c a n draw a s i ngle tern piece. Draw just o n ce
veal the increment between sizes. Use this amount to in­
straight l i ne through the tips or twice across straight and
crease or decrease the detail as needed, as shown.
1
of every set of poi nts, from the paral lel out l i nes, but draw

2
smallest to the largest s ize reference l i nes every to
. . . but not all fixed i n crements are the same marked on the tissue pattern . in ches across tapering l i nes
The horizontal fixed increases between graded sizes I f you en counter any points i n and curves such as those at
are based on the difference in the bust or hip measure­ a graded set that s l ightly m i s s the crotch, armhole, neck l i ne,
ment from one pattern size to the next. If this difference fal l i ng in l i ne with the others, or sleeve cap, as shown here.
either because of printing er­ You can draw these l i nes at
rors or grade changes, ignore any angle as long as they
Cut o u t the pattern,
the irregularity, draw your line are s traight.
a lways following the
through the points that do line
outermost u i d e l i n e
up, and remark the irregular
4XL
1
Cut out the entire pattern you point on it. All your l i nes
want to resize, trimm i n g along should extend about inch
the outermost lines, a n d mak- beyond the marked
i n g sure you don't trim away details in both
any parts of the smaller sizes
that extend beyond the largest
size's perimeter. Press the
pattern with a warm iron to
MD " -
smooth it out, then tape the
pattern pieces to larger
pieces of white paper.

l­I­
:Jm
Details such as
buttonhole spaCing
are often provided on a

' lI.. lI..


separate guide for each
size. To further grade

, .W Ul£:.)
I � .J.I . :=��
G)
these, align and draw a
�z
H::J
\\ I
line through a constant

\
reference point (such
as the waistline) and
'I Cl:J (!)
CZIT!
\ \\ \\
,
then draw parallel lines
across the graded III
, \ reference points.
•I
\ \\ \ \\ L.,
Measure the distance
I ¥
.AXSTLINE..,,,I
, ---J
between the lines to find

\.
the grade increment.

\ 'I\-\'T',
\
----
,,
_s._I
is, say, 1 inch per size, the pattern i s said to have a l-inch
grade. On many patterns, especially those from the
Measure the raded i n crement o n e a ch d rawn l i n e larger companies, the grade itself can change, so that

Next, on each of your drawn If there's a grade change mak­ between sizes 6 through 10 it's 1 inch (which means a
lines, measure the distance be­ ing the increments unequal 'l\-inch increment at each of the four side seamlines), but

(
tween the outlines or reference along the gui delines on your between sizes 1 2 through 2 2 , it's 2 inches, or a �-inch

10 1 2),
points printed on the pattern. pattern common between a increment at each side seamline. These same patterns

()
To increase your pattern size, size and measure only often also apply a unique 1 �-inch grade between sizes
make a mark on your drawn the increment s closest to the
10 and 12 only. Not all pattern companies use the same
line at that same distance be­ edge you're grading, so that if
grades, or change them within a Single pattern, but

( )
yond the outermost point print­ you're going up, you'll use the
whatever grade is in use will be evident in the pattern's
ed on the tissue see below , larger grade, and the smaller
or to decrease the size, that grade if you're going down.
size chart, like the one shown in the top photo on p. 60,
distance from the innermost as well as in the spaces between the lines on the pattern
printed point. Be as accurate as sheets, like those shown in the middle photo on p. 60.
possible, and work one size at If you want to grade down from the smallest available
a time if you need to go up size or up from the largest, these grade inconsistencies
or down several sizes.

con nect a l l r n ew m a rks


To create the outline of your new pattern,

(
use a straight ruler, h i p curve, and French

-.- - 60).
curve to connect your markings see
---- -
- - ....... .
"Here's all you'll need" on p. Check that
notches and internal dots match correctly
.

- ------ -- -
.... on corresponding pattern pieces to be sure

-- -....-... - -"--
the pieces will go together properly, then
---- - I �-I-�r
cut out the pattern, and make a muslin
si(m to test it.
....... -
.......
....... .......

g.3::::­:1 I

� :I / / "
Ie� :I
!'1Ci�SI'.I I/ / I/ I.'
I /! // "i I/
I I1 / 1
I I II II
I I I june/july 2004 59
6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22
30� 31� 32� 3426� 36 38 40 42 4437
, SIZE/TAILLE
Bustst
Wai 23
32� 24
33� 25
34� 36 28
38 30
40 32
42 34
44 46
Here's a l l you ' l l n eed

T. 78 80 83 87 92 97 107 1 12
Hip

102
Resizing a multisized pattern is a simple process; it doesn't matter

T. 58 61,� 64 67 71 76 81 87 94
de poi trine
if your pattern has seam allowances or not, there's no need to cut

97 102 107 1 12 1 17
de taille the pattern apart, and you don't need special tools or fancy grading
T. de ha
"" ,.. rulers. Here's a list of the basic tools required:

Large sheets of paper (try banquet table paper purchased


All pattern companies provide a
from a party supply company)
� 0 18 - size table (above photo) that

.... - -a18- - - -
reveals the grade increments Transparent, write-on tape (for securing patterns to the paper)
between the sizes. At left you
Pencils (have several different colors on hand)
can see the different increments
l- " <" _ �� between sizes 8-10, 1 0-12, 1 2-14, Straight ruler (preferably a 2- by 1 8-inch gridded transparent ruler)
� - � ��
and 14-18. Pattern-drafting curves (a hip curve and a French curve)
� -

'\�. , " \,:,'"


