Notions: Herringbone Stitch.

MCCALLS Herringbone StitchIllustration from McCalls Sewing in Colour, 1960. 

I know this seems complicated but I use Herringbone Stitch for all my hems. I first got taught this technique when I was working at the- now sadly closed down & sold off for parts- BBC Costume Department in West London.

The reason it was being used on costumes was twofold… firstly it doesn’t show from the front, at all! Secondly, it’s super strong. If your heel gets caught & rips one stitch the rest don’t immediately unravel because of the way Herringbone Stitch is worked.

  

Herringbone stitch, often called Catch Stitch, is a most useful little stitch to know. As you can see from the above diagrams, it is a version of Back Stitch, in Cross Stitch form. Turn your hem up as needed, or refer to your pattern for instruction.

Firstly, thread you needle in a complimentary colour, then stitch a couple stitches ‘on the spot’ to start. This stitch is worked backwards so the first stitch you take will be through the main body of the fabric. Take a stitch from right to left but only take up a couple of threads of the fabric. This stitch should lie directly above the hem fold as illustrated.

Secondly, and roughly 1.5cm to the right of the first stitch, take a larger stitch through the fold in the fabric. Do not go all of the way through to the front. Move to the right again and take another stitch through the main body of the fabric, as illustrated, and only taking up a couple threads. Continue until the hem is complete or you need to re-thread.

The examples above I have completed in black & white, so you can imagine how the stitches disappear when executed in a complementary colour.

Happy stitching!

*This was originally posted on 19th March 2013 but I have been talking about it so much recently I thought it would be helpful to re-share! 

 

Advance Preview… and some exciting news!

Well Ladies and Gents (and I’m looking at you Gents!), here is a little sneaky peeky of what’s to come next Spring from The Midnight Atelier! And what treats there are!!

Firstly, we are on the move! Hooray!! B9 no more… I shall soon be found at A5 Pithay Studios which is a much larger room- and once was a Film Studio which I thought was very apt!- tucked away in a corner between a Gym and a Band! I have a month to do some serious maintenance, decorating and I shall re-open on 26th January. I can’t wait!!

I can fit in more sewing machines, a dedicated computer area for designing Patterns and Sewing Kits, and even an arm chair! I think the Courses already reflect my renewed passion for teaching, which has ebbed slightly because of the space and noise restrictions in my current studio, and I am definitely viewing it as an opportunity to re-launch and re-publicize what I am doing. I am SO excited to get started!!

And so, here it is, the new Class Schedule for The Midnight Atelier… booking will start on Friday where for 48 hours if you book a course you get 10% off of the Course Price! Woop!!

As ever, email me for any information at laura@lauraaftermidnight.com. If you are popping along to The Bristol Sewing Club Christmas Party you will be able to advance book any of the Courses with the above offer. I must love you guys (I do!).

I am very excited to introduce Crochet Club which starts on the 10th January, the proceeds on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month for FREE. Join me as I fumble my way through learning to master this dark art… other will be on hand to impart wisdom and advice and as it is held in the Pithay’s own Phoenix Cafe I can also promise nice cups of Tea and Coffee as well as a treat or two!

We’re off to a grand start aren’t we? Next up the first of my ‘Project Days’. Aimed at Beginner Sewers, or those who want to master a specific technique or just stitch up a simpler project in  a day, I am rather excited about them! They’re scattered across Saturdays, cheap as chips, often include Patterns and Fabric and should be excellent fun…

Vintage Bag Project Day

17th January 10-4pm £35 6 places

Re-Create a Vintage Bag in a day! Pattern provided, simply bring along fabric of your choice! All levels of sewing experience welcome however; some Sewing experience would be an advantage.

T-Shirt Project Day

31st January 12-4pm £25 6 places

Learn to sew stretch fabrics and make a T-Shirt in a day! Includes guidance sewing with Twin Needles and working with Stretch Fabrics. You will need to bring 1.5  meters of fabric, pattern included. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

The first of my Courses is here by popular demand, and there will be two patterns to choose from including this one from Sewaholic… I have tried to keep the Courses cost effective and included Patterns where possible.

Trench Coat Course

28th January 5 Weeks £75 inc. Pattern 6 places

Choose from two Patterns to make a beautiful Trench Coat for Spring. This course would suit adventurous Beginners or Intermediate Sewers, and will cover several different types of Seaming, Top Stitching and aspects of sewing up a more technical Coat. This course includes the Pattern, please email me if you have any questions regarding fabric selection or amounts.

