Clever Charlotte

A KCWC Project in Just the Nick of Time

Patterns, Finch Shorts & TopErinComment
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My blogging lately has been following the classic 80/20 rule: I've spent about 80% of my available time thinking about posting, but only about 20% of my time actually posting. Truth is, I tend to work my best when I am inspired or excited about a project and I almost let elsie marely's Kids Clothing Week Challenge go unacknowledged here for lack of a project idea.

But I got the bug when I saw Cindy'ssecond Flutter Blouse, which you'll recall was the pattern we created for Stitch Magazine's Spring 2012 issue. The Blouse would be perfect for Nora's summer wardrobe and would be one I could get excited about since I haven't sewn it up since we finalized the design last August.

To get the real user experience, I downloaded the pattern from the Sew Daily website and followed the instructions provided in the Spring issue, which, incidentally, differed a bit in construction from how we drafted the original instructions. So, in a sense, this project had that "new to me" feel.

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The paper pattern has to be pieced together from 9 sheets of 8.5x11" paper printouts, carefully taped together. Though knowing better, I forgot to print out the pattern at full scale, so the first set I printed is  probably more appropriate for an American Girl doll--that could make for an interesting experiment, no?

I've used a lavender sateen for this blouse, which is light enough to gather easily, yet create fullness in the sleeves. I thought you'd appreciate seeing the blouse in a solid fabric so you can get a true sense of the blouse's details. I haven't found the right embellishment yet for the bottom hem, as shown in the magazine, but will keep my eye out for something special to add later. The front buttons are 1/2" covered buttons and I used a 5/8" shell button in the back at the keyhole opening.

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Some Basting/Gathering Tips

The sleeves are gathered along the neckline using a long basting stitch. I thought this would be a good time to share some tips that I have learned to make basting and gathering even easier.

First, when I sew a stitch line for gathering, I like to backstitch a few stitches at the beginning of the stitch line and leave the thread long at the other end. Conventional wisdom tells you to leave the threads long at both ends. Maybe this is just something that happens to me, but I find that I often end up pulling out some stitches at the opposite end of the stitch line in the process and have to re-baste, often after the garment is assembled. Backstitching at one end of the basting line prevents this by locking those end stitches in place and giving you something to pull against, if that makes sense?

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As you may be able to see above, my second trick for basting a gathering line of stitches is to use a contrasting thread in the bobbin. This makes it easy to identify the thread that I am supposed to pull on and is a great way to use up bobbin thread from past projects. 

Here's a close up up of the gathering on this blouse--I pulled on the coral thread on the underside of the sleeve pieces until it matched the length of the facing piece. The contrasting color also helps me know which thread needs to be removed after stitching the gathers in place.

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I paired the blouse with some wonderfully soft Finch shorts made with a gray chambray. Look closely, do you see what I changed in this pair?

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The pleating around the bottom cuff are now gathers.  This is a super simple change:

- Omit the pleats along the bottom hem of each front and back pieces, and, instead baste a stitch line about 3/8" along the bottom hemline, starting and stopping about 1/2" from the out/inseam. Sew the front and back pieces together to form the basic shorts.

- When you attach the cuff, match the cuff at the two seams and pin at those matching points.

- Pull on the basting stitches to gather the hemline to match the length of the cuff between the pins. You'll need to separately pull 4 sets of basting stitches. Adjust the gathers so they are evenly spaced along each leg and pin to the cuff at frequent intervals. Sew the cuff on as normal. Et voila.

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Here's a close up of just the shorts. So cute!

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I hope you all got some sewing done for KCWC.

Happy Sewing!

~Erin