As you grade, you'll be measuring lots of small i ncrements
- -
-E)u
<�10 - - - and then repeating these exactly. A small ruler
with a sliding marker (such a s a seam ,
'..) , gauge), or even a simple compass, can
, "'6' Sir.
� ';Y/iJ)g Jey '
simplify this task. But even if all you
have is a basic ruler, you'll find
grading a multisized pattern to
,,��/ •
' }Ill/, I '!fJ) 2!
be an easy process. '1<1141<�4�"o
'10 'g.
Bj>
"" '
-

won't matter; you'll simply buy the pattern that's closest


to the size you need, and repeat whatever grade it uses
when resizing it. But you'll get slightly different results
when grading down from a size 12 pattern with a 2-inch
'
.
grade, compared to grading up from a size 10 with a
I-inch grade" Is this a problem? 1 don't think so, since /
the differences will be small in any case, and will pri­
marily be horizontal (to the circumference)-and be­
cause pattern size is just a starting point for fine-tuning
;t,
�i/
the fit anyway So, I'd suggest simply ignoring these in­
consistencies, now that you know what they are" Resize
using whatever measure the available pattern offers,
then either alter the pattern to fit as usual, or make a .:;­,:;"
muslin sample, cutting the side seam allowances wider,
and pin or baste the pieces together to refine the fit. •
Kathryn Brenne writes, teaches, and sews in North Bay,
ON, Canada"

60 T H R EADS
Creati ng a
Desig ner Knockoff
You d o n't n eed to be a t ra i n ed patter n make r to
d u p l icate a g arment yo u 've seen . Start with t h e
cl osest pattern yo u can fi nd a n d adapt it.

b y A n n a Mazur

hat do you do if you see or dream


up a garment that you want to
add to your closet, but then dis­
cover that a commercial pattern
doesn't exist for that particular
style? You can draft the pattern
from scratch, but if you're like me (I don't
claim to be a professional patternmaker, or
I
any type of patternmaker, really), that isn't an
option. So do the next best thing: get as close
as possible to the desired silhouette with a commercial
pattern that you can use as a base, supplement it with ele­
ments borrowed from a few other patterns (don't forget to raid
your stash of discontinued patterns), and then make small ad­
justments until you're satisfied with the results.
This was my course of action when I spotted an amazing When fashion (top left) inspires a knockoff (above), choose

Prada jacket last fall. Follow along as I analyze the jacket style; a base pattern that's close to the original and then borrow deta ils
choose a base and supplementary patterns; drape, draft, and test from one or two others (from left to right: Vogue 2390; Vogue 2689,
to create the style; and then flesh out and fine-tune the details. discontinued; Vogue 2 1 62, discontinued).

june/july 2004 61
Ana lyze the style
When you set out to create a pattern, first sketch the style
you're trying to reproduce (in this case, the Prada jacket),
and list (from top to bottom) the i m portant components
and details. You needn't note lengths or widths because
you'll use those that are most flattering to you. And don't
be concerned with fitting seams or darts at this poi nt,
unless they're a conspicuous style detail.

'\;I Double-breasted jacket

-V Stand-Up funnel neck (sepa rate collar not needed)

-V Yoke that extends to form sleeve cap

'JI
Chest welt

-V 8 large buttons
'VI Bracelet-length sleeves

-V Oversized button tab on sleeves

-V Self belt

It Two slanted welt pockets at hip level

Start with com mercial your base pattern (see bottom photo on
patterns that fit you r p. 63). To make this step easy on yourself,

TIP
sewing level a n d body double-check the pattern measurements
You can use my pattern tech­ and ease amounts (usually found on the
Doc:ument every step of the nique for any type of garment: pattern envelopes) to decide which size to
way: Mazur suggests you create a paper jacket, skirt, pants, even elaborate begin with.
trail when adapting patterns. Record ing gowns and costumes. Just make sure that
the step· by-step process in a notebook you choose patterns you're comfortable us­ Th i n k creatively and don't be afraid
and/or with a camera g ives freedom to ing-to adapt them successfully, you need to to experi ment
experiment and allows you to easily understand every marked line and symbol Besides starting with patterns that are a
backtrack a step or two if the and how all the pieces fit together. good fit for your sewing abilities and body
experiment doesn't pan out. Before you turn to adjusting your pat­ shape, there really aren't any hard-and-fast
terns, I recommend perfecting the fit of rules to my pattern process. Basically, it

62 TH READS
S e l ect a n d stu d y pote n t i a l p atte r n s
To begin, study existing patterns and choose one as a base pattern. Mazur

knew that the detail most difficult to duplicate would be the yoke that extends to
form the sleeve cap, and looked for a base pattern that got closest to it and
provided the desired overal l silhouette and fit. She chose Vogue 2390, which has
the sem ifitted silhouette of the Prada jacket; its all·in·one bodice and sleeve will
be easy to transform into the extended yoke. Not sure what shape or width the
funnel neck should be, she set aside another pattern with a similar shape, along
with patterns to provide im portant details, such as the slanted welt pockets.

Next, work out any fit issues

in the base pattern. Mazur ironed

all the pattern pieces to remove


wrinkles, traced off a working copy
of the base pattern, and drew in
the seamlines. She made a muslin
TI P Trace working

copies of all patterns to


to check and fine·tune the overal l fit
safeguard the original.
(if you adjust the fit after you work
Mazur says this simple
out style adjustments, you risk
step ensures that there are
distorting your new style l ines).
always clean versions of
Because she knew the entire
the original patterns to
shoulder area of the base pattern
refer back to. If you make
would be replaced, Mazur ignored
a complete mess of a
the collar and extended the center
pattern, just trace another
front to the base of the neck. She
copy and start fresh.
pinned out portions of the muslin
until pleased with the fit, and
then transferred the changes
to the pattern.

