Sunday, January 31, 2010

High and Tight: The Waistband Tutorial

I am fond of the waistband. Since I am so short-waisted and hippy, I will wear any skirt high and slim on the waist, and that means a faced waistband. The instructions in commercial patterns are typically horrid, but I have come across a rare educational treat on occasion. From my many waistband attempts I have developed a method that works best for me. Here's what I do:

1. After fusing interfacing onto the facing sides of your waistband pieces, with RS (right sides) facing, stitch the sides to the fronts. Iron open seams.

2. This step is to prep for 'stitching in the ditch' later, and it's such a time saver! On the facing sides of your waistband, stitch a line 1/8" less than your seam allowance along the bottom edge. For this skirt, my seam allowances are 5/8", so I stitched a line at 4/8".

3. Now iron up edge along your stitch line. This is so much better than having to measure along as you iron.

4. Now pin the facing side and outside of your waistbands together, RS together, and stitch along the top edge. Be sure to pin and match seams first, the the centers, and then the centers of centers. That way, everything is neat and matched and will ease together.

5. Now 'grade' the interfaced layer by trimming away half of the seam allowance; then clip up to your stitches every 1/2" or so along the top edge. Flip so that WS are together and iron on the right side.

You'll end up with this: A lovely band just waiting to get attached!

6. Next, with RS together, pin the outside of your waistband to the outside of your skirt along the top edge. Again, be sure to match seams first, then stitch.

7. Clip curve before pressing. The easiest way to iron is to open the waistband and press seam allowances up and into the inside. Then flip over to the RS of your skirt and iron again. Since we're about to stitch in the ditch, make sure that your seam is really ironed well.

8. Fold facing side of waistband over, encasing all seam allowances and ugly fraying bits along the top edge. The prepped ironed crease should cover the stitches on the WS of the skirt by 1/8". Pin along the WS of the skirt, with the pins out of the way enough to sew over.

9. Here's the fun part: stitching in the ditch! Sew on the RS of the skirt, with your needle inside the seam that connects the waistband to the skirt. Go slow, and stitch along the entire waistband seam. There is a presser foot that has a little seam guide on it that can help... but I personally enjoy the thrill of free handing it.

9. That's it! Check on the wrong side of the skirt to make sure that your ditch stitches caught all the waistband, and go over spots that might of been missed. You slip stitch or machine stitch these spots.
If you used a thread color that matches well, and if your ditch stitching was not perfect, no one will be the wiser.

Enjoy your beautiful waistband!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January Dress of the Month

I finished the sample for the January DOTM class, and It's freakin' awesome. Simple, neat details, and I thoroughly enjoyed the neckline construction. I had originally thought it would be an annoying yoke situation with stitching in the ditch or wacky turning or even narrow hems.. but it was rather neat! I am such a sewing nerd these days that any unexpected trick makes me jump with joy.
I made the tunic dress variation with pointy shaped yoke and elastic 3/4 sleeves. Unfortunately, because I DO love cutting corners; I did not use the 'elastic measurement guide' and just cut a size that seemed to fit around my arms, and now they are a bit snug. I am hoping they will stretch a bit while wearing. I hate tight arms.

Next time I promise I'll have someone take my picture so that you can see the whole thing on a human.