Thursday, March 1, 2012

When Patterns Claim They Are Easy Part II

I'm finishing up the chiffon blouse and I have two more suggestions for working with sheer fabrics.

Make friends with your iron. 

Pressing after each step will ensure a nice crisp look and help tame your fabric. 

Pressing your garment; the difference between handmade and homemade. 

I have a preference for sewing in interfacing rather than using fusible brands.  I found that if you use just a bit of fabric glue to hold the interfacing to the fabric, it will stabilize the layers making basting easier than using pins. My preference for fabric glue is produced by Sewline.  It is not a permanent glue and will dissolve in the wash.

I trim my interfacing as close as I can get to my basting stitches.  Especially important to remember with sheer fabrics is the interfacing should go on the outside facings; trimmed seams will only be seen from the inside. 

Here is the inside of the collar.  Notice how you can see the trimmed seams.  I also put in stay-stitching to prevent the top of the collar from rolling and to keep the upper edge crisp.  The stay-stitching is on the under collar side.

This is the collar visible from the outside.  The interfacing hides the seam allowances.

Here's the finished blouse.  Black fabric is really tough to photograph, but the good news, it can really hide any imperfections.

Okay, now my rant. 

Here's a portion of the pattern instructions.   They are too vague for a beginner and more illustrations of the steps are needed.  Gone are the days when schools offer sewing in Home Economic classes to give young students a basic sewing knowledge to tackle a pattern labeled "easy".  Also, gone are family members who can offer assistance because they have a knowledge of textiles and sewing techniques. 

The cost of the pattern, fabric, notions and thread is expensive!  I would hate to see a young sewer invest in a project only to become frustrated and hide it in the back of the closet.  Sewing isn't suppose to be a chore, it is the opportunity to create clothing reflecting your personality and setting your look apart from what is available with mass produced goods. 

Maybe a solution would be for these small independent companies to have some sewing tutorials on their websites. Or even notations in their patterns where they could have the steps outlined in more details.  Or better yet, they could label their patterns to actually reflect the skill level needed and write better instructions.

Pattern companies take note, make your patterns to the best of your abilities to ensure a new generation of sewers. 


  1. you go girl! rant about that dang pattern... at least you're a very experienced sewer and pattern reader and could make my blouse for me. thanks mom, i love you!

    1. Your blouse is in the mail. Since there was so much grey chiffon, I thought I would make a peasant top and trim the yoke with some 1910 hand crocheted lace - an urban kind of style. Love you too!!!