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december 1999 /j a n u a r y 2000 number


Sew to the Next Level Here are tips to boost your ski l l s , whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced sewer BY CELESTE PERCY


An ordinary ironing board becomes

For best

a mUltipurpose work surface when you

bets in fall/winter

build this handy extension

patterns, see p.

Expand Your Pressing Area





The Elegant Mitered Vent A quick pattern adjustment transforms a standard sleeve vent into a bu lkless, tailored one BY JUDY BARLUP


Load Up on Cargo Pockets From oversized patch to pleated to expandable bel l ows , learn to d raft and sew this popular pocket style BY PATRICIA MOYES Find out how to update your wardrobe on p.

fit & fabric


Fabric and Design: A Machine-Embroidered Marriage For great results, pair the right design and fabric. Here are guidelines for embroidering fabrics, from sheers to corduroy. BY LlNDEE GOODALL


Sewing Lycra Blends Puzzled by wovens and knits featuring a touch of this springy fiber? Getting the most from these fabrics is surprisingly simple. BY SANDRA BETZINA

Have trouble pressing yardage? You'll f i n d help on p . 50.

,\.ďż˝ &7


on cover: Embroider lightweight fabrics-even chiffon-and



keep them fluid? Turn to

Revisiting the Rectangle


36 to find out how.

Photo: Sloan Howard

A look at fashion's fascination with uncut lengths of draped fabric-past, present, and future BY LAURA HOTCHKISS BROWN


A Conversation with Kaffe Fassett This multifaceted designer and his quilting partner, Liza Prior Lucy, talk about collaboration , color, and designing quilts BY CHRISTINE TIMMONS


Textures: From Photo to Fabric The real world offers endless visual stimulation. With a l ittle ingenuity, you can transfer the excitement onto fabric. BY LOIS ERICSON




Fitting pants,

patch pocketspro and con





Garment sizing


Pleats, padded work



Pattern Review




Removing and reducing

shoulder pads

Best bets for fall/winter

Rock-and-roll fashion

exhibit, fitting products


Books Fashion in Detail from the 17th and 18th Centuries


Index Issues 81-86



Choose the correct pattern size




Sewing Success

Back Cover

Charles James gown Bring the texture around you onto your garments. See p. 70.

Letters r

We welcome your

Fitting pants

comments, criticisms,

Karen Howland's comments about

advice, and ideas.

fitting pants in issue No. 84 (pp.

Letters may be

26-28) were great, but I disagree

edited for brevity

on one point: For best fit, I think

and clarity.

both the center-front and -back

Please write to:

seams need to be on grain. Her so­

Threads Letters, 63 S. Main St., PO Box 5506,

lution to the reader's problem was to reduce the waist by taking in 1 in.

"" '. I , ,1 k " \. ... I \ ll,.' \t ,I J• �, :I ��� ,�\ • I ;I.I t �� ,•, \, I . ,J

,. ,1 _"-. .-





Christine Timmons

Art Director Catherine Cassidy

Senior Editor David Page Coffin

Associate Editor

less the seam should angle.

Laura White

Assistant Editors

at center back, creating a "dart" on

Because the alterations described

that seam, and taking it off grain. A

in the article referred to ready-to­

better solution would be to add to

wear pants with a welt pocket on

or via e-mail:

the existing back darts and/ or add

one hip, deepening the darts was

another back dart, and take the rest

not possible. For my body, taking

out as a dart at the side seams. I

in the center-back seam from the

have a very small waist, and taking

waist through the hip area gave

excess fabric out of center back

smoother results. But if more than


skews the pants legs off grain and

2 in. needed to be taken in, I would

john Lively

causes extra fabric to bunch under

have looked elsewhere-the side

Circulation Manager

my bottom. If there's no dart at cen­

seam, front darts, or pleats-to take

Circulation Planner

ter back, the legs fall smoothly.

in some of the amount. The im­

Christine Rosato

portant thing is to take in the waist

Advertising Manager

Newtown, CT


Thanks, too, for the wonderful in­ sights into fitting pants that Threads has had over the years. Creating

where the adjustment is needed. When determining where to ad­

one's own "back crotch curve" with

just for a smaller waist, keep an eye

a flexible curve (No. 55, pp. 46-51),

on the side seam. It should follow a

the best tip so far, and the "crotch­

straight path up the body. Start by

o-meter" (No. 18, pp. 32-35) have

pinching in the excess at the side

solved numerous problems.

seams. If no change is needed at

Karen Meyer

Editorial Secretary Nancy Nelle Farmer

Contributing Editors Susan B. Allen, Linda Lee, Karen Morris

Deborah Curry johnston

Ellen Saracino

National Account Manager Carol Gee

Account Manager Gail Slifkin

Sr. Advertising Coordinator Nancy Clark

Advertising Secretary Marjorie Brown

Threads Books &: Videos:

the hips, take in some at the side seam, some at the front darts or

jolynn Gower

Karen Howland replies: Getting the

pleats, and the remainder in the

Assistant Editor

best fit requires looking at the

back, either at the darts, if possible,

needs of the individual body. Some

or in the center-back seam.

Acquisitions Editor

Sarah Coe Threads: (ISSN: 0882-7370) is published bimonthly by The Taunton Press, Inc., Newtown. CT 06470-5506. Telephone

grain; others benefit [rom having a

Sewing-show addendum

bias cut to this seam. The back

As a show organizer, I was happy to

seam on pants, however, should

see in No. 85 (p. 74) a list of sewing

have a bias cut to both allow more

and craft shows around the coun­

movement in the back and to help

try. I'd like to add the Creative In­

shape the fabric over the curve of

spiration exposition to the list, pro­

the derriere. On skirts, the center­

duced by ProShow, Inc. In its

back seam should be cut on the

fourth year, this show will be held

straight grain, but pants should

March 30-April 1 in San Antonio,

have some dart control included

Texas. For a free brochure, visit our

in this seam. The more shape to

Web site, or call

the derriere, the more angled the


seam, and the flatter the rear, the


Deborah Surprenant

Associate Art Director

-Ann Turley Dreith, Houston, Texas

bodies do need the front seam on


Mary Ray, Celeste Sheets

Copy/Production Editor

-Joyce Perhac, ProShow, Inc.

(203) 426-8171. Periodicals postage paid at Newtown. CT 06470 and at additional mailing offices. GST paid registration #123210981. U.S. distribution by Curtis Circulation Company. 730 River Road. New Milford. NJ 07646-3048 and Eastern News Distributors. Inc.. One Media Way. 12406 Route 250. Milan. OH 44846-9705. Subscription Rates: U.S. and possessions. $29.95 for one year. $49.95 for two years. $69.95 for three years; outside the U.S. and possessions. $36 for one year. $62 for two years. $88 for three years (in U.S. dollars. please). Single copy. $6.00. Single copies outside the U.S. and possessions. $7.00. Postmaster: Send address changes to

Threads. .•

Main St

The Taunton Press. Inc.. 63 South P.O. Box 5506. Newtown. CT

06470-5506. Printed in the U.S.A.

SILKS Velvets


HOW TO CONTACT US: Threads 63 5506, 06470-5506 (203) 426-8171

The Taunton Press,


South Main St., P.O. Box

Newtown, CT



Editorial :

and Much More

To contribute an article, give a tip, or ask a question, contact


at the address above or:


(800) 283-7252. ext. 523


(203) 426-3434


For subscription inquiries, you can:

• • •

Visit our subscriber service section at:


www.threadsmagazin E-mail Call our customer support center: To report an address change, inquire about an order, or solve a problem, call:

• •• www

252(T) State Street Los Altos, CA 94022 (800) 722-SILK (800) 221-SILK in Calif. Tel: (650) 948-8611 Fax: (650) 948-3426

Customer Service:

web site:

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(800) 283-7252. ext. 265 Mailing List : Occasionally w e make our subscribers' names and addresses available to responsible companies whose products or services we feel may be of some interest to you. Most of our subscribers find this to be a helpful way to learn about useful resources



founded 1884 The Board of Trustees of Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science is proud to announce that the College was recently granted status as a university by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and on July 13, 1999, changed its name to Philadelphia University. Philadelphia University combines the diverse offerings of a sizable university with the personal attention of a small college. For admissions information, call 215-951-2943.

and services. If you don't want us to share your name with other companies, please contact our Customer Service Department at:

(800) 477-8727 The Taunton Guarantee: If at any time you're not completely satisfied with


you can cancel your subscription and

receive a full and immediate refund of the entire subscription price. No questions asked. Copyright



School of Business Administration

School of Science and Health

School House Lane and Henry Aven u e · 215-951-2943

by The Taunton Press, Inc. No reproduction

School of Textiles and Materials Technology

Philadelphia, PA 19144-5497

without permission of The Taunton Press, Inc.

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ja n u a ry 2 0 0 0


Le t t e rs


Patch pockets, pro and con

There's more on the Web

Concerning Tod d

You'll find some exciting tie-ins with this issue on our Web site

Conover's article

( First you can download a free, original

"Darted, Dimen­

embroidery design we created for the j acket shown on pp. 36



and 37. Also, you'll find an original patchwork pillow design by

Pockets" (No.

Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy to accompany the interview

84, pp. 30-34),

with them that starts on p. 58. And finally, because of limited

what could you

space, we moved "Quick to Make" this time to the Web.

have been thinking? Are you so desperate to

The cover vote A number of readers took time to vote on our Web site, by letter, or by e-mail on their favorite of the two covers on the October/ November issue. At press time, 52% of readers favored the quilt image, and 43% preferred the model (the other 5% didn't vote once at that voting screen). Many thanks for letting us know what you think.



show off dressmaking skills that

Todd Conover replies: I began with


you would suggest that anybody

the pattern at step 6 of the drafting

In No. 83, p. 78, the correct address

put these saddle-bag-like pockets

process (pp. 32-33), but instead of

for the organization Newborns in Need is 6078 Lundy Road, Houston,

on our clothing, like those on that

crossing out the blue lines con­

lovely blue dress on p. 30? Even a

necting the top and bottom edges, I

MO 65483-2225; 417-967-2589. In

bone-thin model would be reluc­

cut through those hnes and cut out

Judith Rasband's article "The Seam

tant to wear these comical, unflat­

and discarded the darts (in red).

Method of Pattern Alteration" (No.

tering pockets. Your photos are


1 traced the remaining five

8 5 ) , the top drawing on p . 5 1

marvelous and the techniques flaw­

pieces, adding a 'li-in. seam al­

should have been titled "For large

less, but the application couldn't

lowance on all sides and numbering

buttocks" and the one below, "To

be less attractive. Please think twice

the pieces to keep them straight

adjust for a large bust." And in the

during construction. To create the

"Fitting" column in No. 85, p. 26,

next time. -Donna Lee Wilson,

zigzag effect, I laid the pattern pieces

the lower left drawing should have

Hamilton , Ontario, Canada

on the striped fabric's bias with

looked like the one below:

each neighboring piece in alternat­ I purchased this issue because I

ing directions, matching the stripes

wanted to incorporate the blue,

as for a bias gored skirt. Then I cut,

black, and gold chevron pocket on

sewed, and pressed the pieces. Be­

p. 31 into a j acket I'm construct­

cause the fabric that would have

ing. But the description in the cap­

been darted in the basic dimen­

tion of the pocket'S construction

sional pocket pattern was removed,

is inadequate. Can you help? -Lois Borradaile , via e-mail

the final pieced pocket curves out­ ward as if it had been darted.

The Taunton Press: Paul Roman, chairman. Corporate Editorial:

Davis, director. Prepress: john Garofalo, Patricia Petro, Stephen Roma, Deborah Cooper, William

John Lively, editor-in-chief

vice president. Human Resources:

Bivona, David Blasko, Richard Booth,James Chappuis, Mark Coleman, Tina Foster, William Godfrey,


Carol Marotti, direclor; Linda Ballerini, Christine Lincoln. Finance!-

Brian Leavitt, Manha Stammer, Chansam Thammavongsa, David Kenney, Joanne Bisson, Amy Evon,

for fellow enthusiasts

Accounting: Janice A. Roman, chief financial officer; Wayne

Kathy Martin. Print Productioll: Dee Flanagan, Nicole Anastas, John Cavallaro, promotion; Philip

Reynolds, controller; Seoll Bahiyan, David Wasserman, Kathy

VanKirk, Tracie Pavlik, magazines. Management Information Systems: Roben Peters, director;


Worth, Carolyn Kovaleski. AccowJtil1g: Patrick Lamontagne, Andrea

Gabriel Dunn, Linda Reddington, Roger Seliga. PC Applications: Heidi Waldkirch, Roben Nielsen,

Henchcliffe, Irene Arfaras, Lydia Krikorian, Elaine Yamin, Carol Diehm, Margaret Bafundo, Dorothy

Marjorie Omalyev, Cynthia Zibelin. PC Systems: Margaret Archer, Keith Anderson, Dwayne Gurley,

Blasko, Susan Burke, James Post, Gayle Hammond, Lorraine Parsons. Corporate Design: Susan

Rita Myers, Judith Stansfield. Operations: Purchasing

Edelman, direcLOr; Laura Bergeron, Erika Marks, Amy Russo. PholOgraphy: Anthony Phillips, Judi Rutz.

Michael Capalbo, Michael lewis, Jeannette Pascal, Dorothy Simpson, Charles Hollis, Susan Nerich,


Facilities: Timothy Rahr, Christopher Myers,

Promotion: Philip Allard, jennifer Rotunda, Wendy Bowes, julia Brine, Mary Beth Cleary, Jennifer

Alvin Jack, Lincoln Peters. Cafeteria: Donna Freeman, Geraldine Benno, Anna Pendergast, Norma-Jean

Winston. Corporate Services: Thomas Luxeder, director, April Mohr. Corporate Circulation: Sarah

Taylor. Taunton Books:James Childs, publisher; Margaret Day, Suzanne Noel,jennifer Renjilian, Ellen

Roman, director. Fulfillment: Patricia Williamson, Renee Pagelson. Client Services: Carolyn Arneth,

Williams, Camille jackson. Bool� Editorial: Carolyn Mandarano, editor; Peter Chapman, Meredith

Boo'� An: Paula Schlosser,

Kathleen Donovan, Lynne Phillips, Carol Singer. Book

Kathryn Dolson, Holly Smith. Order Processing: Nancianne Boland, Barbara Lowe, Eileen McNulty,


Deborah Pannozzo, Marylou Thompson. Customer Services: Judith Ruby, Donna Capalbo, Kathleen

Manufacturing: Thomas Greco, Michael Gyulay. Taunton Direct: Deborah Curry Johnston, David

Baker, Nancy Brown, Rebecca LaBoudy, Dawn Teixeira. Data Enlry: Carole Ando, Bonnie Beardsley,

Pond, Christine Rosato, Megan Sangster, Eileen Sheehan, Jeanne Todaro. Taunton New Media:

Margaret Fainer, Madelaine Frengs, Debra Sennefelder, Andrea Shorrock, Betty Stepney. Distribution:

Christopher Casey, Michael Cody, Lawrence Sullivan. Taunton Trade Company: John Bacigalupi,

Paul Seipold, Mary Ann Costagliola, Deborah Greene, Linnea Ingram, Aaron Lund, Frederick Monnes,

Peter Bill, Barbara Buckalew,John DiSette, Paul McGahren, Anthony Momilli, Eve Pison, Susan Preis,

RomaJane Noack, Christopher Pierwola, Elsie Rodriguez, Alice Saxton. Manufacturing: Kathleen

Eileen Swirsky. Video: Craig Umanoff.








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Ques tions Do you have a

A look at garment sizing

The pamphlet also helps clarify

q u estion of general

The difference between my ready­ to-wear size and my pattern size always annoys me. Can someone explain why I wear a dress size 10 and a pattern size 14?

the confusion generated by vanity

charged from the military after

sizing in the ready-to-wear (RTW)

World War II was published by the

industry. In the last decade, cloth­

National Bureau of Standards

interest about sewing, q uilting, embellishing, or a garment-related craft? Send it to:

Threads Questions, 63 S. Main St., PO Box 5506, N ewtown, CT


-Mary Saunders, Grand Rapids, Mich.

of young women recently dis­

ing manufacturers discovered that

(NBS), a division o f the Depart­

when a female consumer compares

ment of Commerce, and titled

two similar garments, she invari­

"A Recorded Voluntary Standard

ably chooses the one with the small­

of the Trade" (CS215-58). In 1968,

Barbara Deckert replies: Recently

er size number, and therefore sizing

these numbers were changed slight­

several maj or pattern companies

has become a RTW marketing ploy.

ly when NBS published another

have made a concerted effort to de­

Many sewers are dismayed to find

study based on the original data

mystify issues relating to garment

that their pattern size is two sizes

titled, "NBS Voluntary Product

or via e-mail

and pattern sizing. The free pam­

larger than their RTW size.

Standard: Body Measurements for


phlet "Do You Really Know Your

By comparison to RTW sizing,

the Sizing of Women's Patterns and

Pattern Size?" written and distrib­

the standardized sizing used by

Apparel" (PS42-70). Around that

uted jointly by McCall's, SimpliCity,

the major pattern companies has

time, the major pattern companies

and Vogue/Butterick, explains the

remained consistent for more than

agreed to adopt these standards

standardized sizing system used

three decades. In 1955, a sizing

and have used them ever since. The

by the major pattern companies,

study based on the measurements

purpose of that change was to solve

and is available by calling Butterick

the same problem we're facing

at 800-766-2670.

nowadays-that RTW and pattern sizing have little to do with one an­ other. And for a while in the late 1960s and early '70s, a size 12 was a 12 was a 1 2 . Many people i n the sewing and pattern industry have long believed that compliance to PS42-70 is vol­ untary for the RTW industry (which is why they usually fail to conform) but mandatory for pat­ tern companies. In fact, no such law exists. Compli­ ance is, and always has been, strictly voluntary. In the 30 years since the publication of PS42-70, the job of compiling anthro­ pometric data (based on the precise, scientific study of the



dimensions of human bodies) has been conducted by anthropologists and computer scientists, who gath­ er, analyze, and organize measure­ ment data into sizing charts. The publication of most of these studies has passed from the federal gov­ ernment to the American Society



puter for individual sewers.

for Testing and Materials (ASTM),

of which go up to a size 22 and oc­

a nonprofit organization that writes

casionally to size 32. After collect­

Contact The National Institute of

technical standards for materials,

ing data on 8,000 men and women

Science and Technology (part of

products, systems, and services.

from all over the world, such as

the Department of Commerce) for

ASTM has published sizing stan­

the United States and Holland

copies of CS21 5-58 and PS42-70:

dards for misses, children's and

where people are commonly tall

NIST, Office of Standards and Ser­

mature women's sizing.

and big, the CAESAR study will be

vices, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2100, Gaithersburg, MD 20899; 301-975-

Presently, ASTM is conducting a

published by ASTM in early 2000.

new study that targets the dimen­

In addition to the military, study

4040. For other sizing documents,

sions of large people. Called "Civil­

sponsors include the automotive

visit their Web site ( To

ian American and European Sur­

and airline industries, so perhaps

obtain copies of newer measure­ ment data compiled by ASTM ,

face Anthropometry Resource"

there's hope for expanding the

(CAESAR), this study has gathered

width of airline seats and the length

write to 1 0 0 Barr Harbor Drive,

three-dimensional data on the size

of seat belts. Even more exciting,

West Conshohocken, PA 19428;

and shape of human bodies using

according to a pattern-industry

call 6 1 0-832-978 5 ; or visit their Web site (

a whole-body laser scanner simi­

spokesman, this body laser-scanner

lar to the MRI machines used in

technology may be available one

hospitals. This technology was de­

of these days at local fabric stores,

veloped by the Navy, which con­

so patterns can be custom-drafted

the author of Sewing

tracts for millions of uniforms, all

accurately and effiCiently by com-

(The Taunton Press, 1999).


Barbara De kert of Elkridge, Md., is for Plus Sizes




Windows 95/98/NT

TANK FRONT View and print an entire disk of designs. Include multiple directories and dealgns stored in ".zip" archive files. Launch your embroidery software directly from your catalog by double clicking designs

I"'"__,.,POEM' SIn. .. EU ,_H"",,"'om).

Convert dealgns on the fly as needed_


a time In minutes with the original and converted design displayed side by side for easy comparison.


d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/january 2 0 0 0



� n - pqU nIUn --bi �n n _ n ..S2 -.. . as£V ..S2 Aiut " as U � • AU u L Aiut �








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BERNINA® Nothing Sews Like A Bernina. Nothing.

Bas ics We've set aside this space to explain sewing techniques and terms that may not be familiar to everyone. If you've ever been stumped


The first step to making a garment

PERSONAL MEASUREMENT CHART Take and record your basic body measurements wearing well-fitting undergarments. Tie 'A-in. elastic around your waist to find exact placement.

by an instruction

that fits well is to choose the correct

Hold the tape measure snugly,

to "clean-fi nish the

pattern size. This may seem obvi­

but not tightly.

edge" or "find

ous, but it's surprising how many

the true bias," this

sewers start with the wrong size,

column should be

then end up making a lot of ad­

a handy reference.

justments to get a good fit. Measurements are key When choosing a pattern size, you


1_ Without shoes, standing against a wall

Back-waist length:

From prominent bone at base of neck to natural waistline 2_


need to know some basic body measurements (see the measure­ ment chart at right). I'll tell you how to use these measurements in a moment, but first let me explain why you can't simply rely on your ready-to-wear size when it comes to

3. High bust:

High up under arms across chest and back

,t Full bust: Straight across back and around fullest part of bust

choosing patterns.

