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READER SERVICE NO. 168
april/may 2004 3
MACHINE

TOPSTITCH FOR A

DECORATIVE FINISH

20
APRIL I MAY 2 0 0 4 N U MBER 1 1 2

features
up front 30 Fabrications: A Versatile Wrap-Front Top
Simple shape and clean, interesting style lines lend themselves to
6 Contributors 16 Questions professional, sporty, and dressy interpretations
Flat, crisp seams, hems Online extra: The editors and dressmaker Norma Bucko work out
8 Letters for layered skirts, the details of this new feature
patterns for children,
by the Threads editors
12 Tips tailor's loops
Removable godets,
copying patterns, using
sheets for muslin,
20 Basics
Machine topstitch
34 An Easy Hidden-Button Placket
It's sleek, looks expensive, and you can decide to do it even after
making hang-dry for a flat, strong,
hangers, sewing with your garment's been cut out
decorative finish
metallic thread by Allison Page

26 Fitting
To pull pants over wide
hips, you may need a
36 Dream Machines
second zipper They're superb, so put the top-of-the-line combination
sewing/embroidery machines on your wish list-even if
embroidery isn't your thing
Online extra: A video captures some of the machines in action
DREAM
by Judith Neukam

44 How to Measure a Pattern to Assess Its Fit


Before cutting, check your pattern's measurements against
your own
by Barbara Emodi

47 To Make Colorful Striped Fabric Take Your


Cues from Quilters
Combine a personal palette with two quilting techniques-you'll have
.. ",.,. fabric that begs to be sewn and worn
by Nancy Shriber

Ins iratTaunton
The
p ion for hands-Press
on living®
FABRICATIONS:

A VERSATILE

WRAP·FRONT TOP

30

www.threadsmagazine.com
52 Draping Necklines on Commercial Patterns
For an easy-to-visualize design experience, use sample fabric to
work out style variations on a favorite top
by Shirley Botsford

57 Playing with Design: Waistlines


Add panache to skirts and pants by enhancing the
waistband or facing
by Sarah Veblen

60 Four Fast Serger Finishes for Sportswear


Put a professional touch on ribbings, elastic edges,
casings, and hems
by Pamela Busque

in the back
66 Delicious 80 Tools of
Details the Trade
Flounces Coordinated stamp
and embroidery
70 Machine designs, pattern-
Embroidery grading rulers,
Understand density to UltraThimble
avoid stiff or wimpy
stitchouts 88 Advertiser
Index/Web
76 Exploring Directory
Design
Threads Fabric 90 Closures
Shopping Spree Ode for a Singer
Online extra: More
photos of winner Kate 92 Back Cover
Davis's trip to New York Crushed velvet
City and Threads opera coat
Co n t r ib u t o r s
Pamela Busque ("Four Fast Serger Finishes for Sports­
wear"), manager and serger expert of the Manchester Sewing TH READS
18
Machine Center in Manchester, Connecticut, admits that her
serger is more valuable to her than her car. Pamela's love affair Editor
Carol Spier
with the machine began years ago, when there weren't
Art Director
many books, videos, or classes to supplement her bare-bones
Karen Meyer
serger manual. After a few years of using her serger only to
finish seam allowances, she set out to uncover its creative Senior Editor
possibilities. When her two children were young, Pamela started teaching classes at the Center David Page Coffin

and discovered a love of the classroom; she now directs their thriving education program. Associate Editors
Carol J. Fresia, Jennifer Sauer
Pamela wryly remarks that, besides sewing, her hobby these days is "paying for college."
Assistant Editor
Judith Neukam

Susan Fears Pamela Howard Copy/Production Editor


Jennifer M. Themel
("Understand Density ("Machine Topstitch
to Avoid Stiff or for a Flat, Strong, Associate Art Director
Linda Boston
Wimpy Stitchouts") Decorative Finish") is
was an educator for known to her clients Editorial Secretary
April Mohr
Bernina for nearly five and students as the
Contributing Editors
years, but her sewing Topstitching Queen.
Susan B. Allen, Barbara Emodi,
career began much Pam thrives on fine­ Linda Lee, Mary Ray
earlier. With a degree in computer science, and tuning details. To create the raincoat on the
a master's in fashion design, she started in the cover of this issue, she used three sewing Publisher
Elizabeth Conklin
apparel industry as a computer expert and machines: her industrial machine for assembly,
Marketing Manager
textile designer. As an educator, Susan then two others for the topstitching. Pam is
Nancy Clark
traveled and taught, helped in product busy taking her custom-clothing business,
Single Copy Sales Manager
development, and judged the annual Bernina "Pamela's Closet" (www.pamelascouture Mark Stiekman
Fashion Show. She also edited Fashion and closet. com), in a new direction: she now
Imagination, the publication that documents teaches her sewing and fitting techniques Advertising Director
Jeff Dwight
the garments from the show. Susan is now a in the Atlanta area.
manager for a Bernina dealership in Texas. Advertising Sales Manager
Angelyn Termini

Nancy Shriber ("To Account Managers


Shirley Botsford's ("Draping Necklines on Make Colorful Striped Lori J. Galanis, Tracey Lenahan

4
Commercial Patterns") life has always revolved Fabric Take Your Cues Senior Sales Support Associate
Marjorie Brown

8,
around sewing and textiles. When she was from Quilters"), of
years old, her mother taught her to cut out Springfield, Virginia, is a Sales Support Assistant

0882-7370) 06470-
Cindy Nesline
paper patterns. At her father refused to give nationally recognized

5506. 203-06470 426-8171.


her an allowance, so she sold hand-loomed pot teacher, artist, writer, and

'5<;8�
Threads: (lSSN: is published bimonthly

#123210981.
holders door-to-door. In junior high, she made designer. She designs by The Taunton Press, Inc., Newtown, CT
Telephone Periodicals postage

$78.95 $32.95 -a(;


the majorette uniforms for the high school and sells one-of-a-kind garments under the paid at Newtown, CT and at additional mailing

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band. When she got to high school she took a Contemporary Sashiko label, showcasing her offices. GST paid registration

]
91. $96.95$6.$38.9995 $66.95
job doing alterations for an exclusive local signature sashiko-inspired quilting technique, Subscription Rates: U.S. and Canada: for
one year, for two years, for three years
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which took her to Japan for a year. Since then, No. Although Nancy keeps a busy schedule and Canada: for one year, for two

Thre5506,
ads,
years, for three years (payable in U.S. funds).

63
she has designed extensively for Simplicity; of teaching engagements, she participates in Single copy, in the U.S., and in Canada.

06470-5506.
her quilt and home-decor patterns are numerous quilt and wearable-art competitions
Postmaster: Send address changes to The
consistent best-sellers. Today she designs and and belongs to national and local guilds and Taunton Press, Inc., S. Main St., PO Box
Newtown, CT
teaches from her busy Victorian-era bed-and­ organizations. She finds relaxation and balance
breakfast in Beacon, New York. in hand-sewing her sashiko pieces. Printed in the USA

6 TH READS
Threads
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READER SERVICE NO, 182
Threads
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READER SERVICE NO, 66
800-888-8286 SUMMER 2004
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Copyright by The Taunton Press, Inc, No

READER SERVICE NO, 111


reproduction without permission of The Taunton Press, Inc,

april/may 2004 7
Le t t e r s
F R O M T H E E D ITO R

A year ago our offices were swamped with


ANNOUNCING
THREADS 2004
entries from sewing enthusiasts hoping to
I N SPI RED BY

win76-the77, Threads Fabric Shopping Spree. On


pp. you'll see what a wonderful experience grand-prize
It's time for the fifth annual I nspired
by Threads Design Challenge. Entry
forms with photos or slides of gar­
m e nts i nspired by issues No. 109
winner Kate Davis had last November, when she was Threads'
through 114 are due to Threads by
guest for a day of shopping in New York City's garment district,
July 30, 2004. Visit www.threads
and then visited our offices for a sewing lesson with the staff. We've kept in touch with magazine.com or call 800-283-
Kate and know that she's been happily sewing the fabric she purchased that day­ 7252, ext. 3523 for an entry form
you'll see a photo of her first completed garment on our Web site, www.threads and the Chal lenge rules. You can
see last year's win ners and final ists
magazine.com, along with more shots of the whirlwind day she spent touring shops
at www.threadsmagazine.com.
and picking out fabric with assistant editor Judith Neukam and me.
We'd like to interact with you as well, and for the next couple of months, we're invit­
ing you to join us on Gatherings, your discussion board on our Web site, to chat with great magazine with terrific articles and
the staff about Threads-this is your chance to tell us what you find interesting (or not) easy-to-read instructions.
about the magazine and suggest ways we can enhance your sewing experience. There As I am in the process of making a supply

1 1, 2004.
will be a weekly poll, too, where you'll have the opportunity to voice a preference about of shirts for myself, the article of immediate

Carol Spi r, E o
a variety of topics; we invite you to log on every week from March to May interest was "The Magic Yoke." It truly is
magic-I have just completed my first, and it
e dit r
certainly won't be the last. Not only does it
mean that there is no topstitching or hand
O n e h u n d red and eleven issues and And on p. 82 was Enid Wilson's amazing stitching, but doing three pieces at once
sti l l going strong basket-weave jacket. This j acket deserves a means a quicker job.
Congratulations on the latest issue. Threads place in some museum's clothing collec­ E velynne Crisp,
is always good, but this issue is exceptional. tion-or on the back cover of Threads. Brisbane, Australia
The method for lining and underlining in All in all, the whole issue is amazing.
one step was a highlight of the magazine. Sh aron Wilki nson, Lon don, England O n l i n e video ti ps-a great resou rce
What a brilliant idea! I'm thinking of how I Just wanted to tell you I am thrilled with the
can use it to make a quilt, pushing filling in­ New s u bscriber is sewi ng away new video tips featured on your Web site.
to individual pockets and finishing the back I greedily read my first issue from cover to Fantastic! I'm inspired by the crushed velvet
and the front at the same time. cover and was not disappointed-this is a technique, and am tickled to learn a new
way to put in a fly zipper. This is a terrific
use of your resources, and I look forward to
On t h e roa d more. Thanks very much!
Threads will have a booth at the shows I-X Center Kim G rant, Salt Lake City

Original Sewing &.


listed here. Please stop by to say hello.

Quilt Expos
18-20
Cleveland, OH (Brookpark)
March

CB cent
Harborview Center
Threads a bbrevi ations key
CF
Worcester's Centrum Center

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te ly s.RSa. seam
Worcester, MA To savesometspace, centeerr fbackront
March 4-6 weabbr i m es
April

ms. WS wrong side


heseetViferarequent
Gwinnett Civic Center
aldleowance
11-13
Atlanta, GA (Duluth) For more information, log on to:
tused f i g ht Si
March www . sewingexpo.com

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READER SERVICE NO. 71

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april/may 2004 9
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F R O M R E A D E R S TO R EA D E RS

Removable godets make for a quick change


Transform the mood of a plain skirt by inserting a removable godet
Make
into the garment's slit. As occasions vary, so can the godets you
exchangeable
use. To m ake the pattern, measure the length of the slit in you r godets to

skirt and add 2 inches for finishing and hemming the edges. coordinate with

blouses or jackets.
Use that dimension to cut a bias triangle of contrasting

fabric, then finish the sides and hem the bottom . Sew

corresponding snaps to the inner edges of the skirt's slit

and the godet edges. Sew the first snap at the top of the

slit and enough snaps on each side, between the top and hem,

to p revent gaps. So go ahead and make godets to coordinate with

different tops to change your look in a snap.

-Beth Wehrman, Maxwell, fa.


F i n d i ng extra fabric If the topstitching doesn't look system: I date and write a de-
for a lterations like a design element I topstitch scription of the pattern on an
When waistbands are too tight, the entire waistband to match index card, record the details I
here's a way to add 1 \{ inches for it. I f the fabric is too thick for want to remember about sizing
comfort: I find extra fabric by this treatment or the waistband or other anomalies, staple on a
releasing darts, seams, tucks, or is too wide for the number of remnant of the fabric I used, and
gathers to expand the section belt loops, I open the loops be- insert it in the pattern envelope
Use the belt of a garment that's too snug. fore stitching them together and for easy future reference.
loops to enlarge The waistband doesn't have use an appropriate fusible in- - Daph ne Dooling,
a waistband. hidden fabric, so I expand it with terfacing as backing. The loss of B u r l i ngton, O N , Canada
the belt loops, sewn the belt loops is a small price to
together, side by pay to save my favorite or ridicu- Quick way to
side, overlapped lously expensive skirt or pants. copy patterns
(exactly as they -Marianne D ietrich, I like to use stiff pattern paper
came off the garment). Chatham, O N , Canada when I'm cutting fabric. It does
I remove the waist- not fly around like tissue paper,
band stitches from the Remember which pattern and my pattern weights (cans f 0
center front, in both you used cat food) are more effective on
directions, until I can I have trouble remembering it. And the occasional cat that
release enough fabric what patterns I've sewn from my leaps up to see what I'm doing is
from the darts, tucks, collection and whether or not less likely to cause irreparable
�e0:.
0�go
and seams. Then I they were successful. Even writ- damage to the paper.

".��
cut the waistband at the ten descriptions on the pattern To copy my favorite patterns
center front and insert my top- envelope are meaningless after a onto the heavier paper, I tape
stitched belt loop extension. while. But I devised a foolproof the tissue pattern to the paper

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17TH STREET MIA , FL 33126 TEL,305.594.0059 FAx,305.594.0720
CONTACT UKI UNION SPECIAL FOR THE DEALER NEAREST YOU OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT

MI
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fuL JUKI H OME SEWERS ARE DESIGNED FOR USE BY ENTHUSIASTIC BEGINNERS OR ADVANCED PROFESSIONALS !
READER SERVICE NO. 1 39
april/may 2004 13
Tip S ("otio",d)

using removable tape. Instead Actually, even new ones are one side o f hook-and-Ioop tape
of tracing the pattern, I merely pretty cheap (if you buy them at under the plywood base, in a
cut it out as I would fashion fab­ an outlet store on sale) compared line near the edges, and sew the
ric. I also cut out the notches to the cost of regular muslin. tape's companion side to the
Have a tip?
and use a paper punch to mark -Nancy L. Gould, fabric edge that wraps around
Share your tips, pattern dots. If I use gridded Hockwold, T hetford, U. K. the base. Then you can remove
tricks, and paper, I line up the grainlines the custom upholstery for clean­
sewing/embell­ with the grid; otherwise, I draw Make that u pholstery ing and repairs. Piping on the
ishing resources. a grain line before taping and remova ble bottom edge could be sewn out­
Send us details, match the pattern's grainline Last year I noticed a sofa cover side the tape.
sketches, photos, to the one drawn. This qUick that was attached with hook-and­ -Tasha Miller,
or samples. We'll technique gives me a cleaner loop tape. This removable cover Flagstaff, Ariz.
pay for each pattern that's more suitable for came to mind as I read, "Making
item we publish. my needs. Ottomans," by Saskia Wassing­ Editor's note: We think this is a
Please send -Jane McCartin, Shepherd, in issue No. 108. good idea, but if you're making
them to: Brush Prairie, Wash. What if the result of all your removable upholstery, you still

PO Box 5506,
Threads Tips,
Use sheets for musl i n
hard work got dirty or damaged?
It would be hard to clean or re­
need an underlayer of perma­
nently attached muslin or

06470-5506.
Newtown, CT M y tip for the frugal-minded:
Use worn bed sheets for muslin.
pair if the upholstery is stapled
to its base. Instead, glue or staple
canvas to hold your foam and
batting in place when changing
or removing covers.

End meta l l i c thread woes


When I sew with metallic gold
Make your own hang-dry hangers thread it often frays and breaks.
To solve this problem I now
I designed a clothes hanger wide enough for even my thread both the metallic thread
and a yellow thread through the
largest tops to eve n ly hang-dry. A carpenter friend of
same needle. The dual threads
mine built it for me in less than 30 minutes using give more definition to the stitch

m aterials found in m ost hardware stores. and work beautifully.


-Mary Gibbons,
Shopping list: Ottawa, ON, Canada
• one 48-inch piece of �-inch PV pipe
• two �-inch PVC slip caps
• one zinc-plated 1.- by 4-inch J-bolt
• two 1.-inch nuts
• two 1.-inch washers Even your biggest

and baggiest top can

Tools: safely dry on a hanger

• Drill and 1.-inch bit you make from hardware

store findings.

Drill a ;4-inch hole through the center of the pipe, and

assemble the hanger as shown at right. Tighten the n uts

semi-snug so the hook wil l t u rn.

-Christine Swanson, Santa Monica, Calif.

14 T H R EA D S
The new Quantum® 9910 from
SINGER® represents an artful
combination of advanced
technology and creative power. But
that's not all. It's also a significantly
better value than another
comparable machine on the market.
The proof is in the chart.

