Comox Trunks Sew-Along: Day 8 - Attaching the elastic waistband

Comox Trunks Sew-Along: Day 8 - Attaching the elastic waistband

By the end of today’s post you will have finished Comox Trunks!

Today we’ll be attaching the elastic waistband.

First, I will show you the method included in the instruction booklet to create an exposed elastic waistband as you would find on most store-bought trunk style underwear.

After that, I’ll show you my attempt at a fabric covered elastic waistband.  ***Full disclosure – I’ve somehow managed to avoid sewing fabric covered elastic waistbands my entire sewing-life and so am not sure if my technique is the best one available.  You might have some tips for me about how to make this process smoother :) ***

Okay, lets get started on our exposed elastic waistband.  First, we need to form a loop by sewing the two narrow edges together.  I used a reinforced stitch for this but you could also use a narrow zig zag (and sew over the seam at least twice) or even a straight stitch if you sew over it several times to ensure that your threads won’t snap when the elastic stretches.

Comox trunks elastic 1

And here is our loop after I’ve pressed open the seam allowance:

comox trunks elastic 2

I like to force the seam allowances to lay flat by zig zagging them to the main elastic.  This will help prevent them from being too scratchy.

90comox trunks elastic 5

This is how the trapped seam allowances appear from the inside of the waistband:

comox trunks elastic 3

89In the instruction booklet I give two options for attaching your garment tag (which comes with the paper sewing pattern).  I’ve gone with my favourite option.  While I am all for proudly displaying our brand on the exterior of our garments (lol I hate clothing with visible brand names usually but it’s a different story with my own brand :P) I prefer to place the tag over the elastic seam allowance.  Our tags are nice and soft so they’ll provide one extra layer between the wearer and the scratchy seam allowances.  If you don’t have a garment tag you could use a fabric scrap or ribbon instead.

comox trunks tag

91And now it’s time for us to add the waistband to the shorts.  This step is very straight forward (indeed, it can sometimes be a little confusing to people because they are expecting it to be more difficult!).  All you need to do is line up the trunks and elastic exactly how they will look when they are finished and then sew them in place!  Here is how to line them up:

attach the elastic waistband

 You will need to line up the right side of the shorts with the wrong side of the elastic so that the elastic overlaps the fabric 3/8″.  The elastic is the outermost layer.  Position the elastic seam at centre back and pin in place.  Also pin centre front.

pin the waistband

95At this point, I like to divide the elastic in quarters and place pins where side seams normally would be.

96comox trunks waistband pin

I then place pins between each of my four pins to result in eight pins that evenly distribute the trunk fabric around the elastic.9798

pinned waistband

comox trunks back view

Here, you can see how this will look from the inside once you have placed your pins:

comox trunks inside view

99And now it is just a matter of stitching the two layers together!  I used a zig zag stitch but you can also use a twin needle for a lovely professional finish.  You will need to stretch the elastic slightly as you sew to ease in the excess fabric.  Depending on whether you created a custom fit waistband or not (by wrapping it around the wearer to determine the length needed) will depend on how much easing you need to do.100

stitched waistband

Don’t worry if the fabric looks a little gathered in areas by the time you are done (see mine below – especially in the front area) because this will stretch out when the wearer puts the trunks on and sit perfectly smoothly.

101stitched waistband 2

I went over my zig zag stitch a second time for added strength.  You could even do this a third time if you wanted because of all the seams in these trunks, this is the one that is under the most pressure and is the most likely to snap.

102stitch 2 or 3 times

Once I finished stitching I cleaned up my seam allowance by trimming the fabric closer to the zig zag stitches.

106107trim seam allowance

trim seam allowance 2

Wahoo! Our trunks are done! (Unless you are holding out for the fabric covered waistband of course).

Here is what I did to create a fabric covered waistband:

sewed the elastic into a loop as I explained above (including stitching the seam allowances flat).

IMGP7179fabric covered elastic waistband 1

Next I needed to create a fabric loop that could sandwich the elastic and still have enough seam allowance to attach to the trunks.  To create this, I cut two rectangles of fabric (you could cut one long rectangle if you only want one seam, I just didn’t have enough scrap fabric to do this).  The rectangles each measured as follows: The length of your elastic loop (i.e. roughly the width of your trunks)  plus two seam allowances + double the width of your elastic plus two seam allowances.

Sew the narrow edges together to form a tube and you will end up with this:

fabric covered elastic waistband 2
IMGP7178

And here is a better view so you can see how the fabric tube relates in size to the trunks:IMGP7176

fabric covered elastic waistband 3


Now sandwich the elastic in your fabric by folding the loop in half over the elastic (with wrong sides together).

fabric covered elastic waistband 4IMGP7182IMGP7183

fabric covered elastic waistband 5

To keep everything lined up, you can baste the fabric loop closed along the bottom.  I used a zipper foot so that I could get close enough to the elastic to prevent the elastic from sliding around.

IMGP7184fabric covered elastic waistband 6

Here is the elastic-stuffed and basted loop:

fabric covered elastic waistband 6IMGP7185

Now I pinned the elastic/fabric loop to the trunks with right sides together and the seams lined up at either side.

fabric covered elastic waistband 7

And I serged the entire loop.  This is more or less effective – the only problem is that you can’t get very close to the elastic edge with the serger so the fabric waistband looks a little floppy and loose.  The only way to create a narrower fabric tube would be to leave a hole in the tube and thread the elastic into it AFTER the tube is attached to the main trunks.

fabric covered elastic waistband 8

IMGP7190I just used the reinforced straight stitch and a zipper foot to stitch closer to the elastic:

fabric covered elastic waistband 9

IMGP7191And there we go, finished trunks with a super soft and comfy fabric covered waistband!

fabric covered elastic waistband 9

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 1 - Announcement

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 1 - Announcement

Many of you have asked for it…a Camas Blouse sew-along complete with all of the bells and whistles!  Join me while I make several blouses this February.  The sew-along will begin next Monday, January 25th and it will be posted on our website indefinitely so that you can follow along whenever you feel inclined to embark on a Camas Blouse project.

Here is what we will be covering during this sew-along:

  1. Monday Jan. 25th: Choose your fabric and notions
  2. Wednesday Jan. 27th: Select a size and perform fit adjustments
  3. Friday Jan. 29th: Sew the Camas Blouse in a woven fabric (with no stretch)
  4. Monday Feb. 1st: Camas Blouse hacks – create a cardigan or dress, adjust the sleeve length
  5. Wednesday Feb. 3rd: Cut into your fabric and sew the yokes
  6. Friday Feb. 5th: Sew the sleeves, side seams and hem
  7. Monday Feb. 8th: Sew the blouse placket – 2 ways
  8. Wednesday Feb. 10th: Add closures and style an outfit!

Did you notice?  We will be done our Camas blouses, cardigans and dresses in time to wear them on Valentine’s Day!  Submit your progress shots and your finished blouses out on the town by using #camassewalong or by emailing me at info@threadtheory.ca

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 2 - Choose your fabric

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 2 - Choose your fabric

Welcome to the first day of the Camas Blouse sew-along!  We are talking about materials today so that you are armed with knowledge when you head out to find your fabric.

 

Photo Credits (Left to Right, Top to Bottom): 1 2 3 4 5 6

When I originally envisioned the Camas Blouse (as part of the fashion collection I designed during the Fashion Design program I took several years ago) I imagined a weightless and elegant blouse that hinted at the playsuits, practical blouse and pant outfits, and rayon dresses that many women wore throughout WWII.  These outfits were comfortable, simple, affordable and, to me, look stylish in a very effortless way.  I designed the Camas for knits as a modern interpretation of this wartime emphasis on practical comfort.

My favorite fabrics for the Camas Blouse have the following categories:

1. A Wonderfully Soft Drape

This is the most important quality if you want the gathers above the bust and just below the back yoke to fall nicely over your body.  Drape is especially important if you are choosing a lightweight fabric – you want the hem to fall smoothly rather than stick out in an awkward manner!

Test the drape of a fabric by unrolling about a metre from the bolt.  Hold it up to your body and see how it falls against curves like your shoulder or bust.  Does it naturally want to conform to the shape of your body or does it retain it’s own shape?  You want it to conform to you pleasingly.  Take special note of this characteristic if you are planning to sew the Camas in a woven.  Many knits contain lovely drape but many blouse-weight wovens do not!

2. Opacity

The Camas consists of a single layer of fabric over the bust so make sure that your fabric is opaque enough to block a full view of your bra (unless this is the fashion statement you are hoping to make!).  I often fall in love with beautiful tissue weight knits only to unfurl them from the rest of the fabric bolt and realize I would be on full display if I wore them as a single layer.

3. Snag Resistance

This category is an important one for me but it might not be necessary for you.  I wear the Camas like I would wear a basic t-shirt.  I wear it hiking, gardening, while petting my cat (the ultimate snag-creator) and sometimes even while playing squash.  The loose fit makes it just as comfortable as a t-shirt but it looks a bit more interesting.  My favorite choices for snag-free and strong knits are jerseys containing bamboo or linen.

Why isn’t stretch in the top 3?

You might have noticed that I haven’t included stretch as one of my top three categories.  I recommend choosing a fabric with at least a very small amount of stretch because the sleeves have been drafted fairly slim since they were originally intended to be sewn from a knit fabric.  Using a fabric with stretch will increase the mobility you have.  The main body of the Camas does not need a stretchy fabric because the yokes (and thus the shoulder width) are drafted for woven contrast fabrics and do not contain negative ease.   All that being said, there are some very easy adjustments that you can make so that you can sew the Camas from a fabric with no stretch at all. We’ll be going over this in more detail in a few days.

Now, to get a bit more specific, here are nine of my top Camas Blouse knit choices!

Descriptions below correspond to the photos above, left to right, top to bottom.  Sorry that the top three photos are blurry!  I really wanted to include Fancy Tiger fabrics despite the small pictures available on their website because Matt and I visited the Denver shop in person a couple of years ago and were in awe of the high quality fabrics they had curated!

Stone Blue Hemp/Cotton Knit from Fancy Tiger: A little bit thick and nicely textured for a casual ‘t-shirt’ style Camas Blouse.

School Plaid Blue Cotton/Spandex Jersey from Fancy Tiger: This is actually one of Girl Charlee’s signature knits and it is knit in the USA.  It has been pre-shrunk which is handy!  A lengthened Camas in this fabric would make a very cute nightgown or tunic.

Line Drawings Bluing Cotton/Spandex Jersey from Fancy Tiger: This is an Art Gallery fabric which, from my experience petting these fabrics, are very soft and a great weight for a knit shirt.

Vine Cotton Interlock from Simplifi Fabric: One of my favorite Canadian shops. :D  This interlock fabric is less drapey than a jersey would be but it is easier to sew because it is more stable!  Plus, isn’t the print gorgeous?  This would be a great choice for someone new to sewing with knits.

Retro Floral Viscose Lycra Jersey from Guthri & Ghani: A British fabric shop! I’ve chosen this print because it reminds me of the 1940’s rayon dresses that were my inspiration for the Camas Blouse.  While I haven’t felt this knit in person, I imagine it is slinky and drapey due to it’s viscose content.  It is likely quite stable and strong because it contains Lycra.  This would make a hard wearing yet dressy looking Camas Blouse.

