How to Sew Beautiful Knit Hems

Smooth hems on knits can be tricky to achieve; with Jade we felt like we finally landed on a technique that REALLY worked (no curling; looks smooth, not stretched out or puckery, stitches that won’t pop with wear, and works with both CURVED and STRAIGHT hem edges).

Since most of us don’t have coverstitch machines to sew the hems we’re used to seeing on our ready-to-wear tees, this method uses a regular home sewing machine. The key elements to success: a wider (1″) hem, and stabilizing the edges using knit interfacing. Adding the interfacing adds a bit of extra time, but it’s totally worth it!

How to: Below, we’ll demonstrate the technique that is incorporated into our Jade Tee pattern. You can use these steps for hems on any knit tee you make!

Step 1. Cut interfacing

Using a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler, cut 1″ strips of knit interfacing, estimating how much you’ll need for your sleeves, front, and back hems.

(PS. Check out my favorite source for interfacing here).

Step 2. Attach interfacing to hems

Use an iron to fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the hems of your pattern pieces. Jade’s hems are a little curved, and the interfacing is flexible enough to follow those curves easily, but this works just as well with a straight hem (like the one on the Flashback Tee).

Step 3. Press hem allowances

I like to press my hems before I sew the shirt together — it’s not technically necessary to do now, but I find it’s a little easier to press flat pieces than 3D pieces, and I always thank myself later. Just fold the hem up along the edge of the interfacing, and press.

Step 4. Construct your tee

Sew your shoulder seams, attach sleeves, and sew side seams from the end of each sleeve to the hem. (Make sure the hems are unfolded if you pressed them in the last step). In the sample below, I used a serger for one side and a narrow zigzag stitch for the other side — was just experimenting!

Step 5. Pin or clip hems

With the shirt still inside out, fold the hems up and press (skip this if you already pressed in Step 3). Use clips or pins to hold your hems in place before sewing. It’s important not to skip this step; failure to secure the hem before you sew it can cause it to twist while you’re stitching it in place.

If you use pins and plan to use a twin needle, turn shirt right side out first, pinning from the outside and making sure you catch the edge of the hem underneath.

Step 6. Sew the hem

Now that you’ve stabilized and also pressed and secured the hem, you’re ready to stitch. Note that what you did *before* you even did any stitching is the key to getting the hem to lay flat. However, the stitches you choose are also important because they will determine how long the garment will last. There are various stitches to choose from for this step:

  • narrow zig zag: A narrow zigzag is the fastest and simplest. At a very narrow setting of 1.25 mm and stitch length of 3 mm, it barely looks like a zigazag, but it provides a bit of added stretch. It’s not the most durable, though, and those stitches sometimes break while taking the tee off and on.

  • twin needle: Using a twin needle makes for a professional-looking finish, and holds up quite well to wear. You can get twin needles in different widths, and our favorite is 4mm. To use a twin needle, simply replace the regular needle on your machine with the twin needle, and hold two strands of thread together to thread the machine, only separating the strands when you reach the separate needles. (Pro tip: if you don’t have two spools of the same color thread, wind an extra bobbin and use that!).
  • To sew, place your hem right side up (this means you’ll have to use the throat plate to make sure you are at the correct hem allowance; in the case of Jade this is 1″), set your machine to a straight stitch, and sew a quick test on a scrap of fabric to check tension and determine the stitch length you’d like to use. When you sew the hem, make sure both needles catch the folded-under hem. If one goes off the edge, the seam will sometimes pucker. On the other wrong side of the fabric, you’ll see that the bobbin thread automatically makes a zigzag pattern, which provides the stretch for this hem.
  • triple straight stitch: For an easy and very durable, utilitarian hem, I use the “triple straight stitch” setting on my machine (which is a Bernina – circled below, in case your machine has a different name for it). With the stitch width set to zero, this creates a straight stitch that goes back and forth repeatedly as you sew, making a straight line that appears a bit wider than a regular stitch. I love this stitch for knits because it’s super strong and won’t stretch and pop, so it works particularly well on super stretchy knits (like the bamboo knit used in the photo below).