HUSQVARNA VIKING SINGER®


Quantum® 9910
Platinum 730
Utility Stitches (buttonholes) 21 (5) 34 (4)
Decorative Stitches 21 28
Number of Fonts 0 1
Built-in Needle Threader YES YES
Maximum Stitch W idth/length 6mm/6mm 7mm/5mm
Top Drop-in Bobbin YES YES
Electronic Speed Control and Piercing Power YES YES
Memory Capacity 30 20
Automatic Tension NO YES
Programmable Needle Stop Up/Down NO YES
Needle Positions 25 24

?
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SINGER® and Quantum® are registered trademarks of the Singer Company limited.
AT HOME WORLDWIDE
©2003 Singer Sewing Compony. All rights reserved. For more information, call 1-800-4SINGER or visit singerco.com.
READER SERVICE NO. 43
u ti n
�------------------------------------------
A N S W E R S TO Y O U R S EW I N G, QUILT I N G , A N D E M B E LLI S H I N G QU E R I E S

Q Steps for flat, crisp seams The first step is to press the into a small bowl of water, re­
seam flat on both sides to set move excess droplets by tapping

My seams are messy looking, and the seam the stitches. Then, with the the brush tip on the back of
wrong side of the garment fac­ your hand, and paint a thin line
al lowances don't always lie flat. What can I do to ing up, elevate your garment off of water along the seam, as
achieve p rofessional resu lts? the ironing board with a sleeve shown in the photo at left (this
board (this allows you to con­ minuscule amount of water
-Betty Bolden, Bolton, Conn.
centrate on just the seam, with­ won't seep to the right side of
out worrying about marking or your fabric, so it works even on

A
scorching the surrounding fab­ dry-dean-only fabrics). Press
It sounds like your seams ric). Slip a wooden seam roll un­ with the dry iron, set the crease
just need a bit of careful der the garment to prevent the with your fingertips (for thick
pressing. All that's re­ seam allowances from creating fabrics, you can also use a wood­
quired is a household iron and ridge lines on the right side of en clapper), and let the seam
some basic pressing tools, along your fabric and gently open the dry completely. Flip the garment
with a nylon round-tip paint­ seam with your fingers. If your so the right side is facing up,
brush and a bit of tap water. Set fabric is heat-sensitive, also lay a and press the seam one last time
your iron to the appropriate tem­ press cloth on each side of the for good measure.
perature for your fabric. I use a seam. Lightly press the seam
dry iron so I can get my fingers open with the tip of the iron.

to
Anna Mazur sews in Avon, Conn.,
Paint to impress. A l i n e of very close to the tip of the iron But don't stop there; try this and is always looking for new ways
water plus a seam roll to control the fabric, without in- trick make the seam even flat- to reduce bulk and produce sharp,
eq ual a sharp fold. curring steam burns. ter: Lightly dip the paintbrush crisp seams.

Q Hem alignment on a layered skirt stitch line, then turn and stitch
again. If you're making a rolled
I'm having a terrible tim e making the hem of an organza overskirt hem by hand or on your serger,
baste the hem in place, hang the
line up with a satin underskirt. Any tips?
garment to check the alignment,
-Ursula Hewson, Innisfil, ON, Canada then hand-stitch or serge.
It's also wise to anchor the un­

A
derskirt and overskirt together
You'd think the logical overskirt hemline using the un­ at each side seam with a thread
answer would be accu­ derskirt as a guide. I like the chain. Knot a length of thread,
rately cutting and identi­ overskirt to hang slightly longer thread it onto a needle, then take
cally hemming the underskirt
and overskirt, but layered skirts
defy logic: each fabric drapes
than the underskirt, so I mark
the overskirt hemline � to
below the underskirt hemline.
7:\ inch
a stitch on the underskirt seam
allowance and into the overskirt's
corresponding seam allowance.
differently, which invariably For a baby hem, turn up the Leave an inch of thread between
leads to uneven hems. For opti­ overskirt hem allowance \4 inch the layers and work closely
mal success, first attach the skirt below your mark and stitch the spaced buttonhole stitches over
layers at the waist, pin and first turn. Rehang the garment to the length of the chain.
hem the underskirt (and insert make sure the hems hang paral­
any horsehair braid), hang the lel to each other; make any ad­ Rae Cumbie is a custom clothier
garment, and then mark your justments. Trim close to the in Baltimore.

16 TH R E A D S
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READER SERVICE NO. 1 76 READER SERVICE NO. 1 23


april/may 2004 17
Q u e s ti o n ( c o n tin u e d )

Q The tailor's loop, tated that a shirt was kept but­


toned under a jacket at all times
more movement and comfort,
back yokes were eventually cut

3
now and then in public-so only the collar was deeper (on sport shirts, they're
visible-therefore making it the now about to 4 inches deep),
What is a tai lor's loop used for and most important part of the gar­ which made the vertical loop
how did it o riginate? ment. The loop made it possi­ impractical. These days, tailor's
ble to hang a shirt on a hook loops are purely decorative,
-Margaret Sherwin, O'Fallon, III.
(the modern closet rod with they're sewn into the seam be­
removable wooden hangers tween the yoke and the back of

A
wasn't yet common) without the shirt, and come in two dif­
The tailor's loop is a com­ crushing or warping its collar. ferent sizes and shapes: �-inch­
mon name for the small The length, shape, and posi­ wide, cut on the straight grain,
loop of fabric on the cen­ tioning of the tailor's loop has and folded into a tab (see mid­
ter back of a shirt yoke, but you evolved over time. The first shirt­ dle left illustration), or ¥-inch­
may also hear it described as a back yokes were only about wide, cut on the bias, and
locker loop. The loop turned up 2 inches deep, and the �-inch­ steam-pressed into a curve (see
on 20th-century shirts, when wide loop was cut on the bottom left illustration).
men's back-opening blouses straight grain and extended
evolved into front-opening shirts vertically from the collar (see Paddye Mann is a master tailor from

with starched collars. Society dic- top left illustration). To provide Pakenham, ON, Canada.

Q Kiddie pattern sizes, defined


Whe re can I find the measurements of
4 to

5
5 feet tall; there's also
"Girls Plus" for girls who are 4
to feet tall and weigh more
act size you need. And, actually,
it may be a good idea to go one
size larger. . .by the time you fin­
than average. Once preteens be­ ish the garment, the child you're
com mercial cloth ing sizes for children? I ' m not sure gin maturing into young adult outfitting may have grown an
figures (adolescence), they grad­ inch or two.
what corresponding pattern size I should use.
uate to 'Juniors" ( for girls) and
-Joanne Silverstrom, Fresno, Calif. "Teen Boys." Heather Claus teaches pattern design

Like adult patterns, children's over the Internet at www.mysewing

A
patterns vary depending on classes. com.
Pattern sizing for chil­ the deSigner, style, intended

�\'I �'�-
"-�
.J �
(� (\1V�r'l j -1n\ f�
dren falls into five cate­ use, and fabric, so trying to
gories, based on age and match a pattern size to a ready-
body maturation. "Infants" is to-wear size is difficult. I rec-

:: : � � : :��� e (fSl,\ 1\ 1-\)I f Y/ i


generally used for newborns to ommend that you instead

f.�"'\ 1-\ \ I I t i)\ 0


crawling babies, and "Toddlers" i e h e e-
for children who are learning to t o h

:�; �: :�� (I [1 - V � l� l 6)\ I \



walk; the patterns in both of you'>< trying to

;;:: �:��7 &'t)",�l W. 'VI r \


these categories include enough t y
ease for bulky diapers. The a t
"Children" category is for the n on
walking child who no longer
wears diapers, and "Boys" and
" Girls" are for preteens about
,nvdop' to � LJ '-" u Ll UL\ ) 0
find the ex-
n

Infants Tod d l ers C h i l d re n Girls J u n iors

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rifi 1-NV775-1892389511-853-20217863
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READER S

Po ly 5heen®. 50 the sed u ction l asts.

50%
It's frustra t i n g . So m a n y h o u rs spent e m broideri n g d e l i c i o u s d e s i g n s a n d i n no t i m e they fade. Because
Mettler Poly Sheen has a l l the good q u a lities of rayon. But none of the bad. Its trilobal polyester construction
creates u n p a ra l l eled color fastness and b r i l l i a nce. And because it's stronger than rayon, i t prevents the
thread from breaking. Mettler Poly Sheen keeps your m a c h i n e stitc h i n g . So w h y embroider with anything else?

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READER SERVICE NO. 1 35

april/may 2004 19
Basics
Machine topstitch for a flat, to be as carefully planned and
sewn as all the other seams on
strong, decorative finish your garment.

by Pame l a H oward
Function a nd fashion a re

Collar edges, seams, hems, and details on the l i n e


Topstitching, i n essence, i s a
like epaulettes, vents, and pockets all row of evenly spaced straight

benefit from topstitched reinforcement stitches visible on the right


side of a garment, and is most
commonly aligned along an
edge or parallel to a seam (see

I garment, it's tempting to


n the rush to finish u p a

off machine topstitching. But


dash
p. 24 for the differences between
topstitching and its close cousin,
edgestitching). Its main func­
don't treat topstitching as an tion is to anchor layers of fabric
afterthought-the bold line of together, and thus reinforce a
stitches gives a garment a flat, seam or edge and produce a
professional, decorative fin­
ish, and therefore
very flat finish. A topstitched
seam or edge holds up well
peated wearing and washing,
to re­

extending the life of the garment


it finishes.
Topstitching is also an
easy-to-add decorative
detail. It helps draw the
eye to specific areas
of a garment-such as
a collar or pocket­
and is a real fashion
statement in unex­
pected places, such
as along darts or
when sewn in an These feet are made for
unusual pattern, topstitching. You can use a few
such as a grid. different presser feet to topstitch

And thread color (from top to bottom): a standard

ultimately sets the foot, a Y.·inch q uilting foot, an

tone: Topstitching edgestitch foot, a blind·hem

in a color that foot, and a single·hole foot for

matches the fash­ fine fabrics. (Trench coat at left,

ion fabric is tone­ Vogue 2449)

on-tone elegant,
whereas con­
trasting thread
creates a bold,
even sporty,
style.
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READER SERVICE NO. 1 70


Topstitch where it best and other areas that might
su its pattern a nd fabric benefit from topstitching, and
To decide where topstitching pencil in dotted lines on the
will be useful and fashionable in schematic to help visualize the
a garment, analyze your pattern. effect. Then study the instruc­
The instructions may include tions again to figure out how
topstitching, but if not, you can and when to add topstitching
easily incorporate some. Use the to the construction process.
schematic drawings on the back Also consider how topstitch­
of the envelope as your guide. ing will work on your fabric,
Note all seams and edges, de­ keeping in mind that topstitching
tails such as pockets or cuffs, shows up best on tightly woven

Topstitching step-by-step
Shirt plackets (shown), seams, and all sorts of edges can be
anchored and embellished with topstitching.

1. Press and trim the seam


allowances to reduce bulk
Press under the seam allowance

on the edge; trim it to be slig htly

wider than the desired marg i n

between t h e edge a n d the

topstitching. Press the placket in

place from the right side of the

garment using a press cloth.

2. Hold the threads taut as you begin to stitch


X %
Place your garment right side up under the presser foot, with its edge

to inch to the right of the needle (use the seamline marks on the

throat plate or the edge of the presser foot as a guide). Hold the

thread tails to prevent them from bunching up under the garment,


TIyourPstitching
Use an inexpensive guide to keep
straight
and with the needle down,

begin sewing (don't backstitch). To ensure a straight line of stitches if your topstitching

Gently pull the threads to margin is greater than the widest seam guide on the
throat plate, simply tape an
move the fabric evenly
index or business card to
over the feed dogs. After
your sewing machine at the
about 2 inches, release
appropriate distance from the
the threads and continue
needle. Align the garment along
to sew, making sure the
the card edge as you sew.
garment edge is aligned

with the seamline marks

or foot edge. (continued)

22 THREADS
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READER SERVICE NO. 18 READER SERVICE NO. 164

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READER SERVICE NO. 93

DESIGNER PATTERNS
For Fine Leather Garments
Today's leather is soft
& l uxurious, offered in a
variety of fashion colors
and is easily sewn on home
sewing machines.

Pattern

Features:
Contemporary Designs.
• Show required sq. ft.
• Pieced for leather layout. There's a Robison-Anton thread for every season.
• Step-by-step instructions. For nearly a century Robison-Anton you have brought the top performing

• Made from high quality paper. has lead the commercial embroidery
industry with the finest embellishment
mini-king spool into your home.
All spools are tested for uniformity,
• Easy store envelopes. and decorative threads available. tensile strength and color match­

Distributed ByHid e & Leather


When you choose Robison-Anton providing smooth and easy running
thread, rayon or polyester, you've not on all embroidery machines. Also, all
Robison-Anton thread is manufactured

• Robison-Anton
only chosen the finest thread made but
Montana Leather
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READER SERVICE NO. 51 READER SERVICE NO. 1 37


april/may 2004 23
Topstitching
3. Turn corners with a tug line
( c o n t i nued)

To ensure that the fabric doesn't jam in the

feed dogs when you turn a corner, thread a

double length of thread on a hand needle

and insert through the corner, leaving thread

tails. Topstitch u p to the turning pOint, stop with the machine needle

down, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric, and then drop the presser

foot. Tug the thread tails as you sew away from the point.

4. Finish by tying off the thread ends


Sew right to the edge of your fabric (don't backstitch),

and tie the thread ends in a square knot, as shown.

To secure threads in an open area, thread the top

thread onto a hand needle and pass through to the

wrong side of the fabric; tie the threads to secure.

r
r1 I =� t : �������� -
straight stitch is the only re­ free topstitching is a longer-than­

T� S t i h 1 1
quirement. Some sewers like to
mark topstitching guidelines on 3
usual stitch: somewhere between
to 4mm. Once set, follow a few

Yo % \ "
their fabric with a chalk or fab­ foolproof steps to sew flat, even
ric marker, but I don't find that topstitches (see "Topstitching

\f---,I---t edgestitch. . .
Sew to inch from the edge or seam

\I I
for a bold, decorative, flat finish. necessary. There are a variety of step-by-step" on p. 22). If you

I
,\
presser feet available that make are topstitching along a seam,

\ I 1" 1. I I easy work of topstitching with press the seam allowances to one

l
Sew a subtle to i n ch from the edge or an even margin between the side (or open to topstitch on

1 , t
seam for a super-flat edge that's more stitches and the seam or edge both sides of the seam), and trim

\ II or both?--ti
functional than decorative. (see p. 20), but a standard, all­ to %-inch wide or slightly wider
purpose foot is just fine. than the desired topstitching

II I ,t \t
l like to topstitch with a strong margin. Then use the edge of the
Combine the two to create a sporty polyester or silk-finish cotton presser foot to align the stitching
finish and double reinforcement. thread; that way I can simply parallel to the seam.

IL��------�-
L J J'
use a machine needle that's
appropriate for my fashion fab­ Check one l ast t i m e
____________
-� -_____ ----------� ric. If you want topstitching to Always take time to check your
fabrics (such as denim, cotton really stand out, use thicker stitches to make sure they're all
shirting, linen, or wool suiting),
and tends to get lost in high-pile
or loosely woven fabrics.
threads (two strands of poly­
ester or silk, or one strand of
buttonhole twist or home-decor
mistake, don't fret-you can fix
even and straight. If you find a

in no time (see p. 22). Perfect


it

thread) and a topstitching nee­ machine topstitching takes pa­


Use the right th read dle with a large eye. tience, but a strong, beautifully
a n d need l e It's always a good idea to top­ finished garment is definitely
You don't need elaborate mate­ stitch a scrap of your fashion worth the time and effort.
rials or tools to achieve profes­ fabric to fine-tune the machine
sional-grade topstitching. A tension and stitch length. I've Pamela Howard teaches sewing in the

sewing machine that can sew a found that the secret to pucker- metro Atlanta area.

24 TH READS
)';Q
Embroidery

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Communication for Embroiderers
F i tti n g
To pull pants over For example, I have a 1 3- to H­
inch difference between my hips
wide hips, you may and waist, regardless of my cur­
need a second zipper rent weight. Therefore, I need

I have a short torso, so when I make pants


15
my pants and skirt waistbands
to increase by to 16 inches in
order to comfortably and easily
that are the correct crotch length, I don't pull them on. A 9-inch zipper
(which opens to about 18 inches)
have enough room for a fly zipper that
easily provides that amount, and
opens wide enough. Any suggestions? works well for me . . . but I'm over
6 feet tall.

-Sarah McCormack, Warrenton, �v.�a�. :��§§§������� ______


The difference between
waist and h i p s i ze
provides the key
aren Howland replies: To increase the waistline length so Measure to find the difference
look natural and aestheti­ the wearer can pull on the gar­ between your waist and hips
cally pleasing, a pants fly ment over the hips. If a zipper is to determine how much total
zipper should end at, or before, the only source of the extra extra length you need, then mea­
the point where the center front length at the waist, when closed sure the straight portion of
seam begins to curve toward it needs to be at least half as the center front seamline on a
the inseam. But apart from its long as the difference between pants pattern that's adjusted
visual impact, the primary pur­ the hips and the waist, including to your waist-to-hip length to
pose of any waist zipper is to a couple of inches of added ease. see how much extra length you
can get from the existing open­

AnAddelasticwaist stband is with


ized back wailength easy to inancorporatelasticized
e, though somewhatback
ing. If you need more zipper
length than your torso length
visible. will allow, you need to add one
or more additional sources of
Add the needed extra 2. Exten d y o u r w a istba n d p a ttern t o
�55
1 . I n crease t h e
length equally at each end. extra waistline length to your

/
b a ck p a tt e r n i n corporate t h e n e w l en g t h
w a i stl i n e CB
pants. There are several ways
Cut your waistband pattern apart o n the center back
,I
55.
Tape the back pattern line. On a piece of paper, draw a line that's twice the to do this.
I
55
length of the altered back waistline; mark the midpoint
,I
onto a piece of tissue
paper. Decide how Dart CB and the ends Lay the two waistband pattern
Add elastic or a n other
much (totai) you sections over the line, aligning the marks; tape in
need to add to the place. Draw lines between the sections to complete z i p pered open i n g
waistline. Divide this Pants back the pattern. To supplement your too-short

55 55
amount in half and fly, you could add elastic to the
then subtract the Original waistband pattern
width of the back
waistband in the back of the
CF CB CB CF
dart(s). A dd the re­ pants. The drawings at left show

55 55
sulting amount to the how to redraw the pants back
back pattern waist­
pattern to provide more waist
line, dividing equally CF CB CB CF
length for an elastic waistband,

55 r 55
at each end. Redraw
the center back and and how to add the necessary
side seams as shown.
length to the waistband pattern.

no
CB
(Omit the darts when
you sew.) (See "Flat, Flattering Elastic
Twice altered back waistline length
Waistbands," in Threads No.