Sunrise Organic Cotton Jersey from Organic Cotton Plus: A completely organic online fabric shop based in the US.  This jersey is 100% cotton (no spandex content) so it will be quite stable, similar to a men’s t-shirt fabric.  It would make a great ‘every-day’ Camas Blouse that is light weight and easy to wear.  It would take the place of a t-shirt in your wardrobe.

Forest Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Thread Theory: I hope you don’t mind that I’m including a little plug for the fabric that we carry in our shop!  I can’t avoid doing so because the bamboo jersey that we have in the shop is an ideal candidate for the Camas Blouse and is one of the most rugged yet beautiful fabrics I have ever come across (hence why we stock it in our shop!).  The cotton makes this fabric sturdy, the bamboo makes it slinky and hard wearing.  The high spandex content gives a lovely stretch and a weighty drape to the knit.  It is completely opaque in all of it’s colorways.  It doesn’t shrink in the wash and has held up to my terrible laundry practices for years (high heat drying every week).  I’ll be making a Camas using this fabric for the sew-along so you can see exactly how it looks sewn up.

Heathered Almond Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Thread Theory:  Same as above!  This light colourway is very elegant and just as opaque as the darker colors.  I love the heathered texture.

Olive Cotton Bamboo Jersey from Thread Theory:  This is a nice solid (not heathered) in a color that I view as a neutral since olive is my favorite color and I wear it with everything.

Shall we move on to the wovens?

If you are planning to sew the Camas in a woven, here are my top three choices.  We will be talking about ways to adjust the pattern to better suit knits in a future post so refrain from cutting into your woven fabric just yet :).

 

Opal Double Gauze from Organic Cotton Plus: Gauze is loosely woven which gives it quite a nice drape (not super slinky but not stiff like a shirting cotton).  Double Gauze features two layers so it is more likely to be opaque than it’s single layered gauze counterpart.

Ivory Tencel Twill from Blackbird Fabrics: Another Canadian fabric shop!  Tencel is one of my favorite choices for drapey garments.  It is stronger than rayon and usually has a beautiful sheen.  This ivory tencel is no exception!  It would make an extremely luxurious and dressy Camas Blouse with an interesting texture – can you imagine it with pearl and gold buttons?

Black and White Ikat Viscose from Guthri & Ghani: Once we go over a couple of alterations you might like to make when sewing the Camas with a woven, it will be a perfect candidate for all of those slinky viscose novelty prints that you can’t resist at the fabric shop!  Any small to medium print would be lovely – you could even use a complimentary print for the yoke.  I imagine this practice of pairing prints could look either very French chic or very romantically bohemian depending on the colorway.

Now that I’ve given you my two cents about fabric choices, I want you to keep in mind that you are very free to experiment!  I have seen many a successful Camas sewn inthicker knits such as Ponte di Roma or in crisp cottons to create a more structured look than I initially envisioned.  In fact, I’ve done some experimenting in the past myself by making my mom a Camas out of a crisp stretch cotton with very little drape.

As you can see, the blouse looks quite different than my usual Camas projects but it is nice too!  My only critiques of this experiment are that the hem is weightless so the blouse likes to ride up a little so that it billows and buckles if it is not pulled down.  Also, the fabric wrinkles easily because it is not fitted to the body with this style of blouse.

Now that we’ve talked fabric, let’s move on to discussing notions for this project.

Knit Interfacing:

 

Knit interfacing is usually light weight and contains stretch in at least one direction.  In the Camas Blouse instructions I state that you should interface all of your placket pieces.  The interfacing helps to stabilize these narrow little pieces so that they are easier to sew (they won’t roll up quite so much) and so that they are stable enough to handle all of the needle piercing involved in sewing buttonholes.  Wouldn’t it be terrible if your lightweight knit fabric developed a hole when you were sewing the very last buttonhole on to your blouse?!

If you plan to avoid buttonholes by using snaps or by simply sewing on decorative but non-functional buttons (more on this momentarily), you can skip the interfacing to create a more fluid placket that drapes against your body in the same way that the rest of the blouse does.  You can also skip the interfacing but still add the buttonholes by using a temporary stabilizer that doesn’t remain within the garment once you are done sewing it.  Here is a tutorial that I created about this sort of stabilization!

 

Closures:

 

The choices are vast when it comes to adding closures to the Camas Blouse!  Here are a few options that I’ve tried out:

Buttons with Buttonholes: These are functional and they accentuate the fact that the comfy knit Camas is, indeed, a blouse rather than a t-shirt.  This might be a good option if you are hoping to get away with wearing your ‘secret pajamas’ to work despite the dress code!  Or maybe you plan to breast-feed in this blouse?

Sewing buttonholes

Snaps: Pearl snaps or halo snaps both look lovely (and a bit more casual) on the Camas.  Plus, they are super simple to install!  I would recommend avoiding these if you are using a mid-weight to thick knit for your blouse.  It can be difficult to work the snap prongs all the way through the knit placket if the knit is a bit spongey.

Casual Camas Blouse

Decorative Buttons: The Camas Blouse can easily be put on and taken off over the head due to the loose fit created by the gathers so there really isn’t a need for any sort of closure!  Just sew on decorative buttons through all layers of both plackets (this is what I did for the blouse photographed below).

Camas Blouse

No hardware at all: Make your Camas into an open front cardigan by skipping buttons or snaps entirely – I will be doing this with one of my sew-along Camas Blouses (and I will also be adding length to the sleeves to create a cozy sweater).


 

On Wednesday we will be discussing sizing and some fit adjustments.  In the meantime, please feel free to email with any fabric and notion questions you might have!  If you would like my advice on a particular fabric choice, send a link or photo to info@threadtheory.ca

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 3 - Choose your size and fit

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 3 - Choose your size and fit

Today we are talking about sizing and fit.  The Camas Blouse is designed to be a swingy sort of blouse with a loose fit about the waist and hips (due to the gathers at the chest and back) and a figure hugging fit around the shoulders and arms.

CamasOnMorgan-14 blog

Here is the size chart for this pattern: Web Information

As you can see, we’ve included sizes 0 to 18.  We always include two sets of measurements with our patterns: The Body Measurements and the Garment Measurements.

Using the Body Measurement Chart

To select your size, first take your body measurements using a measurement tape and preferably someone to help you so that you get the most accurate measurements.  I find it is difficult to ensure the tape measure is horizontal around my bust, waist and hips without someone there to help!

If your measurements do not all fall into the same size category, you have two options:

  1. Select your size based on the most important measurement for the pattern. Since the Camas Blouse is meant to be loose around the Waist and Hips, I would consider the Bust measurement to be the most important to match – even this measurement has a bit of wiggle room though because the gathers just above the bust allow quite a bit of ease.  Here’s an example of how this option could work: I measure myself to find my bust is 31″ my waist is 26 1/2″ and my hips are 34″.  I would choose to sew size 2 because this is the size closest to my bust measurement.
  2. Grade between sizes to ensure a perfect fit.  This method is the most accurate way to approach choosing a size – especially when you are sewing a fitted garment.  You can see my tutorial on how to do this here!  Simply use a pencil to create a smooth line between two or three sizes.  For most garments, you would create this transition between the bust and waist and between the waist and hips but you have to keep the garment design and the original shape of the seamlines in mind.  Here is an example to explain what I mean by this: I measure myself to find I have the same measurements as listed in option 1.  I would choose to cut out a size 2 at the bust but then grade to a size 4 at the waist.  I wouldn’t grade back down to a smaller size at the hips though due to the shape of the blouse – it would look strange to have a curved side seam that bulges outwards!

Using the Garment Measurement Chart

Now that you’ve picked your size, you can use the garment measurement chart to check exactly how the design will fit you and then tweak the pattern to suit your body shape.  If you hate sewing mock ups this might be a valuable step for you to take!

I find it easiest to compare the measurements in this chart to a blouse from my closet.  If you don’t have a blouse with a fit that you like, you can compare these measurements to your body measurements but keep in mind that there is both positive and negative ease included in various areas of the pattern so, for instance, you should not expect the waist width to match your own waist width – it will be far wider due to the loose fit caused by gathers (positive ease).

Lay the shirt that you will be measuring out on a table or the floor as flat as possible.

A few measurements that you might want to check are:

Measuring the Camas Blouse (4 of 5)

Chest Width: If the chest measurement is smaller than your sample garment, we will be discussing how to adjust this below!

Measuring the Camas Blouse (5 of 5)

Centre Back Length to Hem: This is a nice one to check if you want to know how long the back of the blouse will be.  You can lengthen or shorten the pattern easily using the lengthen/shorten lines so that it will cover your bum to wear with leggings or sit at the most flattering point for your body.

Measuring the Camas Blouse (1 of 5)Neckline Drop: This measurement refers to how deep/revealing the neckline is on the Camas.  A number of people who have sewn this blouse have told me that the neckline was a little lower than they felt comfortable wearing.  I must admit, I like to wear pretty low necklines and have a small bust so I don’t have to worry much about displaying cleavage.  If cleavage is something you don’t want to show, you might want to make the neckline more modest.  We will talk about how to adjust the neckline below!

Measuring the Camas Blouse (3 of 5)

Sleeve Bicep Width: This is a very important measurement to examine if you are sewing the Camas Blouse using a woven fabric (not recommended for this pattern without adjusting the sleeve width!).  You will see that the sleeve is quite slim compared to most blouses made in woven fabrics.  We will be talking about sleeve adjustments in Friday’s sew-along post about the Camas Blouse in Woven Fabrics.

Now we’ve inspected the fit of this design, let’s move on to adjusting the pattern so the measurements suit your body!

Please note that it is most accurate to make pattern adjustments by removing the seam allowances on a pattern before manipulating it.  I recommend doing this for the adjustments I show you below.  That being said, everyone wants to be lazy sometimes so I have chosen the most simple option for all of the following adjustments so you can perform quick and dirty pattern adjustments with the seam allowances still attached if you need to!

Change the chest width to suit larger busts:

The Camas Blouse looks best if there is enough fabric in the chest area for the gathers to fall loosely over the bust.  If you are worried this will not be the case based on the body and garment measurements you took, it is very easy to simply create more room by creating more gathers!  You will only need to adjust one pattern piece – the front.

Adding-width-to-bust

Cut along the entire length of the Camas Blouse Front as illustrated by the dotted line in the diagram above.  Cut somewhere within the “Gather Here” markings on the pattern piece (between the neckline and the notch).

Place a large sheet of paper underneath your blouse front and spread open the blouse.  Add half the width you need to create a nice roomy chest width because this amount will be added to both the left and right blouse front!  Tape the pattern to the large piece of paper and cut out the new wider pattern piece.

Create the gathers as instructed so that the blouse front matches the width of the yoke – you will have more gathers than originally included in the blouse design so that the fabric can pleasingly fall over your bust.

Lengthen or shorten the blouse for short or tall figures (or to create a different style):

I’ve photographed a tutorial that shows you how to lengthen or shorten a pattern in the past for our Jedediah Pants Sew-Along.  The pattern pieces you will need to do this to are the front, back and placket.  If you would like to also lengthen the back hem swoop to create a tunic with bum coverage, you will likely want to lengthen the entire blouse body several inches and then shape a new hem like this:

Lengthening and shortening pattern

The key is to make sure that your new swoop meets up with the original seamline before the side seam unless you would like to adjust the blouse front hemline as well.

