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june/ju l y 1 9 97

nu m b e r 7 1




Bedazzled Buttonholes Turn a beautifully made buttonhole i nto a gem with machine embroidery


Buckled Belts That Beckon Make a great fabric belt with soft belting that's quick to cover, and bias-wrap the buckle


The Magic "Ruffled" Pocket This i ntriguing design actually hides h i ps



What effect does

q u i lting with two different kinds of batting produce?


S e e p. 41.



Symmetry for Quilters Use the simplest principles of symmetry to transform a single motif i nto endless qu i lting and appl ique designs


Give Four Designers a Little Fabric... An experiment in creativity leads to terrific garments and clues for us a l l

by THE EDITORS fabric & fit


The Bra Dilemma-Solved! Once you perfect the fit, you can sew you r own custom bra again and again


Check o u t t h e b e s t b ets i n Spring/ Sum m er patterns, starting on p. 24.


Hemp, the Forgotten Fabric Ancient, easy to grow, and hard-wearing, this l i nen look-al ike deserves another chance


Enjoy t h e fun o f t h e

Design Challenge,




b e ginning on

What would



o� � .110


techn iques


E m b e l l ished buttonhol es? Why not! S e e p. 32.

No-Stuff Trapunto Use thick batting to create the lofty textu re of traditional slice-and-stuff trapunto qui lting


Inside Galanos Fin ishing techn i ques from the designer whose clothes really do look as good o n the i nside as o n the outside


Pull-On Chiffon Here's some easy summer magic: double-layer, reversible pants

by SANDRABETZINA departmen ts



o n t h e cover:


for an e asy, unfitted dress with dra m atically styled pockets. Photo

What's flannelette?,


by J ack D eutsch;

For cool su m m e r comfort and

Exhibits, quilting software, Fabulous

boxers pattern, sergers

Feline Fabrics

Questions Tailoring for men,



Quick to Make



Couture hanging loops,


sty l e that you can dress up or down, head to p.


Sewn fabric bezel

Sewing and embellishment, design

sand-wash silk at home

In search of the Holy Grail of


hair and m akeup by Antonio Diaz.


dou ble-cloth delight,

shoulder-pad pockets

For sultry su m m er days, turn to p.



Basics Straight pins

b ras-the one

Calendar Exhibits, workshops, tou rs, special events

that rea l l y fits? Starting on p. you' l l find o u t


a l l t h e detai ls

Threods magazine Posunaster:




Pattern Review

Eliminate sleeve wrinkles

98 100

Best bets for

Spring/ Summer

on m aking your


own custom bra.

Birth of a mil liner

Back Cover Vintage wedding gown with bias-tu be "l ace"




L Threads

(ISSN 0882-7370) is published bimonthly, Feb./Mar., Apr./May,June/July, Aug/Sepe, Oct/Nov., and Dec./Jan., by The Taunton Press, inc., 63 Main St., PO Box 5506, NewlO\,vn, 06470-5506. TeL (203) 426- 817 Periodicals postage is paid at Newtown, CT 06470, and additional maihng offices. Canadian Goods and Service Tax paid, Registration 123210981. Copyright 1997 by The Taunton Press, Inc. No reproduction without permission of the pubhsher. magazine' is a registered trademark of The Taunton Press, Inc. Title to the copyrights in the contributions in Threads magazine remains in the authors, photographers, and artists, unless othen-vise indicated. They have granted publication rights to Threads magazine. SubSCription ral.cs: U.s. and possessions: $32, $54, 2 $70, 3 yr. Canada and other countries: $38,1 $66, yr.; $88, 3 (U.S. dollars). Single copy, $6.00; outside U.s. and possessions, $7.00. Send to Subscription Dept., The Taunton Press, Inc., PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506. Address correspondence to appropriate department (Subscription, Editorial, Advertising), The Taunton Press, Inc., PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506. For orders or CUSlOmer service, call (800) 888-8286. U.s. newsswnd distribution by Curtis Circulation Co., 730 River Rd., New Milford, NJ 07646-3048 and Eastern News Distributors, Inc., One Media Way, 12406 Route 250, Milan, OB 44846-9705.

Send address changes to

1 yr.;



Magazine, The Taunton Press, Inc.,


S. Main St., PO

yr.; 2


Box 5506, Newtown, 06470·5506 CT



the USA

Lette r s a

We welcome your

A rose i s

comments, criticisms,

In regard to the article "Under­

old Butterick pattern is now as­

advice, and ideas. Letters may be

standing Underlining" by Sandra

sembled "flat, ready to embellish."

Betzina in No. 68, pp. 37-39, no

Then I plan to make a reversible

edited for brevity and clarity.

one I've spoken with in fabric

double-cloth skirt, inserting nonroll

stores can tell me what cotton flan­

elastic between the two layers for

Please write to:

nelette is or if they carry it! What's

the waistband.

Threads 63


S. Main St.,

PO Box 5 506,

rose ...

the difference between flannel and

-Diana Taylor, Sisters, OR


-Patricia Tingley, New Milford, PA

The editor replies: I'm pleased that

Christine Timmons

Art Director

Catherine Cassidy Susan B. Allen, David Page Coffin, Karen Morris, Toni Toomey

Copy/Production Editor Elaine Garen

Associate Art Director

double-cloth project. If you want

Carla Ruzicka

Editorial Secretary

The editor replies: Cotton flannel

to explore the subject further, you'll

and flannelette are one and the

find good additional information

same thing, which we implied in

Contributing Editors

on sewing with this unusual fabric

Linda Lee, Mary Smith

the article but obviously didn't

in Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing


make as clear as we should have.

Guide (Krause Publications (for­

Thanks for helping keep us on our

merly published by Chilton Book

editorial toes.

Co.), 1989; 700 E. State St., lola,


Delight with double cloth

Nancy Nelle Farmer

Peter Chidsey

Corporate Circulation Director Douglas Newton

Advertising Manager Ellen Saracino

National Account Manager Vivian Dorman

I was thrilled to see the excellent

Boxer shorts redux

article "The Cloth with No Wrong

In reference to the essay "The Box­

Side" by Mary Elliott (No. 69, pp.

er Rebellion" by Darcy Falk in No.

60-63), since I purchased 8 yd. of

68 (p. 98 ), I'm planning to make

Nancy Clark

double cloth a year ago because it

boxer shorts for my sons. I have

Advertising Secretary

looked so inviting to work with.

my fabric but am unsure of a pat­

Now in retirement, I immediately

tern. Is there a good one (I haven't

went into action after reading the

been able to find one), or do I need

Jolynn Gower

article, and recreated each sample

to cut one myself?

Publishing Coordinator

in it. I took these samples to my

- Sarah Miklas, Tom bal l , TX

Darcy Falk replies: To make my


husband's boxer shorts, I used


Kwik-Sew 1672, lengthening the

1� in.

pattern a little since he's quite tall. The pattern has no center-back seam, which, I'm told, is uncom­ fortable. For boys' boxers, I use Kwik-Sew 2 179.

Seriously serging For years I've watched friends in sewing classes sew up a storm on their sergers. My reaction was, ''I'll



we helped you get started on your

54990; 888-457-2873).



Associate Editors

flannelette, and where can flan­ nelette be purchased?

Newtown, CT or via' e-mail:

cloth vest I'm making from an

cut edge, as shown in the article,

never learn to run a serger! Nev­

so that others could try splitting

er." Then I saw an ad for a Bernette

the fabric's two layers. The double-

Funlock 007D at a price I could af-

Account Manager Carol Gee

Sr. Advertising Coordinator

Marjorie Brown

Threads Books



Acquisitions Editor

Sarah Coe

How to contact (800) 283-7252 ((2203)03) 426-426-83171434 ((8800)00) 477-888-88727286 (t8h00)ads@t283-aunt7252on.ext.com531 (800) 283-7252 ext. 265 I WriThreadsting an artide Threads:

Telephone: Fax: E-mail:

Customer Ser vice: Orders:

Other Inquiries: E-mail:

Advertising Sales: E-mail:

Taunton Trade Company: Retai Sales:

welcomes articles, proposals, manuscripts, photographs, and ideas from our readers, amateur or profession­ al. We'll acknowledge all submissions, return those we can't use, and pay for articles we publish. For our brochure, call or write to us at PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT

forThreads, Authors





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By making sewing easier and more fun for more people, Baby Lock makes e�line the new standard in sewing. For a demonstmtiml on tflese or other Baby Lock products, see your authorized Baby Lock retailer. For a dealer near you call (in Canada call Or visit us [(Ie Web at


1-800-663-5964). Because creativity I S the essence of sewing. 011

le t t e r

(cont i nued)

ford and bought it, but still had to

en asleep while proofreading!-as a

figure out how to run it. Then my

rule, the upper looper should be


threaded first, and the machine

and behold, Bernina instructor Mil­

pictured in the article is no excep­

an associate editor to join the

lie Schwandt's article "Demystifying

tion. And I agree with you, as I em­

staff. Candidate must have

the Serger" (pp. 54-57), which is

phasized in the article, it's very im­

knowledge of sewing/garment

now my best friend and bible. I

portant to consult the machine's

construction and several years'

also went through my Threads mag­

instruction manual for the proper

experience in newspaper or

azines since 1993 and found more

threading sequence, since it's the

magazine editing and writing,

articles and tips for serger sewing.

best guarantee of success. Let me

or a substantial background

I now have the confidence to take

also point out that in the section on

in language and communica­

off on a serger binge. Thanks for all

remedies for correcting the stitch

tion. Photography skills and

the variety in Threads.

balance on p. 56, 7b under " The

a design eye are assets. Send

Well-Balanced Serger Stitch" should

resume and photos of your

March '97 Threads arrived and,

-Bernice Rengel, St. Cloud,


read, "loosen the upper looper." ing the Serger," the author states

Ultrasuede brickbats

St. , PO Box 5506, Newtown,

that usually the lower looper is

I've been a subscriber to Threads

CT 06470-5506. EOE

threaded first. I've taught serger

for some time and love the maga­

classes for the past six years with

zine, but I really disliked the arti­

students using many different serg­

cle "Adventures with Ultrasuede"

for whatever garment you might

er brands, and I've yet to come

by Annette Ames (No. 69, pp. 49-

make in this terrific fabric. I realize

across one that threads the lower

5 3). The outfit that appeared on

that not all readers may have re­

looper first. Since the lower thread

the opening page was just plain

sponded to these garments (no

passes over the upper looper, the

ugly, and the others didn't look

matter what the garment or topic,

upper looper should be threaded

much better. Please don't waste

we can't please every reader with

first. In any case, I would empha­

space on such articles.

every article), but I do think the

size that the instruction manual

-Anna Miller, Baltimore, MD

accompanying the serger be con­

forfellow el1thusiasts


author's innovative approach to this familiar fabric offers all sewers

sulted before beginning to thread

The editor replies: I'm sorry that the

some inspiration and ideas for ex­

the serger.

Ultrasuede garments in this issue

ploration. And, after all, exploring

Hicklin, Chillicothe, M O

weren't to your liking, but I hope

new territory-whether with new

that you nonetheless found the

fabrics, notions, techniques, or de­

Millie Schwandt replies: You're ab­

author's technical information on

sign approaches-is much of the

solutely right-we must have fall-

working with Ultrasuede useful

fun of sewing.



garments to: Personnel Dept., The Taunton Press, 63 S. Main

Regarding the article "Demystify­


Threads Editor

Threads magazine is seeking


The Taunton Press: Paul Roman, chairman; Peler Chidsey, presidem; Diane

Fainer, Madelaine Frengs, Tracy LeBrun, Debra McCormack, Gina Pabis, Andrea Shorrock. Disfribution: Paul

Pallcrson, secretary. Corporate Editorial: John Lively, editor-in-chief


Seipold, Loum Bun, Mary Ann Costagliola, Deborah Greene, Linnea Ingram, Brian Leavitt, Aaron Lund, Frederick


Monnes,jonathan Pond, Elsie Rodriguez, Alice Saxton, Eileen Sheehan, Manufacturing: Kathleen Davis, director;

president. Soahs: Carolyn Mandarano, Chapman, Thomas


editor; RlIlh Dobsevage,


McKenna, Roben 0lah, Jennifer Renjilian, Diane

Kathleen Donovan. Prepress: Austin Starbird, john Garofalo, Stephen Roma, Palricia Sigetti, Deborah Cooper,

Sinitsky. New Products: Suzanne Roman, editor; Jefferson Kolle, Marc

William Bivona, David Blasko, Richard Booth, james Chappuis, Mark Coleman, Lisa DeFeo, Tina Foster, William

direclOr; Linda Ballerini,

Godfrey, Florence Nichols,joseph Petrahai, Linda Reddington, Martha Stammer, Chansam Thammavongsa, David

Christine Lincoln. FinancejAccounting:janice A. Roman, chief financial officer; Wayne Reynolds, controller; Sarah

Vassallo. Human Resources:

Carol Maroni,

Kenney, Amy Evon, Kathy Martin, Monica Murphy, Prillt Production: Dee Flanagan, Nicole Anastas, Lynda Morris,

Roman, Elizabeth Conklin,jennifer Glass, Carolyn Kovaleski. Accounting: Patrick Lamontagne, Irene Arfaras, Keith

promotion; Thomas Greco, Deborah Baldwin, Michael Gyulay, books; Philip VanKirk,john Cavallaro, Tracie Pavlik,

Chapman, Mary Sullivan, Andrea Henchcliffe, Karen Williams, Carol Diehm, Margaret Bafundo, Dorothy Blasko,

magazines. Video: Craig Umanoff, Thomas Menard. Management Information Systems: Robert Peters, director;

Susan Burke, Lawrence Rice, Gayle Hammond, Lydia Krikorian, Lorraine Parsons, Elaine Yamin. Corporate

Brendan Bowe, Arthur Caron, james Courtright, Maurice Downey, Gabriel Dunn, J. Larry Kinnear, Marjorie

Design: Susan Edelman, director; Laura Bergeron. Book Art:jodie Delohery, Amy Bernard, Lynne Phillips, Henry

Omalyev, Roger Seliga. PC Applications: Heidi Waldkirch, Barbara Daignault, Robert Nielsen, Andrew Wiles. PC

Roth, Carol Singer, Cynthia Smith, Rosalie Vaccaro. New Product Design: Mary Terrizzi, jody Hankinson.

Systems: Margaret Archer,joanne Bisson, Rita Myers, Lisa Northrop. Operations: Purchasi'lg

PIIO/ogmplly: Boyd Hagen, Anthony Phillips, PromOlion: Philip Allard, Francesca Arminio, D.

Arneson, Wendy

Schappert, Christopher Myers, Peter Bishop, Michael Capalbo, jeannette Pascal, Patricia Rose, Charles Hollis,



Facilities: William

Bowes,Julia Brine, Mary Beth Cleary, Leigh Haeger,jennifer Winston. Corporate Services: Thomas Luxeder, din,:c­

jeffrey Meslin, Aaron Nobel, Susan Nerich, Oscar Carranza, Alvinjack, Lincoln Peters. Cafeteria: Donna Freeman,

tor;jane Torrence. Fulfillment: Cliel1t Services: Patricia Williamson, Carolyn Arneth, Kathryn Dolson, Holly Smith,

Geraldine Benno, Isabel Kaplan, Norma:Jean Taylor. Taunton Direct: Claudia Allen, Maryann Dieue, Pamela

Eileen Swirsky. Order Processing:john Comerford, Nancy Brown, Barbara Lowe, Eileen McNulty, Dawn Teixeira,

Dunaway, Brenda Hamilton, Dennis O'Brien, Megan Sangster,jeanne Todaro. Taunton New Media: Roy Swanson,

Marylou Thompson. Customer Services: Patricia Malouff, Donna Weinstein, Christi Heuer, Penny Lefferts, Karin

director; Christopher Casey, Sean Messenger. Taunton Trade Company: Dale Brown, preSident; Thomasjohnson,

McMahon,jennifer Severino, Mary Ellen Silk, Barbara Smith. Dara Elltry: Carole Ando, Bonnie Beardsley, Margaret

Frances AUen,John BaCigalupi, Peter Bill, Barbara Buckalew, Linda Yurchishin.


Le t t e r


leather balm for a twice-yearly application to keep your leathers from

ory Curve. While the author uses

drying out. Finally, back tacking

newsprint for patterns, I find that

is fine on 2-oz. and heavier leather,

it rips easily and becomes brittle

and a walking foot is a must!

Lingering leather thoughts

me know what to do with my Mem-

-Heather Millette, Cumberland, RI

and yellow with age. I have a more practical alternative: 50-sq.-ft. rolls of recycled gift wrap bought on sale

I'm a patternmaker for a manufac­ turer of leather motorcycle apparel

Hamming it up

after the holidays. The several ad­ vantages of this paper are that it's

and have a few comments con­

The multiple-choice definitions of

cerning your article on leather (No.

a pressing ham in "Test Your Sew­

nearly transparent (especially the

67, pp. 58-62). First, I wouldn't rec­

ing Skills" (No. 69, p. 98) remind­

lighter colors), durable, and envi­

ommend using wax-based chalk

ed me of the time a few years ago

ronmentally friendly. I can usually

on suedes, as it's almost impossible

when I was sewing a taffeta and

get about three patterns-blouse,

to remove. Instead, regular school

velvet dress in my small apartment.

pants, and jacket-from one roll.

chalk will do the job and can be re­

My then-boyfriend was fascinated

And I use a different gift-wrap print

moved with a stiff brush. Second,

with my tailor's ham and remarked

for each customer or garment,

we make our apparel out of 4-oz. or

on it every time he saw me sew.

which makes it much easier to lo­

heavier hides and generally find

After the dress was finished and

cate and file pattern pieces.

double-sided tape more useful than

everything put away, I completely

rubber cement-and definitely less

forgot about the tailor's ham until

messy-for applying to hems, but­

I found it one day, neatly wrapped

tonhole cutouts, and pocket open­

in plastic wrap in the refrigerator!

ings before folding them back and

-Deirdre Rogers, Vancouver,



-Donna Davis, Steubenville, OH

Corrections The GALANOS exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (No. 70, p. 74) now ends onJune 8.

hammering them in place.

Pattern-paper preferences

Also, the adult sizes for The Mac-

niture polishes. Several can be used

Thanks for the article "Draft a Slim

Phee Workshop Unique Patterns

on leather (but not suede) for shine

Skirt That Fits!" by Karen Howland

(No. 70, p. 76) should read: 32- to

and luster. You may want to buy

in No. 69 (pp. 42-45) and for letting

48-in. chest and 34- to 50-in. hip.

Look at the labels of various fur­

havel's, incorporated

(800) 638-4770






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Sales tax: Wash. state residents add 8,6% tax.


Postage halldlillg: Prices include 4th-class postage to all U.S. destinations, For faster I stclass delivery in the U.S., add $1.25 per book. To Callada, add $1.25 per book. To all other destinations, please contact us for current rates. UPS shippillg: We also ship UPS, but rates vary. Call or write for information, We accept VISA, MC, AmEx, checks, money orders in U,S. funds.


(206) 527-8778 (206) 526-2871

Rain City Publishing, Dept. 102, 15378, Seattle, 98115

P.O. Box

"Great idea!" - David Page Coffin, Threads,

WA 19921997

"Meticulously researched." - Toni Toomey, Threads,


1 997

1 1

Q u e s ti o n s Have a question

Tai loring for men

low), felt undercollar, tightly wo­

Another timesaver is the ready­

of general interest

I'm starting to sew tailored jackets

ven selisia or twill pocketing, pre­

made felt undercollar, made from

about sewing, quilt­ ing, embellishing, or

Jor my husband. Are there shortcuts

cut sleeve-hem tape, shoulder pads,

a layer of felt that's machine-pad­

I can use to make the job easier?

and sleeve heads to help build the

stitched to a layer of bias canvas. To

inner structure of a jacket. All these

cut it to shape, remove the seam

items are available from tailoring

allowances and omit the center­

a garment-related

-Andrea Potter, Rochester, NY

craft? Send it to: Questions,


Kathryn Brenne replies: A lot of sew­

supply stores like Oregon Tailor

back seam from your collar pat­


S. Main St., PO Box 5 506,

ers think menswear is too difficult

Supply (PO Box 42284, Portland,

tern piece, cutting it on the fold

or time-consuming to tackle, but

OR 97242; 800-678-2457).

Newtown, CT

there are some easy-to-use, readily

from the felt undercollar. Pin the

My favorite shortcut is the pre­

cut piece around a tailor's ham and


available supplies that can stream­

made canvas suit front, shown be­

shape it using steam. Once it's dry,

or via e-mail:

line the proj ect and help you

low, far left, which is a padded jack­

machine-stitch the crease line and

get professional-looking re­ sults. Even cus­ tom tailors start with a premade

INTERFACED JACKET FRONT Trim away seam allowance to reduce bulk.

\. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. \. front\. \. \. \.




chest size. It consists of an


i1'6 in. of the canvas away from

all the edges, then fell-stitch the

outer layer of medium­

raw edges of the felt directly to the

weight hymo hair

jacket and finished upper collar. If

canvas that's been

your pattern is too large for a pre­

shaped, taped, and

cut undercollar, you can also buy


the same fabric by the yard.



chest shield of stiffer

Once the outer jacket is complete,

haircloth and thin

I suggest you have it professionally

batting. You'll trim the

pressed before inserting the lin­

suit front's basic shape

ing. For more information, see the

to fit your jacket front

Singer Sewing Reference library'S

after attaching the lay­

Tailoring ( 1988, Cowles Creative

ers together. Place the

Pub., 5900 Green Oak Dr., Minne­

hair-canvas side of

tonka, MN 55343; 800-328-3895).

the suit front against the wrong side of the fashion­

Tape roll line and front edges.

Pockets for shoulder pads

fabric jacket front, pin it in

I'm tired oj the scratchy hook-and­

place, mold the shaped chest area

loop strips that hold shoulder pads

over a tailor's ham, and trim the

inside garments. Isn't there a better

armhole, shoulder, and front edge

way to make pads removable?

below the roll line to match your

-Nancy Anderson, Chicago,


jacket front. After basting these

Stiffer hair canvas of chest shield can follow roll line.

Two or three vertical rows of pad stitching attach suit front to jacket.


et interfacing sold in pairs by

areas, attach the layers with two

Frances Cowan replies: If you're will­

or three vertical rows of l-in.-long

ing to spend a bit more time sew­

pad stitching, as shown, then tape

ing, my elegant shoulder-pad pock­

the roll line of the lapel with thin

et is a great way to make removable

cotton stay tape. If the lapel will

shoulder pads that require no

be hand- or machine-pad-stitched,

hook-and-loop tape and allow you

work some of the excess hymo can­

to wear your favorite pads in dif­

vas into the roll, then trim any ex­

ferent garments. Since the pocket is

cess. Some manufacturers omit the

attached to the garment, only the

pad stitching in the lapel area and

pad slips in and out. I suggest mak­

instead trim the suit front at the

ing the pockets in the garment fab­

taped roll line and add fusible weft­

ric unless it's sheer; for light or

insertion interfacing in the lapel.

dark sheers like chiffon or geor-

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Que st ion

(cont i nued)



To help with the {allowing, write to Threads at the address on p. 12.

Use your shoulder pad to redraw, if needed, so shape fits.

Overlap Lap/ fOld line

� M



l I

Selvage edge or �-in. seam overlap �

Finished pocket

-Rebecca Michelsen, Petoskey, MI



1 in.

gette, use a flesh color that will dis­

center. You can serge around the

appear when worn.

edges to join top and bottom layers,

Construction is simple: Follow

but you'll get a more expensive­

the diagram at left, redrawing the

looking finish by stitching the

pattern if necessary to fit your pad.

pocket layers right sides together,

Use the pieces cut on the fold for

turning, and pressing. Tack the fin­

the pocket top; the two shorter

ished pocket to the shoulder seam.

pieces overlap to form a slot for in­


1 square

I'm looking for a source of "blank" fashion plates I can use to draw my garment designs over. Is there anything on disk for Windows?

Topstitching to finish overlap is optional.

serting the pad. Sew a narrow hem

Kathryn Brenne is a designer and cus­

on the overlap edge, if you can't

tom clothier in North Bay, ON, Canada;

place it on the selvage. Stitch the

Frances Cowan of Atlanta, GA, teaches

darts and press them toward the

fine sewing and couture techniques.

Easy Guide to Serging Fine Fabrics

by Kitty Benton

Demystify the serger. This is the most complete and easy-to-follow serging guide available anywhere. Each chapter progressively builds your skills by guiding you through basic and advanced techniques. Includes threading, needle selection, starting and finishing seams, adding festive detailing to special-occasion garments and more. SOFTCOYER, COLOR, PAGES, PHOTOS, ITEM $17.95

112 182

Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses


by Connie Long

To order, call 1-800-888-8286 and ask for operator W534. S.

Taunton Direct, Inc., 63



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Save over



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Discover new ways to create stylish blouses with ease. You'll find out which patterns flatter different figures and how to adjust standard-size patterns for a perfect fit. Learn how to work with all types of fabric, which interfacings are best, how to set-in a sleeve, and how to add your own special finishing touches to customize your creations. SOFTCOVER, COLOR, PAGES, PHOTOS, DRAWINGS, ITEM $17.95

112 161


2 or more

books from the Sewing Companion Library.

Also available from The Sewing Companion Library: Easy Guide to Sewing Jackets

12 158 112 134



Easy Guide to Sewing Skirts SOFTCOVER, COLOR,


by Cecelia Podolak

29 070215, by Marcy Tilton 31 070217,








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TiP s Share a tip, a useful trick,

Fabric-shopping system

Couture hanging loops

For a more distressed look, use a

Over the years I've amassed a con­

Ever made or bought skirts or

few pairs of j eans instead of the

or a great sewing or embellishing

siderable fabric collection, includ­

slacks with hanging loops that slip

towels. Add a little mild detergent

ing several hundred prints. With

to the outside and hang out at the

(no bleach), fill the machine with

resource. Send

this much fabric it's difficult to re­

waist? Here's how to prevent this:

warm water, and set it to the long­

details, sketches,

member everything I have, and

Pin the loop's midpoint at the

est washing cycle (six to twelve

photos, or samples

very easy to inadvertently buy more

side seam. Spread the loop out al­

minutes) . Complete the wash cy­

(if you like) to:

of a fabric I already own. So I've cre­

most as far as it will reach (about 6

cle, but stop the washer before the


ated a swatch set to take along

in. from end to end), then sew the

water drains. Reset the machine to

when fabric shopping.