26 THREADS
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april/may 2004 27
F it ti n g (c o n ti n u ed)

for directions for sewing a and simply put all the needed with how to alter your waist­
partially elasticized waistband.) extra length into an invisible band to accommodate the new
Another option is to put a sec­ or hidden zipper that's long opening. If you prefer one of
ond, invisible or hidden zipper enough. In either of these last the hidden zipper solutions not
somewhere else in the pants, two options, the best places for depicted here, you can adapt
giving the garment two waist­ an unseen zipper are the center these waistband directions to
band openings. If you need back seam, a side seam, or in­ position the appropriate open­
only a couple more inches for side a side seam pocket. ing and overlap.
the length, a third option would The drawings below show one
be to convert the fly opening way to conceal a zipper opening Fitting expert Karen Howland writes

to a nonfunctioning mock fly, in a side seam pocket, along from Chillicothe, Ill.

Add waist length with a zipper hidden in a pocket


The following direction s will work with any side seam pocket that h a s either a n on-seam o r slanted ope n ­
ing a n d whose top edge i s attached i n t h e waistband seam. Pockets with horizontal openings, such as o n
jeans, won 't work because m o s t of t h e inner pocket layer, on which t h e zipper i s inserted, i s exposed.

I nsert the zi pper i n the i n ner pocket l a yer


Prepare t h e o p e n i n g Sew in the zi pper
I n ner pocket
Draw a vertical line on the right side Fold and press the slash edges to the
layer, right side
of the inner pocket layer and rein­ wrong side along the reinforcing stitches
force it with stitches, as shown, to Slash line and up to the top edge. Center this
establish an opening that will expose opening over the zipper, then topstitch
the zipper teeth. Slash along the line, close to the fold to secure it. Proceed
clipping out to the reinforced corners. with the pants and pocket construction
Rei nforcing
until you're ready to attach the waistband,
stitches
then draft a new band as shown next.

Revise the w a istba n d pattern to open at the pocket a nd at the front


M a r k a l i g n m e n t p o i nts on the pattern
Mark the existing waistband pattern to CF SS CB SS CF
show the center fronts, side seams,
side pocket openings, and zipper
position, as well as the overlap and Pocket
underlap allowances. opening Overlap

Create two patterns


Trace the pattern to make one pattern
CB SS
for the center front-to-pocket opening
section and another for the zipper
Pocket
opening-to-center front section;
opening SS�______________
CB
include overlap and underlap
allowances at the ends.

Sew each b a n d to the corres p o n d i n g w aistl i n e section


Open the fly zipper and the pocket zipper. Baste the top of the front
section of the open pocket (all layers) to the front of the pants. Cut out
the waistbands from the new patterns. Pin each band piece to the cor­
responding pants section, aligning all the marks. Complete each band
in the usual manner.

28 THREADS
D i d you e m b ro i d e r t h at yo u rs e l f?

C a n you m ake so m e t h i n g l i ke t h e s e fo r my s i ste r ' s twi n s ?

Wo u l d n ' t i t b e g reat t o h ave t e a m c a p s ?

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Brother Industries, Ltd., Nagoya, Japan. In Canada: 1 -877-BROTHER Cap frame requires separate purchase.

READER SERVICE NO, 1 6 6


'FAB RICATIONS
I O N E PATTE RN/TH R E E LOOKS
-
I
I---- - -
- -
- ---- -I
- -

A Ve rs ati l e
Wra p - Fro nt To p
S i m pl e s hape and clean, i nterest i n g styl e l i nes l e n d
themselves to p rofessi o n a l , sporty,
and d ressy i nterpretat i o n s
<N
b y the Threads e d i tors
i I ;. I....:::., �
• E?�
���
�!;::-;:��v'
¥ ;:::"�":"" ""
....������
v.,. • , I
.�:�;..
�..��..��..:::��� .,:-: �
he uncluttered lines of Sauer envisioned the soft look of ��£��
�� � ��......
this asymmetrical top are suede and the added definition of a
the perfect basis for a belt; she suggested a flirty skirt as a �
wardrobe staple-one with counterpart. Carol Fresia, another
lots of potential for differ­ associate editor, wanted Chanel­
ent fabrications that won't she saw wool tweed with a but­

Ideas for � ""-""'""��,.�.. ����


turn into a closet full of uniforms. toned, double-breasted closure,
The pattern's defining features are applied trim, and long sleeves,
the curved front edge that extends
into a funnel collar, princess seams,
cut-on sleeves, and an underarm
topping a matching straight skirt.

Shop, sketch, specify, sew


Vogue 2752
Style details
panel that goes from the hem of How did we do it? First we went • Lengthen the sleeves
the body to the hem of the sleeve. shopping for fabric and trim. Then • Face the sleeves and turn
The overall shape is semifitted and each editor sketched her ideas them back to make cuffs

flattering to many figures. and prepared detailed spec sheets. • Make a vertical tuck through
the sleeve hem to narrow it
We turned everything over to Nor­
• Add a belt
Three editors, three visions ma Bucko, a nearby member of
• Add a waist tie
Each Threads staffer has her own the Professional Association of
• Add buttons or another type
style, so we had no shortage of Custom Clothiers (PACC), who re­ of closure
volunteers with ideas for reinter­ turned a few weeks later with the • Add trim to define the edges
preting this top. clothes you see here. • Add a breast pocket
Assistant editor We invite you to • Turn back the front edge for
THE RULES:
Judith Neukam take at least three a lapel

went for a classic Change the fabric, looks at your fa­


Fabrics
white overblouse, vorite patterns to
change or add trim, • Crisp cotton or silk to make
and could not re­ find their true po­
it a blouse
sist pleating the lengthen, shorten, tential. Fit them
• Suede for casual chic
sleeves or turning once, learn their as­

to
• Tweed for tailored
back the curved fold the edges, but sembly process, and sophistication
front edge form use them as the
don't change any • Jersey for sporty elan
lapels. Associate basis of your own • Denim or canvas for outdoors
editor Jennifer fitting seams. creative fabrications. • Quilt it
30 THREADS
CR ISP CgLoeA.s for a
JUdith NeUkam

8 L O Us e SS Y
Fabric ation
� ;p �
White
cotton .
PIq Ue

StIVlSte, Changes-_
f on ts un l.n e
faced d, b ut c /
With t Ol ar a n
e PIqu . d

I
L Ig htw e to th
eight f e sea m
usible

I
el/on i .
nterlac
Tiurn ing.
Wa ' -ba ck
an d an . apels
a t·Ie at
In verted '
a o ng t b ox ple
h e s ho at s e W
ulderlsl n
h em. ,,, eeve se
..ear th
IS
· wIth.
any b o
a m at
ttom.
th e

Fro n t
tUrne d
ba ck to
fo rm
p retty
a
edge


la pe l

Sewing tips
• Tissue-fit the pattern to
find a flattering roll line

fJ In ver
b ox pl
te d
eat
for the lapel.
• Interface the back collar
and back collar facing.
refin e
s • Interface the front/lapel to
s le e ve
he m the roll line only.
• Serge the seams
whenever possible .
• Sew the front facing to the
serged princess seam
using a straight stitch .

�e lf- fa
bric
• At the shoulder, turn under
bes ins the front facing and sew it to
e rt_
ed in fr
ont the shoulder seam by hand.
edg e a
nd
si de s e • At the neck edge, turn under
am
the back collar facing and sew
it to the neck seam by hand .
• To make the box pleat, fold the
sleeve, right sides together,
along the outer seam and sew,
starting about 2 inches from the
seam at the bottom, and tapering
toward the shoulder to give the
upper sleeve a nice shape
.

- N orma B ucko, PACC member

a pril/m ay 2004 31
'FABRICATIONS -,
'l-----
ONE PATTERN/THREE LOOKS I
---------- -

fabr\Cat\oUn\\ � suede
, with
china

5,,II1. ....'
r
p ale bl
ue uslin
a I'd rn
.
i n g, t uslble ed aI'd
sil� lin . is print

StYle changes•.
clngs .
otton .

Sewing intert a
ernb r o i d e red w a
shed c
\.aPped
searns

tips
ter
nd cen
. ceSS li. nes a
o n the
prl n a dded,
oW s eIt -belt ha

d
ba c�. N
arr ired wit
• A Teflon or walking . r b uc �le . p a
ve
foot is helpful for with sll ength
s�irt.
a r e , �nee-I
sewing Ultrasuede. tl
• Use a press cloth
when pressing the
right side of the fabric.
• Fuse interfacing to the
back collar only and
interface the fronts
with muslin.
• Line the fronts to
the edge.
• There is no need to
reinforce the corners of
the underarm seams.
Mark the seamline with
chalk, then clip almost all
the way to the corner.
• For the lapped seams, cut
off the seam allowance of
the layer that will be on top.
With chalk, mark the seamline
on the right side of the
corresponding piece. Lap
ng
Matchi belt

� Y.
the cut piece on top, aligning
n a rrow v er
the cut edge with the marked ·th sil ds
line. Topstitch inch from 'III
b U c""I e
poliSh
ad

the edge, and again inch


from the first stitching.
• Press traditional seams open
from the wrong side, with the iron

Y.
on low heat.
• Trim seam allowances along faced
edges to inch.

- N . B.
I.9E
;g
32 THREADS
Ca rol Fre sia fa v
ors a
D R E SS Y S U I T
Fabrication
Wool b oucle,
for jacket an d
with silk orga s kirt,
nza interfaci
ng a nd

Style changes:
china sil k lin
ing, rayon br
aid trim,
and ch u nky
buttons.
Le ngthen the
sleeves, create
do uble-breas
closure, a dd tw
o ro ws of br
ted \


fro nt/col lar/bo aid along
ttom edg e. A
skirt Co mplete straig ht
s th e ense mb Two rows of
le.
n arrow brai d
a d d tailored
b ut dres sy
detail

Sewin g
tips
• Slash-and-spread
the pattern to
lengthen the sleeves
Th e asym m
etrica l so as not to increase
ori gin al beco
m es
a dou ble -br their bottom
ea ste
cla ssic with tw d
fu nctio n al b u o circumference. Be
tto n sure to lengthen the
closures
side piece, which
extends to form an
underarm panel.
• Serge loosely woven
fabric like this after
cutting, before
construction, to
prevent raveling .
• Be sure to staystitch
curves and corners to
prevent this fabric
from stretching .
• To maintain the soft
hand of the fabric, don't
underline it. I nstead,
interface the fronts,
collar, and hems .
• Clipping weakens boucle
seams-do not clip any
seam allowances except
the staystitched corners at
the underarms. Trim all
other seam allowances,
press collar seam
allowances toward collar,
under-stitch all facing
seam allowances.
• The loops of the boucle will
get caught in an invisible
zipper, so use a traditional
zipper for the skirt.

-N. B.

april/may 2004 33
A n Easy
love a perfect buttonhole and a
knockout button as much as
anyone, but when I'm in a rush
to finish a project and wear it
out the door, I begin to dread
that final buttonhole-making,
button-choosing stage that's wait­
ing, right at the finish line, to slow
me down. In this situation, I whip
out my hidden-button closure;
you might call it an Afterthought
Placket, and you can see it at left.
The secret to this placket's easy
insertion into an existing pattern

Lining strips
Chooseplacketflat butclotsure,ons fandor make a bulk-free placket
1 . Sew t h e p l a cket strips to t h e g a rm e n t
yourconsi d er usi n g vari o us Sew
t o t h ea rl
ii
g nin
ht g
frostr
ntipfa to
cint h
g,e rgar
ig htm ent
sid esr igtoht f
get rohnt
er , and
shapes (squar
rounded) f o r t hee, anglcornered,s orof usithanngyour'/:,-inchnorseam al lo wance (Ye inch narrower
tthhee itnosipstdeitcedges hing thofattclheoses usiwhenng youa %-ilnachterseam m al
sew seamt h e al
falowance),
cin g to th esogarthmatent
placket layers. pl a cket tu rns under a albilotwance
mor e andthtuernliniitn, gthe
and
Theapplifeodl otwio tnhge stbutepstonholare e strip is easily hidden.
sithdeebutoftyour o n si gar
d e m
is ent
not onl y ; Pr
t h ee ss
gar t h
m e st
ent rip
or sfaaway
cin g fr
wio tm
h
t h e seam al l o wances poi n t ­
2lfaoyers
changed. For t h e in si de in g to war d th e strip s. Trim
stl orwiipsnofgoftfholeirnmplinulgaacketusis: n, gcutthe the seam allowances.
lLength:
e+ ngt2 inhches. oftyour
he desiplarcketed finished Garment,
right side

+Wi(Thi2'/.,dsth:alinlches.
%-in. seam

but� tionnch)+ontweach
the width of the button allowance

siseamde ofaltlohowsewances. o %-inch Facing,


right side
H i d d e n - B utto n P a c ket
is also what makes it bulk-free topstitching that secures the lining plans in its favor when you're al­
and elegantly clean-finished: I strips is certainly the element to most done with the project, as long
use lining fabric for the interior consider varying if you want to as you haven't already finished or Add a designer detail

layers of the placket, not fashion make your afterthought closure faced the front edge on the but­ while avoiding the

fabric, so the final result isn't even more of a designer detail. tonhole side (the button side is un­ need for perfect

much thicker than a normal faced You'll find step-by-step directions affected by the technique). It looks buttonholes-or

edge, and it has the same clean, in the draWings below. so good that it's sometimes my i mpressive buttons-by
straight edge where the front is The best things about this easy­ first-choice closure. And it's a def­ converting your front
turned on a seam. It works very to-make covered closure are that it inite godsend if you aren't confi­ closure to a hidden­
well on loose and fitted j ackets, looks much more like a designer dent making buttonholes that'll be button placket.
blouses, and vests, but not as well feature than a last-minute time­ front and center for all the world to
on very tight garments, since the saver, and you don't need to make observe. Give it a try. •
placket might not lie flat when it's any pattern alterations to do it. So
under tension. The shape of the you can ditch your other closure Allison Page writes from San Francisco.

2. J o i n faci n g a n d fron t
Sew the facing to the garment as
3. M a ke b u tto n h o l es
Press open the facing/front
4. Topstitch to secure
Fold the garment front and facing wrong
usual with a regular stitch and a seam with the strips pointing sides together and baste through all lay­
%-inch seam allowance. When a way from each other. Make ers parallel to the front edge. Topstitch
you reach the placket strip, stitch vertical machine buttonholes through all layers to secure the placket,
slightly beyond the strip stitching as needed through the facing starting horizontally one button-width
and backstitch, then s witch to a and the strip on the facing side. above the top buttonhole, stitching to a
basting stitch and continue to the point one button-width inside the button­
end of the placket strip. Switch holes; pivot to stitch parallel to the front
back to the regular stitch, back­ edge to the point one button width below
Garment,
stitch, and continue se wing to the the bottom buttonhole; then pivot and
wrong
end of the seam. Clip the basting side stitch to the front edge.
threads at each end, but don't Facing,
pull them out yet.
wrong
side
Remove all basting stitches, and oin j
the placket lining layers in between the
Facing, buttonholes with a few hand stitches.
wrong side Sew buttons to the left front, opposite
the buttonholes.

Lining
strips
%-in. seam
allowance
Baste all layers
together.

Garment, Topstitch
right side through all
the layers.

Lining strips,
wrong side

a pril/may 2004 35
.sew i n g S i ct�
��
. �'" by J u d i th N e u kam

ream ac I nes oday's top-of-the-line com­


bination sewing/embroi­
dery machines do things
never before dreamed of

They' re s u perb, so put the top-of-the- l i ne for a sewing machine­


from logging onto the In-

combi nation sewing/em broidery ternet to cross-stitching a scanned


photograph-and they probably cost

mach ines on you r wish list-even more than you paid for your first
car. Because the embroidery fea­

if embro idery isn't you r th i n g tures are the most obvious


advances these machines
offer, if you are not a ma­
chine-embroidery buff

36 THREADS
l·, - �

Four big reasons we love these machines


E n ha nced
Automated set-up
u t i l ity stitches
Prominent on the machine, the color
Besides the typical straight, zigzag,
LCD touch screen serves as a step-by­
overlock, blind-hem, and stretch
step manual-at your fingertips-to
stitches, this category includes:
guide you through machine set-up.
Faux hand-sewn running stitches
The screen is an interactive control
panel for choosing operations, Gigantic basting stitches
changing settings, and selecting Assorted buttonhole styles
stitches. It enables you to preview including keyhole, heirloom,
custom stitch changes, recall saved stretch, and even some with
stitch settings, or return to the stitch
shaped bar tack. (There are
you were using before you turned off
ways to instantly measure a
the machine.
button and repeatedly stitch a
These features get you sewing with perfectly sized buttonhole.)
minimal guesswork or test stitchouts.
Additionally, you can:
you may think, as I did, that they
are no more desirable than other, Switch instantly from stitch to
Timesaving mechanics stitch using automatic settings
high-quality but less-expensive ma­
and touch-screen control.
chines that sew but don't embroi­ You'll shave seconds off routine
der. I spent last summer getting to Customize your favorite stitches
actions such as threading the mach ine,
know seven of these machines and backstitching, clipping threads, and (length, tension, etc.), save them,
quickly changed my mind-every lifting the presser foot-and these and collect in personal menus.
one houses a host of fantastic, often seconds really add up.

16
complex sewing features that are Multid i rectional feed dogs enable you Complex and
simple to operate, as well as a pro­ to sew i n as many as d i rections customizable
fusion of stitches. I liked these (depend ing on the selected stitch decorative stitches
"dream machines" so much that and the machine model) without
Dramatic decorative-stitch patterns are
I came up with four overarching pivoting the fabric.
made possible by the multidirectional
factors that could compel me to Special features for quilters i nclude feed dogs, including some up to
prog rams that sew seams of a 1 'h inches wide.
specific length (or squares of a
Editing functions allow you to mirror
O N L I N E EXTRA specific size) repeatedly, with
patterns horizontally and vertically, as
To see a video that
straight or decorative stitches.
well as repeat and combine them or
demonstrates a few of sew a single repeat from a pattern
the featu res described in chain (e.g. one flower, one airplane).
this article, visit www You can also rescale stitches.
.threadsmagazine.com.
april/may 2004 37
17 great features common to all the machines
Each of the seven machines profiled offers the following features. While these don't
necessarily work the same way on every machine, they provide similar benefits.

