Category Archives: Sewing
When I asked what part of sewing jackets you find the most intimidating to sew, many of you left a comment about the collar and lapel. I must have had a premonition, as this week’s episode of It’s Sew Easy gives you a few tips for success. You are right, the collar and lapel is what really makes your jacket stand out … and the good news … it’s easier to sew than you think. In fact, sewing is only a minute part involved in tailoring a collar. The most time-consuming part involves preparing the center front jacket, upper collar, and under collar pattern pieces with interfacing and twill tape, not to mention pad stitching if you are going the traditional tailoring route. The weight of the interfacing will determine the thickness and stability of your lapel and collar, so be sure to test a sample first. My two favorites for jackets are armo-weft fusible interfacing (shown here) and horse hair canvas (perfect if you plan on pad stitching – which I will show in a later blog post). Fusible interfacing can be added in layers if you need more structure at the end of the lapel, keep that in mind if you interfacing supply is limited.
Despite adding interfacing, extra measures need to be taken to prevent the neckline and center front of the jacket from stretching out. Twill tape is the perfect solution! Look closely and you can see hand stitching attaching the 1/4″ wide cotton twill tape to the front edge of the jacket. As I am hand stitching, I am holding the twill tape tight and allowing the jacket fabric to ease in. Not too much easing though! Make sure the jacket doesn’t change shape or become skewed.
What about that perfect roll on the lapel? Again, twill tape is hand stitched to the roll line (the roll line should be printed on your jacket pattern)
When hand stitching the twill tape to the roll line, keep the twill tape tight (tighter than when we added twill tape to the center front and neckline). Again, easing in the fashion fabric. I use a pin to hold one end of the twill tape and start stitching from the other end. You can see below how much I am easing!
Here I started hand stitching the twill tape in place, the main part of the stitch is on the twill tape and I am just picking a short fiber in the fashion fabric, then back through the twill tape. You can barely see the stitching from the right side of the fabric. When you are finished steam press the lapel roll using a seam roll. Again, for more details see this weeks episode of It’s Sew Easy, scroll to the bottom of their page and click on the video.
Another Giveaway, this one is for my online class: Sewing a Designer Unlined Jacket on PatternReveiw.com. Does your favorite jacket style close in the center front or asymmetrically? Just tell us your preference to enter the jacket class giveaway. (A random winner will be drawn next Monday) Congratulations to last weeks winner JRP53 who will be joining me in the Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Jackets on PatternReview! Good luck on your jackets!
Getting back to sewing jackets … by any chance did you happen to catch last weeks episode on It’s Sew Easy TV where I demonstrated adding a curved welt pocket. Welt pockets can be a little intimidating because once you cut into the garment, you can’t change your mind! In case you missed the episode, here is a quick recap:
1. Interface the entire jacket front and side front pattern pieces (not only does that prevent the fabric from fraying, it supports the pocket). Similar to a standard welt pocket, take two bias strips of fashion fabric, add fusible interfacing, and press in half. Draw the curve line of the pocket onto the right side of the fashion fabric. Turn the welts with the fold side away from the chalked in line (or make sure the raw edges are touching) and stitch along the center of the welt flap. Notice how I have also chalk marked the ends of the pocket opening.
2. Turn the jacket over and on the wrong side of the garment you will see the stitch lines (I obviously used a yellow thread so you can see this :)). Starting about 1″ in from one end of the stitching, cut into the fashion fabric. Cut right in the middle of the stitch lines and end the cut about 1″ before the other stitch end. Going back to the 1″ that we left alone, snip each corner from the cut line to the edge of the stitch line. Do this for all four corners - as shown above.
3. (See below) What is left is a slit with each welt on each side. Pull the welts through the open slit, toward the wrong side of the fabric.
4. Align the welts and press. Run a basting stitch through the fold of each welt. Now the pocket opening won’t slide around while finishing the pocket.
5. Topstitch 1/8″ from the edge of the welt pocket. The pocket shown above is a straight welt style, yet the topstitching you see would be the same on the curved welt. Add the pocket lining. That’s it!