As I'm sure you're aware, sizing in

the ready-lo-wear industry is not

5. Waist: Around body at natural


consistent and most of us fit into a wide range of sizes, de­ pending on the design­

6. Hips: Around body at fullest part of hips

er or manufacturer. Designers frequently use what's called vanity siz­ ing, which adds inches to each size. What might have been a size 16 a few years ago, for example, is labeled a size 10 or 1 2 to­ day. (See pp. 10- 1 1 for a dis­


cussion of the development of ready-to-wear and pattern­ company sizing systems.) Among the major pattern



determined your pattern size by

exactly, below are some guidelines for choosing a pattern size.

companies, however, sizing

comparing your measurements

is based on a standard set of body

with these standards, you can pur­

measurements, which are provided

chase that size for any of the com­

Com paring measurements

on each pattern envelope and at

pany's patterns. But because very

First if you're unsure of which size

the back of the pattern catalogs

few figures will match a pattern

category your body type fits into,

(see the photo above). Once you've

company's standard measurements

such as misses', women's, or petite,


EP201 0

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check your height and back-waist

patterns, compare the waist and

length measurements (see the

hip measurements: Your choice will

ticular silhouette. Ease allowances,

chart on p. 14), and compare them

be determined by your hip mea­

found at the back of the pattern

to the measurement charts pro­

surement. If the skirt is full, use

catalogs, may vary slightly from

vided on the back of each pattern

your waist measurement to select a

company to company and in some

catalog. Then take your full-bust,

pattern size.

cases the ease allowed may affect

added or subtracted to create a par­

high-bust, waist, and hip mea­

If your measurements fall be­

the size pattern you choose. For

surements, and compare them with

tween two sizes, consider your

example, if a style is loose-fitting

the standard measurements within

bone structure. If you're small­

with a large amount of ease and

that figure category.

boned, buy the smaller size; con­

you prefer a closer fit, you might

versely, if you're large-boned, buy

decide to choose a smaller size.

When you choose a blouse, dress, or j acket pattern, compare your

the larger.

So get out a tape measure to find

high-bust measurement with the standard bust measurement on the

Consider garment ease

your pattern size will probably be

chart to get the best fit in the shoul­

To fit comfortably, a garment must

larger than your ready-to-wear size,

der area. It's important to fit the

have ease built into it: Wearing ease

but when you start with the right

shoulder area first, because this

is the minimum amount of inches

number, fitting is so much easier.

area is harder to alter on a pattern

added to a pattern so that you can

than the bust cup, waist, and hip.

move in the garment, and design

Susan Andriks sews and teaches in

ease is the amount the designer

Canterbury, N.H.

When choosing pants and skirt




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Ti P s Share a tip, a

Pleat perfection

useful trick, or

I love pleats, and sew them into

a great sewing or

my clothes whenever possible. I


enjoyed Celeste Percy's article on

resource. Send

pleats in "Basics" (Threads No. 84,

details, sketches,

pp. 20-24), and I would like to con­

photos, or samples

tribute an additional trick that

(if you like) to:

results in an ultraflat, crisp pleat.

Threads Tips, PO Box 5506,

It works on box and kick pleats­ anytime a seam falls at the inside

Newtown, CT

fold of a pleat.

or via e-mail:

lowances above the pleat's hem,

pressing them open below the clip,


After clipping the seam al­

Be sure to include

and sewing the hem, press the

decorating, or piecing projects).

chased pinnable pads do the job.

a phone number

pleat. Then top stitch the crease in

Because the surface is pinnable,

If you do a lot of pinning, add an

in case we have a

the hem close to the fold, as shown

it eases matching plaids, setting

extra-thick layer because it will

question. We'"

in the drawing at right. On most

up hems ( much better than i n

compress with use.

pay for each item

fabrics, just the doubled hem can

your lap), manipulating ruffles,

we publish.

be caught without stitching into

or plaCing trim.

the seam itself.

I work on a large padded surface

firmly on all sides with a staple

outside of the garment, the pleat

(60 in. by 80 in.). At home, I use a

gun, or use a hammer and small

will stay much flatter, and the

36-in.-sq. version. Obviously, the

tacks. I have had the best results

-Arlene Zajicek, Memphis, Tenn.

Post-it seam guides

bigger, the better, but any size

by turning the surface upside

padded surface can speed up the

down, so I could tack the canvas as

sewing process.

tightly as pOSSible.

I recommend making your own

-Bettie Crigler, Durham, N.C.

If you need to sew a seam al­

surface, which is easy. Although

lowance of a width not marked on

you can buy such products, I find

No more exploding

your sewing machine (for exam­

them generally either too small to


ple, when sewing a deep hem), use

be very useful or a little expensive.

If you've ever wound clear thread

a 3-in.-sq. Post-it or similar tempo­

A 4-ft. by 8-ft. surface is ideal,

on a plastic bobbin, you've proba­

rary stickable note paper as a

but if space is limited, try to make

bly had the same surprise I used

gUide. It will stay where you put

the surface as wide as the fabrics

to have. The thread is so thin that

it, yet won't leave sticky residue the

you generally sew. Store the sur­

the bobbin overfills and pops,

way tape does when removed.

face behind a door when it's not

explodes, or cracks apart.

-Audrey Lear, Comox,

needed, positioning it atop your

I tried loosening the tension, but

British Columbia, Canada

kitchen island, dining table, bed, or

that didn't help as much as this:

a pair of sawhorses when you're

Wind six to eight layers ( about

Ode to padded work surfaces


worktable cover. Tack the canvas

The stitching won't show on the

garment will hang smoothly.


In my professional workroom,

On top of the padding, lay out a piece of heavy duck or a canvas

ready to sew.

l� in.) of regular thread on the bob­

To make a padded surface, start

bin before you fill the bobbin with clear thread. This prOvides a cush­

Once you work on a padded sur­

with a piece oB-in. plywood, cut to

face, you will never go back to an

size. Trim a layer or two of padding

ion for the clear thread as it ap­

unpadded one. For starters, i t

slightly smaller than the plywood's

proaches the point of overfilling. I

simplifies pleating, fusing large

size, and smooth it on the surface.

used to buy replacement bobbins

pieces, and pressing anything flat

I prefer a cotton pad, but bed quilts,

constantly, but no more.

(especially large qUilting, home

mattress pads, or of course, pur-

-Marge Freeberg, Pittsburg, Kan.

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F i tti ng Here's the place to get some answers to your fitting questions. If you have a better solution than the one we've given here, please write


and tell us. Send your q uestions (include photos, if possible), comments, and solutions to:

Threads Fitting, PO Box 5506,

Newtown, CT


I want to remodel the shoulders and sleeve area of a few dresses made back when football-sized shoulders and large shoulder pads were the latest style. After taking out the shoulder pads, how do I recontour the shoulder seam and remake a large capped, pleated sleeve? Thanks for any help you can offer

or via e-mail

-Karen Heys, Edmonds, Wash.

Removing a shoulder pad cor­

end, and mark the depth of the

tom dressmaker Karen Howland,

pad with your thumbnail, making

is not just a matter of snipping a

sure not to compress the pad. Re­

few threads and tossing the pads.

move the pin, keeping your thumb­

To add shoulder pads or not is a de­

nail firmly in place, and measure to

cision made by the deSigner early in the design process, an d the

the pin tip with a ruler or tape mea­ sure. This distance is the depth of

shape they add is allowed for when

the pad.

drafting both the shoulder slope

To allow for any size shoulder

and the shoulder width of the gar­

pad, the patternmaker raises the

ment front and back, as well as the

shoulder end of the shoulder seam

height and shape of the sleeve cap.

by the depth of the pad amount.

If you want to avoid droopy sleeve

The shoulder width is also ex­

caps and diagonal lines from the

tended this same distance, as

neck to the underarm, then the al­

shown in the drawings at left be­

lowance made in the pattern for

low. Even with this added width, in

the pad must also be removed,

most cases the shoulder pad will be

whether you're altering a garment

inserted so that it extends slightly

or a pattern.


I have nice, square shoulders and do not want to use shoulder pads. But when I remove them, the garment's shoulders wrinkle. How can I fix this ? -Elizabeth Noel, Madison, Wis.

pin into the pad at the shoulder

rectly, says patternmaker and cus­

past the armscye seam and sup­

The first step in all shoulder-pad

ports the top of the sleeve. To allow

alterations is to determine the

for the extra height, the sleeve cap

thickness of the pad. This is the

also needs to be raised by the same

depth at the shoulder end of the

amount that the shoulder seam

pad. To measure this, place the pad

was lifted.

upside down on a table, insert a

To remove this allowance, work in reverse. Remove the pad, and measure it. Then remove the extra height in the shoulder seam, re­

TO ALTER FOR SHOUL D ER PA D S Pad depth equals pad ease

duce the width of the shoulder,

On a garment with pleated

and reduce the height of the sleeve cap. Alter each seam by the amount

or gathered sleeve caps

of thickness you measured in the

of the indicated seams when adding a shoulder

If the design features a raised, full-sleeve

pad you removed. This amount is a

pad to a garment with typical set-in sleeves.

cap that gathers or pleats to fit the armscye,

Each seam is increased by the amount of the

shoulder width is usually reduced, not

guideline, of course, albeit a good

Patternmakers add extra room to each

one. To be more precise, whether

pad depth. To remove the pad, remove added

increased, when adding shoulder-pad

ease at these same seams.

room. To remove the pad, increase the

you're drafting out room for a

width or leave it unchanged.

shoulder pad or drafting it in, you

�� _ _ ,

Cap heigh

_ _ _ _ r: Shoulder height I

could start by lowering (or raising) the sleeve cap by the pad depth. Then redraw the cap curve, and measure exactly how much change this created in the total cap length. Shift the shoulder slope and shoul­

Garment front and back


Garment front and back

der width to create a matching arm­ scye seam, after factoring in the amount of ease you want the sleeve to have. The sleeve cap should nor-


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F i tti n g

(conti n ued)

TO RE DUCE CA P AND SLEEVE W I DTH I fyou remove the shoulder pad from a garment with

neck (as shown in the drawing at

flexible curve to measure the arm­

right on p. 20), making the shoul­

scye and to shape the sleeve cap.

ders narrower and allowing more

Sew the shoulder seam as in­

pad to extend into the sleeve cap

structed previously. Then sew the

to support the full cap. Therefore,

sleeve in place.

when removing or redUCing pads

To exchange large shoulder pads

there will be no pad to support it. Pin darts in the full cap

for this style, you won't need to

with smaller ones, use the differ­

to reduce its width.

reduce the width o f the shoulder,

ence in thicknesses between the

a full sleeve cap. the sleeve should be reduced. because

only the height.

needed. With a full or pleated cap

shoulder pads, the sleeve cap on

style, some cap fullness may be re­

this style of garment will need to be

tained because there will still be a

substantially reduced, because

pad to support the fullness. So low­

there will be no pad to support it.

er the shoulder seam, and reduce

The drawings at left show a fitted

the cap partially, determining the

sleeve and next to it a sleeve with a

amount by pin-fitting.

full cap. Notice that the full-capped

Now that you know how to re­

sleeve is fuller in the biceps as well

move shoulder pads, I'd like to put

as having a higher cap.

in a word in support of their exis­

To remodel this style, you'll prob­


tence. Shoulder pads help hold a

ably get the most precise results by

garment in place, smooth out and

pin-fitting (this is actually a good

support the fabric in the shoulder

mally be longer than the armscye

strategy when removing pads from

area, support the sleeve cap, and vi­

by 1 to 2 in. , depending on the

any garment). Remove the shoulder

sually reduce the hip width by bal­

easabihty of the fabric.

pads, and release the sleeve seam

ancing the shoulders and the hips. They can also help give a person a

To remove pads from an existing

through the full cap area. Put the

garment, you'll have to remove the

garment on, and pin-fit the shoul­

sense of presence. Sure, you can

sleeve from notch to notch, open

der seam to reflect your shoulder

overdo a good thing, but in all my

the entire shoulder seam, and re­

slope. Then, to reshape the sleeve,

years of dressmaking and altering,

lease the shoulder seam from the

pin one or several darts from the

I've had only one client whose

collar or facing at the neck edge.

top of the sleeve cap to the biceps

shoulder pads I willingly removed.

Usually it's not necessary to com­

area showing the amount to be re­

She really did look better without

pletely remove the collar or facing;

moved, as shown in the drawing

them. I think using smaller pads is

j ust clip enough stitches so that

at right above. Also, place a line of

almost always a better choice.

you can restitch the entire shoulder

pins showing the new stitching line

seam smoothly after reshaping it,

for the sleeve cap.

When making any shoulder-pad decisions, use a full-length mirror, because you'll definitely need to

tapering the change to nothing at

Remove the garment, and release

the neckline. (Be sure to restabi­

the sleeves completely. Then open

see the whole picture. Begin by re­

lize the seam when you restitch it,

each sleeve's underarm seam from

moving the existing shoulder pads

the underarm to at least the elbow,

and replaCing them with alterna­

When the style involves a full

so you can spread out the cap com­

tives. Experiment with different shapes as well as different thick­

if it was stabilized originally.)


two pads for the amount of change

If you're completely eliminating

sleeve cap, either gathered or

pletely. Keeping the pinned dart(s)

pleated, the pattern drafter raises

in place, trace a paper pattern of

nesses. Use a hand mirror to view

the shoulder seam the thickness of

the altered sleeve including the cap

the situation from the back as well.

the pad as described above, but

stitching line. Remove the pins,

Good luck!

does not extend the shoulder. In

measure the armscye and then the

fact, the armscye seam in these

sleeve cap, and using this pattern,

Karen Howland designs, fits, and writes

styles usually cuts in toward the

recut the sleeve cap. I like to use a

in Chillicothe, Ind.



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• * • statementsvalid at time of DeSigner I introduction

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Pattern Review Trends Colors:

All shades of reds Orange. paired with gray or brown Sage greens Blue in all shades but navy Accents of yellow. turquoise. lilac. and pink Fabrics

Luxury fabrics that drape Lightweight cashmere suiting Felted wool Stretch wovens Knits. wool jersey Leather Lace (this year's sheer) All kinds of velvet Silk taffeta Beaded fabrics Key looks

Jackets: short. boxy, collarless. felted wool Ponchos as jackets Collars: shirt or mandarin-type Leather garments Skirts: asymmetrical wrap. fluid. knee or ankle length. bias. pleated. ball gown Pants: narrow or full. flat front with jeans styling but not made in denim Drop waists on skirts and pants Eveningwear: beaded, lacy Knit tops: turtleor funnel necks


3 in. to 4 in. above the wrist (to

and use a Single-layer upper col­

your coffee cup !). If you make the

lar. Also eliminate details like the

garment in a lightweight wool, use

front inseam pockets (inserting

a buttonhole closure instead of

pockets instead in the side seams)

Velcro for a more refined finish. Felted wool is all the rage this

wear and glitzy eveningwear. Color

season and is even used in Chanel

casing in back to insert the back

is everywhere, serving as the new

eveningwear. Felt is an easy fabric

elastic, which otherwise is inserted

accessory. Luxury fabrics that

to work with, and felted-wool j ack­

between the fashion fabri c and lin­

drape are key: felted wool, wool

ets look and feel like sweaters. (To

ing. You might also want to make

j ersey, leather, and lace abound.

learn about making your own felt­

the wide collar about

(For more about current colors, fab­

ed wool, see Jean Cacicedo's article

rower by trimming the upper col­

rics, and looks, see "Trends" at left.)

"Wool:Jersey 'Cutwork' " in No. 80,

lar's long unnotched edge.

No matter what your sewing skills,

pp. 60-6 3 . ) One current pattern

If felted wool doesn't seize you,

your figure type, or size, there's

that would be perfect for felt i s

maybe cashmere, the fabric for the

something for you this season.

Vogue 7 183, Sandra Betzina's new

new millennium, will. There are

princess-seam j acket. You may

lots of lightweight cashmeres avail­

want to trim the collar a bit, un­

able in many colors, and red cash­

Among the current key outerwear

less you have a long neck. If you're

mere would be perfect for Vogue

styles are the poncho and parka,

u sing a very lightweight felted

2357, Marc Jacobs' great-looking

and one of the best parka patterns

fabric like felted wool j ersey, elim­

constructed jacket. The pattern ac­

is Folkwear's Siberian Parka (Lark

inate the pocket flap and cuffs,

tually recommends snap closures

Books, 67 Broadway, Asheville, NC

great details to include if you can.

and felted or boiled wool, although

2880 1 ; 800-284-3388). This gen­

Test your interfacing on a scrap be­

erously sized, pullover garment fea­

fore interfacing the collar to avoid

tures interesting seaming and a

making the fabric too stiff; you may

hood. Simple to make, this pattern

want to interface only the neck


could easily be altered to include a

edge rather than the entire collar

front-zipper opening. Make it in a

with a strip of fusible. Sandra's

fleece fabric, or for a waterproof

sizing is user-friendly, and her

garment, choose micro fiber.

instructions are detailed. Vogue 2345, Claude Montana's

cho. The pattern suggests micro­

deSign, is a sporty jacket that could


fiber and rainwear fabrics, but if

be constructed in various fabrics

Closures: hidden plackets, zipper openings. Velcro or snaps, covered buttons Pockets: cargo. patch. welt with square­ cornered flaps In-seam pockets on slim gored skirts

you make it in a very lightweight

from lightweight wool felt to a silk

wool or a sheer, you can wear it in­

twill, microfiber, or lightweight,

stead of a j acket (another trend this

loose-weave wool. If you opt for

season). This, too, is a generously cut pattern, with several pocket variations and an optional hood. Check the width and length of this one-size-fits-all design before cut­ ting it out, and personalize the fit. If this garment is to substitute for a jacket, eliminate the hood and pocket, and keep the length above the knee and the sleeve length


and the back cargo pockets (re­ gardless of fabric or figure). Add a

This is the season of sleek sports­

SimpliCity 8934 is a great pon­


felted wool, eliminate the faCings,

keep your sleeve from ending up in

in. nar­

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Pa tte r n R e v i e w


Simplicity 8934

) it includes facing pieces and is, I

sleek styling, and a zipper closure.

reversible jacket. The dress is dart­

think, better made conventionally

Because this pattern is long and

ed, but for a less fitted garment,

with facings and button closures. If

oversized, be sure to check length,

eliminate the back darts, and re­

you have an hourglass shape, you'll

widths, and pocket placement

place the front ones with tiny pleats

want to taper the waist more. And

before cutting out.

to substitute button closures for snaps, widen the front faCing to ac­

Separates, ensembles,

commodate buttonholes. The pock­

and suits

et flaps, though current, aren't for

This season, coordinating separates

everyone; eliminate them if you

have eclipsed the suit. Think as­

similar in both drape and weight.

choose. This pattern can transcend

sembled outfits made in luxurious,

Although the pattern recommends

the seasons and, made in a washed

but not necessarily matching,

prequilted fabric, double-knit,

linen, would be great for spring

fabrics. The season's key jacket is

double-faced wool, and wool crepe,

and summer, too.

boxy and collarless, has natural

I'd stick to lighter-weight fabrics. You could also make the j acket single­

robe, coats take time to make; sew

or zipper-front opening. If the j ack­

layer and bind the edges using a fab­

one only every few years, choos­

et has a collar, it's likely to be a shirt

ric similar to, but slightly different

ing a fairly classic pattern with

collar rather than a notched collar,

from, that used for the dress (maybe

enough ease to go over a suit j ack­

and its pockets will often be cargo

the reverse side of a fabric with an in­

et and using a dark neutral-color

style or eliminated altogether.

teresting weave whose face side you

Vogue 7149, a good candidate for

size companion Burda 2 6 0 9 ) is

the new classic j acket, will look

just such a classic coat. Because of

good on a lot of figures. It features

the full styling, a heavy drapable

easy shoulder shaping, a covered

fabric works best. Avoid the welt

placket, and a close-fitting, cut-on

pocket if you're not adept at con­

sleeve. The optional pockets add

structing one. This coat could eas­

an interesting detail. Wear this jack­

ily sport an oversize patch pocket,

et with the high-top pants from

one of this season's most preva­


lent details, shaped to accentuate

but the very short- or long-waisted

Another of the season's key ''fab­ rics" is leather. If you've never

2333, which are good for all

figure. These pants extend 2 in. above the waist and are cut with a full rather than skinny leg.

worked with leather, Great Copy

McCall's 2495 is an ensemble

Pattern 850 (PO Box 0 8 5 3 2 9 ,

with great style, a yoked dress and

Racine, W I 53408-5329; 414-6322660) would make a good , un­ complicated first project. (See Sandy Scrivano's article " Make Waves with Instant Leather Garments" in No. 85, pp. 52-55, for easy, single­ layer construction techniques for leather.) Called the Weekender, this j acket features a high, funnel neck,


To make the j acket reversible, both layers must be lightweight and

shoulders, and a covered placket

the garment's lines.


Similar-weight fabric.

Important pieces in any ward­

fabric. Burda 2610 (and its plus­

McCall's 2495

at the yoke near the bust point. Make the dress in wool j ersey or a



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Pa tte r n R e v j e w

(co",,"o,d) Great Copy 850

Vogue 2357

use for the dress). For a dressier look, try lightweight silk taffeta.