Raise the neckline to create a more modest design:

To raise the neckline you will need to adjust the front and placket pattern pieces.  Determine how much you would like to raise the neckline (for an example, let’s say 1/2″).

Assistance raising Camas neckline

Using a ruler, extend the blouse center front up 1/2″. draw a new curved corner and gradually meet with the old neckline.  Try to keep the general shape of the neckline and angle of the curved corner as similar.  Ensure that the new neckline is the same length as the old neckline by curving your measuring tape along the seamline.

Using a ruler, extend the straight length of the placket 1/2″ to match the blouse front.  Create a new curved corner and gradually meet the old neckline in the same manner as you did for the last pattern piece.

In order to make sure that the placket is the correct length and will fit onto the blouse, you will need to measure both the front yoke and the blouse front where the placket attaches.  If you still have seam allowances on your pattern piece, remember to subtract the seam allowances used to sew the yoke to the blouse front from your measurement!


 

Are there other fit adjustments you would like to make to this pattern?  Send me an email at info@threadtheory.ca and I will try my best to make a tutorial to help you.

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 4 - Using a Woven Fabric

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 4 - Using a Woven Fabric

Here is the sew-along post that many of you have been waiting for!  Ever since we launched the Camas Blouse pattern we have received emails and comments from people who would love to make the Camas in a fabric with no stretch.  The pattern is designed for knit fabrics with some stretch but the only pattern piece that actually needs this stretch is the sleeve.  It is drafted to be quite slim in the bicep and at the elbow.  You will need more room if you would like to be comfortable while moving your arms!  Most knit garments do not include enough ease across the shoulder blades to work with woven fabrics.  This is not the case with the Camas Blouse because the yoke pieces were drafted to work in woven or knit fabrics.  So, if you would like to sew this pattern using a woven fabric, you will not need to change the pattern very much, you will just need to make some small adjustments to the sleeve!

Today I’ve recorded all of the ways that you can adjust the Camas sleeve along with their corresponding advantages and disadvantages.  I hope you will find an option or combination of options that suits you!  I’ll begin with the simplest solutions and end with some pattern manipulation.  I’ve accompanied almost every solution with photos of a Camas Blouse or similar garment sewn by a sewing blogger or by me so that you can see how each solution appears in reality!

Camas Blouse Woven Size Up

Sized up Camas Blouse blogged at Friends Stitched Together

Simply Size Up!

How to Do This: Take your body measurements and select your size from the body measurement chart that we talked about a couple of days ago.  Instead of cutting your pattern out using this size, simply cut the next size up!  You could grade between sizes if you would like to maintain a neckline and waist/hem that fits you but you will need to use the larger sized armhole and sleeve.

Advantages:  This is the easiest option and requires no pattern adjustments. Yay :)

Disadvantages: Using a size bigger than your measurements call for will give you more room in the sleeve and armscye but it will also make the rest of the blouse larger.  Even if you grade between sizes, you will be forced to sew a Camas with wider shoulders and a larger chest circumference unless you make pattern adjustments to correct this.  If you happen to be between measurements with thin arms and larger shoulders/bust, this solution will be perfect for you because it will lead to the correct fit in every area.

Christine-Camas-9

Cotton Spandex Camas Blouse blogged by me and modeled by my Mom

Pick a Woven with Spandex Content

How to Do This: Select a fabric with even the smallest percentage of spandex/lycra contest.  All you need is just a slight bit of ‘give’ or stretch in the fabric to allow you to have mobility at the elbow and feel unrestricted around the bicep despite the tight sleeve.

Advantages: There are an increasing number of fabric choices available with a small amount of spandex included – I have seen stretch cottons, stretch silks and stretch suitings at the fabric store lately that would all make lovely Camas Blouses.

Disadvantages: Fabrics with spandex content wear out faster if you do not wash them carefully.  A lot of fabrics with spandex content don’t quite have the drape that I am looking for or the prints that I would like to create my ideal woven Camas.

Camas Blouse Woven Seam Allowance

Camas Blouse sewn with 3/8″ seam allowances blogged at Randomly Happy

Sew With Smaller Seam Allowances

Camas tutorial adjust seam allowance

How to Do This: Cut out the size that suits you based on the body measurement chart.  Determine which areas you will need more mobility and room and sew these areas using a 1/4″ to 3/8″ seam allowance rather than the 5/8″ seam allowance that the pattern calls for.  Since the Camas Blouse yokes have been drafted to work well with woven fabrics, the only areas you will need to use a smaller seam allowance are the sleeve and side seam.  When sewing step 3 in the “Sleeves and Side Seam” section of the instruction booklet, start at the hem of the sleeve and sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Keep sewing with this seam allowance until you have sewn onto the blouse body and then taper back to a 5/8″ seam allowance to complete the rest of the seam.

Advantages: This is also an easy option with the added benefit that you can use the regular seam allowance (5/8″) where you do not need extra width.

Disadvantages:  This solution works well for adding a touch more room at the elbow and bicep but it may not be enough room for you if you like a very easy fitting sleeve.  Sewing with a smaller seam allowance will also drop the underarm lower which can reduce the ability to raise the arm without the body of the garment also raising (we will be talking about this shortly, keep reading!).  This may or may not be a nuisance to you:  If you wear your Camas tucked in it will be more likely to untuck itself when you raise your arm.

Camas Blouse Woven Sleeve Width

Camas Blouse with width added to sleeves (using method 2 I believe) blogged at Stitch 56

Increase the Sleeve Width (2 ways)

How to Do This: There are two approaches to adding width to the sleeve.

Camas Blouse adding width at bicep

1. Reduce the sleeve cap height: Cut the sleeve pattern piece in half vertically but leave a paper hing at the top and bottom.  Cut the sleeve horizontally leaving a paper hinge at each side.  Now spread the t-shape open to add as much width as you will like.  You will notice that the sleeve seam does not change in length but it’s shape changes.  You will also notice that width is added very high up at the shoulder – this is a great place to add it if you have rounded, full delts like I do!

Camas Blouse adding width at elbow

2. Add width along the Seam: This is an easier adjustment but it is definitely a design change because it leads the sleeve to become more rectangular than tapered.  Place your sleeve pattern piece on a large sheet of paper and draw a straight line from the underarm down to the hem to create a wider hem.  This adjustment does not add width above the bicep but many people will not need additional width in this area, they will mostly just need extra width at the elbow.

Advantages: Both of these pattern adjustments are fairly simple and do not require you to adjust the armscye.

Disadvantages: Both adjustments makes the sleeve fit in a looser manner.  Since the proportions of the Camas are quite fitted in the sleeve and shoulder and quite loose in the body, changing the fitted sleeve to a looser one will change the look of the garment considerably.

Camas Woven Sleeve Band

Linen dress which I designed at fashion school.  If you look closely you can see a light cream band of knit fabric along the sleeve seam (left hand side).

Add a Knit Band to the Sleeve

Camas Blouse adding knit band to sleeve

How to Do This: Remove the seam allowances from the main seam of your sleeve pattern piece.  Cut off 1/2″ from either side of the sleeve, bicep to hem.  Create a rectangle pattern piece that is the length of the sleeve seam.  It should measure 1″ wide.  Add seam allowances back on to the sleeve and on to the knit band (long edges).  You will need to sew the Camas Blouse in a different order now that you have a two piece sleeve.  Sew the blouse side seam.  Next, sew the sleeve and sleeve band together to form a tube.  Ease the sleeve into the armhole.

Advantages: This option will create the most comfortable feeling sleeve without changing the overall silhouette of the garment very much – you lose a little bit of sleeve shaping due to the rectangular knit piece but it is not substantial..

Disadvantages: It is very difficult to find matching knit and woven fabrics unless you dye them yourself.  Even if you can find a perfect match, the seamlines themselves might not look as flattering as you would like (unless you view it as design feature!).

 

Raise the Armhole

Camas Blouse raising the armhole

How to Do This: The Camas armhole isn’t especially low but raising the armhole slightly can still help to  increase mobility and comfort when sewing the Camas in a woven fabric.  While it might seem counter intuitive to create a tighter armhole in order to increase mobility, it really does help!  Low armholes, while comfortable and casual feeling (think your favorite cozy loose sweater or batwing tops) actually reduce mobility when sewn in a woven fabric.  The whole body of the garment must ride up when the arm is lifted.  If you’d like proof or a visual explanation about the differences between high and low armholes, Threads Magazine has come out with a great article by Kenneth D. Kingrecently (Feb/March 2016 issue) and also an excellent video featuring Andrea Schewe that both visually explain how this works.  I particularly recommend the video as it really made things clear for me and explains how to make this adjustment step by step.

As I said before, the Camas doesn’t have especially low armholes, so our adjustment to increase mobility doesn’t need to be very big.  After watching the video, here are the measurements I think would work nicely to add a bit of extra mobility when sewing the Camas in wovens are as follows:

Raise the armhole by 3/8″ and raise the sleeve by 3/4″.  Of course, you can experiment by raising it less or more based on how the Camas Blouse fits your body.  I am sewing a woven version of the Camas for the sew-along using this adjustment along with a smaller seam allowance at the elbow so I will report on how this fits me at the end of the sew along!

Advantages: This option emphasizes the slim look of the Camas sleeve while increasing your ability to lift your arm without shifting the rest of the blouse – win, win!

Disadvantages: This adjustment doesn’t give you any more room in the elbow, it will only give you the ability to lift and move your arm comfortably.  You will likely want to combine this adjustment with another one such as sewing with smaller seam allowances near the elbow to create the most comfortable sleeve.

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 5 - Camas Blouse Hacks

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 5 - Camas Blouse Hacks

Welcome back to the Camas Sew-Along.  I hope you had a great weekend!  Today we have our last pattern manipulation post before launching into actually sewing our blouses.  I will do a quick post tomorrow about fitting your shoulders but since this wasn’t part of the sew-along schedule and is due to a request in the comments, today’s post still counts as the last one before we get to the good stuff (sewing)!

Today we are talking about pattern hacks.  Here are a few easy ones that I have cooked up – many of them based on Camas hacks the sewing community has blogged about or added to Instagram!

The Camas Cardigan

 

Doesn’t this Cardigan by Katie of Handmade Threads look like something you would want to wear every Spring day?  The Camas Cardigan is the easiest hack of all – simply sew your blouse as directed in the instruction booklet without making any changes to the pattern pieces…and then skip the last step – closures!  Don’t add closures to the Camas and you will have an open front cardigan.  Or, sew all of the steps for a cardigan that buttons up.  Easier yet, grab the Camas Blouse that already sits in your closet and magically transform it into a cardigan by wearing it over another top! :P

I will be sewing a Camas Cardigan during the sew-along that features our soft and snuggly black interlock and a contrast gathered lace back.  I’m sewing this version using the next pattern hack too:

Cozy Camas with Full Length Sleeves

If you would prefer to sew a Camas featuring a full length sleeve rather than the 3/4 length included with the pattern, here is how you would go about adjusting the sleeve pattern piece:

Camas Blouse Full Length Sleeves

First, ignore the “Lengthen or Shorten Here” line unless you are just making a small fit adjustment.  For a style adjustment, you do not want to use this line because it will preserve the width of the hem – a hem suited to the widest part of your forearm will not be suited to your thin wrist!