Comprehensive, user-friendly, fully Programmable needle up/down


illustrated manual stop position
On-screen sewing tutorials Multidirectional feed dog movement
Buttonholes for design and function:
Great lighting Vast array of built-in decorative
Each machine offers a complete assortment,
Hands-free presser foot lift stitches, including numerous fonts
Ability to edit, customize, and combine including stretch, heirloom, and keyhole styles.
Assisted threading
Automatic needle threading utility and decorative stitches
Automatic thread tension adjustment Color touch screen for enhanced
Built-in auto-fix (lock) stitch stitch editing, and previewing and
Buttonhole sizing assistance monitoring your work
Extensive buttonhole style choices Storage memories for your
On-screen presser foot selection guide customized stitches

purchase one-even if 1
never to touch the embroidery unit;
planned find these listed above. With each
profile I've included a photo and
(see "Four big reasons we love these description of a feature that I found
machines" on p. 37).

Wonderful featu res abound


to be truly unique or exceptiona1ly
well done. When you go shoppin ,
bear in mind that all. these ma­
g
These machines are so complex 1 chines have many more features ·
knew
explore them. So 1
1 wouldn't have time to fully
turned to a train­
er at each manufacturer (who could
than those highlighted here,. there
are frequent new d�vel9pm�nts in
machine technolog)", and prices can
know the machines better?) and vary by dealer location and sup­
invited her to tell me what she con­ port package (listed here are man�
siders the best or most innovative ufacturer's suggested retail prices).
features about her company's
machine in its sewing and embroi­ Benefits of own i n g a
dery modes, and 1 included these
among the many features 1 sam­
pled. (1 explored machines from
d ream mach i ne
I'm primarily a garment sewer.
prefer good equipment that �orks'"
l' .
Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Husq­ well, but have no interest in fancy

r: _"n ._,.r,
varna Viking, janome, Pfaff, and or expensive gear unless i t! 5�ves "
Singer; Elna has a machine in this me time. Although there a(� a�finite
category in development, but it
wasn't ready for me to try.) found 1 differences among the/ . mode�s,
many routine actions ar�.n�
"
i �1f.-'
that while each model has distinc­
tive features (see the individual ma­
chine profiles for some of the most
tomated on each; these �:'{t'hiJi7s '
not only save time, they minimjZe. i
nagging little stresses th;lt h�ve�al-';
t '{!k����t"'...;t
interesting), they have 17 sewing ways lurked in my subcQnsdqu.�· .
features in common that really
'1"
I hadn't realized that certiJin a�- .
,"
'
make them a dream to use-you'll pects of seWing are annoying u�i:il�

38 T H R EA D S
JUDITH'S FAVORITE FEATURE:
Quick-Set bobbin

The Quick-Set top­


loading bobb i n is easy to
i nsert and is j a m p roof.
Once threaded as shown,
the bobb i n is ready for
sewing-you don't h ave to
Distinctive embroidery features
d raw up the thread. Easy-to-use on-screen overlay grid and stitch counter
for viewing motifs
Variable speed settings (from 350 to 800 stitches
per minute)
240 embroidery motifs (1 25 exclusive motifs,
43 exclusive applique motifs, 1 large script, and
Distinctive sewing features 1 1 other styles of character/alphabets )
Automatic thread clipping On-Screen Designer software (optional) converts
Top-loading, jamproof, Quick-Set bobbins motifs drawn on-screen to embroidery
Bobbin can be wound while you sew Import designs from memory cards or floppy disks;
1 5 auto-size buttonholes and 3 eyelets save to floppy disks
Sews sideways as well as forward and backward Edit character spacing and text array
More than 400 built-in utility and decorative stitches Resize, combine, and mirror-image motifs; rotate
Correction program for decorative stitch problems them up to 90 degrees
Floppy disk upgrades Save motifs up to 4 M B or 200,000 stitches

JUDITH'S FAVORrrE FEATURE:


Dial-up button hole sizing

Hold your button against the screen,


I CIJ
".I·
d i a l up a m atch i n g circle, save the
size, and sew the perfect butto nh ole. (> .'.
...... -
www.berninausa.com
$6,999 MSRP

Distinctive embroidery features


Distinctive sewing features Automatic splitting of oversize motifs for the
Familiar icons of the Windows operating system Mega Hoop
Video tutorials (35) Automatic thread clipping between color changes
Automatic thread clipping Unlimited rescaling or resizing of motifs
Bobbin can be wound during sewing and embroidering with built-in ART Engine software
Three systems for sizing buttonholes Insert bobbins without removing the embroidery hoop
Temporary Altered Stitch Memory toggles between Arrange lettering to follow any of 8 built-in baselines
current customized stitch styles Read designs in .art and .exp formats from CD-ROM
History menu records the last 1 5 stitches sewn for recall Maintain stitch quality of rescaled motifs by recalculating
even after the machine has been turned off density, outline, integrity, etc.
External CD drive Access Myartista portal via the Internet with the optional
modem for tips, hints, news, and embroidery motifs

april/m ay 2004 39
JUDITH'S FAVORITE FEATURE:
I ndependent bobbin winding
O n e spool feeds the need l e w h i l e
the other spool l o a ds a fresh
b o b b i n - w h i l e you sew. Distinctive embroidery features
Full-color motif preview
Distinctive sewing features Array Function for customizing lettering layouts
Machine display can be set in any of 1 2 languages Built-in frame patterns for appliques or to baste fabric
Bobbin can be wound during sewing and embroidering to stabilizer in the hoop
Sews in 8 directions without pivoting Customized Thread Palette with brand-specific
1- _-- A total of 4 thread cutters, including a programmable one color options

I.-
1 5 buttonholes and 1 eyelet Built-in editing functions for creating compound designs
, Comes with a walking foot as well as a self-adjusting Optional embroidery design software for your computer
foot for uneven seams Import motifs from memory cards or floppy disks or use
My Custom Stitch allows on-screen graphing of built-in motifs (including exclusive Disney motifs)
original decorative stitches Draw simple designs on-screen with a stylus and
Free Internet updates (via computer/floppy disk) stitch them out

JUDITH'S FAVORITE FEATURE:


Auto Thread Exchanger for embroidery
The ti m esaving Auto Thread Exch a n g e r
t h reads a n d u nt h reads the m ach i n e for
e m b ro i de ry col o r ch a nges. You ca n refi l l
o n e u n it w h i l e t h e other i s a ct ive.

www.singerShop.com �..i;;;��.ii.���.
$5,000 MSRP

Distinctive embroidery features


Machine connects directly to your computer
Bobbin rewinds automatically from auxiliary spool
Automatic color change/rethreading using Auto
Distinctive sewing features Thread Exchanger
Automatic threading from spool through needle 1 00 built-in floral patterns, 3 built-in fonts, and a
Automatic thread clipping variety of built-in monograms
Bobbin can be wound from the needle Optional "continuous" hoop facilitates perfect
Extra-high presser foot lift motif alignment for borders
Stitching speed of up to 850 stitches per minute Multiple hooping function automatically aligns
Patented quilting stitch adjacent sections of motifs too large for a
Built-in decorative stitches include patterns as wide single hooping
as 1 'h inches Save stitches and settings to Smart-Media Cards
Sews sideways as well as forward and backward Use as many as 1 28 colors in a single motif

40 TH READS
'1....//./
JUDITH'S FAVORITE FEATURE:
Sensor system presser foot lift (without hand lever)
Sensor system presser foot a utomatica l l y
l owers w h e n y o u sta rt t o sew a nd l ifts
when you stop-no h a nds a re needed.

Distinctive sewing features


Automatic thread clipping Distinctive embroidery features
Bobbin can be wound from the needle Automatic feed dog drop when embroidery
Automatic take-up for bobbin thread unit is attached
Presser foot lifts or lowers automatically Automatic speed adjustment for optimum
when you stop or start sewing stitch quality
Automatic stitch setting adjustments to Snap-to-Join technology connects specific
suit your fabric weight and type motifs into perfect borders
Automatic foot pressure adjustment based Booklet with actual-size printouts of
on fabric thickness proprietary motifs
Buttonhole sensor foot guarantees same­ Combine and save designs, letters, or
size consecutive buttonholes numbers on-screen
1 3 buttonhole styles (both sides stitch out Import and save motifs from floppy disks
in the same direction for perfect Maneuver through motifs stitch-by-stitch
symmetry); 2 bound-buttonhole outlines; and color-by-color
3 eyelets Baste fabric to stabilizer in the hoop

I experienced how trouble-free the automatic thread clipper, which


activity can be. pulls the threads to the back, clips
For instance, I never have to hand­ them close to the fabric, and sets the
crank the needle into place because machine to start the next seam.
a push button or foot control repo­ Several of the machines have oth­
sitions it-up or down-as I wish. er features that I find especially ap­

1
A hands-free presser-foot lifter en­ pealing, such as a cool running
ables me to maintain a sewing light-so don't have to worry about
rhythm that isn't interrupted when burning my fingers-and some can
I pivot or follow tight curves. And wind a bobbin while I'm sewing,
machine maintenance couldn't be which makes good use of every sec­
easier-I'm delighted that I'll never ond. On several models, as I select
have to put smelly oil in the upper a stitch, the touch screen tells me
part of my machine and risk mak­ which presser [oat to use; and on
ing spots on my projects. some I can set the machine to re­
On all models but the Janome, I peat a particular operation, a seam
don't have to hand-tie and clip length, for example, or a deSignat­
threads (and later dig them out of ed number of stitches in a row­
my vacuum cleaner brush); I can this simplifies patchwork and
simply program the machine to sew makes it more precise.
a backstitch at the beginning and I'm comforted to know that the
end of a seam and use it with the machine I buy today can be per-

The new look of built·in decorative stitches includes

delicate designs, hand-stitched clones, and oversized styles.


www.janome.com
$5,79 9 MSRP
JUDITH'S FAVORITE FEATURE:
No embroidery unit requi red

With the built-in embroidery unit, you just select "embroidery:'


attach your hooped fabric, a nd embroider away.

Distinctive sewing features Distinctive embroidery features


Top-of-the-machine presser foot storage compartment Push-button conversion to embroidery mode
Automatic set-up for 1 2 common sewing operations Link to your computer via USB, Serial Cable, or
(gathering, button sewing, etc.) ATA PC Card
7 -piece feed dogs facilitate sewing on very fine or thick fabrics Embroider ultra-large areas using Giga Hoop and
Cloth Guide for maintaining precise seam allowances its software
Automatic twin-needle stitch width adjustment Assign brand-specific thread colors
26 new heirloom decorative stitches, plus an exclusive Combine and arrange motifs on-screen with fingertip

1
French-knot stitch drag-and-drop positioning
1 0 buttonhole styles (both sides stitch out in the same direction Rotate motifs in 1- or 45-degree increments
for perfect symmetry); bound-buttonhole outline; 1 eyelet View available storage memory
Repeatedly sew same-length seams for speedy patchwork Bring in numerous motifs with copy and paste functions

petually upgraded to the latest the sewing function menus disap­


version with software, often right pear and other menu screens walk
at home using my computer or you through hoop choice, motif se­
by my dealer. lection, placement, and thread col­
or changes. In this mode, you're in
Em broidery sed uces after a l l a new world of possibilities: you
Part of the time I spent with the can use the embroidery designs . .
machines was devoted to exploring that come installed on the machine,
their embroidery capabilities, and or load designs from media such
I have to admit, they're quite im­ as memory cards, floppy disks,
pressive. While these machines or CD-ROMs, or you can create
all offer myriad built-in decorative your own. And if you make quilts,
stitches, which you sew conven­ you can call upon your machine
tionally (without placing the fabric to stitch out beautiful quilting de­
in a hoop) , to stitch out an em­ signs on your pieced blocks while
broidery deSign, you must use you sit back and sip a cup of tea. In
the embroidery unit to drive short, as I explored the machines,
hooped fabric through the stitch­ the embroidery attachment became
ing path. quite compelling-inviting me to
Usually, when the embroidery explore a whole world of personal
unit is attached to the machine, creative expression.

42 TH READS
JUDITH'S FAVORITE F EAT URE:
Integrated Dual Feed (behind presser foot)
",,, 11 •• &.
I ntegrated D u a l Feed acts l i ke a b u i lt- i n
walking foot to keep the t o p and bottom
fa bric layers from sh ifting as you sew.

www.pfaffusa.com
$6,250 MSRP Distinctive embroidery features
Saves needle position if you want to
interrupt embroidery
Distinctive sewing features On-screen thread color selection
Automatic thread clipping On-screen grid positions motifs precisely in hoop
Integrated Dual Feed evenly feeds fabric layers Left, right, centered, or justified alignment
Automatic twin-needle stitch width adjustment for text
Free-motion program engages thread tension at Sew stitches or designs along any angle, circle,
highest presser foot position or S-curve
Automatic taper at various angles for 49 stitches Combine and arrange motifs on-screen with fingertip
Create your own stitches drag-and-drop positioning
Sews sideways as well as forward and backward Rotate motifs i n 1 -degree i ncrements
Repeatedly sew same-length seams for Bring in numerous motifs with copy and
speedy patchwork paste functions

\. You must attach a


unit such as this to

most of the dream


ma ch i n es in o rder
to e m b roid e r.

:- You ca n't go wrong you'll want to base your decision


These machines are all wonderful, on factors such as dealer support,
bt:lt. still, you'll have to decide which price, and hands-on testing.

h� all the features most important Every one of these machines has

CC!n.
to you. Any sewer who contemplates features that shine, some of which
n umerous motifs and you
the purchase of such rich, complex are available on other high-end ma­
pljrc.h ase thousands
. m.aroines will have. specific ques­ chines that don't embroider-but
.. �ore-this onl' is from
.. v _ tions aboUt how the machines work, those machines don't offer the full
www.tlJreadsembroidery
and how rhey'll facilitate her favorite palette you'll find on a dream ma-
sewing activitif:s. For more infor- chine. I'm hard-pressed to choose a
mation you can visit each brand's favorite so I'll just have to have one
Web site to locate a nearby dealer of each-and last summer I did. •
who will be able to answer your
questions in greater detail. When Jud i t h Ne u k a m is ass istant editor
you're ready to choose, of course at Threads.

april/may 2004 43
1
121 1 131 1 141 1 151 1 161
11 1 111111 1 111111 1 111111 1 111111 1 111111 1 111111 1 111111 1 111111 1 111111 1 111 �18 �d�)bl20l 1 21,122,01
11I11 1 ", l l 11 1 111111 1 111 1111111111''m llll'l'l!'l' "'I��' ��' ��� I�"3�I" 1
' � 11'"[291, e30l"'I" 'I"'�
Befo re
ou love the fabric, you're tern so you'll have a fair comparison Begin by selecting the relevant pat­
excited by the pattern,
cutt i n g , with your body size, and start you tern pieces: garment front, back,
and you've taken and in the direction of choosing the best and/ or side panels, and sleeve.
recorded your measure­
check yo u r among the multisizes on the tissue Once these have been adjusted, use
ments carefully. What's or altering the pattern to fit. them as the basis for altering con­
the next step to a suc­
patte rn ' s necting pieces such as facings, col­
cessful garment? Comparing your It's a l l i n the n u m bers: lars, and waistbands. Because flat
measurements with those used to
m easu re- measure and com p a re pattern measurements are intended
draft the pattern, and reconciling To take an accurate set of measure­ to determine the finished size of
any discrepancies-so that the fit
m e nts ments of yourself, refer to Threads, the garment, you'll need to omit
is in your favor. No. 106, pp. 32-36, and ask a friend seam and hem allowances from
The fact that most people can't
agai n st to help you with the tape measure. your measurements, as well as any
fit into a commercial pattern with­ You won't need all of the measure­ cut-on faCings. Simply draw stitch­
out making a few adjustments is
yo u r own ments shown for basic pattern ad­ ing and edge lines around each pat­
no surprise, but using your mea­ justments, but they can be useful tern piece. Don't forget to leave out
surements to figure out where to b y Barbara Emodi for more advanced pattern alter­ fullness that's controlled by darts,
make those adjustments on the pat­ ations. You'll find photos of the key tucks, or pleats when measuring.
tern tissue can seem a bit mysteri­ measurements with the pattern in-
ous at first. I'll show you formation given here. Ease i nto a good fit
which measurements Measuring a pattern is inherently We all know that patterns aren't
to take on a basic pat- easier than measuring your body. deSigned to end up skintight, with

Finding the ease

Back width
equals
1 1 in.
If you want to fit in, maintain minimum ease
Wearing ease is that extra space in a garment pieces from seamline to seam line). The
that lets you take a deep breath, raise your difference is the total ease, or wearing ease
arm above your head, or sit down without plus design ease. Subtract the minimum
Front width
equals 1 1 i n . splitting any seams. Be sure to maintain the wearing ease given here, and you're left with
minimum amount of ease recommended at design ease.

p- right for well-fitting, comfortable clothing;


where a range is provided, consider that larger Wearing ease recommendations:
_' 22 in. (twice the back width)

'4 '4
figures require more ease than slight ones. If Bust: 2 to 4 inches; 3 to 5 inches for coats
+22 in. (twice the front width) you have your own ease preferences, follow and jackets
44 in. {finished bust measurement} them instead. Chest width: % to inch
To calculate the intended ease of a pattern Back width: to 1 inch; 1 to 2 inches for
through the chest, bust, waist, and hips, jackets and coats
44 in. {finished bust measurement}

J
subtract the pattern company's standard Biceps: 1 % to 2% inches; 3 to 4% inches for
-34 in. {standard bust measurement} measurements (usually found on the pattern jackets; 4 to 6 inches for coats
1 0 in. (total ease) envelope) from the finished dimensions of the Waist: 1 inch
2 in. (minimum wearing ease) garment (these will be printed either on the Hips: 2 to 4 inches

8 in. (design ease)


envelope or on the pattern piece itself; if
they're not provided, measure the pattern
Crotch length: 1 to 2 inches
Crotch depth: % to 1 inch

44 THREADS
" ' 1 "' 1 "' 1'�'''''35 'I' 36"e37'l, rl�81'��"'39'I,r.'�t�' I' ' 1 S412 S413E414s ��5 " tIS.
2 33"'"'I'''I''3� E l I419
416 417 , 418
'''1 ' ' " " " ,. ", """ , " " , ,, . , ,

exactly our measurements-there's


always some extra space built in,
Measure the bodice and adjust accordingly
Y.
Both vertical and circumferential measurements are important i n fitting the
both for comfort and movement
bodice; match vertical pattern dimensions with those taken from the body, plus
(wearing ease), and for style (de­
minimal ease of inch. Follow ease recommendations on p. 44 ("If you want to fit
sign ease). To learn more about the
in, maintain minimum ease") for round-the-body measurements; remember to
difference, see "Basics," Threads, measure back and front, when needed, and to double the flat half-pattern
No. 104, pp. 20-22. For details on dimensions for full circumference measurements.
determining the ease on a pattern,
see "If you want to fit in, maintain Notes

Y.
minimum ease" on p. 44. When Shoulder length and bust Biceps girth: Adjust at

you're adjusting a pattern for fit, depth: Should equal body underarm seams of sleeve,
measurement, plus inch ease.
it's essential to take into account tapering to original seam by
Back width and chest width: mid-forearm. Adjust bodice
wearing ease, which will vary from
Adjust armhole seam lines in or side seams to accommodate
figure to figure and from one part
out to improve fit. sleeve changes.
of the body to another. Wearing
Bust point to bust point: Use Neckline: Neckline shapes
ease is built into all dimensions of to position dart ends; darts and sizes vary with pattern
a garment, but is most important in should end no closer than styles; check first that the
circumferential (as opposed to 1 inch from the bust point. neckline is at least as large as
lengthwise) measurements, so be the neck measurement, then
careful not to remove it when mak­ make a muslin dickey of the
ing adjustments. You can preserve upper third of the bodice, with
only the shoulder seams
stitched, to fine-tune the fit.