� .• ___________ � _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ �.... .. ---�--�.. -�-... ... .. -... - ... - -' -":" - :', ".


PO Box 5 506, Newtown, CT

Fuse a 2-in. square of each

06470-5 506;

fabric to a 2-in. piece of card­

or via e-mail:

board, using fusible webbing.

On the back of the cardboard,

Be sure to include

record where you bought the

a phone number in case we have a

fabric, its price, fiber content,

question. We'll

purchased. Hole-punch the corner

pay for each item

and hang the swatches in order by

we publish.

care instructions, and yardage

For garments you 're sewing, attach when topstitching waistband. .



the machine before it drains, and repeat this start-stop

process at least three and up For completed or ready-to-wear to eight times. Add fabric garments, attach softener to the final rinse, loop end by spin, and dry on medium heat hand. along with four or five softener sheets and a towel. Sheer luxury!

color on a 3-in. separating ring (the

ends in place by machine as you attach the waistband in a garment

floss bobbins or carpet samples). I

you're making (like the left end of

slip the swatch ring over my wrist

the example above) or by hand

Zipper science

when I shop for fabrics, which

(like the right end) for an already

If the zipper on an outerwear j ack­

keeps it handy and frees up both

completed or ready-to-wear gar­

et front doesn't work properly but

-Jessica Clark, North Attleboro, M A

-Sheila Carnegie, Victoria,



ment. Unpin the midpoint. When

appears to be intact, you've proba­

you wear the garment, the loops

bly got a worn zipper pull. You'll be

lie flat against the body and don't

glad to know it's easier to replace

Follow the puncture lines

slip out. When hung, the garment

the pull than the zipper, takes on­

is suspended from four points

ly minutes, and costs pennies.

As I sew, I look for ways to elimi­

sewn at a distance from the side

For zippers with teeth, start at

nate the most time-consuming tech­

seams, so the waist doesn't droop.

the zipper's top and force the pull

niques. Here's a simple and cer­

-Susan Khalje, Glenarm, M D

off between two teeth. Then, like­ wise force the new pull on.

tain way to mark hems and seam allowances, place trims, and fold

Sand-wash silk a t home

and press under exact edges.

I love the feel of sand-washed silk,

Open the seam holding the zip­

For example, when pressing un­

and sometimes want that unbe­

per's top in place, slide off the old

der \4 in. on an edge of a facing sec­

lievable softness in fabrics I've dyed

pull, slide on a new one, then close

tion, place a large needle (size 16 or

or in other silks I've bought. So

the seam. If there's a zipper stop at

18) in the sewing machine, un­

I've found a way to "sand-wash"

top, remove it with wire snippers.

threaded. Run the fabric through

silk in the washing machine, with

Zip the old pull off the end of the

Coil-type zippers take more time.

at the \4-in. mark, which makes a

great results, p articularly with

zipper, zip the new one on, and in­

row of puncture marks, indicating

crepe-backed charmeuse and very

stall a new stop with pliers. (Pulls

the proper place for the fold. The

lightweight silks. This process

and stops are available by mail

pressing is more accurate, and you

shrinks the fabric, so be sure to do

from outerwear sewing suppliers.)

won't wonder if the edges are

it before cutting into it.

If zipper teeth are missing, you

Place the fabric and three or four

turned evenly. -Jeanne


original water and detergent in the machine. Again, stop

kind made to organize embroidery­

hands for browsing.


repea t this cycle, leaving the


Schimmel, Hobe Sound,


heavy cotton towels in the washer.

must replace the zipper. -Paula Rak, Wrangell, AK

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Basics We've set aside this space to explain sewing techniques


ular quilting pins, or

by Toni Toomey

position in bulky knits

the stout and sturdy

but they won't pierce

2-in.-Iong, I-mm-thick

a knit's yarns.

quilting pins.

and terms that may

Buy the pins that are

not be familiar to

Pins are pins, right? Well, not ex­

everyone. If you've ever been stumped

actly-especially if you've looked

Stainless steel vs.

at the array of pins offered i n

steel-Quality pins are

don't hesitate to use a

by a casual

mail-order sewing catalogs. There

made from stainless

particular pin for any

instruction to "clean-finish the

are silk pins, dressmaker's pins,

steel or nickel-plated

purpose that works.

quilter's pins, all-purpose pins, and

steel. Unlike stainless

Most sewers eventu­

edge" or "find the

applique and knitter's pins.

steel, nickel-plated steel (generally

true bias," this column should be a handy reference.

most comfortable and

different sewing situations, and

What's in a name?

may rust over time, especially when

keep them sorted by type and

The names given to pins generally

left in fabric. Plated steel is used in

stored in some sort of holder, as

describe their length and diame­

some plastic-head pins and must

described below.

ter, as well as their intended use:

be used for glass-head pins because

pins with a small diameter (.5 to

glass won't bond to stainless steel.

Storing and caring for pins There is a variety o f magnetic

i.ntended for

So which pin

use with light­

should you buy?

currently available, and all serve

wei.ght, deli­

Let logic prevail when chOOSing a

well for storing pins. The magnet­

cate fabrics,

straight pin: select a pin to suit

ic pin holders are preferred by

and pins with

the fabric (the finer the fabric, the

many sewers because they'll grab

a larger­

finer the pin should be), and for

a pin tossed at them from a few

eter ( . 6 mm)

its intended use according to its

inches away and quickly retrieve

name. Silk pins are good

spilled pins. Though most elec-

are intended for to heavy­

holders and stuffed pincushions

weight fabri.cs. Di.fferent names are

for most light- to medium­

tronic sewing ma­

sometimes given to similar types

weight fabrics and serve

chines don't seem

of pins and not all catalogs give

well in tight corners where

to be affected by

the pins' dimensions, which occa­

a longer pin might get in

the magnets, it's

sionally makes buying these no­

the way (and glass-head silk

tions a little confusing. As a rule,

pins don't hide in the car­

though, silk pins, at top left, also

pet as readily as their flat- "

called dressmaker's or superfine

headed cousins). The large .,

silk pins, are .5 mm in diameter

heads on quilting and all­

and I

purpose pins make them

y.; to 1'� in. long; and quilt­ ing, or all-purpose, pins, below, are .6 mm in diameter and I � to 1'4


ally acquire a variety of pins to suit

labeled "steel" on the packaging)

. 5 5 mm) are


convenient for you, but


easy to grasp, and their length

.; JI

advisable not to place a magnetic holder directly on your machine. Since pins are cheap, buy those of good quality,

helps them stay in position in thick

and if one gets bent, ni.cked, or

in. long. Flower­

fabrics and quilts. Flower-head pins

rusted, just pi.tch i.t. Be sure to keep

head pins, at

are useful for laces and loosely wo­

pins out of your mouth, and never,

top right, are I

ven fabric, since they're easy to

but never, sew over a pi.n (if you

in. long and

grasp and won't get lost in the fab­

must sew over a pi.n, move the fly­

have a diame­

ric. Tiny applique pins, at bot­

wheel by hand until you're safely

ter of .55 mm,

tom right, won't snag your thread

past it).



when hand-sewing applique pieces.

them more flex­

Knitter's pins (shown next to the

ible than all­

applique pins) are long, large, and

Threads. thanks Clotilde for sharing

purpose or reg-

dull pOi.nted, so they'll stay in

her accumulated wisdom on pins.

Toni Toomey. an associate editor of

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Pricesand olTer rnay dilTerin Canada. All ord", "ubjecl to ,ppmv.!. t997

F itti n g Here's the place to

Sleeve wrinkles

get some answers to your fitting

Why do some set-in s leeves have deep diagonal wrinkles Jrom the shoulder to the underarm (see the drawing at right) instead oJ hanging perJectly straight?

questions. If you have a better solution than the one we've given here, please write and tell us. Send your questions (include photos,

-Carole Dahlstrom, Marlborough, MA

The most likely cause for sleeve

tion is exactly the same for a two­ piece sleeve, but make sure you

above the notches, perpendicular

true the underarm piece's cap seam

to the grainline. Spread the cap by

so it flows smoothly into the new

the amount you dropped the sleeve

seam on the outer piece.

at the dot, then blend in the curves,

Diagonal sleeve wrinkles can al­

as shown at bottom. The correc-

so result from a mismatch of the

wrinkles above the elbow is a


sleeve cap that's too short for you,

These wrinkles usually result from sleeve caps that are too short for you.

says dressmaker Susan Bennett.

if possible), comments, and solutions to:

This prevents the sleeve's cross­


the floor, and creates diagonal


Transfer the changes to the pa­ per pattern by cutting on a line just

The crossgrain will usually also be pulled upward.

grain from hanging parallel to wrinkles in both front and back

PO Box 5 506, Newtown, CT

because the shoulder is pulling up

06470-5 506;

on the top of the sleeve. Since it's

or via e-mail: th@taunton. com.

hard to predict when this problem will occur by simply looking at the pattern, and because it doesn't mat­ Crossgrainj biceps line

ter what fabric you'll be using for the final garment (as it does for many fitting problems), I think it's best to assume the cap is always too short for you and prepare for this problem by making the fol­ lOwing adjustment to every set-in sleeve, as shown in the drawings at




1. Cut sleeve with 1 A ' -in. seam allowance.

lower right and on p. 22. Cut out your sleeves in the fash­ ion fabric so there's a 1 \4-in. seam allowance across the cap, then

2. Mark seamline, shoulder dot, notches, and biceps line.

thread-trace or chalk the original seamline, notches, shoulder dot, and crossgrain at the start of the underarm seam, which is called the biceps line. Now construct the sleeve as you normally would and baste it into the armhole follOwing the original seamline.

the wrin­

kles appear, and!or the biceps line is tilted up, release the sleeve from

True. 3. Construct sleeve, pin in place, then release seam from notch to notch, allowing dot and biceps line to drop until biceps line :...------1-----.:.-. is parallel to floor and wrinkles are eliminated.

J ?�

notch to notch (or more if need­ ed) and lower it until the biceps line is parallel to the floor and the wrinkles disappear. Pin and mark the new seamline.




Correct pattern by slashing at notches and spreading by amount of dot drop. True seamlines.



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1 997


F itti n g

(co n t i nued)

Now, keeping the sleeve and arm­


hole seamlines aligned, shift the shoulder dot toward the back by ro­ tating the sleeve cap. Use the gath­ ered ease and the natural flex of

Ifyour arm hangs at different angle than sleeve is designed to accommodate, diagonal wrinkles can also occur either in front or back. Biceps line will also be tilted.

the fabric to redistribute the sleeve cap until the wrinkles in front dis­ appear and the biceps line hangs parallel to the floor. If the wrin­ kling is slight, and you're using a two-piece sleeve, or aren't con­ cerned about exactly aligning the underarm and side seams (or are willing to reposition one or the oth­

To correct for sleeve angle on pattern After making muslin mock-up and determining needed shift of angle to eliminate wrinkles, correct pattern as follows:

New seam line


er), you can remove the pin at the underarm and rotate the entire sleeve backward or forward as needed. But since this approach al­ so shifts the grain, it's not appro­ priate for corrections of much more than ):( in. When the sleeve hangs as you like, mark a new shoulder dot on the muslin at the end of the shoulder seam. To correct the pattern, first mea­ sure the distance between the re­ positioned shoulder dot and the original. Cut the paper pattern as shown in the drawings at left and

For one-piece sleeve, slash across biceps line and slide cap forward or back by amount of dot shift. True seamlines.

For two-piece sleeve, slash across notches horizontally and slide cap forward or back by amount of dot shift. True seamlines.

slide the cap portion backward or forward by the amount of shift at the dot. Then true the cap seam to the sleeve at the biceps line and

angle at which your arm hangs and



To correct for wrinkles of this

reposition the notches using the

the angle the sleeve is deSigned to

type, begin by making a muslin

accommodate. A typical arm an­

mock-up of the sleeve before cut­

It's entirely possible to need both

gles toward the back fTom shoulder

ting out the fashion fabric, and

a pitch correction and an adjust­

to elbow (as seen from the side),

after constructing the bodice/

ment in cap length. If this appears

but the amount can, of course, vary

armhole portion of the garment.

to be the case, start with the muslin

from person to person. (Tailors re­

Mark the shoulder dot, notches,

sleeve, including the extended

fer to angle as the pitch of a sleeve

biceps line, and seamline as before

seam allowance, and lengthen the

or arm.) If your sleeves wrinkle

on the muslin sleeve, then con­

sleeve before rotating it, keeping

primarily in front, as in the draw­

struct the mock-up sleeve, gather­

track of the adjustment amounts

ing at top, above, your arms may be

ing the excess ease in the cap as

at each step so you can correct the

straighter than the pattern's sleeves;

necessary, until it fits smoothly in­

pattern precisely.

wrinkles in the back suggest that

to the armhole. Put on the bodice

the sleeves hang farther forward

and pin the sleeve to it at the un­

Susan Bennett is a dressmaker and

than your arms do.

derarm only.

patternmaker in Granby, MA.

bodice notches as a gUide.

Pa tte r n R e v i e w B EST B ETS FOR SPRI N G/ SU M M E R

Among fabric headlines is the

tised in magazines. (If you want to

rediscovery of sheers-chiffons, or­

try creating your own devore,

ganzas, knits, and laces. And while

there's a product called Fiber-Etch

a glance at any fashion magazine

by Silkpaint Corporation that's

might suggest that we'll be heading

available in many sewing stores

Inching toward the millennium,

off to the office or to dinner in a

and by mail from Clotilde, 800-

fashion is evolving into functional,

sheer little something with our un­

772-2891 ; see also Threads No. 52,

feminine clothes. This season's sig-

derwear showing, the point is really

p. 82, for a product review. )

by Marcy Tilton

natures include a focus on fab-

to think about sheers in a new

But velvets and sheers haven't

ric, an emphasis on color, and a

way-as an interesting element to

entirely eclipsed summer classics

feminine sense of style. The

layer with other sheers or entirely

like pique, seersucker, knits, and

dominant H-shaped silhouette

different fabrics.

cords, all of which take on a new

is lean and lightly fitted, with

Velvets, brushed cotton, and satin

refinement with small-scale tex­

straight, clean lines, while

are making frequent appearances

tures and flat surfaces. Also preva­

the up-and-coming A­

this season, reworked in warm­

lent are washed cords in silk and

line silhouette has a fit­

weather colors. But the big news

rayon. Matte j ersey has become the

ted bodice and a flared

in velvet is devore (French for

summer equivalent of winter's wool

hem. These elements

"devoured"), a 19th-

translate into several dis-

century technique

tinct looks: Romantic,

recently revived in

celebrating a return

the textile in­

to skirts and dresses,

dustry and ea­

j ersey: it's easy to sew, has a flat­ tering


quality, and, like wool

and sheer and floral

gerly copied

fabrics; Minimalist,




favoring p ared-down

design artists.

With its

styling and architectur­

This technique

al simplicity; and Eth­

involves applying a heat­

nic, reflecting the influ­

activated etching substance

drawstring trousers, a

ence of China, Africa,

that dissolves plant fibers

wrap ballet top, or a

(like linen or rayon) to a

slinky dress.

Style 273 5

and India in


colors, fab­

velvet fabric with a silk or

rics, silhou­

synthetic ground and ray­

ettes, and accessories.

jersey, isn't

wonderful drape, it's ideal for

on pile. Applied in pat­ terns or with random strokes to the pile,

The season's key fabrics are

the etch

soft, lightweight, often trans-


parent, and frequently lus-

the pile but

trous with finely textured sur­ faces. Silk and polyester combine with other fibers, and linen has

McCall's 8783

leaves the sheer background fabric intact.

been updated by blending it with viscose, polyester, and even Lycra. Stretch is an important ingredient


in wovens and knits, and fabrics and colors are more trans-seasonal than before.



have seen in stores or adver-



P a t t e r n R e v i e \l\

(conti nu ed)

Color Even if you're a firm believer in neutrals, this season's colors are so enticing that you may find your­ self adding color to your wardrobe with abandon. There's not one must-have color but rather a kalei­ doscope of hues and tints to wear mixed or monochrome. Blue is abundant, worn together in varying

to create the bull's-eye effect at the

shades or in lively combos like sky

seamed center front). McCall's

8783 features many of the sea-

blue and lime green or turquoise

son's signature details, with

with apricot. Subtle, sophis­ ticated pastel shades of

its geometric "halter"

peach, celadon, and

neck, topstitching, V­

blue-gray are every­

shaped Empire waist,

where, and you can cre­

and flared skirt (see

ate your own luscious

the right drawing on

pastels by layering

p. 24). (For great top-

sheer fabrics in dif­

stitching, let the weight of the fab­

ferent colors (see, for

ric determine the size of the stitch:

example, Sandra Bet­

for fine crepes, use a size 1 1 needle

zina's article on her

and small ( 1 .5- to 2-mm) stitch

double-layer chiffon

length. On linens, try a longer

pants on p . 64,

stitch, silk buttonhole twist, and a

which also gives

topstitching needle with a larger

some useful hints

eye for the heavier thread. And for precision edgestitching, use an

on working with sheers, which can

shades of white are combined this




season with navy or black, or with

sew). Dark tones

brown tones for a classic specta­

of grape, green,

tor look (think spectator pumps to

sheath with crisscross straps in


accessorize your garment).

back and shaped pleats that release


is a knockout, princess-seamed

at the hem (left drawing on p. 24).


On hot summer days, there's noth­

make the transi­

Dresses and skirts are the season's

ing quite like the feel of a soft, un­

tion right mto

key garments. The silhouette is

structured dress. Burda 3243 is one

fall. And the cur­

trim, follows the line of the body,

of those rare "sleeper" deSigns, per­



For summer dazzle, Style

be a challenge to

brown are a great

Vogue 9 6 67

edgestitching foot.)




uses lots of bias cuts and top-

fect for any soft, fluid fabric. This

accent color

stitching, and o ften sports geo-

design wraps to the front, creating

for khaki is


metric details like sliced-away

an angular hem and a fit that's both

chili-pepper red.

shoulders and asymmetrical hems.

simple and flattering.

Even this season's beige

Try making a simple bias dress this

and taupe neutrals look

summer in cotton or linen. Vogue

ered look, consider Vogue

To try out the season's sheer, lay­


as if they've been finished

9632's collection of bias styles is a

(at left), a one-shoulder dress that

with a wash of color, and appear

great place to start (begin with view

the pattern suggests making in two

fresh combined with other pales.

B , then try view A, using subtle,

sheer layers (and wearing over the

Always in style for warm weather,

menswear-inspired, striped rayon

unitard included in the pattern),


Open a whole new world of embroidery possibilities with Amazing Designs software by Great Notions. Just load the software on your P( and let your embroidery machine do the rest as you create designs once possible only on professional machines. The details in the designs and stitch quality are unlike any embroidery designs you've ever sewn before. A wide selection of designs in 1 0 and 20 design embroidery pocks are now available through your sewing machine dealer and fabric stores. Each Amazing Design embroidery pock contains one 3W' floppy disk that is compatible with these home sewing machine systems: Baby Lock Palette (PES), Bernina (ustomizer (EXP), Brother PE1 00 (PES), pfaff P(·Designer (P(S), Singer Poem ((SD), and Viking ReaderjWriter (HUS) formats. And Amazing DesignsTM offers software, which enables you to increase or decrease the size of any design, or even combine designs together to fit within your sewing area. If you don't own an embroidery machine now, you'll soon wish you did. For a dealer nearest you call 1 ·888·874·6760, or visit Amazing Designs at

Smart Sizer™

Amazing DesignsM th GREAT NOTIONS











Jacquard Crepe 36" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 5.95 yd. YaKiang Tussah 54" Heavy . . . . . . . . . .$1 9.95 yd. Pearl Crepe Jacquard 45" . . . . . . . . . . . $1 5.95 yd. Silk Georgette Chiffon 44"/45" . . . . . . . . $ 9.95 yd. China Silk 45" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 6.95 yd. Silk Noil 35"/36" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 6.95 yd. Spun 35"/36" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 0.95 yd. Taffeta . . . . . . . . . .48" $1 9.95 yd/36" $1 6.95 yd. Silk Satin 45" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1 3.95 yd. Palace Brocade . . . . . 36" $9.95 yd'/45" $1 2.95 yd. 1 00% Linen 32"/36" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 0.95 yd. Silk Peau de Soie . . .30" $1 5.95 yd'/45"$22.95 yd.

Crepe de Chine 45" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 3.95 yd. Crepe de Chine Prints 45" . . . . . . . . . $1 6.95 yd. Satin Stripes 45" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 8.95 yd. Metallic Stripe Chiffon 45" . . . . . . . . . $1 9.95 yd. Charmeuse 1 9lt2mm 45" . . . . . . . . . . $1 7.95 yd. Jacquard Charmeuse 45" . . . . . . . . . $1 8.95 yd. Silk/Rayon Velvet 45" . . . . . . . . . . . . $1 9.95 yd. Silk Knit Jersey, Tubular . . . . . . . . . . $1 9.95 yd. 1 00% Wool Crepe 58" (Colors) . . . . .$1 8.95 yd. 1 00% Wool Gabardine 58" (Colors) . .$1 8.95 yd. Dupionni 48"(Hand Woven/Dyed) . . . $1 8.95 yd. Silk Crepe, 4Ply, 45" . . . . . . . . . . . . .$29.95 yd.


Prices Subject to Change Without Notice "KIT" ALSO SOLD SEPARATELY


865 FLORIDA ST. #3 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 941 10 TEL (415) 648-7858 FAX (415) 64 1 -8704

(21 3) 65 1 -2323

VISITORS WELCOME j u n e/j u l y 1 9 9 7


Pa tte r n flopping the pattern for one layer

Use a center-back seam and an in­

Suits and jackets

so that both shoulders are covered.

visible zipper. (Beware of side-seam

The structured suit jacket has gone

I favor making one of the two layers

zippers, since the curved side seam

into retirement this season, re­

in a smooth, opaque fabric and the

causes the zipper to buckle and

placed by jackets and suits that are

other in a floaty sheer. Be sure to

add bulk.) Add a 1-in.-wide strip of

softer in cut, color, and construc­

cut the sheer layer one size bigger

lightweight fusible tricot in the

tion. Vogue 1973 (at left) could be

at the side seams so the two layers

seam allowance behind any zipper

the jacket and separates you wear

nest smoothly.

to support its weight.

every day. The understated one­

Versions of the classic American

button cardigan jacket works with

shirtdress are cropping up every­

almost any pant or skirt, and the

where this season, variously styled

double-layer bias-cut skirt is a trea­

from conservative to dramatic.

sure in a lined sheer fabric.

Burda 3204, in the Sandra Betzina

Vogue 1 97 3

A Back

Beginning sewers could build a

collection, is a short-sleeved shirt­

qUick-chic summer wardrobe from

dress with a curved princess dart,

New Look 6626. The darted, col­

which can be made either as a

larless j acket with set-in sleeves

dress or a tunic over the pattern's

and side slits layers easily over the

narrow pants. Neue Mode 22243

dress, tunic, and pants.

takes a shirtdress spin on the Eit­

McCall's 8781 (right drawing

and-flare dress, featuring a lovely

on p. 26), from the NY/NY Col-

collar that seems to float into the princess line.

possibilities. The loose,

Vogue 1940 is pure, drop-dead

flared j acket is unlined

gym. ,\

summer glamour for accomplished sewers who put in time at the Back


and unfaced, and is an ideal style for

Both of the pattern's styles have a

a sheer, crisp

Jean Harlow flair and are designed


lace, net, or-

the bias. With sleek seaming, a

ganza, or even

fishtail hem, and a soft back cowl,

a double-faced cotton or

Vera Wang's Vogue 1 944 is the

linen. The sleek, darted

perfect candidate for a summer Back


for self-lined matte jersey cut on

halter top and long, slightly

wedding or dance.

flared skirt are cut on the bias; and while the halter style


works best on a small-busted,

Skirts are slim-lined, long or short,

square-shouldered figure, the

bias cut and often have slits and

ankle-grazing skirt is a winner on

sometimes a slightly flared hem.

almost everybody. (To make the

The number one background piece

bias fall evenly at the skirt's hem,

to add to your summer wardrobe could be a tube skirt or long, slim



add a center-front seam.) My favorite skirt this season is


Fashion minimalists will love

skirt in black, brown, or khaki. Try

Lois Ericson's Design

Sew #319,

Neue Mode 2 2 2 1 5's long, lean

Burda 3 207, a well-cut basic that


Angles (available from

pantsuit. The cardigan jacket has

you can easily adapt: Eliminate one

Lois at PO Box 5222, Salem, OR

set-in sleeves and princess seams

of the pattern's two side-seam slits

97304). This one-piece bias skirt

that extend into the shoulder seam.

(two slits will fly awkwardly around

has a diagonal front seam and

The trousers are cut full, and the

when you walk), or eliminate slits

asymmetrical hem, and couldn't

shell has a notched neckline and

entirely and add one at center back.

be simpler to make.

cap sleeve.


