Tutorials

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15 Nov 2012

Expand Your Button Options for the Peridot Pants

1 Comment Peridot Blouse and Ankle Pants, Tutorials

In last week’s post, we showcased some fun button options for the ankle plackets of our new Peridot Pants.  We noted that standard button loop tape makes adding all those 1/2″ buttons easy to do.  But what if you are fresh out of tape? Or what if you want to use bigger buttons, or more of them?  Make your own button tape, of course!

I first devised this method when we were test sewing the pants.  We were playing around with the size and number of the buttons and the button spacing, all with an end-goal of making it as simple as possible.

Besides being simple, making your own button loop tape opens up custom options for changing the size, number and spacing of the buttons.  Here’s one of the prototypes–see there are 7 – 1/2″ buttons, rather than 5.

Here’s a shot of just the DIY loops:

Pretty nifty, eh? I thought I’d share this technique with you since it isn’t too difficult and probably uses items already in your sewing stash–a real time saver if you are anxious to get going on your project.  Below are the basic steps that can easily be adapted to suit your needs.

Materials Needed

The materials you’ll need:

- piece of paper, pen/marker and a ruler

- elastic cording 1/16″ in diameter (I use this frequently for collar button closures, too)

- clear packing tape (like 3M or Scotch)

- tape or ribbon (Ideally, in a color to match your pants in case a bit peaks out. For this tutorial, I used a scrap of commercial bias tape, but you could use any type of flat tape that is between 3/8″- 7/8″ wide, such as twill tape or even grosgrain ribbon)

Make Your Template

Using your ruler, draw a 5″ line on  your paper. 

Now draw two parallel lines, one 1/8″ (or even a 1/4″) below the first and the other 3/8″ above.

Now tick off small markers 1″ apart on the top and bottom lines.  Note that the marks on the top line should start 1/2″ in from the side edge.  You should have 5 marks on the top line (numbered 1-5 below). 

The 1″ marks on the bottom measure from the side edges (labeled A-F below).

Note that the 1″ spacing mimics the spacing of the commercial button loop tape, and the 3/8″ height of that top line creates a finished loop that is 3/8″ high, also as in the commercial tape. Here’s what the commercial tape looks like up close.

If you would like to add more buttons, you could tighten up the spacing of the marks (but be careful to allow enough room for the buttons to fit next to each other–if you find it is too tight, you could widen your base line to 5.5″ without altering the pattern).  You can also accommodate wider buttons by moving the top line up. For a 5/8″ button, for example, I would make the top line 1/2″ above the starting line.

Cover the Template with Packing Tape

Once you are satisfied with your template, cut a piece of packing tape about 8″ long.  Fold under the short edges 1/2″ or more so that the sticky sides of the edges are facing outward and the tape covers the length of the template.  Use these sticky ends to adhere the tape to either end of the template.  Note that the tape should only be secured at the very ends and the sticky side of the main part of the tape should face up.

Adhere the Elastic Cording

You’ll need about 10-12″ of cording for each loop tape, but I typically leave my cording whole and trim it flush when I am happy with the loop placement.

Form a skinny loop with your cording about 2″ in from the end.

Place the top of that loop on the sticky tape at the first tick mark on the top line (mark 1). Guide the long end down to second point (mark B) on the lower line, pressing it to the tape.  Form a second loop and place the top of it to the second tick mark on the top line.

At this point, you are probably recalling some ancient school lecture from trigonometry or physics class about sine waves, amplitude, frequency or such similar other nonsense.  Dismiss those thoughts with gusto and continue winding the cording between the top and bottom tick marks to the end.

As you go, keep the top of the loops fairly skinny, such as you see in the commercial tape, so that the loop will secure around the button better. This means that the curve along the bottom line will be pretty flat.  (A wider opening at the top would better accommodate a wider button.)

When you have reached the end, go back and adjust the loops so they appear more uniform in shape and size.  The packing tape is very forgiving for moving the cording and resticking it.