To extend the sleeve to full length, measure the length of your arm, or even easier, the length of a shirt sleeve that fits you well.  Draw a new hemline that is parallel to the original hem.  Make sure to include the 5/8″ hem allowance!

Determine how wide you need your hem to be by measuring the circumference of your wrist (or the well fitting shirt).  Make sure, once again, to add two 5/8″ seam allowances to this measurement!

Draw new seamlines up from the hem until they meet the existing sleeve seams at a pleasing angle.  You can now sew a Camas with full length sleeves!

A Swooped Hem Camas

untitled-103

I made this swooped hem Camas Blouse using a light and flowing silk from Britex Fabrics.  I wanted to emphasize the weightlessness of the fabric so I exaggerated the curve at the back of the hem considerably.  For this blouse I adjusted both the front and back of the panels to create a high-low hem (the front curves upwards so that the shortest point is the placket).  This was a fun experiment but in retrospect I wouldn’t have adjusted the front of the blouse since I think the original downward curve at the front is more flattering.  In the tutorial below I show you how to adjust only the back panel to achieve the swooped back and still maintain the curve over the hips and across the front of the blouse.

The key if you only adjust the back panel is to shape the hem curve so that it meets the side seam at the same angle as the original hem curve.  Keep in mind that an exaggerated hem curve may make hemming a bit tricky – you can use a rolled hem for a curve like this!

Swooped Hem Camas Blouse

 

The Camas Dress/Tunic

Inspiration for Camas Dress

Camas Dress inspiration: The T.A.- Okay Dress from ModCloth

I have two different approaches for lengthening the Camas to become a dress – one is the approach I am using for a Camas Dress that I am currently halfway through making.  I decided to make a slim dress with straight side seams and I envision wearing it with a self fabric belt, cuffed sleeves and black leggings – I can’t wait to show it to you!  Here is the shape I created when lengthening the pattern:

Lengthening the Camas Blouse

To do this, cut along the lengthen and shorten lines.  Spread the Front, Back and Placket out equally.  Draw new seamlines – be sure to keep the original angle at the base of the armhole for at least the 5/8″ seam allowance so that you are not interfering with the armhole shape.

The second approach you can take to lengthening the Camas into a tunic or dress is to keep the shaped side seam for a ‘fit and flare’ look.  Melissa of Happy Stitch has created a tutorial to do just this and posted it over at the Imagine Gnats blog!

Camas Blouse Tunic Length

Some of your inspiring pattern hacks:

 

Your Camas Blouse Hacks

  1. A woven Camas with sleeves and yokes cut from the same fabric blogged at Neues vom Sonnenfels.
  2. Piping added to the yoke seams!  Blogged at Gros Bécots.
  3. A sleeveless Camas with no placket and a cross-over front blogged at Thread Snips.

 

A very creative Camas Blouse alteration featuring no centre front opening and a cute neckline keyhole by Sylvie.

And some freshly interpreted Camas Blouses with no hacking needed!

Camas Blouse Freshly Interpreted

  1. The Camas as business attire by Pattern Revolution
  2. A maternity (and breastfeeding) Camas by Hachis Parementure
  3. The Camas meets sequins at Jolies Bobines
  4. The Camas in gold and black at By Clo’th
  5. A pleated and color-blocked Camas by Effortless Attention
June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 6 - Cut into your fabric and sew the yokes

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 6 - Cut into your fabric and sew the yokes

Today we finally start to sew!

I have decided to photograph the woven Camas that I am sewing using a dotted cotton chambray as my main ‘sew-along sample’.  I know most people will be following along while sewing a knit Camas (since this is the type of fabric that the pattern calls for) but I thought that the very clear right and wrong side on this fabric would help to make the sew-along photos easy to understand so I couldn’t resist photographing a woven Camas!  Even though I am sewing with a woven fabric, I will still include information on stitch types that you should or could use when sewing with a knit.  If I mention straight stitching during a sewing step, for example, this is a stitch type suitable for both knits and woven fabrics at that particular point in the sewing process.


 

Okay, let’s delve right in – cut out your fabric pieces using the fabric layout provided in the instruction booklet.  I go into great detail about cutting out knit fabrics in our Comox Trunks sew-along so I haven’t repeated myself here.  Be sure to check out this post if you want some tips!

It is important to note that the Camas Blouse pattern includes 5/8″ seam allowances on all seams – while this large allowance is fairly standard for home sewers because it gives you wiggle room to fit the garment as you sew, it means you will need to do a lot of seam trimming (often called grading).  We will go over how to do this and where to do this at every single sewing step for the most professional looking results!  It is a very important aspect of sewing the Camas Blouse.

Sewing the Front Yokes

Camas Blouse Sew Along (1 of 29)

Create gathers on your blouse Front by sewing two lines of stitching using your longest stitch length.  The first line of stitching is 1/4″ from the fabric edge and the second line of stitching is 1/2″ from the fabric edge.  Stitch from the notch towards the neckline.  Don’t backstitch when sewing a gathering stitch since you will need to pull your loose threads taught in a moment!  You can stop your stitching either 5/8″ from the neckline or continue right to the neckline fabric edge.

Pull the gathers by grabbing hold of the bobbin threads from both stitching lines.  Even out the gathers so that they are nicely spread between the notch and the neckline.  You should leave the 5/8″ seam allowance along the neckline free from gathers.
Camas Sew Along Yoke Seamline

Pin the front yokes to your blouse fronts.  First, lay down one front yoke so that the right side is facing you, place the blouse front on top of it so that the blouse front right side is also facing you.  Finish the sandwich by placing the second yoke on top of the blouse front so that the wrong side is facing you (as pictured above).  Pin your layers in place so that the raw edges are even.  Note that each yoke edge should be even with the neckline and armhole at the seamline – this is 5/8″ in from the fabric edge.  You can see in the photo above that the yoke extends past the neckline and armhole within the seam allowance.  The yoke notches match the blouse front notch.Camas Blouse in a woven (2 of 29)

Above is another view of the sandwich you have made – on the left is your front yoke, in the middle is your blouse front, on the right is your front yoke facing.  Sew along the 5/8″ seamline using a regular straight stitch and backstitch at both ends.
Camas Blouse Sew Along (4 of 29)

Here is the first seam we will need to trim/grade!  To grade the seam, trim one seam allowance very short (1/4″), trim the middle seam allowance to 1/2″ and leave the third seam allowance at 5/8
“.  Trimming in this manner makes a nice transition from the thickness of three seam allowances to no seam allowance at all so that, when you press the yokes, there will not be a ridge where the seam allowances end.Camas Blouse Sew Along (5 of 29)

Press both the yoke and yoke facing upwards.  Gently press your gathers if you would like (this may or may not be necessary depending on the drape of your fabric).  My fabric doesn’t drape very much so I decided to press the gathers down and steam them a little bit so that they sit flat.Camas Blouse Sew Along (6 of 29)

Now let’s repeat this process for the back yoke!  Sew two lines of long basting stitches again and form your gathers.Camas Blouse Sew Along (7 of 29)

You will notice that the back features two notches between which the gathers are quite full – I really like that romantic full look but, if you don’t, you could perform an easy modification as follows:  Simply sew your gathering stitches across the entire blouse back.  Distribute the gathers as you prefer – you could do small gathers across the entire length of the back or you could do a wider stretch of medium sized gathers across the middle of the blouse.Camas Blouse Sew Along (8 of 29)

I’ve photographed the back yoke “sandwich” differently in case you didn’t quite understand the first set of photos or the instructions in the booklet.  First, lay one yoke on your work surface so that it is upside down and so that the right side is facing you.Camas Blouse Sew Along (9 of 29)

Now place your blouse back on top of the yoke so that raw edges are aligned and the blouse back right side is facing you.Camas Blouse Sew Along (10 of 29)

Add your last yoke to the top of this sandwich so that the wrong side is facing you.  Carefully in all layers so that your gathers sit flat (it is easy to accidentally push them to the side so that they don’t sit evenly!).Camas Blouse Sew Along (11 of 29)

Once you’ve sewn your yoke, you can grade the seam allowances in the same manner that you did for the blouse front.  This is especially important for the back yoke because the bulk of the full gathers is considerable.Camas Blouse Sew Along (12 of 29)

Press the yokes upwards.  Now it’s time to finish the yokes by sewing the shoulder seams!  In the Camas instruction booklet I illustrated a way to sew this seam that involves a bit of extra sewing but is easier to understand when illustrated.  Some of you have emailed me and mentioned that the “burrito method” would work well for this pattern – I agree!  You can find great tutorials for sewing the burrito method here:

  1. Grainline Studio’s Burrito Method Tutorial for the Archer Shirt
  2. Male Pattern Boldness Burrito Method Tutorial for the Negroni Shirt

 

We will continue with this sew-along by using the method from the instruction booklet.  I prefer this method when sewing with knits because it is less likely to stretch out knits that do not have very good recovery because you do not need to roll up the body of the blouse and stretch the yokes over this roll as you would with the burrito method.  Also, I think a knit shoulder seam benefits from the stability added from the extra stitching that we will be doing below:Camas Blouse Sew Along (13 of 29)

Begin by pushing your front and back yoke facings (the inner yokes) out of the way so that you can work with only the front and back yokes.  Lines up the shoulder seams – you will only be working with two layers of fabric.  Sew these shoulder seams using a straight stitch and a 5/8″ seam allowance.Camas Blouse Sew Along (14 of 29)

Press the seam allowance open.  Now we will sew the same seam on the yoke facings!
Camas Blouse Sew Along (15 of 29)

Photographed above is the same view that I illustrated in the instruction booklet.  Pin the yoke facings together at the shoulder seam so that the right sides are together – it is easiest to do this if you position the blouse and yokes as they will look when they are finished – that way you eliminate the risk of accidentally twisting the yokes.  It is easy to access the whole shoulder seam by pulling it towards the neckline of the blouse – as you can see below:Camas Blouse Sew Along (16 of 29)

Sew this seam at 5/8″ and press it open.  You can trim this seam allowance to 3/8″ to grade it in comparison to the main shoulder seam.Camas Blouse Sew Along (17 of 29)

Finish the shoulder seams by opening up the blouse so that the yoke and yoke facing shoulder seams sit one on top of the other.  Stitch in the ditch to join the two layers together.  This step isn’t 100% necessary but it is a nice way to add structure and stabilize the shoulder seam.  It also prevents the layers from shifting around.
Camas Blouse Sew Along (18 of 29)

That’s it for today!  Your Camas Blouse is already taking shape!  On Friday we will be adding the sleeves and sewing the side seams.  We will even hem the main blouse so that it is ready for the placket!