O f the new separates patterns,

ferently in each fabric. If working

below are a handful of my favorites,

with stretch fabric, adjust the pat­

McCall's NY/NY 2395 is another

which you can mix and match. The

tern to eliminate some of the ease.

great ensemble but doesn't require

Chopin Blouse from The Sewing

The pattern runs long in the crotch but is easy to alter.

much more than basic sewing

Workshop (800-466- 1599) offers

skills. The turtleneck top has a cut­

great shape and detail (note that it

Burda 2575 is a funnel-neck dress

on funnel neck and is ruched along

requires somewhat more than be­

pattern (one of the few designs cur­

the right side seam. Eliminate the

ginning skills). The collar and cuffs

rently available with this neckline),

ruching if you plan to tuck the top

can be ruched or left plain. The

which I suggest cropping off to

into the pants, and add a dart if

sleeve length runs long, so check

make a top. Contrary to what's sug­

your bust is full. A long and mid­

this length before adding the cuff.

gested by the pattern photo, the

biceps short sleeve are offered. Opt

Make the blouse in a silk dupioni,

funnel neck is not too high, wide,

for the long sleeve, and crop it off

and eliminate the pocket detail for

or close to the neck. Of the two

just below the elbow.

a unique dressy or holiday look.

sleeve lengths offered, I favor start­ ing with the long sleeve and crop­

The pants have a narrow draw­

Or for a great travel shirt, make it in

string waist with pleats, flattering to

a drapey fabric (contrary to pattern

ping it to

the gathered front. At the back

suggestions), and add the pockets.

quarter-length, slightly longer than

waist, elastic is inserted, a nice fea­

Pair this blouse with Christine

that given on the pattern. Make

ture that eliminates having to keep

J onson's Pattern 824 ( 248-5 47-

this style in a lightweight knit

adjusting the drawstring. The out­

1080; jonson3 1 1, wide­

rather than a woven fabric, choos-

fit is finished with an easy, long or

leg, elastic-waist pants that are

knee-length V-necked j acket. Be­

easy, fast to make, and comfort­

cause a long j acket can add bulk

able. The pattern is deSigned for a

over full pants, you may want to

cotton/Lycra fabric, so for a dressy

substitute a vest for the j acket. If you think in terms of outfits,

occasion, you could use a stretch velvet or velour.

you won't have a closet full of or­

Another great new pants pattern

phans. Vogue 7 1 2 2 , a tunic and

is Vogue 7179 (see p. 24), a sleek­

skirt combo, has the makings of a

looking Sandra Betzina design fea­

great wardrobe starter and is well

turing vertical seams down the

shaped for lots of figures. (Disre­

front and back legs and a faced

gard the pattern-envelope photo,

waistline. The pants can be made in

which may remind you of Sonny

a stretch or woven fabric but fit dif-

and Cher at their sartorial worst!) The tunic is designed for a knit with moderate stretch. Wool jersey, lightweight velour, or panne velour The Sewing Workshop's Chopin Blouse; pants, Christine Jonson 824

would be fabulous for either the straight or belled-sleeve version. The skirt is bias cut with a waist faCing, easy to construct, and com­ fortable to wear. Make this style in a fabric with drape, and hem the skirt so it hits at the ankle bone.



Skirt, Burda 2592; The Sewing Workshop's Jean Cacicedo Vest


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Pa tte r n

Vogue 7 1 22

ing a matte jersey, rayon/Lycra knit,

what size you prefer. Start one size

ter your figure with a fabric that has

or for cold climates, a wool j ersey.

larger than usual; then size it down

a softer hand, and use interfacing

if you like.

to shape the garment.

pencil skirt, which is the skirt equiv­

On more than one holiday, I have

alent of (and a nice change from)

waited until the pies are in the

Burda 2577 is a classic skirt de­ sign with trendy details. This well­ fitting, straight trouser skirt has slant-front pockets, dropped waist, and fly-front zipper. For best results,


For the holidays

add walking ease to the center-front

leggings. DeSigned for cotton/

oven before I think about what I'm

Lycra fabric, it has darts but no

going to wear that evening. Given

the front slit falls straight. Unless

zipper or elastic; it's the stretch in

all the events of the holidays and

the fabric that keeps the skirt in

limited time, think about pulling to­

nate the belt loops. Made in den­

place. This means the skirt is snug­

gether one or two special-occasion

im, this is a jeans skirt; in wool or

fitting, and every bulge will show.

pieces sooner rather than later.

linen, it will take you to the office or

Making the skirt one-size larger

Below are some patterns that have

around town.

than your measurements, as our

holiday potential:

La Fred's Phoebe Tee (5 10-893-

DeSigned for plus-sized figures,

tester did, yields a skinny skirt

Burda 2 5 9 2 (see p. 28) is a skirt

nonetheless. But then, have you

681 1 ) is a loose-fitting tunic with

you'll make again and again. This

ever worn leggings without a long

two sleeve lengths. This long,

six-gore skirt is shown on the

overblouse or sweater?

slightly dropped-shoulder garment

pattern-envelope photo as a long,

If you love a classic suit, consid­

falls straight toward the hips, cre­

taffeta ball-gown skirt, but I sug­

er Vogue 2339, one of the Vintage

ating a flattering silhouette, and

gest using a fluid fabric like wool

Vogue patterns. Reminiscent of

can be made in a woven or a knit.

crepe in a great dark neutral color.

Christian Dior deSigns from the

I like the short-sleeve version, but

Pair this gored skirt with The

late 1940s and '50s, the jacket has

I would pleat the sleeve at the hem

jean Cacicedo

multiple fitting seams that flatter all

edge to bring it closer to the arm.

Vest (see p. 28), one of my favorite

but the figure that's straight up and

Pair this with Christine jonson's

designs. Among the country's

down. As in Dior clothing of that

long, slim skirt; with La Fred ' s

premier wearable artists,Jean cre­

era, the hip area is interfaced with

Daphne pant (reviewed i n No. 8 3 ,

ated a vest that's the perfect blank

hair canvas to define its shape. I

p. 3 5 ) ; or a similarly slim pant.

canvas for creative expression.

suggest eliminating the cuff from

Make the top in a lacy fabric or a

With its curved back hem edge

the j acket'S two-piece sleeve and

burn-out velvet, and use panne

and longer fronts, this design is

adding a sleeve vent. Vintage­

velour for the pants, binding the

also a flattering look for most fig­

pattern aficionados will want to

neck edge in the panne.

ure types. Designed for felt Gean's

add vertical welt pockets tucked

The ball-gown skirt (View C) is

Sewing Workshop's


Another great skirt is Christine jonson's Pattern 330 for a slit or

pieces (about 1 in. at hem level), so you have a contoured belt, elimi­

La Fred's Phoebe Tee; skirt, Christine Jonson 330

Burda 25 7 5

medium), it works equally well in

into a front seam and, perhaps,

this year's big news for evening. Con­

woven fabric from the decorator

end the welts with hand-stitched

struct Vogue 7177 (B) in lightweight

section of your fabric store-try a

arrowheads (see No. 78, pp. 62-63).

lightweight drapery fabric, not

The long straight skirt opens at

silk taffeta, and wear it with

a twin

set. When picking fabrics, keep in

something too heavy. The pattern

the side with a placket and has side

mind that heavier fabrics will stand

also gives pieces for optional de­

vents at the hem edge. Make sure

away from the body and be elegant

tails: shapes for positive/negative

the vents are long enough for easy

but are probably best reserved for

applique, bound edges, and welt

walking. And rather than chOOSing

the young figure. The box-pleated

pockets. I recommend testing the

a crisp fabric for the suit, as would

version (A) offers a very current look

vest first in muslin to determine

have been done in the period, flat-

and, if sewn in a lightweight fabric

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d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ja n u a ry 2 0 0 0


Pa t t e r n

Vogue 2 3 3 9

such as linen and hemmed at orjust

across its width and down the front

above the ankle, would take you any­

of the j acket, so the scarf looks like

Freedman. Soquel. Calif.; Elisabeth

where in great style.

a soft, funnel-neck-like collar (see

Gillem. Portland, Ore.; Grace Grinnell.

To fend off the winter chill, wrap

the drawings above). This is an easy

Bend, Ore.; Kathryn Judd. San

yourself up for the holidays in La

pattern to make; even a beginner

Francisco, Calif.; Barbara Kelly, San

Fred's Artemis Coat, a loose-fitting

can have good results.

Francisco, Calif.; Anne Kendall, Seekonk.

jacket with an attached scarf/collar.

Mass.; Donna Meyer, Wakefield. Mass.;

Make it in velvet, with the scarf in

Newly affiliated with Vogue Patterns.

Jeannie Murphy, Norton, Mass.;

velvet burn-out; mohair with a silk

long-time reviewer Marcy Tilton passed

Jennefer Penfold. Lynnwood, Wash.;

lining for the scarf; or in a warmer

" Pattern Review" to Patricia Moyes.

Annette Romani. San Francisco, Calif.;

climate, make it in a bright mi­

author of Just Pockets and Sewing Basics

Sandy Scrivano, Sacramento. Calif.;

crofiber. For an interesting varia­

(The Taunton Press). who sews and tests

Celeste Sheets. Cincinnati. Ohio; Nanci

tion, try shortening the attached

patterns in Alameda. Calif. Patricia thanks

Siayen. San Francisco. Calif.; Sara E.

scarf to make its ends align with

the following sewers for providing

Stolz. Poway. Calif.; Jill Todd, Longview,

the jacket opening and adding sev­

invaluable help in testing patterns for this

Wash.; Debbie Utberg. Gresham. Ore.;

eral large covered-button closures

review: Betty Brown. Culver City, Calif.;

and Lori Wakil. San Francisco. Calif.



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For great results, pair the right design and fabric. Here are guidelines for embroidering fabrics, from sheers to corduroy. by Lindee Goodall

achine embroidery

dering so that it's properly hooped

can be as easy as

and stabilized. I'll examine these

sign will be sewn on. But when

choosing a great de­

essentials, but I want to concen­

you're working with stock deSigns

sign, plugging the

trate on how to choose designs

from independent design compa­



characteristics of the fabric the de­


and fabrics that are compatible

nies, from the Internet, or designs

your machine, hoop­

with each other and tell you what

that come with your machine, it's

to do when they're not.

up to you to match the design with

ing your fabric, and pushing a but­ ton. But if your goal is to make beautiful garments with soft, sup­

the fabric What makes a good

ple embroidery, there's much more

embroidery design?

Consider the fabric's

you should know.

There's more to a good design than

weight and weave

You can machine-embroider any

subject matter and visual aesthet­

It's important to understand that

fabric, including silks and soft

ics. A well-digitized design is made

not every design should be used

wools (see the photos at left, above,

up of a solid framework of stitches

and on p. 41). But producing ex­

forming its outer edge, fill and satin

quisite embroidery that is well suit­

stitches, and underlay stitches if nec­

Are yo u r fabric and design com pati ble?

ed to the fabric, doesn't pucker, or

essary. The design should have a

change the fabric's drape, involves

well-planned sewing sequence, with

the interaction of all the following

few jump stitches, from one area

elements: a machine that's well­

to another, so there's less thread­

tuned and set at the appropriate

trimming to do. And it should be

carefully the fabric's characteristics, its intended use, and

needle and bobbin tensions, a well­

paired with a suitable fabric that

the details of the design. Ask yourself the following

prepared and positioned deSign,

displays it to its best advantage.

questions, and always make test samples:

the correct needle and thread for

If you digitize your own designs

the job, and a good understand­

or have them custom-digitized, you

ing of the fabric you're embroi-

can take into consideration the

For a successful marriage of fabric and design, consider

Will the design's stitch density change the hand of the

fabric? If so, is this a problem for your project?

How will the fabric's color, weight, and texture

influence the design?

Small areas of satin and running stitches and a lightweight tearaway backing kept the garment supple. (Jacket, similar to Vogue 7067; original embrOidery design by Threads associate art director Karen Meyer and digitized by Cactus Punch, available for free download at Delicate designs partner perfectly with a soft, lightweight wool.

• Can you get better results by using a backing or topping? • Will the fabric and design work together if you sim ply change thread colors?

Can you alter the design to make it work, or is choosing

a d ifferent design the best alternative?

-L. G.

on every type o f fabric, even with

Stabilizing the fabric:

N eedles, threads, and tension

the proper stabilizer (which I'll talk

backings and toppings

about in a moment) . A densely

For stitching out a design, you need

Start with a new needle that's the right type and size

stitched design, for example, can

to hoop wovens and knits smooth­

for your fabric and thread. A needle that's wrong

put stress on certain fabrics, such as

ly, with neutral tension, and no

or damaged can cause excessive thread shredding

knits and lightweight, loosely wo­

stretching. Velvet is an exception

or fabric damage.

ven fabrics, in some cases causing

(I'll discuss it in a moment). Lycra

the weave to pull apart. Dense de­

knits with four-way stretch, howev­

thread, test the design before stitching it out on

signs may simply be too stiff for a

er, need to be stretched in the hoop

your garment.

fluid fabric, but can be used suc­

(and backed with a cutaway stabi­

If you vary the thread from 40-weight embroidery

Remember, too, that thread breaks may be caused by old th read (store in a du st-free container away from strong light and heat sources) or overly tight tension,

cessfully on stable, medium- to

lizer) in the same direction and

heavyweight woven fabrics.

amount they'll stretch on the body

A small, less densely stitched de­

when worn. Otherwise, the gar­

sign may be wrong for a thick pile

ment will not stretch on the body,

fabric, such as fleece or terry cloth,

causing undo stress on the design

distort the fabric and design. Know your machine's

because its coverage may be inade­

and fabric (see the photos at left).

tension settings: Some machines control needle tension

quate, causing the design to be lost.

You may also need to stabilize

This type of design works best on a

the fabric by hooping it with a

smooth-surface, plain-weave fab­

backing. Most embroidery-stitch

which may still appear balanced. Stitches that are too tight can stretch the thread and

automatically; others require a dial setti ng.


ric. And a design with substantial


underlay stitches might be a plus

using a backing, but very stable



on a deep pile fabric to keep the

and tightly woven fabrics (such as

pile from poking through the stitch­

organza or terry-cloth toweling)

es. Conversely, it may be too dense

may not need backing at all, de­

for a soft knit or drapey woven.

pending on the design.

In addition to the fabric's weight

Backings come in a variety of

and weave, consider the fabric's

weights and types-cutaway, tear­

color and how you plan to use the

away, heat-diSintegrating, or water­

fabric. Bold colors or patterns will

soluble (see "Backings and top­

probably obscure pastel embroi­

pings" on p. 40). A backing should

dery, and a large, dense floral de­

always be hooped beneath the fab­

sign on silk velvet, for instance,

ric (see the drawing on p . 40) un­

may work beautifully for a pillow

less hooping will cause permanent

cover but be awkwardly stiff on a

marks, as it would on velvet or

long, fluid skirt. In some cases, you

Ultrasuede. In that case, use a sticky

can alter the design to make it work

backing in the hoop, and adhere

(see "Stabilizing the fabric" above

the fabric to it. Or hoop a tearaway

and "Troubleshooting" on p. 40);

backing, and adhere the fabric with

sometimes the best alternative is

a temporary spray adhesive like

to choose a different design.

Sulky's KK2000.

Different fabrics require different preparation. For Lycra knits, choose a design with a lot of open space. To hoop, stretch the knit as it's worn on the body

(1). The design will appear puckered when the fabric is relaxed (2)

but will stretch over the body when worn (2A). Velvet, leathers, and suede should not be hooped


because hooping will permanently mark the

fabric. Use fabric adhesive to adhere the fabric to the hooped backing.



I suggest using tearaway back­

Pairing fabric and design

ings with woven fabrics and de­ signs without a lot of fill areas. As a general rule, use cutaway back­ ings with all knits and with wo­ vens on which you'll embroider a design with a large stitch count and large fill areas, especially if it has a running-stitch outline. Toppings are not hooped but rather placed on top of the hooped fabric to compress or mat down nap or pile and to improve the res­ olution of stitches by keeping them from sinking into the fabric. Top­ pings also improve color coverage when the thread color contrasts greatly with that of the fabric. They can also add artistic effects or three­ dimensional and raised effects. Toppings are torn away around the completed design. A word about stock designs Stock designs are those available from your machine manufacturer or from independent design com­ panies and formatted for your ma­ chine (see "EmbrOidery supplies by mail" on p. 41). You can also find an abundance of stock designs available free on the Internet. Pro­ fessional design companies have experienced, knowledgeable staffs who spend a lot o f time creating and testing their designs so you'll get excellent results when they're used properly, but this may not al­

some problems, even with perfect­

how the underlay is produced,

ways be the case with free designs.

ly good designs, and you'll need to

where the jumps are, and the di­

All stock designs are created for

make some adj ustments to your

rection of the fill stitching.

what I call average fabric condi­

fabric to get good results. I'll talk

If you see that the design is not

tions. This means the fabric on

about that in a moment, but first

stitching out to meet your expec­

which the design works best is a

let's look at how to determine

tations, what do you do? You could


whether a design will work well

edit the design to suit the situa­

hooped on-grain and i s light or

for your fabric. The best way is to

tion, if your software's features and



neutral in color. If you stitch out

do a test run on the actual fabric or

your ability with the programs per­

stock designs on fabrics that vary

one that's very similar. Watch as

mit. Or you could contact the com­

from this norm, you may run into

the design stitches out to observe

pany from which you purchased

1. Densely stitched designs can stress knits and lightweight wovens like chiffon, causing the fabric to pull away from the design. But the same design stitches out well on Ultrasuede backed with a soft cutaway stabilizer (1 A). 2. Delicate designs can be lost on napped fabriCS like fleece but work well on sheers like organza (2A). 3. If your design doesn't provide sufficient cover and the fabriC's color bleeds through, use a fabric topping (3A). 4. The threads of coarsely woven fabrics can deflect the machine needle while stitching, producing uneven edges. The same design stitches out cleanly on a more smoothly woven fabric (4A). 5. Large, densely stitched designs will stiffen velvet and are more suitable for a pillow top than a drapey garment. Check thread and needle tensions by examining the stitched design's wrong side (SA); a column of bobbin thread one-third the satin-stitch width shows balanced tensions.

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9jianuary 2 0 0 0



the design and have it edit­

that's too dense for your fab­

ed (for a fee) or have a new

ric's weight andj or weave,

design custom-digitized.

there are other reasons your

But keep in mind, if you

embroidery might pucker:

have a design digitized for a

Fabric that's stretched too

fabric on-grain in the

specific fabric, it may not

tightly when hooped will re­

hoop, keeping the

work well on other fabrics.

lax when unhooped. Overly

Another solution to this

tight machine tensions (see

problem is to make your

"Needles, threads, and ten­

Hoop the backing and

backing taut and the fabric smooth and wrinkle-free with neutral tension. A void stretching

fabric as "average" as pos­

sion" on p. 38) can also

the fabric unless it's a

sible by using backings and

cause puckering. To test your

toppings so the fabric is

tension balance, sew a I-in.­

Lycra knit, which must be stretched in the hoop because it will stretch

compatible with the stock

tall block letter H, using a

when worn on the body.

design. Below are common

bright color in the needle

Toppings need not be hooped, just laid on top of the hooped fabric.

problems embroiderers en­

and white in the bobbin.

counter; some are solved by

Check the wrong side after

and some are caused by using or

horizontally and deSigns with ver­

stitching. If you don't see any bob­

misusing backings and toppings.

tical fill will push the knit along its

bin thread, your bobbin is too tight

horizontal axis and cause the knit to

or your top thread is too loose, or

open up, creating wavy, puckered

both. If you see a bobbin thread




puckering and distortion

embroidery. Most puckering prob­

column about one-third the width

The most frequent complaints I hear

lems can be eliminated by adding a

of your satin-stitch column, your

from machine embroiderers involve

backing. But do you really want to

tensions are balanced. But before

puckering, poor fabric coverage or

take a fabric with a soft, drapey

you rush to adjust your tensions

poor registration. Puckering and

hand and create a stiff, poster-board

(some machines have automatic

distortion can occur if a design is

effect on part of it? The design in

tensions), check the threading. Be­

too dense for the fabric. For exam­

question may be perfectly suitable

cause rayon thread is slippery, it

ple, if a design has lots of full­

for more stable fabric, but for a light­

can jump out of the take-up lever

coverage fill areas with layers of

weight fabric or one with a loose,

causing tension problems. There­

blended stitches on top, it may not

unstable weave, use a design with

fore rethread the upper thread

be the best choice for knits or light­

fewer fill and satin stitches.

path, and check the bobbin to be

weight, drapey fabrics. Knits stretch

Backi ngs and to pp i ngs

sure it's threaded correctly, too.

Hooping a backing beneath the fabric

and/ or laying a topping over the hooped

Soft 'n Sheer, Cut-Away Plus); use on

fabric can help stabilize and prepare the

knits and lightweight wovens

dsolv); use on textured knits and

fabric for embroidery. Select the backing

on top of other stitching

or topping to coordinate with the fabric

from Hoop-It-AII); use on fabrics that

or design used.

cannot be hooped, such as velvet,

i n colors); use on fabrics with high­

U ltrasuede, and leather

contrast colors

Common backings


In addition to choosing a design

Nonwoven tearaways (Sulky Stiffy,

N onwoven and woven cutaways (Sulky

Sticky backings (Sulky Sticky; Stick-It-AII

Meltaways, burnaways, washaways

(Solvy; Sulky Heat-Away; Stick-dsolv from

Tear-Easy, Totally Stable); can use

H oop-It-AII); use on sheer and lightweight

on most fabrics

fabrics and for cutwork designs


Common toppings

• Water-soluble films (Solvy, Stick­ • •

CoverU p from Hoop-It-AII (available

Lame, or mylar; use to create

shimmering effect through em broidery



Poor fabric coverage Poor fabric coverage may be the re­ sult of the fabric color or texture, thread choice, enlarging the de­

Backings and toppings

sign, or even personal preference. For example, a stock design with

A House of Sewing

creamy yellow daffodils composed


of longer satin stitches will prob­

hoopitall. com


ably not work well on plush forest­ green terry-cloth toweling unless it

Joanne's Creative Notions Plus

is specifically digitized for terry cloth. If this is the case, the de­

800-8 1 1-6 611

sign would have a grid of underlay

joannescreative notions.

stitches to mat down the terry

(Sulky products)

loops and maybe some zigzag un­

Nancy's Notions

derlay to keep the top satin stitch­

800-8 3 3-0690

es lofty and prevent the terry

nancysnotions. com

cloth's color from peeking through

(Sulky products)

and the stitches from being lost in the pile.


