French Seams and Works in Progess

So today I wanted to show what I’ve been practicing this week: French Seams!

It’s a way of sewing seams that helps finish the seam as you sew it – makes it pretty easy for finishing. Basically you sew the seam twice: once with the wrong sides of the fabric together then again with the right sides together. This technique is used mostly for finer fabrics, especially sheer fabrics. Why, you may ask? Well, with sheer fabrics you can see the seam from the outside. French seams make it so that even though you can see the seam, it still looks nice and neat and doesn’t detract from the beauty of the garment itself. This is a pretty important staple as far as sewing skills go so I figured I would start learning how to do them so that my sheer and delicate garments look more professional.

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As shown by Vicious Cosplay, how a seam is self contained when done as a French Seam

I decided to test this skill by making Simplicity 1779, view B. I need to start doing sleeves more often as well, so I thought this was a great way to get some more ‘professional’ shirts made with sleeves! All while practicing my french seams. Very exciting stuff, I know.

I chose view B, though I will do views C and E at some point.

I chose view B, though I will do views C and E at some point.

The fabric I’m using is this delicate and gorgeous white Swiss dot. I managed to get this from the remnant bin at Hancock Fabrics for only 3 dollars! For a yard and a half of amazing fabric. Seriously sewists, check those remnant bins. I find great fabrics for a lot less, and enough for a shirt or skirt at least. Never a whole dress but that’s fine if I can get a shirt for only 3 dollars.  There’s even great upholstery fabrics for some cute pillows but I myself have admittedly not done that yet. I have a feeling once I start making pillows I won’t stop and I can only give away so many, ya know?

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Always test your markers or chalk to make sure it will wash out/come out completely. I always test before doing anything else.

Starting this garment seemed pretty straight forward – it’s a loose fitting shirt with flutter sleeves (the technical name I’m sure) that has two darts in the back and one dart on each front piece for fitting.  Looking at the measurements I thought I was going to need a size 6, because it said there was a 3 1/2 inch ease to add on to a 34 inch bust. I thought that would be perfect but…turns out I misread. It was a TOTAL of 34 inches INCLUDING the ease…which meant my muslin was too small! It actually looks like it’d make a nice cover-up though so I might finish it anyway to wear as a different layer. I like layering so that’d be fun.  Always check the measurements closely, because even after sewing for a couple years I’m still making super rookie mistakes. You never truly move past it I’m sure.

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Thankfully these darts are easy to sew – I did have a picture of an ill-fitting muslin but I can’t find it, damn.

After getting my muslin finished, I went ahead and started with the shirt in the size I need. I’m doing the size 10, because I’d rather have it be a little looser for my hips. I can always take in the upper sides a bit more, which is a common alteration I have to make. My measurements are a bit odd and make fitting shirts a pain since I have to adjust a lot to make my hips fit while avoiding my upper area from swimming in fabric. As of now, I only have the darts sewn, but I’m hoping that I’ll have everything finished by Friday evening. I do have lots of time tomorrow to work on it so I’m really excited to get this done. French seams in a way really help make things go faster because I don’t have to worry about finishing the seams.

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Attaching interfacing to the button placket, with my marker points for where I’ll turn and press the seam allowance.

My other work in progress right now is this great skirt. It’s another pencil skirt from B5984 but this time I decided to add a waistband. However, like I mentioned before, my measurements make this difficult. To make the band fit closely I need to take it in by about 2 extra inches than the hips. This is a very frustrating step in fitting. So I’ve stalled with this skirt because I can’t figure out how to make it fit snugly in the waist as well as the hips. I’m thinking of closing the waistband with buttons and the rest of the skirt with a zipper as per usual. I think this would be a good compromise. However, I’ve never done that before. So I’m not sure how to get it started without a pattern. I know that realistically it isn’t too difficult but this fabric was given to me by my grandmother and I don’t want to ruin it. So I may make ANOTHER skirt with the same issues and test it on that first.  Either way look at this fabric! I love flower prints and bright colors so this is perfect for me. I’ve also made a dress with this fabric and it turned out really well. I’ll include pictures so you can see how great and versatile this fabric can be. Such a great way to brighten a day, don’t you agree?

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I love huge prints, especially huge floral prints, especially in bright colors. Perfect fabric, basically.

I have one other work in progress…the green skirt of hell. This fabric is great looking but a pain in the ass to work with. It acts like a knit but doesn’t sew like one. It sews more like a polyester or silk even. I made a shirt out of this fabric already but it didn’t seem so difficult to work with then. The shirt came out just fine too so that was nice. This skirt though…I don’t know why it’s so difficult. At this point all that’s left is the hem but I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s Simplicity pattern 1282 and I’ve already made this skirt out of a blue fabric. That skirt came out great and I love the blue itself. If I don’t wear heels I look a bit dowdy though so I do have to watch for that. The green skirt is shorter, which I like. However, it won’t matter if I don’t finish it! So I’m making it my goal…by this time next week both skirts (and the shirt) will be finished!  Wish me luck, and my the odds be ever in my favor…

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So wrinkled, but I won’t iron it until necessary because otherwise it’ll happen again. But I love this skirt, it came out really well.

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It has a yoke, and invisible side zipper. I’ve thought about altering the pattern to have pockets as well, just haven’t figured it out yet.

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The green demon skirt. I love the fabric, and the shirt I made with it came out well but something is just OFF here.

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What I don’t like is I also have to wear this skirt a little lower than my natural waist.

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If I don’t, it looks like this. Rude. Again, not sure what happened this time around.

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Ew, puffy side seams. I am really starting to hate this skirt, so close to scrapping it!

One other skirt I haven’t finished is a simple 1/2 (I think) circle skirt I drafted myself out of fabric to match the crop top I made a few weeks ago. I just need to hem the second layer, which is only there because silly me made a huge mistake. When I measured length, I measured from the top of the drafting block, not the waist. So it was about 7 inches too short and showed my bum. Whoops! A second layer of white fabric helped with that and I’ll be wearing my spandex shorts underneath as well anyway. It’s the only way I feel comfortable wearing a skirt or dress anymore, those shorts make me feel much more secure about bending over!

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With the matching top, you can see how short the original layer is. Whoops!

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Side detail! Love those buttons, I really do.

Since you’re here, you should subscribe to get updates every Wednesday. You should also tell me about your own works in progress in the comments! Even better, tell me about your own blog so I can stay up to date with your own journey. Happy sewing everyone!

Until next time,

—Bethany Out

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