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Pa t t e r n R e v i e

( cont inued)

(To make a cap sleeve with style,

Vogue 1936 by deSigner BettyJack­

ingredients in this pattern are the

first control the sleeve's tendency to

son combines an oversized j acket

flat in-seam pocket and the back

flare out at the hem by making a

and a wide, V-neck skimmer dress

dart that removes excess bulk in

small pleat (inverted or pleated to­

to create an ensemble with a chic

the elastic waistline.

ward the back), securing it with a

urban look.

set-in cap sleeve, consider cutting it


on the bias, which will have more

Although skirts and dresses are get­

son. Its cropped, short-sleeve top

give and create an interesting tex­

ting much of the attention of the

is just right over pants or a skirt

ture in plain fabrics like linen. If

fashion press this season, pants re­

to camouflage a tummy, and the

your fabric is striped, add a seam at

main the backbone of the working

asymmetry of the front being short­

and casual wardrobes of many

er than the back is both interesting

make sure that your sleeve isn't too

women. The season's best pant sil­

and flattering. And why not follow

tight: the rule is "pinch an inch,"

houette is cut slim in the leg, with

the lead of master deSigner Richard

meaning that the sleeve should be

darts front and back, or alterna­

Tyler and make a sheer tailored

at least 2 in. larger than your arm.

tively is cut as a slim, fluid pull-on

shirt like Burda 3236 in chiffon to

To determine that measure-

pant. Like the structured j acket,

wear like a jacket?

ment, measure your arm

the tailored pant with front fly and

where the sleeve hem falls).

pleats is in fashion limbo this

For the full figure

spring and summer.

Women who wear large sizes will

The casual jacket­

Burda 3185 offers an updated ver­

appreciate the increasing number

I always keep an eye

sion of a classic pant, with a slim­

of well-designed patterns now avail­

out for an ec-

cut leg (hem width: 1212" to 1412" in.);

able. Among the most interesting,

lectic jacket

flat, darted front; and angled pock­

Burda 3270 offers a polished, pro­

that will

ets. The matching tunic and pant is

fessional look in a three-piece suit

easily go

a winning, elegant look. Made in a

with cardigan jacket, front-button

over most

dark linen or cotton, these two easy

cap-sleeved top, and slim wrap

of the pieces

pieces could become the founda­

skirt. One of the great interpreta­

tion of any woman's wardrobe.

tions in shirt dreSSing is Burda

jacket must have

Burda 3209 has a great, basic slim­

3 268, whose shirt can double as

appealing de­

leg pant paired with a darted,

an unlined jacket in linen or silk


princess-seamed tunic in a long

and is paired with a slim pegged

as well as deep

or cropped length and with cap

skirt with back slit.


armholes so that



making again and again this sea­

the center to create chevrons. And



The Torii Collection by Diane Er­ icson (see p. 71) is a pattern I'm

button, which adds weight. For a

sleeves or sleeveless.

Burda 3263 offers casual ease in

it easily slides on

The Sewing Workshop's Kinenbi

a T-shirt, tunic, or dress with a deep

over other garments.

Top and Pant (800-466-1599) of­

V-neck, raglan sleeves, and essen­

Three candidates shine

fers casual drama with an Asian

tial darts. Part of New Look's re­

in this category: Burda

flair in an oversized top with an

cently introduced line of women's

3220 (at left) is a soft,

asymmetrical hem that combines

patterns in sizes 18 to 26W, New

oversized take on a clas-

with an excellent slim-leg, pull-on

Look 6602 offers the season's slim

sic, unlined, notched-collar

pant. The Textile Studio Basic Pant

pants with an attractive sleeveless,

jacket without any of the stiffness

# 1001 (542 Lighthouse Ave., Mon­

shoulder-buttoned tunic, which can

or pretense of a blazer-and with an

terey, CA 93940; 408-644-9076) is

alternately be made with short

intriguing inverted back pleat. Chic

a flattering pull-on pant (with a leg

sleeves or as a long, easy shift with

and romantic, Neue Mode 2 2 249

width of 18 in.) that's been test-

a side slit.

is a three-quarter-Iength jacket with

marketed for more than eight years

a soft, flat ribbon of a collar inset

by apparel designer Loes Hinse in

Marcy Tilton sews and tests patterns in

into the vertical front seam. And

her own boutique. Two winning

Takilma, OR.


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The Ultimate in Creative Freedom.

Bedazzled Buttonholes

Turn a beauti fully made buttonhol e i n to a gem wi t h machi n e embroi d ery by Carla Lopez hink of all the ways you

let us get in and out of clothing

good, strong basic buttonhole, but

can embellish a garment-

that's close-fitting. Collecting vin-

cotton thread (preferably 50 weight)

from lavish embroidery to

tage garments has taught me to

makes a more handsome machine-

the utter simplicity of a sin-

appreciate a buttonhole that holds

embellished buttonhole because of

gle striking button. But,

irs shape and lasts through many

its sheen.

while considering embel-

years of wear and washing.

You can apply self-cording in ma-

lishment, why forget buttonholes?

chine buttonholes with bar tacks

In fact, you can create endless dec-

Cording: strong but delicate-

on either end, or those with one

orative buttonholes simply by em-

Cording (an extra thread held

bar tack and one rounded end. To

bellishing ordinary buttonholes

under the buttonhole stitching as

do so, as shown on p. 35, start with

with the machine's embroidery

it's made) is key to a strong but-

a 12-in. tail of needle thread, posi-

tonhole that doesn't sag or stretch.

tion the fabric to make a button-

stitches, as


did on the blouse at

right. It's easy to do, and

Made of buttonhole twist or top-

hole, take the first stitch, then stop,

the results can be as plain

stitching thread, cording is added

and pull a 1 2-in. tail of bobbin

or as fancy as you want. A beautifully embellished but-

to support buttonholes on heavy-

thread to the top. Twist the tails

weight fabrics such as denim. But

together to create a length of selfcording, then continue stitching

tonhole starts with one that's well

self-cording made from the same

made, so first I'll show you how to

bobbin and needle thread as that

get the best buttonhole your ma-

used in the buttonhole also

chine will produce. Then you'll see

serves well in button-

how to turn an ordinary button-

holes on medium- to

hole into a work of art with your

lightweight fabrics. It adds

machine's embroidery stitches.

strength without bulk, offers

the first side of the buttonhole, while holding the self-cording

,. .)

in position with your fingernail 'or with a fine cro-

' , ...

. '�

the advantage of an exact color

Buttonhole basics

chet hook (photo 1, p. 35), so that the zigzag stitch covers the cording.

match with the buttonhole, and is

To bury the cording under the

The humble buttonhole exists to

fine eno'ugh to use on very delicate

first bar tack or the rounded end

hold garment openings closed and

fabrics. Polyester thread makes a .

(photo 2), swing the thread alter-

��l'eo. 1;-16 �


'0 .Q�

".� 1;-�a. "2E� "�� 0

1;--&,'c 1;; t�e I:

Four embellished buttonholes become this shirt's decorative "accessories" . (Bamboo Shirt pattern,

The Sewing Workshop, 800-466-1 5 99). All the embellished button­ holes on these pages were sewn on a Pfaff 7 5 5 0. Look at the stitches on your own machine to find your decorative possibilities.

.. .,nately forward and back as the nee­

it in the second side of the button­

essary to bury the cord in the sec­

dle swings right and left (to avoid

hole. When you're ready to bury

ond' bar tack). Cut the threads,

distorting the bar tack's shape,

the cording in the buttonhole's sec­

leaving long tails. Then use a

don't put tension on the cord as

ond side, hold it to the back of the

tiny latchhook ( see " Latch-

you swing it). It helps to make sam­

presser foot (photo 3), guiding it

hook source" on p. 34) or a

ples and count how many stitches

with a crochet hook.

hand-sewing needle to pull the

-�• .. '!j'

there are in the buttonhole's bar

To complete the final bar tack,

thread tails to the wrong side and

tack or rounded end so you'll know

hold the cord aside so it won't get

bury them under the buttonhole's

when to position the cord to bury

tangled in the stitching (it isn't nec-

sides (photo 4).


1 997


B U TTO N H O L E S TA N DA R D S For a garment to "make sense" visual ly, its basic elements, l ike the buttonholes' placement, should fol l ow ready-to-wear standards. Apply the fol lowing standards to p lain as well as embel lished butto n holes.

Vertical placement If button is different size from that recommended by pattern, adust button 's position by adding or subtracting from edge of closure 's overlap, thus maintaining buttonhole placement line recommended by pattern.

-+---�I ! � _"'"''''--;.;-.''. I 0 �

Horizontal placement Standard placement for end of horizontal buttonhole is � in. beyond button placement line. If button is different size from that recommended by pattern, don 't change buttonhole's placement. Instead, lengthen buttonhole on end farthest from overlap edge.

Measure button 's diameter and position button-center placement line at to 1 times diameter from overlap edge.




ver ap edge


Buttonhole placement line

What size? To determine buttonhole's length, measure button 's diameter and thickness with strip ofpaper, then add � in. Diameter

Overlap edge

Lengthen buttonhole away from edge.

� I

Thickness Button placement line

Latchhook source

Build a foundation for your but-

than having been added to it. "Cul-

broidered elements aligned with

Latchhooks with small heads are widely available in sewing stores. My favorite latchhook, which has a very tiny head, is the Sewing Tool (RP46), available for $5.50 (S&H varies) from:

tonhole-Even if a garment's faCing

tivating" an embellished button-

your placement marks around the

Lads 3 1 6 3 Adeline St. Berkeley, CA 94703 510-843-7178 E-mail:, for complete catalog -c.L.



is stabilized with interfacing, con-

hole involves three simple steps:

buttonhole in order to prevent a

sider further stabilizing the outer

stitch the buttonhole; mark the

lopsided look. Whenever possible,

fabric with a small piece of silk or-

placement for the embroidery with

begin the embroidery at the but-

ganza on its wrong side behind the

thread tracing, fabric marker, or

tonhole, and work outward. When

buttonhole. For embellished but-

creases; and stitch the embroidery.

adding embroidery to the end of

tear-away stabilizer placed under

Simple or sassy, create your

with the embroidery.

the garment against the feed dogs,

own designs-The collection of

or with very delicate fabrics, hold

buttonholes pictured on pp. 32 and

pattern you've selected requires

tear-away stabilizer under the fab-

33 were made with combinations

you to stitch toward the button-

the buttonhole, cover the bar tack

tonholes, use additional temporary

If the direction of the embroidery

ric in a machine-embroidery hoop.

of different embroidery stitches.

hole, practice finding the exact

Then when the buttonhole and its

You can find similar stitches on

point at which to begin the em-

embellishment are completed, re-

your machine and copy my de-

broidery so that it ends by covering

move the excess stabilizer around

signs, or make up your own (even

part of the buttonhole's bar tack. In

the stitching.

a simple zigzag stitch can be used

some cases, like the buttonhole at

to create interesting designs). As

the center of p. 3 2 , next to my

Now, for an

you can see from the samples, the

name, where the embroidery is

embroidered buttonhole

embroidery can be dainty or flam-

stitched perpendicular to the but-

Before attempting to embellish the

boyant, symmetrical or asymmet-

tonhole, the only way to accurate-

buttonholes on a finished garment,

rical; and it can be done in a match-

ly align the embellishment is to

get some fabric scraps and play

ing- or contrasting-color thread.

apply the embroidery first, then add the buttonhole.

with the stitches in your machine

To work out the best sequence

to practice placing the embroidery

for executing each design, make

After finishing the embroidery,

around the buttonhole. Ideally, the

test samples of each buttonhole

remove all the tear-away stabilizer

embroidery should look as if it

and its embroidered embellish-

that hasn't been covered by the

grew out of the buttonhole rather

ment. Practice keeping the em-

stitches. If the remaining tear-away

3�t� '"0 1;-c0 0-'0



Stitch a basic self­ corded buttonhole To make a basic buttonhole that's beautiful and sturdy, self-cord the buttonhole with the bobbin and needle threads, which helps it hold shape without the bulk of heavy cording. (1 ) Create self-cording with long tails of

bobbin and needle thread twisted together. With a crochet hook, hold the self-cord in position to be buried under the first side of the buttonhole as you stitch. (2) To bury the cord in the bar tack, hold it to the left, parallel to the bar tack, moving it alternately forward. then back, each time the needle swings to the left and right. (3) Use a crochet hook to gUide the self-cord behind the presser foot to bury it under the buttonhole's second side. (4) Bury the threads on the wrong side. using a latchhook or hand-sewing needle.

,!?,!?·c0 1;£B !l..l?

shows under the stitches and needs

blouses and tops-they're perfect

lished buttonholes. So if you want

to be disguised, use a fabric mark-

candidates for embellished but-

to play with the wonderful em-

er to make it match the fabric (be

tonholes. Consider strengthening

broidery stitches on your machine

sure to test it first).

the original buttonholes by whip-

and the delicious decorative threads

stitching each closed and stitching

now available but fancy embroi-

Spruce up ready-to-wear-lt's

a new buttonhole over it before

dery isn't your thing, try embel-

fun to plan a garment from the be-

adding the embroidery.

lishing just the buttonholes.

ginning with the idea of embroi-

(top photo above). Then bury the thread tails on the wrong side under the zigzag stitching. Mark the embrOidery placement lines with creases pressed into the fabric, then apply the embrOidery (second and third photos). Complete embroidery and press (last photo).

The programmable decorative

dered buttonholes, but don't for-

stitches on my sewing machine

Carla Lopez of Alameda,

get about those plain ready-to-wear

originally inspired these embel-

sewing and design.




1 997



Bra Di lemmaSolved !

Just because you want

For the first bra, plan to

a bra that fits, doesn't

en, it's easy to find bras

spend an evening or so. After

mean you have to wear beige. You can fit and sew your own

that fit in styles they like.

this one is fitted and fin­

bra to get just the style, size, fabric, and features you want. From left, above, a stretch-satin basic bra resembling a Victoria's Secret classic (Elan B5 30); a navy polka-dot swimsuit top that's easily adapted from a basic bra; and an orange-lace padded push-up bra that flatters a smaller-busted figure (Elan B540).



But many others aren't so

ished, you'll find that addi­

lucky, spending endless

tional bras take two hours or

time and money in search

less. Best of all, once you per­

of that elusive perfect style and fit.

fect the fit, you can keep the pattern

And even if they do find it, chances

forever, secure in the knowledge

are that the style will be discontin­

that you've solved one of a woman's

ued the next time they shop. (In

trickiest wardrobe problems.

fact, it's estimated that

85 percent

a band

of women who wear bras are wear­

Bra-styling options

attached at the

ing the wrong size.) And others of

The four elements of a basic bra

sides of the cups, with a center­

us are j ust tired o f spending so

include a bra band, cups, straps,

front piece or hook separating

much money on so little fabric.

and a closure, as s hown in the

them. The bra band may be a single layer or lined.

Well, if any of this sounds famil­

drawing on the faCing page. Varia­

iar, you'll be pleased to find out

tions in these key elements deter­

Cups can be made of one, two, or

that making your own custom­

mine the bra style. A full-band style,

three lined or unlined sections,

fitted bra can be a quick and re­

for example, offers the most sup­

with two being the most common.

warding proj ect. And rest assured,

port; it has a continuous band that

Cups may or may not include un­

if you're able to cut accurately and

extends around the body, with the

derwires for shaping. lace cups

sew a precise \4-in. seam, you can

cups set into it (see the drawings

are often lined with sheer tricot to

make a bra.

on p.

add stability and reduce scratchi-

38). A partial-band style has

Once you perfect the fit, you can sew your own custom bra again and again by Cynthia Elam

A N ATO M Y O F A B R A ness. You can even add padding to

findings, and notions you'll need,

the cups to make a push-up bra

like the plush elastic (cushiony on

like the one at far right.

one side), strap elastic, back hooks,

Straps can be made of strap elas­

and underwires and their chan­

tic (less stretchy than regular elas­

neling shown on p. 40. Or, to make

tic), nonstretchy strapping, or self­

gathering the parts easier, you can

fabric, with or without an adjuster

buy a kit with all the fabric and

(the most common is a ring-and­

findings you'll need; some kits have

slide adjustment). N onstretchy

everything dyed to match.

Variations in the four basic elements of a bra-bra band, cup, strap, and closure-determine bra style. This basic bra has a partial band, a two-piece cup with underwires, wide comfort straps, and a back closure (Elan 8530).

straps usually have some elastic at the back for ease of movement. Bras close in either the front or

To wire or not to wire-For

imum shaping and support,

back with hooks, and back closures

underwire bra is the best choice

usually have two or three size ad­

for most women. The underwire

justments. Many sports bras pull

shapes and holds the cup to a fixed

on, with no closures at all.

diameter, which can benefit even a

Each of the bra patterns available

small-busted woman. Complaints

from Kwik-Sew, Sew Lovely, and Elan Patterns, made for sizes rang­

about underwires are due mainly to

ing from 32A to 48FF (see "Bra­

pinching and poking wires.

poorly fitting bras, which can cause

making resources" on p. 40), will gUide you through the construc­ tion for that style. To determine what size to start with, see "Good fit starts with accu­ rate measuring" on p. 38. The pattern will list the fabric

see bras from a wide

Channeling and underwire


variety of fabrics, including tricot,

In addition to the basic bra style shown in the drawing on p. 37. other style variations include those below. based on the patterns in paren­ theses. You may find similar features on other patterns.

lace, stretch satin, cotton/Lycra,

--" '" M -

Full band (Kwik-Sew 2374)

Front closure ( E lan B510)

Padded push-up ( E lan B540)

Sports bra (Kwik-Sew 1 567)

and all-cotton knits and wovens. When making bras, you have the freedom to choose bright colors, jacquards, polka dots, or plaids, if you like (see Sources) . I suggest starting with a stretch fabric like two-way stretch nylon/Lycra satin, which makes fitting easier and for­ gives small errors.

The essential good fit

self. It should completely cover the

separate pattern pieces for each

Let's look at what constitutes prop­

breast from the center front to the

side and label them.

er fit in a bra, which will help when

side, and under the breast to the rib

You can really customize the fit

you're measuring (see below) and

cage, with a little extra all around

with the help of a family member

deciding on your size. A well­

for seam allowances. Check that

or close friend (you'll need four

fitting bra is comfortably snug

the breast fills the cup completely,

hands). Hold the fitting cup up to

around the body, with the breasts

without bulging at the sides or bot­

yourself and have your helper hold

filling the cups completely-no ex­

tom. Can you pinch any excess fab­

the underwire against the cup in

cess fabric in the cups, and no

ric at the bust point? If so, make a

the correct position. Trace the en­

breast tissue spilling out of the cup

note of how much and adjust the

tire bottom edge of the wire, using

at the top, side, or bottom. The

pattern pieces accordingly. (Two

a pencil or fabric marker. Take it off

bra's center front touches, or very

women may have the same rib-cage

and add

nearly touches, the breastbone. The

and full-bust measurements, yet

channeling and seam allowance.

bra band doesn't ride up in back,

still be different cup sizes. If you

and the straps stay in place without

have a wide, shallow bust, use a

Get ready to cut and sew

slipping or digging into the shoul­

larger cup size and take the full­

Before you begin, read all the in­

ders. Ideally, the bust level is about

ness out of the cup as shown in

structions for your pattern, put a

halfway between elbow and shoul­

the drawing on the faCing page.)

new size 60/8 or 70/ 10 universal

der, although this may not be prac­

Now try the cup on the other

or ballpOint needle in your ma­

tical for a heavy-busted woman.

breast. Many women aren't sym­

chine, and make sure your machine

metrical, so it's important to check

is lint-free for good stitch quality.

To check the fit, make a sample


in. to the bottom for the

cup with the pattern and fabric you

both sides. If your left side differs

Test your stitching on a swatch,

plan to use, and hold it up to your-

noticeably from your right, make

using a straight stitch of about 12 sts/in. (2.5 cm). For Lycra blends, stretch the fabric slightly as you

Good fit starts with accurate measuring

sew to add a little give to the seam.

Taking exact measurements is the first step in making a bra that fits. You'll need to calculate your

stitches, try a finer thread (see

bra-band size and your cup size by measuring around the rib cage and fu ll bust, wearing your

Sources) in the top and bobbin, or

best-fitting bra. (Large-busted women especially need support for accurate measurements.)

use a little silicone lubricant like

If your machine skips straight

Using a full-length mi rror, measure around the rib cage, making sure the tape is level around the body and pulling it snug. To this measurement, add either 4 or Example: if the snug rib cage is


in., add



in. to get an even number.

for a total of 34 in. This is the bra-band size.

Sewers Aid on the needle and thread spool. If you still have prob­ lems, try another new needle. For

Next, measure the bust around the fullest part, again keeping the tape level, but this time don't

skipped zigzag stitches, change to

pull it snug. To determine the cup size, su btract the bra-band size from the full-bust measurement.

a three-step zigzag, if you have one.

The difference, in inches, tells you the cup size: 1 in. for (or E), 6 for DDD (or F), and


A, 2

for B, 3 for C, 4 for D,


for DD

in. for FF. For example, if your bra band is 36 in. and the full bust

When laying the pattern on the fabric, pay special attention to the

38 in., the cup size is B; you'll make a size 36B. Remember that this is just a starting point. Your

"grainline" mark. On a pattern de­

actual bra size may be slightly different.-c.E.

signed for knits, this is meant to be placed in the direction of the fab-




j co


Com m o n fitting


solutions Most fitting problems are easy to remedy and often result from the mismatch of cup and band size.

Check cups first: Cups

that are too small will need to be larger (and vice versa). If cups fit correctly but bra band is too tight or loose, changing band size will also alter cup size. The C cup on a size

Making a great bra isn't magic.

Just follow the steps in your pattern, with some help from the instructions here (from far left): Press the cup's curved seam over a tailor's ham to preserve shaping ( 1 ); topstitch to neatly finish the cup seam (2); mark the band and elastic in quarters before stitching (stitched section shown at right)

lengthwise or crosswise, depending on your fabric. Your best layout may differ from the one in the pat­ tern's instructions. Because a bra is so fitted, a �-in. cutting or sewing error can throw it off a whole cup size. I find a ro­ tary cutter, mat, and weights to be the most accurate cutting tools. To mark dots and notches, make tiny �-in. clips for notches and use pins to mark dots.

zigzagging just along its picot edge (4); match stitching on channeling with stitching on cup (5), then sew just inside the stitching (6); insert an underwire into the channeling (7), and carefully sew across the top with a narrow satin stitch to secure it (8). Trim away the excess channeling.


Add support for a large bust­

Large-busted women can add sup­ port to the lower cup to help lift a heavier bust. Use a double layer of fabric in the lower cup or add a light-to-medium-weight interfacing, like a fusible tricot knit. Or use fusible web to join two layers of fabric for the lower cup. You can in­ terface the entire lower cup (ex­ cluding the upper seam allowance), or only the outer bottom portion.


is about

same size as B cup on a


And if you g o down a band

size, you'lI go up a cup size.

Cup needs reshaping:

If cup is too small. you can

Pin out excess.




go to larger cup size and reshape tip, if needed. to remove excess fabric. Pin out excess on test cup, as shown above. tapering to zero. Make same changes to pattern.

Bra band rides up in

back: Band is too loose. cups are too small. or both. Try going up a cup size or down a band size. Larger bust needs wider. closer­ fitting band to support weight of bust.

Straps won't stay on

shoulders: May be too

and at the dot or notch. Sew with the lower cup against the throat

U ncomplicated assembly

plate, stopping often with the nee­

To sew a bra, you'll first make the

dle down to reposition the edges,

cups and join them to the band,

instead of using lots of pins.


loose or set too far apart for narrow or sloping shoul­ ders. Adjust straps to give some lift to bust. If you like. stitch straps to stay in place. (A custom-fitted bra does not really need adjustable

then add elastic, straps, and, final­

To finish the cup seam, you have

ly, a closure. I'll explain a few tips

several options. You can press the

them to fit more women

to help you get started on the con­

seam to one side (down for a single­

with fewer Sizes.) You can

struction for the basic bra style,

layer lower cup; up for a double

gether in back, or choose

shown in royal blue on p. 36.

one). A tailor's ham makes pressing

a different pattern.

curved seams easy, as shown in

straps. Manufacturers use

move the straps closer to­

Straps dig into shoul­

ders: Also indicates loose

Stitch the cups first-To construct

photo 1 on p. 38; make tiny clips in

each cup, place the upper and low­

the seam allowance, if needed, so it

small. Wider band and

er cup pieces right sides together

lies flat. Then top stitch � in. from

wider. padded straps help.

and pin at each end of the seam

the seam, through the seam al-

band or cups that are too



1 997


An option, after pressing, is to stitch close to each long edge of

Bra-making resources Elan Pattern Co. 534 Sandalwood Dr. EI Cajon, CA 92021-5455 61 9-442-1 1 67 Patternst, sizes 32A to 48FF; kits with dyed-to-match fabric and findings; brochure, $1 .50; swatches, $1 Fay's Fashion Fabrics 1 1 5 5 Webster Dr. Pensacola, FL 32505 904-45 5-241 0 Patterns*, fabric, lace, findings; catalog and swatches, $5 refundable

the channeling to prevent it from

Sew Fancy RR #1 Beeton, ON LOG 1 A O Canada 905-775-1396 Patterns*t, fabrics, lace, find­ ings, fine thread; catalog, $5

Kieffer's PO Box 7500 Jersey City, NJ 07307 201 -798-2266 Patterns*, fabrics, lace; catalog, $2 refundable Laceland PO Box 1 504 Sugarland, TX 77487-1 504 71 3-983-5223 Patterns*, fabrics, lace, findings; catalog, $3; samples, $2 Logan Kits Route 3, Box 3 80 Double Springs, AL 3 5 5 5 3 205-486-7732 Patterns*#, fabrics, lace, findings, kits; catalog, $ 1 .50

Sew Sassy Lingerie 900 Bob Wallace Ave. Suite 1 24 Huntsville, AL 3 5801 205-5 36-4405 Patterns*t, fabric, lace, findings, fine thread; catalog, $2

rolling to the outside, which gives a top stitched look. Be very careful when you sew the underwires into the channeling (photo 7)-stitching over the wire may result in a broken needle and possible eye injury. With the wires fully inserted, you should have at least

7:\ in. of space between the end

of the wire and the center-front edge of the bra. On the right side, sew a line of very narrow satin stitches at the center front of the

*SeltSelilss ElKwiankpat-Sewterpatns terns #Sells Sew Lovely patterns

upper cup, � in. from the top edge, as shown in photo 8, and trim the channeling even with the cup's up­ per edge. Or you can turn the chan­ neling under before sewing.

