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


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!

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Beatrixalong Roundup

Remember the Beatrixalong? A few weeks ago I hosted a sewalong to welcome my newest pattern, Beatrix, into the world, and a bunch of you participated and made some awesome tops!

Let’s take a look at some photos from those of you who sewed along on Instagram and Flickr. It was really exciting to see all these Beatrixes coming to life!

beatrixalongin progress
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

And it was even more fun to see them materialize into finished tops…

beatrixalong finished
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

And then the most fun of course was seeing them modeled by their makers:

beatrixalong worn
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

beatrixalong finished 2
[above: top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right]

This is just a handful of the sewalong photos; you can see even more on Instagram (#Beatrixalong) or in the Beatrix photo pool. Thanks to everyone who participated!

If you want to make your own Beatrix, you can get your pattern here. All of the Beatrixalong posts are now on their own page, so if you’re still working you can access them any time you like for tips and tricks and all sorts of detailed photos showing you how to make your own Beatrix!

I always love to see what you’re making with my patterns, so please post your Beatrixes on Flickr in the Rae Made Me Do It pool or the Beatrix Sewing Pattern Pool, or on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter with the following tags: #beatrixpattern, #raemademedoit, or #madebyrae!

Bust Dart Adjustment: How to shorten or lengthen a dart

Jess is here today to show you how to adjust the length of a bust dart if it’s too long or too short. When we put together a (pretty comprehensive, I might add) list of common pattern adjustment tutorials for the Beatrixalong Muslin post (day 2), we couldn’t find one showing how to lengthen or shorten a dart. Whaaat. Anyway, Jess has had to do this adjustment on her Beatrixes, so she took a few pics to show you just how easy it is. Here’s Jess:

This is the easiest bust dart adjustment EVER! In these photos, I’m wearing my Beatrix muslin with dots representing where the dart ended before the adjustment (closer to the middle) and after the adjustment (closer to the sides).

With the darts sewn as they were in the pattern, they ended pretty much exactly on the bust apex.

dart shorten

The darts are at a good height, and the size is right, though, so the only thing I wanted to do was shorten the dart by an inch. Generally, you want the dart to point in the direction of your bust apex, but ending 1/2″ – 1″ short of the apex. (Rae adds: typically the 1″ is for bigger busts, 1/2″ for smaller busts)

dart adjustment

Here’s the Front Bodice pattern piece from Beatrix, traced in my size. All I had to do was make a new point on the dart’s center line one inch away from the original point, then re-draw the dart legs using a straight edge, and starting at the same points on the side so they’re the same length and they don’t change the side seam.

dart shorten

If you need to lengthen the dart, simply extend the center line by the amount you need, and re-draw the dart legs exactly the same way.

dart shorten

 

See how easy? For additional pattern modifications, be sure to check out our awesome list of links in this post. You can find all of the Beatrixalong posts by clicking here.

Beatrixalong Day 8: Buttons and Buttonholes

We did it!!! It’s the eighth and final day of #Beatrixalong!!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing with my newest pattern, Beatrix. You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4, Day 5Day 6, and Day 7 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already. I’ll keep all these posts live, so you can always come back for a refresher!

Beatrixalong

Today is Button Day:

  • Mark and sew buttonholes
  • Mark and sew buttons

Mark Buttonholes

Use the button template provided to mark the buttonhole locations on the left button placket. I usually use a disappearing fabric pen with a hard enough tip to poke through the paper to mark the center dots. You could also use a hole punch to make a hole in the center of each button on the template.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

Center your buttons over the buttonhole markings and mark just above and below each button. You can draw a straight line between these two marks if you need a guide for sewing (not pictured).

Beatrixalong Day 8

Practice a buttonhole.

I can’t stress this enough. On a scrap of the same fabric as your real-live Beatrix, do a test run. Haul out your sewing machine manual if you need a refresher on the settings, and once you have a buttonhole, check to see if your button fits through it!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Sew your actual buttonholes

Sew each buttonhole on your Beatrix. Use a needle to pull any threads through to the inside of the garment, then tie them in a knot and trim the threads

Beatrixalong Day 8

Carefully cut open each buttonhole with a seam ripper or small scissors. Be very careful!! This works best with a sharp seam ripper.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

After you have completed the buttonholes, line up the left placket directly over the right placket and use a marking pen to mark the button locations through the center of each buttonhole so that they will be perfectly aligned.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Sew on the buttons

Beatrixalong Day 8

And look, it’s finished!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Oh heeyyyyyy there, Beatrix!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Mark buttonholes
  2. Sew buttonholes and cut open
  3. Mark buttons on other side
  4. Sew buttons on

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
5. You did it! Put your Beatrix on and strut around!

6. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here.

Beatrixalong Day 7: Flip facings & Sew hem

Day 7 of #Beatrixalong is upon us!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing with my newest pattern, Beatrix.  You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already.

Beatrixalong

We’re almost done! Here’s what’s on the agenda for today:

  • flip facings and button plackets to the inside
  • finish the button plackets
  • sew a curved hem

Flip facings to the inside of the garment

First, flip your newly-understitched neckline facings to the inside of the garment and press them in place.

Beatrixalong Day 6

Carefully press all the way around the neckline.
Beatrixalong Day 6

Now flip the button plackets to the inside

Go ahead and clip the bottom corners of the placket below the seam allowance. You can clip the top ones too if you like.
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Then flip the button plackets to the inside of the garment, poke those corners out with a pointy object, and press and pin them in place:

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Make sure the facings are tucked nice and flat underneath the edge of the placket before pinning. Notice that the hem gets folded up nicely into the bottom of the placket!

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Secure facings at shoulders

Once the facings are flipped to the inside and the neckline is pressed, I also like to stitch in the shoulder seam (from the outside; this is called “stitching in the ditch” because you sew right down the groove formed by the seam) through the facings to really help them stay put when you’re wearing your top.

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Time for the curved hem!

Just a note on curved hems: the stitching line you made earlier around the bottom makes this hem super-easy to press and sew. Another thing that makes a curved hem easier is EXTRA PINNING!!! As noted in the pattern, you can also use Wonder Clips or Wonder Tape instead of pins, and I do recommend this if you’re using a really slippery or delicate fabric, but in general, the more pinning you do, the better.

So let’s start by pressing the bottom edge of the hem up to meet the line of stitches you made earlier.
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Then fold up again at the stitching line (the stitching line will be at the very bottom edge of your hem), and press and pin this in place. IMG_3823 IMG_3831

You can always pull the stitches out later if you don’t like them hanging out at the bottom of your hem, but I find that as long as I use a thread that matches my fabric, they really aren’t noticeable. In this case I’m using black thread so you can see what I’m doing in the photos more clearly, so I’ll probably go back and pull that out later.

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Stitch around plackets and hems

I love this step. It’s so satisfying, because you can sew the plackets shut and finish the hem all in one go. I start at the top of the back right placket and sew down that placket edge:
Beatrixalong Day 7

Then pivot at the bottom corner and sew around the entire hem:

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Pivot again at the bottom of the left button placket, and then sew up that placket edge.

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When you’re finished it will look like this!IMG_3870

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Now press the heck out of that seam so it’s nice and flat, and now you’re ready for buttonholes and buttons! We’ll tackle those tomorrow, wooooot we’re almost finished!!!!

OK, Let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Flip facings to inside and press
  2. Flip button plackets to inside and press
  3. Pin and sew shut plackets and curved hem

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
Post a photo to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here so you won’t miss any of the sewalong posts!

Beatrixalong Day 6: Facings

It’s Day 6 of the #Beatrixalong…two days to go (if I manage to get all these photos uploaded, that is)! Ack.

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing with my newest pattern, Beatrix.  You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already.

Beatrixalong

Today we’ll finish the neckline and prepare the back extension:

  • Sew facings together
  • Fold and press back extension; stitch at top and bottom
  • Attach facings
  • Clip and understitch neckline

First, assemble your facings

Sew the Front Facing to the Back Facings together at the shoulders. Press seam allownces open (no need to finish those seam allowances), then finish the outer curved edges with pinking shears, or with a zigzag or overlock stitch. Set the facings aside for a moment.

Beatrixalong Day 6

Now, prepare your button placket for finishing:

On each side, fold the button placket along the second placket fold line toward the right side and pin the top and bottom in place.

Beatrixalong Day 6
Beatrixalong Day 6

Stitch across the top edge of the folded portion with a quarter-inch seam (note narrower seam allowance at neck) on each side.

Beatrixalong Day 6

Stitch across the bottom edge of the folded portion with a half-inch seam. Continue sewing around the entire bottom of the garment, half an inch from the edge. Finish by stitching across the other side of the folded portion. This line of stitches along the hem will make pressing and sewing easier when we do the hem tomorrow.