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 7 - Sew the sleeves, side seams and hem

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 7 - Sew the sleeves, side seams and hem

By the end of today’s sewing session your Camas will really look like a blouse – you will even be able to try it on!  Here is where we left off on Wednesday:  We had sewn the gathers, yokes and shoulder seams.  I forgot to mention that it is a good idea to stay stitch along the neckline and armholes to keep the two yoke layers in place.  Do this by stitching within the 5/8″ seam allowance using a normal stitch length.  Staystitching is a great way to keep fabric from stretching out when you are working on the rest of the garment.  Necklines and armholes are prone to stretching out because their curved edges include some fabric that is cut on the bias.  You can see the staystitching that I did here:Camas Blouse Sew Along (18 of 29)

Inserting Sleeves

Now it’s time to insert our sleeves!  Pin the a sleeve to each armhole with right sides together.  The double notch on the sleeve means that this should be aligned with the back of the garment.  Match the notch at the top of the sleeve with the shoulder seam.  Match the double notch on the sleeve with the double notch on the back of the blouse (right at the yoke seamline).  Match the single notch on the sleeve with the single notch on the front of the blouse – note that this notch is not the same as the yoke seamline, it is placed closer to the side seam.Camas Blouse Sew Along (19 of 29)

Sew the sleeve using a 5/8″ seam allowance.   Be careful to keep the raw edges of your fabric aligned.  Pivot the garment with your needle down and your presser foot up whenever you need to adjust to match the curve of this seam.  Sewing a steeply curved sleeve like this can sometimes feel like magic – while you are sewing it feels like there is no way that the two curves are going to fit together but, if you pin at the notches and take the sewing process slowly, they will fit absolutely perfectly. :)

Camas Blouse Sew Along (21 of 29)

Finish the seam allowance using a serger or a zig zag stitch.  Pardon my mis-matched forest green serger thread!  I have been sewing several Camas Blouses at once (including a forest green one) and was too lazy to change the serger thread…oh dear!Camas Blouse Sew Along (20 of 29)

Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve.  In the photo above, I am using a pressing ham.  You can press an armscye without one but a ham really makes it easier!

Side Seams

Now it is time to sew the side seams.  In the instruction booklet I mention two possibilities for sewing these – I have photographed the main option (simply sew and finish the seam allowance wtih a serger or zig zag stitch) but keep in mind that you can try out a french seam if you like!  A french seam would be particularly nice if you are creating an open front Camas cardigan.  That way the raw edges are nicely contained.  Another option that I don’t mention in the instruction booklet is to sew this seam using a flat fell finish.  I mention this option due to an error I just made on the Camas Blouse yesterday!  I had intended to sew a french seam on the Camas Cardigan I am making but accidentally sewed the sleeve and side seam with right sides together out of habit.  Rather than unpicking the stitches from the very delicate poly chiffon I am using I decided to create a flat fell seam instead.  It worked well!  This is what it looks like:

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-29

Anyways, if you would just like to sew a regular side seam as I am sure most of you would, let’s continue!  Pin the sleeve and sides seams with right sides together.  Make sure that the intersecting seams meet up nicely at the armhole by pinning carefully.Camas Blouse Sew Along (22 of 29)

Sew this seam using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  If you are sewing a woven Camas, now is a great time to play around with a smaller seam allowance to give you a looser fitting sleeve.  In the photo below you can see that I used a much smaller seam allowance on the sleeve than I did on the blouse side seam:Camas Blouse Sew Along (23 of 29)

Now finish the seam allowance using a serger or a zig zag stitch.  Press the seam allowance towards the back of the garment.

Camas Blouse Sew Along (29 of 29)

Sew the Hems

The blouse hems are sewn before adding the placket, so, although it might feel funny to sew a hem when you are only half way through the construction of the blouse, now is the time!  Let’s start with the sleeve hems.  You might like to try the garment on at this point to confirm that the sleeves are a flattering length for you.
Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-4

Press up the 5/8″ hem allowance.Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-5

Press 1/4″ under to hide the raw edge and stitch.  Repeat for the second sleeve.

Begin the blouse hem in the same manner.  Within the instruction booklet I include some tips to help you to create a nice curved hem.  I’ll show you the basic way to create this hem first and then, afterwards, I have photographed another hemming idea to help you out if you’ve exaggerated the curve of the hem as a pattern hack.  Here is the basic hem:Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-1

Press the 5/8″ hem allowance up.  Try to ensure that the hem allowance remains even at the side seams where it curves upwards.
Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-2

Press under 1/4″ to hide the raw edge.  Stitch the hem and press thoroughly to make it as smooth and flat as possible:Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-3

Alternative Hem for Exaggerated Curves

If you have changed the shape of the hem to make a more exaggerated curve (as we discussed in the sew-along post about pattern hacks) you will probably need to create a narrow rolled hem.  This is a nice finish if you are sewing the Camas in tissue weight knits or other floaty sorts of fabric (such as the poly chiffon that I am using below).  The rolled hem will not weigh down the fabric in the same way as a wider hem would.

Megan Nielsen has an excellent tutorial on her blog that contains three ways to sew a rolled hem.  My favorite option is #2 but I sometimes skip a step or two depending on how delicate or fiddly my fabric is.  I recommend following all of her steps though (despite my bad example) because your hem will be much more precise than the one that I have sewn!

For this rolled hem I sewed a scant 1/4″ away from the raw edge.  The stitching helps to keep the fabric a bit taught as you press under the raw edge to create a small roll.
Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-29

Here is the result!  What looks like a tuck in the center of the photo is actually just a trick of the camera and shadows.  I noticed it on the camera screen when I took the photo but examined the blouse and repressed to make sure there was no tuck…there isn’t, but it keeps showing up in the photos!  Just so you know. :PCamas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-30

Have a wonderful weekend!  On Monday we will continue full steam ahead – we will be sewing the blouse placket.  Many of you have found this to be the trickiest part of the blouse – I have all sorts of tricks and suggestions to give you so stay tuned!

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 8 - Sew the Blouse Placket

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 8 - Sew the Blouse Placket

Today we’re sewing the Camas placket.  This is unquestionably the trickiest part of the Camas Blouse sewing process, but don’t worry, it isn’t that hard!  It is just a little bit finicky and it is a slow process in comparison to the very fast sewing steps that preceded it.

Preparing your Placket

The instruction booklet tells you to interface all placket pieces with interfacing suitable for knits (it usually stretches in one direction slightly and is quite light weight).  I have suggested you interface all pieces because this will make these narrow, fiddly pieces less likely to curl up or stretch out of shape.  Interfacing them will cause the knit fabric to behave more like woven fabric.

Depending on your fabric choice, you can listen to my instructions or you are welcome to disregard them!  Here are a few scenarios for you so that you can see what I mean:

  1. You are sewing with a thin jersey fabric whose raw edges roll up considerably.  You hope to sew functioning buttonholes on your placket.  In this case it would be best to interface all placket pieces if you are a tad uncomfortable working with knit fabrics.  If you are an old hand at working with knits you could interface one set of placket pieces and leave the other set free of interfacing.  This will reduce bulk and rigidity slightly so that your placket flows with the rest of the garment more readily.
  2. You are sewing with a thick interlock fabric whose edges stay nice and flat.  You would like to close your blouse front permanently by sewing decorative buttons on through all layers.  In this case you could easily sew the placket with only one set of interfaced pieces or you could even sew it with no interfacing.  At least one layer of interfacing will help to prevent the narrow placket pieces from stretching and rippling as you sew them to the blouse front.
  3. You are sewing a with a very stable woven fabric such as cotton (as I am for this sew along).  Go ahead and skip the interfacing if you don’t have any on hand!  Keep in mind though that your buttonholes might be a little bit misshapen or your machine might have troubles creating them – you know the button hole capabilities of your machine so use your judgement here.  If you machine often gives you troubles when sewing buttonholes, at least one layer of light interfacing will likely help you out!

I chose to skip interfacing altogether for this Camas Blouse just to test it out.  The Camas I am sewing has been lengthened to become a dress so I wanted to ensure my placket is not very rigid and bulky since it is so long and prominent at the front of the dress.

Assembling your Placket

I am going to show you two ways to assemble to placket – the first is how I illustrated in the instruction booklet.  The second approach requires fewer steps but results in a slightly less tidy garment (on the inside).  You can choose which method you prefer or even try out both!

 

Method 1:

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-6

Place the neckline placket on your work surface with right side facing you.  Lay out your placket pieces on top of it with wrong sides facing you.  Line up the shoulder seams and pin.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-7

Stitch the shoulder seams using a 5/8″ seam allowance and a straight stitch.  Press these seams open.  Once you have stitched both sets of plackets you can trim one of the seam allowances to 3/8″ if you like to reduce bulk (so that both seam allowance raw edges don’t end at the same point and create a ridge).

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-8

Now it is time to sew the placket to your blouse.  This can be a little counter intuitive due to the curved shaping of the neckline – pin carefully and even baste the entire seam if you are unsure you have the placket positioned correctly!  I’ve attempted to explain the process in a very different way than I did in the instruction booklet so that those who are confused by the instruction booklet can clarify things by reading this post and vice versa.

Place the placket on your work surface with right sides up so that the neckline placket looks like a frown (see the photo above).  You will be sewing the blouse neckline to the longest side of this curve (the top of the frown).

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-9

Drape the placket over the blouse and match the shoulder seams.  You can see in the bottom right of the photo above that the placket curves away from centre front (this is the part that some people find counter intuitive).  The blouse curves in a convex fashion and the placket curves in a concave fashion.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-12

Pin the placket to the blouse with right sides together.  Make sure to match the shoulder seams and center back.  The placket will extend 5/8″ beyond the blouse hem.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-13

Sew the placket to the blouse with a 5/8″ seam allowance.  It is a great idea to break the seam into two sections by starting at the centre back and sewing in either direction.  This way you are less likely to stretch the placket out of shape.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-14

Now that your placket is attached, here comes the most important step to create a smooth, professional looking placket without too much bulk!  Trim, trim, trim!

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-15

Grade the seam allowances by trimming one to 1/4″ and the other to 3/8″.  Along the curved sections (the back of the neckline and the curve at center front), clip the seam allowances by making small triangles.  This will help the seam to curve smoothly.  If you are using a very delicate knit fabric or a loosely knit fabric, you might not want to trim or clip so thoroughly since this could cause runs in the fabric.  If you are using a dense knit or a woven fabric, trim and clip to your hearts content!

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-18

Press the seam allowances towards the placket.

Now you can assemble the second set of placket pieces in the same manner as the first.  Finish the long outer edge (the same edge that you sewed to the blouse when you assembled the first placket) by using a serger, rayon seam tape or a zig zag stitch.  I’ve used a serger in the photo below and I’ve marvelled at a Camas Blouse the my mother in law created using rayon seam tape for this step.  She matched the seam tape with the floral print – it looked so pretty!

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-19

Pin the inner placket to the outer placket.  Match shoulder seams and the center back.  This placket will also extend 5/8″ below the blouse hem.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-20

Starting at center back, stitch in either direction using a straight stitch and a 5/8″ seam allowance.  When you get to the hem, make a right angle turn and stitch across the entire width of the placket.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-21

For best results, trim and clip this set of seam allowances in the same way that you trimmed the first.  If you like, this is a great seam to understitch to ensure that the inner placket presses towards the inside of the blouse easily.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-22

Your placket is beginning to look very finished!  We just need to stitch it in place now.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-24

Pin the under placket in place to prevent any shifting before you sew your topstitching.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-25

From the right side of the blouse, topstitch along the placket edge 1/8″ from the seam.

