what a week! February 15 2014, 8 Comments
There are some amazing crafters showing off their Figgy's Creations this week so make sure to come back and check them all out!
HAPPY SEWING - Shelly
conquering a zip fly May 15 2012, 5 Comments
Good news! It's easier than you think, I promise!
I've inserted a lot of zippers in my time but for the last 6 years they have mostly been the closed seam, invisible centered or exposed zipper applications. Daniela's Banyan pant design called for just a slight overlapped zipper, which is the more modern look. I love photos & illustrations because I'm a "visual" type of gal and lucky for me when we were writing instructions for this pattern Daniela sent over photos (yay) to help make sure we were clearly guiding our sewists. Now that the patterns have been released I thought what better way to make sure everyone has enough visual aids then to share these great photos with you! So, here you go:
Once you have interfaced the fly flap, sewn the center seam beginning 1/2" below the fly flap and baste stitched from the bottom of the flap to the waist hem. Press the fly flap open and change the presser foot to the zipper foot on the machine.
If you have sewn most of the Figgy's patterns by now then you know that my most favorite notion is Wondertape. You really can't beat it (if you think you can then please leave us a comment we love new knowledge) especially when installing a zipper. I place the Wondertape along the right side of the zipper tape close to the edge (not the teeth). This double sided tape will hold the zipper in place while you sew and you don't have to worry with pins. With the zipper unzipped, align the right side of the zipper top edge with the waist hem and the zipper teeth with the basted seam line. Stitch the tape in place. Be sure that only the fly flap is resting on the sewing plate and not the pants and fly. Remember to backstitch!
Close the zipper. Turn the pants upside down, align the opposite zipper tape to the opposite fly flap. Again, make sure only the fly flap is resting on the sewing plate and not the pants. Stitch the zipper in place.
Change back to the regular machine presser foot and turn the pants so the right side is facing up. With most pants you can simply feel the curve of the fly flap from the right side with your finger. Using a chalk or fabric pen mark this curve from the waist to the center seam. Change the stitch length to 2.5 - 3.0 for a nice looking topstitch. If your machine has a nice topstitch try using a contrasting thread. After top stitching along the marking remove the baste stitches and unzip the zipper.
A fly extension will keep the zipper from rubbing your little one's skin and it gives a nice professional touch. With the right sides facing, fold the extension in half lengthwise and press flat. Stitch a crescent shape along the bottom raw edge. Trim the seam and turn right side out. Using a point turner smooth the seam and press flat once again. Finish the long raw edges by using a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears.
Align the finished edge of the extension with the fly flap edge behind the zipper. Edgestitch through all of the layers from the right side of the pants.
All done! Not so bad was it?
Here is a look at the finished zipper after the waistband is sewn in place. Nice!
Thank you Daniela for providing these photos and we all hope you're having an amazing time visiting family in Germany (lucky girl)!
kelly hogaboom strikes again... May 08 2012, 6 Comments
....and thank goodness she has! The last time Kelly came for a visit we all gained so much knowledge in regards to sewing with knits. If you haven't had the chance to read through that post please schedule the time, it's worth it! Now, Kelly is back providing us with new sewing knowledge on a topic that many sewists have been very interested in: customizing a pants pattern to create the perfect fit. Thank you so much Kelly for sharing this with all of us. We feel privledged to have you visiting once again.
I have the honor to work with Shelly and Daniela at Figgy's Patterns and their
wonderful garment pattern designs for children and tweens - in this
case one of their latest: the Banyan shirt, tunic,
pants and shorts. Today I have for you a tutorial for custom
sewing pants for your child. But let me give you a spiel first.
One of the best things about learning to sew clothing is you can make
exactly what someone wants, using colors, fabrics, and
embellishments just for them. You can construct the garment in a way
that fits them perfectly and feels better to wear than anything
purchased ready-to-wear (RTW). And finally - these clothes last longer
than even rather expensive retail products. Yes, it takes time to
build these skills, but today I CAN HAZ THEM, and I love to share
Specifically what I'm going to show you today concerns sewing
trousers for the tall and/or slim child.
My children have typically been slim for their age and size. When it
comes to pants, in RTW this means buying slim-fit trousers, elastic
waist pants, or using belts - all of which have drawbacks and
limitations. But in sewing we have the opportunity to create custom
fit, and here's how I did it.
First, I measured my client - in this case, my eight year old son.