Beatrixalong Day 6

Attach the facings to the neckline

Pin the assembled facings to the garment neckline with right sides together (note: the button placket is still folded to the right side), lining up center notches and shoulder seams. The ends of the back facings should cover about half of the folded portion of the placket.

Stitch around the neckline with a quarter-inch seam (IMPORTANT: Note smaller seam allowance).

Beatrixalong Day 6

Clip neckline seam allowances.

Beatrixalong Day 6

Press the both facings and the neckline seam allowances upward, away from the garment.

Now we need to understitch the facings to help keep them inside the top when you’re wearing it. To understitch, sew the neckline seam allowances and facings together (three layers of fabric), an eighth-inch away from the neckline seam as shown below. Don’t skip this step!!!

Beatrixalong Day 6

This is what your understitching will look like from the inside of the garment when its finished:

Beatrixalong Day 6
Beatrixalong Day 6

And that’s it for today!

OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Sew facings together
  2. Fold and press back extension; stitch at top and bottom
  3. Attach facings to neckline
  4. Clip and understitch neckline

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
5. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Go to Day 7

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here so you won’t miss any of the sewalong posts!

Beatrixalong Day 5: Sleeves

Welcome to Day 5 of the #Beatrixalong!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing my newest pattern, Beatrix. You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. Check out Day 1Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already.

Beatrixalong

Today it’s all about sleeves. Here are the steps we’ll cover:

  • Baste sleeve caps
  • Sew inseams
  • Hem sleeves
  • Set in sleeves

First let’s prep the sleeves

We’ll start by basting the sleeve cap. Turn the tension on your machine to its highest setting, and then stitch with the longest straight stitch on the wrong side of the sleeve over the top of the sleeve cap between the two notches, 3/8″ away from the edge. Remember to pay attention to right sides and wrong sides! You’ll probably notice as you sew that the fabric is beginning to gather. Leave long tails on your basting threads so you can use it to adjust the amount of gather on the sleeve cap later.

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Go ahead and press 1/4″ and then 3/4″ toward the wrong side along the bottom of both short sleeves so that we can easily hem them up before we attach them to the bodice. This is a hint that is mentioned in the pattern and I thought I’d demonstrate it for the sewalong.

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Sew the sleeve inseams

Pin and sew the sleeve inseams together, making absolutely sure you have two mirror image (one left and one right) sleeves. This is especially important if your fabric is double-sided, like mine:

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Now do a quick fit check and slide each sleeve over your arms to make sure they fit. If the sleeves feel tight, you’ll need to consider making a sleeve adjustment (this is a common sleeve adjustment). If they’re too loose, you’ll want to consider taking in the inseams a bit (if you take in more than 1/2″ though, you will probably want to do the same to the bodice side seams). If the length needs adjusting, hem them up/down more or less than the pattern calls for (hemming is coming up, below).

Then finish the inseams as desired; refer to yesterday’s post for more discussion about seam finishes.

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Hem the sleeves

Using the creases you pressed into the bottom of the sleeve earlier, fold up the end of the sleeve, then press and pin it in place.

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Stitch along the second fold to finish the sleeves. Now they should look like this (one is right-side out, the other is inside out)

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Attach the sleeves to the bodice

We’re using a set-in sleeve method here. Place the sleeve inside the armhole so that the right sides of the sleeve are facing the right side of your garment, and pin the sleeve inseam at the side seam and the sleeve notches to the armhole notches. Next, pull the gathering threads to adjust the basting stitches (this should be easy to do since you sewed with high tension from the wrong side earlier) so that the sleeve fits nicely inside the armhole. It will look like it won’t fit, but do your best to move the gathers around so that they are distributed as evenly as possible between the notches.

Beatrixalong Day 5

Beginning at the inseam, and with the sleeve on top and the bodice on the bottom, sew the two together, going VERY SLOWLY, and making sure the gathers don’t fold under the presser foot and make puckers. It helps to stretch the armhole slightly as you sew to ease in the extra sleeve ease.

Beatrixalong Day 5

It’s also very important to stay 1/2″ away from the edge — remember that the very top of the sleeve is longer than where the seam line should be, so if you’re sewing too close to the edge it will actually be harder to set in the sleeve. You should be 1/8″ away from the basting stitches, not right on top of them.

Beatrixalong Day 5
Beatrixalong Day 5

When you’re finished it should look like this:

Beatrixalong Day 5

Now press the seam towards the sleeve (notice that I’m using my pressing ham here again), then trim the seam allowances to 1/4″ and finish them as desired.

