Super fun facings trick

super fun facings trick

Facings are a great way to finish a neckline or armhole (bias binding is another way — see my 3 bias binding tutorials here!). I like to have beautiful facings without having to fold up and finish the lower edge, which can produce a visible line from the outside of your garment, and I learned this clever trick a few years ago (probably from Karen) and thought I’d share. It uses your interfacing to finish the facing edge, and it’s just as quick and easy as folding and stitching or overlocking your facings like most patterns instruct. It also looks 100% better, as you’ll see in this tutorial.

Step 1. Cut out your facings and interfacings

The front / back neckline facing pattern pieces I used in this example are from my Beatrix pattern. You can see these facings in use in my How to make Beatrix without buttons tutorial. This tutorial would also work with most armhole, hem, or combined armhole-neckline facings as well.

I’m using fusible lightweight interfacing (this is the kind I like), but this tutorial also works with non-fusible interfacing.

Beatrix facings

Step 2. Sew the seams

Most patterns call for you to baste or fuse the interfacing to the facings before sewing anything. Instead, sew the front and back facings together, and then do the same with the interfacings (so, separately). In this example, I sewed the facings together at the shoulders, and then the interfacings together at the shoulders using the 1/2″ seam allowance called for in the pattern.

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Press the facing seams apart, but DO NOT PRESS THE INTERFACING SEAM IF YOU ARE USING FUSIBLE INTERFACING. Let’s avoid that sticky glue nightmare on your iron, shall we?

Step 3. Sew the facings to the interfacings along lower edge

Place the facings and interfacings right sides together and pin:

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Then sew them together along the lower edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This should be the edge where you would normally fold up and stitch, or otherwise finish the edge of the facing before attaching it to the garment. It should not be the edge that will attach to the garment.

Beatrix facings - sew together

Step 4. Turn right side out and press

Now go ahead and turn them right side out, using a point turner to push out the bottom edges.

beatrix facings

And then press them together!!! At this point the fusible interfacing will fuse to the facing, and it creates a beautiful finish…see? Here’s the interfacing side:

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And the facing side:

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Step 5. Attach to garment

Now the facings are ready to attach to your garment! You can see how I attached these in this post.

Finished facings - Beatrix

Aren’t they beautiful?

This tutorial works great with my Beatrix, Washi, or even Charlie sewing patterns. Have you ever tried this trick?

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix

I’m the final stop today for the Style Maker Fabrics Fall Style Tour!! Today I have not one but two tops to show you from Stylemaker fabric! I designed both tops (the second top is in this post) for dressier occasions, because the onset of fall means that the holidays are approaching, and it seems like I’m always in need of slightly fancier tops that I can wear with jeans or dress pants to immediately “level up” for an occasion. As a mother of three I rarely end up wearing fancy cocktail dresses; instead I prefer to wear something that looks nice but can still crawl on the floor or chase after that match box car that ended up behind the couch, amiright?

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix Blouse

My Beatrix pattern proved to be the perfect template for this gorgeous floral rayon crepe; it’s been a while since the pattern was released, but it’s definitely still one of my go-to patterns. I love that Beatrix can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric you choose or how you style it, and how the buttons in back elevate the design. I can see wearing this one to a Christmas party, New Year’s Eve dinner, or a family get-together.

Pattern: Beatrix, view A with 3/4 length sleeves
Fabric: Rayon Crepe Romantic Floral in burgundy

The print version of Beatrix is available in the Stylemaker pattern shop (as well as in other shops), or in digital format from my shop (both print at home and copy shop formats are included in the digital pattern).

Jess cut out the pieces and did most of the sewing, and I love how she nailed the pattern placement for this print, especially in the back!!!

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix Blouse

Floral Beatrix Blouse

One little trick to this top: when I was finishing it, I added buttons but not buttonholes. Instead I just sewed the buttons directly through both layers of the button placket, effectively creating a “faux” button placket. The pattern is designed to be a pullover (the buttons are not necessary to get it on or off), so the buttons are usually more decorative than functional anyway. This also eliminated any worry I had about cutting the buttonholes into the somewhat delicate rayon crepe. It also sped up that bit of sewing considerably. Had I decided to use the buttonholes, I’m still quite certain the combination of the rayon with the interfacing in the plackets would have been fine.