Apply the Twill Tape

Place your tape, ribbon etc. on top of the cording so that one long edge is flush with your original line on the template.  Press it down in between the cording to ensure it is secure to the tape.  Once you have the cording loops and twill tape in place, trim off any excess cording/twill tape at either end.

Sew the Loops and Tape in Place

Carefully peel up the packing tape at both ends from the paper template so that the cording remains sandwiched between the two tapes.

At your sewing machine, sew back and forth across the long edge of the twill tape 3 times to secure the cording in place.  You will want to use a small stitch length (2.0 is fine) and have the non-sticky side of your packing tape on the bottom, nearest the feed dogs.

Here’s a shot of the tape after sewing. As my dad would say: “Ugly, but effective”.

Now all that remains to be done is to peel away the packing tape. It usually comes off fairly easily in 2 or 3 large pieces. Use your nails or tweezers to get at any small pieces that are left in between the stitch lines. Et voila!

Happy Sewing!
~Erin

11 Oct 2012

Olivine Dress Tutorial, Chapter 3, the Zipper and Finishing Details

Comments Off Olivine Dress, Tutorials

We’re back with the final installment of our Olivine Dress tutorial! (Click here to find Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.)  I’ll be bringing you pics of the final photo shoot soon.

So let’s get going…

Sew the Main Bodice and Skirt Together.  When we last left off, we had just finished sewing the sleeves to the Main Bodice.  Now we need to sew the Main Bodice to the Main Skirt (completed in Chapter 1).  This is where all the hard work precisely positioning the pleats on the Main Front Bodice and Main Skirt will hopefully payoff. Ideally, we want the pleat lines on the Bodice to match up with those on the Main Skirt exactly, or at least pretty close.

We highly recommend basting the two sets of three pleats together before sewing the entire waist seam in order to eliminate a lot of additional seam ripping  if the pleats need adjusting.  Having said that, it is important to use the side seams to align the Bodice and Skirt rather at the pleat lines themselves–this is because the pleat lines don’t intersect at the raw edges.  Rather, they align 1/2″ down, at the seam line.  If you align the pleats at the raw edge, you will be off, like this:

Once you are happy with the alignment of the 3 pleats, go back and sew across the entire waist seam.

Sew the Lining Bodice and Skirt Together. Next, sew the Lining Skirt together as you did the Main Skirt and sew it to the Lining Bodice (which is easier since you don’t have to contend with any pleats).  This is what you’ll have when you are done with this step, with the center back seams of both layers open:

Sew on the Zipper.  I am going to show you my version of putting in a zipper. There are lots of videos on this out there, and I am sure my explanation is far from being “politically correct”, but it works for me.  [Also, I should add that I accidentally purchased a regular zipper, not an invisible one, so I am using a regular zipper foot.]

Turn up your Lining Dress along the neckline, away from the Main Dress.  Check the length of your zipper by pinning it in place at the top of the Main Dress (just below the neckline).  We recommend ending the zipper about 3″ below the waist seam (where my right hand is pointing in the photo below). Mine is much longer, so I marked it with a straight pin.

At my machine, with the zipper closed, I sewed several stitches back and forth across the zipper coils at the straight pin–if you look closely below, you may be able to see the line of gray stitches.  Cut your zipper about 1/2″ below the new stopping point. I use my heavy duty kitchen scissors for this.

For the zipper photos that follow, I marked the wrong side of the zipper tape with colored washi tape so you can differentiate which side of the zipper you are looking at.

Reposition the right zipper tape face down on the right side of the center back opening.  I align the tape about an 1/8″ away from the Main Dress’s raw center back edge (folding under any excess tape at the top). We recommend basting the zipper in place by hand. I just pinned mine in place, shame on me!  So, do as I say, not as I sew.

Now sew that side in place with your zipper foot.  [With a regular zipper, I usually have the zipper pulled 1/2 way open.  When I get to the zipper pull, I stop the machine, needle down, and lift the presser foot.  Tug at the pull to move it behind the presser foot, then continue sewing.]