-""'�=��- �I
___....Iii�
h"?
Bust depth Bodice
back

l


..
Bust
circumference' '"
-
_ -.

I�
Bust point
to bust point'
N . '�i'w.
Bodice
front Biceps girth fI '1'SIlr'1l.

* x 2 for full
measurement Sleeve :

- ..
a p ril/may 2004 45
Limb length comparisons are design ease as is to maintain the

stra ig htforwa rd intended look of the garment, or


adjust it to reflect your own sense

plus % Y,
A direct comparison between your length measurements and those of the pattern,
to inch of ease, provides a good starting point for fitting basic garments.
Fullness of sleeves, the presence of cuffs, the taper of pants legs, and the height of
of visual proportion.

The long a nd the short of it


the shoes you intend to wear with the pants will all It's a cinch to assess a pattern for
affect how much extra ease to add.
length: When working with vertical
dimensions such as sleeve length,
bust depth, and inseam and out­
seam lengths for pants, simply fac­

r'Pants
" front
tor in \4 to � inch ease beyond your
body measurement.
Comparing measurements isn't
Ii intended to produce a perfect fit
on its own; rather, it's meant to
help you choose the right size and
make preliminary adjustments so

- '/----1...
that a pattern has the right amount
I nseam ­
of room for you, in all directions.
Outer seam -1----- --
Tissue-fitting, making a muslin, or

/- -
fitting during sewing will all further

I
o
Lengthen pr refine the garment. So grab your
shorten here tape measure and ruler, and mea­
sure your way to a great fit. •
Barbara Emodi measures twice, then
cuts once, i n Halifax, NS, Canada.

Measurements help match


Notes
pants
Circumference dimensions at the
curves to yours Crotch length: Adjust either at crotch
pattern's waist and hips, as well as Waist and abdomen: Measure points (front and/or back), or by raising
the crotch length and depth, must abdomen across front at depth of or lowering the waistline at center front
be reconciled with your own greatest fullness (e.g., at waist, or or center back. Adjust this before crotch
measurements. Use recommended below). Add or subtract at side seams, depth; solving fit problems here often
ease amounts to build comfort and equally in front or back, or more in front also takes care of crotch-depth issues.
good fit into the pants. if a full abdomen warrants. Adjustments Crotch depth: Compare your
Hip may also be made by deepening or measurement literally with that of the
�--- circumference' eliminating darts. pattern, and make adjustments as
Hips: Adjust at side seams, by curving needed at marked crotch-depth line
Waist' gently from waist to hip; taper gradually (usually from crotch point to side seam,
Front back to original width at hem. perpendicular to the grainline).
crotch
length
Back
crotch
length
Crotch
depth

• x 2 for ful
measurement I
Pants
back

46 TH READS
To Make
Co l oStriped
rfu l
Fa b
Take Your Cues
ri c
from Quilters
Com b i n e a perso nal palette
with two q u i lt i n g tech n iq u es­
yo u ' l l have fabric that
begs to be sewn and worn

b y Nancy Shriber

have always loved traditional


quilts, and am inspired by their
color, fabric, and textural com­
binations. However, my sewing Start with one color

t.E &�
is focused on garments, so I palette, and add or subtract
borrow quiltmaking techniques

�()E.g-e(,j�
fabrics to make myriad

that I feel will make my work unique d ifferent looks. This jacket,

and beautiful. Two such processes along with the four swatches
-strip-piecing and foundation-piec­

��.�I"� -E0
�·0::o -0�r ing-create a soft, elegantly pat­
on the following pages, all

g rew out of the color

ci�§ �
terned fabric. For the first of these, grouping shown above. Of
I sew assorted small pieces of fabric course, fabric pieced this way

]a.,g�
into long strips; for the second, I makes great soft furnishings
sew the strips to a backing fabric. By too. (Maia Jacket, La Fred)

�� using them together, I have an op­

.2E'"� portunity to design with color and

'50<0���. ��
!�� a. create fabric that's ideal for coats,
jackets, vests, and soft furnishings.

",,� "ci.
�iho c0
]]'0'0
Com plex color theory is

::;0; E
not req u i red
� � I've developed a process that allows
me to easily explore many varia-
Pieced strips of neutral­

colored fabrics, all of similar


values, alternate with deep

green resting strips to create a

subtle pattern. Although the

pieced strips are positioned

random ly, the overa l l effect is

regular and u n derstated.

tions of the basic effect, without explain how I choose and combine small amounts to work out your

the fuss of cutting, arranging, and fabrics, piece strips, sew the strips piecing and then buy the full

piecing many small patches of fab­ to the foundation, quilt the pieced yardage when you're ready for it.

ric, and once I've determined the fabric if I wish, and construct a
initial selection and sequence of finely finished garment that uses Color and seq uence go

fabrics, the sewing goes along al­ color in a sophisticated way. h a n d i n h a nd

most automatically. My process is By varying my choice of fabric col­

easy and practically foolproof, so Choose fabric that's right for ors, the color sequence within the

if you love color, you can success­ your g a rment pieced strips, and the width of the

fully create your own interesting I love the rich hues available in du­ strips, I can create endless permu­

striped fabric. Follow along as I pioni and Thai silks, but you can tations; the samples on these pages
use any fabric you're comfort­ demonstrate how easy it is to de­
able piecing, as long as all the velop entirely different looks from

From strips to stripes: Allover fabrics used in the garment the same basic color palette. When

piecing turns a casual jacket into are compatible in weight choosing fabrics, I gravitate toward

a wardrobe centerpiece. Va rying and care requirements. I solid colors, and I consider not just

the length of the piecing strips begin my design by choos­ hue, but also value. A monochro­

and cutting them at an angle ing a palette of fabrics, matic scheme with lots of tonal

makes for a random yet well­ and often buy more than contrast can be just as exciting as

coordi n ated surface design. I'll need for any one one that combines eight or nine

(Fearless Casual Jacket, proj ect. If you're un- different hues.

Cecelia Podolak, comfortable with this While I'm planning my colors, I

Material Things) approach, ask think ahead to the foundation piec-


for swatches ing stage, when I'll sew pieced and
or purchase solid strips in an alternating pat-

48 T H R EA D S
Follow your guide card for organi z ed tern. While the pieced strips ap­

andyourefficient
Keep col o r gui d e strip-piecing
handy
pear to dominate these designs, the
solid strips, which I call resting

nto solonotngyoumulrequicantihruedefolrepeat
quistripckl-pyiesewcing,smalthisl metpieceshodidoes ostwrtiphs.e plUnlanned
ike sequence
Semi n ol e tobargello-style
or
ed cutting and rearranging of the pieced strips.
strips, are equally important for a
visually pleaSing pattern. Resting
strips serve three important func­
Cut e a ch fabric i n to l o n g , Sew s h o rt strips i nto l o n g e r o n es, tions: they stabilize the pieced ones,

1 2
t h e n s h o rt, strips a lways repeati n g t h e col o r seq u e n ce which can fray and sometimes have
Cut all strips the sa m e width on your g u id e card a less stable grain; break up the
Finished widths of to inches are proportional for Join the strips end-to-end
patchwork pattern so it's not overly
most adult garments; be sure to include '/., -inch seam Use a neutral-colored thread
allowance on each long edge. Cut on either the that is similar in value to busy; and provide opportunities for
cross-grain or on the length wise grain. (The resting most of the fabrics and sew additional color interactions. By
s trip width can be different.) with '/.,-inch seam allowance.
changing only the color of the rest­
Press the seam allowances
Cut a l l but the rest i n g strips i nto s horter p i eces either open or to one side. ing strip, you can completely alter
Cut straight across or, for variation, at a 4S-degree the look of the piecing (and of the
angle. Depending on your design plan, these shorter Sew o n e very long pieced stri p
strips can be equal in length, for a controlled pattern, garment you make from it), so give
or a series of s hort strips
or of varied lengths for a more random pattern. If you make one long strip, you the resting strip color plenty of
can cut off sections as needed thought when choosing fabrics.
when foundation-piecing. To plan
the color placement strategically,
make a series of short strips, Audition the a rrangement;
each a little longer than the gar­ then m a ke a guide card
ment section it will be sewn to. I like to work with an odd number
of piecing fabrics (from five to nine,
but I've successfully limited myself
to three), plus a coordinating fabric

fabrics, I cut swatches (2 by ll{


for the resting strips. To audition

es or so) of a number of colors, and


inch­

shuffle them around on my work­


table to create a pleaSing sequence.
When I've finalized my decisions,
I make a guide card, like those
on pp. 48-5 1 , on which I affix
swatches of the fabrics I've chosen,

Patches of many colors and sizes


yield modern-art energy. The
deeper sepia color in this example
visually punctuates the arrangement
of lighter-toned fabrics.

49
Even a limited palette of

three colors (plus resting


strips) can be exciting. Here,

the author creates a controlled

chevron effect by cutting her

piecing strips on a n angle and

a l i g n i ng them deliberately.

Foundation-piecing( is )accurate and stable


Sew alternating pieced a n d solid resting s trips to a flannel o r batting fou ndation. Begin by cutting each garmen t s ection o u t o f the
foundation material, lea ving a '/:,-inch margin a ro u n d all edges to offset any shrinkage that may occur during the piecing. Tran s fer the
pattern grainline to each fou n dation s ection.

Work from the center b a ck toward the s i d es Match the front section pieci n g to the b a ck
On the right side of the foundation back piece, locate the center at the s h o u l ders
back and mark it, from neckline to hem, parallel to the grainline. Lay the completed back garment section flat, and lay the front
foundation sections so shoulder edges are centered on and align
Lay the first str i p of f a bric, right s i d e u p, o n the f o u n d a t i o n with the back shoulders.
Depending on your design, either center the strip on the marked
line, or place its seamline on the line. O n t h e front f o u ndations,
m a ke m a rks to i n d i cate
Lay t h e adjacent str i p on top of the f i rst str i p where the back pieci n g
Place them right sides together, with the raw edges aligned o n s e a m s fall
the edge to be seamed. Using a 'I.-inch seam allowance, s e w Draw a line from each shoul­
these strips to the foundation. Press the seam as sewn, then turn der seam match point to the
the top strip right side up, and press it flat. hem, keeping the lines parallel
to the marked grainline. These
Add subseq u e n t strips o n lines indicate the stitching lines for
alternate s i d es u n t i l you the front piecing.
reach the side sea m s
Sew the next strip in the same Piece each front i n the s a m e m a n n e r as
manner, on the opposite edge lH n. the back
seam
of the first strip. For the first center strip, be sure to place
allowance
the ra w edge 'I. inch beyond the dra wn
seamline, not aligned to it. Once the first
Resting strip strip is placed and sewn on each front, the
others will fall into place automatically if
you 've cut them accurately. Use the marked
lines as a guide to fine-tune the placement.

50 THREADS CB
arranged, and numbered, in the the project, and keep it readily at Sew the g a rment as is,
sequence I plan to use them. Fol­ hand throughout the process. or q u i lt it
lOwing this sequence, I cut the fab­ There's no technical reason for you
rics and assemble them into multi­ Fou ndation- piece for to quilt the foundation-pieced fab­
hued strips (see "Follow your gUide support a nd sta b i l ity ric. However, I usually do so be­
card for organized and efficient Foundation-piecing provides struc­ cause I love the added texture and
strip-piecing" on p. 49) in prepara­ ture for the finished strip-pieced surface design possibilities of quilt­
tion for foundation-piecing. fabric section, as each pieced and ing, and in particular, the hand­
resting strip is sewn, in sequence, sewn qualities of sashiko. This
P l a n your g a rment or project directly to the backing fabric. I pre­ traditional Japanese quilting tech­
fi rst, sew l ater fer cotton flannel, or lightweight nique, which uses a simple run­
Along with the micro task of choos­ cotton quilt batting, such as Fair­ ning stitch to outline a repeated
ing and arranging my fabrics, I field's Soft Touch Cotton Quilt Bat­ pattern, is decorative and very re­
plan on the macro scale, by creat­ ting for the foundation; both are laxing to do (for detailed instruc­
ing a sketchbook page, on which I low in bulk and don't catch in the If y o u plot your tions, see "Sashiko on Silk,"
record my pattern selection and feed dogs while sewing. strip arrangements Threads, No. 91). I sashiko-stitch
any quilting designs, make a rough I foundation-piece each garment and placement, a each garment section separately; I
sketch of the garment, and attach section individually, cutting it a five-color pa lette can prefer silk embroidery floss for this
fabric swatches, threads (includ­ little larger than the pattern and easily be made into a technique. Quilting the pieced fab­
ing quilting threads), and trims, always working from the center out pleasingly regular ric by machine is faster and pro­
buttons, or other closures. I also to the sides. Complete pattern that slants vides excellent results as well.
jot down any other pertinent notes directions are given
on this page as I plan and work on on p. 50. Assem b l e the g a rment
Once I've completed
the piecing and quilt­
ing steps, I recut each
garment section follow­
ing the original pattern
tissue, to eliminate any
distortion that may have
occurred during handling.
I next sew a lining for the
garment (this isn't required
in all cases, but I like to con-
ceal the wrong side of my
work). I construct the garment fol­
lowing the pattern instructions,
with occasional adaptations (such
as omitting interfacing unless ab­
solutely necessary). Facings, if pre­
sent, can be made from pieced or
whole cloth, depending on the look
you want (foundation-pieced fac­
ings will add bulk).
Although the piecing and sashiko­
stitching add to the construction
time, I enjoy both processes, and
enjoy wearing my one-of-a-kind gar­
ments even more. •
Nancy Shriber sashiko-stitches in Spring­
field, Va. , and teaches nationwide.

april/may 2004 51
es o n
For an easy-to-visual ize design experience, use sam ple fabric
to work out style variations on a favorite top

b y S h i rley Botsford

love the tactile experience of provide excellent starting points already fitted, tested, and come to
manipulating fabric directly for detail variations, with all the love, so chOOSing among the pat­
on a dress form. Whenever ap­ basic fitting issues already solved. terns in your stash is where to start.
propriate, I find sculpting de­ But you can enj oy the best of Details such as collars, necklines,
signs this way more visually both of these worlds. The tech­ yokes, and inserts are among the
and physically gratifying than nique I call detail draping uses a most likely to benefit from drap­
the often abstract and mathemati­ muslin version of a commercial ing. Any kind of top pattern can
cal processes involved in flat pat­ pattern as a starting point, allowing be used, but the choice that pro­
tern drafting. Also, I like quick you to drape only the details you'd vides the widest range of options
results and the ability to make like to add to the pattern. Detail for redesign will have a simple,
changes instantly as I respond to draping doesn't require a custom­ basic shape.
the progress of my design. On the fitted or commercial dress form to
other hand, draping an entire gar­ be useful, as does classic, full-gar­ M a ke a musl i n s h e l l to
ment from scratch is a big project ment draping; any homemade or drape over
(see Threads No. 96, pp. 54-58 for consumer form will do, or you can Once you've settled on a pattern,
more on classic draping). And it even work on a person, since you make up a minimal version of it
doesn't easily let me take advan­ can pin into the muslin version of (I call this a shell) from heavy
tage of my tried-and-true commer­ the pattern, not the form. I'll de­ muslin or similar fabric that will
cial patterns, many of which could scribe the basic techniques and take a lot of handling and pinning,
tools needed to drape just the de­ so you'll be able to drape on it
A pattern for a plain tails, and in the photos on pp. 53- many times. Maki.ng a shell allows
garment like the one 56, I'll walk you through a few vari­ you to strip an interesting or com­
sketched on the dress ations of the process. fortable pattern of existing details
form at left invites that you may want to change or
neckline style changes Start with your favorite will interfere with the draping
such as the turtleneck, top pattern process. Collars, plackets or other
yoke, and deep cowl Detail draping is intended to make closures, and pockets can be re­
demonstrated here. the most of those patterns you've moved, for example, and necklines

52 TH READS
Co m m e rc i al Patterns
Try a l a rg e t u r t l e n e c k f o r a k n i t v e r s i o n
1. Begin with a fabric shell marked with a style line that outlines the desired neckline (here the top black line).