Floral Beatrix

As you can hopefully see, the fabric is absolutely gorgeous. The print is stunning, and I love that the pale peach in the flowers matches my glasses. I think it works dressed down with denim jeans, too.

I love how Michelle organizes her seasonal fabrics into collections; this post goes into the details and color inspiration behind the theme, “Classic Elements.” This floral print was part of the Code Red collection, so if you love this color you should check out the rest of the fabrics in that collection. You can also find links to all of the lovely creations in the Stylemaker Fall Tour by visiting this Stylemaker Fall blog tour post.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour, Michelle!

Disclosure: I was provided with the fabric for these tops by Stylemaker fabrics at no cost, but all words and opinions are my own. 

Posted in Beatrix
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White Bell-sleeved Blouse

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

The bell sleeve is HOT this season! When I first saw these dramatic sleeves popping up everywhere, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure about the look at first, but after seeing this dress I decided I absolutely needed to design something with bell sleeves. My invitation to the Stylemaker Fall tour proved to be the perfect opportunity to try it out! I’m not the only one who loves the bell sleeves, either; Audrey posted this great bell-sleeve tutorial on the Hey June blog a few weeks ago, and here’s another one from Lara Liz.

I used the basic building blocks of my Beatrix pattern to create this look (Jess did most of the cutting and sewing again), but as you can see it’s quite a departure from my first Beatrix top for the tour. I think they’ll both be equally perfect for any semi-dressy occasion that heads my way this holiday season.

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

We omitted the buttons in the back from Beatrix (see this post for a tutorial), and lined the bodice because the fabric — a gorgeous twill weave rayon —  is a bit on the sheer side, as you would expect from any white rayon. This Monaluna warm white lawn is my go-to lining fabric lately. We extended the short sleeve by 1″, and added a gathered rectangle twice the width of the sleeve and 8″ tall to each one. The top was cut along the View B cutting line of the pattern, so it has a cropped look compared to the original pattern.

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

While I la la love and highly recommend this twill weave rayon — it’s incredibly comfortable, drapey, and has a soft, fluid quality that is really lovely — it probably wouldn’t be the easiest fabric to work with if you’re a beginner, so do bear that in mind. It moves around quite a bit when you’re working with it, which makes it fantastic to wear, but takes some careful handling when sewing. The darts were definitely tricky to get even (check out this Beatrixalong post for a few tips on getting them straight). Even after lining them up perfectly, I ended up dropping one of them a half inch due to what I can only describe as personal bodily asymmetry. AHEM. Our bodies are unique and lovely things, and for some of us, the two girls just land at different places. #straighttalk

White Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

One other thing I should mention: I did notice that despite copious amounts of pressing and steaming that these (naturally lit, indoor) photos showed every last little wrinkle; please don’t be deterred by this, though, because it’s not at all noticeable in person. Another fabric from the Stylemaker fall collection that is very similar that would be equally lovely (and is slightly less cream, more white) is the sueded modal shirting. Check out the lovely Gemma tank that Lara Liz made out of the white modal for her stop on the tour!

Beatrix with Bell Sleeves

I like that this top is dressy but very simple. I love the idea of whites in winter and can often be found wearing my white jeans when it’s cold. In fact, I’m not a no-white-after-labor-day kinda person at all. I think white is dramatic and bright and brings to mind snow and holidays and all that. But it can definitely be difficult to shop for white fabrics online, so I’m really happy to have discovered this one.

This post is the last stop on the Stylemaker Fall Tour. Head over to the Stylemaker blog to take a look at all of the lovely looks that everyone put together!

Thank you to Michelle at Stylemaker for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for providing me with the fabric for these posts!

Posted in Beatrix
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How to make Beatrix without buttons

How to make Beatrix without buttons

At its essence, my Beatrix pattern is a very simple silhouette: fitted sleeves and a bodice with bust darts for shaping. The buttons in the back and hem and sleeve bands are really mere embellishment; they add stylistic elements to the pattern, but they don’t affect the overall shape.

So (no surprise!) it’s very, very easy to make a Beatrix without the buttons in the back to create a simple pullover top! Maybe you’re intimidated by buttons, or a beginner sewist, or maybe you just want a quick project and don’t want to take the time to add those buttons. I also like to make Beatrix without buttons if I’m using a rayon or a slippery fabric that might make it tricky to add the buttonholes.