Compare pattern

measurements and shapes.

To educate herself about fu nnel


neck and shoulder shapes,
boils down to creative problem-solving, care­ Mazur taped a cape pattern
ful attention to details, a willingness to down on a grid cutting mat,
experiment, and patience-you're bound to aligned the working base
make some mistakes along the way. Just pattern over it (making sure the
keep in mind that the process begins with an grai nli nes were parallel), and
idea and a couple of patterns, and ends then compared and noted the
with a three-dimensional garment. What shapes and measurements of key areas. She found that
you do to get there is really up to you. That's the shoulders of her base and cape patterns are so
the beauty, and the fun, of it. similar she had no need to incorporate any of the cape
shaping in the base pattern.
Anna Mazur writes Threads ' biannual pattern continued
review and manages her own large pattern col­
lection in Avon, Conn.

june/july 2004 63
D r a p e , d r a ft , t e s t
Create a muslin and mark the yoke seam. Using the adjusted

base pattern, Mazur made a muslin, placed it on her dress form (hang
it on a hanger if you don't have a form), and then draped a ribbon
around the bodice and sleeve cap to determine the position of the
yoke seamline.

Determine the width of the funnel neck. Following her notes, the

author saw that on her reference pattern (Vogue 2689), the break point
where the funnel neck meets the shoulder seam was 4% inches from
the center front. When she pinned this point on her muslin, she
realized that she wanted her funnel neck to be slightly wider, so she
moved the pin out along the shoulder seam to 6% inches from the
center front. She marked this point on the muslin, then transferred it,
as well as the yoke seamline, to her working pattern.

Establish the height and angle of the neck!

yoke. Mazur traced a copy of the front and

back yoke areas (in blue), and added seam


allowances. From her notes she saw that on
Vog ue 2689, the fun nel neck was 1� inches high
at the break point, and sat at a 50-degree angle
to the shoulder. She l i ked the a ngle, but wanted
a slightly taller fun nel neck, so she m arked
2 inches up from the break point, and used a
protractor to create the angle. Not sure how h i g h the funnel
neck should be at the center front, she put the muslin back
on the dress form and decided on a l %-inch height from the
base of the neck. She ma rked that point on her pattern,
used a French curve to connect the poi nts, then made
corresponding adjustments to the back yoke pattern.

TI P Add extra grainlines and match

points. On all paper pattern pieces she creates Test a muslin of the neck/yoke and tweak as necessary.

or experiments with, Mazur m arks additional To test the effect of the neck/yoke, Mazur created another
grainli nes (along both the lengthwise and cross­ muslin (using the fitted base pattern below the yoke
grains) and extra match pOints. This a llows her to seamline, and the new pattern above the seamline). The
i m mediately see how all adjustments influence height of the fu nnel neck was perfect. The line created from
other areas of the pattern. She also tra nsfers all the break point to the top of the fu n nel neck, however, was
grainli nes and match points to her muslins too curved for her l i king, so she ripped out the stitches and
before cutting so she'll be able to see that the let out the seam. She transferred the changes to the pattern,
fabric is hanging correctly. then made another muslin to double-ch eck the shape.

64 TH READS
Create t h e f i n a l d et a i l s
Decide on the sleeve shape and length. The

base pattern has the same bracelet·length sleeve


Mazur wanted, so she didn't make any length
adjustments. However, she decided to butt the
front and back sleeve patterns together to create a
one· piece sleeve (which gave a smooth line from
the yoke to the sleeve hem). She sacrificed the bias
grain of the back sleeve to cut the new pattern on
the straight grain.

Plan the double·breasted

proportions, and pOSition the

welts and tabs. To fig ure out

the overlap amount, Mazur


pinned a recta ngle of fabric (just
large enoug h to judge from) to

the center front of the muslin,
and adjusted it until pleased

with the effect. She pin ned on
some buttons to determine the
best size, placement, and
spacing, and played with other
fabric pieces to figure out the
size and placement of the chest
welt and sleeve tabs. She
marked match points di rectly on
the muslin and fabric pieces, transferred the markings and front overlap to
her final pattern, and then created a pattern for each deta il. For the slanted
welt pockets, she used the pocket pieces from Vogue 2 1 62.

TIP
If you can see it, you

Compare the lengths and definitely can sew it.

shapes of all adjoining seamlines. Mazur is thrilled with her


Mazur always makes time for this Prada look·alike jacket and
important final step, and makes coord inating skirt. To showcase the
adjustments as necessary; she says neckli n e and other design details,
seamlines that are off even as l ittle as and to enliven the skirt, she wound
% inch can adversely effect the
garment's fit and will look sloppy, no
skinny ribbon onto her machine's
bobbin , and sewed a simple
matter how carefully you sew and press. diagonal grid on the fabric.
Mach I ne E m b roidery

H and e m b roide ry
by m achine
by Richards Jarden

Thoughtful digit izing captures


the look of handwork

Speed up heirloom embroidery by digitizing i t for your embroidery machine. The hand­
worked example, above at left, takes longer to do, but offers higher-loft satin stitch and, of
course, an i n d ividuality that can't be captured by machine.