2. To estimate the size of the turtleneck, measure the


length of the neckline style line. To plan the height of the


collar, generously measure up from the style line, shaping
the tape measure to mimic the finished collar; allow inch


for the folded collar to overlap the neckline seam and
another inch for seam allowance. Double this height
measurement. From a knit fabric, cut a rectangle with a

4
width equal to the doubled height measurement and a
length equal to the neckline style line plus inches.

3. Fold the knit rectangle in half lengthwise before


beginning to drape. Pin the middle of the raw edge to
the center front of the neckline style line.

4. Swing the rectangle to follow


the style line across the shoulder

and to the center back, pinning an


even seam allowance along the
raw edges of the doubled knit.
Repeat to drape the other side.

5. Pin the ends of the dou bled


recta ngle together through all the

layers to create the center back seam.


Then fold the rectangle over to check the shape. Make changes
at the center back until it drapes as you want. A center back
seam is usually straight, but you can shape it if this looks better.
Trim the excess, allowing at least \6-inch seam allowances.

6. The finished detail should drape softly with a beautifully


rolled shape. The fold-over edge should be large enough to
conceal the neckline seam when it is sewn in place.
A d d s o ft d r a p e w i t h a d e e p w o v e n c o w l
1. Begin with a fabric shell marked with a style l i n e that outlines the lower

edge of the cowl (here the lower black line). From muslin, cut a large right triangle
with the hypotenuse on the true bias. Bisect the triangle to mark the center front
(see the below left drawing).

2. Place the muslin triangle over the shell and pin


the gO-degree corner to the tip of the "V" style line.
Slash the top edge of the muslin on the center front line,
partway down toward the neck. Hold the center front
line against the shell center front and pleat it to estimate

,"
the cowl fullness; temporarily secure the muslin to the

� shell with pins in the shoulder and upper back area.

J �
v«,/
, Below the bustline, smooth the muslin against the shell

�, ,
, and pin it to the lower part of the "V" style line.

9 0-degree
corner

Cut on bias./

M uslin
yardage
3. Pin the muslin from the bust point to
the shou lder, moving the edge of the 3
triangle toward or away from the center
Cut a muslin triangle for front until the drape has the desired
the cowl drape on the bias fullness; clip the muslin to permit it to lie
smoothly on the style line. Adjust the
temporary pins as needed.

can be revised into round or jewel cutting the center front on a fold through the fabric you're draping
shapes to give you more options. and leaving the center back open. with, and mark accurately against
You don't need to include the when you're ready to finalize your
sleeves unless they're raglan or oth­ Add style l i nes to your shell draped detail. Soutache (available
erwise essential to the structure of to g u i d e the draping at most notions counters) has a
your bodice pattern. Staystitch the Once you have a shell, you can eas­ central groove that simplifies both
shell's armhole and neckline edges ily stitch style lines onto it using stitching it on and marking from
but leave them raw. If your pattern soutache cording, as I did to create it-since your marker point will
has a front closure, you can leave it the black lines on the shells in the slide unequivocally in the groove. adds interest to a
if you want to incorporate your de­ accompanying photos. These tem­ I use style lines to establish seam­ plain tunic:; dress it
tails into it, but for maximum de­ porary or permanent lines provide lines where I'd like my draped de­ up or down with
sign flexibility, I suggest simply raised guides that you can feel tails to begin, or to indicate points your fabric choice.

54 TH READS
4. To extend the cowl into a sta n d - u p collar in back,
smooth the muslin onto the upper back and pin it to the
style line; adjust the fullness while clipping the pinned
bottom edge to free the fabric above it. When
satisfied, mark the muslin by tracing along the edge
of the style line. T hen determine the neckline edge
and trim the excess muslin above it, leaving an 5. Try to drape both halves as
allowance for a fold-under facing. symmetrically as poss ible in order to judge
the effect, but you can even out any
discrepancies when you refine the pattern.

6. When you transfer the marked

pin l ines to paper, extend the


neckline facing upward slightly at
the center front, shaping it into a
small point to support a weight
in the finished garment, and
shape the angles of the
center back seam at the
foldline so they're
parallel when folded.

beyond which I don't want them and transfer the pencil marks ex­
to extend, such as a lower front or actly, then stitch sou tache over the
back limit or maximum shoulder lines. Finally, transfer all style lines
width for a new neckline. To create accurately to your paper pattern,
a style line, put your shell either so you'll know where to apply your
on your body or on the dress [arm, draped detail.
and then mark potential lines on it
with pins. Finalize your chosen Create a pattern from you r
style line with pencil on only half dra ped creation
the shell front and back. Fold the Place the shell on the dress form,
shell in half, wrong sides together, aligning centers and key seams
and pin through to the other half, to those on the form. Place a belt

a pril/may 2004 55
A d d s i m p l e d et a i l w i t h a w o v e n y o k e
1. Cut a rectangle of muslin 4 to 8 inches larger than the desired yoke, mark the lengthwise
straight grain near the center of it, and pin this to the center line of the fabric shell in the yoke area.
T he muslin's cross-grain should be parallel to the floor.

2. Smooth the muslin over the shell. Position the yoke's lower edge by eye (or on top of the soutache style line,
if you created one). Using a ruler and marker, trace this line on the muslin.

3. Slash the m u s l i n toward the neckl ine so it will lie flat on the form.

4. Pin the muslin along the

yoke seamlines, keeping it


smooth against the shell and
following the shell seams at the
shoulder and armscye. To fit the
muslin around the neckline,
make a series of clips as you
smooth the muslin; don't cut
beyond your intended seamline.

1
Trim the bottom edge about
inch below the seamline.

5. Draw the yoke's seamlines on the I


muslin with a marker, following the pins // I
and making the neck whatever shape
you like. For symmetrical designs, it is only
necessary to draw half of the outline.
-I - ----

securely around the waist or hip to transfer all of the markings to paper muslin of the entire garment before
keep the shell [rom riding up or using a tracing wheel. Refine all you proceed in fashion fabric. I
shifting. Follow my demonstration the seamlines and check the length know most people don't have the
draping or create your own, using of adj acent edges with a ruler, patience to make a second muslin­
muslin or a test fabric similar to add seam allowances, and cut out if you don't, cut out your fashion
your fashion fabric. When you're the patterns. fabric trial with I-inch seam allow­
happy with your draped detail, ances so you'll have plenty of wiggle
transfer the style lines to it from And test it in m u s l i n room as it all goes together for the
the shell by marking over the It's important t o cut o u t and sew a first time. Happy draping! •
sou tache, and also mark any darts, muslin of your detail to test its
pleats, etc . , that you've created. accuracy. Pin this muslin in place S h i rley Bo tsford writes, designs, and
Remove the draped pattern from on your shell and try it on. Make teaches sewing in her Victorian bed-and­
the shell, remove all the pins, and any adjustments and do a second breakfast in Beacon, N. Y

56 TH READS
J I I �[ 1 1

Ad d panache to skirts and


pants by e n hanc i n g the
waistband o r fac i n g
by Sarah Ve b l e n

t ' s the details that make the


difference between a garment
with style and one that's unin­
spired. I firmly believe there is
no need for those details to be
complicated or time-consum-
ing to be successful. One of my fa­
vorite ways to spice up pants or a
skirt is to add a snappy embellish­
ment at the waistline. Read on for
a sampling of enhancement ideas I
like to use-you'll see they all can be
incorporated into commercial pat­
terns without major alterations to
the waistband or facing.

Start with a s i m ple pattern


that fits well
There are only a few pattern re­
quirements for my designs. First,
choose a basic skirt or pants pat­
tern that fits well and is comfort­
able to wear. For the waistband
alternatives like those shown on
p. 58, make it easy on yourself and
start with a pattern that includes a

Give your skirts and pants

distinctive flair by highlighting

the waistline. Both waistbands

and faced top edges can sport

diverse creative embellishments.


waistband. The same goes for ing design details that may interfere
the faced options displayed on with the planned waistline treat­
p. 59: start with a pattern that fea­ ment, such as elaborate pockets. I
tures a facing. find that inconspicuous fit details,
As a general rule, a designer such as darts or princess lines,

simple garment. 1
waistline treatment looks best on a
avoid patterns
that are already highly stylized,
don't interfere with a waistline em­
bellishment, so leave those as is.
You can also often leave pleats in a
Wa i stba n d e m be l l i s h m e nts a d d especially in the waist area. That garment, but if you think their full­
means no yokes, pockets, or over­ ness will interfere or visually com­
sta n d - u p a p pea l
the-top decorative seaming. If you pete with your embellishment, sew
A waistband is a sturdy surface that invites adornment. First really like the fit of a more compli­ them down a few inches to flatten

3 cated pattern, eliminate any exist- the waist area.


decide on a band width-anywhere from very narrow to
inches-then plan your embellishment.

E m be l l i s h t h e s u rface

Hand- or machine-quilt for


stand-out texture.
Bead small sections for
focused glitter, or bead
-
all over for bold sparkle.

Fold a sheer ribbon into a


flower. Pin or tack it to the
Embroider by hand or machine,
with matching thread for tone-on­ band so you can remove it
tone sophistication, or decorative before laundering.
threads for a colorful design.

Ad d c o n t ra st

Cover the band with an


ornamental trim to add
interest and dimension.
Cut the band from a contrast
fabric. Ideas? Silk charmeuse Replace the band with a
on suede or leather-or folded grosgrain ribbon for
the reverse.
a strong, textured edge.

I n s e rt a d e s i g n d e t a i l

\
Piece your band at the side � A
Bast a ha dy hanging

if
seams and insert a belt or a pocket to the waist seam
long button tab; add belt before you attach the band.
loops desired.
Loop a string of beads
Insert buttoned or
under the band for fancy
snapped tabs into
the waist seam for movement and shine.
j
a aunty aplomb.

58 T H R EA D S
P l a n the steps for sewing garment to work out any kinks
your deta i l in the construction and test the
After you settle o n a pattern, and overall effect. Make any necessary
before you cut out any fabric, read adjustments, then cut out your fab­
the pattern instructions from start ric and proceed as planned. You
to finish, then decide how to in­ also might want to invest in some
corporate your chosen waistline stretchy knit tops or sweaters to
detail in the assembly process; wear with your new creations. A
be sure to consider any impact the loose-fitting top that hides your Fa c e d w a i s t l i n e d e t a i l s c a n
detail will have on the garment waist just won't do. • a d d i n te rest d o w n t o t h e h i p
closure. If you're unsure of how
your chosen detail will work or www
Sarah Veblen ( .sarahveblen.com) is
A faced waistline starts out like a blank slate­
look, sew a muslin version of the a custom clothier in Sparks, Md. free of all detail-and expands your creative options.

D raw atte ntion to the fac i n g


r.�
\
Fold a contrasting facing to the out·

side. Sew the right side of the facing


to the wrong side of the garment; turn;
Pintuck the facing for subtle texture and
topstitch the bottom edge in place. move it to the right side of the garment.

I:=:�:�:�,;���' ;:;:n,,�=::�j��
Reshap
=
g 'S bot-
tom edge; secure it with a
Sew rows of topstitching from
the waist to the bottom of the
double row of topstitching. facing for decorative interest.

Ad d a d e s i g n d e ta i l

, / /
Attach belt loops at hip level and thread Create a small welt pocket: it's deco­
with a chain or belt for low-slung style. rative and provides discreet storage.

Insert shaped tabs i n the side


seams for a simple, yet effective
accent. Secure the ends with
Sew a peplum into the waistline
buttons or snaps. seam; an asymmetrical shape
flatters most body types.

I n s e rt t r i m at t h e top e d g e

Pipe the waistline for a trim for a feminine touch.


strong, yet subtle finish.

Sandwich a flounce between


the garment and faCing to
add softness and flair.

april/may 2004 59
Four Fast
Serger Finishes
for Sportswear
Put a p rofess io nal touch o n ri bbings,
elastic edges, casi ngs, and hems

b y Pa mela B u s q u e
prize my serger as my greatest A blind-hem foot is
sewing possession. It saves optional. Using one
An easy fo l d - a n d - s e rg e
me hours of time, and allows guarantees a d ra wst r i n g c a s i n g ca n
me to easily achieve the smart crease·free seam­ d o u b l e a s a s p o rt s h e m
sportswear finishes I so admire not achievable with
The width of the casing is your choice; adjust your pattern
in high-end ready-to-wear. From a standard foot.
accordingly. To accommodate cording, position and sew a
pillaging designer sportswear racks,
couple of buttonholes in the casing area before you begin.
I've discovered that four serged fin­
ishes elevate the look of sportswear Turn up the hem a l lowance and

from homemade and sloppy to and loopers, operating features, press along the hemline. Then fold the
professionally finished: 1) easy and stitch options-so reacquaint hem back against the garment's right
fold-and-serge drawstring casings; yourself with your serger's capa­ side, with the raw hem edge extending
2) ripple-free bands for necklines, bilities (see "What Kind of Serger Is past the fold as shown; pin on the
cuffs, and hems; 3) sturdy, stitched­ Right for You?" in issue No. 108).
wrong side to secure.
down elastic edges; and 4) decora­ Most sergers produce a 4-thread
tive and durable cover-stitched hems. overlock stitch, which is required Align the fabric in your serger with
Follow my lead-and step-by-step for the drawstring casing/sports the wrong side up and the fold next to
instructions-and you, too, will be hem (at right), the band (below), the blade of the standard presser foot.
cranking out these beautiful serged and stitched-down elastic (on Serge, catching the fold in the stitches.
finishes in no time. p . 62). For the cover-stitched hem Don't worry if you accidentally slice the
(on p. 63), however, your machine fold-the cut will be caught in the seam.
F i rst m a ke sure your serger must be able to produce a cover
is up to the job stitch; this feature is not available
Sergers are not all alike-there are on all sergers. And don't pack away
many configurations of needles your regular sewing machine just

Make sure your band fabric has

plenty of stretch recovery. You

R i p p l e - f r e e n e c k , c u ff , a n d h e m can cut a collar, cuff, or hem


band from knit fabric if it
b a n d s re q u i re p r e c i s e m e a s u r i n g
has at least 25 percent
Measure the garment edge and cut the band to fit two-thirds stretch (pull it along a
(for a Lycra blend or purchased ribbing) or three-quarters (for ruler to check). Or use a
knits with less stretch recovery) of that amount, plus seam
Serge the neck edge, starting at ribbing (pull it in the di rection of
center back and stretching the band to

1
allowances; the depth of the band is your choice. The process the stretch and let it go; it should
fit between the pins. To finish, serge return to its orig inal shape).
is demonstrated on a neckline here:
inch past the center back over your
previous stitching, then raise the
Serge the center-back Divide the band into four equal Press the seam allowances toward
presser foot, swing the garment behind
sea m of the band, sections and mark with pins. Turn the the garment with the tip of your iron.
the foot, and serge straight off the
right sides together. garment wrong side out and divide Turn the garment right side out and
fabric. Cut the thread tails close to the
Fold in half, wrong the neck edge into four sections; pin­
edge and dot with seam sealant. topstitch (using your sewing machine),
sides together, aligning mark. Slip the band inside the or cover-stitch along the seam to hold
the cut edges. garment, aligning the edges and pins. the seam allowances in place.
yet-you'll need it for topstitching knits or interlocks; avoid inferior
the band and elastic. knits that don't hold their shape. 1
Spend more for the
good stuff. Stretch
Sew Action Elastic and
& Choose fabric, thread, a nd
other odds a n d ends
also avoid super-thick or high-pile
wovens because they'll be bulky in
a drawstring casing or elastic edge.
Cut·Thru, Sew-Thru The four finishes outlined in this Select a thread type and color
Elastic are created article can be added to any woven to produce your desired effect. If
or knit garment. Sportswear is you want your stitches to blend in­

YLl
especially for stitch­

through applications, so meant to withstand the rigors of to your background fabric, choose
real life, so just make sure the fab­ fine thread (1 like Elite Premium

1
they won't break down

from needle penetration. ric you plan to use is sturdy and Matching Thread) in a matching
They're available at www comfortable. prefer high-quality color for the serger, and if top­
.manchestersewing.com. knits, like cotton or wool double stitching is required, for the sewing

Stitch e d - d ow n e l a st i c c reates a stretchy


e d g e that a l ways h o l d s its s h a pe
To determine the length of the elastic, cut an unstretched piece the same length as your

1 'Is
waist (or wrist), then overlap the ends as needed to create the desired fit; cut off all but
inch of the overlap. For the casing, double the elastic width and add inch, then add
this amount beyond your pattern seamline. T he process is demonstrated on a waistline:

Overlap the elastic ends and join with a zigzag stitch.

Divide the band into four equal sections and mark with pins.
Also divide the garment edge into four sections; pin-mark.

'Is
Place the elastic on the wrong side of the garment edge, with
inch of the fabric extending beyond the elastic; align the pins.

Starting at center back, and stretching the elastic to fit

between the pins, serge with the blade aligned along the

'Is
elastic, cutting off the excess
inch of fabric.

Fold the elastic onto the


wrong side of the garment

3.0-3.5
and, stretching the elastic,
topstitch (using a
stitch length on your sewing
machine) along the bottom
edge as shown. If desired, secure the elastic with
more rows of topstitching.

Shrink the elastic with your iron.

Lay the garment on your ironing


board (stitching will have stretched
the elastic a bit), hold your iron a
few inches above the elastic,
and apply lots of steam. Let the
garment cool before moving it.