Beatrixalong Day 5

Voila! Set-in sleeves!!! Congratulations, this is a pretty advanced sewing technique, so even if it doesn’t look perfect, you should be very proud of yourself! Sometimes I need to go back and un-sew a pucker in the sleeve cap and re-sew it, and if you need to do that, it’s OK.

Beatrixalong Day 5

Notice that the sleeve cap has a slight puff to it at the top, but there are no visible gathers. The purpose of this is to create space for your shoulder while still maintaining a sleeve that is fairly fitted and rests nicely without wrinkling under the arm when worn. If you’re interested in the Science of Sleeves, I highly recommend this sleeve drafting post by my friend LiEr that gets into the relationship between the sleeve and the armhole.

Beatrixalong Day 5

OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Baste sleeve cap
  2. Sew inseams
  3. Hem sleeves
  4. Set in the sleeves

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
Post a photo  to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Go to Day 6

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here so you won’t miss any of the sewalong posts!

Beatrixalong Day 4: Darts, shoulder and side seams

Happy Monday!! Sorry for the late start today. Feeling the Monday-ness of today if you know what I mean. It’s Day 4 of the #Beatrixalong!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing with my newest pattern, Beatrix.  You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1Day 2, and Day 3 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already.

Beatrixalong

Today it’s all about darts and seams. We’re going to:

  • Sew the bust darts
  • Sew shoulder and side seams
  • Staystitch neckline

So first, fold your front bodice so that the dart markings line up at the side seams and pin. Don’t skip pinning here, it’s super important!! I also find it helpful to press that fold.

Beatrixalong Day 4 Beatrixalong Day 4

And then, starting from the side seam, stitch towards the point of the dart.

Array

Beatrixalong Day 4

One thing I like to do as I approach the end of the dart (about 1/2″ from the end) is lower my stitch length so it’s teeny tiny, and curve my stitch line slightly so that it starts to run parallel with the fold of the fabric, so that those last two or three stitches just *barely* catch the edge of the fold. This is incredibly hard to photograph, but it helps prevent that little pucker you see at the end of the dart sometimes. Maybe you can see how the stitches run along the fold at the very end in this next photo where I’ve got the dart over my pressing ham:

Beatrixalong Day 4

I also like to carefully tie the dart threads in a little knot, but you have to be really careful not to pull too tight as you tie the knot or you’ll make a little pucker!) when I’m finished rather than backstitching at the end of the dart (a BIG no-no, you’ll get a pucker for sure if you do this).

OK, let’s discuss this pressing ham thingy. You can see my cheap Dritz-brand pressing ham from JoAnn, on the ironing board below. You can see that I’ve got the white side up; the plaid side is for woolen fabrics, and the white side is for cottons, so I use that side for most of my pressing. When you’re pressing darts or any part of a garment that isn’t flat (such as the shoulder or sleeve cap), it’s really helpful to have a pressing ham, so I really recommend that you get one if you plan on sewing garments!

Beatrixalong Day 4

Starting at the point of the dart, press the dart over the end of the ham. This will help make sure that the bust of the bodice has the same curvature as you do. You simply cannot get this same shape by pressing a dart on a flat surface, so I can’t recommend this enough!Beatrixalong Day 4

Next we will sew the shoulder and side seams

I’m not gonna lie to you, I usually don’t pin these two seams, but I’m showing it pinned below anyway. I find that holding it together with my hands (hand-pinning? is that even a thing??) works just fine. Maybe one or two pins on the side seams if you’re worried about seam creep.

Beatrixalong Day 5Beatrixalong Day 5

Then sew them together, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam, and press those seams. I don’t skip pressing each seam. It makes a difference, believe me.  

Note: If you’d like to try the bodice on at this point to check fit (I highly recommend this), please staystitch the neckline before you try it on to prevent inadvertent neckline stretching. Scroll down to the end of this post for a pic.

{I recommend doing this before finishing the seams, but I forgot to staystitch in the correct order for these photos…sorry for any confusion.}

Once you check your fit, make any necessary adjustments before moving on!