How to make Beatrix without buttons

Here’s a quick how-to!

You will need:

  • Beatrix sewing pattern (you can buy it as a PDF in my shop, or ask your favorite local shop if they carry the print version!)
  • fabric (I used Sleeping Porch lawn by Heather Ross for this sample)
  • lightweight fusible interfacing (see this post for my favorite kind)

Cut out your pieces:

Use your Beatrix pattern to cut out a FRONT and two SLEEVES (choose either length) from your fabric.

Beatrix without buttons

Cut one (note!! ONLY ONE!) BACK piece by placing the fold along the line labeled “center back” instead of cutting two back pieces out. This will create a back piece that is all one piece, and eliminates the extra fabric you would normally use to create the button placket.

Beatrix without buttons

Cut one FRONT FACING and one BACK FACING out on the fold. Line up the edge of the back facing along the fold, instead of cutting two as indicated on the pattern piece.

beatrix without buttons

AH GAH THAT PHOTO IS GIVING ME HIVES BECAUSE I LEFT MY OLFA CUTTER OPEN. NEVER. EVER. DO. THIS!!!

From your interfacing, cut out a front facing and a back facing, also both on the fold. You now have four facing pieces: two fabric, and two interfacing.

Beatrix facings

Sew it together

Sew the darts, shoulders, and side seams as indicated in the pattern (you can also see these steps in Day 4 of the Beatrixalong). Staystitch the neckline and armholes.

Beatrix bodice

Apply the interfacing to the front and back facings, and sew them together at the shoulders.

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Now we’ll add the facings to the neckline. Pin them to the outside of the bodice with right sides together.

Beatrix without buttons tutorial

Sew all the way around the neckline with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Beatrix without buttons

Clip the neckline.

Beatrix without buttons

Understitch the neckline: press the facing and neckline seam allowances away from the bodice and stitch through all three layers — facing + seam allowances — just inside the seam line, at about 1/8″ away from the edge. Because of the clipped seam allowances, I find it easiest to do this with the facing on top and the seam allowances below. It’s a bit hard to see what’s happening in the photo below, but the facing and seam allowances are on the right, and the main blouse is on the left in this photo. I’m stitching 1/8″ away from the seam; at the bottom of the photo you can see where my stitches are visible:

Beatrix without buttons

Here’s what it looks like after understitching, below. More pics of understitching can be found in my Day 6 Beatrixalong post.

Beatrix without buttons

Press the facings to the inside of the blouse and tack them down along the shoulder seams.

Beatrix without buttons

Then add the sleeves (I like to hem them before attaching them)!

Beatrix without buttons

and finish the hem as indicated in the pattern.

Beatrix without buttons

Voila! Quick and easy Beatrix without buttons!

How to make Beatrix without buttons

You can find all of the tutorials relating to Beatrix over on my Beatrix page, or visit my shop to purchase a copy of the Beatrix sewing pattern.

How to make Beatrix without buttons

Posted in Beatrix
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Beatrix with invisible zipper

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Here’s another Beatrix hack, this one much better than the last (oh wait, you forgot about that post already? Me too.). Reasons why it is better: First, voile. Much easier to sew with. Second, the print looks like someone took a brush and painted directly on it (it is from the Palos Verdes collection by A Creative Mint for Cloud9, the company I also design for); I also bought the triangle print from the same collection because I love that hand-painted look so much. Brilliant. Third: much better fit.

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SASSY HANDS! Sorry, this pic was too corny not to include.

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The hem on this version is 1″ longer than the actual pattern, making it read more “tunic” than “top” when combined with the fact that this size (L) is now also a bit too big for me. I’m now more of a medium, thanks to the slow meltaway of poundage that accompanies toddler-chasing and starvation due to the fact that he won’t sit at the table for more than five minutes at a time.

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I added a lining to this top because voile tends to be somewhat sheer especially in lighter prints. While I was at it, I decided I might add an invisible zip instead of the buttons in the back, which turned out to be completely pointless since Beatrix is a pullover style top and doesn’t require a closure of any kind (and that includes buttons, which seems to confuse some people, since the pattern has a button placket is in back, but I assure you that it really isn’t necessary to unbutton it to get it on or off; it’s really just for show). And even though the zipper ended up being unnecessary, it’s never bad for me to get more practice adding an invisible zip. I designed all of my patterns without zippers because I’m not that skilled at putting them in (as evidenced by this close-up pic of the zipper installation). It’s a vicious cycle I tell you.