To counteract poor coverage, con­ sider using a topping like CoverUp

Instead of a large, dense design, try scattering small designs over a

(see sources), which comes in col­

garment to maximize the embroidered effect.

ors. The correct color can neutral­ ize the effects of colored or printed fabrics and hold the pile of a fabric

Amazing Designs 8 8 8-874-6760

The shapes (shown in detail on the facing page) on this silk-shantung skirt's front panel (Vogue 2 0 2 9 ) are from the Dot Font design card by Cactus Punch.

amazingdesigns. com

Balboa Threadworks 800-445-8705 balboastitch. com

in check all at once.

Cactus Punch

Enlarging designs on some em­

This results in stiff embroidery,

case, you may need to loosen both

broidery systems lengthens the

which professional embroiderers

your bobbin and upper thread ten­

stitches and increases the spacing

and digitizers consider to be of

sions to correct it. The threads of a

between them (lowering the stitch

poor quality-and which will prob­

coarsely woven fabric may cause

density). These designs will not

ably result in other problems, such

what might appear to be poor reg­

cover fabric as well as their un­

as puckering, thread breaks, or

istration: The fabric fibers can de­

(U.S.) (Canada. distributed by Volume 1 )

sealed counterparts. If your cus­

even fabric damage.

flect the needle to one side of the

the stitches and spreads out the

Misalignment problems

edges. For clean-edged results,

rows, try using gold lame as a top­

Poor registration (gapping or mis­

choose a stable, smooth-finish

ping. The spaces created from

aligned outlines) can result from

fabric (see the photos on p. 39).

lengthening the stitches will have

using a tearaway backing with a de­

With careful use of high-quality

the shimmering lame peeking

sign that has large fill areas. These

designs and thoughtful fabric

through, and you may even create

deSigns can break down a tearaway

choices, you can ensure good re­

a more interesting effect than the

and compromise stability before

sults and have more fun at your

original design.

the outline has been completely

embroidery machine.

fabric threads, causing uneven

tomizing software only elongates

Personal preference also influ­

sewn. Use a cutaway backing alone

ences what you think about fabric

or adhered with embroidery spray

coverage. Too many embroiderers

adhesive to remedy the problem.

expect total coverage of any fabric,

Overly tight tensions can also

regardless of thread-color choices.

cause poor registration. In this


Dakota Collectibles 800- 3 3 1-3160

8 8 8-805-8 6 3 1

Embroidery Arts 8 8 8-2 3 8-1 372 embroideryarts. com

Oklahoma Designs 800-580-8885

Lindee Goodall oj Tucson, Ariz., is the president oj Cactus Punch Designs and teaches classes on machine embroidery at shows around the country.

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ja n u a ry 2 0 0 0


Sew to the Next Leve l ďż˝

Here are ti ps to boost you r ski l ls, whether you ' re a begi n ner, i ntermed iate, or advanced sewer by Celeste Percy

s sewers, we sometimes

and professional? I've pondered

here's a plan of action that will

look at the garments

these questions and have come up

guarantee graduation to the next

we've made and try to

with some strategies for finding a

level of expertise.

figure out how to make

way through the maze of learning

them better next time.

levels to master this challenging

First set goals

But what is the best way

craft. If you want to improve your

A garment sewer uses dexterity and

to become a better sewer? How can

sewing skills but are intimidated

intellect to take flat objects (fabric

we make fewer mistakes and create

by the complexity of the task or

and pattern) and turn them into a

garments that look more polished

you don't even know where to start,

three-dimensional form that fits an

1:'in_g0 j ďż˝ .0ďż˝

individual body and allows for

amount of ease and be constructed

own list of technical and creative

movement. Aesthetics aside, this

as accurately as the outer garment.

criteria for a well-sewn garment.

is no small task. No matter what

Creative criteria are subjective;

Use it to evaluate your current

your skill level, you'll want to have

nonetheless, you'll always need to

skills and to gauge your progress.

a concept of what really good

decide how much of an element or

sewing is and how to recognize it,

detail you want to emphasize or

Plan of action

so you'll know what you've mas­

play down. My criteria include:

A willingness to learn is required to

• Fabric should work with the gar­

advance your skills. And because

tered and what you haven't. Set goals for improvement based on your criteria for good sewing. To establish criteria for a well­

ment style. Allow the fabric to live

things are bound to go wrong oc­

its own life, and try not to force it

casionally, putting a damper on

into something it's not. A heavy

your enthusiasm from time to time,

sewn garment, start with two cate­

wool, for example, just won't flow

it's important to recognize that un­

gories: technical and creative.

like a rayon.

intended results are a part of the

• Colors need to look good on the

learning process. Instead of focus­

Here's a list of my own minimum requirements in each category.

person wearing the garment.

ing solely on the finished garment,

Topstitching or edgestitching

concentrate also on three aspects of

whether a garment drapes proper­

should highlight or delineate the

learning: experimentation, docu­

ly, fits, and moves well on the body:

overall shape of the garment, and

mentation, and repetition. Here's a

• Grainline determines the drape of

thread colors for seaming should

quick look at each:

Technical criteria center on

Experimentation involves taking

the fabric, so garment sections

be inconspicuous.

should follow the correct grainlines

• Buttons or closures should be ei­

the time to explore technical and

and fit together accurately. Once

ther focal points or appear neutral.

creative ideas. Samples provide an

understood, play with grainlines,

• Embellishment or fabric manip­

excellent testing ground for exper­

and use them to your advantage.

ulation should compliment the

imenting with a sewing process.

garment and not adversely affect

Try out sewing notions, tools, and

its drape.

machine accessories, too.

Seams should be sewn consis­

tently, thus maintaining the gar­ ment's intended shape. If you have trouble sewing with an even seam allowance, use a seam guide.

Seam allowances should be

trimmed, clipped, and graded to achieve the flattest seam possible without weakening it. These ac­ tions are key ingredients to a well­ sewn garment.

• Hems are the most obvious lines

on a garment and should be even unless the design is asymmetrical.

Seams should be pressed dur­

ing all phases of construction. A thorough knowledge of pressing is essential for good results.

The inside of a garment should

Linings should have the right

look as finished as the outside.

Think about and then make your

Documentation is as simple as

taking notes. Every time you run

straight seam, you're an expert at it.

I advise beginners to keep a list of

across a technique you like, jot it

Absolute beginner is the sewer

construction directions from each

down. Do this in conjunction with

who's never sewn before. Pure en­

project that lacks the "why." Then search for explanations. Books,

one sample or garment at a time, so

thusiasm is your main tool if you're

you aren't overwhelmed. Keep your

j ust starting out. Plunge into any

classes, or hands-on inspection of

notes in a journal, binder, or what­

project that appeals to you whether

ready-to-wear garments are good

ever makes sense to you.

it's a T-shirt or something epic (the

sources. Remember to question everything.

Repetition doesn't mean making

latter will just take more time). The

the same garment over and over

proj ect itself matters little-it's the

until you get it right. What you

doing that counts.

want to repeat is a technique used

an intensive learning period as a

ways. Practice makes perfect, but don't make it a chore.

seams effectively

phase is refinement. You know how

• Sewing shaped, curved, and right­

to do the basics, and it's time now

The learning process Once you've incorporated goals

angle seams

to do them with real finesse. Put

• Seam finishes • Basic pattern alterations • Formulating creative goals

chine, and focus on doing each

your progress. Each level of skill

If you are a beginner, sewing ter­

has its own challenges and rewards,

minology may seem foreign and

ing on these tactics:

so enjoy the road to mastery.

confusing, and pattern instructions

• Make "friendly combinations" to

with it in different and interesting

and learning methods into your program, you'll want to evaluate


able. You've just progressed from

• Pressing • Understanding interfacing • Clipping, trimming, and grading

in the garment, so you get familiar


Beginners can work on:

Intermediate sewers are numer­ ous, because this level is comfort­

beginner and want to practice what you know. The key word for this

some sewing miles on your ma­ task well. Intermediate sewers can try work­

You'll want to keep in mind that

are likely to be completely baffling.

make practice easier. For example,

the term expert doesn't just apply to

You need to grasp the vital concept

make a complex garment style with

someone at the top rung; it's used

that sewing is an entire language

an easy-to-sew fabric, or try a dif­

as a floating bar that applies to all

comprised of a vocabulary of tech­

ficult fabric with a simple garment.

Explore fitting, and make more

levels of experience. Even if you

niques. Pattern instructions do tell

are a beginner, you can claim this

you what to do, but rarely do they

complex alterations. Try fitting

title once you become accom­

tell you why to do it. Without the


plished in an area of sewing. If

"why," the language of sewing will

• Gain independence from pattern

you're skilled at sewing a flawless

remain meaningless.

instructions. Wean yourself with

the simplest garments first.

• Try reshaping a garment. For ex­ ample, change a neckline from curved to square, or round off the bottom of a j acket.


M o rale-boosti ng tips


• Add details such as piping, welt pockets, or intricate topstitching.

Further develop creative skills:

Take a course in color theory or drawing. Advanced sewers are ready to tackle any technique or embellish­ ment, so do just that. Be inventive with all of the skills you've ac­ quired. Focus on creative expres­ sion or a signature style. Fine crafts­ manship is a worthy goal, too. How do you know whether you've reached an advanced level? You're advanced if you're able to look at a garment and already know how to sew it. You love to take classes to discover new ideas and approaches to sewing tech­ niques. And you love to get tips.

What you don't see at a sewing class is the teacher's projects she or he left at home. Sometimes

You know your sewing machine

it takes dozens of attempts to achieve the result you ' re looking for. Keep i n m i nd the following:

and tools intimately. You know how

much time it takes to do a project.

these sewing skills: sewing a straight line, clipping and grad i ng a seam, and pressing. If you can do these three things, you have the skills to make a welt pocket.

Advanced sewers can work on:

• J u st being able to choose a fabric is a creative skill, and you have it! • Beautifully finished seam allowances, even if you're the only one who sees them, will make you

• Designing. Really flex those cre­ ative muscles.

feel like a professional.

Have a mix of proj ects going,

both simple and challenging.

Take a new look at techniques

Make that showpiece deSigner

Break a technique down to its sim plest elements. For example, a welt pocket is made up of

Practice the theory of l i m itations. Make a list of three to five garment elements, and use only

those. Here's the hard part: Put away the other 200 ideas, and save them for another project.


you didn't care for in the past. suit you've always wanted to do.

aware of it intuitively. This means

you can choose which techniques

Branch out into another fiber­

that instead of pulling and stretch­

to use and what order to use them.

related medium. What you learn

ing as you sew, you'll be able to

will enhance your garment sewing.

gUide and ease the fabric just the

• Get to know hand-stitches. Start with the slip stitch, and add the

right amount.

whip-stitch. Soon you'll be able to

Guidelines for all levels

Learn about fabric and weave

handle most hand-stitching tasks.

All sewers can benefit from apply­

structure. There is no greater

Learning to sew well will provide

ing energy to these areas:

sewing tool than knowledge about

you with more than a closetful of

• Know your sewing machine. Be

the medium we work with. Famil­

garments. It will enrich your life, as

familiar with every aspect of it, in­

iarity with fabric will help you

you gain satisfaction [rom pro­

cluding accessories and presser

make wise choices about thread,

gressing from beginner to advanced

feet. Find out your machine's full

needles, pressing, interfacings, and

levels in a challenging medium. Be

capabilities. Become adept at ma­

garment styles.

proud of yourself!

chine maintenance.

Think of instructions as sug­

• Develop manual dexterity. Once

gestions, rather than inflexible

the fabric is in your hands, become

rules. You'll be a better sewer if

Celeste Percy teaches sewing in Eugene, Ore., and on the Web (

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9 /j a n u a r y 2 0 0 0


f you've been to a fabric store

fiber fabrics will have you sewing

lately or have been perusing

Lycra blends like a professional.




you're sure to have noticed the

Preparing the fabric

word Lycra creeping into more

The common sense rules that apply

and more fabric labels, fre-

to preparing fabrics for cutting,

quently in fabrics you'd least ex­

whether knit or woven, still apply

pect. That's because Lycra, a stretchy

when Lycra is added to the mix­

fiber most famous for putting the

ture. Knits that can be machine­

spring into nylon exercisewear,

washed should be preshrunk in a

swimwear, and foundation gar­

warm-water machine wash on the

ments, is turning up blended in

gentle cycle, using a mild deter­

tiny amounts with natural fibers,

gent, and then dried on low heat.

such as wool, linen, cotton, and silk,

Machine-washable Lycra wovens,

not to mention paired with rayon

such as linen, microfiber, and cot­

and polyester micro fiber. Lycra's

ton blends, take a regular cycle for

expansion into the fashion-fabric

both washing and drying. When

arena includes both knits and

hand-washing is appropriate, as

wovens, so these days you're just

for some silks, use cool water and

as likely to see a woven wool suiting

hang to dry, or if you prefer, have

blended with 1 % Lycra fiber as you

the fabric dry-cleaned. Garments

are a wool or silk jersey given more

made of wool and Lycra blends,

resilience by 3 to 5% Lycra.

both knit and woven, will need to

These fabrics look j ust like their

be dry-cleaned, but yardage can be

all-natural counterparts, so they're

preshrunk by holding a steam iron

suitable for a wide range of gar­

� in. above the fabric's surface.

ments, from career- and daywear to special-occasion dressing. But

A few ground rules

Lycra-blend fabrics have two sig­

Lycra-blend knits and wovens also

nificant differences from all-natural

share some special needs in terms

fibers: a degree of stretch not pre­

of layout directions, cutting imple­

sent in the natural fiber and a

ments, thread, and zipper treat­

greater resistance to wrinkling. The

ments. After the fabric is preshrunk,

advantage of sewing with Lycra­

even out the crossgrain ends with a

blended natural fibers is obvious:

T-square, and lay out the pattern

The tiny bit of synthetiC added to a

with the greatest amount of stretch

natural-fiber yarn means a wool­

going around the body, whether

and-Lycra or linen-and-Lycra j acket

cross-grain or lengthwise.

can shake off creases and still offer

Sharp tools are a must with this

the warm or cool comfort you'd ex­

fabric because you don't want to

pect from plain wool or linen. Wo­

stretch it as you cut. So use your

ven Lycra blends have the addi­

best scissors or a rotary cutter, and

tional advantage of allowing sewers

sharp, fine pins to avoid snags.

to more closely fit a pattern than

You won't need special presser

would be comfortable in a fabric

feet for sewing Lycra blends, but a

Which of the two fabrics on the facing page is made with a

without Lycra. Tailored or close­

good-quality, all-purpose polyester

fitting pants sewn in Lycra blends

thread is your best bet because the

have less tendency to bag out in the

thread itself has some stretch built

seat or knees. And sewing with the

in. When threading the bobbin, be

fabric is surprisingly easy, too. Just

sure not to wind it too fast, or the

hint of Lycra? Both are! Whether a clingy knit or fitted woven, all kinds of fabriC types and garment styles benefit from Lycra's resistance to bagging and wrinkling (top, Vogue 7024; pants, Vogue 7027). The samples above and on p. 49 include Lycra­ blend silk, wool, linen, cotton, and man-made fibers, such as rayon and polyester microfiber, which all look like their single­ fiber counterparts but shake off wrinkles when Lycra is added.

a few minor adjustments to the usu­

thread will be stretched and the

al sewing process for all-natural

seams puckered. Resist the urge to

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ja n u a ry 2 0 0 0


on the bolt can be permanent, so you may have to refold the yardage


for pattern layout. Consider sim­ plifying your pattern to make

Seams for knits and wovens:

Hems for knits: Cover-hem stitch

Hems for wovens: Topstitched hem

Triple-stitched seam

� \ / -

sewing with Lycra-blend knits eas­ ier. For example, eliminate neck and armhole facings by binding the raw edges with self-fabric cut in the direction of the fabric's greatest stretch (you can use the bias-binder


attachment to apply this). It's also

Use a triple stitch to reinforce

best to mark the pattern's notches

seams in stress areas like

using %-in. snips into the seam al­

the crotch.

Three-thread overlock

Use cover-hem serger stitch

Finish raw edge, press

to produce topstitched look

hemline, and topstitch

on garment's RS.

hem with twin needle for a ready-to-wear look.

Flatlock-hem stitch

lowance because fabric markers can leave stains. For sewing nylon-Lycra knits, use a 70/ 10 SUK ballpoint needle; for

Hand-stitched hem

all other Lycra-blend knits, a 75/ 1 1 H S stretch needle i s appropriate. Areas of stress, like crotch and un­ derarm seams, need a 2.5mm triple stitch (see the drawing at left); oth­

If hand-stitching hem, stretch thread every fourth stitch,

For knits, serge seams together; for wovens, serge seam allowances separately.

.... / Zippers


ner leg, and casings, take a narrow,

Use serger flatlock-hem stitch

and knot to give slight

.05mm- to 1 . 5mm-long zigzag. Test

to produce look of three­

stretch to hem.

seams after sewing by stretching as

thread overlock on garment's

much as possible. If stitches break,

RS and ladder stitch on back.

loosen the top thread tension, and

Then press to one side,

test again until there's no breakage.

Buttonholes for knits:

and topstitch in place.

er seams, such as those at side, in­

For seam-edge finishes, serge to­

Corded buttonholes

gether with a three- or four-thread

Basting stitches

overlock stitch, using woolly nylon in both loopers (see the


drawing). Don't use a five-thread overlock stitch because it has no elasticity. Topstitching on Lycra

Fuse interfacing.

knits is done with a

press open,

ZWI HS stretch

and insert

Work stitches by hand or

twin-needle, using woolly nylon


machine over heavy-duty

hand-wrapped onto the bobbin and

Use strips of fusible in terfacing

thread or buttonhole twist.

in the loopers. Using the stretch

in seam allowances to stabilize

twin needle (identified by its blue

fabric for zipper insertion.

band) is important, or skipped stitches will result. To flatten out

stretch seams as you sew; using a

will prevent zippers from bulging

the ridge that sometimes appears

narrow zigzag (of the lengths spec­

(see the drawing above).

between rows of topstitching,

ified below for knits or wovens) will add all the stretch your seams need.



loosen the top-thread tension. Handling Lycra-blend knits

Options for hems include the

An invisible zipper is most com­

Before laying out your pattern and

cover hem on the serger, which pro­

patible with Lycra blends. Stabiliz­

cutting a Lycra knit, check the fab­

duces two stitch lines on top and a

ing the seam allowances with light­

ric for defects and snags, so you

serged stitch on the underside, or a

weight 'A-in. fusible strips cut in

can work around them . Crease

flat-lock stitch, which looks like a

the fusible's nonstretch direction

marks where the fabric was folded

three-thread serged stitch on top



and a ladder stitch on the back.

natural fibers do. So choose or

a two- or three-thread overlock

As with many knits, Lycra-blend

adapt your pattern to avoid these

stitch, sew a plain seam, and press

knits rarely support buttonholes

areas accordingly, either flattening

open. All pressing can be done

well, but if you dare to try, test

edges with topstitching (a great

with a steam iron on the medium

first, being sure to cord the but­

decorative touch for sporty Lycra­

setting, using the standard pre­

tonholes to prevent their stretching

blends) or eliminating these de­

cautions for the fibers blended

out of shape from use.

tails from your deSign.

with Lycra, namely a press cloth.

Designer Fabrics

Sewing Lycra-blend wovens

Where interfacing is needed, as in

Whatever you might use for a clo­

Woven Lycra blends can be used

collars, plackets, pockets, and

sure in a woven Lycra blend's all­

with any pattern where a woven is

waistbands, a fusible such as Fusi­

natural counterpart is fine: button­

recommended or where Lycra's

Knit (by HTC) works wen. You'll

holes, loops, snaps, and zippers all

slight stretch would add to the gar­

also want to interface behind all

work well. Lycra-blended wovens

ment's comfort and resistance to

closures with strips cut in the

can be hemmed by topstitching

wrinkling, such as tailored pants,

fusible's nonstretch direction; for

with a lwin needle after finishing

straight skirts, or fitted jackets. They

zippers, fuse \{-in. interfacing strips

the raw edge or by hand-stitching,

can also be used for pull-on pants

in the seam allowance.

stretching the thread every fourth

115 06850 203-846-1333

New Canaan Ave. Norwalk, CT

Haberman Fabrics

117 48067 248-541-0010 W. Fourth St. Royal Oak, MI

Josephine's Dry Goods

921 97205 503-224-4202 S.W. Morrison Portland. OR

and straight or tube skirts if the

An 80/ 12 H needle is suitable for

garment is not fitted too snugly­

most blends except silk, which calls

these fabrics typically have 10% or

for a finer 70/ 10 H needle, and

There's no reason to pass up a

less stretch. It's often best to treat

denim, which needs a heavier,

beautiful fabric just because the la­

your pattern as though it's to be

sharp 90/14 HJ needle. Give seams

bel says "Lycra." In fact, with all

cut from fabric with no stretch at

elasticity by sewing with a narrow

the advantages a touch of Lycra

& 2518 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94704 510-845-6106

all; then reduce the ease during fit­

zigzag .05mm to 1 .5mm long. Sta­

brings, you just might want to seek

fabric. com

ting to get the look you want.

bilize neck and shoulder seams

them out.