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-26

I like to topstitch with a slightly longer stitch than usual – I find it looks a bit more polished.  Doesn’t that look nice?

Camas Sew Along Sleeves and Hem-28

 

Now, if you prefer, you are welcome to use Method 2 to sew your placket:

Sew the shoulder seams of the neckline placket and placket pieces as instructed in Method 1.

Camas Sew Along Placket-1

Press the seam allowances open and trim one set of seam allowances to 3/8″ if desired to reduce bulk.

Camas Sew Along Placket-2

Rather than sewing one placket to the blouse as we did in Method 1, we will assemble the two placket sets before attaching them to the blouse.

Camas Sew Along Placket-6

Place one placket on top of the other with right sides together.  Pin the plackets together along the inner curve.  Make sure the shoulder seams are aligned.

Camas Sew Along Placket-10

Start at center back and stitch along the inner curve using a 5/8″ seam allowance.  Stitch from centre back towards the hem in both directions.  Breaking the seam into two sections like this will help to prevent things from becoming misshapen.  5/8″ from the raw edge of the hem, turn a right angle and stitch across the width of the placket.

Camas Sew Along Placket-15

Here is how your placket will appear once you have stitched this seam:

Camas Sew Along Placket-11

At this point, you can understitch if you like to ensure that the placket will fold and press crisply.

Camas Sew Along Placket-14

To understitch, press the seam allowances towards the inner placket (this could be either of the plackets, you choose!) with your hands.  Stitch through the inner placket and both seam allowances 1/8″ from the seam.  You can see the understitching in the photo above.

Camas Sew Along Placket-20

Press the placket so wrong sides are together and raw edges are aligned.  Turn out the placket corner at the hem.

Camas Sew Along Placket-22

Now it is time to attach the placket to the blouse.  Baste together the two raw placket edges if you like so they don’t shift around while you sew.  Pin the placket to the blouse carefully so that right sides are facing (the placket with visible understitching is the wrong side).

The rest of the process process will differ slightly depending on the machines you are using.

If you have a serger:

Camas Sew Along Placket-24

Beginning at one hem, carefully start serging so that the placket and blouse hem are even.  serge all the way around to the other hem.  Make sure that the shoulder seams are aligned.

If you are using a straight and zig zag stitch:

Using a straight stitch, start at center back and stitch towards either hem.  Finish the seam allowance using rayon seam tape or a zig zag stitch.

Finishing the placket

Camas Sew Along Placket-25

Press the finished seam allowance towards the blouse.  Topstitch the seam allowance in place 1/8″ from the placket seam.

Camas Sew Along Placket-29


 

I hope your plackets turn out well!  Take it slow and enjoy the process calmly :D.

Tomorrow we will sew our closures and I will show you my finished blouses!  On Friday I would love to showcase some of the blouses you have sewn – please email photos to me at info@threadtheory.ca if you would like to be featured.  Otherwise, blog and Instagram away and I will find your Camas projects on the web.  Exciting!

June 28, 2022
Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 9 - Closures and Styling

Camas Blouse Sew-Along: Day 9 - Closures and Styling

We’re on the home stretch!  Today we are sewing on our closures and I will show you my new Camas Dress and Cardigan in action!  On Friday I will show you a parade of Camas Blouses that have been popping up all over the internet.  I hope yours will be included in the parade – to be sure that it will, email me photos at info@threadtheory.ca.

Adding Closures

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-9

There are many ways to finish off the Camas Placket – some of which are detailed in the instruction book and some of which I will mention today.  Here are the ways I’ve come up with.  Maybe you have thought of others?

  1. Add buttonholes to the right placket (if you were wearing the blouse) and sew corresponding buttons to the left placket.
  2. Add snaps – I especially like pearl snaps!
  3. Sew the buttons through both plackets to create false buttons.  You could optionally topstitch the placket closed before doing this to avoid any chance of gaping or peek-a-boos.
  4. Topstitch the placket closed and avoid any closures.  This would be a very clean, minimalist look.
  5. Leave the placket open to create a cardigan.
  6. Add a tie belt made from self or contrast fabric to accompany buttons as a blouse or dress or use only the belt (no other closures) to create a robe style cardigan.

For the two garments that I sewed throughout the sew-along, I chose to leave one without closures and added false buttons and a tie belt to the other.  Here is how I added false buttons without stitching the placket closed:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-1

I topstitched the inner placket in place before addressing the issue of closures (as you can see in the last sew-along post).  This differs slightly from the instruction booklet where I instruct you to stitch the two plackets together while topstitching.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-2

Place the right placket (if you were wearing the blouse) over the left placket and pin together.  Make sure the hem is even.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-4

Mark your button placement on the right placket.  If you are sewing the pattern without lengthening it you can use the button placement markings from the pattern piece.  If you have lengthened the blouse as I have here, you will need to determine the button placement yourself.  You can follow the spacing provided on the pattern (6.35 cm/ 2.5″) or choose your own.  It might be a good idea to try on the blouse so you can see where the top button should be placed.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-10

Pierce your needle through both plackets when stitching each button in place.  Follow mytutorial on sewing on a button if you are often frustrated by hand sewn buttons popping off!

And you’re done! WOOT!!! Wear that gorgeous Camas for your Valentine’s festivities…or…you might find yourself grabbing it from your closet just about every day because it is so comfortable :).

Here are my finished Camas garments:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-17

Meet the Camas shirt dress!  I sewed this using a lovely dotted cotton chambray fromStylemaker Fabrics.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-1

I lengthened the Camas as I instructed in our post on Camas mods.  I kept the side seam very straight to get the slim silhouette I was imagining.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-19

I also lengthened the sleeves slightly so I could roll them up to create cuffs:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-32

The buttons I used are tiny little 3/8″ shirt buttons made from Tagua Nut.  You will be finding those in our shop when we launch an upcoming menswear pattern – the button up shirt!  I really like the creamy color for casual shirts like this one.  I find that these thin buttons with their subtle engraving look more subtle and professional than the thick shirt buttons that I often find in my local fabric shop.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-42

When I lengthened the blouse pattern I kept the original hem curve.  I really like how this shaping looks on a shirt dress!

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-26

I created a belt out of two strips of self fabric.  I didn’t bother with belt loops – I had originally intended to add thread chain belt loops but when I tied the belt around my waist I felt those were really unnecessary.  The fabric does not shift or slip so there was no reason to require thread loops to keep the belt in place.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-31

Since this shirt dress is sewn using a woven fabric with pretty much no drape (I know, this is NOT what I recommended in the fabric selection post!) I find the neckline rides up and gapes a little.  I tried moving around by calling our pup, Luki, to test how the dress provided coverage despite the fact that it doesn’t want to sit flat against my neckline.  I think it provides tolerable coverage:

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-37

It’s a bit annoying that I have to pull the dress back down over my chest after I move my arms up though.  I think this problem would not occur if the fabric had more drape and wanted to match the contours of my body.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-36

When planning to sew this version of the Camas in a woven, I raised the underarm seam and used a smaller seam allowance at the elbow to accomodate for the fabric having no stretch.  I detailed how to do this in our post on sewing with woven fabrics.  I didn’t make any other fit adjustments despite the fact that I have a very broad back and straight shoulders.  Looking at the photo below I can see I probably needed to add 1/2″ of width across the back.  This is a pretty standard adjustment for me.  I haven’t done this for past Camas Blouses that I have sewn using knits because I did not notice a problem with the fit across the back.  Even with this woven version, the problem is exceptionally minimal – I have full arm movement and only notice a small amount of tightness when I put my arms directly in front of me.  I don’t think it’s something I’m very worried about!

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-24

Now I’ll show you the second blouse I made during the sew along!  This one was sewn as an open front cardigan.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-53

I used the super soft Canadian-made black interlock fabric that we carry in our shop for the front of the cardigan and the sleeves.  It makes a nice spring cardigan because it is quite light weight.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-55

For the yokes I used a sweater knit featuring a black and brown herringbone design that I had left over in my scrap bin from another project.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-2

For the back of the blouse I used a polyester chiffon with a romantic floral print.  I had made it into a simple kimono in the past but didn’t do a very nice job of sewing it so I recut it to use in this project instead.  I’m glad I can finally wear this fabric because I think the print is so pretty!
Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-5

As you can see, I changed the back hemline shape so that it makes a very dramatic swoop.  I showed you how to do this in the Camas modification post.  I also lengthened the sleeves as we discussed in that post.

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-49

I think this cardigan will be very versatile in the spring and summer.  It can be worn over dresses or over jeans and a t-shirt.  The interlock makes it feel comfy and casual while the chiffon dresses it up without making the cardigan too delicate (since it is a tightly woven poly chiffon that doesn’t seem prone to snags and can be put through the wash and dryer).  Plus I can wear it with outfits that suit black OR brown – this makes any garment a win in my opinon!

Camas Blouse Sew-Along Closures-3


 

I look forward to seeing and hearing about your Camas successes and modifications!  I hope you enjoyed the sew-along.  Thanks for joining me :).

June 28, 2022
Belvedere Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 1 - Supplies

Belvedere Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 1 - Supplies

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-10

It's time to begin our Belvedere Waistcoat sew-along!

During this sew-along I will be completing two waistcoats - one that requires an intermediate level of skill and one suited to beginner menswear sewists.  In addition to following along with the Belvedere instruction booklet we will be trying out a variety of fitting methods and adding some bespoke details to our waistcoats. Best of all, we will be finished on June 9th which means you will have lots of time to wrap up your waistcoat to give to your Dad on Father's Day (June 18th)!

Here is our schedule:

Day 1: Gathering your supplies (and Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit launch!)

Day 2: Choosing a size and thoughts on fitting

Day 3: Customizing Part 1 - Belt and Pockets

Day 4: Customizing Part 2 - Hem, Neckline, Collar

Day 5: Cut out your fabric

Day 6: Apply interfacing and sew darts (plus learn how to create a tailored front!)

Day 7: Assemble the lining

Day 8: Sew the welt pockets (or add patch pockets)

Day 9: Finish the waistcoat fronts

Day 10: Assemble the waistcoat back

Day 11: Add buttons

Day 12: The Belvedere Parade

Ready for all of this?!  Let's dive in:

Supplies

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-3

A waistcoat can consist of up to three different co-ordinating fashion fabrics: The front, the back and the lining.