You 'll need a few special findings to

lowance, as shown in photo 2 , and

zigzag to sew down the center of

trim it close to the stitching. Or

the elastic.

make a bra (from the top): hook clo­

you can press the seam allowance

When you attach the band to the

open and topstitch on each side of

outside edge of the cup, continue

you successfully complete a bra

sures, strap elastic, plush elastic, rings

the seam, then trim.

stitching around to the center front.

you like, it's easy to make a few ad­

the straps can adjust, under­ wires, and channeling.

Another option often used by bra

This stitching will serve as a gUide

justments to get a perfect-fitting

manufacturers gives a soft, non­

when you apply the channeling to

swimwear top, like the polka-dot

scratchy finish. Press the seam

hold the underwire.

one on p. 36. You'll need to length­ en each back band about 2 in.,

open and center a \{-in.-wide length­ wise strip o f sheer nylon tricot,

Comfy channeling-The nicest

smooth the shape of the upper

Seams Great, or soft lace over the

ready-made channeling for under­

band, and trade the bra hooks for

seam and stitch � in. from the seam

wire consists of several layers, and

a swimwear slide closure. Add

on each side.

provides lots of cushioning. Or you

swimwear lining to the cups, and

can make your own, if you like,

substitute 3i!l-in.-wide swimwear

Add elastic to the band- The

with a finished width of

elastic for the plush, cutting it to 90

elastic that finishes the band edges

layers of bias-cut cotton flannel in­

is usually cut shorter than the band

side a layer of the bra fabric makes

Sew the elastic inside the edges of

and stretched slightly to fit during

comfy channeling.

the band, then turn and zigzag

stitching. It helps to fold and mark


From bra to swimwear- Once

� in. Two

To add the channeling, lay one

percent of the band measurement.

again, so the elastic is enclosed.

the pattern piece and elastic in

bra cup right side up on the table,

And replace the strap elastic with a

quarters, as shown in photo 3 .

fold the bra band and other half

narrow, self-fabric tube with a strip

When you sew the first line o f

of the bra out of the way on top,

of elastic inside.

stitching along the picot edge, the

and align the stitching on the chan­

I think you'll find that making

left swing of the narrow zigzag

neling with the stitching guide on

your own bras opens up an exciting

should just touch the

the cup, as shown in photo 5 . Pin,

new era of personal underwear


� edge of the elastic � (photo 4). After trim­

covering the side seam, lower cup,

fashion. What have you got to lose,

and center-front seam, and leaving

except that frustrating feeling of

ming close to the stitching, turn

at least \{ in. of channeling at each

being a fashion victim?

the elastic to the inside and

end. Stitch close to the inner edge

zigzag again along the straight

of the channeling (photo 6), pulling

edge, stretching the elastic as you

the channeling snug as you sew,

sew. Or use a wide, three-step

which helps it roll to the inside.

Cynthia Elam olEI Cajon, CA, teaches bra making and deSigns bra patterns and kits under the name Elan Patterns.



owadays, quilters are

finding ways to save time imitating


hand-worked techniques by using modern tools and materials. The high­ relief textures of trapunto, for example, which were traditionally produced by slicing open the back of the design and stuffing it with extra batting, can now be done simply by sewing thick polyester

Use thick batting to eate the lofty t ture of traditional anct-stuf

batting behind the design. I'll show you this quick, no-stuff trapunto method used in the vest at right, then share some tricks for beautiful stippling-a dense quilting stitch that creates the flat background around a trapunto design-which even a beginner can easily master.

Which batt's best? You'll need two different battings for no-stuff trapunto: a high-loft batting to create the characteristic bulk of a trapunto design and a thin batting for the overall quilted background. There are numerous types and weights of batting avail­ able (see "Trapunto supplies" on p. 45), and I use them all-cotton, cotton/poly, and polyester-for dif­ ferent effects. The battings you se­ lect depend on how much you want the finished trapunto to stand out from the surface and how flat

The key to this trapunto is using two battings: a high-loft batting

stitched behind the relief design elements and a thin batting for the quilted background. Any vest pattern can be used.




1 997


or shantung; rayons; and medium-

pretreated. The layers will shrink

weight linens and cottons.

unevenly when washed, adding tex­

Purchase extra fabric so

ture to the design and hiding any

that you can add excess

uneven stitching. If you prefer less

seam allowances to the

puckering and texture in the fin­

garment-pattern pieces

ished piece, preshrink the fabric

to allow for shrinkage

layers (see Threads No. 61, p. 16)

caused by the quilting, and

and the batting according to the

for swatches to test the batting

manufacturer's directions.

and your trapunto deSign.

No-stuff stuffing Matching thread highlights tra-

To find out which combination of

p unto-You can use any thread ap-

battings is best for a particular proj­

propriate for quilting-polyester,

ect, make test swatches with the

cotton, decorative rayons or metal­

possible choices (consider using a

and firm you want the background

Make test samples of

lics, or invisible nylon monofila­

simple heart shape for the trapun­

quilted areas to be. If a batting isn't

different battings with a simple heart-shaped

ment thread. It's tempting to select

to design in these test pieces). In

contrasting thread colors to high­

the samples above, I tested two dif­

trapunto design. Record which batts were used on the samples, and save them for future reference.

light the trapunto design against

ferent high-loft and three thin batts;

the fabric, but consider using a

for the vest on p. 41, I chose a com­

thin enough to suit me for the back­ ground stippling, I split it and use a half-thickness; or to get a very flat look, I use cotton flannel. And if need be, I'll also double a regular­ weight batt to achieve a higher loft in the trapunto areas. No special tools are necessary for

matching thread, especially for the

bination from two of the samples

stippling, that allows the design to

that produced the desired loft in

stand out and speak for itself. Or

the trapunto and overall feel I want­

select invisible nylon monofila­

ed in the piece.

ment thread, which is most often

In your samples (and actual gar­

my preference.

ment), create the trapunto by first

need two notions that you might

marking the design on the right

not have on hand: wash-away bast­

Preshrinking is optional-You'll

side of the garment pieces, then

ing thread (see Supplies) and a

control the texture of the finished

plaCing a piece of high-loft batting

wash-away fabric-marking pen that

piece by how you pretreat the quilt

on the fabric's wrong side that gen­

you'll test on your fashion fabric

layers. To get the old-fashioned,

erously overlaps the design's edges.

puckery look, consider cotton or

Secure this batting well, pinning

this trapunto technique, but you'll

(see Threads No. 66, pp. 24-26, for more on marking fabrics).

cotton/poly battings quilted with

from the center out and around

washable fabrics that haven't been

the design's perimeter. With wash-

Choose fabric to show off your work The method described here re­ quires washable fabrics because the finished garment pieces must be washed to remove the soluble basting thread and marking pen. The varied thicknesses and tex­ tures of trapunto show up best on plain-weave, solid-color fabrics, which don't detract from the de­ sign. And since quilting adds bulk and eliminates a fabric's drape,

STI P P L I N G M A D E EASY To try some stippling, the dense quilting stitch filling the background around the trapunto, follow these two rules:

Rule 1 For any size stippling, keep hills and valleys, or composite "bumps, " close to the same size.

fJ\A al ey GOOa Don't draw

it's best to start with a light- to medium-weight fabric to avoid

Don't make

ending up with a garment that re­

high loops or flat bumps.

sembles padded armor. For my tra­ punto, I prefer silk broadcloth, noil,




Rule Draw two bumps, then change direction.

continuou strings of bumps.

away thread in the bobbin and nee­

side down. Securely pin the layers

Outline the trapunto

drawing below. If you're new to the

dle, and a darning foot on the ma­

(photo 3 on p. 44), using plenty of

design, machine­

art of free-motion stippling, read

chine, loosen the top tension, drop

pins on the thick batting to flatten

basting the thick

on for tips and tricks for mastering

polyester batting with wash-away basting thread in the needle and bobbin (photo 1 ). Clip the batting close to the basting stitches (photo 2). It doesn't matter if you acciden­ tally cut a few of the stitches. (Photos 3 and 4 are on p. 44.)

this lovely quilting technique.

the feed dogs, and machine-baste

the fabric as much as possible,

with free-motion stitches, as shown

compressing the sandwich to pre­

in photo 1 above, over the design's

vent rippling. Rethread the bobbin

outside lines. On the fabric's wrong

and needle with the thread that

side, trim away the excess batting

you've chosen for outlining the tra­

as close as possible to the basting

punto and stippling, and begin free­

(photo 2).

motion-quilting by stitching the tra­ punto design (stitch back over any

C o mplete the sample quilt

lines as needed to complete the de­

Doodling with



The goal in stippling is to cover an area with meandering wavy lines that come close to each other with­ out touching or crossing. Key to beautiful stippling is consistently keeping the characteristic hills and

sandwich-Next, position the thin

sign). Finally, fill in the flat areas of

batting over your backing fabric,

the piece with stippling or other

and place the fashion fabric on top

dense-stitching patterns (photo 4

length, as shown in the drawings

with its trapunto batting wrong

on p. 44), like those shown in the

on p. 42. To qUickly master the

valleys of the wavy lines, which I call "bumps," similar in width and

stitch patterns in stippling, do the exercises on p. 44 with pen and

OT H E R B A C KG R O U N D S F O R T RA P U N TO Designs can be used with stippling or in place of it to create flat quilted areas to offset trapunto designs. Apply designs using free-motion stitching with a darning foot on the machine, feed dogs down, and slightly loosened top tension. Anchor threads by pulling the bobbin thread to the top and sewing four or five tiny stitches.

Free-motion designs with uniform lines

Free-motion designs with irregular lines

paper, observing the Do's and Don'ts, holding the pen with your wrist up away from the paper. Guide the pen from your upper arm, which is the movement you'll use at the sewing machine to guide the fabric under the needle.

Mark some lines in area to be quilted to help gUide placement of stitching. Use edge of darning foot to keep distance between stitched lines uniform.

Don't stitch yourself into a cor­ ner-The progression of exercises

on p. 44 shows you how to avoid Straight-line

Snail's trail

stippling yourself into a spot you can't get out of without crossing another line. Begin by drawing just the straight-line paths (exercise 1). Snail's trail variation

Notice that a group of four triangles usually covers one small area be­



Rail fence

fore you need to head off toward another area. Next, draw wavy lines


1 997


over the paths (exercise 2). When you're able to fill at least a quarter of a sheet of typing paper with straight-line paths covered by wavy lines, try drawing the bumps with­ out drawing the straight lines first (exercise 3), keeping in mind the three- and four-sided paths as you draw. You might actually find it easier to get the even, meandering paths now that you're free of the re­ strictive lines (which were neces­ sary at first to get the hang of the paths' directions).

the desired length (the equivalent

Securely pin the quilt sandwich (photo 3),

without crossing paths or doodling yourself into a dead end. Try each

of a 2- to 2.5-mm stitch). The faster

using extra pins over the areas backed with thick batting to flatten them as much as possible. When stippling, keep the stitched sections in front of the needle or to the side, so you can always see where you've stitched (photo 4). (Photos 1 and 2 are on p. 43.)

exercise two or three times, then

you stitch, the more even your

move on to the next. You might be

stitches will be. Next, try "stip­

surprised how quickly your doo­

pling" a few blank sheets of paper,

dles take on the look of beautiful

and soon you'll be ready to do the

stippling. Finally, draw some "ob­

real thing on fabric.

stacles" and make a plan for stip­

Finally, make a test sample o f

pling around them without work­

your design with the fabrics and

ing yourself into a corner.

battings you've chosen for your project: mark the trapunto design

From doodle to stitch-When

on a large fabric scrap, machine­

you're able to cover a whole sheet of

baste the thick batting to its back,

paper with stipple doodles, un­

and trim excess batt close to the

thread your machine, install an old

basting. Make a quilt sandwich

ering increasingly larger areas.

needle, and practice threadless

with the thin batting you've sel­

Each time you try it, you should

stitching directly on the drawn

ected and pin-baste the sandwich

be able to cover a larger area until

lines. Practice controlling the ma-

every few inches. Begin quilting

you can go on almost indefinitely

chine's speed to get even stitches

your sample by outlining the tra-

Work in small areas at first, cov­

S T I P P L I N G P R AC T I C E M A K E S P E R F E C T Practice these exercises with paper and pencil, then stitch on paper without thread; finally, practice on qUilt sandwich around trapunto design with contrasting thread so you can see your stitches.

Exercise 1 To learn how to change direction every few bumps and create small clusters of stippling, draw straight-line paths in clusters of triangles and four-sided figures. Do group clusters (left). Start. Most paths should Don't string clusters form triangles. / ,-� � out, then backtrack. -;:::/ :: � This creates bubbles in Sometimes it's your work that cause Double back necessary to draw tucks and puckers when to complete "-? 4lines longer � stippled (below). than others. cluster. � Some paths will form four-sided figures.

� E .---?-)2 � J' -LJ.---



�� � I/ I \ (�

\�/�� l �.

U (�",4


I �'-


Exercise Draw bumps over rr "...,.. paths in Exercise 1 .


Exercise 3 Draw only clusters of bumps.

2f"\ '\j

Keep trying to form triangles.

punta, then start stippling. If you

The author outlines

have adequately pin-basted the

the trapunto design on paper with heavy

piece, you can begin the stippling at

matching-color or invisible thread,

black ink, puts the paper atop a light box, then traces the design

keep the stippled areas in front or

onto the garment piece.

any point. To avoid crossing over lines when you're working with a

to the side of the needle where you can see where you've already stitched, as shown in photo 4 on p. 4 4 . After all this preparation and practice, stippling your actual project will go smoothly, and you'll love the results.

From paper to fabric To plan a trapunto-embellished gar­ ment, choose a design that will stand in clear relief from the flat, densely quilted background, and

water to remove the basting thread

Trapunto supplies

consider its placement on a gar­

and marking-pen lines, then hand­

ment. Select a design with well­

wash it in soapy water to remove

defined areas no less than

any chemicals left in the fabric

Look for these batts by mail order: thin cotton­ Fairfield's Soft Touch, Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon, Hobbs Heirloom Organic; thin cotton/poly blends Fairfield s Cotton Classic, Hobbs Heirloom Cotton; thin polyester­ Hobbs Thermore, Mountain Mist Quilt light; high-loft polyester­ Mountain Mist Fattbatt, Fairfield's High Loft.

y,; in. sign elements smaller than y,; in.


in. wide (de­

from the thread and ink, and air­

aren't wide enough to stand away

washing process add some pucker

from the flat quilted areas, and

whether the fabric was prewashed

those more than

in. can look

or not. If you want more pucker,

bloated and shapeless). Almost any

machine-dry the pieces. Cut each

design can be adapted to trapunto,

piece to the correct pattern size,

and no more than


dry it. The dense stitching and the

as shown at right. Sketch the de­

construct the garment, and press

sign on paper, then before com­

the seams carefully, avoiding tra­

mitting to an entire garment, test

punta areas so as not ta flatten

the deSign, or parts of it, along with

them. Clean-finish the seams and

the stippling, on a swatch of the

bind the front/neckline, hem, and

fashion fabric with the threads and

armhole raw edges with bias bind­

batting you plan to use.

ing (see Threads No. 68, pp. 50-

When you're satisfied with the

53). After the garment construc­

design, cut out the garment pieces

tion is complete, you can continue

from the fashion fabric, thin bat­

to wash cotton trapunto garments,

ting, and backing fabric, allOwing

but consider dry-cleaning those

I-in. excess around each pattern

made of silk and linen.

piece. Mark the seamlines on the

Whether you create trapunto

fashion fabric's right side, and use

that's flat and restrained or thick

these marks as placement guides to

and dramatic, this no-stuff method

transfer your design to the garment

should take the work out of tra­

piece, as shown above. Now you're

punta. That way, you'll have more

ready to execute the trapunto.

time for creativity.

And now, a garment-As you

complete the trapunto on each gar­ ment piece, soak the piece in cold

Patricia Nelson of Athens, PA, is a teachel; lectum; and deSigner of award­ winning garments.

- '

A Great Notion 1 0 1 -5630 Landmark Way Surrey, BC V3S 7 H 1 Canada 800-309-2829 Keepsake Quilting PO Box 1 61 8 Center Harbor, N H 03226 800-86 5-9458 Nancy'S Notions PO Box 683 Beaver Dam, WI 5 3 9 1 6 800-8 3 3-0690 Sew Fancy R.R. # 1 , Beeton, ON LOG 1 AO, Canada 905-775-1 396

Wash-away thread is available from: The Thread Shed PO Box 898 Horse Shoe, NC 28742 704-692-51 28 P

- .N.

Any design can be adapted to trapunto by simplifying the lines. Printed fabrics with well-defined

motifs can also be used for trapunto designs.


1 997


Buckled Belts That Beckon Make a great fabric belt with soft belting that's quick to cover, and bias-wrap the buckle by Shirley L. Smith

love the distinctive look that matching-fabric belts give to quality ready-to-wear gar­ ments. These self-fabric belts maintain the line and silhou­ ette of the garment style with-


Dress up belt or keep it "quiet," with

in the belt. The simple methods I'll

Any type of self-covered buckle

show you for covering belts and

available at fabric stores will do for

a buckle in a matching or contrasting fabric. And for real drama, add beads.

buckles yield a comfortable, inex­

this method, provided it has a

pensive, great-looking fabric belt

crossbar through the center and is

and companion buckle.

wide enough for the belting to slip through, plus � in. ease if the fab­

out calling attention to the waist­

Belting, buckle, and fabric

ric is medium- to heavyweight. For

line. I can get the same look in my

The secret of success with my belts

a buckle that blends right in, cover

sewn clothes by making my own

is the waistband-insert material

it with the same fabric used for the

covered belts in the widths and

used for the b elting (see "Re­

belt and garment. To transform the

lengths I prefer.

sources" on the facing page)-it's

buckle into a decorative element

The challenge with a self-fabric

soft but doesn't roll or crease when

on the garment, use a contrasting

belt is covering the buckle so that

worn, and it turns inside easily

fabric or the same fabric used to

it's free of lumps and frayed

during construction. I don't rec­

trim another part of the garment.

threads. So, instead of using the

ommend beltings that are stiffer

Or, for fun and sparkle, consider

conventional method for covering

than waistband insert because they

embellishing the covered buckle

a buckle, I bias-wrap it, which is

aren't as comfortable to wear, and

with beads, as shown in the center

easy to do and gives me the choice

their stiffness prevents them from

belt above.

of leaving the buckle plain or dec­

turning to the inside properly.

orating it. The thickness created

You'll need a piece of belting the


by the bias wrap holds the belt in

length of your waist measurement

covering the belt and buckle, buy

place when slipped into the buck­

plus 4 to 6 in. (depending on the

yd. more fabric than the pattern

le, which means I can remove the

size and shape of the buckle you

calls for. For the belt, cut a piece of

much fabric?-To allow for

metal tongue from the buckle and

plan to use and how much over­

fabric on the lengthwise or cross­

eliminate the need for eyelet holes

lap you prefer).

wise grain that's twice the belt's



finished width plus 1 \4 in., and the

fabric's wrong side on the shaped

Belting sources

folded edge over the strip's raw

length of the belting plus 1

end to reinforce the belt's finished

For belting I use Ban-Rol or Armo-Flexxx waistband-insert material in widths ranging from 1 to 2 in. because they nicely stiffen a belt but are flexible enough to be turned inside the fabric.

edge on each round. Use the bias

J,; in. For the buckle, cut a bias strip Ph

end. Then, with right sides togeth-

in. wide by 1 5 to 25 in. long, de-

er, stitch the fashion fabric along

pending on the buckle's size.

the belting's shaped end and its length, as shown. After turning the

Jump right in

belt right side out (step 3), wrap

Making a self-covered belt is no

the unfinished end around the

harder than sewing a piece of belt-

wrapped buckle's center bar, turn

ing to your fashion fabric and turn-

under the belt's raw edge \4 in., and

ing it to the inside. As shown be-

hand-sew the folded edge to the

low, begin by shaping one end of

belt's wrong side, as shown.

the belting, making it round, pointA buckle begun is

ed, or slanted, or leave it square.



Cover the belting with fusible in-

done-Wrapping the buckle is so

terfacing, as shown, to protect your

quick and easy that if you blink,

fashion fabric from abrasion and to

you'll miss it. To begin, as shown

make the belting slide easily when

below, press under one long edge of a bias strip \4 in., fold one short

you turn it. Stitch the belting to the fashion

end around the buckle, hand-stitch

fabric (step 2 ) , and apply a small

it to the strip, and trim the excess.

piece of fusible interfacing to the

Then wrap the buckle, laying the

Ban-Rol is available by mail order in the U.S. from: Nancy's Notions PO Box 6 8 3 Beaver Dam. WI 5 3 9 1 6 800-83 3-0690 Armo-Flexxx is available by mail order in Canada from: A Great Notion 1 01-5630 Landmark Way Surrey. BC V3S 7 H 1 Canada 800-309-2829


strip's elasticity to shape and smooth the fabric as you wrap it snugly around the buckle, slightly stretching the fabric as you work. Continue wrapping and arranging the strip all the way around the buckle, then secure the strip's loose end to the crossbar and trim any excess. That's it-you're done. Sew the belt to the buckle's crossbar and try i t on. Apply hook-andloop tape or snaps to the underside of the belt end and to the belt to hold the overlap in place when

you wear it.


Shirley Smith writes and teaches workshops and week-long seminars at 1 75 Palos Verdes, White Salmon, WA 98672; 509-493-4490.

C O V E R A B E LT A N D B U C K L E W I T H S E L F - FA B R I C Use nonroll waistband insert for belting.

Belt 1. Cut belting waist measurement plus 6 or 7 in., shape one end, and cover with fusible interfacing. Fuse interfacing to belting, overlapping along WS, and trim shaped end.

� --\v--- �-=-

2. Sew belting to fashion fabric's WS, stitching in. from edge. Interface fabric's shaped end. Fold fabric RSs together, allowing to !1l-in. turning ease along fold. Stitch shaped end and length of belt, allowing to !1l-in. turning ease along seam. Trim end and seam to in.





Belting, WS

Bias-wrapped buckle 1. Cut bias strip 1� in. wide and 15 to 25 in. long, depending on buckle 's size. Fold one side under in., wrap folded edge around buckle crossbar, and hand-stitch in place.





'I.-in. seam allowance Belting

2. Wrap buckle with bias strip, overlapping raw edge with folded edge. Fold under raw edge for final wrap, and anchor end of strip to crossbar.


3. Turn belt RS out by slipping shaped end to inside.

4. Fold under belt's raw edge

Use ruler or blunt object to push shaped end through belt.

Fabric, WS


in., wrap end around buckle 's crossbar, then whipstitch in place.

Buckle's crossbar

Beaded buckle To embellish with beads, wrap buckle with bias strip, as shown in "Bias-wrapped buckle " above. Anchor beading thread in back of belt, string with enough beads to wrap around face of buckle once and Buckle, make this wrap. Anchor thread WS in back, restring thread with beads, wrap, and anchor thread again, continuing until buckle is beaded.




1 997


:f'H #� . , RG '"'. �,F. FO rAB �J�IC '

Ancient, easy to grow, .and '.h , this linen look-alike d


o u mean you've never

is hemp, anyway?" on the facing

sewn with the world's

page). Hemp fiber and fabrics im­

oldest fiber? Well, you're

ported primarily from China and

certainly not alone. The

Hungary are becoming popular in

simple reason is that,

the U.S. once again, and a few big­

until recently, this fiber

name manufacturers and deSign­


ers like Ralph Lauren, Esprit,

the facing page: Hemp and linen

for many decades . I'm talking

Calvin Klein, and Giorgio Armani

cost about the same, currently $ 10

about hemp, the environmentally

have used hemp in their collec­

to $20/yd. for 60-in.-wide fabric.

friendly fiber that looks and be­

tions. Even Disney has a hemp In­

While linen is most often avail­

haves like linen, grows quickly with

diana Jones hat. And as more hemp

able in plain weave and comes in

little tending and no pesticides or

is grown and equipment modern­

lots of colors, the more neutral

chemical fertilizers, and results in

ized to spin and weave the fiber, the

shades of hemp are regularly wo­

a fabric that's virtually indestruc­

variety and quality of hemp fabrics

ven not only in various weights

tible-but has a bad reputation to

will increase.

hadn't been available in the

live down. In fact, hemp hasn't been legal to






basket-weave, twill, and herring­

and Canada since

Like linen, hemp is a bast (plant

bone (to purchase fabrics, see

1 93 7 , when it was outlawed be­

stem) fiber, and the two have sim­

"Sources for hemp" on p . 5 1 ) .

cause the plant is so closely related

ilar characteristics. Actually, you'd

These textures add depth and char­

to marijuana (they're from different

be hard pressed to distinguish be­

acter to the fabric, and beg to be

varieties of the species Cannabis

tween linen and hemp of a similar

sewn into jackets and vests.

sativa). Yet the hemp plant grown

weave while on the bolt. Like linen,

In addition, hemp is being blend­

for fiber has negligible amounts of

hemp fabric is easy to sew and

ed with cotton and silk to create

the psychoactive substance THC

drapes beautifully. Hemp holds a

exciting new fabrics, and more new

grow in the


of plain weave but also in many eye-catching textures, including

(so you can't get high from smok­

sharp crease but is more wrinkle­

blends are planned with wool and

ing it) . So why is it still illegal?

resistant than linen. The fabric dyes

even recycled polyester. Adding cot­

Since hemp yields four times more

to rich j ewel tones and earthy

ton to hemp produces a wonder­

fiber per acre than trees, and grows

shades, although many hemp fab­

fully crisp shirting fabric. The

to maturity in only three months

rics now available are in natural,

hemp/silk blend creates a fluid,

(instead of many years), it seems

undyed shades, like the ecru and

slightly sheer fabric with tiny slubs

like a product we need (see "What

cream I used in the garments on

and a bit of sheen. Hemp's pres-

What is hemp, anyway? Imagine a plant with a fine, lustrous fiber for textiles, rope, and paper; seeds that can be cooked like rice or pressed for oil; and drugs for migraines, menstrual cramps, glaucoma, and lack of appetite in chemother­ apy and AIDS patients. Must be a new, genetically engineered plant, right? Wrong. It's hemp, the oldest known fiber used by mankind. Im pressions of twisted hemp decorate 1 2,OOO-year­ old clay pots, and a 3,000-year-old hemp fragment is our oldest surviving woven fabric. In the 1700s, hemp was as common as cotton is today, cu ltivated by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson on their plantations. It was used for Betsy Ross's flag, sails and riggings on sailing vessels until the

ence in both blends substantially

Hemp takes dye well, and is a per­

Patterns that work-Since hemp

1 900s, and probably

increases the fibers' durability.

fect choice for batik and fabric

fabric seems to last forever and

Levi Strauss's first sailcloth jeans.