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Lining a top is not as complicated as it sounds; you make a second garment out of a lining fabric (I used a solid white lawn), and then figure out how best to attach it. I attached the lining at the neckline first, added the zip ala Colette’s invisible zip tutorial, folded the ends of the sleeves up over the lining inside to hem the sleeves (closeup pic here), and left the hem unattached (closeup pic here).

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So there you go: another Beatrix for my spring wardrobe!

Posted in Beatrix
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Lace Beatrix with gold buttons

lace beatrix / made by rae

lace beatrix / made by rae

I’m always up for a good pattern hack, I think it might even be programmed into my DNA. I’m insanely jealous of the person who can roll out ten dresses assembly-line style that differ only by their fabric and have an instant wardrobe, because that kind of focus and self-discipline has always eluded me. Most of the time my process consists of 40% dreaming/planning, 10% hacking the pattern, and 50% of the time trying to save/hack the hack because it didn’t work out. If I thought too much about how much wasted time that represents I would probably start to cry, but every so often the skies open and the angels sing and the dress or top or whatever in my head that I’ve been dreaming about materializes exactly the way I had hoped (note to self: that intermittent reinforcement is probably fueling that pattern of behavior). This was definitely not one of those perfect moments, but I still ended up with something pretty cute. I especially like the gold buttons in the back on this Beatrix hack:
lace beatrix / made by rae lace beatrix / made by rae

This lace top was intended to be a cropped, lined version of Beatrix, which is usually hip-length and unlined. View B of the pattern (view card here) has a straight line at the hem where the hem bands attach, and I was hoping if I cut the top along that line it would produce a cute boxy effect. The lining (an off-white voile) was a no-brainer because of the lace, and voile is pretty stable so I expected it to provide a nice shape. Despite stay-stitching and serging all the lace edges before sewing it together, the lace stretched more than expected, which resulted in a wider neckline than I wanted and a larger fit overall which wasn’t as flattering as I’d hoped, so the proportions aren’t quite what I expected. I took measures to try and work on it some more — I added a line of top-stitching around the neck to help it lay flat, hemmed up a little more from the bottom and took in the side seams — and it’s definitely better, now. In the pics below where my arms are akimbo (I think I get bonus points for using that word) you can maybe see that the fit looks a little broad yet at the top.

lace beatrix / made by rae

lace beatrix / made by rae

Maybe it will grow on me the more I wear it? It’s not quite the fantastic wow-I-want-to-wear-this-everywhere thing I had envisioned, but that’s OK, I still like it. And my second experiment with Beatrix (Part II) was much better, so stay tuned!!

Posted in Beatrix
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Made this: Teal Beatrix

teal beatrix back

teal beatrix front

Not much to say about this one except HEY LOOK I MADE THIS BEATRIX and YES IT’S A BIT OUT OF SEASON but WON’T IT BE LOVELY WHEN SPRING COMES AND I CAN WEAR IT? There’s something wintery about the color though, and anyway, the shorter the sleeve, the easier it is to layer a sweater over it. If the 40-degree days we’ve been having in Michigan this week are any indication, this will be seasonally appropriate by late February. Time to make myself a swimsuit?

teal beatrix 1

teal beatrix 2

Oh wait! I do have more to say about this top. I started this version (which is View A of the pattern, see handy view card below that Elli made) late last spring with the idea that it would coordinate with the View B I made out of this same voile fabric in a different color (blogged here) so that I could have a matchy-matchy photograph for the cover, see? But then, well…this one just didn’t get finished on time (it even ended up in that end-of-summer WIP post) and my Grand Plans never came to Fruition. Story of my life.

Beatrix / Made By Rae

The Beatrix Sewing Pattern can be purchased in my shop; the fabric is a lovely Anna Maria Horner voile that unfortunately is now out of print.

Posted in Beatrix
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How to make a Beatrix View A with the View B button placket

beatrix how to view a+b
One of my favorite ways to make the Beatrix Top is actually a pattern hack. You may recall that the pattern includes a View A (which I like to call the “shirttail version”) and a View B (which we call the “banded version”).