This weeks It’s Sew Easy episode demonstrates preparing the jacket collar and lapel. Have you been following along and sewing your own jacket? On that note, I better giveaway another one of my online jacket classes: Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Jackets on PatternReview. Entering to win is easy, leave a comment below about what you find the most intimidating about sewing jackets. (A random winner will be drawn on Friday).
Don’t forget ALL my PatternReview online classes are on sale for the rest of the week. Why? Just a special thanks to all of you that support my teaching. Speaking of support, thanks to your votes in the Craftsy 2013 Blogger Awards, we won Runner-Up for Sewing Best Instructor’s Blog! You all are awesome!!!! Thanks
Congratulations to Stephani the winner of my PatternReview class Create a Jacket Muslin !
There is only one reason I have not moved South in order to enjoy beautiful sunny weather all year round … jackets and boots! This is the time of year I rearrange my wardrobe, bringing out all the cute jackets I finished last March and never had a chance to wear (remember in the fashion industry we are always designing a season ahead). Of course while I am pulling out the fall wardrobe, out come the fabulous boots. I LOVE shoes! I sew all my own clothes, I have to find something to shop for besides fabric
Speaking of sewing all my own clothes, about 15 years ago I set a goal of only wearing clothes I had sewn myself. It was a great idea, but hardly possible. I spent all my time sewing custom garments for clients and I could never find time to sew for myself. You know, like the shoemaker that wears worn-out shoes. Those of you that are in the sewing business know exactly what I am talking about.
Once I started designing a ready-to-wear line and a pattern collection for the home sewer, I found a perfect reason to sew for myself. Someone has to test the fit, right :) Over the last few years I have been adding my label to the closet with jeans, tops, jackets, dresses, skirts, slacks, … In fact last night after admiring my organized closet (now is the time to admire, it never seems to stay that way very long), I realized I finally accomplished my goal! Every garment carried the Angela Wolf label. I could hardly believe it! In fact, once you get going on sewing for yourself, the outfits flow in much faster than you think. Have you ever had the desire to sew all your own clothes? I challenge you to try. I am going to celebrate this accomplishment and try to focus on doing the same for the spring wardrobe swap. I feel a 2014 wardrobe sew along coming on … what do you think?
In the last post, I mentioned how thankful I am to all of you readers and a special thanks to those that voted my blog into the finals for the category sewing – best instructor blog for the 2013 Craftsy Blogging Awards. Voting in the final round is still going on, so make sure to vote for your favorites again (hint, hint). I couldn’t think of a better way to thank you than give away a few online classes, which I will do over the next few weeks.
Not everyone can win, so I asked my friend Deepika – founder of PatternReview.com – to place all my online classes on sale for the rest of the month. In case you haven’t visited the site, PatternReview.com is a great website for learning and connecting with other garment sewer’s. I offer quite a few classes there, including sewing jackets. No, my jacket patterns are not ready to launch yet, so this is the next best thing. The next few giveaways will be for my online classes. The first one is Create a Jacket Muslin on PatternReview. Creating a perfect fitting muslin is the most important part of sewing a jacket. If you would like a chance to join my class on sewing a muslin where I offer fitting tips, solutions, and you can even upload photos of your muslin for personal fitting advice, simply share a comment about your experience in fitting jackets. Never sewn a jacket, even better reason to start with the muslin class (a random winner will be chosen and announced next Friday). Speaking of jackets, have you been watching season 5 on It’s Sew Easy and following along as I sew a jacket? If your PBS doesn’t carry It’s Sew Easy, you can catch a new episode every week on their website.
I woke up this morning to an email that made me very happy and I have YOU to thank :) Just so you know, you made my day!!!!! In case you missed it, Craftsy is holding their 2013 blogging awards. Round one of voting is finished and your votes placed my blog into the finals in the category of Sewing – Best Craftsy Instructor Blog. There are only 4 of us and now another round of voting continues until October 29th – Of course I am hoping you will vote again
First, let me tell you how encouraging this was to hear. Writing a blog and posting video tutorials does take up quite a bit of time, but I personally do so in order to encourage you to sew. Not only sew, but to sew clothes and sew clothes that look like they walked out of a boutique with a high price tag. I have been sewing my own clothes for over 20 years (that just gives me a reason to buy more shoes and handbags LOL) and I love sharing what I have learned with you.