Sew Over It’s Tea Dress Sewing Course

3rd February 5 Weeks £78 inc Pattern only 5 places left already!!

In January I shall be leading a cheerful, banish this Winter Blues Tea Dress Class! Using Sew Over It’s lovely 1940s Tea Dress Pattern– which is included in the price of the Course so you have reference material, and can make it again if you wish!- this Course will cover Cutting Out, making adjustments to the Pattern (if needed), sewing up and fitting as well as stitchery details like inserting invisible zips and hand finishing to make this lovely Vintage inspired Dress. You’ll need to bring your fabric but all other materials will be supplied, as well as a much deserved cup of tea and a biscuit or two. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Perfect Jeans/Trousers Course

5th February 5 Weeks £70 inc. Pattern 6 places

Skinny, Retro, Hipster or Classic, on this course you will make the perfect pair of Jeans for you. From Adapting the Pattern, to inserting a Fly Front, Top Stitching everything and Learning to Fit Trousers, this course is not for the faint of heart, but will be so much fun! Previous experience sewing would be an advantage and this course would suit adventurous Beginners or Intermediate Sewers best. Bring your own Pattern to make the perfect pair of Jeans or Trousers, along with Fabric, Zip and Contrast Top Stitch Thread. Why not bring along a favoured pair of Jeans to gain inspiration from as well? Please email me if you are struggling to choose a pattern, or would like help with fabrics etc.

Machine Embroidery Project Day

14th February 1-5pm £25 6 places

Learn this super simple and incredibly addictive technique in a day. Includes guidance sewing with different types of thread (inc. metallic etc), free motion machine embroidery and embroidery techniques. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Up-Cycling Project Day

7th March 10-4pm £35 6 places

Pop along to this raucous event and Up-Cycle a  to be photographed, popped on the Bristol Sewing Club Facebook Group and get voted on,a la The Great British Sewing Bee!! Best Up-Cycle will win big! Includes basic guidance on reinventing clothing, patterning, changing and altering clothing.  All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Shirt Course- Menswear or Womenswear

10th March 5 Weeks £85 inc. Pattern 6 places

Learn to make a beautiful Men’s Shirt; Ladies fitted Shirt or Shirt Dress on this Course which would suit adventurous Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Sewers alike, and Men are very much welcome! There’s nothing better than a crisp, handmade Shirt! Guidance will be given on fit, cutting out, plackets and collars and several different types of seaming. Pattern included, all you need to bring is fabric. Please email me at laura@lauraaftermidnight.com for information regarding fabric choices and quantities.

Vintage Pattern Course

12th March 4 Weeks £65 6 places

Bring that steal of a pattern you bought but don’t know how to make, or is the wrong size, along and create the garment you have been dreaming of! Includes guidance on Vintage Sewing techniques and terminology, as well as construction and altering  Patterns to fit. This course suits all levels of Sewers however; it could be a wonderful opportunity for intermediate Sewers to really make something unusual!

Leggings Project Day

14th March 1-5pm £25 6 places

Whip up a dangerously quick pair of leggings in this one day course and learn to work with stretch fabric, insert an elasticated waistband and hem with a double needle whilst sipping tea! Pattern included, simply bring 2 meters of brilliant v4-way stretch jersey! All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Mens Sewing Project Day

28th March 1-5pm £35 6 places

Learn to make a Tie, Bow Tie or classy Cravat in this afternoon of introductory Sewing for Men! Not for the faint of heart, as we stitch up a stylish creation which will be the envy of all. Pattern and fabric included however; feel free to bring fabric if you are looking for something particular. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Well, what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you think I should be teaching something I’m not. For those of you begging me to do it, Pattern Making will probably run in April, and Patchwork towards the end of the Summer.

Don’t forget you can pop along to Bristol Sewing Club most Mondays and Wednesdays but remember to Book In here to avoid disappointment!!

Booking for the Courses goes live Friday, and you will be able to save 10% if you book a place in the first 48 hours!!

Happy stitching!

Christmas Makes: Stockings

stocking 5

Quite a few people I know are going to be making gifts this year, and making a Stocking is a wonderful way to present them. Alternatively, if you don’t have very much time or have just started sewing then these are a quick and simple Gift to make up. Stuffed with presents or chocolate and brought out each year for ever more who wouldn’t want one?