Once you’ve sewn your hem, give it one last press and voila!! You’ve got yourself a beautiful knit hem!

PS. All of the Jade tutorials and mods can be found on the Jade page, and you can buy the Jade tee sewing pattern in my shop!

Adding a circle skirt to the Flashback Tee

This weekend I made a twirl dress for Clementine to wear to a friend’s Nutcracker performance. I used the Flashback Tee pattern (size 9/10) and added a circle skirt. She was delighted. Both the fact that it’s pink and it’s got major twirl are big selling points for her. I’ve made her a number of Flashback dresses before, most involving two gathered rectangles, but the twirl skirt was such a big win I’m not sure she’ll let me make another gathered one. We’ll see. 

Here’s a quick how-to just in case you want to make one with your Flashback tee pattern! 

You will need: 

*Additional yardage is absolutely necessary in order to make the circle skirt, especially if you want the circle to have no seams. I purchased 3 yards of this pink double brushed poly knit (see my quick guide to knits for more info on the different types of knit and how they differ), and ended up with about 30″ left over after I was finished (this is a size 9/10). However, if you are making a smaller size or want a shorter skirt (this one was 25″ long), you’d definitely need less than that. My best advice is to sketch out your skirt ahead of time (see the diagrams below) and use that to calculate how much additional yardage you’ll need beyond what the tee calls for. 

**Serger. Do ya need one? My head says no but my heart says yes. Check out my Do you need a serger post for more thoughts on this. Could I have made this dress as quickly without my serger? No. Could it have been more mindful and relaxing process if I had used Natalie Chanin’s hand-stitching knit techniques to sew all of the seams? Perhaps. But I wouldn’t be finished with the dress yet. And that smooth waist seam is easier to achieve with a serger than with a sewing machine.

Step 1: Crop the bodice pattern piece

You need to shorten the tee bodice pattern piece if you want the waist seam to land near the waist and not the hip. 

I first folded the Flashback Tee bodice pattern piece in half from hem to armpit, but the skirt was so heavy (it’s super stretchy poly and has quite a bit of weight) so had to crop it higher up for the waist to land where I wanted it to. This ended up being roughly 1/3 of the way down from the armpit. You may want to start by cropping the pattern halfway between armpit and hem, pin the skirt on, and see how it looks before you sew it. 

Step 2: Sew the tee

Cut out the fabric for the tee (bodices, sleeves, neckband) and sew it together. Skip hemming the tee. I added ruffled cuffs rather than hemming the sleeves.

Step 3: Cut out the circle skirt

Here’s where it gets a little tricky but stay with me.

To make a circle skirt, you cut a big circle with a little circle cut out of the center (for the waist). The radius of the big circle minus the radius of the little circle is the length of your circle skirt (I made mine about 25″ long, though I ended up trimming away a bit of length at the sides and mid-way to the center since she wanted a bit of an uneven cascading look when it was hanging down). 

To get the radius of the little circle, first take the width across the bottom of the finished tee, and divide by 3.14 (that’s right: PI, you math nerds!):

width of tee / 3.14 = X

Now take X and subtract 1/2″ to get the radius of the small circle:

X – 1/2″ = R

“R” is the radius of the little circle, and R in my diagrams below. The reason that you subtract 1/2″ from X before cutting this circle is a safety measure: you actually need the circle skirt waist to be a teensy bit smaller than the tee waist, and it’s ALWAYS BETTER TO CUT THAT CIRCLE SMALLER THAN TOO BIG!!!