Hemp fabric has a few qualities

painting. Since it's strong, rugged,

is comfortable to wear the year

that make it preferable to linen or

and the most resistant of all natur­

round, it makes sense to choose

But hemp has long

cotton for some applications. The

al fibers to mildew, rot, and ultra­

classic, seasonless patterns that

been illegal to grow in

fiber's hollow shaft makes it cool in

violet light, it works especially well

you'll enj oy for years to come.

this country because of

summer and warm in winter, so it

for hard-wearing clothes like jack­

Lightweight fabrics like the 2.6-oz.

its relation to marijua­

can replace both linen and wool

ets and jeans.

60-percent hemp/40-percent silk

na. Yet public opinion

blend, the 5-oz. 5 5-percent hemp/

on hemp seems to be

for garments. And because hemp is grown without pesticides, and

It's not hard to sew

45-percent cotton muslin, and the

changing-its usefulness

many natural colors processed

Because hemp is similar to linen,

8-oz. hemp summer cloth make

is hard to deny.-N.N.

without dye, bleach, or fabric fin­

you can rely on many sewing tech­

wonderful shirts, blouses, and

ishes, it can be an excellent choice

niques you already know and use

dresses. The heavier-weight 1 1- to

for people with allergies, for fiber

for linen. Refer to Threads No. 65,

12.5-oz. canvas, denim, and fancy

artists, and for those who like a

pp. 32-37, for more specifics on

twill-weave fabrics are perfect for

natural "green" look in clothing.

working with linen.

jackets and pants.


1 997


Hemp history 1 0,000 B.C.-Cultivat­ ed in China for fiber.


A.D. 200-Grown i n

For a sturdy seam o n hem p, try a wide serged seam, a French seam, or a Hong Kong f i nish.

Europe a n d worn b y Romans a n d others. resistant hemp used for ropes and sails on sailing ships, including the Mayflower. 1 600s-Cultivation for

'Ai �� �

French seam

1 492-Salt- and rot­

=.-."".= _"" 1� i

-' _


'.0 ,

fiber is m andatory i n Virginia a n d other colonies, where it's used for m oney, even to pay taxes.



Plain seam with Hong Kong finish


1. WSs together, sew in. from raw edges.

2. Trim seam allowances (s.a.) to in. Open layers and press s.a. to one side.


Thin bias or tricot strips or rayon seam binding make great, nonbulky binding for ravelly seam allowances. in.

1·in.-wide binding strip, . WS


in. from fold, making sure no thread ends protrude.

paper for first two




3. Fold, then press RSs together, placing first seam on fold. 4. Stitch again

1775-Used to make



1. Sew strips or binding RSs together to raw edge in !I.:-in. seam.


2. Trim s.a. to in., then fold and press binding to WS. 3. Stitch in ditch through all layers.

Fashion fabric, RS

d rafts of Declaration of I ndependence. 1 849-Covers

To make pattern selection easi-

hemp fabrics except the lightweight

cut on the bias for a softer drape.

is homespun worn by

er, choose one that lists linen or

blends, I use quilting thread for

You can also use a medium-weight

pioneers and slaves.

denim as a recommended fabric

both bobbin and needle, a size 14

sew-in interfacing.

Conestoga wagons;

1 937-Cultivation

(or handkerchief linen for light-

or 16 ballpoint needle (which dulls

For lining the heavyweight fab-

outlawed in U.S.

weight fabrics). I preshrink and

less rapidly than a sharp), and 10

rics, the hemp/silk blend is a lux-

because of lobbying

soften the heavier fabrics before

sts/in. For lightweight fabrics, use

urious option. It launders and be-

by oil, timber, and

cutting by machine-washing and

regular cotton sewing thread, a size

haves like the outer fabric and slips


-drying them three times; for light-

1 2 ballpoint needle, and 12 sts/in.


weights like hemp/silk, one pre-

easily over your skin and other fabrics. The only drawback is cost,

1945-Produced again

wash and dry is enough. You'll find

On interfacings and linings-

since it's as expensive as the outer

during World War I I .

that fabrics from different mills will

M any of the lightweight fabrics

fabric. China silk is another good

Frank Lloyd Wright

shrink to widely varying degrees.

don't require interfacing, since the

choice for lining.

double layer of outer fabric and

uses hemp canvas for ceiling at design studio,

Cutting out hemp-Hemp is the

Durable seams needed-All the

Taliesin West.


facing, when top- or edgestitched, is

toughest fabric I've tried to cut

sufficiently crisp for most collars

hemp fabrics tend to be loosely

1 989-Hemp fabric

said it's indestructible!), even in

and cuffs. If you need added body

woven, so construction requires

imported into U.S. for

the lighter weights, so it dulls scis-

for the semi-transparent muslin or

durable seams to prevent raveling

home furnishing and

sors, pins, and needles rapidly. It

hemp/silk blends, use a third layer

and tear-out. A wide serged seam is

designer use.

cuts cleanly with shears or a ro-

of self-fabric. As the fabric softens

the easiest; French seams work well


tary cutter but takes lots of pressure

with laundering, a spritz of spray

too, as shown above. Or if seam

on the handles. Use long, strong,

starch on collar and cuffs will keep

bulk is a problem, use a plain seam

sharp shears to gain as much me-

them looking crisp.

and a Hong Kong finish with thin

chanical advantage as possible.



When interfacing the heavier fab-

bias strips, rayon seam tape (Ore-

rics, remember that hemp becomes

gon Tailor Supply, 800-678-2457),

Construction tips

softer as it's washed or cleaned.

or a tricot binding like Seams Great

I use cotton thread with hemp fab-

For this reason I prefer interfac-

(Nancy's Notions, 800-833-0690). You'll find other useful techniques

rics since hemp requires pressing at

ings designed for medium-weight

linen (hot) temperatures to remove

fabrics, like HTC's Fusible Acro

for sewing with loosely woven fab-

wrinkles and set creases, which

hair canvas and PelIon ShirTailor.

rics that ravel in Threads No. 66,

can melt polyester thread. For all

Both have a grainline and can be

pp. 41-45.

£ E:i:�ac



Sources for hemp

A D D T U C K S TO A S I M P L E B LO U S E Starting with a basic T-shirt pattern like The Sewing Workshop's Milano T, it's easy to add tucks down the front for rich texture, as shown below. (Omit cuffs on sleeves in this pattern and add a simple binding at neck and sleeve).

Stit h�;", jFOldlinepUII \

[...._�_ ...



Gather and ease hemp without bulky folds: Because hemp is loosely woven, you can sew with

Decide on finished length and width, then add extra length for tucks (mine are % in. wide and in. apart, so add in. for each tuck (% in. 2 in.); a 28-in.-long front will have 32 tucks).

X = 1'41!4

small gathering stitches, then draw up the threads to scoot the fibers closer together, instead of creating bulky tucks.


2. Cut fabric block to rough width and length for front (for size small, 30 in. wide by 70 in. long). 3. Measure and pull thread for each tuck.

Shaping a hemp garment with darts, tucks, pleats, or gathers is

American Hemp Mercantile 506 Second Ave. Suite 1 323 Seattle, WA 98104 800-469-4367 Free brochure, samples Dharma Trading Co. PO Box 1 50916 San Rafael, CA 9491 5 800-542-5227 Free catalog; samples, 25¢ each Hemp Traders 2130 Colby Ave., #1 Los Angeles, CA 90025 3 1 0-91 4-9557 Free brochure, samples Ohio Hempery PO Box 1 8 Guysville, O H 45735 800-289-4367 Free catalog; swatch card, $2 refundable

4. Fold along pulled thread and sew tucks.

easy. Since the fabric holds a sharp,


pressed edge, these details have a neat, tailored look (to learn how


5. Place pattern front on tucked block and cut front. Assemble as directed.

to add tucks to a simple blouse, see the drawing at right, above). You can gather or ease without puckers by pulling the fibers of the weave closer together, as shown in

choice of fabrics for classic or mod­

the photo above. The trick is to use

ern designs. Hemp fabrics sew up

a short gathering stitch (I use the

into durable, season-spanning gar­

same stitch length for easing as for

ments that have a hip, ecological

normal stitching), so that when

look. And remember-wearing it is

the gathering thread is pulled, the

perfectly legal!

weave pulls together instead of the fabric bunching. Finishing is easy with hemp. Seams press sharply for a crisp, clean look. For tailored garments,


a child, Nancy Nehring ojSunnyvale, CA, had the job oj cutting tough hemp stalks out oj theJences around herJam­ ily's Jarmhouse in Iowa.

use top- and edgestitching so edges stay defined as the fabric softens with laundering. Use a wide stitch

Plenty of edge- and topstitching

on buttonholes to prevent raveling,

give a crisp finish to the sturdy

and reinforce buttons with a small

herringbone weave of the jacket shown on p. 49. Tucks added to the simple blouse allow the hemp/silk fabric to shine, with bands of the semi-sheer single layer creating a play of shadow and light.

button on the inside of the gar­ ment so they don't rip through the loosely woven fabric. So why not try sewing hemp? It makes a great addition to your

j une/july

1 997


SYlllllel try for Quilters

Use the si m pl est princi p l es of symmetry to transform a singl e moti f i nto endl e ss quilt ing and appl i q ue desi g ns by Jeanne Benson

uilters often spend a lot

with shapes of all kinds, and I

of time working with

know a few who are quite enam­

shapes in their projects.

ored of one or two specific shapes.

Patchwork pieces, appli­

But whether you're taken with a

ques, quilt blocks, and

single motif or happy to be working

quilting motifs are es­

with whatever shapes your current

sentially shapes that we bring to

quilt requires, it can be illuminating

life by combining and recombin­

to discover that there's a distinct,

ing them into an overall design.

natural logiC governing the most

Color and value help to create

common ways shapes can be com­

rhythm, texture, and emphasis. It's

bined into repeating patterns.

hard [or me to imagine a quilter

Traditional quilting deSigns and

who isn't at least a little fascinated

blocks almost all rely on this logiC,

Figu rel ground In the language of

S Y M M E T RY T Y P E 1 : T RA N S L AT I O N

design, motifs are

positive negative

There are fou r basic types of symmetry: translation (shown here), rotation, reflectio n , and glide


reflection (shown o n p.

while the spaces

5 5).


between are called shapes. These

positive and negative shapes are also

ure fi g ground.

referred to as

Translated outlines create "stripes. " Translated motifs move up. down. sideways. or diagonally in equal steps without changing orientation (no rotation or flipping). Good for bands and borders.

Bands of translated outlines can be further embellished with or without regard for their original symmetry.



positive shapes, and the patterns they make, are probably the focal point of

as do repeated patterns from every

with asymmetrical shapes for your

position of the shape, and heavy-

culture and period of history. And

own explorations for this reason.

weight tracing paper for the final

if you're designing your own quilts,

Of course, the point of learning

layout. Add rulers for drawing grid

this discovery can provide an in-

about the symmetry operations

lines to help with positioning and

valuable, and virtually inexhaust-

isn't that they provide rules to fol-

determining spacing, compasses

ible, inspiration for your own cre-

low. It's primarily to make sure you

for laying out and dividing circles,

ative explorations.

don't overlook any possibilities. By

markers for quick color studies,

As soon as you start arranging

all means, mix, combine, divide,

and glue stick or double-stick trans-

two or more duplicates of a single

stretch, and recombine any ideas

parent tape for holding shapes in

shape on a flat surface, you're cre-

the examples here suggest. I hope

place, and you'll be ready to start

ating a pattern with them. And if

they prove as provocative as start-

making designs.

your shapes are placed in some

ing points for your quilts as they've

kind o f repeating order, you're

been for mine.

operating within one or more well-

co';>.D""v��c 1;-0c Ic co�c� 1;-II "-� �

Here's what I d o : I place the shapes on a large sheet of drawing paper and begin to position them

defined types of symmetry. Math-

Tools for shape play

ematicians have described a mul-

To make effective symmetrical pat-

tions (for more design ideas, see

titude of ways that shapes can be

terns, you need to have plenty of

"Figure/ground" at right). When I

using different symmetry opera-

arranged symmetrically on a flat

duplicates (eight to ten) of the mo-

find one I like, I tape or glue the

surface, but essentially they all

tif to play with. Photocopying, trac-

shapes in place and tape a piece

come down to four basic, familiar

ing, and drawing around templates

of heavyweight tracing paper over

operations, officially termed trans-

are all good strategies for making

the entire layout. Then I use a tem-

lation, rotation, reflection, and glide

precise duplicates. But in the early

plate to make precision tracings of each repeat.

reflection, which you can see illus-

stages of your explorations of a

trated above and on p. 55 with ex-

shape, you usually don't need exact

amples of my design sketches and

duplicates; I often begin with cut-

Free-motion freedom

in my finished quilts.

out paper shapes. I'll simply draw

You can, of course, use the designs

I must confess to being one of

or trace my motif onto newsprint

you generate as patchwork tem-

those quilters taken with a cer-

that I've folded into four or eight

plates, applique patterns, quilting

tain motif, in my case the ginkgo

layers and cut out all the dupli-

designs, and anything else that

leaf, which is used in one way or

cates at once, rather like discon-

comes to mind. But I urge you to

another in all my examples. Be-

nected paper dolls.

forget as much as possible that you're designing for any particular

sides having a lovely contour to

In addition to newsprint, gather

look at, most ginkgo leaves are

a good supply of large-sized draw-

quilting technique, so you don't al-

asymmetrical and thus clearly re-

ing paper (for backgrounds), light-

low worries about how you might

veal how the four basic symmetry

weight tracing paper to record and

actually sew a design in fabric to

operations work. I suggest you start

repeat both the outline and the

limit where the process can take

your pattern, but the negative space is every bit as important to the success of your design. If the positive shapes aren't "grounded" to the background, they may appear to float disconnected across the surface. To increase your awareness of the negative space around your motif, trace it, then draw a box around the shape, touching it on all four sides. Lay tracing paper over the drawing and trace just the shapes between the motif's lines and those of the box. Repeat this exercise with several symmetrical arrange­ ments of two or more motifs, noticing that the lines you're tracing are the same as the outline of the positive shape, but the emphasis has shifted to the ground.

-J.B. june/july

1 997


Further reading

Appliqued with free-motion machine stitching on a raw linen background. the author's Four Seasons Series

Handbook of Regular Patterns: An Intro­ duction to Symmetry in Two Dimensions by Peter S. Stevens. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1 98 1 . This is a classic reference on symmetry.

quilts ( 1 8 by 24 in., 1 9 9 5 ; "Spring" on p. 52, "Summer" and " Fall" above, "Winter" on p. 5 5 ) are rife with exam­ ples of symmetry. See if you can identify the types in each quilt (note that there are no examples of glide reflection).

The Surface Plane by Martha Boles and Rochelle Newman. Bradford, MA: Pythagorean Press/ Brown and Benchmark, 1 996 (508-372-31 29). A well-illustrated interdis­ ciplinary high-school-Ievel text, including chapters on symmetry and design, and many geometric constructions of interest to quilt makers. Symmetry: A Design System for Quiltmakers by Ruth B. McDowell. Lafayette, CA: C&T Publishing, 1 994. Describes all types of two-dimensional symmetry in terms of quilting patterns.




needle to stop in the fabric and set

you. A powerful design may actu­

I like to prepare for free-motion

ally lead you to explore new tech­

applique by both sketching out

the machine for straight stitching.

niques, simply because you don't

possible paths I might follow and

I use threads made for machine

want to leave that design behind.

warming up with practice stitch­

embroidery and have bobbins

In the quilts shown here, I've

ing on scraps. For the sketch, I lay

wound in white or gray thread with

used an applique technique that's

tracing paper over the actual ap­

fine cottons also made for machine

easy to prepare for, and provides

plique that's fused in place to a

embroidery. I fuse some scraps to

great freedom to design with all

background. I then draw around

a heavy backing fabric so I don't

manner of complex and irregular

it in one continuous line with a

need a hoop or stabilizer, then take

shapes: free-motion stitching to out­

pencil, without lifting the lead

a stitch in the fabric so I can pull

line, embellish, and finish raw­

from the paper, just as the needle

the bobbin thread to the top and

edged shapes that are cut without

will operate. I'll repeat this exer­

make three stitches in place to lock

seam allowances. Each shape is at­

cise a few times, making these

the thread. Then I stitch around

tached with fusible web (I use Pel­

thumbnail sketches until I've got

the shapes a few times follOwing

Ion Wonder-Under), which also

a clear idea of how I want the final

the contours and staying within

prevents raveling. You can stitch

stitching to look, keeping in mind

the shape, then stitch around it on

through just your top, or through

that I won't be able to reproduce

the background. Next, I'll stitch in­

batting layers as well, but if the top

the drawing exactly.

to the shape follOwing any interior lines in the design of the fabric, or

isn't stiff (as was the raw linen I used with the quilts shown here),

Quilters, get

drawing freely if the fabric is a sol­

you'll want to back it with one of

ready to stitch

id or has areas of solid color. While

the many temporary stabilizers on

To warm up, I set up the machine

the machine is running, I try to

the market, such as a tear-away or

and stitch just as I would for the fi­

keep the orientation of the fabric to

wash-away, or a permanent light­

nal stitching: darning foot attached,

the needle the same as I move it

weight iron-on interfacing. Freezer

presser foot down, and feed dogs

beneath the darning foot. I move

paper works well also.

disengaged or covered. I set the

the piece from side to side and for-

M O R E T Y P E S O F S Y M M E T RY Rotation Rotated motifs turn around a fixed center point without changing orientation. Any number of equal repetitions is possible. This is ideal for medallions and single blocks but can also create allover patterns.

3-point rotation

4-point allover rotation starting from both ends of motif

6-point rotated appliques with rotated quilting lines

ward to back for all stitching, trying not to turn the piece (change the orientation) without stopping the machine. The stitching will be smoother and reflect the feeling of a drawn line, which is one of the

Reflection, or mirroring Reflected motifs are mirrored about a fixed axis line. This can be simulated with a real mirror. Combines well with other types of symmetry.

1r .


At left, adjacent motifs are mirrored; below, every other motifis translated.

reasons I like this technique for

Dual, right-angle axes create a mix of rotation and reflection.

sewing applique. Your stitch length is determined by how fast you move the fabric as well as how heavy your foot is on the pedal. You'll make short stitch­ es by moving the fabric slowly or

You could see this design as three mirrored motifs in 3-point rotation, or one mirrored three-leaf design.

Glide reflection Glide-reflected motifs are translated (glided), then mirrored. This can 't be simulated with a real mirror.

pressing the pedal to the floor. If you move the fabric fast, your stitches will be longer. You can achieve a uniform stitch length around both simple and complex shapes by taking some time to get used to this method. The re­ sults you get will be well worth the practice time.

Jeanne Benson designs quilts and ap­ plique patterns in Columbia, MD, and teaches workshops around the country.

Glide-reflected pairs in translation create a band or border.

The negative space between glide-reflected pairs (or any other type of symmetry) need not reflect symmetrical shapes.


1 997


few years ago I wanted a breezy summer dress that was uncomplicated to wear but had a touch of drama. The design I arrived at is shown at right: an utterly simple garment with show-stopping pockets. In making and selling versions of this design many times since, I've ob­ served that this dress and pocket design flatters absolutely everyone and is pure magic on figures with generous hips. The poufed pock­ ets fool the eye into rationalizing that any fullness is due to the pock­ et's gathers, not the wearer's hips. Call it camouflage; call it an illu­ sion. It works. This design is fun to wear, as well as a delight to sew, because the pat­ tern pieces fit together in such un­ expected ways. And, by making this design, you'll have reason to use your sewing machine's ruffler attachment, which is a mechanical joy to use (although it takes a bit of practice on your first try). By the way, if you prefer some­ thing other than a dress, it's unbe­ lievably easy to transform this ba­ sic design into a vest, jumper, or jacket. And, if you want a collar, cowl, or other detail, I'll show you how simple it is to add that, too.

Pattern and construction: simple does it The pattern for this dress with its unusual pocket is quite simple: it has one piece for both front and back, a sleeve, and the oversized pocket. And because the dress is loose-fitting, the finished size (me­ dium) flatters everyone from size 8

Here's an uncommon use for your ruffler foot-gathering the voluminous amount of fabric in this

pocket's upper edge into a smallish pocket opening. (The schematic for the author's pattern is on p. 5 8.) 56


of the ruffler; then practice again

wide and sew them together into a

tonholes, or zippers to insert; and

to correctly set the adj ustments

strip 55 in. long (see Threads No.

edges are finished with machine­

( the stitch length, the pleating­

69, pp. 18, 33, for details on cutting

stitched hems or bias binding.

frequency lever, and the pleat-depth

and joining bias strips). Wrap the

setscrew). Find the combination of

bias strip around the �-in. cording

Construction up to the pocket­

adjustments that pleats a l l-in.

and machine-baste, using the zip­

Enlarge the pattern to its correct

scrap of your fashion fabric into a

per foot. Cut two pieces of piping

size, following the schematic on p.

4�-in. strip, which is the proper ra­

26� in. long, which will make each

58. Then lay out the fabric, cut it

tio for these pockets.

pocket opening 25 in. around.

to 20. There are no buttons, but­

out, and sew all seams with right

It's better to make the ruffled

The piping will be sewn in place,

sides together. Finish the seams

piece too long than too short. Extra

so that one end starts where the

to prevent raveling, either serging

length can be squeezed into a

other ends (see the photo below),

or zigzagging the edge or using

smaller space, but if the ruffled

crossing exactly at the seam at the

French seams, which encase the

piece is too short, you'll have to rip

top of the pocket opening. To create

raw edges (see the illustration on p.

out several little pleats to lengthen

this neat detail, cross and pin the

50). If your fashion fabric is sheer,

it, which leaves unpleated gaps.

two ends of the piping, starting at

Ruffle the upper and lower pock­

the top center of the pocket open­

Staystitch the pocket opening's

et edges on the garment's front and

ing (Point A in the schematic on

corners on the front and back of

back. Next, ruffle the longer curved

p. 58). Next, mark (with a safety

the dress. Sew the shoulder seams,

edge of each pocket, then the top

pin, tailor's chalk, or a marking

then staystitch the neck edge. At­

edge (see the areas marked for ruf­

pen) the midpoint of the piping

use French seams throughout.

tach the sleeves (I prefer flat-felled

fling in the schematic on p. 58).

(place the mark in the seam al­

seams for this step), then sew the

Replace the ruffler with the uni­

lowance), and match and pin that

side seams from the bottom of the

versal foot and sew the two half­

midpOint to the seam at the bot­

sleeve to the top of the pocket open­

pocket ends together as illustrated

tom of the pocket opening (Point

ing (Point A). Sew the remaining

(Seam B) in the drawing at right on

B in the schematic). Continue to

side seams from the bottom of the

p. 58. You'll close the bottom of

pin the piping in place, adjusting

pocket opening to the hem

ruffles as needed to

(Point B). Zigzag the top

fit. Using the zipper

edge of the pocket pieces

foot, sew the piping

to keep them from ravel­

around the pocket

ing while you construct

opening, pulling the

the pockets. Then sew

layers taut as you sew,

200 years of

poufs and paniers

The design for my dress at left was inspired by the 1 8th-century, elliptical, hoop­ skirted silhouette below. The hoop petticoat providing the shape was often separated into halves, each called a



"basket" in

French), as illustrated

so they don't bunch

Seam A on the pockets.

and twist as they go through the needle.

For the pocket,

Next, pin the seam

dust off your ruffler

allowance of the pock­

Attach the ruffler to your machine by fitting the two

Piping stabilizes and trims the pocket opening. Notice

et bag to the attached

prongs of the forked arm

how the piping meets at the center top of the opening (this corresponds to Point A on the schematic on p. 58).

piping, right sides to­

over the needle clamp and

gether, again squeezing the excess fabric to

fitting the anchor to the presser bar. Then tighten the foot­

the pocket bag after inserting the

fit, and sew the pocket to the dress,

attachment screw. For details on

pocket in the dress, as I'll explain in

still using the zipper foot. Trim and

the ruffler's anatomy and its use,

a moment. Press all pleats flat, with

finish the seam with serged or

see "The Ruffler: Not for Ruffles

the iron or by finger-pressing.

zigzagged stitches

Thread the fabric through the ruf­

Piping anchors the pockets­

et bag, first pin a few small pleats

fler's middle guide slide slots, be-

You'll sew a row of piping into the

into the unruffled bottom edge, ad-

tween the two blades.

To close the bottom of the pock­

Only," in Threads No. 66, pp. 70-75.

circular rim of each pocket opening

justing these pleats to match the

Sewing slowly, practice on a scrap

on the dress. If you want to make

length of the ruffled bottom edge.

of fabric to get used to the action

custom piping, cut bias strips 2 in.