So what happens now? There is a final round of voting that will end on October 29th and Craftsy is offering a free class to one of the lucky voters. For me, I already feel like a winner. As a special thank you for the support you have already shown and encouragement for you to vote again during these final weeks (bribery never hurts right :)) I am going to offer a few giveaways.
Recently I offered a free Crafty class to my new Sewing Designer Jeans class that will launch later this month and a huge CONGRATULATIONS to the winner Marie C.. Well, the class doesn’t include a pattern. Why? Because maybe you copied your favorite pair in Kenneth D. Kings class or you already have a favorite jean pattern from my friend Jennifer Stern or you like the range of sizes in Jalie … just to name a few of my favorite reasons. During the class, I will be using my Angel Bootcut Jean pattern (my current pattern includes misses sizes 0 – 16 and I am diligently working on the women’s sizes 16W - 24W) and I even show you how to alter the pattern for a higher or lower waist (amongst other fitting issues). So, it only seems appropriate to giveaway one of my jean patterns. How can you win? Pretty simple – let me know why you want to sew my jean pattern and please vote in the final round on Craftsy (remember you can win a free class on Craftsy just for voting). Afraid of sewing jeans – no worries, it’s really easy. Remember back when I showed you videos on how to sew pockets. There are lots more, just scroll through my posts about sewing jeans. I will announce the winner of jeans pattern on Monday and I will announce another ”thank you” giveaway tomorrow.
Again, THANK YOU so much for making my day today :) xoxo Angela
I am having so much fun finding ways to use my serger, more than simply finishing the edges in my garments! With over 5,000 students in the Craftsy class Creative Serging – Beyond the Basics , many of you are already expanding your serger use. I was thrilled to see Craftsy posted a few of my videos on YouTube … below you will see how to add pintucking. A great embellishment on home dec and apparel. The video shows you how to change the settings on the Brother Project Runway Serger 5234PRW (although it doesn’t show you how to remove the stitch finger, so check your manual and don’t forget that part!) In fact, no matter what serger you use, pull out the manual and set the serger to a rolled or narrow hem. I am showing you how to do the pintucking using a blindhem foot. If you don’t have that foot, a standard foot works fine. Just serge straight :)
Speaking of manuals, lets take a vote … how many of you have read through your entire serger manual? I must confess, until last year I only scanned the pages referring to threading :) Enjoy xoxo Angela
I know you usually don’t hear about my new classes until the day they start, but not with this one! Sewing designer jeans will start later this month on Craftsy and I am offering a FREE CLASS to one lucky winner. This class will take you from A to Z in sewing your own designer jeans. Click here to enter! (The contest closes at midnight on Sunday, October 6, 2013) and the winner will be announced next week. Good luck!
So how did the shoot go? Well, I was in Denver for the torrential downfall and it was heart wrenching to see the damage shown on the local news. Fortunately downtown Denver fared with very little flooding despite the many dark, rainy days.
The Craftsy studio has been redesigned since my last taping Creative Serging and I had a great team to work with! The set was equipped with the best of the best, including the Brother DreamWeaver XE Innovis-VM6200D sewing machine. Although these are long days of taping, when you are having fun, the hours fly by.
Below you can see 3 of the best jean tools in the sewing room … a pink hammer, sand paper, and a tailor’s clapper. Not only will this class walk you through sewing a pair of designer jeans, I show you how to distress the jeans as you go. Once you sew a pair of stylish jeans that fit perfectly, you will be hooked! Enter to win a free class today.