and embroidery has al­ used in these examples can be ture the visual effect of hand­
ways been a revered form respectably simulated with ma­ worked satin, chain, and seed
of embellishment for cloth- chine embroidery, if you're will­ stitch-all important elements of
ing, accessories, and soft fur­ ing to become familiar with and traditional hand embroidery-by
nishings. The intricate and or­ use your digitizing software. machine. While I work almost
nate designs that are so beloved, The fundamentally different exclusively with monograms, my
though, are time-consuming and mechanics of hand and machine techniques can be used for any
require considerable skill to cre­ embroidery can present a chal­ design in which you desire a del­
ate. In my business of designing lenge to the digitizer who's aim­ icate, hand-worked effect.
and digitizing monograms, I've ing for an heirloom look. I'll
examined hundreds of pieces of explain these differences in de­ Ha nds and machines
vintage embroidery and have tail, and then demonstrate how sew d ifferently
learned that the look of many I work around them to digitize It's not just the addition of a
of the stitches and techniques stitches that successfully cap- motor that distinguishes the cre-

Ch a i n stitch
By hand (top left): The chain stitch is look, it can't be directly copied by
frequently used in hand embroidery machine. To create a chain-stitch
to create both fills and linear designs. illusion, you can digitize a series of
It's made up of a series of thread small, slightly overlapping triangles,
loops laid on the surface of the using stitches of 3mm or longer.
fabric, and tacked down with either These will look more angular than
small stitches or subsequent links of the hand-worked original, but
the embroidered "chain:' making two or more passes over
By machine (bottom left): Because each stitch (as indicated by the
the chain stitch relies on loose, lettered sequence shown at right),
freely sized loops of threads for its you'll be able to soften the shape.

66 T H R EA D S
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Flexible Trims K-Lace® Sampler
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READER

Design
Software
www.electricquilt.com
sales@electricquilt. c om
1-800-356-4219

june/july 2004 67
M a c h i n e E m b ro i d ery (continued)
Sati n stitch
Running-stitch underlay U nderlay and zigzag stitches Edge-walk stitches Satin-stitch underlay

Running-stitch rows: Manually Underlay and zigzag stitches: Edge-walk stitches: Set this Final layer of satin stitches:
digitize several approximately Over the running-stitch rows, add option for a distance of 2mm in Cover the previous layers of
parallel rows of running stitches a 1 O-percent density underlay, from the edge of the finished underlay with a column of
(with a stitch length of 3mm or then a low-density zigzag satin-stitch column, and use a medium satin stitches (I used
longer) along the center of each (approximately 20 percent stitch length of 2.Smm or longer. 52 percent here), shown here
letter section or column. You may works in my software). slightly wider than the zigzag
also begin with a single pass of underlay added earlier.
standard running-stitch underlay.

By hand (left): A staple of


filled embroidery-especially
monograms-satin stitch creates
a raised surface with a smooth
ation of machine embroidery wrong side, and back again.
texture formed by a series of
from handwork. The type of nee­ This makes it possible for the
long, parallel, adjacent stitches.
dle, number of threads, the way thread to travel from one motif
In hand embroidery, satin stitch
can be padded to achieve a
in which a stitch is formed, and to the next on the wrong side of
very high, rounded profile. the movement of the fabric it­ the fabric, with the connecting
self make for a completely dif­ stitches thus concealed entirely
By machine (bottom left):
ferent mechanical process­ from view. At the same time, be­
Embroidery machines do a
you'll need to take these factors cause this length of thread can
wonderful job of sewing
perfect, parallel satin stitches,
into account when planning a move flexibly on either side
so take advantage of this when digitized "hand-embroidered" of the fabric, the hand embroi­
designing your motifs. Because the machine's design. When you're done digi­ derer can create stitches in which
thread tension is tighter than in handwork, though, tizing, be sure to sew out sam­ loops, coils, or knots of thread
the stitches tend to be quite flat. To add relief, you'll ples to verify that the scale and are laid on the fabric surface.
need to focus on what happens underneath the style of stitches is appropriate
satin-stitch layer. for your project. Mach i ne embroidery pulls
Multiple layers of underlay increase loft and locks the thread
The automatic and manual underlay stitches shown Hand embroidery weaves Embroidering by machine in­
above, used in combination, will add loft to satin­ a nd scu l pts the thread volves not one, but two threads:
stitched areas. In hand embroidery, a Single the upper thread is punched
Another option, one which may not appeal to length of thread (consisting of through the hooped fabric from
purists but will create an interesting high-loft replica
one or more strands) is woven the right side by the needle,
of hand-worked satin stitch, is to use Puffy Foam,
through the fabric, with the nee­ where the bobbin thread loops
made by Sulky, in combination with a minimal
dle passing freely and com­ through it to create a lock stitch.
underlay beneath a satin-stitch surface.
pletely from the right side to the While this process is speedy and

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june/july 2004 69
M a c h i n e E m b r o i d e r y (continued)
A

Seed stitch Basic seed stitch

By hand (left): The seed stitch is an attractive, often very


G "knot" or asterisk

delicate fill stitch. Sewn by hand, it's a cluster of small,


regular stitches, scattered over an area. The density of the
fill can easily be varied, and the connecting threads
between the stitches remain on the wrong side of the fabric.