Because they use such a small amount of fabric these are a wonderful quick, cost effective make. They can be decorated any way you like, personalized and made as big or as small as needed! Delightful!

You will need:

a large sheet of paper or some pattern paper

half a meter/yard of Fabric for the outside of your stocking

half a meter/yard of Fabric for the inside of your stocking

Ribbon, Felt, Bobble Trim, Sequins or anything else you want to decorate your stocking with

20cm Ribbon for the tag

Sewing Machine, Thread, Scissors, Pins

stocking 1 stocking 2

First, use the paper to draw out your stocking pattern (or click the above image to enlarge and print, then use to scale up as you need). Once you are happy, you will need to add on 5cm/2″ to the top- for the turn down- and Seam Allowance around the rest of the Stocking Template. I use just 1cm/ 3/8″ for small projects like this or I find myself using a lot of fabric… which I then end up cutting off so the Stocking turns out properly!

When you are happy with your template you will need to start cutting out your fabric. If you would like to check your Stocking- if you need it to be a particular size for instance- simply make up a sample from some Calico or scrap Fabric.

Fold your Fabric, Right Sides Together, and pin your Template on. Remember if you have a Directional Pattern on your Fabric to Pin the Template the right way up! Folding your Fabric helps you to cut a left and a right side. I have seen too many people cut two lefts or two rights!!

Repeat for the Lining so you have two outside Stocking pieces, and two inside Stocking pieces as above. With Right Sides Together, Pin a Lining piece to an Outside piece as illustrated, then sew using your chosen Seam Allowance.

At this point, if you would like to decorate your Stocking, you need to do it before you start to stitching it up. Remember your Seam Allowance and don’t stitch anything too close to the edges! Also, and this is a little odd but I promise it’s right!, any decoration sewn on around the top edge of the Stocking which will be seen when the top is turned down needs to be sewn on to the Lining and upside down. This means it will be the right way up when the Stocking is made up and the top is turned down.

stocking 3

When you have sewn both, lie flat and Iron your Seams ‘out’ as illustrated. Then, with Right Sides Together, pin both Stocking pieces together which should match the two outer pieces and two lining pieces on either side.

stocking 4

Fold the piece of Ribbon in half and Pin. On the Lining side, tuck in as illustrated about 5cm/2″  and -using the same Pin- Pin on the the Stocking. This will mean your Tag is sewn in as you sew the Stocking up which is very neat and tidy!

Starting on the Lining side (and remembering to reverse stich a little to anchor), start to sew just below the Ribbon Tag as shown. Continue to sew all around the Stocking, remembering your Seam Allowance, until you are just above the heel on the Lining side. Stop and reverse stitch to anchor again leaving a gap in the stitching in the Lining to turn the Stocking out.

Clip your threads, then clip all of your curves. This is really important as your Stocking will not turn out nicely!

Turn the Stocking out, then push the Lining in to the outside of the Stocking. You may need a ruler or pencil to help you push the Lining all the way down in to the outside. Turn the top down about 5cm/2″ and stuff full of chocolates, or other goodies and hang up!

MARKET5 MARKET6

As ever it would be lovely to see your makes! Kristen C tweeted me the below from my Jewel Bird Tutorial. Kristen made these stunning Birds as gifts last year, aren’t they delightful? I adore the blue one, and I am loving all of the different colour choices, which were so different from mine. The White were made as a Gift in traditional Dutch colours for her Grandmother.

       

Share your makes via Twitter (@MidnightLaura), on Facebook or here! You can join me for my Christmas Workshops or at the Royal York Crescent Christmas Fair in Clifton, Bristol on the 30th November to buy Stocking Fillers, Christmas Bunting, Gifts or a cheeky pair of Christmas Knickers or Boxer Shorts… see you there!

Happy stitching!

Stitch n Bitch

The new Zine from Laura After Midnight!

s n b 3

This little Handmade and Hand Bound Zine contains Stitch illustrations taken from my collection of Vintage Sewing Books. I have been collecting all manner of strange and wonderful Vintage Sewing books for years now, and I love the different things they contain which simply aren’t in modern day Sewing Books. 

Many of these stitches aren’t worked any more, and some have been long forgotten… including stitches called Rosette Chain, Camel Knot Stitch and Single Pekinese Stitch… and more! They’re so pretty, and would look adorable as decoration on a Collar, or worked as a cuff detail or on soft furnishings. 

 s n b 2 s n b 1 s n b 4

I have been wanting to try my hand at Book Binding for some time now, and I think I may have found a new hobby! I have stitched these very simply with Linen Thread and Brown or Black Card with a beautiful Red printed End Paper.