The one caveat when chOOSing

with twill tape or narrow selvage.

patterns for your Lycra-blend wo­

Finish seams with a three- or

ven i s that the inherent springi­

four-thread overlock with woolly

ness of Lycra means the edges of

nylon in both loopers. Then press

welts, facings, collars, and other

to one side, and topstitch ):; in. from

tailored trademarks don't flatten

the finished edge. Or serge the

under steam and pressure like all-

seam allowances separately with

stitch and knotting to give slight stretch to the hem.

Sandra Betzina, host of HGTV's Sew Perfect, is the author of Fabric Savvy (The Taunton Press, 1999) and creator of Vogue's Today's Fit patterns. For a free brochure, call 415-386-0440, or visit her Web site (

Stonemountain Daughter Fabrics

stonemoun tain



Trafalgar Road S. Oakville, ON Canada

L6J 3G3 905-845-7441 800-771-7599

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ja n u a ry 2 0 0 0


Expand You r Pressi n g Area

An ordinary ironing board becomes a multipurpose work surface when you build this handy extension

by Leslie Maddocks Hiatt

y sewing life changed

16-gauge expanded

forever the day I de­

metal-a lightweight

cided to enlarge my

material with a diamond-

ironing board. I knew

shaped grid that can be or­

a large, rectangular

dered through a welding shop.

pressing surface that

The metal is attached to a wood

could sit on my existing ironing

frame made to fit securely on the

board and allow steam to penetrate

top of a standard ironing board

would help me handle unwieldy

(see the drawing at right).

oversized projects, but I discovered

The dimensions of the exten­

additional uses for the extension.

sion's top are 60 in. by 32 in., a

I can press a lot of yardage on it

size that's turned out to be perfect

in a snap and use it as a pinable,

for pressing a folded piece of 60-in.­

higher, back-saving work surface.

wide fabric. You can make your

Lowered, and snugged up to my

surface any size you like, but keep

sewing machine table, it supports

in mind that the larger it is, the

the fabric overflow of large pro­

less stable it will be (though a spare

jects. I can also remove it from its

leg, shown in the drawing below,

ironing-board base, lean it against

will keep it from wobbling).

Pad and cover

a wall, and use it as a design board. My good friend and problem-solver

Tips for construction

Mike Kennedy helped me design

A second pair of hands makes the

and build the ironing-board ex­

job a lot easier, so I recommend

tension described on these pages;

constructing your ironing-board ex­

two years later, I cannot imagine

tension with a friend. It's helpful

sewing any project without it.

to have basic woodworking skills, but there aren't many involved. The

Extension design

wood for the supporting frame can

Our ironing-board extension con­

be cut with a handsaw, as I'm doing

sists of a rectangular, padded press­

in the top left photo on the facing

ing surface that covers a sheet of

page, though it's faster and easier to



Expanded metal




Optio",' stabiliZing

Ironing-board base

c"" .(5�

Cut the wood for the frame

Use the ironing board itself as

Don't be tempted to staple

Stretch and staple covering

with a handsaw or a tablesaw.

a centered template for the

the expanded metal to the

fabric over the metal and onto

Use a carpenter's square to mark a line straight across the wood. Saw straight down; then sand the edges smooth.

interior of the frame.

Even heavy-duty staples tend to pop out. Use roofing nails instead.

Use a double layer of thick, prewashed cotton to tightly cover the extension. Pad the surface first with wool batting if you like.

A snug

fit makes a stable surface.


cut accurately with a tablesaw. Use

supply store. When you get it home,

screws to hold the frame together

file the rough-cut edges smooth-

because nails are more likely to

a Dremel tool with a sanding drum

split the wood. A cordless

works well for this job. To prevent

electric screwdriver makes

rust, spray-paint it with a coat of

it easy. Be sure to use a

primer, such as Rust-Oleum.

carpenter's square to keep all

To make the frame: 1 . Cut and assemble outer perimeter of frame. 2. Center ironing board upside down in frame. Line up lengthwise

the frame.

Use roofing nails, which have

corners at right angles.

large flat heads, to j oin the ex­

For the wood frame, use I-in. by

panded metal to the frame, as I'm

2-in. strapping (inexpensive con­

doing in the third photo from left,

struction woo d ) . It can be pur­

then cover the metal and frame

chased by the foot or is sometimes

tightly with your favorite ironing­

sold in a bundle of 18 pieces. You'll

board padding and fabric. Use

use only five pieces, so you can

heavy-duty staples to secure it to

select the straightest lengths and

the frame, as shown in the photo at

avoid those with knots, which can

right. Fold the corners as flat as

weaken or split the wood.


(1 use hospital corners,

Work on a flat surface, such as a

a s though making a bed), and

large work table, garage floor, or

secure with a roofing nail. You'll

pieces of wood against sides of board;

even the front sidewalk. Construct

appreciate a nice square corner if

then remove board and a ttach pieces.

the frame's perimeter first; then

you want to position your board

3. Join essential crosswise struts to keep

use the ironing board as a guide [or

against a wall.

board snug in frame.

building the interior framework,

Even if you sew on a small scale,

as shown in the second photo from

you'll find a large pressing surface

4. With ironing board in place, make angled struts a t tip of board.

5. Place final crosswise strut a t end of board. Anatomy of an ironing-board extension Use standard ironing board as base, and build a frame to fit around it. Nail expanded metal on top of frame.

left above. While you're working,

makes life easier. And I'll bet you,

chant the mantra, "measure twice,

too, will wonder how you ever got

cut once." An accurate, snug fit

along without one.

around the ironing board makes the extension more stable.

Then cover with padding and sturdy fabric, such as

Have the expanded metal cut to

cotton duck. (See drawing at left.)

the size of the frame at the building-

Leslie Maddocks Hiatt and Mike Kennedy sew and solve problems, respectively, in Winston-Salem, N.C.


look at fashion's fascination with uncut lengths of draped fabric-past, present, and future by Laura Hotchkiss Brown

s I try to imagine gar-

Grecian images of

rarely more than a single uncut

Visiting the Greeks

ment designs to suit our

women, like these

and unsewn rectangle of fabric

Woven to fit the wearer, the basic

new millennium, I find

are usually wonderfully detailed and accurate regarding dress. These drawings show the evolution from a plain, belted tube (center) to increasingly elaborate folds and pinning (left and right).

draped in any number of elegant,

garment for a Grecian woman of

imaginative ways.

ancient days was a simple rectan­

myself looking back­ ward, as many other de­ signers have done before me, to the very beginnings of our efforts to get dressed in practical yet appealing ways. It's easy to see where it all started for Western civ­ ilization. In fact, in virtually every culture where the technology of


I'd like to take you back more

gular cloth draped around the body

than 2 ,000 years for a lesson in

in any of dozens of characteristic,

basic fashion draping. Then I want

sophisticated ways. In place of

to whisk you forward to this last

sewing, the fabric was decoratively

century of the current millennium

pinned and/or tied in shape, and

for a few glimpses of how these

the resulting gathers and pleats

simple yet elegant ancient designs

were simply, or elaborately, ad­

proved inspirational for several of

justed to fit the wearer's body.

weaving developed, the first wo­

the 20th century's most respected

These lightweight fabrics were also

ven garments to appear were quite

designers. And finally, I want to

often wetted, twisted, and dried to

naturally made from simple lengths

offer you several ideas for making

form pleats before being draped

of cloth, j ust as the fabric came

modern, everyday use of all we've

around the body.

from the loom. This is certainly

seen the basic rectangle do for

About 880-600 B.C., the earliest

true of the ancient Greeks and Ro­

the female form-in the past, the

version of this garment was a rec­

mans, for whom clothing was

present, and no doubt the future.

tangle woven not much larger than



the wearer's circumference. It was

The Classic version of this gar-

wrapped around the body to form

ment (after 5 5 8 B . C . ) was very

a tube (not always seamed at the

wide, often 3 yds. or more around

side), pinned at the shoulders, and

the wearer, and woven as a tube.

belted-or girdled-at the waist

The excess was pinned over the

and/or hip, as shown in the center

arms to form sleeves in the bodice,

drawing on the facing page.

and the skirt was controlled by

Later, the rectangle became wider and was woven as a tube. To wear

elaborate folding, as shown at right on the facing page.

From classic to

Fast forward

designer garments by Issey Miyake (left) and Giorgio Armani (center) pay tribute to the rectangle in their Spring '99 collections.

After the Grecian era, Western


clothiers spent the next 2,000 years slowly learning to make increasingly fitted garments. It took nearly 1 ,5 00 years for a fitted sleeve to be developed. Centuries were spent perfecting the fit of the bodice for both men and women.

it, a fold was made at the top, with

In the later periods, separate wo-

But by the 20th century, a few

the girdling at the waist hidden un-

ven or embroidered borders were

deSigners were ready to return to

derneath, as shown at left on the

o ften attached to the rectangle

the rectangle, beginning with the

facing page. Sometimes, the upper

edges, weighting the fabric and

Greek-inspired gowns created in

fold was made longer and then

giving it a rich finish. In all the pe-

the 1920s by Italian design Mario

both layers were belted together.

riods discussed, this basic gown

Fortuny and continuing through

The belting could be at empire,

was often worn with a cloak over it

the myriad variations on the basic rectangle concocted some

waist, or hip levels or could slant

and with a veil over the head.

from one level to the other. The

Sometimes, the back portion of

8 0 years later by masters Issey

fabric was adjusted to form elabo-

the overfold was thrown over the

Miyake and Giorgio Armani, as

rate pleats and blousing effects.

head to form a hood.

shown in the photos above. In the

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9 /j a n u a r y 2 0 0 0



Start with a tube of fabric as wide as the drapee from fingertip to

(top. center). Position the selvage at top and bottom. and close the tube with a finished seam. Slip the tube over the drapee. and hold the top edge taut across the shoulders in the center. Pin front to back. allowing a cowl to form in front (above) by catching more width at the front edge. Back cowls work well. too. but one side must be taut across the figure. unless pinned to undergarments. or it will fall off the shoulders. Belt at the waist. arranging the folds to form elegant. balanced. and symmetrical pleats front and back. and soft drapes at each side. fingertip

Drapey fabric, a few pins, and a cord or two are all you need to practice the perfect simplicity of classic draping. These examples start with two authentic drapes. as worn by ancient Greek women. and finish with a modern variation. Designed by the author. all the garments are equally suitable for your next stint in a Greek chorus. as extremely elegant. warm­ weather eveningwear. or just as inspiration.



latest issues of the top fashion

time, they were actually scarcely

pleated fabrics and has worked for

magazines, you can often see the

changed versions of their ancient

years with Japanese textile mills to

simple legacy of the rectangle.

Greek forebears (see the photo at

use the latest in textile technology

Fortuny extensively explored the

right on p. 5 3 ) . Fortuny even

to create pleats. A recent line of his

fine pleating of fabrics as origi-

weighted the edges of his gowns

is called simply Pleats. On a more

nally done by the Greeks, devel-

with handmade glass beads, just as

familiar level, the recurring trend of

oping a still-secret method for per-

his predecessors had used woven

broomsticking wet fabrics to pro-

m anently pleating silk. And,

borders and ornamental weights.

duce multiple uneven pleats dates

although Fortuny's gowns ap-

Interestingly enough, Miyake has

directly back to the Greek meth-

peared extremely modern at the

also long been fascinated with

ods of pleating fabric.

�u0c" Q.'0� 1� 8

1! g. � � 5:

To create sleeves, start with the same width tube as

(see the facing page). Measure off the same distance on each side between front and back drape when pinning to create the cowl (left); the amount is your choice. Place well-spaced button-covered pins down each upper arm to create sleeves (center); then carefully arrange the excess at each side into wide box pleats, with the folds equally distributed front and back (right). A belt holds everything in place. before and the same cowling process

A one-shoulder drape was recorded only in images of Amazon women, but it's hard to believe no

The rectangle needs to be body length and twice the body width plus twice the desired drape width. In this case, 4S-in.-wide fabric was adequate to wrap the model, so the selvages run up and down (left). One shoulder pin holds the fabric up, and a few pins or stitches hold the side closed to whatever width suits you. To add a belt, make slits or buttonholes through the drape at the waist, and insert your cording (right). Grecian beauty ever tried it.

Let's try it

ware of finely woven silks or any

pins. The basic garment is pinned

Working with the basic rectangle in

other fabrics that pin-mark easily,

at the shoulders with matching

the traditional way is fairly simple.

because these garments are pinned

pins. These can be purchased or

First choose your fabric. You will

together at the shoulder. If you use

made of buttons, handmade flow­

need something that drapes well

those fabrics, always pin in the

ers and leaves, or odd pieces of

and has some heft to it. Among the

same place; if you'd like to use the

metal, as in my collection shown on the faCing page. For one-shoulder

many possibilities are rayon challis,

same rectangle for several design

tissue faille, or lightweight twill;

variations, then choose a looser

deSigns, look through your collec­

silk broadcloth, charmeuse, or

woven fabric that won't pin-mark.

tion of vintage brooches for strik­

twill; and washed rayon or silk. Be-

Next you'll need an assortment of

ing pieces. If you want to pin the

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9 /j a n u a r y 2 0 0 0



(far left) starts with a hip-length tube, perhaps three times the body's circumference and pinned as described on p. 5 5 . Variations at left and right are nothing more than wrapped rectangles, two of whose ends are tied behind the neck. Above, a large square folded in half makes a quick wrap, hip length or more depending on the size of the square. A do-it-yourself pinned-sleeve Delphos

sleeves, you will need six to 10


fully, and then wrap it around your

matching sets of pins, at least.

and then finish the ends with tas-

body. The fabric can be on either

These can easily be made by

sels wrapped with fabric. The

the crosswise or lengthwise grain.

using buttons and button pins.

length depends on whether you

Most fabrics are not wide enough

Buttons can be purchased or

want to wrap the waist once or

to form a fold at the top, so if you

covered in fabric to match.

twice and whether you plan to belt

want to explore this style, you'll

at the waist or hip.

need to cut two lengths of fabric,

You'll also need an assortment of


weight and color for your fabric,

and seam their sides together.

belts and cords, like those shown

Finish the raw edges of your

on the mannequin on p. 54. The

draping fabric with a narrow

All the methods of draping de-

Greeks often used a wide belt or

serged or turned machine hem (see

scribed previously or shown in the

girdle, but narrow cords also work

"A machine-turned hem" on the

step-by-step photos on pp. 54-55

well. Choose a cord the proper

facing page), press your fabric care-

can be used. And I encourage you

l'�0 Icg v;� Cl. �0 l �9Cl. "0


A mac h i n e-tu rned h e m Perhaps the fastest, narrowest way to clean-fi nish the raw edges of your draping fabric is to make a rolled hem. You could use a hemming presser foot, or you could try this industrial technique, which uses your regu lar foot: Step 1. At your machine, fold the raw edge over about % i n . ; then stitch as closely to the fold as possible. Step 2. Using the presser foot to hold the fabric edge, trim as closely as possible to the stitching (as shown at left) . If your fabric is ravelly, you can trim a small section at a time. Step

3. Roll the trimmed fold over tightly, and sew over -L.H.B.

the previous stitching, as shown at right.

to use your own imagination to

Toward the future

so much fullness as the Greeks en­

vary the drapes and adapt them to

Once the basic steps are learned,

j oyed. As with any design chal­

your interests and figure. I suggest

there are infinite ways to vary them

lenge, the really cool ideas are still

that you start with the basic rec­

to produce garments that can look

waiting for you to discover.

tangle, wrapped around the body

as fresh as the new millennium or

forming a tube, open at one side.

as ancient as you desire. You'll find

Pin the back over the front at the

several examples in the photos on

shoulder. To create a cowl in front,

these two pages. Most of them

feed more fabric into the front,

started with smaller, or at least

keeping the back neck taut. This

narrower, rectangles to produce

will prevent the garment from

tops that can be worn with other

falling off as soon as you let go of it.

garments or that don't have quite

Laura Hotchkiss Brown worked with designers Ronaldus Shamask and Tracy Mills beJore moving to San Fran­ cisco, where she teaches Jashion design and sewing at The Fashion Institute oj Design and Merchandising and The Sewing Workshop.

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9 /j a n u a r y 2 0 0 0


Th is m u ltifaceted designer and his q u i lti ng partner, Liza Prior Lucy, tal k about col laboration, color, and design i ng q u i lts by Christine Timmons 58


orn in California, based in London, and trained as a painter, renowned designer Kaffe Fassett has been equally at home in the last 30 years designing knit­ wear, needlepoint, patchwork quilts, and, most recently, making mosaics. He has written a number of books, including the newly released Mosaics (The Taunton Press, 1999) and, with quilting partner Liza Prior Lucy, Glo­ rious Patchwork (Clarkson Potter, 1 997) and Quilting and Patchwork Book Number 1 (Westminster, 1999). In addition to quilts, Liza designs needlepoint and knitwear in her New Hope, Penn., studio. Recently I talked with them about their col­ laboration and their quilts.

new color or colors into our palette. We're constantly designing. A few months-and many phone

look fabulous today, so let's make

to the States to review the com­

ratatouille. It's very spontaneous.

pleted projects, and then we'll start on a new round of deSigns.

CT: Collaboration isn't always as

successful as it appears to be in

Doylestown, Penn., with fabulous j ewel-tone tiles embedded in it.


When we came home, Kaffe went

Pieced Stripes Quilt

to my stash and threw all these fab­

( 1 9 97. 8 5 in. sq.) and.

rics on the floor, then said, ''There's

inset. designer Kaffe

LL: Find somebody with your same energy level.

the palette for the next quilt." Even

Fassett and h i s quilting

with your creative rhythm. Liza can

though we'd been utterly focused

partner. Liza Prior

jump on an idea as fast as I can

on the photo shoot, Kaffe's mind

Lucy. sit below an

think it up.

was still taking in the stimulus of

early painting by


Let's talk about design.

Which comes first for you, color KF: Color is king. Sometimes I'll

really attracts me; then I'll feed col­ ors into that form. But mostly, I'm thinking of a big color mood.

friendly warmth about it.

My passions are color and giving

Liza and I spur each

people projects they can do. I love

other on. If I'm work­

being able to say to people who say

ing alone, I can be

they can't do fancy knitting, "Well, fine, I don't do any either. I just

thing, and it can go on and on, and

knit one row and purl one row."

I get very paranoid. When I talk it

LL: From the very beginning,

out with Liza, I have more confi­ dence in what I'm doing. LL: I like the feeling of relief of not being totally responsible for a piece. I love the freedom that comes

Kaffe's idea in knitting was complex color, easy knitting. And the same goes for our patchwork.

CT: Do you always work

when someone else is half-, three­

with blocks and with a

quarters, or even 90% responsible


for the design.


Do you have a fairly set


1'\1 come over to the United

routine for working together?

On the facing page.

KF: And someone who's in sync

don't experience working

doubtful about some­

photo shoot for our last book at Fonthill, a castle-like building in

give to someone thinking about

see a star or another shape that

KF: There's a kind of

LL: And Kaffe's mind never stops. Recently, we spent a day on a

your case. What counsel would you

laborating on a quilt that you solo?

ciding that eggplants and peppers

calls and e-mails later-I'll return

or pattern?

CT: What do you find in col­

KF: No, designing a quilt is just

like going to the market and de­

LL: Yes, or with a ro­ tary cutter and ruler.

CT: For your knit­

ting and needlepoint,

States for a week or two at a time;

Kaffe, you did a

then we'll just work gung ho. We'll

lot of preliminary

go shopping for fabric for four or

sketching and wa­

five quilts, come home, cut up the

tercolors before

pieces, and start assembling them.

embarking on

Then suddenly I might see some

the design. I s

flowers in a field or a bouquet in a

that still true

shop and decide to incorporate a

for quilts?

the colors around him.

CT: In Glorious Patchwork you

said that after moving to England,

Kaffe of objects on a patchwork qUilt. Below. Pink and Blue Pennants Quilt

( 1 9 97.

66X in . by 78X in.).

turned from teaching in

combination. And sometimes peo­

Alaska. What seized

ple knock their brains out creat­ ing a color combination with, say,

your eye there? KF: The sapphire

a hundred shades of lavender. But

blue of the cracks

it still effectively looks like two col­

in the glaciers are

ors: light and dark lavender. There's


no kick color. I'm always looking

able. The color

for some maverick tone that brings


is a strange combina­

the whole thing alive. LL: I find that Kaffe's color com­

tion of dirt

binations have something that

and total

holds my attention and causes me

clean beauty. The

to want to look again and again at the piece. By contrast, quilts that I don't care for have a predictable palette that enables me to know the entire quilt after looking at just one of its corners. CT: Your quilts don't always use

bold colors. Does a successful pas­ tel palette demand a different ap­ proach from what's needed for a bold color combination? KF: I'm really attracted to the sub­

tle colors in something like a

you had to


moth's wings, which are just

have picked up

shades of gray. But even when I

gravel and mud as they've

use a tone-on-tone combination, I

moved, so they're full of dirt. Then

still want a little underlying color

there'll be a crack in the ice, and

that lifts the combination and

you'll see a pure heavenly blue that

makes it a little different.

come to terms with

turns into a deep cobalt, purple­

LL: That reminds me of the

gray and that your eye began

blue at its depth that's amazingly

woman who came to one of our

fresh and pristine.

classes with a teal-and-purple qUilt

gradually to take in the subtleties of silver and bronze garden tones.