Aligning the left side of the zipper is always the trickier part for me because it involves the zipper playing the part of a contortionist.  With the zipper fully open, you will need to twist the zipper around to the other side of the center back opening so that, again, the zipper tape is 1/8″ away from the raw edge.  The bottom of the zipper will want to pull up and curl around, bringing the right side of the Dress with it.  I just go with it until I get the second side to lay flat enough to sew.

Once you have both sides of the zipper sewn on, press the zipper 1/2″ under toward the wrong side so the coils come together.  Press the center back edges of the Lining Dress above the zipper under 1/2″ as well.

Hand Sew the Lining Dress to the Zipper. Fold down the Lining Dress along the neckline so it forms a lining to the Main Dress again.  The freshly pressed center back edges of the Lining Dress should lay down across the zipper tape.

Hand sew this edge to the tape.

Sew the Remainder of Center Back Seams. Sew the remainder of the two center back seams below the zipper, starting each separate seam as closely as you can to the zipper.  You likely will have a small gap below the zipper, which you can sew closed by hand.

Hem the Main Skirt.  We recommend using hem tape for the bottom of the Main Dress. Sew it to the right side of the bottom hem.

Now press the bottom hem up, to the wrong side, 1.5″.  Remember those funny, cut off corners on the bottom of the skirt pieces? These should make flipping up the bottom hem a snap.  Now, more hand sewing to secure the hem tape to the inside of the dress. I usually save all of this hand sewing to do in the evening in front of the TV. ;)

Finish the Lining Skirt & Hem the Sleeves. To hem the Lining Skirt, we recommend pinking the edge of the skirt about 1″ shorter than the finished length of the Main Skirt.  Because the Lining Skirt shares a lot of pattern pieces with the Main Skirt and is, therefore, the same original length as the Main Skirt, you will probably be cutting off as much as 2-3″ of the Lining layer.  (You also could choose to hem the Lining Skirt in a similar way that we recommend for the Main Skirt.)

Hem the Sleeves by turning them under 1/2″ two times, then machine or hand sew the first fold to the sleeve.  Don’t forget to add your Clever Charlotte clothing label!

That wraps up this tutorial. I hope you have great results and a happy camper in your midst when you finish yours!  I’ll post pics of Miss N in her dress as soon as it warms up and we can get back outside this weekend. Until then–

Happy sewing!

Erin

01 Oct 2012

Olivine Dress Tutorial, Chapter 2, the Bodice

Comments Off Olivine Dress, Tutorials

The Front Bodice is probably the trickiest part of our new Olivine Dress sewing pattern. In today’s tutorial, I’ll walk you through it and give you some pointers that should make pleating the Main Bodice a lot easier. We’ll also cover sewing the Main and Lining Bodices together and inserting the sleeves.

If you have not already read Chapter 1 of our Olivine Dress tutorial, I highly recommend doing so before reading this installment because the basic instructions on pleating the Main Skirt are very relevant here.

Pleat the Main Front Bodice: In this video, I illustrate how to pleat the Main Front Bodice using the paper pattern piece:

Here’s how to sew the pleats once you’ve pleated your fabric:

[For those of you not following along with the video segments, you will need to double check the shape of the Front Bodice and alignment of the pleats by comparing the pleated piece with the shape of the Lining Bodice. You are looking for any discrepancies in how the two pieces line up along their outer edges. If you see any areas out of alignment, go back and double check your pleats. For example, you can see the lining fabric below peaking out on the left around the shoulder and armhole edges and along the neckline edge (note that this photo shows the back of the Main Bodice).

Once you are happy with the overall shape of the Main Front Bodice, stabilize the pleats by (1) sewing along the top inside fold of each pleat line, about 1/8"-1/4" away from the fold and (2) stitching across the ends of each pleat, staying within the seam allowances. The second video above explains this all in great detail.]

Finally, sew the Main Front Bodice to the Main Back Bodice pieces together at the shoulders.

Prepare the Lining Bodice:  Sew the Lining Front Bodice and Lining Back Bodice pieces together at the shoulders (note the Lining Front Bodice piece is not pleated). The Lining Bodice will not have any sleeves, so we need to finish its armhole edge. There are several ways to do this, though we think the easiest is to simply zigzag around the armhole edges and trim away the excess seam allowances using pinking shears.