By machine (below): The connecting threads that are


created by a machine version of the seed stitch can't easily
L c
be trimmed (and doing so would likely cause the stitches
to unravel), so it's best to plan for these stitches to be part

the basic small asterisk, which


stitches out to look like a knot.
Establish rows of these knots
with the knot placement slightly
offset to blend the connecting
threads into the fill pattern.
p
Seed stitch knot
row; repeat and
overlap as needed
to fill space

extremely consistent, it's also To execute all of these stitches may be incorporated into the
somewhat limited: each stitch in the proper location and ori­ stitch pattern as part of the over­
Different formats, the machine sews is the same entation, the machine's em­ all design.
parallel functions: shape-short and straight. It's broidery unit must move the
Hoops, thread or up to the artful digitizer to hooped fabric to and fro under The mach i ne-embroidery
floss, and needles arrange these many stitches in­ the needle, which itself moves advantage
are the basic to shapes that simulate those of up and down in a Single spot. Although your embroidery ma­
requirements for hand embroidery. Each sequence of stitches is the chine can't literally duplicate
embroidery-whether result of a series of machine­ the way embroidery stitches are
it's done by hand generated tugs and pulls, with made by hand, it does have
or machine. upper and bobbin thread ten­ the ability to make multiple,
sion regulated by the machine identical copies of the same
as well. design. It can stitch them out
The machine will also always rapidly, with fine detail. With
make a visible connecting, or artful digitizing, the appearance
jump, stitch between motifs or of heirloom-quality handwork
sections of motifs as the upper is within your reach.
thread travels across the right
side of the fabric to each new Expert digitizer Richards Jarden,
stitch location. These j ump
stitches must be trimmed away
of Nyack, N. Y, is the founder of
www.embroideryarts. com. and a
after the embroidery is com­ connoisseur of historical and con­
plete, or, in some cases, they temporary monograms.

70 T H R EA D S
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READER SERVICE NO. 1 64

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june/july 2004 71
Exploring Desig
Threads Design Challenge VI I I
Sophisticated sportswear
with an ethnic accent
by Caro l S p i e r

f you're tired of basic black, sportswear/soft business attire. your attire without spoiling the
you're ready for the Challenge Your newest line proves that lines of the garments.
Threads presented to design- patterned ethnic textiles can Don't forget, the object is to
ers Sandy Scrivano, Pamela be both professional and inter­ make clothing that can be man­
Ptak, and Peggy Sagers last sum­ esting. You'll have a booth at ufactured effiCiently and eco­
mer. Each qUickly said she was the Boutique Show in New York nomically. You will be provided
thrilled to be asked and eager City, and know the best way fabric and an allowance of $35
to create clothes to fulfill the to sell your line is to wear repre­ for trim or buttons. You must
scenario-only to be chastened sentative pieces. In the evening, not spend more than this on
when she saw and handled there will be a reception where any visible element of your gar­
the fabrics. But what's a chal­ you hope to meet potential back­ ment. You may provide linings,
lenge if it doesn't bring out your ers for your line. You feel some
cleverest thinking? When the change to your attire
designers presented their solu­ is warranted, but
tions at the Original Sewing
Quilt Expo in Minneapolis last
& there will not be time
to return to your
November, hotel and you
Threads con­ won't be able to
tributing edi­ carry spare cloth­
tor Susan ing during the
presentation, Allen and I day or in the
enthusiastic were awed, evening. Know­
audience members and the audi­ ing many of your
(above) press ence sat in clients encounter
Pamela to elaborate rapt attention, this situation, you
on the couture then burst in­ decide it will be
training so evident to applause. a smart business
from a close look at move to design
her work (at right). Our an ensemble that
And Sandy joins ch al lenge can somehow trans­
Threads author to the form itself-vowing
Nancy Shriber designers that anything added
(top) to chat with "You are the or removed to effect
show·goers and designer of this change must
celebrate sewing. sophisticated be incorporated into

72 T H R EADS
O N L I N E EXTRA

To learn and see more


about this Challenge, visit
www.threadsmagazine.com.

For creating clothes that would

suit the day-into-evening Challenge,

each designer was given 3 yards of


organza paisley jacquard, 4 yards of
cotton ikat, less than 2 yards each of a blue
and a brown handwoven dotted silk satin
(only 22 inches wide), 3 yards each of teal and
peach voile, and 1% yards cut from a silk saree.

interfacing,
thread, etc., from your
and a request and good wishes
Please keep a j ournal of your
sewing. When we met
the night before the pre­
stash-l will assume you'd be creative process. Have fun, call sentation in Minneapo­
buying these materials in bulk us anytime, and good luck." lis, we were amazed by
so you would have them on what they had created.
hand in your factory. Three months for creative At the presentation,
problem-solvi n9 each designer talked
plus some small print
• You must use some of each
Threads gave the deSigners about
three months to complete the
about her approach,
and the audience was
patterned fabric; the proportions Challenge. Each approached the encouraged to ask ques­
are up to you. You may use both scenario in her own way: Sandy tions. Sandy explained
plain cottons, or only one. felt it was very realistic and how she profiled her "customer" On the show

• You may wash the fabrics, in aimed for an ensemble that in order to develop her design. floor in

fact, you are encouraged to do would work for real women and Pamela talked about research- Minneapolis:

so. You may not dye them. be manufacturable in the real ing traditionalJapanese attire as Armed with
• The garment transformation world. Pamela saw it as an op­ well as her admiration for con- coffee and
must take place on the stage in portunity to mix eastern and temporary Japanese designers. wearing their
view of the audience. western aesthetics, and gave con­ Peggy shared her philosophy: "daytime"
• You may use/adapt commer­ siderable attention to develop­ "patience, and if you think there attire, Sandy
cial patterns or create your own. ing a silhouette that reflected the might be a better way, there Scrivano and
spirit of the fabrics. Peggy, who probably is-go look for it." Su- Pamela Ptak
owns the Silhouette Patterns san always asks the audience (above) hang
company, admitted to creative what they learn from the Chal­ out i n the