Now cut your skirt out. Cut this way if you want side and back seams (I did mine this way); you also save on fabric if you do it this way:

Cut out your skirt this way if you want it to be a continuous circle, no seams:

Step 4: Sew and attach the skirt

You’ll need to sew the sides and back seam together if you cut it out the way I did, then pin and sew the skirt to the tee, right sides together. To achieve a nice smooth waist seam, I sewed them together without pulling or stretching the fabric out at all. I tried it first with my sewing machine on a zig zag stitch (to try it on), then ran it through my serger with the differential set to 1.7 once I was happy with the location of the waist seam.

Twirly dress, achieved!

For extra overachiever points, sew a matching one for the doll. Heh heh heh, yeah. I DID. Not the first time, either. 

Luna Pants with a triple channel drawstring

These pants are easily my most-worn Luna pants this fall. I was inspired by another pair of dark chambray pants that I saw on Pinterest (they’re #14 on my Luna Inspiration list, if you’re interested), so Jess sewed this pair out of Rustica Chambray from Robert Kaufman Fabrics (59% cotton / 41% linen). They are ridiculously comfortable.

Chambray Rustica Luna pants
Chambray Rustica Luna pants

In order to get the narrow drawstring into the wide waistband facing without it swimming around, we made these with a triple channel drawstring. This is so easy to do. Here’s how!

Luna Pants drawstring

HOW TO SEW A TRIPLE CHANNEL DRAWSTRING

  1. After adding the waistband facing but before you stitch down the bottom edge, add two 1/2″-tall buttonholes to the center front of your pant, centering them vertically so that they’ll land in the middle of the waistband (See my other Luna drawstring tutorial if you need more guidance with this).
  2. Stitch down the bottom edge of the waistband, leaving a couple inches open in the back
  3. Mark two horizontal lines 3/8″ from the top and bottom of the facing for the channels, then stitch down around those lines, leaving a couple inches open at the back of the pant so you can thread the elastic through. This will leave about 5/8″ for the middle channel. Before you stitch, double check that the buttonholes will land in the middle of the center channel!
  4. Cut two pieces of 1/4″ elastic to the length needed for your waist (a chart is included for each size in the Luna sewing pattern). Using a safety pin or bodkin, thread the elastic through the top and bottom channels, starting with the top channel. Overlap the ends and stitch them together.
  5. Cut a strip of fabric for the drawstring, 1″ wide by your waist measurement + 1 yard long. Fold the two long edges of the strip into the center so that they meet, press, then fold in half, and press again. Edgestitch around the outside of the drawstring to finish it.
  6. Using a safety pin or bodkin, thread the drawstring through one buttonhole, around the pant through the center channel, and out the other buttonhole. Tie or knot as desired.
  7. Once you have tried on the pants and are happy with the fit of the waistband, stitch the holes for the elastic shut in back.
chambray rustica how-to / made by rae
chambray rustica how-to / made by rae

Voila! Pants with a triple channel drawstring!! Also: I love the hidden Lotus Pond pockets and waistband.

Chambray Rustica Luna pants

Jess Makes: Cleo skirt with side zipper

Here’s a modified version of the Cleo Skirt that I’ve been wearing a ton lately. Instead of using elastic, I gathered the back skirt to fit into a flat waistband, and added an invisible side zipper. The great news is that adding a zipper doesn’t even interfere with the View A pocket!

Here’s a  how-to:

  • Cut out Front Skirt, Back skirt, and View A pockets according to pattern.
  • Cut out *two* Front Waistbands out of fabric (no back waistband)
  • Cut two Front Waistbands out of interfacing
  • Press and interface BOTH waistband pieces as directed for the front waistband in Step 1 of pattern
  • Attach and sew View A pockets as directed in Step 2
  • Choose which side you want your zipper on, then only sew the side seam of the *opposite* side.
  • Gather front and back skirts as directed in Step 4
  • Prepare waistband as directed in Step 5, but only sew together at one side. Try it on by putting it around your waist and pinning it together 1/2″ from the ends to make sure it will fit (adjust length if necessary)
  • Attach the skirt to the waistband, matching side seams and adjusting skirt gathers to fit the front and back waistbands. Your skirt should look like this:

  • *TRY YOUR SKIRT ON* at this point, you’ll want to make sure the waistband fits you just right, and that it stays where you want it on your waist. Safety pin the open side of the waistband 1/2″ from the edge. Adjust your seam allowance if necessary!
  • Now you’ll install a zipper. I used an 8″ invisible zipper and just followed the package directions. I placed the top of my zipper at the fold in the waistband, with the 1/2″ of zipper tape extending past the fold. Here’s a good tutorial if you need a little guidance.
  • Once the zipper is installed, you can sew the rest of the side seam.
  • To finish the waistband, follow the directions in Steps 7-8; you can sew the whole waistband down at one time here because you don’t need to add elastic! Hand stitch the waistband for a tidy finish at the zipper.
  • Hem skirt as directed, and you’re done!

This version of Cleo has a couple of other modifications: it’s a mashup of the View B length with View A pockets, and the skirt is a good bit more full than the pattern calls for.

First, I cut out my pockets so that I could use almost all the rest of the fabric for the skirt. Instead of folding the fabric in half and cutting pockets out of two layers, I just cut them out separately, end to end, along one selvage of the fabric.

For the front and back skirt pieces, I followed the View B length of the pattern pieces, but made them each the full width of the fabric that remained after cutting out the pockets. (This rayon is 54″ wide, so the finished width of this skirt is well over 90″!)


I’ve had this Anna Maria Horner rayon stashed away for quite some time now (as evidenced by its total unavailability on the internet), and I’m so glad I finally got around to making a Cleo Skirt with it. Sometimes the simplest design is the best use for a lovely bold print like this; and rayon is simply delicious for a Cleo. Let us know if you try it yourself!

Use the tags #cleoskirt #raemademedoit and #madebyrae to share your creations on Instagram. We’d love to see them!

Trace and Make: Shorts Pattern

I’ve taught a number of trace and make classes over the years, including my Trace and Make Tee and Leggings class for kids over on Creativebug, so I think it’s a pretty useful thing to know how to do. Tracing existing garments to create a pattern really helps you understand the architecture of garments, how clothes are built. It’s also handy when you want a pattern for something but can’t find the right one, or have a well-fitting garment you want to replicate.

In this post, I’ll show you how to make a simple shorts pattern — just one pattern piece — from an existing pair of shorts. You can also use this method for other types of garments, and since it’s based on something that already fits, there’s no guessing on the size you need.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

There are a few caveats to tracing clothes to make patterns that I’d like to mention before we start. First, be aware of the ethical pitfalls: don’t use a traced pattern to create a pattern or product you intend to sell. That is using someone else’s work for profit, and unless you have permission to do this, it’s not OK. Do the work, my dudes. I’ve traced and recreated plenty of garments over the years for myself or my kids, but when I create new patterns to sell, I don’t use tracings; I draft new patterns from scratch or base them on my own existing blocks. Also, be aware that the “it’s OK to trace as long as it is for personal use” philosophy may still be viewed by some as too lax; there are some who believe that tracing is under NO circumstances acceptable.

Another thing: tracing is fairly time-consuming and detailed work, requiring a fair amount of fiddling/adjustment, so if there’s already a sewing pattern for the thing you’re tracing, consider supporting the artist who already put time into creating that pattern for you. Tracing is great, but it’s not perfect; sometimes a sewing pattern that’s been tested is even better.

Since I first posted this tutorial (as part of the upcycle men’s shirts into kid shorts tutorial, Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree Shorts), I created the Parsley Pants sewing pattern for kids, along with an easy tutorial for making Parsley shorts, so you might want to give that one a try if you’re in market for a simple pants/shorts pattern!

OK, let’s get started!

Tools you’ll need:
clear quilter’s ruler
white butcher paper or large-sheet packing paper
marker

Step 1: Find a pair of shorts
Find a pair of shorts that fit your child. The shorts should have elastic either halfway or all the way around the waist. Flat-front shorts with elastic in the back are fine.