Sew the Main and Lining Bodice Pieces Together: Now that you have sewn the front and back pieces of both the Main and Lining Bodice pieces at the shoulders, it’s time to sew the two layers together. Lay the Lining Bodice on top of the Main Bodice (right sides together). Sew around the neckline edge, then trim the seam allowances to 1/8″.

Flip the Lining piece back over this trimmed edge so that the wrong sides of both Bodices are now together and give that neckline edge a good press. I like to roll the lining down slightly to the inside when I press so it won’t be as likely to show on the front of the dress when worn. You can just see the gray taffeta peaking up above the lining fabric here.

Sew the Side Seams: Though your Lining and Main Bodices are now sewn together at the neckline, you will still sew the side seams of each layer separately. Here I have sewn the Main Bodice side seams and Lining side seams together on both sides (those portions below the armholes), then pressed the seam allowances open:

Here’s what the Bodice looks like after you sew the side seams and flip the Lining Bodice back down.

Sew the Sleeves: Baste two lines on each Sleeve along the sleeve cap, between the notches, then sew the each Sleeve at the underarm seam. You can see I used a darker thread for my basting stitches so that you (and I) can see them more clearly.

Insert the Sleeves in the Main Bodice: Flip your Lining Bodice up and away from the Main Bodice. With the Sleeve turned right side out and Bodice turned inside out, insert the sleeve into the Main Bodice (so right sides are now together), and match the Sleeve’s single and double notches to the notches in the Main Bodice armhole, as well as the Sleeve’s underarm seam to the Bodice’s side seam. Pin at these three points. Here’s an attempt at a photograph of this step–hopefully, you can see the excess fabric of the sleeve cap at the top of the armhole:

Now pull on the bobbin threads of the basting stitch lines to adjust the length of your sleeve cap to match the length of the armhole edge and pin some additional points. Sew around the armhole edge, making sure the gathers from your basting stitches are evenly distributed around the top of the armhole. 

I am going to repeat these steps for the second Sleeve and call it a day. In our next tutorial, we’ll cover attaching the skirt and inserting the zipper.

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

26 Sep 2012

Olivine Dress Tutorial, Chapter 1, with Video!

Comments Off Olivine Dress, Tutorials

Someone around here got a new iPhone a few weeks ago and is quite excited to start posting some sewing videos. What better time to start than the present, with the first installment of our Olivine Dress tutorial?

Today I cover a few preliminary matters, then move on to assembling the Main Skirt, complete with pleating and pockets. Chapter 2 shows you how to pleat the Main Front Bodice and attach the Bodice Lining. Chapter 3 will cover the zipper and other finishing steps.

Please note that I am not planning a step-by-step breakdown of the entire pattern. Rather, I’ll highlight many of the steps and zero in on some of the trickier parts in greater detail. I should also add that I will probably take some steps out of order from the written instructions.

Before jumping in to the tutorial, however, I think there is a critical, often overlooked first first step to sewing any pattern:

So grab yourself a hot cup of tea, some animal crackers (my favorite!) and settle in to give your pattern instructions a good read. Or, at least, a hearty skim-through. I’ll wait…

Ok, with that out of the way, let’s get started!

Fabric Selection:  Here are the fabrics I am working with:

The gray and chartreuse green taffetas are my main and contrasting fabrics, respectively. These have a lot of body, which will hold the creased folds on the skirt and bodice nicely and will add fullness to the skirt. The gray fabric has a tone on tone flocked floral/bow motif for a nice, subtle touch of “flair”. For the lining, I chose the cotton polka dot fabric you see here, which is a standard quilting weight. A cotton lawn or voile or any other lining fabric that would feel nice against delicate skin would work here too.

Seam Finishing: Since the Olivine Dress is fully lined, you wouldn’t ordinarily need to be so concerned with finishing all your raw edges. However, since the taffetas tend to unravel quite readily, this was a good opportunity to dust off my serger. You’ll see  in these photos that I serged most of the edges on the taffeta pieces before I started sewing them together.