 

quilted waistcoat

Quilted waistcoat front: Articles of Style: Not your Grandma's Quilt

Belvedere Waistcoat-4

1. The Front: There are very few rules to follow when choosing this fabric!  Depending on the style you are hoping to achieve you can select from a huge variety of fabric types.  Choose a wool suiting for a classic waistcoat to pair with trousers for formal events.  Use a wool tweed for a winter waistcoat that pairs nicely with trousers or jeans.  Or use a canvas fabric (such as the hemp and cotton canvas from our shop (this is what Matt is wearing in these photos!) for a summery waistcoat perfect for weddings.  Other great choices could include linen, silk, textured upholstery fabric, or even a thick and fairly stable knit!  Choose whatever fabric you would like to showcase.  If you are sewing welt pockets on your waistcoat, limit your choice to something that is not too bulky, does not fray exceptionally, and presses well.  If you are skipping pockets, don't worry about those limitations!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-12

2. The Back: There are several approaches to choosing a waistcoat back fabric - choose a statement fabric, a neutral fabric or the same fabric as your waistcoat front.  If you have opted for a neutral waistcoat front you could add a 'surprise' back as I have for Matt's waistcoat.  Choose a slippery acetate or Bemberg lining material so that it sits nicely under a suit jacket.  If you have used a statement tweed or silk for your waistcoat front, choose a neutral lining material for your vest back that will coordinate nicely with the wearer's trousers.  If the waistcoat will be worn casually, without a suit jacket, it is common to use the same material as the front instead of lining fabric or you can opt for a contrast fabric that is not slippery since it doesn't need to sit nicely under a jacket.  For instance, I sewed my Dad a waistcoat with a wool knit front and a cotton canvas back (which I waxed with Otter Wax!).  I didn't get any great photos of the back - I will do so at a later point and share them with you since I love how rugged the waxed back looks!

Tailoring materials

3. The Lining: Select a good quality slippery lining material that will not catch on the wearer's shirt.  My favorite is Bemberg (a type of rayon lining) but acetate or silk lining will do nicely as well!  While it is important to choose a strong lining fabric when sewing a suit jacket, there are very few pressure points for a waistcoat lining (because there are no sleeves) so delicate silk linings are an option.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-6

Okay, now that our fabric choices have been made, let's talk about structure and notions! The entire Belvedere Waistcoat front is interfaced to create a beautifully crisp garment.

The idea behind interfacing is to attach a crisp and stable fabric to your main fashion fabric to change the way that your fashion fabric behaves.  For example, wool suiting tends to sag and stretch out over time; when you attach a fabric that is not prone to stretching out you will prevent your wool from looking limp, worn and sad after years of wear!  Another example is silk - it is usually thin and without much body.  A waistcoat front made of one layer of thin silk dupioni would likely ripple and cave when the wearer moves.  It may also be quite weak and rip at the buttonholes.  Adding a stronger and stiffer interfacing to the back of the silk would add more body and strength to the silk.

Because you will be interfacing a large area of fabric, it is important to pick a good quality stabiliser that suits your fabric choice and also your skill level.  Here are some great pairings:

tailoring materials hair canvas

Wool fashion fabric: Use a wool canvas or hair canvas sew in stabiliser if you are proficient at padstitching.  No idea what padstitching is? I will be covering this later in the sew-along!  Choose a medium to heavy weight fusible such as cotton interfacing if you would prefer an easier solution.  Fusible interfacing has glue dots on one side that are melted to your fashion fabric with the heat from an iron.  Test the fusible on a scrap of wool to make sure that the glue adheres to your wool.

ivory-silk-organza

Silk fashion fabric: Sew in silk organza by basting it to the seam allowances.  Or, choose a light weight fusible but be sure to test the glue on a scrap of silk to make sure that the glue doesn't soak through or create the appearance of visible dots on the right side of the fine silk.

cotton interfacing

Canvas fashion fabric: Most medium weight fusible interfacing will pair nicely with canvas.  Make sure to pre-shrink both your canvas and your interfacing because cotton canvas, in particular, is prone to shrinking!  Even if you don't plan to machine wash your finished waistcoat, it is a good idea to pre-shrink fabrics because they could still shrink without washing.  For example, you will be doing LOTS of pressing while sewing your waistcoat with a hot and steamy iron.  This will shrink your canvas if it has not been pre-shrunk.  Pre-shrinking fabric could include washing and drying it (sometimes several times until it stops shrinking) or thoroughly steaming it with an iron.

bubbled interfacingImage from Tolemans 1hr Drycleaning.

Linen fashion fabric: Linen is notorious for refusing to remain fused to fusible interfacings.  The end result is the appearance of 'bubbles' where the interfacing and linen have detached.  I would recommend using a sew-in medium weight interfacing when working with linen.  Baste the interfacing in place within the seam allowances.  


 

Lastly, it's time to choose your buttons!  There are many styles you could select for your waistcoat buttons but generally I would suggest choosing ones that are between 1/2" to 5/8" in diameter.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-9

The ones pictured on Matt's waistcoat are 5/8" and are quite low profile making them a nice neutral choice.

leather buttons

I find that the more thick and textured your waistcoat fabric is, the more likely the waistcoat is to suit bulky or unusual buttons.  Harris Tweed waistcoats, for example, often feature quite large braided leather buttons.

Harris Tweed waistcoat


 

Now that I've overwhelmed you with all of my thoughts on material choices, let me simplify things by introducing the brand new Belvedere Waistcoat Sewing Supplies Kit!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit-1

I assembled all of my favourite materials to line, back and stabilise your waistcoat so that the only need to choose your waistcoat front fabric.  The linings in this kit would pair splendidly with wool suiting but also works nicely with canvas (as pictured on Matt), silk or linen.  The interfacing included is my favorite 100% cotton fusible interfacing which will work nicely for wool or canvas materials (as I mentioned above, I wouldn't recommend a medium weight fusible for silk or linen!).

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-2

The main lining fabric featured in this kit is a delicious high end burgundy Bemberg.  I've included enough to line the inside and create the back of the waistcoat.  I've also included a paisley acetate lining that you can use to create a show-stopper waistcoat back or keep as a hidden special touch inside your pocket bags.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit-2

You can choose to buy the kit with or without the PDF pattern.  The PDF pattern is offered at a discounted price when purchased with the kit!


  In addition to the Belvedere kit, the shop includes a great selection of tailoring fabrics. The burgundy lining materials are both available by the 1/2 m (paisley and solid) and, of course, my favourite cotton fusible interfacing is also available.

There are three new tailoring materials just added yesterday: Two stabilisers (wool and horse hair) and one lining.

I will be testing out my bespoke menswear tailoring skills by padstitching wool canvas to one of the sew-along waistcoats.  I've added both wool canvas (left) and hair canvas (middle) to our shop so that you can join me!  I may even use the hair canvas to build up the chest area...we'll see how ambitious I am!

I've also added a second Bemberg lining to our shop!  If you prefer subtle pin stripes over bold burgundy, this is the Bemberg for you.  This striped Bemberg is traditionally used as a suit jacket or coat sleeve lining.  I purchased it from my favourite tailoring supplier (a lovely Italian gentlemen based in Ontario who sells predominantly to bespoke tailors) who proudly told me he is the only supplier of striped Bemberg sleeve lining in Canada.  I was surprised by this statement for several reasons: What is special about striped sleeves?  Why are Bemberg stripes desirable?  After a little bit of Googling I soon discovered that bespoke tailors are often frustrated by how difficult it is to source good quality traditional sleeve lining.  A striped sleeve lining used to be a sign that your suit jacket was traditionally tailored and not mass produced.  It is more cost effective for large scale manufacturers to use one lining material for the sleeves and body of a jacket so the use of contrasting sleeve linings set the bespoke tailor apart from their industrial competition.  In addition to this distinction, sleeve linings must be exceptionally smooth and strong to allow the wearer to slip their jacket on easily and to bend their arm fully without risk of tearing the material.  Using a contrast Bemberg sleeve lining frees the bespoke tailor to use a more delicate lining material (patterned silk, for instance) for the jacket body.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-7

I hope you learned something today and that you are looking forward to creating your Belvedere Waistcoat!  I'll leave you with a list of my favourite waistcoat construction resources.

  • A Youtube video by Professor Pincushion which is very approachable for beginners.  Learn everything about sewing a Simplicity vest pattern from reading the pattern envelope to adding easy faux welt pockets.
  • A video class by Gentleman Jim suitable for intermediates.  It costs $24.95 US which might seem pricey compared to free Youtube videos but I found it to be well worth the money!  The pace is easy to follow and Gentleman Jim is so lovely to listen to!  He is full of opinions and tricks for efficient sewing practices which are just as valuable as the waistcoat sewing instruction.  It felt nice to pay directly for all of the work he put in to making the video.
  • A large series of videos suitable for beginner or intermediate sewists detailing EVERY step to create a waistcoat.  This series by The Sewing Guru is lengthy and detail oriented.  I found the pace to be far too slow for my needs but this is a huge advantage if you are new to sewing!  You will have every question answered.
  • A blog post that gives a peek inside the process of fully tailoring a waistcoat.  This post created by Rory Duffy of Handcraft Tailor (who I featured on the blog two weeks ago) is an interesting glimpse into the process but doesn't fully instruct.  I would recommend avoiding this post if you are fairly new to sewing (it might be overwhelming!) but it is educational and interesting if you are looking to delving in to at least a few of the tailoring techniques that he uses.
June 28, 2022
Belvedere Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 2 - Fitting

Belvedere Waistcoat Sew-Along: Day 2 - Fitting

Belvedere-Technical-Illustrations Today we will be examining the Belvedere size chart and then discussing a few fitting options that you can pursue to create a waistcoat that is beautifully tailored to the wearer's proportions.  If you have already looked through the instruction booklet you will notice that I go in to a fair amount of detail about measuring and a few fit adjustments.  I have elaborated further on these below and I've also attempted to phrase my instructions differently.  I always attempt different phrasing during sew-alongs in case you are finding a step within the pattern instructions difficult to understand...different phrasing may make things click for you! Pattern-info-Belvedere Waistcoat

Step 1: Take Body Measurements

To choose your pattern size, begin by taking accurate measurements of the wearer.  Have him put on the shirt and trousers he will most likely wear with his waistcoat.  Next, have him stand tall with good posture and a relaxed body (no sucking in the tummy artificially!).

 

Chest

Circle your tape measure under the arms so that it is around the widest part of the chest.  Make sure that it is sitting horizontally.  If you notice that the tape measure is sitting under the protruding shoulder blades, it is acceptable to raise the tape measure slightly on the back only so that it is across both the fullest part of the front chest and the fullest part of the shoulder blades.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong-1

Examine the Body Measurement chart and circle the closest chest measurement.  Circle the larger measurement if you are between sizes.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong-6

Waist

Now circle the waist with your tape measure in the same manner.  It can sometimes be difficult to determine the waist position as it is not always the narrowest point depending on the man's proportions.  Measure at approximately navel level.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong-2

Circle the waist measurement in the Body Measurement chart.  If it falls under a different size than your chest measurement, don't worry, it is easy to use both sizes!  This is called "grading between sizes."  I have made a tutorial on how to do this (featuring our Jedediah Pants).

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong-7

If you are intimidated by grading between sizes and would prefer to stick to a single size, it is perfectly okay to do this (as long as your chest and waist measurements are no more than two sizes apart).  Just choose the larger size.  For example, if the wearer's chest measurement is 40 1/8" and his waist measurement is 33 1/2", cut out the size M pattern. You will be able to adjust your actual waistcoat near the end of the construction process by taking in the side seams if the chest or waist is a bit too roomy.  In our example the waist would be too roomy so you would need to take in the side seams.