Stitch, trim, and finish the seams.

j une/july

1 997



To complete the dress, hem the

drapes well, but its heavy weight

Prefer a jumper or vest?

lower edge and sleeves with a l­

will pull the pocket down, which

You can easily convert this design


in. machine-stitched hem, and bind

destroys the poufed effect. And

into a j umper by omitting the

the neckline with a 2-in. bias strip

don't choose a fabric that wrinkles

sleeves and lowering the neckline.

of self-fabric. Add a raglan shoulder

easily, like linen, unless, of course,

For a vest, cut the center front open

pad, if needed, and that's it!

you love to iron, or you really are

and add 'ttl- in. seam allowances,

comfortable with a casual, rum­

then face or bind the edges, and, if

Great fabric possibilities

pled look.

you like, add buttons, button loops,

Vest/ cardigan/ coat

edges for all, and armholes for vest.

This design works beautifully with

The first time you make this

or ties. For a long cardigan or coat,

soft, fluid fabrics, like handkerchief

garment, choose 60-in.-wide fab­

finish the center like a vest, but re­

linen, rayon challis, washed silk

ric, because the pattern fits on the

tain the sleeves.

and rayon, silk crepe de Chine,

fold without the need to make

charmeuse, georgette, chiffon, and

any adjustments. Later, if you want

Alteration strategies-This de­

cotton, rayon, or wool jersey (the

to use 36- or 45-in.-wide fabric,

sign works best long (lower-calf

latter makes a lovely cold-weather

you'll need to create center-front

to ankle length). For a petite ver­

version). Avoid crisp, stiff fabrics

and center-back seams. To do so,

sion, make adjustments below the

like pique, broadcloth, corduroy,

open the fabric to a Single layer,

pocket to keep the shaped hem

calico, and, indeed, most cottons.

position the pattern, and add a

intact (see the alteration points

Soft rayon velvet works, but cotton

'ttl- in. seam allowance along the

marked in blue and red in the

velvet is too unyielding. Slinky Knit

center edges.

drawings at left, below). If you want to alter the bodice, be sure to retain the wide angle that extends from


the bottom of the armhole to the

To construct the dress, you 'll need 4 to 4�yd. of 60-in.-wide fabric (or 6� yd. of 36- or 45-in. fabric) and a 55-in. length of 'A-in. piping.

loose, flOwing look of the garment


Pocket construction Sew Seam A. Ruffle edges shown in gold.


It's also easy to superimpose on this design a cowl, scoop, or jewel tures from other patterns. Just lay the borrowed pattern piece on the basic pattern, and trace a new pat­ tern that incorporates the two .



If you do this, be sure to think

(Match to Point A.)

through the ramifications and ad­ just accordingly. For example, be­

Front and back


1 block

_ / 1 21 � 3S in. ---+ 1 I




in .

Seam B




Edges to be ruffled.


Don't alter these angles.


Do alter length here for petites.


= 10

cause a jewel neckline creates a smaller neck opening that a head

� _+-___�--_




will disappear.

neckline; collar; or additional fea­ in.



top of the pocket. Otherwise, the

can't fit through, sew an invisible zipper in the left shoulder seam to


expand the opening. Seam B

(Match to Point B.)

2. Sew ends, right sides together, creating Seam B. 3. Sew piping around opening, adjusting fullness in pocket to fit piping. 4. Match Seam A to Point A at top of pocket opening. Match Seam B to Point B at bottom ofpocket opening. Stitch.

Now, gather a few supplies and fabric, then gather your pockets. Finally, gather your friends, be­ cause they're going to want one of these great garments, too.

Annette Ames is a designer in Wash­ ington, DC, and also teaches at Mary­ mount University. Her designs have sold at fine stores in New York City and Washington.

or many years I've admired

quality of the workmanship and

wear in the world, it's also among

the designs of American de­

the inner construction that gives

the most exquisite.

signer James Galanos. His

me goose bumps. Finishing of this

Recently, I had an opportunity to

always-elegant creations,

quality isn't uncommon in custom­

visit the Galanos workrooms in Los

whether ultra-lux evening­

made haute couture, but Galanos

Angeles and watch the staff at

wear or delightfully de­

Originals are ready-to-wear gar­

work. No one was using shortcuts,

tailed daywear like the suit above,

ments, designed to be sold off the

sergers, buttonhole machines,

are naturally made of the most

rack and altered for the client, if

fusibles, or inexpensive linings and

magnificent European fabrics, with

needed, by the retailer's alteration

backings to compromise quality.

lines that can make any woman

department. Frequently described

Instead, the finest chiffon, organza,

look and feel beautiful. But it's the

as the most expensive ready-to-

silk satin, China silk, and silk crepe

Inside and out, the Galanos trademark is attention to details: beautifully bound and

piped edges, luxurious linings and underlinings. hand-worked button­ holes. and. of course. beautiful fabrics.

june/j uly

1 997



have always been his basic con­

Galanos attaches heavy interfacings like hymo (hair canvas) to underlining to provide necessary structure without bulk. To use this technique. transfer seamline to wrong side ofpaper shapero then cut out hymo following seamline butjust short ofit. Sandwich hymo between paper shaper and chiffon underlin­ ing. positioning hymo just inside seamline. and underlining right side up. Machine-baste through all layers in. inside seamline.

interfacings. Galanos is a renowned


struction materials for backings and linings, and occasionally for perfectionist, and the workroom staff knows his emphasis is on sewing correctly, even if it takes longer. The staff also knows that, before he leaves each day, Galanos visits the workroom to review the day's work and leaves a note if a correction is needed. Most correc­ the most discerning customer or

to James Galanos-every garment must meet his high standards. So how is all this relevant to

regular use at Galanos that we can readily adapt to improve our re­ sults whenever we're working on fabrics and garments worthy of the extra attention. A few are time­ consuming, but none is difficult.

Stitch past corners. break threads. then start new stitching.

Paper shaper, RS

Fashion fabric, RS

Use paper for precision



Underlining, RS

Seamlin e

Piping a seam allowance Cut bias strips of chiffon 1� in. wide; press while stretching to in. Pipe edges before construction. Chalk-mark seam width plus � in. away from seamline and align bias with mark.


1. !t:

Stitch in. from chalked line. using regular stitch length.

2. Trim to exactly � in. through all layers.

Chalk mark

\ , Bias strip, WS



Fashion fabric, RS Underlining, WS


Perhaps the first thing you'd no­ tice while watching Galanos sewers at work is how often they appear to Y. in.

3. Wrap bias tightly around trimmed edges. then ditch-stitch close to binding from right side.

be stitching through a layer of pa­ per over or under the garment fab­

stitching the actual seam (if the

total adherence to the original de­

ric, as you can see at right, above.

shaper's seamline in the photo

sign, and near-perfect repeatability.

Stabilizing a bias band or edge with

were clearer, you could see that it's

The shaper is pinned or basted to

So, what is the paper shaper for?

once the paper is stitched through,

a paper-strip under- or overlayer is a common technique in both in­


-- {- III '/,. II

Mark notches with few stitches at right angle to seamline.

Machine-baste with long stitches in. W outside seamline. /

ularity. After over 45 years in the

observe a number of techniques in


------f-I ----

retail buyer would notice an irreg­ business, this is still immaterial


Using a paper shaper Cut out paper copy ofyour pattern section along edge of seam allowance. then layer it ove uter fabr..'c nd underlining fabric. all right sides up.

tions are so minor that not even

home sewers? I was delighted to

Paper shapero WS


�6 in. inside the stitching).

the fabric pieces after cutting out;

dustrial and home-sewing work­

Since it includes every seamline

it's torn away. After the garment is

rooms, but Galanos takes the idea

and marking from the original

assembled, the machine basting is

much further by making at least

drafted pattern (the shapers are

removed so there's no evidence of

one complete, full-sized paper du­

made on a huge blue-printing ma­

it on the finished design.

plicate (called a shaper) of each

chine on the premises), it's a per­

piece of the garment pattern. The

fect guide for absolutely accurate

How they do it-To simultane­

purpose of the paper here isn't sta­

staystitching and thread tracings

ously mark the seamlines and ap­

bility, but accuracy, although the

of seamlines, notches, buttonholes,

ply the chiffon underlining on the

paper does simplify handling slip­

and button locations. It's equally

parts of a jacket, for example, a

pery or stretchy fabrics (of course,

useful for attaching underlinings

Galanos sewer begins with the pa­

no one in the workroom would

and inter facings at a precise dis­

per shaper wrong side up, covers it

admit this help is necessary!). Nor

tance from the seamlines. In either

first with the garment section out­

is the paper typically used when

application, the shaper ensures

er fabric wrong side up, then with




E "



The Galanos key to precision

tIe help with squirmy fabrics isn't

ment's drape, body, and wrinkle

stitching: a full-size paper copy

unwelcome), consider duplicating

resistance. An extra layer also al­

of the pattern, called a shapero

the Galanos technique. And just

lows the deSigner to use lighter,

used as a stitching guide for all staystitching and attaching underlining. Here. the staystitch­ ing goes just outside the seamline (the fashion fabric is underneath). in the 1 -in. seam allowance.

because they don't use shapers, as

more transparent fabrics, and has

a rule, to guide sewing the final

even inspired him to experiment

garment seams, doesn't mean you

with the lovely, shifting, multicolor

shouldn't. There may be no better

effects that layered transparent fab­

way to ensure accuracy on com­

rics can create. During construc­

plex and/or critical seams. Simply

tion and cleaning, an extra layer

photocopy the relevant portions of

also improves the garment's resis­

your tissue pattern to make a par­

tance to imprinting from pressed

tial shaper, complete with pattern

seam allowances.

markings and seamlines. Tap e

An underlining is typically cut

copies together for larger sections,

exactly like the outer fabric layer,

and transfer markings with a trac­

and attached to it, as described

ing wheel and tracing carbon if you

above, with a basting stitch within

need to see them on both sides of

the seam allowance. In all subse­

the shapero

quent construction, the two layers

When all you want is some sup­

are treated as one (for further dis­

port for stitching tricky fabrics, or

cussion of underlining, see Threads

for follOwing seams that are most­

No. 68, pp. 37-39). If the garment

ly straight hnes, try drawing the

is to be unlined, like the blouse in

seamlines on paper strips from a

the photo just mentioned, the bast­

silk chiffon on top, pinning the lay­

roll of adding-machine tape, avail­

ing stitches will be removed after

ers together. Pins are placed with

able inexpensively from any sta­

seaming, and the two layers will

the heads extending over the cut

tionery store. Necklines, complex

be bound together at the edges to

edge for easy removal during stitch­

collars, and other near-your-face

finish them (discussed below).

ing. With the machine set for a

details are prominent enough to

basting stitch and threaded with

warrant this degree of precision.

Finish seams with "pipi ng"

ultra-thin two-ply DMC machine­

Skirt and even sleeve details may

The seams on most unlined Gal­

embroidery cotton, and the shaper

not require such attention.

anos dresses and blouses are finished with a narrow bias bind­

on top, they stitch on the seam al­

U nderlinings?

ing made from silk chiffon. The

\{6 in. outside, the seamline. For ac­

Underlinings, usually made from

technique is shown in detail in

curate marking of corners, each

chiffon, are another Galanos con-

the drawings at top on pp. 62-

stitching line is thread-marked sep­

struction "Signature" that appear

63. Home sewers call this bind­

arately, as shown in the top draw­

in practical­

ing at left, breaking the threads at

ly every gar­

lowances exactly parallel to, and

the end and beginning again on

ment; there's

the adjacent seamline. To mark

a good ex­

notches, buttonholes, and so on,

ample in the

they machine-baste a short row on

center pho­

the seam allowance perpendicular

to on p . 62.

to the seamline. When the paper's


no longer needed, they quickly run

serve many

Some of these finishing techniques are time-consuming, but none is difficult

ing a Hong Kong finish; at Galanos they call it piping. Since the dimensions of the garment are de­

termined before the fabric is cut

the pointed end of a strong needle

purposes, including providing sup­

along the stitching line to score the

port for delicate fashion fabrics

and there will be no fittings or ad­

paper, making it easy to tear away.

(chiffon is more stable and firmly

justments during the construction

woven than many decorative fab­

process, Galanos stitchers finish

can do it-When your

rics), protecting them from the

the edges of many seams before

sewing requires underlining and/or

stress and body oils of everyday

the garment is assembled, and so

absolute accuracy (and when a lit-

wear, while improving the gar-

should you, if you're certain of the

How you


1 997


Galanos typically prefers underlining to linings on light­


weight garments like

the blouse at right. Since the underlayer is caught in the seams, it provides strength as well as protection from the stresses of wear. Every internal seam allowance is bound, or "piped," with silk chiffon, finished clean on both sides (at right, top and center). And buttonholes are reinforced by machine and stitched by hand (top, and drawing, far right).

1. Prepare bias strip of fashion fabric as for piping in bottom drawing on p. 60, then mark strip with two rows of lengthened machine stitching, using paper-strip backing to support and cardboard template to position second row precisely ;/,6 in. from first row, which is in. from raw edge.


Bias strip

Paper backing

pattern. This is the easiest time to

'l\,-in. cardboard template

Begin with bias strips cut 1

\{ in.

do it because the sections are still

wide. Steam-press the bias, stretch­

flat and relatively simple; and, since

ing it slightly to reduce the width

the seamlines are marked with ma­

to 1 � in. Place the bias on top of a

chine basting, it isn't difficult to

strip of paper and stitch a guideline

match them and assemble the gar­

exactly � in. from the raw edge of

ment accurately afterwards. Gen­

the strip. When working with chif­

erally, vertical seams likely to need

fon and other lightweight bindings,

alteration are finished

stitch a second guideline

:y.; to 1 in. wide, while horizontal ones, like shoulder seams, are finished \{ to '% in. wide. Crossing seams, like the

'X6 in. from

the first one. When making bind­

ings from bulkier materials, posi­ tion the second guide

IJ'6 in. away.

armhole in the previous photo, are

To guide stitching the binding

trimmed before being piped, and

width evenly, the Galanos stitch­

outer edges that aren't hemmed are

ers frequently use a lightweight

finished with a similar binding.

cardboard template. Align the edge o f the template with the first

Bias-bound edges

stitched row and stitch alongside it,

As you can see in the top photo at

then tear away the paper under­

left of the same blouse, the neckline

neath. The drawings above show

A waist-level grosgrain

edge is also bound, but the binding

the process of attaching and fin­

stay holds these

is turned under to finish the wrong

ishing the binding. To hold the edge taut for the final hand-sewing,

high-waisted trousers

side as nicely as the face side. At

in place without strain.

Galanos, these bindings are made

the finisher uses a " third hand"

Lacking a traditional waistband, these pants (from the suit on p. 59) have hymo­ reinforced edges to keep their shape.

from a variety of fabrics from chif­

(see step 3 in the drawing above)



fon to velvet; but they're always

attached with a short ribbon to a

very narrow, uniform in width, and

nearby weight, usually a fabric­

shaped to conform smoothly to the

covered brick.

outline of the edge. The technique for binding an edge is very similar

Attach interfacing

to the seam finish described above,

to the underlining

but first, the inside (hand-) and

Among the many virtues of an un­

outside (machine-) stitching lines

derlining is the fact that you can

are thread-marked on the bias us­

stitch to it without catching the

ing a paper backing and a template

outer fabric, simplifying all manner

strip, as in the drawing above.

of finishing tasks, such as hem-


Hold edge taut with "third­ hand" clamp.

Staystitching! seamline guide Bias strip, WS

Cut organza rectangle about in. bigger all around than buttonhole and machine-stitch it to garment's RS, outlining buttonhole. Cut opening through all layers.

Bias strip, WS

Garment, RS



3. Turn under bias strip on wrong side ofgarment, using second stitched row as guide, and hand-stitch, trimming bias as needed.

2. Stitching directly on top of first row of stitching, stitch bias to right side of edge scant � in. inside seamline. Trim to seamline. ming and binding. A similar ap-

positioned perfectly at the natural


plication is to attach relatively

waist, regardless of the position of

want to add this level of refinement to your own creations, the Galanos

heavy interfacings, like hymo (also

the garment edge, and ensures that

stitchers do have a useful trick that

called hair canvas), just to the un­

it hangs gracefully, without a trace

stabilizes flimsy fabrics while fin­

derlining in the areas where need­

of tension from the figure under­

ishing the buttonholes.

ed, providing the desired structure

neath. The stay is attached only at

For each buttonhole, cut a rec­

without adding bulk to the nearby

the seams and darts with an in­

tangle of silk organza 1 in. bigger

seams. The hymo is cut slightly

conspicuous row of stitches hand­

all around to interface the open­

smaller than the finished garment

sewn from the top to the bottom of

ing. Mark the buttonhole locations.

section and applied to the backing

the stay. At center front, an "F" is

With the garment face up, center

material before it's j oined to the

embroidered with a chain stitch,

and pin the organza over the

outer layer. Galanos uses this tech­

as shown at bottom left.

marked buttonhole. Machine-stitch around each buttonhole

2. Work buttonhole stitches to cover raw edges and machine stitching, starting from end away from garment edge.

\{6 in. from

nique for simple waistbands, two­

Fastened with a skirt hook, the

piece collars and lapels, and high­

finished stay is a full 2 in. shorter

the marked line on each side

waisted skirts and trousers, like

than the measurement on the

(but flush at the ends), then cut

those in the suit on p. 59 and

trousers. The ends are finished

the buttonhole open. Starting at

shown in detail at bottom left. The

with generous double hems 1 in.

the end away from the edge of the

trousers' top edge extends 3% in.

wide. The difference between the

garment, work buttonhole stitch­

above the waistline, and the hymo

length of the stay and the garment

es around the opening, as shown

begins 1 in. below the waist, ex­

measurement is imperceptible

at right. At the end, make a small

tending to the top seamline. (When

when the garment is worn, but it

bar and hide the thread end under

interfacing a waistband or two­

allows you to alter the waistline

the stitches.

piece collar, use an organza back­

easily by simply increasing or de­

To remove the organza that's on

ing instead of chiffon for added

creasing the stay length to accom­

the face side of the garment, clip

crispness, and machine-quilt the

modate a figure with a different

the organza diagonally to each cor­

hymo and backing together for

waist measurement.

ner, and tear away the excess or­

3. Finish ends with little bar tacks, hiding thread end under stitches. Clip organza diagonally from corners to ends of buttonhole. Pull away organza thread by thread until none is visible outside buttonhole.

ganza. Its stiff, distinct thread ends

even more body.)

Buttonholes by hand

should pull away easily and com­

A waist stay for

Generally used only on the finest

pletely, leaving no traces to mar

ski rts and pants

haute couture, hand-stitched but-

the legendary Galanos finish.

Many Galanos skirts and trousers

tonholes are a regular feature on

don't have traditional waistbands.

Galanos blouses and dresses.

Instead, like the high-waisted trou­

They're always beautifully made

sers in the pictured suit, they have

with silk buttonhole twist, even

a grosgrain waist stay at the waist­

when hidden under a concealed

line. The stay keeps the garment



infrequently as you may

Claire Shaeffer'S book Couture Sewing Techniques (The Taunton Press, 1993) includes many similar techniques Jar constructing and Jinishing garments oj the highest quality.


1 997


Pu - On C I on

Here' s some easy summer magic: double-layer, reversible pants by Sandra Betzina

Get two garments in one by choosing two colors of the same fabric or two different

eel like something light

leg circumference to 27 in. If you're

ing a very dark with a very light

and elegant for summer?

making the p ants in a heavier

fabric, because the dark layer will

How about adding a pair

fabric, I'd suggest a pattern with a

always show through the lighter

fabrics for the twin layers of this reversible summer staple (Stretch & Sew 777, with leg circumference enlarged to 27 in.).

of double-layer, silk-chiffon,

slightly narrower leg-Burda 3790,

one. But, of course, it's not neces-

pull-on pants to your ward-

for example, with a circumference

sary to use different colors for the

robe? Since these pants are

of about 22.5 in., or Burda 4550,

two layers of these pants; double

reversible, you increase your ward-

with a similar circumference but

layers of, say, black chiffon would

robe options and also cut cleaning

no side seams. If your pattern has

create a beautiful effect with Iimit-

costs and time by turning the clean

pockets, eliminate them to prevent

ed transparency.

side out for additional wear. Be-

show-through on chiffon.



Getting chiffon

cause the second layer acts as a

You can make the garment's two

wrinkle-retarding lining, they're

layers from the same fabric in dif-

to cooperate

perfect for travel. And, last but not

ferent colors or from different fab-

Lightweight fabrics, especially silk

least, you can make these pocket-

rics, getting two garments with dif-

chiffons, can be a bit tricky to han-

less pants in a flash.

ferent moods: sand-washed silk on

dIe, but you can eliminate difficul-

one side and silk chiffon or geor-

ties in cutting out this slippery fab-

Pattern and fabric choices

gette on the other, for example,

ric by covering your cutting surface

To make these pants in chiffon, try

yields a casual option for day and

with tissue paper or newsprint.

Vogue 9101, whose 29-in. leg cir-

a dressy alternative for evening.

Working with one of the fabrics

cumference is full enough to give

To eliminate any show-through,

at a time, square up the paper's

a nice drape, or Stretch &: Sew 777,

choose colors of the same value for

edges with the cutting surface,

which I used for the pants above

the two layers, like mint green and

straighten the crossgrain on the

(and shown on p. 5), enlarging the

taupe, for instance. Avoid combin-

fabric, and fold on the lengthwise

"Eg "0.�"0-:c .x �

� <l:E�".li"00E �"'.c c':;"'"'�g E i{!0 I: is0 ·c

in chiffon or georgette are less visible when sewn with a 60/8 H or 65/9 H needle in your sewing machine and fine cotton or poly­ ester machine-embroidery thread (available at fabric stores that car­

TO S E W A R E V E R S I B L E WA I S T B A N D Start with two strips of fabric 3:4 in. wide and the length of the pant-waist circumference plus 1:4 in.

ry quilting supplies or by mail from

1. Sew layers RSs together with %-in. seam.

TreadleArt, 25834 Narbonne Ave. ,

2. Trim seam allowances (s.a.) to :4 in.

Lomita, C A 90717; 310-534-5122).

3. Press one s.a. under % in.

To provide elasticity and keep the seams from drawing up, use a small zigzag stitch ( . 5 mm wide and 2 mm long) to sew the pants' vertical seams, pulling the fabric

The two layers of these pants

taut from front and back as you

4. Join short ends to form circular

are sewn separately, then joined

sew. Make these seams French

at the waist by a reversible elastic waistband. By keeping the chiffon

seams to enclose the chiffon's raw

casing. Fold casing in half, press, and topstitch at in.

colors similar in value, there's no show-through from one layer to the other.

ing (see p. 50). And after sewing a

edges and keep them from ravel­ few inches of the second stitching


Attaching the waistband 1. With one pant inside the other, WSs together, match waistband and center-back seams, RSs together.

line that closes the French seam, check to see that no threads of the

grain and line up the fabric's edges

trimmed allowances protrude on

with the paper. Then pin the dou­

the right side. If they do, deepen

ble thickness of chiffon at 1 2-in.

the seam allowances slightly. Fi-

intervals along the selvages and

nally, insert one pant inside the

one cut end to a layer of tissue pa­

other, wrong sides together, align

per. Push fine, new, sharp pins

the center-front and -back seams,

through pattern, fabric, and tissue,

and machine-baste the waist seam

positioning them in the pattern

allowances together.

seam allowances to prevent snag­ ging. Then use


sharp scissors

A reversible waistband

(l like Gingher serrated shears) to

To make a waistband casing in a

cut through the slippery layers like

reversible pant, cut two long strips

butter. Beware that if your scissors

of fabric (one [rom each of your

aren't sharp, they'll chew the edges

fashion fabrics) 31,4 in. wide and

of your fine fabric.

use 1 �-in.-wide elastic. The length

Transfer any pattern markings

of the waistband equals the cir­

to the chiffon with a fabric mark­

cumference of the pant waist plus

ing pen, chalk, or tailor's tacks. Be­

1 1,4 in. to allow for the seam joining

fore unpinning the pattern from

the ends of the band.

the fabric, identify the wrong sides

To make the waistband, first sew

of each piece, marking front and

the waistband strips right sides to­

back with masking tape or small

gether along one long edge with a

adhesive stickers.

'Ai-in. seam, as shown at top right. Press open and trim the seam to

Minimal assembly req uired

'A in. Then press under a 'Ai-in. seam

To make your pants, you'll assem­

allowance on one long side of the

ble each layer separately up to the

casing (it doesn't matter which

point of attaching the waistband

side), and sew the short ends to­

casing for the elastic, which I'll ex­

gether to form the circular waist­

plain below. You'll find that seams

band. Fold the casing in half,

Machine basting

2. Sew waistband to outer pants with 'Ai-in. seam, then press toward waistband. 3. Fold over and pin casing's pressed-under edge on inner pant's seamline and topstitch seam, leaving 2� in. open at CB.

- -"'.. .. -­ Casing, RS

Inner pant, RS

Inserting elastic and finishing

- ------ - -.---- -


1. Slip 1�-in.-wide elastic into waist­ band casing through CB opening.

4. Divide casing into thirds and topstitch two evenly spaced center lines.

2. Butt ends of elastic 3. Sew fabric scrap over butted without overlapping, join to make smooth, and and zigzag together. slipstitch CB opening closed.

jun e/july

1 997


wrong sides together, and press, then topstitch

� in. from the folded

top edge to give it a nice sharp

ing will fall on and off the fold).

1-, and l �-in. widths). You can top­

Sewing on the fold usually prevents

edge. Be sure the top and bobbin

stitch this elastic without sacrific­

stretching the hem, but if it doesn't,

ing stretch.

place your finger behind the press­

set photo on p. 64).