CT: You've written that your work

And best of all, you discovered the

with color is intuitive, but can you

intense beauty of stone. Last year,

talk a little about what makes a suc­

by 94 in.); below. Dark

when you went to India to get the

cessful color combination?

Star Quilt ( 1 9 9 9.

production of your quilting fabrics

KF: For me,

by 42 in.); and on the

underway, I'm curious about what

it's when two

facing page. Striped

your eye discovered there.

colors collide in

Above. Taupe Lattice Quilt

( 1 9 97. 68 X in. 40 in.

Triangle Quilt ( 1 9 9 9.

90 in. by 60 in.).

KF: Oh, boy. India is a blast of

there's a wonder­

the world uses, raw color that com­

ful energy and life

bines with the faded dirtiness of

about them, and

other colors. I love that crazy brash­

at the same time,

ness and the way it ages-when

they're also very har­

those magentas turn to dusty

monious. I'm usually

plums and the peacock blues turn

looking for a boldness

to faded teal. The color combina­

of color that has, at the

tions in India are utterly irresistible.

same time, a subtlety. I

CT: And this week, you just re-



such a way that

fresh, raw color that nobody else in

know that's a very odd

in progress. It was fabulous but very pre-

dictable. So Kaffe went fabric shop­ ping, came back, and put an in­ credible red tulip in the middle of what was to be a plum or purple area. The woman said, "I j ust can't do it. I can see that it looks beautiful, but if I do it, my mother's going to say, 'What did





of fabric?' " We said, "Tell your mother that it's not her quilt." She replied, "I can't-my mother's been dead for 10 years." KF: That's exactly the way





We don't lisLen to our mothers! CT: How do you want viewers to

respond to your designs? KF: To Lurn off their intellects

and enjoy the design sensually. I'm

ments you've designed, I'm curi­ ous if you've ever thought about doing quilted garments?


so go to sleep it at night and

always amazed when people make

KF: We're working on one right

wake up with it in the morning. I

quilts about the oppression in

now for the next Fairfield Fashion

wait for my brain to tell me what

South Africa or some other political

Show, and perhaps we'll do more in

will happen next.

issue. I want someone from any

future books along flat quilts.

KF: I do the same. I pin up the de­

walk of life, regardless of the coun­

CT: What would you tell a novice

sign at the foot of my bed, so I can

try they come from or the language

quilter about working with color?

they speak, to get a sensual expe­

LL: Most people come to class

rience from what I produce. CT: Given all the knitted gar-

see it in the morning before the intellect is in gear.

with a palette of rainbow colors,

LL: The key advice here is, don't

and I usually tell them right at the

think so hard. In classes, I always

beginning to reduce the number

see too much thinking going on.

of colors to just two, say, red and


Me, too. And people always

green, then expand the red and

think that when you design and

green they use to include every pos-

you write a book or give lectures,

sible hue of red and every varia-

you've got some kind of hidden,

tion on green they can find .

esoteric knowledge. In fact, we're all

KF: I also tell students not to be

just children who go out there and

so hot on contrast ( for example,

play. As experienced designers, we

using a black star on a white field)

just get to our play mode more

because that's one of the elements

quickly. We just shut off the brains

that makes quilts quick and easy to

and throw all the fabrics on the

figure out-and forget.

floor and make a mud pie.

1 love the old, old quilts whose

On our Web site


CT: So what you're really saying

you'll find more quilts

colors have faded and dirtied and

is to celebrate and keep alive the

and a quilted pillow

melted into a kind of wonderful

child inside?

project designed by

smear of colors. One color shows through another, and the level of contrast is minimal. CT: What do you do when

you get stuck a design? LL: I put up my design on the wall across from my bed,

KF: Absolutely!


Christine Timmons is editor oJThre ds. KaJJe Fassett's line oj cotton quilting Jabrics is available at quilting stores around the country and by mail Jrom the Web site

Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy espeCially for Threads.

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ja n u a ry 2 0 0 0


The Elega Mitered Vent

quick pattern adjustment transforms a standard sleeve vent into a bulkless, tailored one


b y Judy Barlup

ake a close look at the

terns allow for mitered vents, the

sleeve hem of a well-made

recommended construction tech­

man's jacket and you'll see

nique trims excess fabric from the

one nearly invisible but

vent area to help reduce the bulk

telling sign of high-quality,

produced by overlapping the vent

expert tailoring: a mitered

and hem allowances. But trimming

vent. Found on the sleeves of coats

makes it difficult, if not impossible,

and jackets and in the hems ofjack­

to adjust the length of the garment

ets, coats, skirts, and dresses, a

area in question or to alter it later.

mitered vent's clean lines put a gar­

In fact, it's quite easy for home

ment in an entirely different cate­

sewers to produce a mitered vent by

gory from that of one with the

making a simple pattern adjust­

bulky, homemade look of standard

ment. With my method, the excess

unmitered, overlapping vents. Though many commercial pat-

fabric in the vent area isn't trimmed, which adds support to the vent and more importantly for most sewers, allows adjustment during fitting or later alteration. Proper pressing en­ sures the vent isn't bulky, and the results rise to the level of the best made-to-order garments. The illustrations on the facing page show how to construct an easy, high-quality mitered vent in a two-piece sleeve, whether or not a vent is included in the original pat­ tern. And the method for making the miter can apply to a vent in any garment area, including hems.


Adjust both upper-

and 8), turn the hem to the right

and under-sleeve patterns

side, and behold, your crisp new

Essentially, the only changes you'll

miter pops into place.

make to the original pattern involve

Now here's the key to the mitered

It's easy to adjust fit of

drawing a longer, wider vent ex­

vent's magic: Do not trim. I always

two-piece sleeves where

tension than typically found in com­

tell tailoring students that bulk

underarm seams need

mercial patterns on both the upper­

comes from poor pressing, not

and under-sleeve patterns, whether

from excess fabric. Then they ask

garment on, rotate sleeve

it has a vent or you're starting from

me about the bulk in heavy fab­

cap so its grainline hangs

scratch. By drafting a slightly longer­

rics. But the heavier the fabric, the

than-usual vent, you can ensure it

more support a vent needs in a cor­

will be long enough if the sleeve

ner. So press well, using proper

needs to be shortened considerably

pressing tools (in this case, a point

not match. Pin sleeve cap into armscye. With

perpendicular to floor.

during fitting. The vent is widened

presser), and don't trim! The final

to the hem allowance width to make

vent will be neatly mitered at the

an even, square miter (the draw­

proper length for the sleeve, and

ings on p. 64 show how to make

you'll still have room to adjust the

pattern adjustments).

vent later if need be because the

Once the new vent extension is For stooped shoulders,

drafted and the sleeve pieces are

excess fabric in the vent hasn't been trimmed away.

sleeve cap may need to

cut, you'll mark and press the vent's

be rotated back to give

foldline, close the sleeve's outer

Complete the under-sleeve

seam, and then baste the inner

To finish the sleeve, you'll stitch

more fabric over back.

seam. Next you'll fit the sleeve to your nearly finished jacket

(l have

\{ in. from the under-sleeve vent ex­ tension's edge, clipping into the

suggested some fitting gUidelines

seam allowance and pressing the

at left). When you've marked the

corner flat. To determine the de­

sleeve's final length, you'll unbaste

sired length of the vent opening,

the inner seam to open the sleeve

either measure the vent on the orig­

flat, turn up the sleeve hem, and

inal pattern or use your preferred

press the hem. Then you'll inter­

length. I generally make the vent

For very erect posture,

face the vent addition and hem edge

opening from 3\{ to 4 in. long. Ad­

sleeve cap may be

on the upper-sleeve, leaving the area

just the vent seam's stitching for

rotated forward.

where hem and vent intersect un­

this length (see step 2 on p. 65),

interfaced (see step 5 on p. 64), and

match the upper- and under-sleeve

interface the under-sleeve's hem.

vent's raw edges, and stitch as

With the hem and vent folded

shown in step 3 . And as tailoring ex­

along their pressed foldlines, clip

pert Ce Podelak, of Port Moody,


in. into both layers of fabric

British Columbia, points out, with

where these edges meet. Place a

your vent finished but the sleeve

pin in the outside corner, and then

still flat, now is the best time to sew

transfer it to the wrong side at the

buttons in place on the vent.

Determine where

intersection of the two foldlines,

Stitch and press open the sleeve's

armscye 's stitching line

with right sides together and clips

inner seam. Now you're ready to

should fall; pin sleeve to

matching (see steps 6 and 7 on

set the sleeves into the garment.

Pin excess fabric on

p. 64). Stitch from the clips to the

Then secure the sleeve's hem by

garment front and back.

pinned corner. Then press the new

tacking the hem and sleeve al­

garment along this line.

Mark exact length of

seam open on a point presser, press

lowances together at the inner­

from garment and

flat the mitered material that will sit

sleeve seam only. For lined gar­

basting from inner sleeve.

inside the vent's point (see steps 7

ments, cut the lining without the

sleeve. Remove sleeve

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9 /i a n u a r y 2 0 0 0


M A KE A BUL KLESS M I TERE D SLEEVE VENT The drawings below gUide you through the steps for marking a commercial two-piece sleeve pattern with a vent included and a 174-in. hem allowed (the same steps can be adapted for a pattern without a vent). If done carefully, this method produces a perfect miter, but if the vent doesn 't look righ t, it's easy to take out the stitching and correct it. (The drawings assume the fabric has a right and wrong side, with markings transferred to the wrong side.)

Miter the upper-sleeve vent 1. Extend cutting line

2. Repeat process for under-sleeve,

3. Cut sleeve pieces

on upper-sleeve

extending sleeve piece's cutting line

from fashion fabric;

pattern in vent area

174 in. beyond vent placement line

mark vent's foldline

174 in. beyond

(continuation of stitching line).

on upper-sleeve.

Under-sleeve pattern

RSs together, stitch

original vent's foldline (or beyond stitching line on pattern without vent). This new line should begin a t


1 j




bottom edge o f sleeve piece and end

5 in. above hemline.

Extend bottom edge of sleeve to new line to form right angle to

Upper-sleeve pattern New foldline

Vent placement line


-- vent


New cutting line

top edge.

outer seam to


Il �-LJ I I

Hem foldline


hem 's bottom edge; do same for ven t's

With sleeve pieces

I S in.

5. Open pressed areas, and

turn hem on upper-sleeve piece and press.

in terface upper-sleeve 's

Turn under-sleeve hem so that it's no longer

hem and vent turn-back/

than upper-sleeve, being sure to match vent

allowance. Cut fusible in terfacing strips on same

areas from RS. Press under-sleeve's hem.




4!1 in. of

hem. Press seam open to top of vent.

Original cutting line

Turn vent back on foldline and press.

P,,,, ,oo' foldlme back.

Hem foldline


Baste sleeve 's inner seam closed. After

New cutting line

collar and facings of garment are




grain as fashion fabric,


slightly narrower than area to be interfaced. (By cutting


completed, try on with shoulder pads in place, new hemline if necessary.

Uppersleeve, ws

you won 't get fusible

Under­ sleeve, WS

residue on iron or ironing board.) Place in terfacing in vent and hem, next to crease lines. Fuse. Don't interface hem area of vent

• ,I 1L

�� I


Vent foldline

Hem foldline

I I -. .,- -1- - - �


Upper­ sleeve, WS

Vent foldline



Hem foldline 6. With upper-sleeve's hem and vent folded in place, clip

!,{ in.

diagonally into both layers of fabric

extension (the square formed by intersection of


where raw edges meet. Place pin in point of outer corner.

vent and hem creases).

Hems pressed on fold­ line and matched

7. Transfer pin to WS at intersection of crease lines. With RSs together, ma tch clips; then stitch from clips to pin.

8. RSs still together, fold miter open so it lies flat, and press on point presser.

9. Turn vent RS out; press again.

Use a longer stitch length: It will be easier to remove stitches if they're not perfect. Don 't back-tack while stitching. Tie off

Upper­ sleeve, RS

loose threads.

Miter pressed open


4� in.

!I I - -+ � I I

and fit sleeve as in drawings on p. 63, marking

interfacing slightly smaller,



� in.

1 Y< in.

4. Remove basting from inner-sleeve seam;

U pper­ sleeve, WS



,, ,

Upper- and under-sleeves, RSs together

Upper­ sleeve, WS


.I • ,U \'>oi�•I • :


C UP hm press s.a. open.

'!. in.

Undersleeve, WS

• �

U pper­ sleeve, WS

Upper­ sleeve, WS


Clip here.

Upper­ sleeve, WS

sleeve, RS

4. Finish sewing sleeve's

1. To finish sleeve, interface under­

2. Determine desired length of vent

3. On right sleeve, with upper- and

sleeve 's hem, and turn hem to

opening. On vent's foldline, measure

under-sleeves RSs together and

inner seam and press open.

RS along foldline. RSs together,

up from hemline by vent 's desired

upper-sleeve on top, stitch seamline

stitch � in. from vent extension 's

length and mark. Adjust original

to vent opening mark. At mark, pivot,

raw edge. Clip diagonally from edge

stitching line on outer sleeve seam to

and stitch to within � in. of vent edge;

to stitching line so that fabric lies flat

end at this point by either continuing

pivot again, and continue stitching to

when turned to RS. Press this tiny

stitching up to, or ripping old stitching

hem's top. A t first pivot at top of

seam allowance (s.a.) open on point

back to, new mark.

vent, clip diagonally to stitching. For left sleeve, sew in opposite direction.

presser, then turn and press flat.

UNEV E N M I TERS If hem is deeper than vent allowance, an uneven miter results. Same steps apply as for square miter, with line of stitching from point to s.a. clips at a sharper angle.





Hem foldline

Garment, \, WS

\, \

/\ :

Match clips.

Vent foldline



\ 4/ ).) \ '/ �/

Garment, RS


Hem foldline

Press miter to fit into vent and hem intersection.

1. Clip in corner where hem and vent

2. Turn vent and hem RSs together,

3. Press as for even miter in step 8 on

allowances overlap.

matching clips. Stitch from clips to

facing page, and turn to RS.


vent; if you plan to stitch in the lin-

when the hem is deeper than the

Such a quiet detail speaks volumes

ing by machine, tack the sleeve hem

vent's turn-back, such as in a coat's

about your tailoring skills, cata­

in place after installing the lining.

or skirt's hem vent. It j ust looks a

pulting home-sewn garments into

bit strange when you match the

another class.

Uneven miters

clips to stitch an uneven miter (see

On a sleeve, the vent's turn-back

the drawings above).

and hem are generally about the

The elegant touch a mitered vent

same measurement, but this pat­

lends to a garment is definitely

tern modification and construction

worth the effort of adapting your fa­

Judy Barlup of Bellevue, Wash., own­ er of Unique Techniques (800-5575563 or 425-885-5296), is a national speaker and producer of the videotape

process works equally well even

vorite suit, skirt, or coat pattern.

Japanese Tailoring.

december 1 9 9 9/january 2 0 0 0


Load U on


From oversized patch to pleated to expandable bel l ows, learn to d raft and sew th i s popu lar pocket style by Patricia Moyes

ake a look at the top de­

you can simply place the cargo

signers' recent collections,

pocket where the patch pocket

and you'll notice a detail

would have gone. When you add a

shared by both couture

cargo pocket to a pocketless pat­

and ready-to-wear: the car­

tern, you'll choose where to place it.

go pocket. This large, often

To place a pocket on the outside

flapped patch pocket may be more

seam of a pair of pants or a long

familiar on safari jackets, but trans­

skirt, as seen in many ready-to-wear

planted into other contexts in dif­

fashions, stand sideways in front of

ferent fabrics, it adds a flair that's

a full-length mirror with your

far from u tilitarian to women's

hands at your sides. The top of the

pants, skirts, and vests, as in the

pocket should be 12 to 15 in. below

garments at right.

your waist, almost too low to actu­

It couldn't be easier to make the

ally put your hands in. Not only is

cargo pocket a part of your design

this a fashionable placement, but it

High style or down

repertoire. I'll walk you through

also ensures that the top of the


the steps for drafting, construct­

pocket doesn't unattractively align

ing, and placing the pocket, as well

with the crotch.

First decide where

mark this on the garment pieces by

the pocket goes

making two or three tailor's tacks in

The first step to making any pock­

a horizontal line on both the front

et is to mark its placement on the

and back pant or skirt pieces where

Cargo pockets' oversized outline adds a notable accent to any garment (skirt, discontinued pattern, similar to Butterick 4895; jacket, Burda 8896; pants, La Fred's Daphne Pant,

garment. If your garment's pattern

the pocket'S upper edge will fall.

51 0-893-681 1 )

was designed with a patch pocket,

Or if you prefer, use chalk or an-

as suggest some design ideas.

Once you've determined where the top of the pocket should be,




'2�0 I Vie�0 1�


other nonpermanent marking de-

Transform a basic

size that pleases your eye. The flap,

side, pin the completed pocket to

vice to mark the top placement line.

square cargo pocket

if used, will be slightly wider than

the garment. Align the top of the

Because you're marking the right

by adapting the

the pocket's upper edge. I like a

pocket with the placement line

side of the garment pieces, make

pocket pattern (right).

generous flap for a big pocket, large

marked on the garment, and center

sure you've checked to see that the

From top to bottom: a

enough to cover at least a quarter to

it over the side seam of the pants or

marks will come out by testing on a

cargo pocket. bellows-

a third of the pocket's length when

skirt. Pin, then baste it in place with

scrap. Sew darts and side seams.

style; with an inverted

finished, but again, it's a matter of

\i-in. running stitches

Then set the garment aside while

pleat; and with a curved

taste. In the drawings on pp. 68-69,

pocket's edges. I find that basting al-

you construct the pocket.

bottom and flap.

you'll see how to draw the simple

lows me to concentrate on close,

pattern for the pocket and then

straight edgestitching without wor-

� in. from the

What size pocket and flap?

construct the pocket from the fash-

rying about whether the pocket will

Most cargo pockets are larger than

ion fabric of your choice.

slip around as I sew. Machine-stitch

the standard 5

\'1- by 6-in.


the pocket in place from the right Attach the pocket and f lap

side, close to its edge. Then anchor

sq. when finished, but it's just as

When your pockets are ready to go,

each corner of the pocket with ad-

easy to adapt my directions to any

working from the garment's right

ditional stitching in the shape of a

pocket. I like a pocket that's 7 in.

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ja n u a ry 2 0 0 0


CONSTRUCT A BAS I C CARGO POC KET For a basic square pocket pattern, add '-'loin. seam allowance (s.a.) to bottom and sides of a loin. square, and a 2- to 3-in. fold-back facing to the top of the pocket. Cut the pattern from your fashion fabric, interfacing it if desired. For the flap pattern, draw a rectangle 8'-'l in. by 3'-'l in. Cut two of these patterns from the fashion fabric, or cut one from lining for the flap 's underside if the fabric is more heavyweight. Trim the underflap

� in. on two short and one long side.

Construct the f lap

Construct the pocket Construct and apply pocket a� unlined patch pocket with fold-back facing.

1. Interface one flap piece (fashion fabric piece

Y. in.

1 . On WS, mark facing foldline at top of pocket

if facing flap with lining fabric). Trim

piece, snipping into s.a. on each side or marking

2. RSs together, sew upper and under flap together

2. Finish facing edge with overlock stitch, or turn

� in. s.a.

under � in. and stitch down.

� in.

edge untrimmed.


with chalk or pen.

with '-'loin. s.a. Take care to match edges, even


though under flap is a bit smaller.



Facing, WS

.1 3. With pocket RS up, fold facing to RS. Press. 1 • .--- 7 in.

Pin or baste in place.


� in. from

three sides of under flap, leaving one long

T;' ' 11_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ....J1 1

�-in. s.a.

8� in.


---1 -

4. Stitch around pocket edges, anchoring facing on

each sjde, '-'l in. from edge. Use normal stitch length, but shorten stitches in facing. For pocket with straight edges, as here, either machine-stitch neat, square corners or sew straight to each edge and begin again on adjoining edge. If pocket is curved, use staystitch-plus technique for even curves: Place finger firmly behind presser foot so fabric crimps up against it and gathers somewhat.

5. Trim s.a.s in facing. Turn facing RS out, using point turner to push out corners.

Press all edges to WS, using stitching lines as gUide.




Pocket, WS


3. Trim sewn s.a. to � in.; turn RS out. Use point turner to push edges into shape. Press, pounding flat with clapper. Topstitch now, if desired. If flap will have button closure, make buttonhole now.

lJ'T"--1 G ---" L _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ .J rim


1 I

� in.

A D D A P LEAT FOR A S PORT Y LOO K Drafting and sewing a pleated cargo pocket pattern is easy: Extra width is added to the original pattern piece so that, when folded, either as an inverted or box pleat, the pocket is identical in size to the original template. Additional fabric makes this pocket heavy, so the style is best constructed in lightweigh t fabric. To draft pattern, cut original

Twice desired additional width

For inverted pleat 1. RSs together, fold

pattern in half. and tape paper

pocket in half

between pocket pieces, twice as

lengthwise. Stitch

wide as desired finished pleat;

parallel to fold from

a 2-in. addition results in finished

top and bottom, 1 in.

box pleat 1 in. wide (a minimum

long and at width of

pleat width). For 2-in. pleat, add

desired pleat.

4 in. to pocket's total width. Cut

pa ttern from fashion fabric.

Baste. 2. From WS, flatten and press plea t in place, ma tching center of pleat with line created by stitching. Baste across plea t's ends. Press pleat.



Pattern halves

For box pleat

3. For smooth

1. Fold pocket WSs

interior with no lint­

together, and stitch

catching corners,

as in step 1 above.

finish constructing



as fully lined patch pocket.

