Day 4 - Sewing the Side Seams (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)
This Sunday evening a glass of wine and some good ol' Bill Cosby will accompany us while we sew our side seams. This is my favorite of Cosby's records and I just found the entire thing, well recorded, as a play list on YouTube for you to listen to! Woot woot! (My record is getting pretty scratchy so the YouTube version actually sounds much better). Have your shorts or pants been coming along well so far? Have you been able to keep up with the sewing or are you reading along so you're ready to sew after the sew along is finished? I hope you are finding the photos and instructions clear! If you are confused with any of the steps so far, just leave a comment and I will do my best to elaborate on them :). Now, lets get ready to sew our side seams - a pretty easy and satisfying set of steps! First of all, we'll pin our Pant Fronts to our Pant Backs with right sides together along the side seam (the edge with the gradual curve). Then we can sew and press open the entire seam. Do you have your binding ready? If not, here is my post on making binding from a vintage handkerchief to help you out, or you can simply use the store bought variation. You'd be surprised how little fabric it takes to make a good sized piece of binding so you could always root through your scraps and use any 10"X10" piece of thin woven material (make it easy on yourself and choose something that maintains a crease well!). If you make extra wide binding like I did, then you will need four 10"X10" squares worth of binding for the side seams (leaving you with a few extra small pieces that you could use later on for the zipper shield). Now we will pin the binding to one of the side seams (you can start with either the front or the back). Place the narrower edge of the binding on the side you will sew so that the wider edge extends under, sandwiching the seam allowance and reaching farther towards the stitching than the narrower top piece. This will give you a bit of lee-way when you sew to ensure that you catch the bottom layer of the binding. We can now sew the first edge of the selvage and repeat this process for the second edge (and also for the second leg. Ta-da, beautifully bound seams! Won't these look impressive and colourful when the wearer is putting on his shorts? After admiring our bound seams for a while (and giving them a final press to flatten out the binding), we can take a few steps to strengthen the front pocket area. You can sort of see the finished side seam and the strengthening stitches below but we will zoom in for a closer look in a second. The strengthening stitches include a bar tack near the top and at the bottom of each front pocket as well as edge stitching down the side seam until 1" below the pocket: To make the bar tacks, you can either use a very tight zig-zag (like a button hole stitch), or do what I did here and stitch for 3/8" using a straight stitch and then reverse and stitch again...and again...and again. I've placed my bar tacks 5/8" from the waist at the top of the pocket and just below where the bottom of the pocket meets the side seam. That way the pocket won't split open or bag out when it is constantly under pressure from being filled with hands and change and keys. I have edge-stitched, catching the back seam allowance, 1/8" from the side seam along the back of the pants until 1" below the pocket. I then back-tacked for a long ways and reversed and sewed several times to echo the look of the pocket bar tacks. There! That wasn't so bad! Now, I wonder if you will be tempted to bind EVERYTHING the way I am? It's so simple and yet so effective (and a great way to use up scraps!). Do you like to make your own binding or do you tend to use store bought? Have you ever used one of those neat little binding tools that fold the fabric for you as you iron? I've never had a chance to try one but, since my binding never seems to turn out completely uniform, I certainly am intrigued. See you next Thursday when we sew the inseams!