I have also started stitching up my first proper book…

book bindong

I just need to make a quick trip to the craft shop for some glue, and I’ll be able to attach the Hard Cover! Eeep!!

If you would like to give this a try- and I highly recommend it!- the Tutorials I used are here and here. All you need is some paper, card, thread and a needle. I’m definitely going to be making more and I think I may have to make some up as gifts. Who wouldn’t want a Hand Made and Hand Bound Book? I can’t wait to choose Fabric to cover it and see it made up!

If you would like to try your hand at Hand Bookbinding, check out the Tutorials I followed here and here.

Grab your copy of the Stitch n Bitch Zine here.

Happy stitching!

Notions: Easy Breezy Vintage Summer Skirt

vintage pattern wrap skirt

 

From Vintage Chic, this gorgeous Summer Skirt- and Top!- Pattern is so easy and would look gorgeous on a beech, sipping a Pimms or wafting about Paris as we so often do *ahem*.  Click to enlarge the image and take a read.

The cutting is clever, and uses every scrap of fabric, the instructions clear and I think this could be stitched up in a flash. If you want clearer sewing up  instructions, follow my A-Line Skirt Tutorial to create the Waistband, Zip and Buttons. Measure your Waist and divide in 6 to discover the top measurement but don’t forget to add Seam Allowance! As instructed for the A-Line Skirt, you could also draw this out on Pattern Paper to double check your measurements, length of Skirt and Size/Seam Allowances.

I am sorely tempted to sew one up this weekend, the shape just looks to pretty!

Happy stitching!

Week IV: Sewing Corset Boning Channels

After the high excitement, and creativity of yesterdays Guest Blog Post from Steampunk Family, I will be talking today about Sewing Corset Boning Channels.

If you are a dedicated follower of Corset Month, so far you will have cut and adapted the Pattern, Inserted the Busk, Sewn Up and Fitted the Eventide Corset and we are now very close to finishing!

I have three different ways of sewing a Boning Channel into a Corset. My choice will be based on the look of the Corset, whether I am sewing up a Historically Accurate Corset, or would like a Period look, wear-ability and the speed I need to make the Corset as some of these methods are very time consuming.

I would highly recommend doing as I have done, and cutting a Front and a Side Front piece from spare Coutil and Outer Fabric to have a little bit of a practice on.

The Eventide Method

I’d like to first show you the method which is in the Eventide Corset instruction book, and a method which is the easiest way to sew the Corset up, with Boning Channels.

stitched1 stitched2

Having inserted the Busk, you will begin to Pin, with right sides together, each fabric Corset Panel to the next until they are in a line. Once pinned, you can sew them together with your Seam Allowance (1.5cm, above left).

Sew all of the Outer Fabric Panels in this fashion, and then the Coutil. You should now have all of the Panels for the Front and Back of the Corset- with Wrong Sides Together-  in a line running away from the Busk (above right)

stitched3 stitched4

The next part is a little tricky, and will require strong fingers! You will have noticed that each Seam is now curved, and not laying flat. As best you can, and pulling away from the Busk will help, smooth the Panels out so that the Seam of the Front Fabric is laying directly on top of the Coutil. Pin in place (above left).

This may require some fiddling on your part however; if the Coutil seams at the Back are a little mis-aligned this isn’t too much of a worry (unless it is more than .5cm). If you are finding vast discrepancies, and nothing seems to be lining up you may need to check you have used the correct Seam Allowance on every Seam.

Apart of lining the Seams up, you will need to make sure no Seam is pleated or in any other way distorted. They should lie flat. Pin at a right angle as illustrated so you can keep the Seam pinned for as long as possible when sewing.

Next, you will need to measure your Boning and the Presser Foot on your Sewing Machine. Roll your Needle in to the Machine, place a Measuring Tape up against it and lower the Presser Foot. Make a note of the measurement from the Needle to the edge of the Presser Foot. Measure your Boning.

As you can see, my Presser Foot measures approximately 6mm, and my Boning is 1cm. This means that, when I sew either side of the Seams on my Corset it will be stitched 12mm apart- the perfect distance as it allows for any slight wobble when sewing, and for sliding the Boning in when it is tipped.

stitched5 stitched6 stitched7 stitched8

You may need to attach your Zipper Foot to sew a narrower Seam however; as you can see your next task is to Sew either side of the Seams you have just Pinned.