The blog has been a little quiet lately as I have been traveling A LOT lately … taping with Craftsy, It’s Sew Easy TV, and Threads magazine. I will be back tomorrow with more photo’s and inside scoop on what’s coming out soon. While you are at it … Craftsy is asking about your favorite blogs. I would love your vote :) Cheers, xoxo Angela
Loose flowing tops are right on trend right now, here is a quick way to add a little flair and fit with one of my favorite serging techniques; ruching with elastic thread. Add the ruching to the sleeve edge, hem or neckline. This is so cute and really easy! This ruching can be done on a sewing machine by winding the elastic thread in the bobbin, threading the machine with any silk, cotton, or polyester thread, and stitch with a narrow zigzag. What about serging with the chainstitch? The chainstitch is found on coverstitch machines or sergers with the added coverstitch function.
SET UP THE SERGER / COVERSTITCH MACHINE For this sample I am using my Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger with Easy Lay In Threading with Differential Feed
. Thread the machine like you would for a chainstitch: use thread in the needle and elastic thread in the looper. Be patient with the elastic thread, but it will go through the machine just fine :)
Adjust the tension:
- Loosen the needle tension (loosen by 2 notches)
- Tighten the looper tension (start by tightening 1 notch)
When adjusting the tensions, my coverstitch has a standard setting at 4 – so adjust the tension on your machine accordingly. Then simply run the edge of the fabric through the serger. The photo’s below show you the front and back side of the first row of stitching.
Put the fabric back in the machine, line up the previous row of stitching with the edge of the presser foot and stitch.
That it! I usually ruch 2 – 6 rows depending on the design. Another idea is to ruch the waist on a skirt – the elastic ruching makes a great waistband and then you wear the waist high or low. I will dig up a photo of my silk bathing suit cover up that is sewn like this.
FREE SERGING CLASS GIVEAWAY!
Speaking of using a coverstitch and overlock machine – I have a class on Craftsy called Creative Serging – Beyond the basics. I am giving away a FREE CLASS to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why you would like to take the free class. Click over and “‘like” my facebook page and you will get 2 entries. If you leave a comment on the facebook page you get an extra entry as well (that’s 3 entries total :)). One name will be drawn randomly on August 1st. I know many of you are already in my class as we are just under 5,000 students, awesome! For those of you that are already enjoying the class, leave a comment as to what you like most about the class and I will include you in the next giveaway (trust me, it will be good :))
If you don’t want to wait for the drawing, here is a coupon for big savings on the class. Good luck!!!!!! Cheers :) Angela
A well-made jacket can show off an outfit to its best. Join me on PatternReview for the fundamentals and fine points of creating a contemporary couture jacket (hint: my version of the traditional Chanel jacket).
You’ll love the comfort and style of this jacket… it feels more like a sweater! It’s the perfect topper for jeans or more formal dress. This couture jacket is a must-have for the modern lifestyle!
The class offers 12 videos with 2 hours and 45 minutes of HD video. There is also a 164 page PDF file with photos and close up details of every step.
- Selecting fabric and lining.
- Creating a 3-piece sleeve, laying out the pattern, and cutting the fashion fabric.
- Attaching fusible interfacing, finishing the edges, and cutting the lining.
- Using a couture technique to quilt the lining.
- Sewing a jacket with a plaid.
- Preparing and hand-stitching the lining.
- Sewing the sleeve vent and attaching sleeves.
- Covering shoulder pads.
- Trim ideas, including a tutorial on how to crochet your own trim!
- Closure options including custom covered buttons.
- Pockets with a couture touch.
- And last but not least, adding the prestigious weighted chain.
Thinking you don’t have time for a few hours of hand-stitching a couture jacket? Why not bring the jacket with you! Seriously, I hand-stitched the lining on this jacket while fishing (see the finished jacket below). The lining is hand-dyed (and not with fish blood and guts :)) Fishing and sewing might be an odd combo, but it worked. How about you, any fun sewing stories that can beat fishing? Now be nice :) Cheers xoxo Angela
There is nothing more frustrating than sewing a gorgeous jacket with luxurious fabrics like faux fur, velvet, and leather (to name a few) and when it comes time to attach the lining to the facing, you end up with small puckers and an uneven feed – meaning one layer of the fabric ends up longer than the other. Well, I have great news for those of you that have the Brother PQ1500S.
