Sunday, March 15, 2015

No-Pattern Wing-it Chemise Tutorial Part 4

We took care of the front facing last time. Today, we're working on cuffs! I'm seriously guessing for this entire part so I hope it works! We'll be doing the neckline the same way if the cuffs are successful. We're going to need elastic, mine is 3/8 of an inch and flat; tailor's chalk; and a measuring tape.

Now, I've given myself 3 inches to play with at both the cuffs and the neckline. On the wrong side, open up your sleeves and mark that 3 inches across. Just past that line, mark half an inch in on both edges, so you know where your seam allowance is. I don't know if we'll need these marks, but mark them anyway just in case!

Mark 3 inches in.

Fold over the edge to meet your line and press. This will give us a 1.5 inch channel. If you want a little ruffle, and I do, sew a line 1/2 inch from the fold.

Sew 1/2 inch from the fold to make a little ruffle.
The elastic around the cuffs of my existing chemise is about 12 inches long. I played around with it with the measuring tape and that feels like a bit much, so we're going with 10 inches of elastic. I cut two pieces, one for each cuff, at 11 inches so I have a bit of seam allowance to work with (since I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to handle that just yet!).

Cut your elastic.
Sew a line about 5/8 from the ruffle seam. You may have to fold over at the ruffle seam to get the measurement right. This will be your channel for the elastic. Finally, turn under that free edge and sew along the fold to finish the seam like we did for the shoulder seams.

I folded the ruffle up so I could still use the guidelines on my sewing machine.
Be careful not to catch this fabric in your stitching!

Turn under the raw edge and sew close to the fold to finish the seam.

Thread your elastic through the channel. I hate gathering stitches, so I just gathered as I worked. This fabric seems to gather pretty easily on its own. Line up the edge of your elastic with the edge of your fabric and stitch along the seam allowance at both ends. You only need to stitch between the two seams of the elastic channel. Make sure none of the gathers are past this point into the seam allowance.

Sew down the elastic at each side, using our 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Finally, push back that half inch seam allowance and pull out the end of the elastic a bit, then trim it back as close as you can to the seam. This reduces the bulk here, which will make it easier when we get to the sleeve hem. Note, you still have a flat sleeve here. We'll close this up later. Repeat these steps for the other cuff. While we won't be done with this area until we seam up the sleeve, I'm feeling very good about these cuffs and I think the technique will work just fine for the neckline too. But we'll do that in a bit!

Trim your elastic to reduce the bulk of that seam when we sew it together.

Before we get back to elastic and necklines, let's take care of those side seams. It occurs to me that what I had originally planned isn't going to work, so first I want you to go back to those gusset seams that we didn't finish in Part 2. We will finish them now. With your tailor's chalk and measuring tape, mark 1/2 inch up from the unfinished edge of the gusset, just in that seam allowance on all gusset seams. Cut that mark, into the seam allowance without clipping the seam, fold over and finish the seam. It will become clear in a minute why we did this.

Mark and cut that unfinished gusset seam.
Finishing the gusset seam.

Now, the big seam! This part is very simple, there just happens to be a ton of fabric. Make sure your chemise is inside out and line up the side seams: start at the cuff and work back toward the gusset  and down the side and pin. If you have to add a dart because your gussets don't quite line up from the cuff, do it close to the gusset so those edges do line up (you don't need the raw edge of the hem to line up because we'll just be cutting that part off when we adjust it for your height, just make sure the cuff edges and the gusset edges and seams line up). You might notice that you can draw a line along all of those edges from the cuff to the hem and that's exactly what we're going to do. Start at the cuff, using our 1/2 seam allowance, and sew all the way up to the gusset. Don't stop there! Sew the two gusset edges together too (go through the little cut you just made above) and continue down to the hem.

Sewing the side seam. Here, I'm going around the gusset.

We're going to turn under and finish both sides of this seam like we did with the shoulders for that Elizabethan look, so press and pin and finish that seam, again from cuff to hem. Be very careful here; you can get your sewing machine to work on finishing those sleeve seams but you want to make absolutely certain that you don't catch any other part of the chemise in your seam. Go through the neck hole to the sleeve (this is why we haven't finished the neckline yet!) then get the part of the cuff opposite the seam under your presser foot.You will have a very small hole to work in, and a lot of bunched fabric all around until you get to the gusset. Work slow, stop every now and then to make sure you don't have any fabric caught underneath. Once you get to the hem, feed the chemise back under your presser foot and off of your machine.

Work slow and be careful! There is a lot of fabric and you want to
make sure it isn't under your presser foot as you work on this seam!
It's tough, but it can be done!

Now, turn it right side out and check you seams. Looking good? Great! Do the same thing with the other side!

Finished side seam. That's the gusset on the left there. Nice and clean!

It's looking more like a dress now, isn't it? Except for that huge, unfinished neckline. We'll get to that next!

No comments :