Boldly patterned ethnic


jitters, which she calmed by as­
signing the task a specific place
lenge. Answers this year includ­
ed, "if you don't like the fabric,
Threads booth
before the presentation of the

()]�
(/)'0. fabrics are ready to make the in her busy schedule and view­ cover it with organza" (Sandy's Design Challenge. In the adjacent
cocktail circuit after passing ing it as business as usual: "a remedy for too-bright color); booth, Jo Lee Tarbell, proprietor
0 through the skillful hands of combination of challenges that "ask your friends [or help" (Peg­ of My Cozy Cottage (above at
]

"-� designers and frequent Threads must all be resolved." gy's solution to deSigners' block); right), sells Taunton Press books

��
"15 contributors Peggy Sagers, Susan and I touched base with and "bigger looks more impor­ along with Kaffe Fassett fabrics,
Sandy Scrivano, and Pamela the deSigners from time to time tant" (Pamela'S rationale for an sewing kits, and fabric prepared
Ic0 Ptak. Call 800-699-6309 or visit to see if they had questions-and eccentric silhouette). for ink-jet printing ( www. mycozy
.
u;<:;0 www.sewingexpo.com for to listen, unresponsively, to For a closer look at the clothes, cottage. com).

oS!I"- Original Sewing &


2004 dates and cities.
Quilt Expo laments about the fabrics-but
we had no idea what they were
and more words of wisdom from
the designers, turn the page.

june/july 2004 73
E x p l o r i n 9 D e s i 9 n (,"o,;",d)

Sandy H e r s t a rti n g p o i n t :
" I asked questions about the role I was playing: 'Who am I , who is my cus­

Scrivano
tomer, why would she invest in my line, what are the design and man­
ufacturing considerations!'"

What were your design decisions based o n ?


Sandy could see
"My client is a 50-plus woman, with a lived-in but healthy body, who
herselffaced with these wants interesting, comfortable, but not bizarre clothing. She likes
a narrow, but not close, silhouette to conform to current styles. I'll
exact circumstances use simple lines to reduce production costs."
and approached
What d i d you think when you opened the b o x ?
the Challenge "Ekk-to be polite. Where is the black? And that ikat is hard to
realistically. see in a business situation."

What was the b i gg est constra int?


"The fabric-its hand, the colors, and the specific yardages."

How'd you get around your problem with the colors ?


"1 thought the solid cottons and the handwoven silks conf1icted with the
other fabrics, but I needed them for side panels and piping, so I overlaid
them with navy silk organza-the effect is elegant and harmonious."

What m a kes y o u r reversible jacket so su ccessful ?


" I underlined the sheer paisley with ecru to keep
the ikat from showing through. The piping at the The ikat was the only fabric with enough

edges and the ruffle inserted at the neckline yardage to make a suit, so Sandy overca me her

look classy and block the view of the opposite feeling that it didn't belong i n the office and turned
side. I used covered snaps for the closures so it into this stri king wrap jacket and skirt. She
they don't show." added navy organza to camouflage other fabrics
whose colors fought the ensemble in her eyes-you
What was h a rdest? see it covering the jacket side panels, the piping,
"Keeping the journal was ten times more work wrist and neckl ine ruffles, and ruffled corsage.
than the design and sewing."

How did you feel w h e n you finished?


"My horoscope that day was 'You're becoming
more powerful by the moment. AIl that thinking
you've been doing is paying off.' Whew!"

Sandy Scrivano is a frequent contributor to Threads.

Reversibility takes a self-contained ensemble from day to evening. This paisley

jacket emerges when the ikat top is turned inside out (Sandy underlined the sheer with
cream d u pioni to mask the zigzag pattern). And this skirt, made from "every inch" of
the blue saree fragment, is the reverse of the ikat skirt. A modest navy silk sheath
worn under the suit kept Sandy looking ladylike as she removed and reversed first
the j acket, and then the skirt.

74 T H R EA D S
Pamela Her startin g point:
"As soon as I got the call, I started

Ptak
sketching. envisi.oned black garments
1
wi.th accents of ethnic fabric."

Pamela loved the W h at happened to that i d e a ?


" T h e fabric arrived, a n d there was Pamela's choice for a long,
multicultural idea no black." fit-and-flare jacket. Loving the

colors, she underlined the sheer


and was inspired to
What did you t h i n k when you opened with peach voile. Pam cut the
combine Japanese and the package of fabric? collar with long tapered points

western silhouettes. "This wi.1I be fun . I liked the fabric and


colors. I immediately draped it on my
and turned them under, crossed
them, and snapped them together
dress form and developed the silhouette to create the beautiful double­
right away." trum pet effect. The trousers are the
hand-loomed blue silk satin. The rust
And what s h a p e did you choose? silk satin bag-cum-Iaptop case Pam
"I like the play of triangles and cones in carries by day opens to reveal the
traditional and modern Japanese atti.re. "good i mpression" saree l i n i ng .
I'm thin, but not straight-up-and-down, Padding h e r computer a r e the sash
so fit-and-fiare shapes work well on me." and skirts of the evening outfit.

What m a d e you select a d ra matic profi le for your eve n i n g garment?


"Well, I figured I needed to call attention to myself in order to attract backers.
If your clothes make you take up more space, you become more important."