Height

The Belvedere is drafted proportionately which means that the larger sizes don't only get wider, they also become slightly longer.  The heights selected for each size are based on a census of a large number of the German population (where our patternmaking software is developed).  How tall is your wearer?  Even if the wearer matches the height listed under his size, there is a good chance you will need to adjust the length of the pattern.  This is because a properly fitted waistcoat should extend to the bottom of the trouser waistband and the rise of the wearer's trousers might be different than the one we drafted for!  Which takes us to our next step...

 

Step 2: Analyse Garment Measurements

Centre Back Length

The Belvedere has been designed to cover the waistband of dress trousers which traditionally have a high (navel level) rise.  We have given the centre back length of the finished waistcoat in the garment measurement chart so that you can compare the pattern length to the length that you need to suit your wearer's trousers.  If the waistcoat will be worn with jeans or lower rise trousers, it will need to be lengthened so that it fully covers the waistband. Even if you make no other fit adjustments, I highly recommend performing this simple one so that the wearer can enjoy a waistcoat perfectly tailored to his outfit...this is hard to come by when shopping for ready-made waistcoats! Here is how to check the length of the pattern compared to the wearer's measurements: With the wearer dressed in the trousers he will most often wear with the waistcoat, place the measuring tape so that it extends from the top of the spine (where the base of the shirt collar stand sits) to the bottom of the waistband.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong-3

Look at the Centre Back Length in the Garment Measurement Chart.  Does the measurement you took differ from the one in the chart?  If so, check out our tutorial on adjusting length later in this post!

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong-8

Neckline Drop

The Neckline Drop is an important measurement if the wearer plans to pair his waistcoat with a suit jacket or blazer.  He will likely want the waistcoat to peek out from under the suit jacket along the neckline.

Articles of Style waistcoat

(Image from Articles of Style)

The Belvedere has been drafted to include a moderately cut neckline which looks smart and modern worn without a suit jacket.  It would also be a great match for most 1 and 2 button suit jackets.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-5

If the wearer will usually be wearing suit jacket with a high neckline (a 3 button suit jacket for instance), have him put on his suit jacket with it completely buttoned up.  Measure from the base of the neck down the centre front.

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Sewalong-4

Does the Belvedere neckline extend below the suit jacket?  You will need to raise it so it is at least 2" higher than the suit if you would like it to be visible!  We will discuss how to do this during the next post (during which we customise the style of our waistcoats).

Ease

The last two measurements to discuss are the Chest and Waist measurements listed in the Garment Measurement chart above.  I have just added these to the chart so that you can determine the amount of ease (room for things like breathing and movement) the wearer will have.  As I mentioned earlier, the order of construction I have used for the Belvedere will allow you to play around with ease when you are very close to being finished the waistcoat!  You will be able to try it on the wearer and take in the side seams or let them out slightly (using the large 5/8" seam allowance) to create a close fitting garment that hugs the wearer in a very flattering way.

 

Step 3: Fit to Unique Proportions

Now that we've determined base measurements, let's talk about fitting the pattern to unique proportions.  Male proportions can differ hugely.  Our size chart is suited to average to slim men with just a hint of an athletic figure (which means slightly broad shoulders, a narrow to average waist, and average to lanky proportions).  If your waistcoat wearer has a full tummy or stocky build you might need to make some adjustments. Here are a few common areas that may need adjustments before you begin to sew!  Please comment if I've missed an alteration that you would like me to help you with!

 

Tall (or average with plans to wear low rise pants)

You will need to lengthen the following pattern pieces: Front, Back, Front Lining, Back Lining, Front Facing. Untitled-1.jpg

Determine how much length you need to add with the following equation: Your Centre Back Length measurement - the Centre Back Length Measurement found within the Garment Measurement chart = Amount you need to add. Cut along each "Lengthen and Shorten Here" line and place the pattern piece over a new piece of paper.  Tape the cut pieces to the paper and extend the lines, smoothing a little if necessary.  Cut out your newly lengthened pattern piece.

lengthen-or-shorten

See a more detailed tutorial (using the Jedediah Pants) here!

Stocky/Broad Figure

The Belvedere features some nice details to fit to the body's curves.  Even though men generally feature straighter figures then women, most still do feature distinct curves.  Stocky body types will have far less pronounced curves than average or athletic bodies.  The curved areas include the small of the back and the waist.

Endomorph-Mesomorph-Eectomorph

If your wearer has a very rectangular or full figure you will probably notice that there is no curve along the small of the back and not much difference between the chest and the waist or hip measurements.  You might like to decrease the curves drafted in to the Belvedere so that there is more room for the fullness of your wearer's figure. It is quite easy to do this!  Just draw and sew straighter lines for the centre back seam and the darts.  Here is an example illustration.  You could keep more curve or remove more curve depending on the shape of the wearer's body.

adjust-for-stocky-figures

Full Stomach

Waistcoats are notoriously tricky to fit to rounded stomachs because they are already so closely fitted, there is no room for the fabric to blouse over the roundness of the belly. To combat this problem, rotund men (and now all fashion conscious men) have left their bottom button undone for over 100 years.  This tradition of leaving the bottom button open (on both suits and waistcoats) is said to have stemmed from the rotund Edward VII's practice.  There are several other theories but this is the story most commonly accepted by menswear enthusiasts.  The problem of fitting a waistcoat to a round belly is alleviated by adding more room at the waist, be it through leaving a button open or making adjustments to the pattern. Here are two approaches - an easy and a more difficult option:
  1. Sew 5 buttons and leave the 5th open.  Use the button layout for Variation 2 which features five functional buttons.  If the waistcoat is worn with the 5th button open the wearer is both very stylish and gives themselves more ease in the waist and hips.
  2. Angle the centre front: If the wearer's belly sits roundly at centre front the waistcoat would look baggy and ill fitted if you added more room at the side seams because you only really need more room at the front.  The Body measurements are likely 3 or more sizes apart (for example, the chest measurement is a size S and the waist is a size XL.  All other proportions suit size S).  Using the size S pattern, cut in to the pattern from the armhole to create a hinge at the dart point.  Pivot the centre front so that it angles outward causing the armhole cut to overlap.  Angle the centre front until you have added enough room for the size XL waist measurement.  Draw in a little bit of extra armhole length at the shoulder seam and side seam to accommodate for the overlap (since the armhole length needs to match the Back side seam).  You will notice that the angle of the shoulder seam and neckline also changes; you may need to make an adjustment to both of these so that they are closer to the original angle.  Adjust the size of the dart to also be the original size.  These adjustments cause all of the extra room to be added as close to the centre front as possible.  I would highly recommend sewing up at least one mock up to tweak the fit since this is a large change to the way this waistcoat is shaped.
Adjusted-for-full-belly

Very Thin or Very Thick Arms (or average with a style preference)

The shape and depth of a waistcoat armhole can vary greatly based on style preference and also to suit the wearer's proportions.  You can raise or lower the armhole if your wearer has thin or thick arms.  I drafted the Belvedere to have quite large and deeply curved armholes so that they fit like this:

Thread Theory Belvedere Waistcoat Supplies Kit Sample-2

If you would like to alter this curve, you can do so by drawing a new curve along the Front, Back, Front Lining and Back Lining pattern pieces.  Make sure the waistcoat and corresponding lining curves match in length and shape so that they sew together easily. Adjusted-armhole

Square or Sloped Shoulders, Round or Straight Posture

The shoulder seam of a well fitted waistcoat should sit very flat against the body and should sit along the top of the wearers shoulder.  If your wearer has very sloped or square shoulders you may need to adjust the angle of the shoulder seam (on the waistcoat Front, Back, Front Lining, Back Lining, Front Facing and Back Facing). You can add or remove the extra to the underarm to keep the armhole the same size.  Here is a diagram to show you the change for square shoulders:
Adjusted-for-square-shoulders

Adjustment for square shoulders.

For sloped shoulders you do not need to make changes to the pattern pieces.  You can take in the seam while you are sewing the waistcoat (baste the seam and try it on the wearer). If your wearer has over erect or very rounded posture, you might need to angle the shoulder seam backwards or tilt it forwards.  Since the Belvedere includes large 5/8" seam allowances you likely don't need to make adjustments to the pattern and can instead work within the seam allowance by adjusting while you sew.  Sew your seam something like this for rounded posture (and the opposite for overly erect posture).

Adjustment-for-overly-erect-posture

Adjustment for overly erect posture (angle the seam towards the back).

 

The wearer is a woman!

waistcoat for women

I have already received quite a few requests to draft a Belvedere for women.  I don't have any plans to do so at this time but you should give it a try!  I'll be sewing one of the sew-along waistcoats for myself so we can see how the ideas I've listed below work out in reality.  I've created a Pinterest board featuring some great looks for inspiration too!   Here are a few thoughts on adjusting this menswear pattern to suit female curves. Your approach will likely be different depending on the size of the chest in proportion to the waist:

Small Chest:  For small chested women only small adjustments may be needed.  Choose the waistcoat size based on the woman's chest measurement and then adjust the shoulders, waist and hip by taking them in.  Increase the curve of the centre back seam, the size and curve of the darts, and the curve of the side seam to suit the wearer's figure.  Since many women have more sloped shoulders and thinner arms than men, it may be necessary to raise the underarms and increase the slope of the shoulders.  When sewing the darts it may be necessary to lower the point to make sure that it sits slightly below the bust point.

Adjusted-for-women---small-chest

 

Don't worry, this isn't as daunting as it looks in the diagram!  Just cut out the waistcoat pattern and baste or pin the seams together so you can try it on the woman's body.  You can then pinch and sew your changes in a very visual, step-by-step way!

waistcoat for women

Larger Chest:  This is quite a bit trickier and I must emphasise that I have only tried this as a thought experiment (not with a real fit model or mock up).  Choose the waistcoat size based on the wearer's chest measurement and grade between sizes to suit the waist measurement.  The curve of the bust will cause the armhole to gape so it is necessary to reduce the size of the armhole by adding a dart.  Since adding an armhole dart is not often an attractive design feature, it's time to bust out the princess seams! Pinch out the gaping armhole to create a dart.  You can cut out a quick mock up and use pins to pinch the dart to suit the wearer exactly. Now extend the darts to meet near (but not directly on) the bust point and curve to create a flattering princess seam.  Here is a rough approximation of the curve but you will want to adjust the shape to suit the wearer's figure:

Princess-seam
I've also seen some beautifully cut women's waistcoats that feature two sets of waist darts.  One is positioned as per the Belvedere pattern and a second one is added closer to the side seam.  This second dart, paired with a sloped shoulder seam could serve the same purpose as a princess seam by curving the fabric around the bust in a way that does not cause the armhole to gape.

 

On Wednesday I will have some fun tutorials and pattern downloads ready for you so that you can customise your Belvedere to your heart's content.  Stay tuned for patch pockets, a collar tutorial and belt options!

Oh, and if I've overwhelmed you with all of this talk about fitting, please take a deep breath ignore the bulk of this post.  Keep in mind that when you shop for clothing at a store you are buying something that has had no fit adjustments to suit the wearer.  If you sew up the Belvedere with just one of these fit adjustments (such as adding a bit of length) you will end up with a garment that is better tailored to the wearer than a store bought waistcoat!  That's what makes sewing awesome!

June 28, 2022