Here are his measurements in inches, with the corresponding Banyan
pattern size in parenthesis:
Height: 51 1/2" (size 8/9)
Chest: 24 1/2" (size 6/7)
Waist: 22" (size 4/5)
Hip: 23" (size 4/5)
In making pants, the next thing to consider is where your child tends
to like to wear his or her clothing. In Nels' case, he wears in
between his hip and his waist. Both these body measurements are in the
4/5 size. And since his height corresponds to size 8/9, I'll simply
adjust the fit to correspond to a size 4/5 body girth and a size 8/9
If you trust the pattern's draft, you can adjust the pant fit
according to the pattern's waist size. Let me describe another method
to determine which size to grade to, or a way to double-check waist
sizing at a selected size.
On a flat or pleated - that is, non-elastic - pair of pants, the
length around the front waist, side seam to side seam, should
correspond to front body's wearing waist, ideally bisecting the
side-body. Said another way, the front body section of the pants'
waistband should reach halfway around the body at the wearing waist.
Flat-front pants with pockets, or pleated pants, take a moment to
figure out, but it's pretty simple really (see below). This
pattern has a 1/2" seam allowance. So measuring 1/2" in from the top
raw edge, I drew lines (shown in red) from the center front
(dashed line at left), skipping over the pleats (which
will reduce to zero once sewn), and extending to within 1/2" or
one seam allowance, of the side seam.
But - we're not finished! Remember, the pockets will extend the front
waist of the pants. In the case of this pattern, figuring the added
length is very easy: simply fold the pocket piece in half (as the
pocket will be when finished) and measure the distance from the
slanted raw edge to the side raw edge - AT the size selected (shown
here, 4/5). Add these red-line measurements up.
For the 4/5 size, the finished front pant measurement was 12"
(and, spoiler alert!, when I finished the pants, they were 12"
exactly). Obviously your cutting, tracing, measuring, and
stitching abilities will all affect the outcome of this method, and if
it seems too complex put it aside, or write me an email. However,
thinking this way about clothing is a good technique to learn.
On to tracing and cutting. When making a smaller girth to height, the
pant leg is a fairly simple adjustment: since I wanted the length of
the 8/9 size, plus 1/2", I simply traced from the crotch point of the
4/5 size in a smooth curve onto the thigh of the 8/9 cutting line
(you can see my resultant cutting line below, in red).
For the other side of the pant front leg, the difference between a 4/5
and an 8/9 is so minimal - about 1/8" as marked, I didn't do any
grading at all but just cut along the 8/9.
Layout: This pant pattern only includes one back pocket. You can see
my pocket piece near the center of the photo, waiting to be cut after
I cut the rest and unfold it (this is a great opportunity to cut a
bias pocket if you have a cute pattern on your fabric, stripes,
corduroy, et cetera). I added 1/2" to the length of the pant legs
for a bit of growth room. To do this, I simply extended the bottom hem
of the front and back pant leg - using the large ruler you see laying
on my pant front pattern piece.
One more comment about cutting. The waistband for the Banyan pants and
shorts is a bit of genius. It is a three-part waistband, with a long
back waistband fully-elasticized and corresponding to the side-seams
of the pants, and a left front and left right flat (i.e.
non-elasticized) waistband. In a case like this I typically cut
the front waistbands a bit longer, to make sure I don't run out of
room later. Waistbands can be kind of a pain and I'd rather add a
little extra now, than rip out stitches and/or add darts and/or cut
new pieces later.
After cutting according to your adjustments, the rest of
construction follows the pattern instructions. I'll continue here
to write a bit about constructing the pants. You can skip to the
bottom of the post if you'd like to see the fit difference my
To prepare the pants for sewing, I marked darts, pleats, and pocket
placement, interfaced appropriate sections, and pre-serged a few
For marking, I prefer either water-soluble marker or chalk or thread.
I used pencil in this case as I knew it would wash out.
I typically insert a needle through the pattern to get perfect
placement of marks. Here you see the inner pocket placement upper
edge. After pushing the needle through the paper, I carefully lift the
pattern and mark, on the right side, the pocket placement.
Pocket placement markings on the right side of the garment. The little
bump at waist-edge is the dart head.
For the darts, I used the same needle method to mark the termination
of the darts on the wrong side of the pants. I make these
markings simultaneously on both left and right pattern pieces.
