Figgy's Blog

Ayashe: How to lengthen the blouse to a tunic or dress length February 13 2012, 6 Comments

I have a very opinionated little girl.

Over the last years I have learned that with kids everything is a phase. Right now, my daughter is going through an intense phase of not wearing anything but dresses. Pink dresses I might add. I surrendered - getting her into separates is a fight not worth fighting.

I love the Ayashe blouse and how quickly it goes together. How lovely would it be as a tunic or dress? Have you wondered the same? Here a little tutorial on how to lengthen the style.

Here is what I used:

1. Swedish Tracing Paper - I love that stuff and it literally revolutionized my sewing - I am not kidding. It doesn't tear like regular paper or tracing paper, will cling to the fabric, so there is no need to pin the pattern to the fabric AND it totally eliminates the need to carefully cut the pattern pieces prior to cutting into the fabric! Besides that it folds/stores well and can be ironed. A total time saver and therefore a win in my book!

2. Vary Form Rulers - a set of curved rulers that helps strike beautiful curves and is indispensable for paper pattern making. Easier on the budget though is this styling ruler that's kind of all-in-one if you are just starting out to make pattern adjustments.

3. C-Thru Ruler - a straight ruler that is a little easier to handle then a quilting ruler. Yet the later would work the same and if you go with the aforementioned styling ruler, you'll be set anyways.

4. Pencil

5. Measuring tape (not shown - it hung around my neck while I took the picture :))

6. The Ayashe pattern, of course.

The pattern weights are optional and I only used them to accurately trace the blouse pattern from the pattern sheet.

Now let's get to it: Lengthening the main body parts of the Ayashe blouse.
IMG_1958

Can you see my traced blouse pattern piece lying underneath my tracing paper? If you want to start out with the tunic length right away, make sure to start tracing you pattern towards the top edge of your tracing paper to leave enough space to lengthen the hem, at least 9" though.

First, elongate the Center Front (CF - that's the straight line, not the curved one) in a straight line.
IMG_1959

Measure 6" (for size 2/3 and 4/5) down along the extended CF line, and mark with with the pencil.

Here what we recommend per size for a dress ending above the knee:
5" (18mos)
6" (2/3 and 4/5)
7" (6/7) and
7.5" (8/9).

Generally, if you want the outcome to be longer, add a bit more as it is so much easier to shorten, then to lengthen a garment.

At the marking, draw a line in a right angle towards the side seam. It's important that this line is at a right angle - otherwise you'll end up with a funky point or dip in your garment.

Now on to the side seam. With your Vari-form or Styling ruler, find a curve you feel will elongate the existing curve nicely. Cut the little corner like shown above to create a nice line. Don't worry too much, there is no single 'right' curve here. Yet, be careful as to let the curve swing out too much as it will be harder to hem a very dramatic shape at the end.


Now, measure along the new side seam beginning with the original hem, the same length you measured along the CF and mark on that line. In my case, it's again 6".

Then strike a short line in a right angle towards the CF and let it cross the straight hem line.  Again, drawing a right angle at the side seam will ensure your side seams will sew together without a weird angle poking out or dipping in.

Use your Vary-Form or French Curve and find a smooth curve connecting the new hem line with the right-angle-line we just drew.

Your new hem line is almost finished! Final steps is to measure 1" and 3/4" up from the new hem line. Mark both.

Lay your ruler parallel to the CF, intersecting the 1" mark - as shown above,  and transfer the 3/4" mark down to the new hem line.

Join this with the 1" marking. This little angle will help eliminate excess fabric when you hem the dress.
Repeat the same steps with the back piece of the Ayashe and....

TADA!
Your new dress pattern is finished!
Well done!

Curious to see how mine turned out? Here's the final outcome of my pattern adjustment.
A happy camper in a pink floral dress made out of Liberty Art fabric.

Need any tips beyond the instruction booklet on how to put your dress together? Don't forget about Shelly's three part sew along Ayashe post here, here and here! Also did you see Jen's gorgeous hand embroidery for Valentine here? Now, we can't wait to see how your Ayashe turned out? Please share on our flickr group.

 

On a side note: Do you love Liberty Fabrics as much as we do? We are preparing a little surprise give away on this blog - so come back again soon!


just in time for valentine's day February 10 2012, 7 Comments

Today we have a special guest, a dear friend and very talented sewist Jen Carlton Bailly!  Jen had stitched up some cuteness during the sew along and we are so pleased she's is sharing with all of us!  I won't keep you waiting.....

From Jen:

It’s not a secret that I love sewing patterns from Figgy’s.  They are simple, clean, modern and easy.  The Ayashe was no exception. When I read this, “You love your little one and one way you express your love is by hand tailoring a beautiful wardrobe especially for her”, from the front of the Ayashe Pattern I was so inspired to make something beautiful for my daughter. Amelia has so many prints in her closet, so I thought using simple red linen that I had stashed away for something special would be perfect.