You will need to remove the Pins as you get to them- this makes the stitching neater as your Needle can snag, or your Presser Foot wobble when a Pin is reached. Click on the images to enlarge.

And voilà, Boning Channels!

After sewing the first, I check the Boning fits snugly, but with a little movement and then continue with the rest.

The Internal Method

I used to create Bespoke Corsetry for a London Lingerie shop in Covent Garden, and one super fun day the owner and I ripped apart a very cheap Satin sample Corset because we simply could not fathom how they had hidden the seams… and this was our answer!

This method need to be sewn after any and all fittings as you are unable to get back in to each seam once sewn and unpicking is a nightmare!

internal1

Starting with the Front and Side Front Panels for both the Outer Fabric and the Coutil, after you have inserted the Busk lay out as above (click to enlarge), with the Outer Fabric and Coutil Front Panels Right Sides Together, and the Side Front Coutil Right Side up on the bottom and the Side Front Outer Fabric Panel on top, Right Side Down.

Pin, matching your Waist Line Snip first, and being careful to match all edges.

internal2 internal3

Sew with your Seam Allowance (1.5cm, above left).

Remove the Pins then, as close to the edge as you dare, Sew another line of stitching at least 12mm away from the first line (above right).

If you have purchased wider Boning you will need to adjust your Seam Allowance accordingly, and make sure these two lines of Stitching are separated by the width of your Boning plus a couple of milimeters.

internal4

Cut a length of Boning, and push in to your Seam carefully (above left) as it is not yet tipped, and the steel can rip the fabric. If it is too tight, or gets stuck, you will need to unpick and attempt the Seam again.

internal5 internal6 internal7

 Smooth the Side Front of the Fabric and Coutil out, and admire your perfectly hidden seam!

Check every Boning Channel as you sew, as you can now see- if you have not sewn it correctly there can be an awful lot of unpicking to do if you suddenly cannot fir the Boning in, or have (oh the horror!!), forgotten to sew the second line of stitching.

The Bound Method

This is easily the most complicated, and time consuming method of creating a Boning Channel however; when executed properly can look stunning!

Insert the Busk as usual. If you are making your own Bias Binding, you will be able to make it the correct width. If you are using pre-made Bias Binding (which is recommended the first time you do this method), you may need to cut it down slightly.

bias 1 bias 2

Un-fold one side of the Bias Binding and place the Boning on top (above left), from the edge of the Boning measure out your Seam Allowance (1.5cm) and see if the Bias Binding needs to be trimmed down. In my case, as you can see, the Bias Binding needs to be trimmed down .5mm.

bias 3 bias 4 bias 5

Once the Bias Binding is the correct width, Pin the side you trimmed down- Right Sides Together- on the Front Fabric Panel (above left). Pin the Side Front Panel, with Right Side Down, on top (above right).

bias 6 bias 7

Place the Coutil Front and Side Front with Right Sides Together, then slide underneath the Fabric (above left).

Sew the Seam, and remove all Pins (above right).

bias 8 bias 9

Smooth out the Front and Back, which will leave the Bias Binding flapping! The Back however; should be laying flat as for the Internal Boning Method.

Next, smoothing out the back and the front, Pin the Binding down as illustrated (below). As the seam is now curved, you will need to do this carefully and use of a Tailors Ham is advised.

You will need to ensure that the back is smooth, with no puckers or pleats, as well as the front at the same time as smoothing the Bias Binding out evenly. Remember the Bias Binding needs to stay the same width all of the way down the seam, and be wide enough to fit the Boning.

bias 10 bias 11 bias 12

Once pinned (above centre), you can attach your Zipper Foot to the Sewing Machine and Top Stitch along the Bias Binding (above right).

Remember that, whilst this can be unpicked if you wobble a little, the Bias Binding will look rougher for it so try to stitch as neatly as possible, and with care.

bias 13 bias 14

 And there we have it. A Satin Bias Bound Boning Channel. I have executed this in Black on Cream so you can see what I am doing however; your stitching will match the Bias Binding (unless you are a complete sadomasochist!), and any slight inconsistencies would not show as obviously.

Well, I do hope you have a go at all of the different ways to stitch a Boning Channel! As you can see they all have their merits.