62 TH READS
A d e co ra t i ve cove r - st i tch e d
h e m i s tw i ce a s stro n g a s
Your serger must be a t ra d i t i o n a l h e m
able to produce a cover stitch.
You can serge so the two rows of parallel stitching are
Two needles stitch parallel lines on
visible on the garment's right side or wrong side, depending
the top of the work, while the looper thread
on the effect you desire.
forms an overcast pattern on the bottom.

Fuse the hem in place.


Try i t o u t ! To stabilize the hem
and hold it in place as
you serge, sandwich a
A serged drawstring casing (see

p. 61 for instructions) at the hem


�-inch-wide strip of fusible

of a sweet onesy makes this web (I like Heat 'n Bond Lite) between the hem allowance and
layette essential easy-to-sew garment, and fuse with your iron. Clip the web to fit a curve.
and speeds diaper changes.
Serge with the right
(McCall's 8574)
side of the fabric facing

up. Disengage the knife


and adjust your serger
settings for the cover
stitch. Measure the hem

/';6
allowance, subtract
inch, and align the left
needle that distance from
the fold; serge.

finish. Stay- Or serge with the wrong side of

the fabric facing up. Align the left


and a stretchy hem needle just inside the cut edge of
band foil a breeze and
the hem allowance; serge.
increase the comfort

of this sporty jacket.

(Simplicity 5878)

machine. For a bolder style, use a comfortable with each process, how
thicker thread, like YLIJeans Stitch and where you use it in a garment is
or Sulky 12-weight quilting thread, up to you. Be creative, and be sure to
in a contrasting color. visit your favorite stores or browse
You'll also need a few special through sportswear catalogs for
notions, tools, or machine features; inspiration. One serged finish can
these are noted in the step-by-step make a discernible difference in a
instructions for each technique. garment; more than one will give
your garment stand-out style. •
Practice m a kes perfect
It's a good idea to test each tech­ Pamela Busque teaches serger work­
nique on a scrap of your fabric to shops at the Manchester Sewing Ma­
work out any bugs, as well as eval­ chine Center (www. manchestersewing
uate the final effects. Once you're . com) in Manchester, Conn.

a p r i l/ m a y 2004 63
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READER SERVICE NO. 45 READER SERVICE NO. 79
D e l i c i o u s D e ta i l s
F l o u n ces A flounce is a sewn-on piece of
fabric related to, but quite dif­
as it is sewn to the garment, the
longer, opposite edge falls into
ferent from, a ruffle. Ruffles are drapes or flutes. The obvious
by H eat h e r C l a u s
long, straight strips of fabric advantage of a flounce is re­
Like ruffles without the gathers, gathered on one edge to create
fullness; the gathered edge,
duced bulk, since the sewn-on
edge is flat, not gathered. Less
flounces are fluid, feminine, and which is sewn to the garment, obvious, until you see one, is
their fullness is easily adjusted and the opposite, loose edge the fact that the orientation of
have the same length. the straight grain varies along
Flounces are curved or a flounce, by the very nature of
angled strips that are how it is cut, giving its drape a
longer on one edge than distinction and movement that's
they are on the oppo­ quite different from the typical
site one. When the stiffness of a ruffle.
shorter edge is The degree of fullness in a
straightened out flounce is determined by how

C i rcle-based flounce
The consistent arc of a circle­
based flounce distributes the
fullness equally along the 1 985 Valentino
longer edge. eve n i ng gown
Cut open The wide, asymmetrical false
to make hemline of this two-toned
a strip. evening gown is a simple,
circular, faced flounce.
1 930s McCal l's
fashion
i l l u stratio n
Flounces encircle the
shoulders and create a
waterfall-like train at the
back of this gown.

Angled, slash-based
flounce
When a flounce pattern is made
by pivoting a series of straight
sections at one or more angles,
the fullness occurs only at each
angle. Pivot each section to add
1 950s Vog u e
as much fullness as you like.
couturier
d esign
The matched
flounces rippling and
tapering down the
back of this dress
each start off as a
flat, overlaid peplum
at the waistline.

66 THREADS
E COUTURE SEWITHE NG SCHOOL
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READER SERVICE NO. 3 READER SERVICE NO. 44

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Threads
R EADER SERVICE NO. 70 R EADER SERVICE NO. 73

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a p ri l/may 2004 67
D e l ic i o u s D e t a i l ( c o n tin u ed)

much longer the loose outer edge on p. 6 6 . The slashes can be


is than the sewn-on inner edge. spaced regularly or irregularly.
This difference in length can be The amount of pivot can be con­
created in one of two ways: You sistent or not, and the outer edge
can cut the flounce as a circle­ can be shaped in any way you
based strip, with both edges wish-it doesn't have to be par­
curving in the same, consistent allel to the inner edge. The full­
are, as shown in the top left draw­ ness in a circle-based flounce will
ing on p. 66. (Cut the ring of a be evenly distributed along its
circle-based flounce open to full length, while an angled,
make a strip; join several strips slash-based flounce will be full
end-to-end to make a longer only at the slash points, allowing
flounce. You can also cut this the areas of fullness to be pre­
type of flounce as a spiral.) The Cisely positioned. Flounces are
other way to create a flounce is
by slashing across a straight pat­
tern strip at intervals and pivot­
dramatic, sophisticated, and ut­
terly feminine-and lots of fun
experiment with.
to
ing the pieces to form an angular
are, with one long edge opening Heather Claus teaches online pat­

to grow longer at each slash, as ter mnahing classes at her Web site,

shown in the bottom left drawing www.patternshowcase. com .

Spring/ S u m m e r
2003 pattern,
M a rfy 8640
1 987
Valentino Tiered, gentle flounces
at the back of this con­
eve n i n g gown
temporary day dress
A shoulder-level
echo the flounced
bound flounce
trains of the 1 930s.
mirrors others at
knee-level and at
the wrist on this
playful gown.
C urrent pattern,
N e u e Mode
23035
A lace-up bustier sets
off a full-length gored
skirt with long, spiral-
based flounces inset
in each vertical seam
on this contemporary
wedding gown.

68 THREADS
Record Keeping Pcrttern
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READER SERVICE NO. 1 1 113

Martha P u l le n ' s I nternet Mach i ne Embroidery C l u b 2004


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READER SERVICE NO. 1 29 READER SERVICE NO. 1 63

a p ril/may 2004 69

Mach I ne E m b roidery
U nderstand density to avoid up with a set of quick calcula­ ing the total number of stitches
tions and comparisons that will in a design by the surface area of
stiff or wimpy stitchouts put you on track from the start, the design (usually calculated
before you even hoop your fabric. in square millimeters), and thus
by S u s a n Fears
I'll show you how to determine determine the number of stitches

One quick calculation yields essential what I call the "density score" of
any embroidery design, and
per square millimeter. For exam­
ple, a motif with 2,500 stitches
information for matching designs to fabric how to match this score to fash­ over an area of 3,750 square mil­
ion fabrics. I'll also discuss ways limeters has a density of .67
to alter the stitch density of a stitches per square millimeter.
electing appropriate em­ design so that it can be used But I've discovered that inverting
broidery designs for fashion successfully on a wider range of that equation-figuring the ra­
fabrics can be tricky. If you fabric weights. tio of fabric area to stitches
choose a design that's too dense, instead-yields a more mean­
the hand of your fabric becomes Find and use the ingful number, which I call the
undesirably stiff. If the design density score denSity score. (In the example
isn't dense enough, it allows un­ The density of an embroidery above, the score is 1 . 5 . )
derlay stitches and fabric to show design refers to how tightly or As the chart o n p . 74 shows,
through. Until now, the only way loosely packed the stitches are the denSity score can be used
I've known to determine how a within the area of the motif; an to determine quickly, and with­
motif will behave on a particular easy way to express this is as out a trial stitchout, whether
fabric has been to make numer­ the ratio of stitches to fabric your fabric can support the mo­
ous test stitchouts. But I've come area, which is found by divid- tif. You'll find that designs with

S t i t c h d e n s i ty a f f e c t s
c o m p a t i b i l i ty o f m o t i f a n d fa b r i c

&
Match design density to fabric weight for embroidery that looks
great and doesn't change the fabric's hand or drape. (Leaf motif,

Flower Vine, OESD Stock Design FL780; www.oesd.com)

less than 1:
Wool flannel; design density score of

Heavy fabric can support a

dense design with no density alterations.


Medium-weight wool crepe; design

density score of less than 1 : Too heavy for

this medium-weight fabric, the design causes


of less than 1:
Lightweight linen; design density score

Densely digitized designs

overwhelm the soft hand of lightweight

the fabric to ripple when stitched as is. fashion fabrics.

70 THREADS
(el Husqvarna VI KI NG
The quilts will be exhibited in the Husqvarna Viking Gallery
of Quilt Art, 2004 TX
at the
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You are invited to partici pate in the Husqvarna Viking 2004.


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The second prize in each category is a Husqvarna Viking Quilt Designer

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READER SERVICE NO. 1 47

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READER SERVICE NO. 1 56 READER SERVICE NO. 148 READER SERVICE NO. 1 72

a p r i l/ m a y 2004 71
M a c h i n e E m b r oi d e r y (c o n ti n u ed)

Know your fabric's weight


range that's best for your fabric
doesn't mean you must reject it
immediately. There are several
To match embroidery motif to fabric, you need to know where your fabric falls in the ways to alter or edit a design to
weight spectrum. This list will give you some guidelines for comparison.
make it more fabric-friendly. Dig­
Lightweight fabrics Medium-weight fabrics Heavyweight fabrics itizing software can decrease or
Handkerchief and Lightweight denim Sturdy denim and increase the density of a deSign,
blouse-weight linen and twill cotton twill and in turn change its stitch
or linen blends Suit-weight linen Heavy leather and suede*
count. Bernina's artista 200E em­
Crepe de Chine Soft leather* Drapery fabrics
broidery machine can change
Silk dupioni Wool flannel Wool coating
stitch properties, including den­
Organza Ultrasuede Canvas
Challis Gabardine sity, without additional software.
Chiffon Raw silk Enlarging or reducing the size
of the motif without changing
*Always use low-density designs for leather, to avoid perforations and tears.
the stitch count (which you can
do with software or using some
machines' editing functions) will
scores less than 1 are suitable provided a list of fabrics divided alter the density as well.
for only the heaviest fashion fab­ into categories by weight (see
rics, and that only scores greater above), which you can use with Fill the voids with
than 2 can be used successfully the density score chart to deter­ thicker thread
on all fabrics. Designs scoring mine whether a design is suit­ More often than not, if you need
between 1 and 2 should be able for your fabric as is, or to adjust the density of a motif,
tested on your fabric before use. whether it can be altered to work. you'll want to reduce its stitch
To make the best match be­ count so that it can be sewn on a
tween motif and fabric, you'll Adjust the embroidery to lightweight or medium-weight
need to know not just the den­ suit the fabric fabric. Sometimes, though, re­
sity score of the design, but also Just because a motif's density ducing the density too much
the weight of your fabric. I've score doesn't fall within the results in a design in which un­
derlay stitches, and even fabric,
show through. Most embroidery
E d i t d e n se m ot if s to s u i t l i g h t e r - w e i g ht fa b r i cs
deSigns are digitized with a 40-
weight thread in mind; you can
substitute a heavier thread, such
as 30-weight thread, or even YLI's
Monet wool-like embroidery
thread to achieve better cover­
age. On the other hand, if you've
increased the density of the de­
sign, you can also switch to a
finer thread. If you do decide to
adjust the density and thread,
it's important to test the embroi­

2:
Wool crepe; design density score between 1 and

Fewer stitches per square millimeter of surface area


Linen; design density score greater than

Editing the design to a significantly lower


2: dery on a scrap of fabric to veri­
fy that the new combination sews
out successfully. (For details
soften the embroidery and create a more pleasing density makes the motif suitable for even on relative weights of selected
hand and appearance on medium-weight fabrics. a very lightweight fabric. threads, visit www.ylicorp.com.

72 THREADS
Th i n k it Sew it™
Now there's a Pfaff embroidery machine to keep pace with your creativity ­

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READER SERVICE NO. 55


M a c h i n e E m b r oid e r y ( c o n tin u ed)

C h a n g i n g t h r e a d w e i g h t c a n a l t e r m o t i f d e n s i ty

Low density can leave gaps between stitches. Use heavier thread to offset low density. YLI's

A density score greater than 2 ma kes for a skimpy woolly-textured Monet thread provides greater

stitchout usi ng standard, 40-weight thread. coverage even with a low-density design.

Use the density score to check


and download the brochure "A
Thread of Truth.")

compatibility of motif and fabric weight Be choosy a bout


The density score offers a simple key to assessing how well a motif sta b i l izers
will stitch out on fabric of different weights. The score i s easily found Once you've settled on an em­
by using the formula at right. broidery design that preserves
Calculate a motif's density score
the drape of your fabric, you
To find the motif's s u rface area, multiply its height (in mm) by its width
won't want your stabilizer to add
(in mm). For a design with a stitch count of 2,500, and dimensions of
stiffness. I recommend using as
50 by 75mm (yielding a surface area of 3,750 sq. mm), the score is
soft a product as will effectively
found as follows: 3,750 sq. mm divided by 2,500 stitches = 1 .5.
support the embroidery stitches.
Some that I've used are Poly

1
Density score Design characteristics Fabric weight Tips to preserve fabric hand
Mesh (cut-away); Aqua Film,
Less than H i g h stitch d e nsity Heavy Red uce stitch d e n sity (optional) Badge Master, and Aqua Mesh
Use on heavy, f i rm fabrics Add fusible i n t e rfac i n g and (rinse-away); and Ultra Clean
Req u i res s u bstantial use heavyweight stabilizer
and Tear (tear-away).
stabil izat i o n Med i u m Reduce stitch d e n sity By using the density score ap­
Use mediu m-weight stabilizer proach to match embroidery de­

1-2
Light Design may be u n s u itable signs to fabric, you can avoid
M e d i u m stitch density Heavy Use l ig h tweight stab i l izer the disappointment of purchas­
Use o n m e d i u m-weight to Use 4 0-wt. th read ing a motif and discovering that
heavyweight fabrics Medium Red u ce stitch dens ity it behaves less than perfectly on
Requ ires l i g h t to m e d i u m Add fusible i nte rfac i n g your fabric. You'll be able to
stab i l ization and/or stabilizer
decide ahead of time if the mo­
May use heavier thread
tif has an appropriate density
Light Red u ce stitch d e n s ity score, and if not, determine how
Add stabilizer

2
to adj ust the density. I think
May u s e heavier th read
you'll agree it's great to take the
Greater than Low stitch d e n sity All U se stab i l izer appropriate to
guesswork out of selecting em­
fabric weight
Use on a l l fabrics, broidery designs.
especially l i g htweight May use heavier thread for
greater coverage
Requ ires l i g h t stabilization
Susan Fears manages a Bernina deal­

ership in Texas.

74 THREADS
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READER SERVICE NO. 1 79

a pril/may 2004 75

Exploring 0eSIg n
Threads Fabric S h o p p i n g S p re e
T H E W I N N E R I S . . . K AT E D AV I ""
by Carol S p i e r hreads sponsored a Shop­
ping Spree contest in the
ner, three second-prize winners,
and five third-prize winners.
her hotel at 9:30 ��./;:/,
we found
her completely pfepared-pat­
spring of 2003, offering Grand-prize winner Kate Davis, terns in hand, color preferences
sewing enthusiasts a chance to of Portland, Oregon, whirled in mind, and walking shoes on
win a trip to New York City with happily through two days of her feet. We headed for the gar­
$ 1,000 to spend on fabric, to be shopping and sewing last fall. ment district, where we worked
followed by a visit to our offices Kate had never been to New York through five fabric stores, two
for a sewing lesson with the or Connecticut, and she chose button shops, and one notions
editors. Over 2 5 ,000 of you November 3 and 4 for her Spree vendor. Kate had lots of support
entered, and one day in May, experience so that her husband from enthusiastic salespeople
publisher Beth Conklin and I could travel with her and run in who thought the Spree was a
watched as the computer in the New York City Marathon. pretty cool event. By 6:00, when
our financial office "drew" the When Threads assistant editor the stores closed, she had spent
names of the grand-prize win- Judith Neukam and I met Kate at nearly all her money, and had

M o n d ay . .
November 3, 2003, was unseasonably warm,
reach i ng 83 degrees early on. Our plan of action:
visit a number of shops to collect swatches of
possible fabrics; take a break to choose the best;
and then retrace our steps to m a ke purchases.

First stop- 1 0 a.m.: Carol and Kate (near right photo, from left to
right) pose under the giant button in front of the Fashion District
Information kiosk at the corner of 7th Avenue and 39th Street.

From 1 0:05 to noon: Kate toured shops on 40th Street,

patterns in hand, gathering swatches-wool boucle, quilted


silk, double-faced cotton velvet, printed silk, wool jersey,
embroidered shantung-in her preferred palette of
olive, rust, peach, and chocolate. In the center, she's
checking out a bolt of something that caught her eye.

76 TH READS
Tu e s d a y • • •••••••
••
••
Judith Neukam,

Kate came to Threads and unpacked her bounty of fabric assistant editor,

••
for the staff to admire. Judith took her measurements, and starts the

••
computer
we commenced on the quest for that perfect pants pattern.
draft while

••
Kate looks on.
fabric, lining, buttons, and no­ Judith used computer software

•••
tions for at least half a dozen out­ to do another-we were curious
fits (including wool jersey to felt to see how alike they would be
as explained in Threads No. 109). (very) and which would fit better

••
(the computer version). Kate was
The enti re staff enjoyed enthusiastic, charming, and a
Kate's visit
••
very good sport about having her Senior editor

••
The follOwing day Kate came to photo taken repeatedly. Threads David Page
our offices for her sewing lesson. staff is looking forward to see­ Coffin refers to

89
••
She requested that we help her ing the photos she has promised Threads No.

make a good pants pattern, so to send as she completes the out­ as he d rafts using

Threads. ••
senior editor David Coffin helped fits from her Spree fabric. ruler and pencil.
her draft one the traditional way,

••
with pencil and rulers, while Carol Spier is editor oJ

••
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Kate's collection:
Seven and a half hours and $862 l ater,
Kate had purchased 35% yards of ten
fabrics, including two l i nings.