While sewing I was reminded of a little shop in Seattle that used to sell clothes from Europe. All of the hand stitching was so beautiful.  Then it came to me, I’ll add a little hand stitching to the front of this to give it a little pop, and it would be perfect for Valentines Day! Below are instructions for how you can do this to your blouse too!

Supplies:

Embroidery floss- I used three strands of white DMC

Hand sewing needle

Water Soluble pen

Ruler

Step One:

Using a ruler and a water-soluble marking pen, make a straight line up the front of your blouse and in between the stitch lines. Carry the line gently to form the heart. I just free handed.

Step Two:

Thread your needle, and tie a knot.  Starting about ½ inch from the start of your line, insert your needle in between the layers of the front and the back of the blouse. Pull your floss all the way through and gently tug on it to pop the knot in-between the layers of fabric.

Step Three:

Using a small running stitch (Pass the needle in and out of the fabric, making the surface stitches of equal length) follow the line that you marked. My stitching was about a ¼ inch.

Continue into the heart. At your last stitch tie a knot and pull it through the fabric the same way you began. 

Step Four:

Repeat on other side.  Spritz marks with water.

Give to a little one you love.

Thank you so much Jen, and thank you A for being so cute!

I hope you are all inspired to add special touches to your Ayashe blouse as I am.

  Remember to add your photos to our flickr group or facebook page!


ayashe sew along; the last day! February 10 2012, 4 Comments

Welcome to the last day of the Ayashe blouse sew along.  It went too fast, that just shows us, that even with all of the wonderful details in this blouse, it is a simple pattern but still tastefully contemporary.

Today we will set in the sleeves and finish the hem.

SLEEVES

I accidentally forgot to take photos of how I hemmed the sleeves.  I got excited, and moved on to the next step.  I am making the 18mo size and I found that turning the raw edge of the sleeve hem 1/8" twice was sufficient and left room for the sleeve to attach to the body.  There is still room if you choose to turn the hem 1/4" twice, but I wanted extra room to set in the sleeves.

I also hemmed the sleeves before I set them.  The reason why is because I find it easier to do this first rather than last for toddler size patterns.  The reason why most don't instruct sewists to do this is if you look at the photos above you'll see that I hemmed and pressed my seam open, but it won't stay flat permanently. To fix this I tacked the seam allowance.  It won't show and it fixes the issue.

See.

To set in the sleeve you will first turn the garment wrong side out.  Insert the sleeves right side facing the right side of the blouse.  Align the markings and underarm seam with the side seam and pin.  You'll see that it fits perfectly, ahhh.

The trick to setting a sleeve in little sizes is not trying to wrap the sleeve around the machine bar but place the presser foot into the sleeve itself.  As you can see above I am sewing on the wrong side of the sleeve inside the sleeve cap.  The machine will take me full circle without any drama.

Pink and press.

BOTTOM HEM

I chose the elastic hem because Ofelia is still young enough to pull the drawstring out of the casing over and over again just for fun.  My sister would have to re thread it over and over again, not for fun.  Also, I am an awesome sister by thinking of her. ;)

First, turn the bottom hem 1/4" and press.  Turn again 1", press and pin.  Leave a 1" opening to feed the elastic through the casing.  I left my opening at the side seam where stitches will be less obvious.  I am without a bodkin so I used a safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing.  Make sure not to twist the elastic and don't let the tail get swallowed or you'll have to re thread.  Overlap the ends of the elastic and stitch together.  Sew the opening closed.

How much elastic should you use?  Good question.  My neice's waist is 20" so I cut 15" of elastic that has a good amount of stretch.  It stretched to 30".  I would go by your child's waist measurement and deduct the amount necessary for the amount of elasticity the elastic has.

For the Draw String method:

On the wrong sides of the shirt hem fuse a 3" piece of interfacing to the blouse on the center bottom front hem.  Sew buttonholes 1/4" to the left and right of  the center front. Refer to day 2 on how to prepare the bias tape.  Once you've press the tape in half, stitch down both edges.  Knot the ends of the tape.  Feed the tape/string into one buttonhole, around the hem line and out the other.

All Done!  Nice work.

Want to see mine?

Back Detail.  My wooden hangers are curved which is causing the back to look a bit "hump back".  I need to purchase some flat hangers.

I don't know about you but I LOVE IT!

I hope you find this sew along to be helpful as you sew your adorable blouse.    Please come back again tomorrow because we have a very special guest hosting a tutorial on how  to make the perfect Ayashe blouse just in time for Valentines Day!

Happy Sewing!


ayashe sew along; day two February 09 2012, 4 Comments

Welcome back to Day 2!