Don’t forget, if this is the first you are seeing of Corset Month, check out what this is all about here, and buy your Eventide Corset Pattern here.

Happy stitching!

Easter gifts and Sewing kits.

Just in time for Easter, why not buy a couple of A Tangled Stitch‘s Easter Bunny Sewing Kit? Perfect as a gift just as they are, you could also make these cutie pies up and give them as a gift in their matching Calico Bag!

bunny kit 2

A Tangled Stitch is the new shop from Laura After Midnight. I felt that I was designing in a couple of very distinct directions and that each would benefit from having its own platform to shine! Over the next few weeks I shall be sorting out both Etsy shops and hope to bring you fabulous new products as I do.

Laura After Midnight will be more Steampunk, Victorian and Vintage Costume led, with Corsets, Mini Top Hats and even clothing whilst A Tangled Stitch will house my more whimsical side with colourful Sewing Kits and Gifts to make and give.

Happy stitching!

Handy Hand Stitched Closures Guide

I’ve just happened upon this brilliant Hand Stitched Closures Guide from Burda and thought I’d share as this weeks Sewing Bee mentioned Snap/Popper Fastenings amongst others. Many of these should be sewn on using the same stitch used for making the Button Loop. With a little practice they look very neat, don’t they? I am sorely tempted to make up a sampler like this for my classes! I’m finding it very pretty!!

burda fastenings image

Here is a guide to all your basic mini hand stitched closures!

1– Metal push snap: This snap button is manually sewn blind so that it is not visible from the right fabric side. Thanks to the S-spring in the top cap it also holds a lot stress. Available in different sizes and colors.

2– Plastic push snap: It is sewn by hand and is therefore not visible from the right side of the fabric. Great for application on baby clothes or to keep shirt collar tips flat (button-down effect).

3– Jersey push snap: A jersey push snap has five metal prongs that you push through the fabric. It is easy to install, without leaving holes in the fabric. They can handle a light to medium amount of stress, so they are great for cardigans!

4– XL Push snap: The fashionable mega-push snap is sewn by hand and also makes a good garment feature. Comes in gold, brass or silver and not visible from the right side of fabric. Can take more stress, just make sure to use a strong thread as well.

5– The “Non-sew” push button for anorak and sportswear. In order to apply it, small holes are punched into the fabric and riveted metal parts with supplied special tool. An S-spring ensures high permanent closure force. Available in various colors and sizes.

6– Velcro: This closure is popular especially in the sports and leisure sector and can be sewn or glued depending on the type. There in different colors and widths.

7– Hooks and eyes: Popular on corsetry, blouses and waistbands. Available in black, silver and gold in different sizes.

8– Pants and skirt hooks: Flat and invisible from the outside with a secure hold even under heavy stress. The closure is applied at the waist to secure a waistband overlap at the top of a zipper.

9– Fur hook for thick fabrics: Upholstered in fabric, the hooks can easily grab and be sewn. Like all the hooks it is sewn by hand and available in several neutral colors.

Click on the above image to be taken to the original post.

Happy stitching!

A-Line Skirt hack!

Hello lovelies! Having been very inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee a couple weeks ago, here is my A-Line Skirt Hack based on my super duper popular Patternless A-Line Skirt Tutorial to make an Inverted Box Pleated Skirt as they did.

The original Tutorial is amazingly simple, and I highly recommend it if you are learning to sew or want a quick make for a cute Skirt. You need just 1 and a half meters of fabric for the A-Line version, but you’ll need 2 meters for this Pleated version, which will make a knee length Skirt just as beautiful as Tamara’s was!

pleats 1

Firstly, you will need to make up the Pattern for the A-Line Skirt. In the original Tutorial this is simply drawn on to the fabric after taking a couple basic measurements (a la Chinelo!) however, for the Pleated Skirt you will need to make it up on Pattern Paper.

Once you have your Pattern, divide the waist line and hem in to three, and draw a dotted line between the markings as illustrated. Cut up these lines to separate the pieces, the tape the first piece on to another piece of paper. Decide how deep you would like your Pleats- the Great British Sewing Bee had 8cm, and I like 12cm- then measure from the first dotted line out by this measurement… i.e. 8cm. Measure and mark out along the whole line, then tape the second piece along this line, effectively moving it 8cm away. Repeat for the third piece.

pleats 1 pleats 2 pleats 3 pleats 4

Mark a circle at the top of each of the the dotted lines. This is to mark where you will need to make Tailors Tacks which will help you see where the Pleats are to be made, and keep the Skirt the same size as it is made up.