It's easy to determine the length

er foot to keep the fabric from feed­

of elastic needed: j ust wrap the

ing too quickly. Then use sharp

With the casing seam at center

unstretched elastic (no cheating! )

scissors to trim the excess fabric

back and the casing and pants

around your waist a n d subtract

just beyond the stitching, and seal

sandwich right sides together, pin

5 in. Insert the elastic into the

the edge with Fray Check to pre­

the side of the casing without the

waistband, leaving the two ends

vent raveling.

pressed-under seam allowance to

outside until you sew them to­

If you hem both layers exactly

the pants layer it matches. Sew

gether. To avoid bulk, butt and

the same length, one will inevitably

and press the seam allowance to­

zigzag the elastic ends together.

peek out below the other and look

ward the casing. Finally, enclose

Then encase the butted join with a

sloppy. So I suggest deciding which

the waistline seam by pinning

small piece of fabric (whose edges

side is your favorite and using a

the pressed-under allowance over

can be raw), as shown in the bot­

J;;-in. hem for the other pant. That

the waistline seam and topstitch

tom drawing on p. 65, to keep the

way, the hem difference looks like

the seam, leaving a 2 �-in. opening

ends smooth. Edgestitch the fab­

an intentional design detail.

at center back into which you'll

ric in place.

insert the elastic.

To top stitch the casing, divide

To hem by hand-If you prefer a

the waistband's width in thirds and

hand-finished hem, sew a row of

Now for the elastic-For a shirred

topstitch two more lines, spacing

machine stitches � in. from the raw

effect at the waist, use a monofila­

them evenly between the top and

bottom edge of each pant leg and

bottom lines you already sewed.

trim to

When topstitching, pull the elas­

line once, then fold this depth

ment, nonroll elastic like Wonder


t: -;2 3. 1. Fold up pant leg's bottom edge in. and press.

.� �

Trim raw edge just above zigzagging and seal with Fray Check.

Hand-rolled hem

t----- -·- - - - - -----�

1. Sew line of machine stitches at !4 in. and trim to

ond roll into the surface of your

Hem ming options

If you're working on natural fibers

Because chiffon's loft takes up

like silk, the crease will stay in po­

some of its length ( allowing the

sition without pinning.

garment to hang away from the

U sing a fine needle, hide the

body), hem the pants � in. longer

thread knot under the inseam. Slip­

than you would if they were made

stitch the hem by sliding the needle



along the hem's fold for

the correct length when you wear

bring it out. Take a tiny stitch in the

pant leg, then slide the needle back into the hem's fold, progressing

using one of several hemming op­


tions: a hand-rolled hem (discussed

and press again if necessary.

in. further. Stitch the entire hem

below), a machine-made hem like a

There, you're done. Now comes

"Maybelle" hem (see Threads No.

the hard part: deciding which side

6 5 , pp. 43-45) , or my favorite

of your elegant, light-as-air chiffon

zigzag hem for sheers, which is

pants you're going to wear first.

quick to sew, not bulky, and very professional-looking (see the top

Slipstitch hem, taking a tiny bite ofpants fabric every !4 in.

1;; in. , and

in a heavier fabric. This ensures

Hem each layer's leg separately,


==D' ::

width. Little by little, pin the sec­

the pants.

- - - ----� 2 . Fold on stitching line, then fold again, and press.


again to establish the rolled hem's

the material in front and back of

ironing board, and press in place.

2. Zigzag-stitch just inside fold.


� in. Fold on the stitched

tic and waistband taut, grasping the needle.

Machine zigzag hem


sew along the hem fold (the stitch­

cy's Notions, 800-833-0690, in 3,{_,

threads match the pants layer on which they'll be visible (see the in­


Stretchband (available from Nan­

drawing at left). To make this hem, press � in. of the bottom pant leg to the wrong side. Using a zigzag stitch 2 mm wide and 1 mm long,

Sewing expert Sandra Betzina is au­ thor of the new book No Time to Sew (Rodale Press, 1996) and teaches hands­ on classes in San Francisco, CA. For information, call 415-386-0440.

Give Four D�signers a Little Fabric . . .

An experiment in creati v i ty l e ads to terri fi c garments and clues for us all uestion: What happens

the French Riviera at Nice. Here's

when you invite four de­

the challenge: there's space in your

signers to take part in

suitcase for only one outfit, which

a garment-design exer­

you need to design and sew fol­

cise, then ask each to

lowing these rules:

keep a j ournal of her four wonderful outfits, but more

• •

important, you discover bits of wis­

(Every one of the deSigners pro­

dom that can help all sewers turn

tested, "How can I make an outfit

on the creative juices when they

from three little yards?" but we

creative process? Answer: You get

knew that this limitation would spark their imaginations.)

exactly what we wanted to explore

• • •

elemevt to your next design.

Threads Design Challenge

experiment and use at lea$t lhree fabrics from this challenging palette (from top. rayon, cotton gauze. rayon matte jersey. twill-weave rayon. and a linen/cotton blend). The deSigners premiered their creations last fall at the Original Sewing Craft Expo in Minneapolis. Plan to lJI attend Threads ' Design Shows in in September and rJj! of our next in Chantilly. VA. in October






Use only 3 yd. of any one fabric.

talents in a special garment. That's in setting up this experiment. So

Ross, Annette Ames, Diane

pictured at left.

want to use their techniques and

enj oy the ride-and add a creative

._"�( soin (from left) to join our design

Use at least three of the fabrics

Transform the fabrics with any

manipulation or surface-design technique you like. Choose any pattern(s) to com­

prise a complete outfit. Plan for Europe's unpredictable

Make believe that you'll travel to p,aris, we said to the four deSigners

fall weather, which alternates be­

(shown above), to give an impor­


tween warm sunshine and cold

tant presentation to an audience

of 100 fashion insiders. While in

(We knew this, too, would provoke

France, you'll also attend the wed-

the designers' inventiveness.)

Don't use machine buttonholes.

ding of an old friend, and, finally, a party on the sandy beaches of

-The Editors

Trust your instincts.

Bird Ross: "Even when the j acket was al most fi n i shed,


I h ad n o idea w h at fabric I wo u l d use fo r the co l l ar. "





ird's creative process: "I start

et, and had barely enough fabric

by studying the fabrics and

to cut out a second front!"

considering which patterns might

Bird's final design: "I wanted to use

work. I list ways to personalize the

a certain jacket pattern I'd had for

garment, then play around and try

years, but with an added touch of

ideas in muslin. Even when things

fun. So I created a 'new' fabric by

look disastrous, I just keep going."

sewing large, faced dots of mus­

Reaction to these fabrics: "I liked

tard cotton into the gray linen."

how these fabrics made my brain

You can see the inspiration in the

tick but thought 'this is going

j acket'S pocket design above. The

to be a tricky process,' because I

finished jacket features a collar

didn't see myself wearing these

from the diagonal rayon with a

colors, except the mustard."

matching skirt for the speech and

This experiment was like: "Walking

wedding. The navy-dot top turned

into someone else's kitchen and

backward and sarong skirt (shown

trying to make yourself dinner."

at near left) go to the beach.

She thought about, but nixed:

Her specialty: Bird is known for

Reversible garments. Transform­

her manual zigzag technique for

able clothing, like a skirt that con­

reversible quilted vests, jackets,

verts into a hat, or a jacket sleeve

and hats with bias squares stitched

that becomes a pant leg. Washing

at the edges in lieu of faCings (see

the navy-dot fabric several times

Threads No. 40, pp. 30-35). But she

and drying it in the hot sun before

" i n tentionally avoided that tech­

cutting it out for a vintage look. Or

nique during this activity. I wanted

sewing strips of the gray linen and

to have some fun with straightfor­

mustard cotton together to create

ward sewing."

a striped fabric.

Sources of design ideas: Audrey

Disaster: "I completed a pair o f

Hepburn movies, traveling to new

Bird Ross invented the

baggy pants that turned out to b e

cities, art museums.

intriguing faced dots

absolutely hideous, s o I immedi­

If her garment-clesign process were

for her jacket (at left), inspired by the oval design of its pocket

ately cut them into pieces to make

a road trip: "I'd be doing lots of

a fitted skirt."

window-shopping, trying to keep

Biggest challenge: "The 3-yd. limit

one eye on the road while not miss­

(at top). The jacket and coordinating skirt are serious enough for the business meeting and wedding; the tank top (turned backward) and sarong, above, would take her to the beach.

didn't allow enough fabric to play

ing ideas along the sidelines. I must

around with. Just when I'd get a

admit that during this exercise, I

great idea, I'd run out of that fabric.

drove off the shoulder sometimes."

I also had to substantially alter the j acket pattern, which was designed for heavy wool or fur."

Oops: "I aCCidentally sliced into the j acket front as I made the pock-

Bird Ross is a Jiber artistfrom Madison, WI, who presents workshops national­ ly, and still sews with a classic 1950 Singer Featherweight.

Determine the style that best suits you.

N ancy Erickson : " I ' m a fash i o n sewe r, so

it's all about fabric and fit."


ancy's creative process: " I

Sources of design ideas: "I study

must get to 'know' the fabric,

major fashion designers' work, and

so I drape it near me as I work. By

often analyze how they might use a

touching it, I start to see precisely

fabric. For instance, in this exper­

what the garment should look like

iment, Donna Karan might do a

(in this case, I carried and studied

suit and sweater set (kind of like

the swatches as I jogged!). Then I

what I had in mind), Tom Ford at

select a fashion-oriented pattern

Gucci would design a long, slinky

and go to it. I know what works

dress in red j ersey, and Isaac

best on me and I don't deviate."

Mizrahi would use the gray linen

Reaction to these fabrics: "Why is there no black fabric? And how can a fashion sewer make a garment without a machine buttonhole? I wonder if Chanel had to do these things to get ahead."

She ruled out: "I don't use embel­ lishments or surface-design tech­ niques. I did consider but ruled out other garments, like a coatdress that could be worn over slacks."

Biggest challenge: "The 3-yd. limit forced me to stretch the fabric by using a contrast fabric for facings, scraps for pocket welts, and so on."

The experiment's 3-yd.-per-fabric

Nancy's final design: "I knew I

limit tested Nancy Erickson's plan

would make a suit with skinny

for skinny pants and a boxy jacket.

for a matched suit, but, with a little

pants for the speech (with serious

I recommend watching Style with

creative improvisation. she got her suit (Vogue 1 703, above) after all. A change of buttons, thanks to old-fashioned button pins (at right). accessorizes her suit for the fictional wedding. and the cardigan and camisole (her own design. at left) complete her beach outfit.

buttons) and for the wedding (with

Elsa Klensch (CNN, Saturdays at

dressy buttons). The diagonal ray­

10:30 a.m. EDT) to become aware

on needed extra body for the suit

of designers' styles."

jacket, so I fused interfacing to each piece (this also prevents wrinkling

If her garment-clesign process were a road trip: "I'm definitely on the

during travel). The pants close with

Interstate, but I'd like to see the

a large brass buckle (no button­

countryside when my schedule

holes, remember? ) . A red-j ersey

calms down someday."

cardigan ties around the shoulders

which means my clothes look like

Nancy Erickson designs suits in Chica­ go, IL, leads fashion-sewing workshops nationally, and is author of Do You Love What You Sew? ( 1995, Erick­

the outfits seen in fashion maga­

son Consulting, 2 1 W. Goethe St.,

zines. Suits are my forte."

Suite 18E, Chicago, IL 60610).

over a camisole top with the slacks for the beach."

Her specialty: "Fashion sewing,


1 997


Loosen up . Turn obstacles into opp ortunities.

Annette Ames: " I try to u se d ifficu lties as a reaso n to try new tec h n i q ues."


n nette's creative process: "I

ing. Tie-dyeing the jersey. A short­

review magazine clippings for

sleeved dress with detachable,

Historical costume often influences

ideas. List possibilities. Take fabric

glovelike sleeves for the wedding.

Annette Ames's

swatches everywhere. Study paint­

Biggest challenge: How to get the

ings for ideas on color and pat­

detail and charm of an impeccably

designs, as it did with the unusual trapunto

terns, which I develop by sketching,

tailored suit without the labor.

draping on a dress form, then fit­

As her ideas became clear: "I want­

ting as a muslin."

ed to design a woman's suit that

Reaction to these fabrics: "I loved

carries the power and prestige of a

them! "

man's, but with an 18th-century

She thought about, but nixed: Jer­

flared shape. Not costumey, but it

sey as ribbing. Twin-needle stitch-

could be a little 1969."

An nette's final design: For the speech, a suit with flared pants in the diagonal rayon with panels of gray linen. Fabric flowers made with the mustard cotton and fabric stiffener snap onto the j acket lapel (for the wedding) or the collar of a short red-j ersey dress (for the beach). A huge rain hat of gray linen, waterproofed with a fusible vinyl laminate for that pesky Eu­ ropean weather. Fake trapunto pockets on the jacket, which are merely stitched, padded rectangles. For actually carrying things, boxy cargo pockets in the lining.

Her specialty: Unique patterns that showcase fabrics in unexpected, irreverent ways, with a slight his­ torical influence.

If her garment..cJesign process were a road trip: "I take the scenic route, since I don't want to miss any fun. This occasionally leads me onto rocky, unpleasant side roads, but the scenery is great, eventually. My real desire is to drive where there are no roads at all."

Annette Ames l ives in Washington, DC, where she designs and teaches at Mary­ mount University.

pocket detail, and the 1 8th-century-inspired shaping of her suit jacket (far left) for the business meeting. The romantic fabric flowers (below) snap onto her suit for the wedding. The matte rayon jersey dress (left) is her casual beach costume. The hat. laminated on one side. becomes a stylish umbrella if it rains (hat, Vogue 8928; all other patterns are original designs).

Give yourself p ermission to play, explore, or even fail.

Diane Ericson: " I see the elem ents of a p roject l i ke this as

p u zz l e pieces th at I know wi l l fit together eventual ly. "


iane's creative process: "It all

the wedding, the vest reverses to

starts with the fabrics. Just

its light, bright cotton/linen gray­

seeing them next to each other

mustard side, stenciled with a bird

helps me get going, so I drape them

pattern (above), which can be worn

and move combinations around to

with a pareo of the mustard cot­

get a sense of what I could make.

ton under the vest at the beach

Once I get one good idea, things

(near right)."

come together."

Her specialty: Original pattern

Reaction to these fabrics: "Not

shapes that flatter all body shapes,

real jazzed about them. I wasn't so

with embellished surfaces: stencil­

sure this was a good idea after all."

ing, cording, and combinations of

This experiment was like: "Putting

rayon or wool pieced into random

together a puzzle without the pic­


ture on the box. Okay, well, it'll be

Sources of design ideas: Natural

interesting (and good for me) once

surroundings from the zoo to the

I start."

coastline inspire stencil images.

She thought about: "I kept won­

Books also provide ideas, such as

dering what the other folks were

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron


(Putnam Publishing, 1995), or Grif­

Biggest challenge: "Backsliding.

fin and Sabine: An Extraordinary

I'd think I was onto something,

Correspondence by Nick Bantock

but I'd talk myself out of it. I kept

(Chronicle Books, 1991).

rereading the instructions, looking

If her garment-design process were

for a loophole. Procrastination can

a road trip: "It starts as a winding

sometimes be motivating, but this

country road. As I get closer to my

really pushed the edge."

deadline, occasional passing lanes

Diane's final design: "When I sten­

appear, then eventually it becomes

ciled the fabrics, it all started to

a freeway."

happen. For the speech, I stenciled a bamboo design on a below-calf­ length vest of the drapey red jersey (at far right), which is worn over a long-sleeved navy-dot shirt. For

Diane Ericson lives in Carmel, CA, where she designs patterns and sten­ cils. She also presents workshops nationally.

Stenciling provided Diane Ericson with the creative starting point she was looking for in this experiment, and resulted in an elegant two-sided vest. The "serious" version above is perfect for the business meeting and wedding, while the lighter colors of the second side (at left) go to the beach. (Torii pattern vest and stencils, available from Diane at PO Box 7404, Carmel, CA 9 3 92 1 . )

june/j u ly

1 997


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N ate s EXH I B ITS

fabric. A list of books on subjects

ican QUilter's Society, 1993). Block­

related to the history of textiles and

Base stands alone as a source for

interesting people and places, special

American Textile

the museum's exhibits is avail­

block designs and cutting tem­

H istory M useum

able from the museum bookstore

plates, or can be used to expand

products, confer­

After a two-year hiatus the Ameri­

(American Textile History Muse­

the block library in EQ3. Block­

ences, organizations, and important

can Textile History Museum, for

um, 491 Sutton St. , Lowell, MA

Base is an excellent program for

years the primary research center

01854; 508-441-0040).

the computer novice or for the

Here's the place to share news about

developments in the

for scholars studying the Ameri­

world of sewing and

can textile industry, has reopened

needlework-or just

its doors in a renovated mill build­

to sound off. Write to:



ing in historic Lowell,



quilter who doesn't need the over­


all quilt-design features of EQ3. It isn't possible to dive into these programs without first studying

place of the American Industrial

The Electric Quilt

the user's manuals, which are writ­

Revolution and the country's textile

Holy smokin' rockets! It's hard to

ten in plain, warm-hearted English

industry. The move to the spacious

maintain j ournalistic reserve in a

and organized in a series of brief

S. M ain St., PO Box 5 506, Newtown, CT

facility permitted curators to gath­

review of The Electric Quilt Ver­

lessons that easily guide you

06470-5 506;

er the museum's sizable collection

sion 3 . 0 quilt-design software,

through each feature in the pro­

or via e-mail:

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dubbed EQ3 ( for Windows only;

gram. And when you have a ques­

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$ 1 10 plus $5 S&:H; The Electric

tion, technical support is available


hibits and educational programs

Quilt Company, 1039 Melrose St.,

from real people who enjoy quilts

for the public. Exhibits include vi­

Bowling Green, OH 43402; 800-

as much as you do. EQ3 and Block­

gnettes illustrating the phases of

356-4219), and The Electric Quilt

Base are solidly written computer

textile production from fiber to

Company's new offering BlockBase

programs that don't annoy and

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Two things impress me about EQ3

error messages. Some late-model

and BlockBase: what they do and

color printers require coaxing be­

how easy they are to use.

fore they'll print from EQ3, but the

EQ3 is a quilt maker's electronic

technical-support people at The

design wall that allows you to cre­

Electric Quilt Company are aware

ate your own quilt block or select

of these printer idiosyncrasies and

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can easily help you make the re­

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blocks in different shades, colors, and fabric prints, laid out in every possible quilt-top arrangement, borders included-all with a few clicks of a mouse. As well, you can decide on the desired finished di­

Of qui lts, buttons,

mensions for a block, then print

and kitties

cutting templates for each piece in

Free-motion quilting and embroi­

the block (including seam allow­

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ances). Did I mention that EQ3

with the Quilt Sew Easy tool ($22

will also calculate the yardage that

ppd./pair; Heavenly Notions, PO

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Box 82524, Portland, OR 97282;

BlockBase is an electronic library

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of 3,500 quilt blocks with historic

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on textile production from fiber to garment traces the development of the U.S. textile industry from the 1 800s to the present, and includes the 1 9th-century dresses above.

references drawn from Barbara

foam-pad "feet," the Quilt Sew Easy

Among the permanent exhibits at the newly reopened




Brackman's authoritative Encyclo­

surrounds a section of a quilt sand­

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01997 Stretch & Sew, IncJAIl rights reserved

The Elnapress Sapphire uses 1 00 pounds of steam-heated pressure to smooth out wrinkles - even in 1 00% cotton or linen fabrics, just like your dry cleaner. So you'll not only see professional results, you'll get to keep them too. For more information about the Elnapress Sapphire or for the Elna dealer nearest you, call 1 -800-848-ELNA. In Canada, call 1 -800-263-231 2.

A woy"rJae l n a

j u n e/ j u l y 1 9 9 7


N ate

( co n t i nued)

ric is guided under the machine

so it's wise to check the thread

and spaced apart at the other. The

needle. The flexible plastic lets you

count before using a fabric in quilts

Simplest use of this trim is along a

hold the fabric slightly taut, in the

or other frequently washed items.

straight edge, like at a cuff. For an

same way the hands are used to

(A high thread count with min­

insert like the featured yoke, you'll

"hoop" the fabric while stitching,

imal sizing indicates a higher­

need to create a template from your

but with much less fatigue.

quality fabric. Hold the fabric up to

pattern on which to "build" the

a light and observe how closely wo­

yoke. Copy and flip the upper part

ven and fine the threads appear.)

of your bodice pattern and set-in

S&H; 10- 1536 W.

Toni Toomey is an associate editor

plate, then repeat for the back.

12 Ave. , Vancouver,


Is your button box full of magic? Diane Jarvis Jones, author of Mary



(Can$ 1 2 . 95 plus

BC V6J 2El, Canada;

a folded towel, pin one spoke at center front at the neck edge and

own admission not much of a sewer, had a

in Seattle, WA.

With the front template pinned to


604-731-3453) might say it is. Jones, by her

Printed cats galore are available from Fabulous Feline Fabrics

sleeve to produce a full front tem­

S EWI N G Details on

base of the insert. Then pin a spoke to the right and one to the left,

In Detail

dream one night about a

The dramatically embellished yoke

and pin several more spokes along

button blanket. Years lat-

on the wedding gown on the back

the base. Then pin the neckline

er she "dared to sew" her

cover is made of hand-sewn, self­

edge of these spokes, overlapping

dream, making 16 button

fabric, folded-bias-tube spokes that

them as needed to fit (the collar

blankets to illustrate her

radiate from the neckline opening

will cover the overlap). Using but­

whimsical children's story

and are attached to a Similarly

tonhole twist, join the spokes with

of a young girl named Mi­

made fold-over collar. The yoke

simple, twisted thread bars that

mi and her ailing Aunt Mary, who

on the size 4-6 dress shown has

graduate in length and are spaced about \4 in. apart.

didn't let her own impending death

33 l-in.-wide spokes j oined by

prevent her from teaching Mimi

twisted thread bars of graduating

gentle lessons about love and life.

length. The collar has 21 spokes,

the work and folded towel over,

This book would be good to read to

and each sleeve has 8.

pin the back template in place, and

a child, and might inspire you to

To make the basic spoke, sew and

continue building the yoke, leav­

turn bias tubing the doubled length

ing the two center-back spokes

Looking for prints with cat mo­

of the spoke plus a ){-in. seam al­

open for a closure. To reduce bulk,

tifs? Fabulous Feline Fabrics from

lowance ( 1 5 in. for the neckline in­

clip away the top inch or so of over­

Blythe Designs (free catalog; PO

sert, 4 in. for the collar, and 2 � in.

lapped tubing on the wrong side,

Box 17506, Seattle, WA 98107; 206-

for the cuff trim). Steam the tubing

whipstitching the cut edges to the

789-6772) offers one-stop shop­

flat, positioning the seam out of

remaining Single-layer fabric.

currently available (see the sam­ ples at left). Big cats, little cats, wild and tame cats, white-on-white cats, brightly colored cats, kittens and cartoons-Fabulous Feline Fabrics has about 100 in all. A complete


After completing the front, turn

make a button blanket of your own.

ping for just about every cat print


¥ in.

away at the base. Similarly place

Next, create a fold-over collar of

1. Double-fold tubing as shown.


2. Slipstich closed.


spokes joined by �-in. thread bars at the bottom edge and overlapped to fit the neckline. Trim excess bulk at the neckline as for the insert. Seam and trim the bodice and col­ lar; cover the raw edges with a fold­

set of 4-in.-square swatches of all

sight near one edge. Double-fold

ed bias strip slipstitched in place.

current yardage is $5, refundable

the tubing as above, steam, and

Edgestitch the base of the insert to

with a $ 15 purchase. This collec­

slipstitch the spoke's center closed.

the bodice, and finish with a button

tion of cat prints has been assem­

The embellishment's "sunburst"

bled from a variety of sources and

effect depends on placing the

includes a range of fabric qualities,

spokes close together at one edge

and thread loop at back neck. Chris Timmons is editor of


Exquisite rifrbobonwork m master artist C:;(()anda de!n11'uing

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1 997


Q uick to Ma ke If you're busy and have only limited time to sew, try these quick-to­

S EAS H E L LS TO W EAR by Judy Atwell

make ideas. The treasures you bring back from those warm vacation walks on the beach don't have to collect dust on a win­ dowsill. U sing a sewn fabric b ezel, you can mount a large seashell, flat rock,

natural shape to adapt the bezel

belt of nonraveling Ultrasuede, like

or other beach or woods find to

pattern to fit it. Qr,.. fOLa smaller

the one above, you really don't have

wear on a belt or bag, or even a

treasure, you can stitch a thread

to finish the edges of the bezel. I de­

vest. It's easy to draw around the

bezel from several rounds of but­

cided to sew a finished seam at the

tonhole stitches.

inner edge but not the outer one, so I included an inner seam allowance

Which treasures work best? Choose a shell that's fairly

bag with seashells

or other small objects you find during beach or woods walks. The fabric bezel at top anchors a large shell, while the delicate thread bezel at near right works for small treasures.



Trace your draWing to make a pattern and cut it out of two layers

flat on the back, so it will lie

of Ultrasuede, with right sides

smoothly on the surface.

together. For accurate stitching,

If it has a domed

sew the bezel's inner edge with the

shape on top , like

paper pattern pinned on top, using

the shell on the belt

short machine stitches. Clip the

above, you'll probably

seam allowance every � in. , turn,

want to drill four to six

and press; then sew decorative

tiny holes near the edge

stitching on the bezel, if you want.