Step 2: Trace the back of the shorts
Fold the shorts in half down the center so that the back side of the shorts is facing out. Place the shorts on a large piece of butcher or packing paper, and overlap the halves of the shorts as evenly as possible, lining up edges carefully and flattening the shorts as best you can. Take a marker and trace as closely around the bottom, inseam, crotch curves, and top edge of the shorts as possible.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

Stretch out the elastic as much as you can to get the true shape of the shorts along the top, and make marks at the side so you’ll know where to place the shorts on the paper when you trace the other side.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

Step 3: Trace the front of the shorts
Now fold the shorts down the center so that the front side is facing out. Line the sides of the shorts up with the marks you just made. Repeat the tracing steps for the back.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

Step 4: Check that the pattern is wide enough at the waist
Before we move on, we’re going to do a little size-check. Measure across the top of the shorts, double that number, and make sure that it’s at least 2” bigger than the hip measurement of your child (measure with a flexible measuring tape around the widest part of their bum). If the waist width is too close to their hip measurement, it’s going to be a squeeze to pull it on, so if it’s too small, draw the pattern wider at the center front or center back until it’s large enough.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

Example (above): I measured the waist edge on the pattern to be about 13” wide, so the finished shorts will measure twice that, or 26” around the waist before the elastic goes in. Since my son’s hip measurement is 24,” there will be 2” of extra room.

Step 5: Make sure the inseam is the same length on both front and back
The shorts have to match up along the inside of the leg (inseam), so measure that distance on both sides and make sure it’s the same. If it’s not, lengthen one of the sides to match the length of the other.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

When you’re finished you should have something similar to the outline below. The taller side is the back of the shorts.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

Step 6. Add seam allowances to the pattern
Take your ruler and add ½” around the outside of the center and inseam edges of the pattern. Add 1 1/2” to the top for the waistband casing, then add 1″ or more for the hem allowance along the bottom edge.

Note: In this photo you don’t see the hem allowance along the bottom edge of the pattern. I originally created this pattern as part of my Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree shorts tutorial, which upcycles men’s shirts, so it uses the finished edges from the shirts for the hem. If you want to use this pattern to make additional pairs of shorts or you are using new fabric for this tutorial, definitely add at least 1” for hem allowance to the bottom of the pattern.

DIY trace and make shorts / made by rae

Now you’re finished making your pattern! You’re ready to cut out your fabric and sew some awesome shorts woot woot!!!

Want to see how to sew them together? Check out this post for a how-to:

HOW TO SEW SHORTS LINK

How to sew shorts

It’s summertime — hurrah!!! — and that means it’s shorts time. Shorts are fun and easy to sew, both for kids and grownups alike. When I stumbled across this little infographic I made a few years back for a different post, I thought it was worth a repost for those of you who might be interested in getting into the shorts sewing game!

To make shorts like these, you’ll need a shorts pattern (see pattern notes below), fabric, and some waistband elastic (I like 1″ wide for kid shorts; 1.25″ wide for adult shorts), as well as basic sewing supplies like a sewing machine, pins, scissors, and a safety pin.

how to sew shorts / made by rae

First, cut out two mirror-image pieces from your fabric using your shorts pattern — each piece will become the left and right sides. The pics below are from when I made a couple pairs of Parsley Shorts for Clementine a few years ago.

how to sew shorts

Step 1: First, you need to sew the center (“crotch”) seams, for both the front and back. This is done by placing the two pieces of the shorts together and sewing the front and back curved edges.

how to sew shorts / made by rae

Step 2: Sew the legs together: open up the pant, pin the center seams together, and sew up one leg and down the other. This seam is also called the “inseam.”

how to sew shorts / made by rae

Step 3: For basic pants or shorts, an elastic waistband can be made by folding and pressing the top edge 1/4″ towards the inside of the shorts, folding another 1-1.5″ down, and then stitching along the lower fold to form a casing for the elastic. Then you thread the elastic through the waistband, stitch the ends together, and close the hole. I always put a little piece of folded ribbon in the hole before I sew it shut so my kids can tell front from back when they’re getting dressed.