Fold your Skirt Fabric Selvedge to Selvedge (so you get a long, thin folded piece), then lay the Pattern on the Fold, pin the pattern and cut around. Move the pattern down, flip over and lay next to the Selvedge as illustrated and pin and cut again. If you have an obvious print, you will need to match it.

cutting diagram pleat skirt

Before you un-pin each piece, place Tailors Tacks on each mark. Tailors Tacks are a great way to mark your fabric without resorting to a pencil or snipping the fabric as you can with Notches.

pleats 5 pleats 7 pleats 8

To make the Pleats, fold the fabric, right sides together, so that the Tailors Tacks lie on top of each other. Pin, then press the Pleat flat, distributing the Pleat evenly each side…

pleats 9 pleats 17 pleats 15

pleats 2

… thanks to The Great British Sewing Bee for that! Once pinned, you can follow the rest of the A-Line Skirt Tutorial and sew the Skirt up.

Alternatively, and this word strikes fear in to my classes because they know what I am going to suggest will probably be exciting enough they want to do it but difficult!, you can sew the Pleats down before continuing to sew up the Skirt! I love this technique, it makes the skirt incredibly flattering, and distributes the flair about the Hip and not the Waist (which is great if you aren’t stick thin).

pleats 10 pleats 17 pleats 15 pleats 16

Fold the Pleat so that the Tailors Tack matches as before. Place the second Pin 12cm down. Using the Tailors Tack as a guide, sew straight down (for example, if you have done 8cm Pleats, you will have 4cm Seam Allowance at this point and will need to sew 4cm away from the edge from top to bottom) until you reach the Pin marking 12cm. Remember to reverse stitch at the top and bottom. Distribute the Pleat evenly on each side as before, pin and then Top Stitch down each side of the Pleat on the Front as in the last picture.

Once you have pinned your Pleats, or sewn them down, you can continue to sew up the Skirt at in the A-Line Skirt Tutorial. You can choose to sew it up with the Simple Zip method included in the Tutorial or use an Invisible Zipper, or a Lapped Zip as in The Great British Sewing Bee.

As ever, I’d love to see your makes! Happy stitching!

The Great British Sewing Bee: Week 2

SEWING BEE2

Well, it all felt a little calmer this week didn’t it? All of the contestants seem to have settled down with the idea of the time limits, and we saw a lot more finished pieces! Yet again however; I feel I have been sent upon a whirlwind of Stitching terminology and techniques!

It was all about pattern this week. Matching, using, working and up-cycling with… stripes, florals, patterns!!

First up they made a Box Pleat Skirt in the Pattern Challenge however; they Inverted the Box Pleats which is infinitely more flattering. Matching those patterns across the pleats proved a challenge for many of the contestants, and I shall be addressing a couple tips on this later on in the week as well as sharing how to adapt the Simple A-Line Skirt Tutorial in to a pleated skirt.

During the second challenge- to take two Men’s Shirts and use them to create something new- Chinelo stunned me with her cute Summery top, with sculptural Bow. Patrick was quite right- to have the vision both Chinelo and Tamara had to see something that different was fantastic.

chinelo
Chinelos wonderful bow!

During this week they also inserted a Lapped Zip, Top StitchedSlip Stitched– which was how Julie finished her Waistband off on the inside instead of Top Stitching- Stab Stitched, attached several more Patch Pockets, stitched up Button Holes in a trice, and stitched on Buttons even quicker, and Piped those Pyjamas in the final challenge to within and inch of their lives.

I am being well and truly put through my paces as a Seamstress here, and I can only imagine how their heads must spin after their Sewing Bee days!! If you fancy making yourself some Pyjamas, see my Tutorial here. It’s a great introduction to simple Pattern Making and, made well, Hand Made Pyjamas are a luxury and a great gift! They’re far simpler than the Pyjamas the contestants attempted however; watch out for Tutorials over the next week which will cover Piping, Lapped Zips (a great Vintage technique, which I shall be sharing from my stash of Vintage Dressmaking books), Stab or Hand Pricked Stitch, making the Perfect Bow, and Marking Fabric.

As ever, click the link above to watch the show which will be live for two whole months!! Follow along here- don’t forget to sign up for my Monthly Newsletter in the side bar which contains exclusive offers and info- PinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Happy stitching!