It is nice and bright this morning in Portland and perfect for sew along photos.

We left off yesterday with all of the pattern pieces cut, the upper collar interfaced and we gathered the front shoulders and back panel.  I think we're ready, let's sew!

For a larger view please click on the photo.

Front Seam

Before sewing the center front seam it is best to measure the 1 1/4" seam allowance rather than hope for the best.  This will ensure a nice straight line.

Sew the center front seam from the bottom hem up.  Once you reach the slit marking do a back stitch and then adjust the stitch lenth to the longest length.

Press the seam open and fold the raw edge 1/4" under on both sides of the seam. The Ezy-Hem helper is a great way to measure this long seam so it will be nice and even.  Press flat once more.

Top stitch along both folded edges.  Top stitch again centered between the seam alowance and the stitch line.  Now you may notice I am not perfectly centered between the two.  Why?  Honestly?  I was being lazy.  I decided that if I aligned the presser foot with the center line it would give me a nice straight line all the way down.  You should measure between the two lines, chalk and topstitch.

Shoulder Panels

Align the markings, distribute the gathers evenly and pin.  Sew the seam.

Remove the gathers.  I like to press the seam up on the wrong side and then press again on the right side for a nice clean pressed look.

Repeat with the front shoulder panels.

The shoulder panels are now sewn, pressed and ready for the facing.  Using a seam gauge fold the seam allowances 1/2" towards the wrong side and press.  As you may already know I have an obsession with "Wondertape".  Karen and I used to buy it by the box.   I use it for so many things.  In this case, I'm using it to hold the shoulder panel facing in place on the wrong side when I top stitch on the right side.

If you don't know what "Wondertape" is (for some reason whenever I say the word I want to shout it out like Oprah when she would shout out the name of her guest.) then I'll quickly tell you.  It is wash away double sided tape.  Place the tape on top of the seam allowance, then place the shoulder panel facing on top of the seam allowance.  Other options are to baste the panel in place or use pins.  On the right side of the garment top stitch in the seam (stitch in the ditch) or next to the seam.  I aligned my 1/8" marker on the presser foot along the seam and top stitched.  Remove any baste stitches if used.

Repeat on the back.

Collar Time

Begin by stay-stitching the neck opening.

We have two collar options: Mandarin Collar or Tie String.  I'm going to take you through both.

MANDARIN COLLAR

Press the bottom raw edge of the outer collar (upper) 3/8" towards the wrong side.  Align the raw edges of the inner and outer collar and stitch along the short and long edges.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4" and clip along the curve. This will help reduce bulk and give you a nice smooth finish.

Align the collar raw edges with the neck opening and markings.  Pin and stitch.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4".  Turn the collar towards the wrong side of the garment and smooth the edges.  I used a dull pencil to do this but you can use a turning tool or a knitting needle, just don't use anything pointy and sharp.

Once again, I found another use for my "wondertape" (no they don't pay us to advertise, but they should).  Included in each pattern you purchase is a lovely woven label.  These labels will give the garment that professional touch and they can also serve as hooks to hang the garment (like the Nituna Jacket).  I placed the tape along the seam and then placed the label on top.  Sandwich the Figgy's label between the blouse and the collar and be sure the seam allowance is tucked inside.

Pin and top stitch. Done, unless your hosting a sew along and you need to show the alternative collar option.  A little seam ripping and then we'll be ready.

TIE STRING COLLAR

Yesterday I shared a wonderful "how to" link for making bias tape and if you read it you'll notice in my photo I cheated a little today.  For good reason though!  I love selvedge on Japanese fabric.  Some of them are really unique and I really wanted to use this for the tie string, so I did.  Press the bias tape in 1/2.  Fold both sides in toward the center crease and press.  I also folded and pressed mine once more to ensure a nice clean crease.

Turn the garment wrong side out, open the bias tape and align the right side of the bias tape raw edge and the wrong side of the blouse. Leave an equal amount of tie string hanging off each end of the neck slit.  Pin and stitch.  Use the same method as the mandarin collar mentioned above to attach the label.

Fold the tape in half wrong sides together, press and top stitch from one end to the other.  Tie each tie string end in a small decorative knot.

The last thing I did was sew a little bar tack at the bottom of the neck slit.  I did this for extra security. A backstitch should suffice but I wanted just a little more security for the times when Ofelia wants to pull her blouse on herself toddler style.

Look, it's almost a shirt!

It's beginning to rain now which is perfect timing because day two is complete.  Well Done!

See you tomorrow to finish our Ayashe blouse!

Happy Sewing!

ps.  Did you happen to catch Daniela's comment yesterday?  She's got something gorgeous to show us very soon and you will see she gave us a small piece of her design wisdom.