I used a continuous piecing method that made the process go fairly quickly since you just feed in pattern piece after pattern piece and cut apart the chain once you are done serging all the edges on one side. Cut the pieces apart and finish them the same way on the second side, and so on. Note that I turned off the knife on my machine so I was sure to not trim away any of the seam allowance.

Taking the 15-20 minutes to finish the edges at the start not only saves me a lot of time later, it has the added bonus for you at home to be able to see the edges more clearly in my photos. :)

The Main Skirt’s Front Panel: Now, on to the main event. There are a lot of pieces to the Main Skirt–and yes, unfortunately, that mean a lot of cutting.  But totally worth it, I think!

The front of the Main Skirt has 7 pieces. Lay them out in order first, then start sewing them together along their long, straight edges (let’s assume right sides together unless I say otherwise, OK?).

Now let’s pleat the skirt.  Here’s where the video comes into play!

[Ok, so what did you think of the video? Helpful? Confusing? Am I gigantic bore? Let me know!]  

In case you need to see it in static mode, those are my skillful hands below pinching and pleating the first and third pleats…

Here’s the front panel now pleated and basted:

The Skirt’s Back Panel: There are four Main Skirt Back pieces, which are sewn together in pairs like so:

Now you may be wondering, “Charlotte, what is up with those funny little trimmed corners at the bottom of some of the skirt pieces?”  Those are intended to help fold up the bottom hem when the dress is assembled.  See how the lower part of the seam joining these Skirt Back pieces sort of pops up a bit?  It makes pressing the seam allowances a little tricky, but you’ll understand why they are there later.

Sew the Pockets:  Here is what the Skirt Back panel looks like with the Pockets sewn on either side seam at the waist:

Clip to the stopping point at the bottom of the seam (indicated by the dot on the printed pattern), then press the Pockets outward, away from the skirt.  Do the same with the Front Skirt panel of the Main Skirt:

Complete the Main Skirt: Line up the two Skirt Back panels with the Front, with the Pockets opened out to the side, and sew around the Pockets, then down the side seams of the Back + Front.  

 

This photo shows how I’ve basted the Pockets to the top waistband of the Front Skirt panel, and how I’ve pressed the seam allowances below the Pocket open.

 

Press all your seams well and set the Main Skirt aside, you are done for now!

It’s probably about time for another cuppa tea, so go put the kettle on.  The Bodice tutorial will be coming up next.

Happy Sewing!

~Erin

02 Apr 2012

April Showers

2 Comments In the Craft Room, Tutorials

…bring May flowers.  I promised you a tutorial on the lace applique I used on Nora’s Bunny Foo Foo shirt a few weeks ago.  Here’s my second spring shirt using the same technique–this time, my rendition of a happy raincloud spreading drops of sunshine.  I added a cute face using a simple backstitching and embroidery thread.

Before I start the tutorial, allow I  me to add the usual craft-blogger disclaimer–that I am not a trained appliquer and I am only describing my own technique. ;)  I welcome your input on what’s worked well for you!

Here’s what you’ll need, in addition to the item to be appliqued:

- lace (scraps are fine if they are big enough to match the design)

- contrasting underlying fabric in the same dimensions as your design and lace (as you can see above, I gathered a lot of options when I started to have a wide selection to choose from)–see below for some hints on choosing an underlying fabric

- thread for the applique (eg for finishing the edges of your design), as well as white thread or other color needed to match the lace–see below for some hints on thread choice

- optional ribbon (I used 1/2″ wide grosgrain)

- fusible fabric adhesive (such as Wonder Under or Heat ‘n Bond)

- lightweight interfacing

- your design, hand-drawn, printed or copied onto regular paper to the final dimensions (Google Images is great for finding simple images–the simpler the design the better or else you’ll risk losing too much detail in the process). Here’s the start of my cloud design, with a piece of lace on top to test the “effect” (note, you’ll see that I was also testing out some different eyes in the process).

