Monday, 18 April 2016

Setting in sleeves. How do you do it?

To be honest I have always had difficulty setting in sleeves. Often I catch the garment in the seam, and I always seem to have some little puckers in the sleeve head no matter how hard I try. The result is much frustration and lots of unpicking!

The method I've always used, involves sewing two rows of long ease stitching and pulling up to fit, then trying to smooth out the gathers to fit, and then pinning and machining sleeve side up.

Having failed to set the sleeve in successfully on my latest make, the Emery dress despite the following the excellent instructions on Christine Haynes' sewalong, I thought I'd see if there were any other methods that might work better for me.

Anyway after a quick Internet search. I found this post on Craftsy for a method that involves pinning only! I won't go into too much detail as the blog post on Craftsy is really thorough, but I thought it was worth sharing. 

The key thing to learn from this is that strategic pinning can replace using ease stitches.  The pins should be placed so that they straddle the stitching channel. It also helps to hand baste the sleeve first.  While this may seem extra work, if you are going to have to spend time unpicking your sleeve when it goes wrong, it seems like time well spent to me. Stitching the other way up, with the garment facing upwards, rather than the sleeve as normally advised, allows the feed dogs to help ease the sleeve into place.

One extra thing that I have decided to do from now in is mark the stitching line in with chalk pencil as I don't think previously that my stitching line was very accurate.

The basics steps are as follows

1.Stitching line marked with chalk pencil

Setting in sleeves - mark stitching line

2. Key points pinned first - notches, underarm seam, ease points and shoulder point

Setting in sleeves -  Key points pinned first - notches, underarm seam, ease points and shoulder point

3. Then use lots of pins to ease the sleeve head in

Setting in sleeves - use lots of pins to ease the sleeve head in


4. The seam can then hand-basted and pins can be removed

Setting in sleeves - seam hand-basted and pins can be removed

5. Finally the seam is machine sewn with the garment facing, using the feed dogs to help ease the sleeve in. 
Setting in sleeves - seam is machine sewn with the garment facing, using the feed dogs to help ease the sleeve in.

If you look closely you can see that I had to unpick the sleeve twice before trying this method!

6. The result is a sleeve that are set in properly with no little puckers or gathers. 

Setting in sleeves -sleeves set in properly with no little puckers or gathers.



The good news my Emery dress is nearly complete and I will have a finished make to share with you soon.

Have you tried this method? I am converted. 

Catherine x

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Daisy New Look 6262

So I made New Look 6262 again! I finished this a few weeks ago and if you read my blog you will know that I am now stitching the Emery Dress but I thought I should blog this as I had some photos!

New Look 6262 - dress with gathered sleeve, boat neck and short sleeves


I have made New Look 6262 four times now and I am pretty pleased overall with the fit of this dress. It's a simple dress with bust and waist darts and a gathered skirt, so very wardrobe friendly. I have made changes to the fit of the bodice previously, if you want to read my post here.


It can be made with or without sleeves.This is the second time I have made it with the full sleeves and to be honest there is something not quite right about them.  They don't seem to sit quite right and they pull the bodice slightly I think.  I am sure that I read somewhere  that bodices for sleeve dresses and for sleeved dresses are shaped differently so maybe that is what is wrong as this pattern uses the same pattern piece both both styles of dresses.  Anyone know more about this?

 Anyway it works better as a sleeveless dress I think, although I am still pleased with this dress, and have been wearing it lots.  I think if I was to make it again, I would leave the sleeves off or stick to the little cap sleeves.

New Look 6262 - dress with gathered sleeve, boat neck and short sleeves

The material was lovely to sew with and is a fine cotton from John Lewis. It sticks terribly to tights though so I am wearing a full slip under the dress which may account for some of the odd looking rumples on the bodice.  The other thing is I have lost weight since I fitted this pattern originally so I probably need to go back to the original pattern and start again :(


New Look 6262 - dress with gathered sleeve, boat neck and short sleeves

I wore this dress out on a recent trip to London with my family.  A nice lady stopped me on the tube, and said "I like your dress", It was so nice to be able to say, "Thank you, I made it myself!"

New Look 6262 - dress with gathered sleeve, boat neck and short sleeves

Can you see Oscar photo-bombing?

Catherine x

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Have you heard of The Foldline?

Have you heard of The Foldline?



The Fold Line is a fairly new site that was launched for sewers. I was recommended to me by Poppy in stitches after reading my post about organising my knitting stash on Ravelry, I'd asked if there was something similiar out there for sewers.

I use Pattern Review occasionally but it seems a bit dated and clunky to use sometimes.  Anyway so recently I signed up for The Fold Line and these are my initial thoughts.

It's much more modern looking. You can search through their database of patterns, and like Ravelry, you can add patterns to your own library.  The forum seems good and it's a good place for arranging meet ups with like-minded local stitchers. You can browse and follow members, designers and bloggers, and add friends to  your network.  There is a blog too if you want to follow that. There are also sewing resources that look quite useful, for example links to all your favourite Indie pattern designers sew-alongs. There is even some fun stuff like free sewing themed wallpaper for your computer and sewing themed playlists! I also liked the sewing city guides. I feel some fabric shopping trips coming on!

My initial thoughts about the Fold Line are I like it!  A lot of time and thought has gone in to developing this site.  Not sure how much time I will spend on there yet, but it's good to see a dedicated site like this for us stitchers.

Do you use The Fold Line? What do you think of it? Feel free to add me as a friend. You can find me there under Stylish Stitcher.

Catherine x

Friday, 8 April 2016

Spring/Summer stitching plans for 2016

Hi folks!

Progress is going well with my Emery dress so hopefully I WILL have a dress to share with you soon.  I am definitely into "slow sewing" at the moment, taking my time over it and trying to make things as well as I can...

Anyway my thoughts have turned to Summer. When there was a half price New Look sale recently, I grabbed a few patterns that I thought would be perfect for stitching up some summer clothes.  I am going to France in August, so with this in mind, I thought it would be nice to make myself some new summer clothes and also give myself plenty of time to do this! It's the first foreign holiday I have had for a few years so definitely need some new togs to wear.

Here are my picks for my Spring/Summer 2016 sewing:

First up, a sundress.

Misses' dress in two lengths with strap and trim variations.

I like this pattern as there are lots of different options. Which one would you choose?


My next choice is a gathered summer skirt. Again lots of nice options, and labelled "easy"so should be a fairly quick make.

Misses Skirts and Sash

I have some navy polka dot poplin in my stash that I think would be perfect for this.


Dare I make a jumpsuit? Again lots of options and a choice of halter or shoulder ties, with long and short length and an option for a maxi dress.

Misses' Jumpsuit & Dress Each in Two Lengths

I actually like the playsuit more, and think this will be great for the beach.  Need some drapy fabric for this to work I think though.


A couple of vest tops would be very useful additions to my summer wardrobe.


Misses' Knit Tank Tops

I haven't really made anything in knits before apart from my Coco dresses, so its time to conquer my fears! There are options to make it as a plain top or with a lace yoke or with lace trim.




Finally I think I should tackle some shorts!  I have this pattern is my stash for a while. I think the shorts might be a good option but maybe they are a bit tricky? I also like the skirt option that comes with this pattern.




I will have to have a think about the shorts though. Can anyone recommend a good pattern for shorts that's not too difficult?

I'd also love to know what you've got planned. 

Catherine x