2. From RS, fla tten and press pleat, as in step 2 at left.


Finish as fully lined patch pocket.

1 WS

1 in.

D RA F T A BEL LOWS POC KET This pattern for an expandable pocket reduces bulk in the pocket's corners. Start with a basic rectangular pocket pattern to create a bellows pocket that ma tches the basic pocket's size.

1. To 7-in. by add 2 in. at

8-in. rectangle,

sides and

8;0.1n. iinn.. jin.'lOi




2. Using



ruler, mark point % in. from original



2m � f--- 7 ---1 � 11

bottom corners, measuring on line at


45° to either

side ofcorner. On new rectangle 's bottom corners, mark four points, each % in. from corners.


To construct bellows pocket

1. Turn upper Y. ?1 in. Press. Turn again ?1 in.; press

edge of pocket

and topstitch in

Turn and press twice.



place as desired.


" % ,




L.-------�-'"'7+_'- % H 3. Connect paints at corners; draw line 90 °

2. Turn sides and bottom edge up ?,{ in., and press. -:1


4. Cut wedge-shaped sections

parallel to connecting lines through point

from pocket pattern 's corners.

% in. from original pocket 's corner. Connect

Cut pattern from fashion fabric.

two lines in each corner at right angles.

5. To attach pocket, pin to

3. Fold pocket diagonally, RSs together. Stitch around

garment; edgestitch pocket

cut-out corner with % in. s.a.,

on three sides, stitching

using shorter stitch length.

pleat's bottom edges to


Clip into corner just to



stitching. Trim. Repeat with

garment, leaving pocket free.


second corner. Turn corners


to RS, using point turner.

4. Press pocket; 'A-in. pleat will

cut-out area.

form from corner. Topstitch

around pocket's edges, if desired.

Clip and trim %-in. seam.

small triangle, or sew a second par­

Adapting the basic pattern

and buttonhole: Sew small Velcro

allel row of stitching next to the

Once you have the hang of basic

squares on the inside of the flap

first around the entire pocket.

construction and attachment tech­

and the outside of the pocket before attaching the pocket to the garment.

To attach the flap, align the flap's

niques, there are some easy varia­

unsewn edge along the top of the

tions to consider (see the photos

For the traditional look of safari

pocket, pin, and baste it in place.

on p. 67). Making the bottom and

pockets, make a pleated cargo pock­

With the flap up, stitch the flap in

flap curved rather than square is

et, finished as a lined patch pocket,

place; then sew a second row o f

one way (it's a good idea to use a

with a box or inverted pleat (see

stitches close to the first seam. Trim

template to evenly press under the

the drawings on the faCing page).

the excess from the seam allowance,

curved seam allowance). Adding a

Or for its roomy utility, try a bellows

and press the flap down over the

button closure, with either a button

pocket (see the drawings above).

stitching. Finally, slipstitch the ends

loop or a buttonhole in the flap, is

Now that cargo pockets are such

a; in. down from

also a nice variation that secures

a fashion perennial and so easy to

the top on each side to cover the

items you might want to carry in

add to many garment styles, know

stitches attaching the pocket to the

those convenient cargo patches.

you'll want to give custom cargo

garment. I've seen some cargo pock­

(You should make the buttonholes

pockets a try. They're bound to

ets with double rows of topstitching

in the flap before attaching it to the

make a stylish statement.

along the flap's top edge. If you like

garment, and interfacing the pock­

of the flap about

this look, be sure to switch to a big­

et's facing will better support the

ger needle to make it easier to sew

button's weight.) Or substitute

through several thicknesses.

a Velcro closure for the button


Patricia Moyes oj Alameda, Calif., is the author oj Sewing Basics and Just Pockets (The Taunton Press).

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ia n u a ry 2 0 0 0


by Lois Ericson



've been focusing o n texture

nique, which I can use in my gar-

ups of textures. ("Is Lois taking a

and surface design in my sewn

ment and embellishment designs.

picture of her shoe?" I overheard

creations for several decades.

A recent trip to Japan gave me the

someone ask. "No," I said, "it's the

My process usually starts with

opportunity to record many inter-

rock next to my shoe I want.")

something visually exciting. I

esting textures with a camera.

When I got home and saw my slides

make a sketch or a photo of it,

While most of the people on our

projected on a screen, I was thrilled:

then translate my excitement into a

tour were taking pictures of a tem­

I could easily visualize at least two

textile treatment or sewing tech-

ple or shrine, I was taking close-

or three textile options for each one.

TREE S I LHOUETTES I liked the way the bright blue sky reveals the positive and negative shapes created by overlapping tree branches. For my first translation (top left inset, facing page), I cut out a tree shape and placed it on a fusible knit; then I pressed a leaf-printed sheer on top-very easy and not too inspired. Next I abstracted the image using wrinkled silk organza and soutache braid (bottom left, facing page). I pressed the wrinkles as I wanted them and placed them on striped fabric, holding the whole piece together with soutache braid. Then I tried a sheer home-decorating print, pressed wrinkles into it, fused it to a knit interfacing, and outlined the wrinkles with metallic thread (right, facing page). This approach evolved into the vest shown above (Design and Sew address on p. 75). When I made a jacket with this idea, I sandwiched some narrow strips of dark, lightweight wool between sheer and interfacing to resemble the branches. A plus for the wrinkling technique is that it gives you a definite and instant pattern to follow for stitching. A very different effect, inspired by the same photo, was to draw a twig-like design and silk-screen it to a sheer and a solid fabric (left. above).


P I LE O F ST I C K S A Japanese carpenter was repairing a fence, and this was his pile of sticks. I loved the pattern they made. I first made tubes of fabric in various shades of taupe, brown. and beige. By the time I had several layers overlapping, they proved too heavy for a possible vest front I had planned. Pieces of randomly placed sheer ribbons (top inset) and strips of leather softened with a gold sheer overlay (right) worked better. But I liked the lovely colored twill tapes I found in Japan best (bottom left), so I made those into the jacket shown below (Design and Sew


I had enlargements made so I could use them more easily in my studio.

evoke the scene or object I've photographed; I'm looking for a fresh, new take on the questions "What

Working from

a photo

So how do I go from a photo to a



shall I sew next?" and "How shall I sew it this time?" I'm looking for

sewing idea? I'm not usually try-

ideas about how things go togeth-

ing to reproduce or make a picture

er and what makes them look good

of my source material or even to

or more interesting. For example,

S TONE S TREET I was attracted to the subtle arc-like pattern of these cobblestones as well as the perspective in my photo. I first made tucks in two directions using a heavy cotton, which resulted in a reversible texture (top inset). Pattern stitches by machine are also an option. Next I used shaped woven strips with a sheer overlay (right). I cut the lengthwise strips into a fan shape and the crosswise pieces in curves, pinning the lengthwise strips to a piece of cardboard or foam core at the top and weaving across with the crosswise strips (see Threads No. 6 3 , pp. 44-46 for more details). Then I tried layering a sheer over chenille fabric, stitching in the pattern of the stones, cutting out the sheer to reveal the stones (left). I think I would have liked this better if I 'd used a flat sheer. Eventually the stone street became an abstract texture in red silk (bottom). I dyed china silk, twisted and pressed the wrinkles in, then carefully pleated it with the wrong side up so I could fuse the back to a thin fusible knit.

the patterns made by tree branch­


sewing machine, and thread.

familiar surroundings at home.

es against the sky in the photo on

Of course, you don't need to go

When I play with an idea, I don't

pp. 70-7 1 inspired me to play with

on a trip to find good material, but

plan too much. I want my experi­

angular, chaotic linear shapes in

a new world to look at can certainly

ments to be spontaneous, and I try

stark contrast against a plain back­

open up your eyes. As I played with

to push them as far as possible past

ground. My translations didn't have

my pictures from]apan, I was con­

my first ideas. I love the process

to look like trees; I just wanted to

tinually struck by marvelous im­

of figuring out how to make some­

get a similar e ffect u sing fabric,

ages previously unnoticed in my

thing work. I'll try as many differ-

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9 /i a n u a r y 2 0 0 0


BAM BOO This bamboo wall was naturally stained. In response, I wet silk noil and hung it barely touching silk dye in a tray. The ends of the silk picked up the dye, which crept up the fabric. I then made tubes of the fabric (bottom inset). When I dyed some natural-colored linen in the same way, the dye didn't blend as well, so I brushed on a little dye on each linen strip to suggest a transition from one color to another. To simulate the joints on the bamboo, I used a wide satin stitch (see the completed vest above-a modified version of Design and Sew Next I tried strip piecing: I cut a few metallic sheers and sewed them to dark cotton strips (center). The joints are simply horizontal pleats. Turning to the shape of the bamboo, I made two faced strips in the shapes of a bamboo stalk, leaving


a gap for the joint (right). I left the top of the lower strip partially unstitched to the background fabric to form the opening of a patch pocket.



ent approaches as I can think of,

what I wind up being most excited

drawing upon all the other tech­

by or finding the most fruitful for

niques I've explored and hoping

further exploration. For example,

to stumble upon new techniques.

I liked the color shifts on the

It's usually very clear what has

stained bamboo in the photos

attracted me to an image, but I

above, but I eventually realized

have occasionally noticed that

that the bamboo's structure and

what I was first attracted to isn't

shapes were more intriguing.

S CUL PTUR E W I TH ROUN D HOL E In a beautiful sculpture park, I noted a stone piece with carved calligraphy and a round hole that revealed layers when observed from an angle. My first response was fairly realistic. I mimicked the layered holes by facing a hole and several curves each with a contrasting fabric to define their edges. Then I layered them beneath the hole and created a calligraphic strip with a strip of printed fabric (left inset). I decided to break up the "hole" idea with vertical openings. The vest below repeats the circles with facings and stitching. I cut the vest (Design and Sew 3 1 0) out of a light suiting fabric. I marked the shapes to be faced on the pattern, traced, cut, and faced them. That made them narrower than the pattern, so I placed a contrasting fabric behind the faced openings and adjusted them to fit the pattern outlines. In future experiments, plan to play with the calligraphy by making up my own alphabet or characters and silk-screening, stenciling, or drawing them on fabric.


c � £ ".�

u o

Throughout these pages are se­ lections of my favorite images from my trip to Japan, along with a few of the experiments each image in­ spired. May you be similarly inspired, not necessarily by my



pictures but to start mining the amazing textures in your own

world for the powerful sewing ideas hidden within them.

Lois Ericson writes and designs in Salem, Ore. For more about her Design and Sew patterns ($12 ppd.), contact her at Box 5222, Salem, OR 97304 or at her Web site (

d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9 /j a n u a r y 2 0 0 0





















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Different cognitive approaches to



Step-by-Step Guide to Fitting Real Bodies by

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fitting-from the analytic to the in­

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Boo k s Here's our choice of the best of the latest


struction, prove­

by unstable fab­

nance, and his­

ric dyes can make

books for sewers and

Fashion in Detail from the

torical context.

any sewer pause

embellishers. Check

1 7th and 1 8th Centuries

Other, equally

to consider what

with your local book­

by Avril Hart and Susan North. Rizzoli

stunning, col­

the future holds

store o r, if you want,

300 Park Ave. S., New York, NY 10010; 1998; $60, hardcover; 224 pp.

or pages bring

for his or her own

together a duo


order directly from the publisher or

International Publications,

distributo r, whose address is provided.

fore the sewing ma­


from buttons to lace to metal-

to see Elizabeth or Shakespeare in

lic embroidery, also with schemat­

chine, thus involving intensive handwork, many of the

Love, you'll surely have marvelled at

ics and text on the opposite page.

embellishments displayed here

the dazzling Renaissance costumes,

The overall effect is a bold, graph­

could be imitated with the aid of a

the sumptuous fabrics, and the

ic visual feast.

sewing machine, so they should be

The book's organization into 10

of particular interest to machine

thanks to Fashion

sections helps readers make sense

embroiderers. As Richard Martin,

in Detail, origi­

of the major themes in late Renais­

curator of The Costume Institute

nally published


you can

sance and Baroque fashion. The

at The Metropolitan Museum of

chapter "Collars, Cuffs and Pock­

Art, recently argued in the catalog

ets" is worth the price of the book

accompanying The Metropolitan

alone for its gorgeous photos. An­ other shows examples of " Slash­

Costume Institute's exhibit, The Ceaseless Century, the 18th century

ing, Pinking and Stamping," kinds

is the source of all things modern, including fashion, and it's for this

see details

of fabric manipulation popular in

of Renaissance and

the 17th century and absolutely fas­

reason that the period continues

Baroque originals close up. You

cinating in how unlike they are to

to inspire contemporary designers,

don't have to be a costumer or a

anything seen in contemporary gar­

from John Galliano to Vivienne Westwood to Christian Lacroix.

student of fashion history to enjoy

ments. The chapter "Gloves and

this book. The garments, some too

Shoes" is a real treat and makes

delicate to be displayed publically

me wonder how our

by the museum, are a feast of in­

footwear got so dull

spiration for embellishment and

when a simple yellow

design for any home sewer. Because every available surface



If you've been to the movies lately

exquisite embellishments. Now,


Although created be­

or quartet of

leather shoe with black floral sten­

of a costume of this period is often

cilling looks so

elaborately worked on with multi­


L�iiiiiiii iiiiii iii iiiiiil_lI.1iiiiiiiiiiii; i::�

ple techniques, the 224-page book's

Of special note

format is a blessing: Many full-page

i s the infor ma-

color photos of garment details

tion the authors provide on

are placed opposite an elegant

the lives of these lavish, formal

Fashion in Detail makes the fragile,

schematic of the full garment

garments: Gowns show evidence

extravagant clothing of a lost age

showing the placement of the dec­

of recycling into new gowns, gowns

come alive and belongs in the

orative detail, from the dynamiC

have been made of bed coverings

sewing room of those aspiring to

white topstitching on a pair of red

( shades of 1 9th-century Scarlett

elegance and ingenuity in their

wool stays (an early corset) to the

O'Hara! ) , and trim cannibalized

sewing today.

graceful chain-stitched scrolls on a

for new garments. Seeing the signs

muslin gown. The authors provide

of irreversible

information on the garment's con-

or complete color change caused



Celeste Sheets is an assistant editor

of Threads magazine.

r----------------------------------------------, A

USc. AND1, 4. 51., to. CT Threads. 14.I%

STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT, CIRCULATION (ReqUIred by 39 3685) 2. Publication No.: 0882-7370. 3. Filing date: SepL 1999. Issue frequency: Bimonthly. 5. No of ln 6 M ��e�!06�I�:�0:�;u;���h�id6����;,I�b�¥g��&.i�.; ��ri�� Idrr�� ol h��d��a��e��f ��61�s��c:��\;. �;in ;�� 5506, Newtown, 06470-5506. Pubhsher:John Lively, 63 S. Mam P.O. Box 5506, Newtown, 06470-5506; Editor: Chris­ line Timmons, 63 S. Malll Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506 Owner: The Taunton Press, Inc., 63 S. Main St., P.O Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506; Stockholder: Taunton Inc., 63 S. Mam St, P.O Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506. Known bondh.olders, mortgagees and olher seCUnly h<?lders owmng or holdmg or more of LOlal amount of bonds. mortgages r��h1������ e!������ l2 ����fIr:��ble. 13. Publicauon name: Issue date for orculallon data below: Aug/Sept t re �f r : Average no. copics each issuc Actual no. copies of single issue during prcceding 12 months published nearest filing dale a. TOlal no copies 253,438 250,757 h. Paid and/or requcsted ClrcuJallon Sales through dealers and carriers, street "cndors and counter salcs 56,328 58,605 2. Mall subscripllon 105,329 104,405 ��!:Ich;;�b����r;�:ited drculation 1� li��7 l��,gbo , l , c. Free distribution outside the m::lIl 2,889 3,158 Total free distribution 6,609 10,408 TOial dislrlbution 168,266 173,418 4.372 f06ffic;��iid:��:�� spoded 6,729 2. Returns from news agents 80,801 70,610 250,757 i. TOlal 253,438 Percenl paid and/or requested circulation 96.1 94.0% 16. Stat.ement of Ownership be pnnled the 1999/ Jan. 2000 Issue of thiS publication. I certify that the statements made by me above are correct and complete. Signature: John Lively, Publisher.


Thr ads. CT $L, p.o.9.

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I n d ex, T H R EA D S N os . 8 1 -8 6 A

Adams, Ellen: shattered quilts, 81:58-61 Allred, K.J . : "Closures" by, 84:94 Andriks, Susan: on choosing correct pattern size, 86: 14- 16 Axion, substitute for, 82: 14


Bariup, judy: on mitered vents, 86:62-65 Barnes, Christine: on color workshop, 82:36 - 43 Belts: braided, 83:80-82 Beading, on buttons, 81: 76-78 Bennett, Susan: fitting necklines, 81 :24-26 on fitting for aging, 82:54-59 Betzina, Sandra: on sewing with Lycra blends, 86:46-49 Bley, Harriett: "Closures" by, 83:94 Bloebaum, Fred: on designer details for straight skirts, 84:52-57 Blum, Debra, and Moises Diaz: on making a shawl with sleeves, 85:66-69 on making sheer T-shirts, 83:58-60 Bones, jan: on cutting out accurately, 85:20-22 pattern layouts, 8 1 : 20-22 Book reviews: 1940s sewing patterns, 82:82 adapting clothing for special-needs children, 84:76 adjusting patterns, 82:76 correction ("Notes," 82:72), 84: 10 fashion from 17th and 18th centuries, 86:82 fitting, 82:82 Internet information for quilters, 8 3 : 76 Madeleine Vionnet, 82:80 quilting and computers, 81 :80-82 quilting, using mathematics, 84:80-82 serger, 82:82 sewing, as a business, 82:72-74 sewer's guides, 8 1 : 80 sewing with leather and suede, 81 :80 sewing pillows, 84:80 shirts and men's haberdashery, 84:82

8 4 TH R E A D S

Bracelets: made with buttons, 84: 78-79 Bras: for mastectomy, 8 1 : 1 2 ; 84: 15 Brauer, Ann: on piecing and quilting simultaneously, 84:60-63 Bridal gowns: preventing damage, 84: 14 reviving yellowed, 84: 1 2 - 14 Brooks, judith: on reviving yellowed bridal gowns, 84: 1 2 - 14 Brown, Laura Hotchkiss: on garments draped from rectangles, 86:52-57 Burn test, for fabrics, 81 :42-43 Buttons: beaded , 8 1 : 76 - 78 for bracelets, 84:78-79 embellishing with machine straight stitch, 84:48-51 sources for, 85:8- 10


Care labels: deCiphering, 83: 1 2 - 14 Carswell, Diana: on care labels, 83: 1 2 - 14 on preventing bridal gown damage, 84: 14 on substitute for Axion, 82: 14 Children's fabrics: Canadian sources for, 83:6 Closures: See Buttons; Zippers Collars: embellished, 84:96 Color: workshop, 82:36 -43 Community service: Kidsacks, alternative projects for, 84:9 sewing for, 83:76 - 78; 84:74 - 76 Conlon, jane: beaded buttons, 8 1 : 76 - 78 Conover, Todd, and jeffrey Mayer: on sleeve-cap design, 81:30-35 Conover, Todd: on darted patch pockets, 84:30 -34 Cowan, Frances: on one-seam linings for straight skirts, 84:58-59 Curved back and dowager's curve, 83:24-26 Cutting, accurate, 85:20-22


Daniel, Katie: "Closures" by, 86:98 Darts: techniques for, 85:56-57

Deckert, Barbara: on fitting products, 86:80 on garment sizing, 86: 10- 1 1 on plus-size patterns for girls, 82: 1 2 - 14 Denim, aging, 82: 14 See also Fabric Design Challenge: Threads, 83:70- 75 Diaz, Moises: See Blum, Debra Dowager's curve: See Curved back Dresses, from T-shirt patterns, 84:35-39 Dry cleaners: finding reliable, 85: 1 2 - 13


Elam, Cindy: bras for mastectomy, 81 : 1 2 Elliott, Mary, and Elaine Zarse: burn test for fabrics, 81 :42-43 Embellishment: mitered-ribbon insets, 85: 58-62 See also Beading; Embroidery; Quilting; Sashiko Embroidery: on Christian Dior dress, 82:96 free motion, 81:62-65 machine, pairing fabric and design, 86:36-41 silk-ribbon bobbin work, 8 1 :53-57 sources for, 86:41 Emodi, Barbara: on ripping out stitches, 83:20-22 Ericson, Lois: on creating textures from photos, 86:70-75


Fabric: burn test for, 81:42-43 for children, 81:72-74 denim, aging, 82: 14 felt, making lightweight, 82:50-53 flowers, 81 :44 -47 hand-dyed, source, 8 1 : 6 mudcloth, sewing with, 83:66-69 outerwear, 81:36-41 ; 82:6; 83:8 sheers, 84:64-68 silk embellishment, 81:53 -57 wool gauze, 81:66-69 Fassett, Kaffe: interviewed, 86:58-61 Felt: See Fabric Fitting: for aging, 82:54-59

altering design details, 82:24-26 for children, 8 1 : 7 2 - 74 for curved back and dowager's curve, 83:24-26 for high hip and sway back, 85:24-26 necklines, 8 1 : 24-26 pants' laps, 84:26-28 products for, 86:80 using sloper, 83:61-65 Fox, Terry, on dart techniques, 85:56-57 Fraley, Carine: on scarves as letters, 82:78 - 79 Fraley, Ingrid: on hatpins, 85:63-65 French curve, using, 82:44 -46


Giordano, john: on using sewing machine as ruler, 83:56-57 Goodall, Lindee: on pairing fabric and design for embroidery, 86:36-41 Gown: silk satin, 86: 100 tea, 83:96