Given there is a 1/2" seam allowance, I give myself license to mark
the dart heads by notching. Below in the center of the picture you can
just make out my 1/8" notches, which will be matched up and stitched,
Now, the front pleats. Here you can see I notched and drew the pleat
headings with red, and used my trusty pencil for the pleat termination
After marking and/or notching, I interfaced and pre-finished a few
seam allowances. I used a serger for finishing on this project. For
this pattern, I recommend finishing the edges of the cuff pieces, the
edges of the fly extension/guard (center of photo, rectangular
piece), and all four crotch seams, front and back pantleg. For
interfacing, follow directions in the pattern - interfacing one of
each waistband, the fly extension/guard, and the fly extension on the
front flaps of the pants (at left). Interfacing the fly
extension on the pants front will make a lot nicer fly - promise.
We will be serging/finishing more seams as we sew.
Now we get to stitch a little! Here is a finished dart:
After sewing I steam-press, then carefully knot the thread and use a
tiny dab of anti-fray glue.
Now it's time to make the pocket!
In this picture you see the pressed front pleats (left), and
the pressed pocket with finished embroidery. The embroidery is my
son's drawing of Uranus, traced onto one of my favorite little
helpers, Sulky's Fabri Sticky-Solvy. I keep my sticky
stabilizer scraps (like the red type you see here) so I can
use it for all kinds of stabilizing jobs. It washes away easily and
makes things a lot easier than tracing, basting stabilizers, etc!
Creating the fly:
I use an extra long zipper whenever possible. That way I can sew
without coming anywhere near the zipper pull. Just be careful not to
cut the top of the zipper off until you're about to secure that top
raw edge. If you aren't going to need to zip up the zipper during the
rest of construction, you can stop at this stage and apply safety pins
along the zipper tape so you don't accidentally pull the zipper pull
right off the cut zipper tape (ask me how I've learned this, the
Here you see the finished inside of the pants, including the bar tack
in white. The pattern calls the piece in foreground a fly extension -
I've also heard it called a fly guard (my son calls it "wiener
protection", which I think is awesome).
Outseams: I like to stitch, serge, then topstitch. This is easy to do
as the inseams aren't sewn and we can work in the flat with ease.
Outseam with pocket:
After serging and topstitching, I serged the pants hem. Again, easy to
do as we've not yet sewn the inseam:
Now to stitch, then serge, the inseam! Here you see the crotch curves,
already pre-serged. We'll have a very tidy finish when we're done.
Finally - it's time for the waistband. This is a bit picture-heavy,
but I'm trying to demonstrate how to do a quick, yet good-looking and
I sewed the outer waistband on first (you can see the
water-soluble blue pen for my fly stitching, here).
Next, I stitched the inner waistband, at 1/16" larger seam allowance
so no stitches would show on the outer edge of the garment. Don't
worry if you don't get this perfect. The only person who's going to
inspect your waistband is you. Here you also see the gap in the inner
waistband for inserting the 3/4" elastic.
Waistbands both attached.
Trimming. Remember when I said I made my front waistbands a little
longer than the pattern? Here's where I correct if needed.
Grading seams eliminates bulk. It makes a big difference for wear and
comfort, and it can also make a huge difference if you have more
construction steps. Here, we're just about done with the pants, so
don't skimp! The general rule is, leave the longest seam allowances
where they will be facing the public side of the garment. So here in
the foreground you see the inner waistband, behind that the pant
front, and behind that the outer waistband.
Topstitching the waistband. I start here on the underlap where you
won't be seeing the overlapping stitches.
Have I mentioned how much I love linen? It is so crisp it's easy just
to finger fold and sew. Remember though to fold enough of a seam
allowance and stitch so that the waistband won't ravel later. And go
careful over those zipper teeth. My 1950 Singer is a champ, but my
newer, pricey Juki will grind on a metal zipper tooth, break the
needle, and scare the camp out of me.
Still topstitching. Again, my desire isn't topstitching perfection so
much as sturdiness and no waistband ripples. That said...
Even my quick and dirty results look pretty nice. Go check your RTW
pants and compare! The waistband is also delightfully light, thanks to
that grading work.
A few words on tidy thread tails. I like to make invisible knots so
there are no ugly thread snarls or tails. Here after inserting and
stitching the elastic, I pull both thread tails firmly to the inside
of the garment. Then I thread a needle and stab it right through where
the thread tails end, emerging a little further down through the
inside of the waistband...
