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How to sew blackout drapery

Custom blackout drapery can be very expensive, especially if you need them in XXL size. So why not make them yourself? Watch the video below to see how it`s done.

Measure the needed width and length of the finished drapery. The width is usually  (width of the window) X 1.5

You will need:

– Blackout fabric in the finished drapery width +0 cm and length + 8 cm.

– Main fabric in finished drapery  width + 13 cm and finished length + 40 cm.

 

Follow the video above for the steps. 

Enjoy! 

 

Best steam iron for sewing

These are the features of the best steam iron for sewing

If you are thinking about buying a steam iron for sewing, you should start thinking about getting an industrial type steam generator, just in smaller scale. Many companies are making home versions of these steam generating machines, which are transportable and and more affordable. This is what the best steam iron for sewing needs to have:

  1. External steam generator
  2. Stainless steel housing
  3. A big water tank
  4. High steam pressure
  5. Heavy iron

The break down

  1. You need a steam iron with an external steam generator because these can produce a continuous flow of steam under pressure. In other words, you will not run out of the pressurised steam for as long as you are holding the button. It is essential that you don`t run out of steam, or your pressing won`t have any effect.
  2. Stainless steel housing is important because you want your steam iron to be durable. Ideally, the ironing system will serve you for 20 years.
  3. Having a big water tank is good. The only thing that might constrain you is space. These steam generators usually take about 10 to 15 minutes to warm up, which is way too long, if you have to do it often. So if you can, opt for a bigger water tank. I have a 2,5-liter water tank, and I would gladly have an even bigger one.
  4. Steam pressure makes a difference in performance of the steam iron with natural fibres like cotton, linen and wool. The water molecules infiltrate all of the threads of the fabric more efficiently, which causes that all fibres get into a relaxed state. When the fibres are relaxed, you can reshape them with pressure. But don`t get too caught up into searching for the steam iron with the highest steam pressure. 2,5 bars of working pressure and 5 bars maximum pressure is excellent. 
  5. A heavy iron does half of the job for you. It presses the cloth without you putting any effort into it. Another good thing with a heavy iron unit is that it saves a lot of heat and thus has a steady high temperature even if you are ironing a lot. A good weight is about 1.8 kg (4 pounds).

Examples

There are many brands which are making industrial steam ironing systems but also have smaller household versions. Below you can see some variations of steam irons which are great for sewing:

Lelit 2.5 L, working pressure 2.5 bar
Reliable 1.5 L, working pressure 2.5 bar

Spring/summer sewing patterns plans

Are you allready thinking about your spring wardrobe? I know I am. I want to give you some insight into my creative process. So I decided to share my spring/summer sewing patterns plans with you guys. Below you can take a look at the next sewing pattern collection to be. It consists of mostly dresses. I was thinking about diversity in the sence of different body types as well as different occasions. 

This is an Audrey Hepbourn inspired dress. The shoulders are wide and correct the figure of women with wider hips.
This is a minimalistic dress. The contrasting binding on the armholes and the neck line draws the eye up and away from the lower part. The cut is minimalistic and easy going.
This is a jersey dress. The black parts have a slimming effect. The dress will be stretchy . It`s best to use an overlock machine for the seams.
The pastel colored dress with princess seams and tight fit around the torso and the upper part of the hips. For those who like to show off their figure.
A two piece. A fitted jersey top with neck facing and a flared high waisted skirt. Paired with knee high socks for a flirty and young appearance.
Another two piece. The blouse has puffy sleeves and is fitted around the waist (see the technical drawing). The skirt is a pencil skirt with a chiffon side part and assymetrical gathers at the hip.

About made to measure sewing patterns

Using made to measure sewing patterns is the smart way to sew!

I filmed my first YouTube video where I talk about made to measure sewing patterns and why I think that using them is the smart way to sew. In the video, I am also showing the details of the fall/winter 2018 collection. 

 

Future topics will be:

  • Made to measure sewing patterns
  • Tips and techniques (How to save money with sewing, how to correctly take your measurements, must have equipment for sewing, best interfacings, how to buy fabrics…)
  • Fabric hauls
  • Book reviews and utensils reviews
  • Look-books
  • Fashion trends
  • Juicy Rants
My goal is to upload a new video every week.

The past

In the past, when somebody needed a new dress, he would go to a tailor where he would get his measurements taken. The tailor made a garment which was tailored to the body of that person. This meant that it fitted well, was comfortable to wear and it looked good.

The switch

With the emergence with standard sizes and fast fashion as we know it today, it became possible to make clothes in advance in factories. People could go to retailers where they would try clothes on and could buy them and take them home immediately. The prices went down as well. The winners of this new system were those people who had bodies with standard body measurements. Everybody else were, unfortunately, the losers. They could either go to a few remaining tailors which became much more expensive, or they could start buying standard size clothes which by definition didn`t fit their bodies.

Today

People who were smart enough to see this problem and were able to find a solution started to sew their clothes using sewing patterns. But here’s the problem. The commercial sewing patterns also come in standard sizes. People needed to find ways to make adjustments to those sewing patterns to make them fit their bodies. The second option was to start making their sewing patterns from scratch. Both take time and practice. But today, with the help of computer programming and careful pattern development, it became possible to make made to measure sewing patterns. These are drafted to the exact measurements of every individual.