Beatrixalong Day 5

Finish your seams

Now it’s time to finish your seams using your favorite seam-finishing method. You can refer to the Seam Finish Appendix included in your pattern for some suggested finishes. If you’d like to see some photos of a few of those finishes, check out my Super Seams post. Here’s a zig-zag finish:

Beatrixalong Day 5

Beatrixalong Day 5

And here’s the one I use most frequently, the overlock stitch from my serger:

Beatrixalong Day 5

Beatrixalong Day 5

Staystitch the neckline

Staystitching is something that can really be done as soon as you cut your pieces out (many people recommend this), but in the pattern I recommend doing it right after you sew the shoulder seams. I realize this is a rather liberal view, but the point is to stabilize the neckline before you do any fit-checking, which can stretch out that neck even if you’re really careful. I like to do it after the shoulder seams just because then you can do the entire neckline all in one go (I completely respect your right to disagree with me on this; I am admittedly a Flaming Staystitching Liberal). For staystitching, I sew 1/8″ from the neckline edge with a normal machine stitch. Don’t use a basting stitch — you don’t want to gather, just stabilize.

Beatrixalong Day 4

OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Sew bust darts
  2. Sew shoulder seams and side seams
  3. Staystitch neckline and try it on to check fit
  4. Finish your seams

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
5. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Go to Day 5

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here so you won’t miss any of the sewalong posts!

Beatrixalong Day 3: Cut and Prep

Day 3 of the #Beatrixalong! Hope you’re having fun!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing my newest pattern, Beatrix. You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1 and Day 2 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already.

Beatrixalong

Here’s the plan for today:

  • Cut out your fabric,
  • Transfer markings, and
  • Prepare pattern pieces for sewing

Let’s start with cutting out the fabric

Now that we’ve made a muslin and adjusted for fit, we can confidently grab sharp things and cut the REAL FABRIC. Following the cutting diagrams on Page 6 (note: View B cutting diagrams are on page 7, but we’re making View A in this sewalong), lay your pattern pieces out on folded fabric. Please take special note of the hints for cutting pieces out of directional prints and flowy/drapey fabrics. In this photo, the fold is on the bottom and the selvages are together on the top:

Array

I prefer to cut my fabric out using a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat. This is fast and accurate, and doesn’t require any pins, but it can be dangerous (seriously) so please be careful if you try this and never cut towards yourself, EVER. Hold the pattern pieces and fabric in place with some sort pattern weights (coffee mugs, metal washers, expired 9-volt batteries…OK maybe not the batteries but you get the picture) and cut away. Alternatively, pin your pattern to the fabric and use your best fabric shears to cut cut cut.

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Cut those little triangle notches on the sleeves, neckline at center front (CF), and armholes as you go if you’re using shears, or snip them out with shears as soon as you’re done if you’re using the rotary cutter. You’ll be glad you did this later, trust me.

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Now take an inventory of your pattern pieces and use that numbered list provided on page 6 to make sure you’ve got everything.

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Here’s a closeup of facings and interfacing for the facings:

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Remember to mark your sleeves so you can tell left from right, particularly if you’re using fabric where it’s hard to tell right side from wrong side, like mine. I used Wonder Clips to help me keep track, but a safety pin on the right side of the fabric works just fine. Even if it doesn’t matter which side is which, you need two mirror image sleeves, one left and one right.

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Next, transfer your markings from the pattern to the fabric

Mark your darts, using a ruler to keep the dart lines straight. I use a pin to mark the very end of the dart rather than make a dot at the end; sometimes my marking pen doesn’t disappear very quickly and I don’t like having a dark dot there when I’m finished.

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After you’ve added the dart markings, fold the front bodice along the centers of the darts to make sure they line up horizontally. This is pretty important if the darts will be visually obvious relative to the print, such as in the case of stripes or other geometric patterns on your fabric. The only exception would be if you really do need your darts at different heights due to bust asymmetry; if that’s the case you should put your darts where you need them, but I’d recommend avoiding a print that will highlight the differences in dart height.

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Next up, mark the fold lines on each back bodice, again use a ruler to make sure they are straight and the correct distance away from CB:

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Finally, prep your pattern pieces

Use your iron to press the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the facings and back bodice pieces. Although I didn’t show it here, I recommend you use a scrap of fabric as a pressing cloth; if the iron is too hot the fusible glue on the interfacing can sometimes seep through the interfacing and stick to the bottom of your iron, ACK!

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Also: we all know that “pressing” means just setting the iron down on the fabric, and not dragging it back and forth across the fabric, right? You’re not ironing here!

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Don’t forget to fold that 1/4″ along the back bodice center edge towards the interfacing and press it down.

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When you’re finished your back pieces should look like this!

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OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

1. Cut out your pieces
2. Transfer markings
3. Add interfacing to the necessary pieces

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
4. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Go to Day 4

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