Then I pull the threads all the way through (you can see a little
loop just before I snug them up)...
After snugging and snipping, the thread tails are secure and invisible!
Okay, now for a few comments on the finished garment and fit. Here you
see my adjusted version:
And here's the 8/9, made without adjustment:
While the Banyan trouser, by virtue of an elasticized back waistband
and a fair amount of dart and pleat action to boot, is designed to
have a full seat and thigh, you can clearly see superior results after
adjusting for proper size. The too-large waist of the 8/9 pants meant
using a shorter elastic in the backwaist, leading to an overly-full
thigh and very bunchy bum.
And finally: here's how the pocket turned out:
This rendering of Uranus is a simple drawing of my son's, taken from a
larger solar system sketch he drew. My son selected Uranus for his pocket
as it's one of his favorite planets, with its "sideways" axis of
rotation and complicated ring system. This sketch may be a little less
than cosmically-complex, but the "ring system" does glow
in the dark.
Thanks for joining me in my tutorial, and if you have any questions,
please do email or comment below! firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Kelly!!! I hope you come back again soon because YOU rock our socks :)
spring & summer 2012 April 15 2012, 22 Comments
It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to our Figgy's Spring and Summer line.
Sizes: 18mo - 8/9yr
A Royal Navy term for a short period of rest and relaxation.
You have asked for boys and knit patterns and we delivered! This pattern
package is chock full of handsome and stylish staples that will easily take
you through any season and will work equally well for boys and girls!
What more could you ask for?
The pants are a modern design with a pleated flat front and our signature adjustable
back. You choose between a long leg length or a severely cute pair of
shorts. The pant is tapered through the legs and ends with a fold up that
just takes this style up a couple of notches! Pair it with this easy to make
tee or choose between a girls slim fit handkerchief hem or tunic length tee.
We promise to help elevate your sewing ability while we guide you step
by step through a professional fly zip installation and plenty of sewing
tips for wovens and knits!
The constellation of winds blowing hot air from Sahara into Europe.
As a child, growing up in Germany, Scirocco meant hot summer days and
nights. The scent of sunscreen, swimming pools, ice cream and barbecues.
It meant swimming in cool waters and hanging out with friends
along the waters edge. An incredible sense of self, freedom and a terribly
Celebrate your summer by sewing your girl(s) this beautiful airy summer
dress - with a fun and funky twist which surely will make your little one
feel extra special. We are sure she will always remember the summer
when she got this favorite dress! Opt for light weight fabrics and try it
in sophisticated solids with pretty lace accents along the front or play it
up with beautiful prints. The results will make you wish for hot summer
Mild winds blowing from the Pacific.
A pattern combo that surely fits the famous California lifestyle. Just think about your family strolling down the beach promenade in Venice Beach, your little girl skipping ahead, wearing this adorable romper or breezy sundress. Picking up a sea shell or twenty along the way. The sundress is a quick and simple sew, perfect for a beginning seamstress.
The romper however is a little more advanced as it is a little more time consuming especially using the recommended knit body/woven yoke combo. Yet with many trips and tricks sprinkled throughout the instructions, we are sure to help elevate your sewing experience.
(Please drag your mouse to the number 360p to enlarge to 720p HP, thank you)
I hope you enjoyed the little peak at our Spring & Summer line and please come back tomorrow as we begin our PRE-SALE event. Our pre-sale event includes 10% off any purchased pattern. We are scheduled to ship all patterns by May 10, 2012!!
Daniela & Shelly
little boy bow tie tutorial March 20 2012, 2 Comments
I am excited to announce that our favorite guest blogger, Jen Carlton Bailly is back with 2 new really fun and rewarding projects and today she'll be sharing 1 of them. With wedding season around the corner, along with Easter and Passover, I'm sure a few parties will be happening and Jen has designed the most adorable boy accessory for all of those special occasions or just for fun on a Friday night. Today she is sharing the "Little Boy Bow Tie Tutorial".
From Jen Carlton Bailly of www.bettycrockerass.com
One thing I love to see is a little boy in a bow tie with a rumpled shirt and jeans. It’s probably the love of all things from The Preppy Hand Book in me. But it’s also teaching our boys that dressing up and looking nice is cool and awesome!
Ready to create this simple tie? It’s a little bit over-sized and oh so cute!