The measurements

The only thing that you need is your measurements. People who are new to sewing don`t realise how many measurements are required to make a single sewing pattern. They are used to taking their breast, waist and hip size, but this is nearly not enough to make a garment fit well. You need measurements like shoulder length, wrist circumference, neck circumference and so on. Taking so many measurements can be hard at the beginning. It is easy to make a mistake, and for some measurements, it`s best that you let somebody else measure you.

Using made to measure sewing patterns is the smart way to sew

Are you still using regular sewing patterns that come in standard sizes? The following facts might convince you to start using made to measure sewing patterns instead.

1. People with standard measurements don`t exist

Alvalon ASTM Missy Avatars
Aalon ASTM Avatars for standard missy sizes

Standard sizes were made to serve fast fashion consumerism. ASTM, the American Society for Testing and Materials releases the tables for standard sizes based on averages of the american population. Using the average measurements taken from the population, Alvalon creates a virtual avatar for every size. The fashion industry is making clothes for these artificially created avatars. Do you recognise yourself in any of the avatars above?

shutterstock_466062398

Made to measure sewing patterns:

There are no sizes. Instead, only body measurements are of relevance. The pattern is drafted from scratch for every individual separately.

2. Adjusting a standard size sewing patterns is complicated

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Let`s consider that you want to use a standard size shirt pattern. A standard size pattern has some lines where you can cut it to adjust the length of the torso and the arm. If the subject is between sizes, you can trace and combine the lines for different sizes accordingly. On a shirt, you also need to adjust the size of the cuff, the width of the arm, the size of the neck opening and consequently the size of the collar and collar stand. The neck opening is particularly complicated to adjust since it is curved and comprised out of two pieces (the front and the yoke). Does this sound frightening? Some of us might consider drafting our own pattern instead.

Made to measure sewing patterns: 

You don`t need to make any of the adjustments described above. You provide the necessary measurements, and a digital program does the rest.

3. Making pattern adjustments is sometimes not enough

Many times, even after making the adjustments on the sewing pattern, the garment still doesn`t fit well. In this case, the problem is in the shape and balance. Consider this example for shapes: two persons can have the same hip measurement, but their bottom and thighs have a different form. In fact, one can have a very prominent seat wheres the other has a flat seat. The second problem, the balance, is best presented when two persons have the same shoulder lengths but different shoulder angles. You might have heard of sloping shoulders before. The way to fix these problems is by sewing a toile (also known as muslin). Toile is a test version of a garment that allows you to identify and fix fit issues before sewing the real thing. It is time-consuming, but often time and money saving in the end.

Made to measure sewing patterns: 

Many of the issues described above can be solved by taking additional measurements. In the case of the prominent versus flat seat, you can measure front and back arches. Different shoulder angles can also be measured in multiple ways. One of them is the wais- back to shoulder-tip in combination with waist-back to the neck and shoulder-length measurements.

4. Made to measure sewing patterns existed much before the standard size patterns

Standard size sewing patterns appeared first in the 1860s in The Mirror of Fashion magazine. The patterns came in only one size at that time. Later, Butterick, McCalls, Vogue and Simplicity came to the scene and still exist today. In Europe, Burda Mode had the most significant influence in the sewing pattern business. The common thread of these pattern companies is that they aim to offer a simple solution for homemakers to make their own clothes. Some of them were publishing or are still releasing a magazine. At the time when these companies were starting out, they didn`t have computers that could instantly make made to measure sewing patterns. So offering a made to measure service wasn`t even an option.

Made to measure sewing patterns are not a new thing. Whereas new technologies like 3D laser scanning and digital 3D to 2D pattern making are relatively new, the essence of made to measure sewing patterns exists probably since 1100. In The Tailor`s Guide book from 1855, describes a complete system for made to measure cutting. Even today, tailors and dressmakers are making custom sewing patterns for their customers all the time. Usually, they draw them directly onto the fabric. But this takes practice and time.

Screenshot 2019-01-22 at 19.50.23
From The tailor`s guide (1855)

You don`t need any special pattern drafting skills. But it is a good idea to spend some extra time getting the measurements right. It is crucial that you follow the instructions and advisable to take every measurement twice before writing it down.

Use of sewing patterns among sewers in Germany and Switzerland – Survey results

I conducted this survey as a cross-sectional analysis on the 9.12.2018. I aimed the study at women who sew their clothes and regularly use the internet. My goal was to find out the needs of women who buy sewing patterns. I asked random people on English and German speaking Facebook sewing groups to fill out an online survey. In my last post, I wrote about the results of a survey which was done on English speaking groups. In this post, I am showing you the summary of the same Questionnaire done on German-speaking Facebook sewing groups. I got 69 responses which are all included in the charts below.

Once again, thanks to everybody who submitted the form. I also want to thank all the administrators of the Facebook groups who didn`t erase my call for action from their group feeds. Many Facebook groups do not allow this kind of surveys as they are trying to stay clear from third-party beneficiaries. For this reason, the results of this survey are an open source.