Oesk-to-date c h a l l e n g e a n d
J a p anese s i l h o u ette?
"My deSigns were on my laptop, and
I wanted the computer carrying case
to be impressive, so I made it from two of the silks. I fold­
ed my evening skirts and sash into the case to pad the
computer. For the evening, I left the laptop in my show
booth. I slipped the skirts on, and then discreetly pulled
off the pants and folded them into the case, which I con­
verted into a triangular backpack. The bow of the sash
enhanced the effect."

Pamela Plak is a custom clothier sp ecializing in couture.

Eagerly seeking backers for her line, Pamela

removed the skirt "padding" from her briefcase and


slipped first the ikat cone and then the sheer paisley
"like a n apron" over her pants. "Command attention by
taking up more space:' says Pamela; her backpack (the
empty, folded, and tied laptop case) and the sash (looped
as a "bow to the Japanese") give dimension and ensure
that her evening outfit grabs the eye.

june/july 2004 75
E x p l o r i n g D e S I g n (continued)

Where did this outfit come from? The

audience gasped when Peggy opened


the inseam and outseam ankle zippers
on her ecru trousers, and l ifted a nd
tucked each leg section into the

Peg gy Her starting point: waistband. She then undid the side

"For manufacturing efficiency, I'd start with patterns in zippers on her ikat briefcase, unfolded

Sagers
my line (Silhouette Patterns) that I know well." and turned it inside out to become a
neat little wrap skirt made from the blue

What was most c h a l l e n g i n g ? saree fragment. She u nbuttoned the

"The creativity. I d o not feel like that is my strength, s o T was neckband of her h a lter top, pulled it from
Peggy viewed the under the jacket, and folded a nd zipped
very afraid of the ideas-of where they would come from and
Challenge as a "million­ whether I could come up with something decent." it into a little evening bag.

dollar experience," and


How did you fit this into your s c h e d u l e ?
met it with cleverly "My mind kept wandering onto what I would do and then
I repeatedly said 'no, you have other things to be thinking
transforming garments
about right now, so don't go there until you see the fabric.'"
and lots of zippers.
What did you think when you opened the b o x ?
"I panicked. Where i s the drapey fabric? I'm a draper, I
can't work with this. What were they thinking of, asking us
to combine all these prints?"

What d i d you do about that?


"I decided it must have been an oversight on Threads'
I supplemented the fabric asso rtmeI1l with an ecru soft
part­

twill , which I used under the paisley and for the pants."

H ow did you develop y o u r garment transformations?


"I had decided to do the halter-to-purse but I wanted more
drama. I brainstormed with a group of ASG (American
Sewing Guild) members. They suggested I turn the pants in­
to a skirt-somehow. My sons thought my first purse shape
was lame and suggested the much better one I used, and
they also shamed me out of carrying my leather briefcase­
from that, I came up with the fabric briefcase that unzipped
and reversed to be a skirt."

Any words of wisdom?


"Problems are just a great way to learn. Be
patient with them. Give yourself time,
then follow up with deadlines to keep
yourself on track."

Peggy Sagers is the oWller of Silhouette Patterns.

Cool, collected, and ready to write orders,

Peggy "toned down" the Challenge fabrics


with an ecru twill. The sheer paisley and the
ikat used for the halter top ("no one will
ever see the halter details") and briefcase
8
(/)"
o
were more busy than business to her eye.
]
a.

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READER SERVICE N O . 1 57

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Threads in

Bound in dark green and embossed in

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june/july 2004 77
To o l s of th e
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june/july 2004 79
A ne w industrial-strength
hom e pressing system
Reliable Steamer ( www. reliablesteamer.com) makes
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Reliable has recently introduced their first steam
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I nstant- set silk dyes the iron) that keeps the water and steam separate,
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Colorhue from Things Japanese (www.silkthings thumb trigger so you can instantly change between
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dye in a small amount of tap often left by ironing on
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screens described on p. 78.

80 T H R EA D S
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M a r ketp l a ce See ad index on pages 88-89 for reader service numbers.

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A Stitch in Time · Embroidery 29

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27
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Bernina 1 40 www.berninausa.com Fine Fabric Stores www.finefabricstores.com p. I5

Best Sewing Fishman's Fabrics, Inc P


1
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Bu t ton Box QUilt Shop 38 www.buttonboxquiltshop.com 81 Gayfeather Fabrics 1 25 www.gayfeatherfabrics.com p, 84

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Candlelight Valley Fabrics 1 27 www.candlelightvalleyfabrics.com p, 83 Grannd Garb companie 51 w.grannd,com --- p, 2 7

Chinese-Fashion.com www.chinese-fashion.com PP 7 Great Copy Patterns 64 www.greatcopy.com p, 81

Christine Jonson Patterns

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112
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84 Great Copy Stretch

The Green Pepper, Inc.


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42
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The Cotton Boll 56 www.thecottonboll.com PP 86 Haberman Fabrics 11 www.habermanfabrics.com p. 85

Cotton Plus 37 www.cottonplus.com 84 Hamilton Books 78 www.erhbooks.com/fsm p, 23

-+___
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Designs http.//www creeksldedeslgns.com Husqvarna/Viking 49 www.husqvarnaviking.com p. 2

Criswell Embroidery

Design
& 6 www.k-Iace.com IP 67
Islander Sewing Systems

Jacquard Products
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1 80
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88 TH READS
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�:����
I 159 I 103157 I
Reader
Advertiser Web Address Page # Advertiser Service Web Address Page #
No. No.

Judith M Design www.judithm.com p. 84 Sewing Machine Outlet www.sewingmachineoutlet.com p 87

Kandi Corp.