To begin, cut out your motif from the paper.  Cut a piece of lace and a piece of your contrasting fabric** in the general shape of your design, leaving at least a 1″ border around the entirety of the design.   If your lace isn’t wide enough (because it’s a scrap or a lace ribbon for example), you may be able to overlap two pieces to make it sufficiently cover the design area.   I did this on the bunny shirt and even up close it is difficult to see it.

**For the fabric underlying the lace, I used quilters cotton for both of my designs.  A solid fabric is probably best, but a simple pattern is fine if it isn’t too busy.  Otherwise, the pattern of the fabric will compete with the pattern of the lace.  Also, I recommend a bright contrasting color because it makes the appliqued item “pop” against the fabric of your shirt.  For the bunny shirt, I used a coral quilters cotton against a white shirt.  Here, I used a grassy green polka dot to contrast with the aqua blue shirt.

Now, make a sandwich from these 3 layers: contrasting fabric on the bottom, lace, and paper pattern piece, all face up. Pin the layers together in several spots, staying clear of the cut edge of your pattern.

With white thread in your sewing machine (assuming your lace is white) and your machine set to a short stitchlength (1.6-1.8), sew the fabric layers together following the perimeter of your design, not more than 1/8″ away from the paper pattern. (Note that you do not sew into the paper, but outside of it.) To go smoothly around curves, you may have to stop periodically and pivot your fabric with your machine’s needle in the down position.  When you have circumnavigated the entire perimeter of the design, you will have an outline of your design stitched through your lace and fabric layers.

[This is the point at which I hand embroidered the face onto the cloud.  Another change I made to this version was to add 2 small solid peach circles to the contrasting underlayer to give a hint of the cloud's rosy cheeks.]

Time to iron on the fusible fabric adhesive.  Cut a piece of the adhesive paper in the same shape as your fabric/lace and iron it to the wrong side of the contrasting underlayer, following the manufacturer’s instructions.  Remove the paper backing on the adhesive so that you can see the sewn outline you made in the previous step.  Trim away all the excess fabric close to this sewn outline.

Here’s what mine looked like underneath. (The gray thread you see is from the hand embroidery.)

Next, position your design face up on the right side of the shirt (or item to be appliqued) and iron the design onto your shirt, again following the instructions for your adhesive product. To ensure the best bond, I found it works better to iron from the inside of the shirt, rather than on the lace side.  If it appears your adhesive is not going to adhere strongly enough, don’t despair–just pin the design in place in the center of the design (i.e., not at the edges) and remove after appliqueing. Lastly, for added stability during the applique process, you can iron on a piece of interfacing to the wrong side of the shirt to cover the area of your design.

OK, on to appliqueing the design to the shirt.  It’s really important to test out your machine’s zigzag stitches on a swatch piece of fabric to get the right settings on your zigzag — you are looking for a fairly tight stitch of medium width to cover the raw edge of your design all the way around.  If the stitches are too far apart (i.e. stretched in length),  you’ll see more of the raw edge in between the stitches. I also keep the width of the stitch fairly narrow because this helps you to turn corners and navigate around curves more smoothly and it looks less chunky and overwhelming than a wider stitch.

** Note: For thread, I typically use a regular polyester thread like Gutermann’s all purpose.  However, I happened to have on hand the right color blue in a special machine embroidery thread by Coats and Clark, so I used that for experimentation purposes (with a coordinating all purpose thread in the bobbin).  I didn’t notice much difference in the end product, to be perfectly honest, so I wouldn’t bother differentiating for a small project like this.

Make sure to keep the backside of the shirt free from the needle!

If you’d like to add a bow to your finished design, I suggest making the bow using a longer length of ribbon than you think you’ll need, then trim any excess last. My technique for getting a small bow that lays smoothly is to make two individual loops with the ribbon, and tie those loops together into a bow–just as you would if you were tying your shoe only you don’t cross the ribbon ends first–does that make sense?  After sewing the bow in place, I trimmed the ends of the ribbons neatly by folding the ribbon in half hotdog-wise and cutting across the folded edge at a 45 degree angle.  Here’s a step by step: 

I hand sewed the center of the bow into place on the design, then created a few “ripples” in the ribbon ends by machine sewing a few stitches in the valleys created by these ripples (where my fingers are in the picture below). 