You have already done the hard work sewing the jacket, why not use a few tools to make sewing the lining a breeze. The PQ1500 comes with an easy way to perfectly adjust your presser foot pressure and feed dog position, it’s color coded! Seriously, this takes all the testing and questioning out of the picture, heck you don’t even need to read the manual (which I know most of us are too busy to do :)).
First, look at the presser foot pressure indicator. You can see the color coding and the dial to adjust the presser foot height is on top of the machine. Simply turn it right and left to raise and lower, but here is the key … no more guessing where the height ends up. The colors on the indicator coordinate with the feed dog position and there is a fabric chart in the manual that you can use as a guide.
The main features I am going to show in this video involve the “pin feeding” that you will find in the feed dog position and the “fabric separator” that is used to join lining to the fabric. This is so easy you won’t believe it, so watch the video and if you want to see my previous post on how to mark and cut faux fur click here. Cheers :) Angela
In my mission to come up with fun and unique fabric manipulations, I thought I would test out quilting (taking a short break from embroidery this week :)). And yes, I said QUILTING! I am not sure about you, but as a fashion designer when I hear the word “quilting” I typically cringe! It’s not that I don’t think quilts are beautiful and I sure wouldn’t want to offend all my friends that have a passion for this art (especially my mother :)) - but the fact of the matter is, the word itself makes many apparel sewer’s run the other way. The term quilting gives me an instant vision of cotton, LOTS of cotton, and bins of more cotton scraps that can be added to some project down the road. I know, I am so judgmental! I obviously overlook my bins of silk scraps that I know will fit into a pocket eventually.
But I think I should really take another look at this art, especially with fabric manipulation on the mind. Besides, who made the rule you can only quilt cotton. What about my favorite sewing technique, that is very Chanel inspired, where the silk charmeuse lining is “quilted” to the jacket fabric. Very luxurious and looks fabulous! Although we call it “Chanelism” not quilting. Go figure!
Or have you seen the quilted leather shown by Proenza Schouler – definitely on the short list for a fall must-have! Givenchy and Chanel both added some form of quilted leather to their collections. I really love the way you can use quilting to create a unique looking fabric or you can place the quilting in particular area of the garment to add a custom design element.
So, as to not risk ruining a large piece of luxurious fabric, I thought I would try a small sample. I am going to use silk charmeuse with batting and create Eye Candy (those of you that travel often will understand the name.) This only requires a little fabric and should be easy for testing the quilting method before I add quilted silk to a garment.
Start with 2 pieces of silk charmeuse and 1 piece of batting.
Pin together the layers.
Use clay chalk to mark a straight line, diagonally across the fabric.
I am using the MuVit Digital Dual Feed Foot on the Brother Dreamweaver XE . You could also use a walking foot or just a standard foot if you don’t have a the fancies
I am going to start the first row of stitching using my laser-vision as a guide to follow my chalk line. Although, the light is a little hard to see, probably because I have the bright light turned all the way up on the machine – I swear I can get a suntan from the brightness LOL!
Then, using my foot as a guild, I am stitching row after row. I noticed that sewing at a medium speed with the MuVit foot works the best, in fact the same is true for the walking foot on my Quattro.
After quilting the entire piece of fabric, I laid my pattern on top of the quilted fabric and cut it out.
I added an elastic band to the back, pinning in place at each side.
Then finished the edges with bias tape. Here is a quick video if you want to see an easy way to make your own bias tape.
That was very easy! In fact this was going to be a gift, but I think I might have to keep this one for myself :) So you can see the technique of quilting is pretty easy and it does work on other fabrics besides cotton. I have a few more fabrics I am going to try, I will let you know how they turn out. But I can definitely see this quilted silk charmeuse used in a jacket or vest. If you any photos of fabric manipulation post them on flickr here is my link to share or add them to facebook! Inspire others by your creativity! Cheers, xoxo Angela
Brother™ has provided me with the DreamWeaver XE, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.