how to sew shorts / made by raehow to sew shorts / made by raehow to sew shorts / made by raehow to sew shorts / made by rae

Step 4: Hem the bottom of the shorts by folding and pressing 1/4″ twice towards the inside of the shorts and then stitching that second fold down. You can make a wider hem by folding 1/4″ and then 1,” or replace the 1″ with whatever width you want!

how to sew shorts / made by rae

how to sew shorts / made by rae

Pattern notes
To make shorts that are this quick and easy, it helps if you’re working with shorts that are made of just two pieces of fabric (so: a single pattern piece). Here a couple of options if you’re looking for a simple shorts pattern:

double gauze shorts

I made this cute pair of double gauze shorts for Hugo using the Parsley pattern and he loves them. They’re white, so they attract a lot of dirt, but the double gauze is soft and has held up surprisingly well over two summers.

PS. You might also like my Super Seams post, to make shorts that will last!

How to add a ruffle to the Gemma Tank

How to add a ruffle to the Gemma Tank

One of my favorite mods for the Gemma Tank has been adding a ruffle to the hem. It’s super easy to do, and it doesn’t even take any extra yardage!
How to add a ruffle to the Gemma Tank

Step 1: Crop the back bodice pattern
You’ll need to shorten the bodice and straighten the hem to add the ruffle. Measure 8″ down the side seam of your bodice pattern piece, beginning at the armhole, and draw a horizontal line perpendicular to Center Back at that spot. Discard the rest of the pattern or fold it up if you want to keep it intact. 8″ is my preferred crop length, but you may want to experiment. Every torso and body is different, and a slightly longer or shorter crop may look better on you!

Step 2. Crop the front bodice pattern
Repeat for the front bodice. VERY IMPORTANT: Remember to skip the dart when measuring along the front side seam!

Now cut out your front and back pieces using your modified pattern.

Step 3. Cut the ruffle pieces
Cut two rectangles out of your fabric for the ruffle. These should be about 10″ tall (again, you may want to experiment with this). The width will depend on your size. I like to use my waist measurement (if you want a nice even number, use the “waist” measurement from the size chart: look under “body measurements” and use the number under “waist” for your size). I like the proportion that this width lends to the ruffle, but if you want a fuller ruffle, you could also use the “hip” number for your size.

Step 4. Assemble the tank
Using the pattern instructions, sew the darts, shoulders, and side seams of the bodice and finish the armholes and neckline with bias binding.

Step 5. Assemble the ruffle
Next, sew the two ruffle rectangles together at the sides with a 1/2″ seam. Then add two lines of gathering stitches along the top of the ruffle, 3/8″ and 5/8″ away from the top edge. I use the longest stitch length and highest tension on my machine for gathering.

Step 6. Attach the ruffle to the tank
With right sides together, pin the ruffle to the tank, matching side seams and pulling on the gathering threads until the top of the ruffle is the same size as the bottom of the bodice. Distribute the ruffles evenly and pin like your life depends on it. No such thing as too many pins here!!! Then sew together with a 1/2″ seam, remove pins, and press seam toward bodice.

Step 7. Hem ruffle
Press under 1/4″ and then 3/4″ along bottom edge of ruffle (or desired amount — I like to try it on and mark the finished length I want before I do this). Press and pin around entire hem, then edgestitch to finish.

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

Voila! Finished ruffle tank!

Liberty Gemma Tank with ruffle

You can see more pics of this Gemma tank in action over at this post. All of the Gemma tutorials and mods can be found on the Gemma page, and you can buy the Gemma sewing pattern in my shop!

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.

f1940224

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:

f1759232

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:

f1844736

And the facing side:

f1838336

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?

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. Check out my SUPER FUN FACINGS TRICK if you want to create a lovely finished edge like the one shown in this post.

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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