3'1. yards embroidered shantung . . . .$202


1 yard 4-ply silk crepe . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$43
2 yards rayon lining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 5

*
3'1. yards wool gabardine . . . . . . . . . . . . $97

eu•(,j 0:::00�
1 yard 4-ply silk crepe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $43

2-a.'l0 �
1 yards wool boucle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $86

&J
After a classic New York 2% yards quilted silk satin . . . . . . . . . .$ 1 1 3
delicatessen lunch, we 1 0 yards rayon lining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $33

cE
�r
�.g
headed for B Fabrics at
38th Street a n d 7th Avenue,
3 yards wool/rayon novelty crepe . . .$1 1 7
7 yards wool jersey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 1 3

8i
.z where serious shopping (as

l� you can see a bove) occupied Total: 35\\ yards fabric . . . . . . . . $862
�" �0
j!i �
the next several hours, but left plus notions . . . . . $82
enough time and money for us Grand total • • $944

eljl iLl:
to revisit the morning's stops
to purchase Kate's choices
from her swatched fabrics.

a pril/may 2004 77
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READER SERVICE N O . 1 65

78 TH READS
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L - - - READER SE ViCEN � 6 R O
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a p ril/may 2004 79
I of th
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�-------------------------------------------- r
S EW I N G , Q U I LT I N G , A N D E M B E LL I S H I N G P R O D U CTS N O W O N T H E M A R K ET

Embellish with matching stamp and


embroidery motifs
Lois Ericson, Threads author, popular
teacher, and designer, combines two em­
bellishment processes-rubber stamping
and machine embroidery-for a new ap­
proach to surface design on fabric.
The Lois Ericson Designs Stamp Collec­
tion ($6. 50-$ 1 5/stamp; www. purrfection
.com; 800-691-4293) features 14 sophisti­
cated designs, including flowers, geometric
shapes, and abstract images. Each polymer
stamp is mounted on a clear acrylic block,
which enables you to see exactly where
you're printing the image.
These stamp motifs are also included
among Lois's 100-plus digitized designs on the Studio Designs Contemporary Machine Embroidery
CD ($60; www.designandsew.com). Combined or used independently, the stamps and embroidery
motifs are fresh, sophisticated embellishment images that will send you in many creative directions.

Easy-to -use
Save your fingertips pattern -grading rulers
with a thimble alternative
The Grademaster rulers, by M.M. Technology in Australia, are clear plas­
UltraThimble ($5.49; www .sewingnotionsinc.com; 800- tic disks perforated with size-change increments needed to grade specific
9-NEEDLES), by The Colonial Needle Company, is a garment seams from sizes 10 through 24 ($52A; www.pcpages.com/
thin, dimpled stainless steel disk that adheres to your grademaster). To use, superimpose the disk on the • ,-
.;..�,::O-.-��"'
�I
fingertip without encasing it-pro­ pattern, aligning the markings with the appropriate
..�:,'.:1 i«'2
tecting you as a thimble does. It seamline and grainline, and transfer the needed
< \';'-' .' ,
comes with reusable adhesive dots information through the perforation. One disk

.f::"'" ':f{(>,.,..�:
f "
that affix it to your finger. holds the grading information for tops
The U ltraThimble offers the and blouses, the other for
sewer the same fingertip protec­ pants and skirts.
tion as a conventional thimble, If you have a stash
without the drawbacks of wear­ of vintage or other
ing one; no more sweaty fin- single-size patterns
gertips, thimble size worries, that don't fit, this
or damaged nails. The Ultra­ tool may help you
Thimble can be used to push get them out of the
or deflect the needle. envelope and into
your closet.
-Jud ith N e u kam

80 TH READS
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READER SERVICE N O . 1 73 READER SERVICE NO. 1 60

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • ••
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a pril/may 2004 81
M a rketp l a c e See ad index an pages 88·89 reader service numbers.

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a p r i l/ m a y 2004 87
Advertiser I ndex/Web Directory
For more information from advertisers, use reader service card inside back cover. For quick access to their websites, go to the Index to
Advertisers at www.threadsmagazine.com

Advertiser
No. I
Reader
Service Web Address Page # Advertiser
No. I
Reader
Service Web Address Page #

115 www.afabricoasis.com 29 www.darrsewnotions.com


I 118 www.daylightcompany.com
A Fabric Oasis p. 85 Darr, Inc. p. 79

4 www.carol-price.bigstep.com www.designtofit.com
I
A Stitch in Time - Daylight Co. p 9

142 www.ablelabels.com 100 www.digitapedesigns.com


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174 interiordesign.com incubator.org/board.htm


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84 www.earthguild.com
Interior Design p. 83 p. 87

56 I www.aofdesign.com 134 www.electricquilt.com


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20 I www.finesewing.com I 58 www.embroideryarts.com V
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160 www.amazondrygoods.com 6 www.evadress.com


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135
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www.amefird.com 155 www.fabfurs.com
Amazon Drygoods p. 81 Eva Dress p. 84

5 www.american-sewing.com www.fabricbydesign.com
American Efird p. 19 Fabfurs p 85

II www.aamerintiquefabri
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148 www.faretahiti.com
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85 www.aurorasilk.com 119 www.fitsewwell.com


5
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159 www.babylock.com 18 www.5ts.com


Aurora Silk p. 82 Fitsewwell.com p. 85

140 www.baerfabrics.com 34 www.folkwear.com


Baby Lock p. 1O-11 Ts Embroidery Supply p. 23

123 www.barudan.com www.french-nc.com


Folkwear Patterns p 84
Baer Fabrics p. 84
I
117 www.batiks.com 158 www.gayfeatherfabrics.com
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8 www.beaconfabric.com 38 www.grainline-gear.com
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94 73 www.historicsupply.com
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21 www.bestsew.com
I 88 www.greatcopy.com
The Bee Lee Company Grannd Garb Companies p. 67

36 www.bonash.com P" 89 www.greatcopy.com


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166 I www.brothersews.com 64 www.thegreenpepper.com


Bo-Nash p. 82 Great Copy Stretch Sew p. 86

I
15 www.glpnews.com/crafts.html 35 www.habermanfabrics.com
Brother Sewing Machine p. 29 The Green Pepper, Inc. p. 79

Burda World oj Fashion


60 www.buttonboxquiltshop.com
1 107 www.erhbooks.com/fsm
p. 87 Haberman Fabrics p. 84

167 www.candlelightvalleyfabrics.com 81 www.havels.com


Hamilton Books p. 79

I
Button Box Quilt Shop p. 85

&: 32 www.cjpatterns.com 113


I www.hobbyware.com
Candlelight Valley Fabrics p. 84 Havel's, Inc. p. 19

168 www.coatsandclark.com www.homespunfabrics.com


Christine Jonson Fabrics p. 82 Hobby Ware p. 69

181 www.cochenil e.com 48 www.getcreativeshow.com/


Coats Clark p. 3 Homespun Wide Fabrics p 83

141 www.contemporarycloth.com
I amazingtape.htm
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80 www.thecottonboll,com 147 www.husqvarnaviking.com


Contemporary Cloth p 83 p. 85

59 www.cottonplus.com 136 www.husqvarnaviking.com


The Cotlon Boll p. 83 Husqvarna/Viking p. 71

www.susankhalje.com 110 www.insideembroidery.com


Cotton Plus p 85 Husqvarna/Viking p 91

&: 1
112 www.createforless.com 176 www.islandersewing.com
The Couture Sewing School p. 67 Inside Embroidery p. 25

13 www.judithm.com
Create for Less p 84 Islander Sewing Systems p. 1 7

&: 178 www.csnf.com


I 139 www.juki.com
Creative Sew Needlework Judith M Design p 85

104 www.l-orna.com
Festival p 83 Juki Union p. 13

30 www.k-Iace.com 61 www.karolscloset.com
Criswell Embroidery Kandi Corp p. 84

Design

82 www.fabriccollections.com II v 27 Karol's Closet

67 www.katiesvintagekimono.com
p. 85

151 www.sewing.org/cyrudnicks/ 126 www.keepsakequilting.com


p. 83

I
Cutting Corners p 84 Katie's Vintage Kimono

83 www.da-max.com 149 www.kenssewingcenter.com


Cy Rudnick's Fine Fabrics p 84 Keepsake Quilting Supplies p. 79

Da'Max p. 86 Ken's Sewing Center p. 81

88 THREADS
Advertiser Index/Web Directory
For more information from advertisers, use reader service card inside back cover. For quick access to their websites, go to the Index to
Advertisers at www.threadsmagazine.com

I I
Reader Reader
Advertiser Service Web Address Page # Advertiser Service Web Address Page #
No. No.

49
12 17
Lj. Designs www.ljdesignsonline.com p. 1 9 Sew Easy Embroidery

98
La Fred www.lafred.com p. 87 Retreat www.rayssewingcenter.com p. 81

14 145
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162 25
Fabrics www.lacylovelies.com p. 82 Sew Images www.sewimages.com p. 84

133
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130 132
Les Fabriques www.lesfabriques.com p 82 Sew Vac Direct www.sewvacdirect.com p 27

72 10
Lodi Down Feather www.lodidownandfeather.com p. 83 Sewing Machine Outlet www.sewingmachineoutlet.com p. 85

7 78
Loes Hinse Design www.loeshinsedesign.com p. 69 Sewing Patterns. com www.sewingpatterns.com p. 23

19 93
Lumenlight.com www.lumenlight.com p. 84 The Sewing Workshop www.sewingworkshop.com p. 78

62 182
Lycra House, Inc. www.lycrahouse.com p. 87 Sewinginusa.com www.sewinginusa.com p. 23

154
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128
Manhattan Fabrics www.manhattanfabrics.com p 83 Sewingmachines.com www.sewingmachines.com p. 85

180
Manhattan Wardrobe www.threads.wardrobe Sewkeyse Retreat p 86

175 103
Supply supplies.com p. 87 Sewpro Workshop www.sewproworkshop.com p. 71

163
Martelli Enterprises www.martelli·enterprises.com p 82 Shapely Suz www.shapelysuz.com p 84

Martha's Sewing Market www.marthapullen.com p. 69 Shoppers Rule, Inc. www.shoppersrule.com p. 79

96 122
p
Mary's Productions www.marymulari.com p. 82 Sievers School of Fiber Arts www.sieversschool.com p. 82

75 43
Material Things p 85 Silk River Studios p. 85

157 11
Materialpleasure.com www.materialpleasure.com p. 75 Singer www.singerco.com 15

51
Mill End Store www.millendstore.com p. 86 Small Office Solutions www.the·sos.com p 69

70 45
Montana Leather Apparel www.montanaleather.com p. 23 Smocking Arts Guild of

46 169
Monterey Mills p. 67 America www.smocking.org p 65

1
I 1 143
My Twin Dress Forms www.mytwindressforms.com p. 83 Solo Slide Fasteners www.e-sewing.com p 86

164
Name Maker, Inc. www.namemaker,com p. 71 St. Theresa Textile Trove www.sttheresatextile.com p. 84

Nancy's Notions, Ltd.

172
www.nancysnotions.com p 23 Sterling Name Tape
1 87
114 39
Newark Dressmaker Supply www.newarkdress.com p. 71 Company www.sterlingtape.com p. 85

50 90
&:
Notions Mart.com www.notionsmart.com p. 75 Stewart Fabrics www.stewartfabrics.com p 86

41
p
Oriental Silk Company www.orientalsilk.com p. 75 Sue's Sparklers www.suessparklers.com p. 82

131 179
Original Sewing Quilt Super Silk www.supersilk.com p. 85

79
Expo www.sewingexpo.com 27 Syfabrics.com www.syfabrics.com p. 75

95(
Origins Embroidery Software www.originssoftware.com p. 65 Textile Studio Patterns p. 87

153 1 97
Ott·Lite Technology www.ott·lite.com p. 2 Thai Silks www.thaisilks.com p 67

I
68 63
P
Paron Fabrics www.paronfabrics.com p. 82 Threadandmore www.threadandmore.com p. 83

37 77
Pattern Studio www.patternstudio.com p 85 Threadpro www.threadpro.com p. 82

55 76
&: &:
Petite Plus Patterns www.petitepluspatterns.com p 83 Threads At Gingerbread Hill 85

124 22
Pfaff www.pfaffusa.com p. 73 Trimfabric.com www.trimfabric.com p. 86

129
Pintucks Pinafores www.pintucksandpinafores.com p 82 Ultra Style Designs www.u ltrastyledesigns.com p 82

71 146
Quilt Embroidery Unilever/Bestfoods www.ritdye.com p. 69

161 I 74
Festival www.pcmexpo.com p. 9 Universal Presser Foot Lifter www.presserfootlifter.com p. 86

26 156
Utica Thread p 75

&:
Quiltspot.com www.quiltspot.com p. 83 www.uticathread.com

66
Rain City Publishing www.raincitypublishing.com p. 81 Vestis Books www.vestisbooks.com p. 71

105 144
The Rainshed p. 7 Vintage Fashion Textile www.vintagefashionand

137 173
Robison·Anton Textile Co. www.robison-anton.com p. 79 Show textileshow.com p. 86

102 1 92
Robison·Anton Textile Co. www.robison-anton.com p. 23 Wild Ginger Software, Inc. www.wildginger.com/sale p. 81

171 42
Royalwood, Ltd. www.royalwoodltd.com p. 84 You Can Make It, Inc. www.youcanmakeil.com p. 84

116
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Saddlewood Textiles, Inc. www.saddlewoodtextiles.com p. 85 Your Personal Fit www.yourpersonalfil.com/

3 1 69121
Sadia's Designs www.sadiasews.com p 85 threads. hIm p 83
I
44
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Sawyer Brook Fabrics www.sawyerbrook.com p. 67 Zundt Design www.zundtdesign.com p. 9

Sew Serge www.sewandserge.com p 81

a p ri l/may 2004 89
Closu res
Ode for a Singer j ackets, restitch the heavy zipper quin and Spandex. And the last,
on the family tent, and make us my favorite, ran a costume rental

N
by E l a i n e C. I s aa k ot long ago I had to say dresses for my aunt's wedding. shop. The Singer and I sewed
good-bye to an old friend-a When I was seven, Mom sat colonial ball gowns, musketeer
friend I had known all of
my life-a pink Singer Touch
Sew sewing machine.
& me in front of her sewing ma­
chine and showed me the way
to that fantasy kingdom. She pa­
tabards, and a walking suitcase.
It handled the green, rubberized
material for an adult-sized igua­
When I was a baby, this sewing tiently helped me with all kinds na just as well as it did the thick
machine whipped up darling out­ of crazy projects, from a pony plush of a dozen Easter bunnies.
fits and a clever kangaroo pouch for my Cabbage Patch Doll to the My mother's old sewing ma­
to carry me. My father gave the felt dragons I invented. I sewed chine founded my business and
Singer to my mother as an en­ my favorite sundress on that stitched me through five years
gagement gift, no doubt envi­ Singer-and when my senior of craft show stuffed animals
sioning such domesticity- check­ prom arrived, I deSigned my own and medieval weddings. It even
ered curtains for their kitchen gown-a clingy gold-and-black made my going-away outfit for
and frilly dresses for two little number with petals around the my wedding, but, by then, I had
girls who soon followed. His par­ hem. This was about the time begun to envision greater things.
ents provided the wooden desk Mom's Bernina came home-all I yearned for the sleek lines and
it occupied, with drawers con­ shiny and proud, with its hun­ smooth stitching of my Mom's
cealed behind doors and a secret dreds of stitches and real metal Bernina. I wanted the speed and
panel that hid the machine-like bobbins. Next to this foreign strength that the Singer could
the storybook wardrobe that wonder the Singer looked a little no longer produce, so I finally
leads to a fantasy kingdom. Mom dowdy with its pink plastic front went out shopping to replace it.
used the Singer to sew suede and perky seamstress insignia. I settled on an industrial ma­
patches on the elbows of Dad's When I went away to art chine, a behemoth that only goes
school, it took only weeks for straight, but very qUickly, and
me to ask for the Singer. This through four or more layers of
time we were off reproducing fake fur without missing a stitch.
works by the soft sculptor Claes But I kept the Singer around to
Oldenburg, then Halloween cos­ make the odd zigzag.
tumes for my friends, and even I can't say what finally did it in,
bridesmaids' dresses. It traveled perhaps inserting leather ears
with me from dorm to dorm, or splicing heavy-duty elastic,
bereft of the desk that was its but the repair shop workers
home. It just rested in its plastic shook their heads over it. "For
case until I needed it. the same money, you could get a
After I left school, I moved new machine, as good as this
in with my sister. We both had one-even better!" I thanked
customer service j obs . . . that is them and let them take it away to
until I couldn't take it any more, that great parts department in
and brought out the Singer once the sky, but I did not tell them
again. This time I found three what I knew in my heart-that
j obs helping businesswomen. there might be a better machine,
One made stenciled quilt yet it would never measure up to
squares that I turned into wall the Singer that had stitched its
hangings. Another sewed chil­ way through my life.
dren's dance and gymnastics
costumes-we sewed yards of se- Elaine C. Isaak lives in Wilton, N.H.

90 THREADS
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©200CI VSM Sewing Inc. Husqvarna and Viking are registered trademarks. All rights reserved. Offer good at participating dealers only through April 30, 2004.
READER SERVICE NO. 1 3 6
IN D ETAl L A glorious collar and cuffs in corded, ruched

sage green velvet contrast deliciously with the plum crushed velvet of

this mid-1920s custom-made opera coat. This coat, from the collection of the

Stephens College Costume Research Library, Columbia, Missouri, shows how

a unique collar adds drama to an otherwise simple garment. Learn how to

drape new collars for commercial patterns on p. 52.