Karol's Closet

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L.J Designs 26167 www.ljdesignsonline.com p 21 Festival

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La Fred www.lafred.com p. 86 Shapely Suz www.shapelysuz.com p. 86

Leesburg Looms & Supply 126 www.leelooms.com p. 84 Sievers School of Fiber Arts www.sieversschool.com p. 82

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Lycra House, Inc.

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Contest

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p. 84
Solo Slide Fasteners

Spider's Web
www.e-sewing.com

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Manhallan Fabrics www.manhattanfabrics.com


1-'pp
- 84 115
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Manhallan Wardrobe Supply

Manelli Enterprises

Martha's Sewing Market


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www.marthapullen.com
83

p. 87

p. 23
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Stewart Fabrics

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Mill End Store

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p. 31 Thai Silks
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p. 9

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--- www.mytwindressforms.com
-- -- p. 84 164
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Name Maker, Inc.

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I
Nancy's Notions, Ltd. www.nancysnotions.com p 69 Threads at Gingerbread Hill P 83

Oriental Silk Company

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PAC.C.
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www.ottobredesign.com

www.paccprofessionals.org
p. 2 7

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Threads
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Tasca Company
www.taunton.com

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Unilever/Bestfoods www.ritdye.com p 15

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& 116
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www.vestisbooks.com p 27

The Rainshed

Reliable Steamer Company


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p. 71

p 7
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textileshow.com p. 86

Retro Fit Pallerns

Robison-Anton Textile Co.

Royalwood, Ltd. 73129134


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p. 85
6716319
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www.yourpersonalfit.com!
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Saddlewood Textiles, Inc. www.saddlewoodtextiles.com p. 82 threads.htm p. 87

Sadia's Designs 85181 www.sadiasews.com p 84


Zundt Design
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p. 85

p. 9
Sail rite Kits www.sailrite.com p. 7

Sawyer Brook Fabrics

Seattle Fabrics

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p. 31

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p. 81

Sew N Vac Superstore

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p. 27

june/july 2004 89
Closu res
A sk i ll to b e p ro u d of And thus, I became an addict After I finished my copied
to Vogue patterns. I became a blouse and tried it on, I couldn't
and p ass along sewing snob-Vogue patterns wait to put the original back
were the only ones worthy of together. We went out a couple
by A n a Marciel y grandmothers came my time. And then there was of weeks later, and my husband
from Spain, where it was the Lana Lobell catalog. To was very happy I was wearing
the norm for girls to learn order and wear one o f those the blouse he gave me, while I
to sew as they learned their dresses became the utmost in was content that such an ex­
ABCs. When they moved to fashion snobbery. I zealously pensive blouse could be copied
Puerto Rico with their hus­ copied those creations. We got in as many fabrics and colors
bands, they brought with them the best remnants of chiffon, as I dreamed of. It became my
the belief that well-to-do women lace, and taffeta from a fabric classic blouse pattern, and I
bought their clothes off the store, so I never felt out of place became addicted to buying
rack, while only the very poor when I went to school dances. something and copying it. And
made their own clothes. But I never mentioned that I had still no one outside our home
My mother sent me to a pri­ sewn what I was wearing. My knew I did my sewing.
vate school that had a strange grandmother passed away when Then one day I got involved
system-there was a paying sec­ I was 1 2 , taking the secret that in a literacy group to teach
tion and a nonpaying section. she did most of her sewing with teenagers who had fallen through
Although poor, my mother de­ her to the grave. the cracks of the school system­
cided I must go to the paying The years passed. I went and it dawned on me-I could
section, so she worked in a through college, worked in sales teach these mostly poor girls,
sweatshop factory sewing men's for a medical supply company, dressed in bad-fitting clothes,
work clothes. Needless to say, met a wonderful American, and how to sew-my way. I bought
while our home was in a moved to the States with him. each of them a second-hand out­
blue-collar neighbor­ Then he suddenly asked me to fit, and then to their horror,
hood, most of the marry him. There was no time asked them to loosen the stitches.
school kids were for a wedding gown, but since I After making paper patterns we
from profession- was working on a simple white resewed the outfits, and I invited
al families and silk dress at the time, all I had them to the store to choose nice
lived in beauti­ to do was buy a yard of twice­ fabric for the copied patterns.
ful suburban embroidered French Alen<;on The project was a success, and
or manor-like lace for the sleeves, and it be­ within a couple of months, sev­
homes. came my wedding dress. eral ladies bought them three ba­
One day For one birthday, my husband sic sewing machines. The girls
bluntly told my gave me a beautiful blouse from in turn taught their sisters and
mother that it was a top boutique. When I passed mothers how to sew.
sheer lunacy to the store and saw the man­ From time to time I think
send me to a school nequin wearing an exact replica, about my grandmothers who
where I had nothing in and its $400 price tag, I almost are now gone. They never en­
common with the other girls, got sick. I rushed home to copy j oyed wearing things they had
but she silenced me with her the blouse before I wore it. I let made with open pride or took
tears, begging me to rise to all the stitching loose on the pleasure in teaching others their
the occasion, and take the chal­ sides and separated the sleeves, skill. I definitely feel happy I
lenge. The curriculum was no but left the front closure with came out of the closet with my
problem for me, but the social the buttons and buttonholes sewing ability.
activities were-mainly because intact; I made a perfect pattern
of the clothing. from brown wrapping paper. Ana Marcie/ lives in Ga.

90 TH READS
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satin stitch, ra ised satin-stitch

floral .and fol iage motifs, a n� '" •

'!!teed-stitch fill. To teatn how

to repl i,oate this refi ned .and


,
(fetai led effe� with mach i ne