Finally, I chose to sew on some raindrops without lace.  I positioned the drops on the shirt and adhered them using the fabric adhesive.  I then stitched the drops in place with white thread on the inside of the cut design–this is called “raw edge applique” because it leaves a raw edge on the design, a look that I particularly like.  You could use the same applique technique described above if you want a more finished looking edge. 

Here’s the final look!

I can think of lots of other motifs that would work well with a touch of lace–an ice cream cone,  a heart, stars on a dark navy shirt to name a few. What will you come up with? 

01 Mar 2012

The Boy Raven: Sew on a Cargo Pocket

9 Comments In the Workroom, Raven Hoodie & Pants, Tutorials

Today’s post marks the last day of our Winter Wolle blog series!  It is also our 100th blog post!  Never thought we’d get this far!

I had wanted to complete this post yesterday–it seemed very fitting to end the wool series on the last day of February.  In my mind, March marks the transition to spring, and I’ve already started to shift my thinking in that direction.  But more on that later…

This final wool project is also the second installment of The Boy Raven Pants.  Today we’ve styled another boy look featuring our Raven Pants (here’s the first pair)–this time with cargo pockets and using a heathered brown wool suiting.  I loved working with this wool–it is soft and drapey and yet you can steam a very crisp seam.  The pintuck on the front of these pants looks so polished, doesn’t it? Ladies, your husbands will be asking for a pair of these to wear to work (without the elastic waist, of course!)…

Though sewing on a cargo pocket is not hard to do, I thought we’d  show you a quick trick for assembling the pants to make it all the easier.  You can also use the same trick for any type of side seam embellishment (like a satin tuxedo stripe).

Ordinarily, most pants patterns, including our Raven Pants, call for sewing up the inseam of the front/back panels together first (see left, below) and the side seams last.  The reason for this is to make sewing the crotch seam much easier.  However, in this case, sewing the side seams last means you can’t sew on the cargo pocket since you’d sew the other side of your pant leg underneath.  

So, to begin, sew the outside seams first (see right, below).

Now sew on your cargo pocket*:

Sew the inseam of each pant leg next.  This results in two, stand alone pant legs.  To join the two pant legs at the crotch seam, turn one leg right side out:

Insert the right-side-out-leg into the wrong-side-out-leg (so that the rights sides of both are facing one another), matching the inseams and side seams. The crotch seams should line up perfectly.  

Sew the crotch seams from front to back.  For added reinforcement, you may want to sew a second stitch line a few inches along the bottom of the crotch by sewing a 1/4″ away from the first stitch line inside the seam allowance.  

Clip the curves and finish the seam as you normally would (I pinked all my edges).  Pull the inside leg out and voila!  You’re ready to finish the waistband and hemming, as instructed.  

Though this wool is pretty soft, I thought I’d be safe by using an even softer material for the inner waistband. Here’s a shot of the plaid cotton flannel that I used for the inside waistband. So cozy!

* I haven’t shown you the step by step for sewing the pocket itself–but briefly for those of you who care:  The main part of the pocket has a narrow (1″ total) inverted pleat in the center front.  I turned under and pressed 1/2″ around all sides of the pocket, then basted those seam allowances in place (hence all of the extra, wonky stitch lines you see in the photo below!).  For the pocket flap, I doubled the height of the finished flap, folded it in half lengthwise with wrong sides together, sewed the short ends, then turned it to the right side.  I turned the remaining raw edges to the inside of the flap and pressed everything flat.    

I aligned the center pleat with the pants’ side seams then sewed both parts of the pocket in place using a 1/8″ edgestitch. When sewing the flap to the pants, I placed the long, open edge toward the top and topstitched it in place, thus closing the opening at the same time.

We hope you have enjoyed all of the different wool projects we’ve featured these past few weeks.  Look for some bright spring colors from us in the next few weeks!

Happy Sewing!

~Erin