(I use a Dremel drill with a

The bezel is now ready to sew to

no. 80 bit) and hand-sew

Embellish a simple belt or

on my drawing.

the belt by hand.

the shell to the surface

If you're using a bezel fabric that

for security. On a flat­

ravels, you'll need to add a \4-in.

ter shape, the bezel

seam allowance to the bezel's out­

alone may be enough

er edge also. After stitching the

to securely hold the

bezel's inner edge through the pa­

shell in place.

per, unthread the needle and stitch again along the outer edge to create

A sewn fabric bezel After drawing

a series of holes to serve as a gUide for a foldline. Fold the seam allow­ ance of the lower layer under along

around the shell

the holes and baste, then turn the

on plain paper,

upper seam allowance under and

draw lines inside and

hand-sew the bezel to the belt, over

outside the shape, as

the shell.

shown in the drawing on the facing

If the bezel is too tight, warm it

page, to create the bezel width and

with a blow-dryer or light bulb,

seam allowances. If you make a

stretching the Ultrasuede to fit the

M A K E A B E Z E L PATT E R N Trace around the seashell. then draw lines about !hi in. away for both the inner and outer finished edges of the bezel. The inner edge can be a "straight curve " or an undulating line. Mark the shell and bezel at top and bottom. Add a !hi-in. seam allowance to the inner edge, and, if using a fabric that ravels, to the outer edge as well. Bezel outer edge

shell's shape. If it's too loose, run a

'I.-in .-long buttonhole stitches

double-threaded needle through

around it on the fabric. Now sew a

the inner edge and pull up the ends

second round of buttonhole stitch­

to tighten, then tie the ends se­

es through the horizontal loops of

curely and bury them inside the

the first row's stitches. Work the

bezel. Each of the belt's smaller

third round the same way, pulling

shell "beads" is made of two shells

the stitches tight around the shell to

glued back to back, then strung on

hold it in place. Tie off and bury

a narrow strip of Ultrasuede that

the thread.

meanders across the belt and is tacked in place by hand.


Inner seam allowance

You can embellish your design with other small beach finds, drilled or wrapped and sewn in

For a quick thread bezel

place to create an interesting com­

To create a delicate thread bezel

position. You'll keep those vaca­

to anchor a small shell, rock, or

tion memories alive every time you

other find, like the sand dollar on

wear your treasures.

the bag on the faCing page, use several strands of embroidery floss

Optional outer seam allowance

Judy Atwell of Aptos, CA, designs

or other thread. Hold the shell in

and writes about crafts. jewelry, and

position while you sew a line of

wearable art.


Shell outline

A neat hidden closure My belt has an adjustable hook-and-Ioop-tape closure hidden inside the belt's back. To add a similar closure

Hook-and-Ioop tape. pile side

Hook-and-Ioop tape, hook side

to your belt pattern (this one is Kwik-Sew 2 1 1 9), add

3 in . to the right end of the belt. Stitch a narrow tube

of fabric to serve as a belt loop

(4 in. long for my

Belt, WS

1 �-in.-wide belt), then butt the ends and hand-sew to join securely. To complete the closure, slide the loop onto the

Fabric loop

finished left end of the belt, fold the end under about 2 in ., and sew securely. On the inside of the finished right end, hand-sew a 2-in.-long piece of the hook side of 1 �-in.-wide tape; leave a 2-in. space and add a 5-in .-long piece of the loop side of the tape. To wear the belt, slide the right end through the loop and fasten it underneath.-J.A.


1 997



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1 997


Books Here's our choice of the best of the latest books for sewers and embel­ lishers. Check with


at the outset to be ever in search of the most time-efficient path to a luxurious result. The handbag just

If you're the sort who can read a

mentioned is the closest the text

how-to book like a novel, these are

comes to presenting a proj ect;

your local bookstore

good times-every one of the books

again, King makes it clear that he

or, if you want,

on my desk for review this issue

takes the same approach, and uses

order directly from

has the feel of an instant classic.

the same techniques, whether his

the publisher or

Each is an important contribution

product is apparel, home furnish­

distributor, whose address is provided.

from a consummate master crafts­

ings, or crafts.

person. Don't miss them!

As in his often-hilarious stage presentations, King's puckish per­

Designer Techniq ues

sonality and distinctive taste is al­

book for her students and fans to

Designer-sewer Kenneth D. King

ways in full view, and always part

pore over into the wee hours. With

gets top billing at sewing shows

of the fun. But if you're completely

The Artful Ribbon (C&T Publish­

and workshops around the country

new to his work, don't let a curso­

ing, PO Box 1456, lafayette, CA

94549; 1996; softcover, $ 2 5 . 9 5 ;

not just because he's a designer

ry run-through or the book's off­

"for the Stars," or because he's an

beat fashion photos fool you into

1 4 4 pp.), all that has changed, at

entertaining speaker. The fact is,

thinking that the information isn't

least in part.

his designs are outrageous, his

widely applicable, or even that

craftsmanship is breathtaking, his

there's more style here than sub­

inal work have long wished for a

techniques are innovative, and he

stance. King's extensive experience

catalog of it, Kling's fondest dream

loves to share. All these qualities

with "difficult" fabrics like velvet,

has been to acknowledge the skills

are out in full force in his Design­

satin, and chiffon, and his innova­

and ingenuity of the unsung rib­ bonworkers of the past, whose dis­

er Techniques ( Sterling Publish­

tive use of underlayers, makes for a

ing Co./ Sewing Information Re­

must-read opening chapter, and his

coveries have filtered down to us

sources, 387 Park Ave. S, New York,

painstaking descriptions of how

uncertainly through long out-of­

to work magic with modern-day

print pamphlets and crumbling


10016; 1996; hardcover, $27.95;

1 28 pp.), which unstintingly elab­

presser feet only hint at the im­

magazines. Accordingly, every

orates virtually every one of his sig­

portance of this book for all sewers

example in this stunningly pho­

nature piped or rolled edge and

who value polish and precision

tographed book is vintage, and vir­

seam finishes, and dissects in well­

over high output, no matter what

tually every technique, lovingly

their taste.

illustrated in pen and ink, is Kling's

illustrated detail his tools and techniques



While those who admire her orig­

recreation of some venerable pro­

for interfacing, seam­

The Artfu l Ribbon

cess for simulating flower forms­

ing, pocket making,

If you're among the growing ranks

from stem to stamen-in fabric.

shoulder padding and

of the ribbon-crazed, the name

From the technical tips for caring

shaping, tassel mak­

Candace Kling is probably a house­

for and rescuing ribbons and rib­

ing, beading, and even

hold word. In both her acclaimed

bonwork, to the extenSively anno­

handbag making, com­

workshops and her astoundingly

tated resource list, it's all here, for

plete with drafting in­

original ribbon sculptures, Kling

the beginner to the expert, and un­

structions for a bag of

has been alerting the world to the

folds with a vivid familiarity-"hold

your own design.

power and possibilities of the once­

[the pleats] with enough pressure

The emphasis of the

disappearing art of ribbon manip­

to change the color of your finger­

book is on machine

ulation for nearly two decades (see

tips"-and a flowerlike delicacy that,

and serger work, not

Threads No.

12, pp. 58-63 and back

for me at least, makes it irresistible

endless hand sewing;

cover, for examples of her work).

reading. If there must be only one,

King declares himself

But, until now, there's never been a

this is it, ribbon-lovers.

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1 997


B oo k

(conti n u ed)

THE ART OF Manipulating Fabric

Colette Wolff

more than ten years experiment­

municate your visual message,

ing to create the examples and pro­

from "trendy" to "classic." You'll

vide the how-tos for this tome, and

see how to choose the right color

the best part is, the resulting fab­

for the ri.ght deSign.

ricopia is inspiring, not exhaust­

Three examples in the form of a

ing. If you can look at a Single chap­

quiz: (a) Which color is so over­

ter in this book without thinking,

powering that a designer shouldn't

"Oooh! I'd like to try that!," then

use it by itself, but instead add at

p erhaps you need a rest cure.

least one additional strong prima­

When you're ready to re-enter the

ry color to balance it in a garment?

world and get busy, I can't imagine

(b) Which color looks best in cloth­

a better place to start looking for in­

ing with strong shapes, but will virtually obliterate most details? (c) Which color(s) combine with

David Page of

The Art of Manipulating Fabric In the foreword to Colette Wolfrs



Co ffi n Threads.

spiration, if you need it, and for information, once you're on fire.

purple to create a rich, urban, de­ is an associate editor


monumental The Art of Manipu­

Fashion and Color

lating Fabric (Krause Publications

You have a passion for creating

( formerly published by Chilton

great clothes from great fabrics,

Book Co.), 700 E. State St., lola,

right? And you realize that your

WI 54990; 888-457-2873; 1996;

color choices have a strong impact

softcover, $29.95; 312 pp.), her ed­

on the success of your designs,

itor, Robbie Fanning, says, "A sem­

right? And, because mistakes are

inal book like this one comes along

expensive, you'd like to better hear

only once or twice in an editor's

the "voice" of color, right?

lifetime," and a 3 0-second flip­

Some people "know" color, how

through of the book should be

to feature it, how to combine it,

enough to convince any sewer that

and which fabrics look best in

this is not a biased overstatement.

which colors. Using Fashion and

Using hundreds of expertly shot

Color (Rockport Publishers, Inc.,

black-and-white photos of manip­

146 Granite S t . , Rockport, MA

ulated muslin, extensive process

01966- 1299; 508-546-9590; 1995;

drawings, and a detailed text, Wolff

softcover, $ 16.99; 160 pp.) by Mary

has provided sewers, designers,

Garthe as your reference, you'll

quilters, embellishers, fiber artists,

know what they know.

cidedly unmatronly look: brown, black, or hunter green? (Garthe's answers: (a) vivid blue; (b) black; (c) any of the three, espeCially made up in matte j ersey.)

The illustrations and photo­ graphs (every page is filled with

sculptors, and anyone else even re­

Each chapter, which follows the

luscious color) create much more

motely interested in pleating, tuck­

sequence of the color spectrum

than a scholarly text on color the­

ing, wrinkling, ruffling, flouncing,

from primaries to secondaries,

ory. Fashion and Color is a smart

stuffing, gathering, darting, smock­

then on to neutrals and black-gray­

user's guide for amateurs and pro­

ing, crushing, cording, and quilting

whites, explains a color's impact,

fessionals alike who wish to speak

with the (so far) ultimate source

i.ncluding some faSCinating histor­

"color" with fluency.

book for textural effects in fabric.

ical facts, with how-tos for creat­

If this sounds like the better part

ing speCific effects. Garthe spells

Susan B. Allen, an associate editor of

of a life's work, believe! Wolff spent

out the combinations that com-


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VA) Also coming up in 1 99711 998:


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1 997


Calendar Here's a roundup of upcoming events of interest. Listings are free but must have international, national, or multi­ state appeal, as well as dates, deadlines, full addresses, and


Canada Au Courant: Contemporary Canadian


Fashion. Till Jan. 4. Royal Ont. Mus.,

Con temporary Quilt Artists of San

100 Queen's Park, Toronto, ON. New Quilted Works by Dorothy Cald­


well. June I -Jul. 5. Kennedy Gallery,

to L. Fowler, 464 Vermont Pl., Colum­

3919 Townsgate Dr., San Diego.

148 Main St. E., North Bay, ON.

Colorado Then



Now: Another View. Vintage

contemporary counterparts.

Deadline for the

Mus., 1 1 1 1 Washington Ave., Golden.

October/November 'Paisley ': Persia to Paris. History of

Atheneum, 600 Main St., Hartford.

Illinois Design Traditions. TillJul. 27. Art Insti­

tute of Chicago, I I I S. Michigan Ave.

Kentucky 20th-Century Quilting, 1 900-1 970, till

Northwest Quilt Art, Four-Block Quilts,

June 28.

till Sept.

Jul. 5-Sept. 1 3 .

Mus. o f the American Quilter's Society, 2 1 5 Jefferson St., Paducah.

Massachusetts IKAT: Splendid Silks of Central Asia.

19th-century resist-dye weaving in tex­ tiles. Till Aug. 24. Mus. of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. , Boston.

New York art quilts. June 1-30. Jericho Public Library, 1 Merry Ln., Jericho.

Ohio Art Quilt Network Suitcase Quilts. Jul.

13-Aug. 31. Ohio Craft Mus. , 1665


Fifth Ave. , Columbus. Homestead Quilts.June 28-Aug. 3. Bob

Evans Farm, Rte. 588, Rio Grande. Quilt National. Till Sept. 1. Dairy Barn

Southeastern Ohio Cultural Arts Ctr. , 8000 Dairy Ln., Athens.

Pennsylvania Fiberart International '97. Jul. l l -Aug.

24. Pittsburgh Ctr. for the Arts, 6300


Society for Contemporary

Crafts, 2100 Smallman St., Pittsburgh.


Fashion Tour, June 17-22.

San Francisco Tour, Fashion Tour,


Aug. 5-10.

Sept. 9-16. Sew Many


Options Tours, 1 5942 S.E. Brooklyn

Resist dyeing; shibori; embroidery;

St., Portland, OR 97236; 503-761-6460.

Arrowmon t School of Arts

etc. One


two-week classes, June­

burg, TN 37738; 423-436-5860. Brookfield Craft Ctr. Contemporary

embroidery, June 6-8; dyeing wool, June 14-15; etc. PO Box 122, Brook­ Coupeville Arts Ctr. Shibori, Aug. 2-3;

Visions in France: Provence, Fabric Printing


Design. Sept. 12-19. Hori­

zons, 108-P N. Main St., Sunderland,


01375; 413-665-0300.


Appalachian Quilting Party. Work­

immersion dyeing, Aug. 4-7. Whidbey

shops. Boone, NC, June 1 1 - 14 . Jan

Island, WA. Box 171A, Coupeville, WA

Ehmke, 321 Delmar St., Boone, NC

98239; 360-678-3396.

28607; 704-262-1982.

Couture Tips for Home Sewing. W/Ken­

Eastern Great Lakes Fiber Conference.

neth D. King. Salem, VA, Sept. 27. 540-

Lewiston, NY,Jul. 18-20. Pattie Lamb,

362-9598 after 6 p.m. EDT.

9627 Cobblestone Dr., Clarence, NY

Haystack Mountain. Fibers w/Sonya

14031-1575; 716-759-0628.

Clark, June 15-27; surface design w/

Fabric Fantasies Festival. Shows/dem­

Piper Shepard, June 29-Jul. 1 1 ; quilts

os, wearable art, etc. June 6-7. Bazaar

w/MichaelJames, Aug. 17-29. Box 518,

del Mundo, State Historic Park, 2754

Deer Isle, ME 04627; 207-348-2306.

Calhoun St., San Diego; 619-296-3161.

Horizons. Resist dyeing, June 14-16;

Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society Get­

shibori, Aug. 7-10. Williamsburg,


away. Seminar. Bowling Green,


108-P N. Main St. , Sunderland, MA

June 1 1 - 1 3 . LSASE ( 6 4 ¢ ) to Janie

01375; 413-665-0300.

Williams, 4509 Thornbridge Ln., Lex­

Individual Pattern Fitting

Signature Quilt Artists. Contemporary

Fifth Ave.


bus, OH 43201.

field, CT 06804; 203-775-4526.

Rooted in Chicago: 50 Years of Textile



Linda Fowler. Aug. 4-14. SASE (55¢)

L.A. Film

Aug. Registrar, PO Box 567, Gatlin­

Connecticut paisley pattern. Till Aug. 3. Wadsworth


Crafts of the

Highlands. Sponsored by Nancy Crow

Diego. Till June 30. Carmel Valley

Jul. I -Aug. 30. Rocky Mountain Quilt



Guatemala: People

Branch, San Diego Public Library,

phone numbers.

issue is July 1 0.






4051 5 ; 606-272-5395.

W/Mary Ellen Flury. St. Paul, MN,

Maine Quilts. Waterville, ME,Jul. 25-

June 25-29. Stitches, 6 12-288-0068.

27. LSASE (64¢) to Maine Quilts, Box

Mendocino Art Ctr. Color

5405, Augusta, ME 04332-5405.



for beaded jewelry, June 16-20; sur­

National Quilting Assn. Show. Syra­

face design, Jul. 21-25 , Jul. 28-Aug. 1 ;

cuse, NY, June 26-29. $ 1 .50 to NQA

surface design for fashion, Aug. 4-8,

Show, Box 266, Pennellville, NY 13132.

1 1 - 1 5 ; etc. Box 765, Mendocino, CA

Northeast Quilt Festival. Cromwell, CT,

95460; 800-653-3328.

Jul. 24-27. Ron Gattinella, NE Quilters

Nature Printing. Techniques for fine

Assn., 860-633-072 1 .

art, clothing, fabrics. Sitka, AK,]une 2-

Quilting-in-the-Valley. Educational sem­

6.]. Holmgren, Nature Print. Soc., 1130

inar/workshops. Warwick,

Molly Rd., Fairbanks, AK 99709-6301.

28-0ct. 1. QV '97, 29 Jones Rd., War­

Soc. of VT Craftsmen. Bobbin lace,

wick, NY 10990; 914-986-3680.



quilting, etc. June-Aug. Fletcher Farm

Quilts on the Waterfront. MN Quilters


School, RR 1, Box 1041, Ludlow, VT


05149; 802-228-8770.

12-14. $ 1 to Judy Timm, Dept. T, 9139

show. Duluth, MN, ]une

Split Rock Arts. Week-long: surface de­

Congdon Blvd. , Duluth, MN 55804.

sign, quilting, etc. Jul. 1 3-Aug. 1 6 .

Vermont Quilt Festival. Northfield, VT,

Dept. (T), Univ. of MN, 306 Wesbrook

Jul. 18-20. $2 to Vermont Quilt Festi­

Hall, 77 Pleasant St. SE, Minneapolis,

val, PO Box 349-CAL, Northfield, VT

MN 55455; 6 12-624-6800.

05663; 802-485-7092.

M a rketp l a ce

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1 997



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BOHEMIAN BUTTONS. Exquisite glass buttons

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NG DRESSMAKING at home. Factory

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lished monthly. All styles i n five sizes. Includes: new user friendly pattern sheets: pink shaded patterns you can locate at a glance; snip n' sew patterns; easy patterns for beginners. American and European measurements. Send $ 1 5 for 3 issue trial subscrip­ tion to GLP International, Post Office Box 9868, En­ glewood, Nj 07631-6868 or call ( 2 0 1 ) 871-1010. http!/www.glpnews com/Crafts.html. SCARLETT O'HARA'S BARBECUE PARTY DRESS, HOOP SKIRT, A BURGUNDY DRESS, A GREEN PORTIERES DRESS, BONNIE'S BLUE RIDING HABIT PATTERNS AND MORE Brochure $ 2 .50. Pegee of Williamsburg, Patterns from Historie, Department T, Post Office Box 1 27, Williamsburg, VA 23187-0127 FASHION PATTERNS FOR THE BREASTFEEDING MOMI Great styles! Free Catalog EL Designs, Box 696T, Bluebell, UT 84007. 1-801-454-3350.



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POINT STUDIO. Owner wants to sell business or inventory of approximately 400 original designs with right to copy. Located in Southern CT For more information write to: Suite 188, 2 5- 1 3 Old Kings H ighway, Darien, CT 06820.



self addressed stamped envelope for catalog to AHI KIMONO, 4913 1 8 1 st Place SW, Dept. T, Lynnwood, WA 98037.


UNUSUAL FABR CS-Swimwear lycra, mesh knits.

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sewing patterns Catalog $2.00. Buckaroo Bobbins, Dept. TH, Post Office Box 95314, Las Vegas, NV 89193-5314 ELEGANT RETRO DRESSES FLATTERING to the modern figure. Send $4 for catalogue to Born

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SIZES. Large Variety BASKET WEAVING supplies Retail. Wholesale. Catalog $2.00. Royalwood Ltd., 5 1 7-TH Woodville Road, Mansfield, O H 44907. 1-800-5 26-1630. Fax: 419-526-1618.

r FR


Bridal laces and motifs. Patterns and fabrics for activewear, skating and dance costumes, drill team ensembles, swimsuits and lingerie. Large selection of lycras, tricots, powernets, glistenets, stretch laces, notions, underwires "push-up" bra cups and lots more ! ! I ! Catalogs w/Wholesale Price Lists: Regular Catalog-$3 00. Color swatches-$2.00. Bridal Lace Catalog-$3.00. LACELAND, P.O. Box 1 504, Sugarland, TX 77487- 1 504. ( 2 8 1 ) 983-5223 phone or Fax.


Again Clothing WA 98109.


PRICES. Large selection of manufacturer's fabrics. Tell us what you're looking for. Samples sent upon re­ quest. Lycra selection also available. Phone: ( 3 1 5 ) 793-0623. Feminine Touch Fabrics, 8 4 5 3 Seneca Turnpike, New Hartford, NY 1 3413.

PATTERNS FOR SQUARE DANCE and Western Wear-featuring SNAPS in 32 colors, FRINGE . . . many other items!! Send $2.00 for our Catalog. Aron's 8974 E. Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91775.

S. BOOKS. Lacemaking. Tatting Needlepoint. EmbrOidery. Much morel KNITTING YARNS. CROCHET THR


HISTORICAL FASHION DOLL PATTERNS-Fits Barbie. Send $4.50 for catalog LORD PERRY Histori­ cal Fashions-Dept. T, 6041 Sanford Drive, San jose, CA 9 5 1 23-4539

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More .. FREE Giant Catalog, Solo, P.O. Box 378 B, Foxboro, MA 02035.


D-DYED SILK RIBBONS, bias cut, 5 3 variegat­ ed colors, 5 widths. Call for sample card/brochure. Artemis 1-888-233-5187. STERLING NEEDLE THREADER. U.s $20.00 ppd. Internationally. Visa/Me. Thimbles by Tj . Lane, 9666 E . Riggs Road, STE 401-247, Sun Lakes, AZ 8 5 248, USA. (602) 895-27 7 l .


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NEW UNIQUE QUILT PATTERNS. 2 4 designs. Wholesale inquiries welcome. Catalog $3.00 refund­ ed with first order. All Sew Etc. Dept. TH, 1 1900 Mus­ tang Chase, Austin, TX 78727.


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1 997


Closu res Have comments you want to share about sewing or needlework? A

B I RTH O F A MILLINER by Claudia Lynch

funny or interesting

when I couldn't control even a nee­

"But Mom," I argued, "it's 70 de­

dle and thread that day? I realized

grees outside. Nobody else is wear­

that my only choice was to go for it,

ing a hat!" But there was no budg­

regardless of the consequences

ing her. "Okay," I said petulantly. "If

(years later, I heard anthropologist

I have to wear a hat, I'm wearing the hat I made."

story about your

The first garment I sewed that was

Margaret Mead articulate what I

embellishing or

meant to be worn by someone over

must have instinctively known that

So there I was, running around

quilting adventures? A page from your

1 2 in. tall was a hat. I was eight

day: "It is much easier to gain for­

outside in a skin-tight rain hat that

years old and already a pro at mak­

giveness than to gain permission").

fit like a bathing cap, with sweat

sketchbook we ought

ing doll clothes-all by hand-while

I got up on the chair, my feet bare­

running down my face. But could I

to see? Send it to: Closures,

my mother sat nearby at her treadle

ly reaching the treadle, and sewed

return home and switch to a more

sewing machine making clothes

my hat as fast as I could.

appropriate scarf or cap? Admit de­


S. Main St.,

for me. I wasn't allowed to use this

It was perfect! Well, the thread

PO Box 5 506,

"grown-up" machine but was actu­

was red on top and white on the

stayed out there for at least an hour

Newtown, CT

ally content to sculpt those tiny

bottom, and there were a few puck­

before feeling I could make a grace­

06470·5 506.

dresses with needle and thread.


ers. But the plastic wasn't ripped,

ful return home and free myself of

My doll-clothes fabric collection

and that was what mattered to me.

the torture of that hat.

consisted of old housedresses, torn

I pulled out the pins, turned the

trousers, and other salvaged items.

hat right side out, and tried it on.


Looking back, I think that the heat and pressure of that rain hat

So when I saw our old green­

Since I hadn't allowed anything

had a permanent physical effect on

plastic shower curtain sitting on

for seam allowances, the hat was

my brain, because I keep coming

top of the garbage can, it looked

skin tight, but the plastic "gave"

back to millinery in my sewing

to me like a potential doll raincoat.

enough so I could pull it onto my

career. Hats and headpieces have

I begged to rescue it for my stash.

head. I went to the kitchen to show

always held a fascination for

Inspired by the rainy March we


feat? Of course not. I stubbornly

off my creation, excited

me. Even when millinery

had that year, I decided to make

and proud and braced

was in my job descrip­

myself a rain hat out of part of the

for whatever punish­

tion, making hats felt

shower curtain. I started snipping

ment might befall me

like "playing hooky"

into the plastic, pinning it together,

for using the sewing

[rom any kind o f

and fitting it to my head. I didn't re­

machine without per­

alize at the time that spontaneous

mission or supervi­

draping was quite an advanced


"real" work. What I learned


from that first proj ect

technique for a child my age to pull

there was none. I was

formed the cornerstone of

out of the clear blue sky.

praised for my efforts,

my approach to all kinds

When I was satisfied with the

congratulated on my

of millinery: Keep an eye

shape of my pattern pieces, I start­

results, and thereafter

out for unusual materials.

ed sewing them together by hand.

given free rein over the

Put them together in a

But with every stitch, no matter

sewing machine.

way that, while maybe not

how loosely or gently I thought I

The next day, the

the approved method, is

was pulling, the thread became a

rain stopped, the sun

the way that works for

tiny razor blade and split the plas­

came out, and the air

them. And above all else­

tic, ruining the work and forCing

warmed up. I was run­

just go for it!

me to cut new pieces. Before long,

ning out to play when I

I was down to the last scrap. The

was stopped in my tracks


next try would have to be my last.

by those words every kid


Lynch OH. "/ Can

of Rocky

is the author

I looked up at the forbidden ma­

hates to hear on a lovely


chine. Would Mom let me use it?

spring day: "It's only

You! (Harpagon Produc­

I wondered. But why would she,

March! Put on a hat!"


Do" Veils-So



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Threads magazine 71 july 1997  
Threads magazine 71 july 1997