It’s super duper easy to create this hybrid of the two views, and the Original Beatrix and Let’s have a (Beatrix) party tops are both examples of this. In fact we almost included this version in the pattern but decided against it because a) the pattern instructions were already getting pretty long with the two views and we were behind deadline, and b) it’s just so easy to show with a photo tutorial, so we decided to go with the tutorial. Which I then delegated. TO JESS. Heh. So, in this post, Jess will show you how to make Beatrix with the shirttail hem and sleeves from View A, plus a contrasting button placket borrowed from View B, like this:
front back beatrix

 

Hi folks! Jess here. I was making this Beatrix anyway, so I made myself useful and took some photos in the process! Here goes.

First, cut out and prepare your pattern pieces. Follow the cutting instructions for View A (page 6) with ONE EXCEPTION: cut your Back Bodice pieces along the vertical “Cut here for banded bodice (View B)” line.

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Also cut two Button Plackets out of a contrast fabric (these are the only View B pieces you’ll need). Transfer markings as instructed for View A (page 6), and attach interfacing to Front Facing and Back Facings (page 8). Now fold and press Button Plackets, then attach interfacing (page 8).

Here’s what you should have:

  • one front bodice (darts marked)
  • two back bodices cut on the View B line, and two button plackets (folded, pressed, and interfaced)
  • front and back facings (with interfacing)
  • two sleeves (short sleeves pictured, marked Left and Right with fold line marked)

Beatrix tute 1

Beatrix tute 2

Now, sew button plackets to back bodice pieces: With raw edges at center back and right sides facing, pin each button placket to its corresponding back bodice (if your fabric has a directional print, make sure it’s pointing the right way up). Sew button plackets to back bodices with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

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Press seam allowances away from the bodice, toward the plackets:
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Proceed as for View A. From here, you get to follow all of the directions exactly as written for View A, starting with Step 1 on page 9. Here are some photos for reference:

In Step 9, fold the button placket to the right side and stitch down 1/4″ from the top along the folded portion:
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Stitch along the bottom of the folded portion and all the way around the curved hem with a 1/2″ seam allowance:

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Attach facings using a 1/4″ seam allowance:
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Step 11: Pin “in the ditch” from the right side, catching the folded edge of the placket on the inside of the garment. I use fabric clips to hold my curved hem in place (and I forgot to take a picture before I sewed the hem, whoops!)
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Note the directions of the pins: you’ll be sewing DOWN the left side of the back and UP the right side, so pin accordingly.
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Here’s that finished seam at the top and bottom:
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Now all you have to do is add buttonholes, sew on buttons (see page 20 for Very Detailed Instructions), and put your top on!

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

Beatrix View A with View B Button band

I LOVE my new Beatrix! I made this top out of Chambray Union in Indigo (our sponsor, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, has it in stock), with a Palos Verdes Voile button band. And those are vintage carved flower buttons made out of shell, so they’re shiny and a little hard to photograph (here’s a close-up) … but oh so pretty!

Are you ready for a Beatrixalong?

Beatrixalong

The Beatrix Sewalong is now underway!
If this is your first time landing here, it’s not too late to join in. We’re taking a full eight days to sew Beatrix, and I’ll put links to each new post here as we move through the week. For this sewalong, I’m making a short-sleeved View A as shown in the image above. This is the simplest version of the pattern (View B has more pieces) so it’s a great place to start if you’re new to garment sewing, and the short sleeve is perfect for summer!

Here’s the Beatrixalong schedule:
I’ve mapped this out so you can work slowly, taking about 30-60 minutes each day.
Preparation – Gather your materials
Day 1: Friday, July 10 Measure and Print
Day 2: Saturday, July 11
Trace pattern and Make a muslin
Day 3: Sunday, July 12
– Cut and prep
Day 4: Monday, July 13
Sew darts, shoulders seams, and side seams
Day 5: Tuesday, July 14
– Sleeves
Day 6: Wednesday, July 15 –
 Prep and attach facings
Day 7: Thursday, July 16 –
Hemming and button placket finishing
Day 8: Friday, July 17
Buttonholes and buttons

Other links:
Bust Adjustment: How to shorten or lengthen a dart
Beatrixalong Roundup
The official Beatrixalong page
How to make a Beatrix View A with the View B button placket