Hallce, jeanne: tea gown by, 83:96 Hand cards, for felting: sources for, 84:8 Harper, Rochelle: on outerwear fabrics, 81:36-41 Hatpins: making, 85:63-65 sources for, 85:65 Hat design: challenge, 82:60 -63 Hazen, Gale Grigg: pleats for every figure, 81 :48 - 5 2 Hems: scalloped, 85:30-35 Hiatt, Leslie Maddocks: on making ironing-board extension, 86:50-51 Hickerson, Sally: on sewing-machine care, 82:47 -49 High hip and sway back: altering for, 85:24-26 Home Sewing Association: sewing-school franchise, 83:76 Howland, Karen: on altering design details, 82:24-26 on removing excess from pants' laps, 84:26-28 on removing and reducing shoulder pads, 86:20-22 on using sloper as fitting tool, 83:61 -65


Ironing board: making extension for, 86:50-51 Jackets: Armani style, 82:30 -35; 83:40-45; 84:40-44 hand-appliqued and embroidered, 85: 100 James, Charles: gown by, 86: 100 Jennings, Laura: silk-ribbon bobbin work, 81:53-57


Khalje, Susan: on scalloped hems, 85:30-35 Leather: garments made quickly, 85:52-55 sources for, 85:55 Lee, Linda: on elastic waistbands, 83:51 -55 Linings: for one-seam skirt, 84:58-59 Lopez, Carla: on button closures, 84:48 - 5 1 Luke-Boone, Ranke: on mudcloth garments, 83:66-69 Lycra blends: sewing with, 86:46-49 sources for, 86:49


Maas, Dean: on mitered ribbon insets, 85:58-62 Mavor, Salley: "Closures" by, 82:94 Mayer, ]effrey: See Conover, Todd McFall, Patricia: "Closures" by, 85:98 Mitering: corners, 85: 16 ribbon insets, 85:58-62 vents, 86:62-65 Molesky, Joanne: on understitching, 82:20-22 Morris, Karen: on separating zipper, 82: 1 2 Moth damage: product for preventing, 84:76 Moyes, Patricia: on cargo pockets, 86:66-69 on fall/winter patterns, 86:24-32 Mudcloth: See Fabric


Nehring, Nancy: on braiding belts, 83:80-82 Notions: sewing, sources for: beads, 83:60 braid, 83:60 braided belts, 83:82 children's wear, 8 1 : 74 tulle, 83:60


O'Tousa, Marlene: on making button bracelets, 84:78-79 Pants: removing excess from lap area, 84:26- 28; 86:6 sarong, drafting, 83:36 -39 Parker, Mary: on machine-stitching Sashiko, 82:64-69 Pattern paper: sources for, 82:74 - 76 Pattern reviews: for fall/winter, 86:24-32 for spring/summer, 83:28-35; 84: 10 Patterns: layouts, 8 1 : 20-22 plus-size for girls, 82: 1 2 - 14 seam method of altering, 85:48-51 size, choosing correct, 86: 14-16 Percy, Celeste: on improving sewing skills, 86:42 - 45 on making T-shirt dresses, 84:35-39 on pleats, 84:20-24 Pleats: for every figure, 81 :48-52 making, 84:20-24 technique for, 86: 18 Pockets: cargo, 86:66 -69 darted patch, 84:30-34 Press cloths: using, 84:45 -47


Quilt rod: homemade, 84: 16 Quilting: and piecing simultaneously, 84:60- 63 whole cloth for garments, 83:46-50 Quilts: collaged, 85:42 -47 shattered, 81 :58-61


Rasband, Judith: on altering for curved back

and dowager's curve, 83:24-26 on high hip and sway back, 85:24-26 on seam method of pattern alteration, 85:48 - 5 1 Ray, Mary: on scissors, 85:36 -41 Ribbon: insets, mitered, 85:58-62


Sagers, Peggy: on using a French curve, 82:44-46 Sashiko: machine-stitching, 82:64-69 Sassaman, Jane A.: on collaged quilts, 85:42-47 Scalloped hems, 85 :30-35 Scissors: review, 85:36-41 Scrivano, Sandy: on making leather garments quickly, 85:52-55 Sewing machine: care for, 82:47 -49 repair, as career, 85: 1 2 using to mark fabric, 83:56-57 Sewing skills: improving, 86:42 - 45 Shaeffer, Claire: on press cloths, 84:45 - 47 Shawls: with sleeves, 85:66-69 Sheets, Celeste: making fabric flowers, 81 :44-47 Shoulder pads: Armani, 83:45 homemade, 83: 16 removing and reducing, 86:20-22 sources for, 83:45 Shrug, making, 85:80-81 Silk: See Fabric Sizing: choosing correct, 86: 14- 16 plus-size girls' patterns, 82: 1 2-14 ready-to-wear patterns, 86: 10- 1 1 Skirts, straight: adding designer details, 84:52-57 one-seam linings, 84:58-59 Sleeve caps: for hard-to-ease fabrics, 81:30-35; 83:8 wearing ease, 8 1 : 33 Sloper: as fitting tool, 83:61 -65 Stirling, Polly: on making lightweight felt, 82:50-53 Stitches: ripping out, 83:20-22


Sashiko, machine stitched, 82:64-69 under, 82:20-22 Stori, Mary: on whole-cloth quilting for garments, 83:46-50 Sway back: See High hip


T-Shirt: patterns, making dresses from, 84:35-39 sheer, 83:58-60 Tailoring: Armani style, 82:30-35; 83:40-45; 84:40-44 Canadian supplies, sources for, 84:6-8; 85:6-8 Texture: fabric, inspired by photos, 86:70-75 Tilton, Marcy: on Armani-style jackets, 82:30-35; 83:40-45; 84:40-44 on spring/summer patterns, 83: 28-35 Timmons, Christine: interview with Kaffe Fassett, 86:58-61


Understitching, 82:20-22 Veblen, Sarah: on sarong pants, 83:36- 39 on using sheer fabrics, 84:64-68 on wool gauze, 81 :66-69 Vents, mitered, 86:62-65 Verstraeten, Gabriella: free-motion embroidery, 81:62-65


Waistbands: elastic, 83:5 1 - 5 5 Weir, Sylvia: "Closures" by, 81 :94 White, Laura: on hat design challenge, 82:60-63 on making shrugs, 85 :80-81 Wool gauze: See Fabric


Zarse, Elaine: See Elliott, Mary Zippers: installing, 83: 16- 18 separating, 82: 1 2

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C l a ssifi e d The CLASSIFIED rate is $4.50/word, minimum 15 words. Payment must accompany order. Send to Threads, Advertising Department, Post Office Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506. The deadlinefor the February/March 2000 issue is November 10, 1999.


BSITE! Reach our online ADVERTISE ON OUR audience interested in the high-quality, how-to con­ lent of THREADS. Just run a classified ad in THREADS magazine and you will be eligible to run the same ad on our website for an additional $ 1.00 per word. The ad on the website will appear for the same period of time that the ad in the magazine will appear. We are also offering hot links-for a Oat rate of $25.00, we will hyperlink your ad to your own web­ site. Call Nancy Clark at 1-800-926-8776, ext. 5 3 4 t o participate. T h e deadline is t h e same a s our issue deadline.

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FREE ILLUSTRATED CATALOG OF OVER BOOKS FOR NEEDLEWORKERS. Instructions, pat­ terns, designs for quilting, crochet, embroidery, knit­ ting, sewing, lace making, charted deSigns, more. Most $ 2 . 7 5 to $3.95. Write DOVER PUBLICATIONS, Dept A297, 3 1 East 2nd St, Mineola, NY 1 1 501



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OVER BEAUTIFUL IMPORTED DRESS BUTTONS, photographed actual size in full color cat­ alog. Send $ 5 . 0 0 (refundable) to Ridge Productions, 2835 Jackson Ridge, Dandridge, TN 37725. Also "Buttons", BUTTONS-UNIQUE AND EXCITING! Large selec­ tion over 1700 styles. Call for information. Full color catalog $ 2 5 .00 plus 4.00 S&-H. MARILYN'S BUTTON SALES CO , 1 0 1 2 1 EVERGREEN WAY UT628, EVERETT, WA 98204, PH 1-800-422- 1434, Fax 800-859-6710



QUICKART Diskettes, CD-ROM and Internet Downloads! Exquisite sewing illustrations for great ads, newsletters, publications, creations. Wheeler Arts, fax 217-359-8716. FREE brochures and examples at

DYES AND FABRIC PAINTS DYES AND FABRIC PAINTS for Batik, Tie Dye, Gra­ dation Dyeing, Stamping, Stenciling, Sun Painting, Marbling, Burn-Out and More' 25 Workshops offered March-November. . or call 1 800-2-BUY-DYE for FREE catalog and Workshop Brochure. PRO Chemical &- Dye, Post Office Box 14, Department TH, Somerset, MA 02726.




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FABRICS OUTDOOR FABRICS-Patterns, fasteners, zippers. Free Catalog. 941 -378- 1620. Quest Outfitters, 619 Cattleman Road, Sarasota, FL 34232. EXQUISITE MARBLED FABRIC MarjorieLee Bevis, 3 25-4ths Street, Petaluma, Ca 94952. 707-762-7514. http://


WHOLESALE SOURCE DIRECTORY OVER 1 500 WHOLESALE COMPANIES/500,000 PRODUCTS list­ ed. Fabrics, scwing supplies and more. Directory $ 1 5 .00 CjM Publishing, 870 Hidden Pond Court, #7, Lafayette, CA 94549. http:// .nelvista.netr cjmco/


LYCRAS * NOTlONS * PATTERNS * Fabrics and pat­ terns for swimsuits, lingerie, skating, drill team and dance costumes. A fantastic selection of lycras, pow­ ernets, glistenets, tricots, notions, underwires, bra cups, etc. Quantity discounts available. Color swatches-$2.00. Regular Catalog-$2.00. FABRIC DEPOT, P O Box 41 1 , Garwood, 77442. Phone or Fax (409)758-3100.


PURE SILKS-dyed/woven to order and airmailed worldwide. Ideal for weddings, specials etel Write/phone/fax us for swatches containing over 160 silk costing just $ 10 airmailed by return! Angus Inter­ national™, 19/F, 8 Soares Avenue, Kowloon City, HONG KONG. Tel 01 1-852-27 18-2748. Fax 01 1-8522718-4565. We accept all maj o r credit cards/personal checks etc. Personal callers welcome! E-Mail: FROM VIETNAM TRADTIONAL Hand-loomed silks. Highest Quality. For samples: please send $ 10.00 to: GOLDEN THREAD SILKS, 6304 NW Pa­ cific Coast Highway, Seal Rock, OR 97376. ( 5 4 1 ) 5633573. Email: goldenthread@newportnetcom

$29.97 - $39.97

ULTRASUEDE® YD. , 75 Swatches, $ 10.00. Field's Fabrics, 1695-44th SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508-5001. 1-800-67ULTRA

CANADIANS! 65+ Ultrasuede® colours. Yardage, squares, scraps. Swatches $ 5 .00. Linda's, 24 Main, Norwich, Ontario NO] 1PO. ( 5 1 9 ) 863-2887. Fax ( 5 1 9 ) 424-2 6 5 5 .


VINTAGE ]APANESE KIMONO FABRIC send self­ addressed stamped envelope for brochure to AH! KIMONO, 16004 NE 195th, Woodinville, WA 98072. .



READY-MADE BATTENBURG CROCHETED doilies, inserts, motifs, edgings, cross-stitch doilies, stiffened shapes. Supplies to create Battenburg Lace. Catalog $3.00. LeFilet, 610 Locust Street, Oak Har­ bor, OH 43449. 1 -800-878-5495 http:// . lefiletcom


NATURAL FIBER YARDAGE, 60" wide: Viscose Ray­ on Challis, white or black. Silks. Cotton Sheeting and 10-1/2 oz. Cotton Knit (laundered, sizing removed, pre-shrunk). Accessory Blanks; Silk Covered Ear­ rings, Buttons, Scarf Clips, custom orders. Silk Bias Thread. Silk &- Rayon Ruanas. Sale Specials: clothing, notions, accessories. We also manufacture BLUE­ PRINT YARDAGE, 56" wide cotton. Design fabric us­ ing film, leaves or objects. Print in sunlight, rinse in water. No chemicals to mix, instructions. Free catalog; BLUEPRINTS-PRINTABLES, 1-800-356-0445 web site: . and e-mail address:

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BEAUTIFUL D-DYED FABRICS! 80 swatches, catalog $5 refundable. Sunrise Fabrics, PMB #262, 3588 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. UNUSUAL FABRICS-Wool jersey, Polartec. $2.00 and LSASE for samples. ]OYCE'S, Box 38l-T, Morrisville, NY l3408.


LOVE TO COPY N, KLEIN AND U NGARO? Free newsletter offers designer sewing techniques, fabrics and advice on putting it all together. Visit

FAUX FUR LUXURIOUS IMPORTED FAUX FUR FABRICS per­ fect for all your creative needs. Large self-addressed stamped envelope brochure, ''I'M STUFFED", Post Office Box 432, Richboro, PA l8954. Phone 2 1 5-322-8946. Fax 2 1 5-396-9599

HANDWORK CHAIR THE QUILTER'S CHAIR for any handwork. See us on Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel, Series 1000, PBS or Call l-800-303-9009.




QUIT SMOKING IN DAYS! Natural herbal and aroma therapy program! Eliminates withdrawal symp­ toms. Guaranteed! Free brochure: l-800-7l8-2434, anytime. SMALL ADS YIELD BIG RETURNS. Call for infor­ mation. 1-800-926-8776, ext 540 or write to T HREADS Advertising Department, P.O. Box 5506, 63 South Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470. NEW! ACID-FREE storage for Needleart, heir­ loomquilts and dolls. Wedding/christening dresses. Museum quality box and tissues. Call Craftgard toll-free. 888-878- l 2 1 2 .

C l a ssifi e d NEEDLEWORK IRISH WAXED LINEN THREAD: 33 colors. 5 sizes, large variety BASKETWEAVING SUPPLIES. Retail. Wholesale. Catalog $2.00.Royalwood Ltd., 5 1 7-TH Woodville Road, Mansfield, OH 44907. 1-800-526-1630. Fax 888-526-1618.

NEWSLETTER ******* FREE FITTING NEWSLETTER****** Send SASE: Jean Haas/ Class Act Designs, 17025 Roseland Ave . . Joliet, I L 60432.


PATTERNS SEW SIMPLE SCRUBS AT HOME! Great Consign­ ment opportunity. Send long self-addressed stamped envelope: Simply Scrubs, 9461 Winewood Cir, Elk Grove, CA 95758. DARLING BABY PATTERNS, Diaper Flannel, Snaps, Baby Slings, NurSing Pauerns, Bras, Breastpumps and more! or call 1-800-449-33 5 0 for free catalog. AUTHENTIC VINTAGE WESTERN CLOTHING sewing patterns. Catalog $2.00. Buckaroo Bobbins, Department TH, Post Office Box 1 168, Chino Valley, 86323-1 168.


adults, beginners and children. Good to use for sewing classes. Catalog $3.00 (refundable with first order) Sewing with Julia, 36 Beeson St, Marblehead, MA 01945. http// .w2com/sewing-with-julia


GREEN FLORAL PRINT FABRIC, SCARLETT O'HARAS 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 Williams­ burg, Patterns from Historie, Department T, Post Office Box 1 27, Williamsburg, VA 23187-01 27. BURDA, FAMOUS FOR FASHION AND FIT Published monthly. All styles in five sizes, Includes: new user friendly pattern sheets; pink shad­ ed 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 subscription to GLP International, PO. Box 9868, Englewood, NJ 07631-6868 or call (201) 87 1 - 1010. hup// SIGN LANGUAGE-Manual alphabet " I Love You" sign $9.95 PPD (HSales Tax). Brochures $2.00. L K Productions, P O. B o x 6 0 8 3 5 , Suite 79, Ft. Myers, FL 33906. PETITE PLUS PATTERNS® The Look and The Fitl Sizes 14-24 ladies petite Catalogue $2.00 to PO. Box 81 140, S. Bby P.O., Burnaby, BL CANADA V5H 4K2.


QUILTING CONTINUOUS LINE QUILTING DESIGNS FOR QUILTS, Clothing Embellishment and Quilted Gar­ ments. Hundreds of coordinating designs plus Aus­ tralian quilt and clothing patterns. Visit or send $1 to Golden Threads, Dept 1 I0, 2 South 373 Seneca Drive, Wheaton, IL 60187

SEWING MACHINES BUY ON-LINE AND SAVE $$ on New Home Sewing Machines. Visit our website at

TOURS FRENCH NEEDLEWORK TOUR w/embroidery workshops, May 2000, Dior Museum, Breton Cos­ tumes, Textile Museum, Mont St-Michel, Overnight in Chateau, Paris, etc...Send LSASE: Marie Yolande, 173 Park St, New Canaan, CT 06840. Call (203) 9723871. E-mail: myolande@snetnet


CRAFT FOLK ART TOURS Ecuador, Bolivia, Ro­ mania, Turkey CRAFT WORLD TOURS, 6776TH Warboys, Byron, NY 14422 (7 16) 548-2667).

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WEB SITES SHOPPING ON-LINE? Hoffman, Debbie Mumm, Patrick Lose, Moda, RJR Secure on-line ordering. Visit today,



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d e c e m b e r 1 9 9 9/ia n u a ry 2 0 0 0


C los ures Have comments you want to share about sewing or



2 to 5 on a Wednesday." Well,

sentials you are going to need be­

I confess, I do have an appoint­

fore you begin.

ment, but it's at 6 a.m. each day as

sewing experience is not conducive


An uncoordinated

I sip my coffee and listen to the ra­

either to enjoyment or best results."

dio before I get ready for my "real"

I have an hour and a half drive to a

I have a won derful book, pur­

job. I squeeze in at least an hour's

good-Sized fabric store, so I'm

embellishing or

chased by my mother at an auc­

work this way before the rest of the

forced to plan my fabric and no­

quilting adventures?

tion, that has caused me to exam­

day takes over. As for having my

tion needs in advance. But because

A page from you r

ine my perspective on sewing. This

friends in for the afternoon? Well,

my workshop consists of a crowded

sketchbook w e ought

1949 edition of the Singer Sewing

I've compared notes with a busy

corner in a half-basement, storage

to see? Send it to:

Book, by Mary Brooks Picken, has

knitter as I crocheted a rag rug in

space is at a premium. Just remem­

Threads Closu res, 63 S. Main St., PO Box 5506,

much to offer in illustrated, prac­

the automotive service department,

bering and finding what I have care­


funny or interesting story about your

Newtown, CT


by Katie Daniel

tical solutions to sewing chal­

but I've never had the gals over for

fully acqUired is a challenge. The

lenges. But it's the chapter titled

a mid-afternoon sewing klatsch. I

workroom is a jumble of projects in

" To Sew Successfully" that has

think my employer would frown

partial stages of completion.

focused my attention on the strate­

on seeing my office full of needle­

gic, mental, physical, and material

work instead of paperwork.

requirements for my craft.

"You must want to make some­ thing lovely, to have the fun of

Mental: The author encourages

putting pieces of fabric together, to make a garment, to handle the fab­

Strategic: "Make an appointment

the seamstress to approach her task

with yourself to sew, just as you

with enthusiasm, eschewing a lack­

ric with appreciation, to watch the

would with your hairdresser, or

adaisical attitude. She cautions:

beauty of the article grow as a result

with a neighbor to go shopping. If

"Never try to sew with the sink full

ofyour planning and effort." In spite

your intimates enjoy sewing, invite

of dishes or bed unmade. When

of what the writer would no doubt

them to come and sew with you

there are urgent housekeeping

label as my obvious shortcomings,

chores, do these first so that your

I can certainly ascribe to her mis­

mind is free to enjoy your sewing."

sion statement. I love the smell, feel,

If Mary only knew the chaos I can

and Sight of fabric. I get lost in a

ignore. I can easily overlook pet

dreamy mist whenever I confront

hair and threads dotting the carpet,

rows and rows of bolts of cloth in a

the fact that I can write my name

shop. I remember all the beautiful

in the dust on any furniture top

things my mother made for me as a

in the house, and the never-end­

child, I recall favorite projects of

ing pile of dirty laundry.

my own, and I fantasize about what

Physical: "When you sew,

I'd like to make tomorrow, if only I

make yourself as attractive as

could afford the time.

possible. Go through a beau­

I've sewn ever since Santa first

ty ritual of orderliness. Have

brought me a tiny, working sewing

on a clean dress. Have your

machine in the mid-50s. I now run

hair in order, powder and

my own seamstress and craft busi­

lipstick put on with care." My

ness on the side. Sewing is a life­

peak work time is the crack of

time skill of which I'll never grow

dawn, so my beauty ritual consists

tired. And though I'm certainly not

of a flannel nightgown, faded

the image of sewing success that

bathrobe, carpet slippers, and ath­

Mrs. Picken had in mind, I think

letic socks. My hair is an uncombed

I'm doing just fine.

tumble, and there are usually mascara smudges under my eyes. Material: "Assemble all the es-



Katie Daniel of Banff, Alberta. Canada

was born and raised in Nebraska.


Sandra Belzina

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• • • • •

syndicated columnist of Sew Simple; Sally Cowan ,

Never worry about Matching Colors again

TrueColor FlexArm Plus

Always see the tiniest Details clearly and

host of Keeping You In Stitches on public television; Connections on public television.

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For Information or a FREE Catalog:

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Threads magazine 86 january 2000  
Threads magazine 86 january 2000