- Scraps of fabric in varying widths at least 12 inches long
- 1 piece of 4 by 4 inch solid fabric for the center of the tie
- 1 piece of 4½ inch by your child’s neck measurements (shirt on) plus 1 ½ inches in solid for the neck strap
- 1 piece of 1 inch Velcro
- 1 piece of fusible interfacing cut to 6 by 7 inches (I used Pellon 906F)
- 1 piece of card stock cut to 6 by 7 inches
- Point turner or knitting needle to poke out corners
- Liquid Stitch
Step One: Making a String Block (as it’s know in quilting)
- After cutting your card stock and fabric strips, lay them out over the paper at a diagonal to determine your order. Most of my strips did not measure over 2 inches wide
- Set your machine on a really tight stitch width. I usually sew at 2 for this I set mine at 1. This helps to perforate the paper and make it easy to tear off
Step Two: Sewing the fabric to the paper
- Lay the middle strip down, then your next strip on top of it right sides together
- Sew a ¼ inch seam
- Fold over your strip and press flat with a dry iron
- Continue this process on each side until you have covered the paper
Step Three: Squaring up your block
- Turning your block upside down-paper facing up, use your ruler and rotary cutter to square it up trimming the fabric
Step Four: Taking of the paper
- Since you used a nice small stitch, taking the paper off will be like tearing a perforated coupon out!
- Stick your finger under the paper, and gently tug. The paper should come lose, bend it back and gently tear.
- Continue until all the paper is off.
(FYI: If you are a garment sewer, you actually just became a quilter too! You did your first quilt string block!)
Step Five: Interfacing and Sewing
- Following the manufactures guidelines for your fusible interfacing, attach it to the back of your block
- Fold the block in half on the 7 inch side right sides together
- Your block should measure 3 ½ by 6 inches
- Make a 1 ½ inch mark in the middle at the raw edges (this will be were you will turn your tie inside out.
- Stitch all the raw edges with exception to where you marked
- Make sure your stitch length is back to where you normally have it
- Clip the four corners on the diagonal being careful not to cut into the stitch line
Step Six: Turn out and Top Stitch
- Turn your block inside out, take care to poke out the corners with a point turner (as pictured) or a knitting needle
- Press flat (the flatter you get it the nicer it will look)
- Top stitch using a 1/8th inch seam allowance
TIP! Increase your stitch length a bit when top stitching. You’ll get a nicer looking stitch.
Step Seven: Forming the Bow Tie
- Pick the side of the tie that you like best
- Find the middle and pinch in place
- Stitch down the middle to hold it in place (I went back and forth a few times to ensure it was secure)
Step Eight: Making the Center and Neck Strap
- Using the 4 by 4 inch piece of fabric, fold it in half and press
- Open it up; fold the sides in to meet the center and press
- Fold at the center and press
- Top stitch
- Fold in half and match raw edges
- Stitch a ¼ inch to form a circle
- Turn so the raw edges are facing in
- Complete the same process for the neck strap
- Measure the neck WITH the shirt on (add 1 ½ inches to this)
- Cut out
- Fold each end up by ¼ inch
- Follow above directions with exception to the last three points
- Top stitch along all edges
Step Nine: Finishing the Bow Tie
- Slip the ring onto the tie by compressing it
Step Ten: Finishing the Strap
Note: I realize that not everyone is going to like to glue on their Velcro. This just happens to be my favorite product right now. It dries clear, is super strong and I don’t have to have stitch marks! Do what works best for you.
- Taking your strap position the Velcro at the ends
- Add a dap of Liquid Stitch and apply the Velcro to the fabric.
- Take note of the 3rd photo below-one piece will go on the top side, the other on the bottom side
- Let dry for recommended time
Step Eleven: Completing the tie
- Fold your strap in half
- Feed through the back of the tie
- Try it on
- Admire your work and enjoy creating a hand made wardrobe
(Zeke calls it his “party boy tie”)
Here is the same tie using one fabric. Do what you love or better yet, what your little guy would love best. Involving him in the process will probably help encourage him to keep it on longer!
Thank you so much Jen for gifting us with another terrific tutorial! Thank you Z for being SO DARN CUTE! Look at those eyes. Stay tuned because Jen has one more wonderful tutorial coming our way for the upcoming holiday.
Enjoy preparing for your future event and Happy Sewing!