Age

17.4% of the participants were older than 50 years, and the majority was between 30 and 50 years old. In a separate question, I asked the participants about their profession. Teacher, electricity Ingenieur, accountant, ambulance personnel, art historian, butcher, entrepreneur and other high ranking professions were named. 17% defined themselves as housewives.

Clothing size

27.5% stated to wear size S or XS. 20.3% of the participants reported they wear either XL, XXL or XXXL.

Comment: I think this shows that women of all sizes are sewing their clothes and that clothing size doesn`t play any role whether somebody is sewing or not. Most women are sensitive when it comes to their dress size. This chart may be a presentation of women’s perception of their size, rather than being an actual presentation of the most common clothing sizes.

Sewing patterns use

Only 7.2% stated that they don`t use any commercial sewing patterns. They said that they are not buying sewing patterns because they make their own and because there are no good patterns to be found in their size.

Satisfaction with the sewing patterns

37.5% of the participants said they weren`t always satisfied with the sewing patterns that they bought. Mostly they were not satisfied with the fit and sewing instructions. They also didnt like it when the  pattern wasn’t same as the model image, when fabric quantity estimations were wrong or when the paper was too thin.

Use of made to measure sewing patterns

23.4% (15 persons) stated that they’ve already tried made to measure sewing patterns. Three of them made their own made to measure sewing patterns and four listed sewing pattern companies like Burda and Patydoo which are not made to measure. 

Comment: Some people don`t know what MTM patterns are.

Woven vs. knitted fabrics

A significant majority of people is predominantly sewing with knitted fabrics. This impacts their preferred choice of sewing patterns.

Use of an overlock machine

Almost 80% are using an overlocking machine to finish the seams.

Comment: An overlocking machine is almost a must-have if you are sewing with stretchy fabrics a lot.

Use of sewing patterns among sewers – survey results

Surprisingly only about 11% of women who sew their own clothes ever tried a made to measure sewing pattern. This is even though that the primary reason for their dissatisfaction with sewing patterns was poor fit.
Maja Dobelsek
Creator of Bodyfit sewing patterns

In this article, I summarise the results of my survey which I conducted as a cross-sectional analysis on the 8.12.2018. I aimed the survey at women who sew their clothes and regularly use the internet. My goal was to find out the needs of women who buy sewing patterns. I asked random people on English and German speaking Facebook sewing groups to fill out an online survey. This summary includes only the results from the English speaking groups. I will cover the German groups in a separate article. 94 women participated in the English survey. I excluded three forms due to incompleteness.

First of all, thanks to everybody who submitted the form. I also want to thank all the administrators of the Facebook groups who didn`t erase my call for action from their group feeds. Many Facebook groups do not allow this kind of surveys as they are trying to stay clear from third-party beneficiaries. For this reason, I decided to make the results of this survey an open source for anybody of interest and thus reducing my advantage.

Age

59.5 % of the participants were older than 50 years, and 6.5% were younger than 25 years. In a separate question about their profession, they listed all kinds of professions. From housewife and retired professional to teacher, fitness instructor, bartender, director, ingenieur, health care professional, retired scientist and other high ranking professions to name a few.

Clothing size

Only 1% stated to wear size XS, and the majority stated to wear M. About 10% stated they wear a size XXL and 21% to wear size XL. 

Comment: I think most women are sensitive when it comes to their dress size. This chart may be a presentation of women’s perception of their size, rather than being an actual presentation of the most prevalent clothing sizes. 

Buying sewing patterns

10% stated that they don`t buy sewing patterns at all. Their reasons were that they can make their own and that they need to make their own to get a proper fit. Other reasons were cost and not knowing how to use sewing patterns.

In a separate question, 51% stated that they buy less then 1 sewing pattern per month and 12% buys more than two. Average money spent per sewing pattern is $3.6 with the minimum being $0.99 and maximum $20.

Satisfaction

The majority (64.6%) answered that they were not always satisfied with the sewing patterns that they used. The primary reasons for dissatisfaction were fit problems and poor sewing instructions. Other reasons stated were incorrect ease, seams not matching and designs not corresponding with the advertising pictures.

Use of made to measure sewing patterns

Only 11% of the women using sewing patterns had used made to measure sewing patterns at any point in time of their life.

Primary reasons for never trying made to measure sewing patterns were not knowing about them, not needing them and the feeling that they are too complicated.

Satisfaction with MTM sewing patterns

77% answered they were always satisfied with made to measure sewing patterns, which is 42% more than with conventional sewing patterns.

Reasons for dissatisfaction were not liking the style and the pattern being too small allthough the measurements were taken correctly.

Woven vs. knitted fabrics

On average more women sew with woven fabrics like cotton, poplin, silk, and rayon than with knitted fabrics like jersey and spandex.

Use of serger/overlock

As expected, women who predominantly sew with knitted fabrics also tend to use a serger, whereas the majority of women does not.

To conclude, I think it would be safe to say that women younger than 25 predominantly do not have the time or money sew their clothes for hobby. On the other hand, women who sew come from all different backgrounds and wear all different sizes. They don`t tend to spend much money on sewing patterns, or they at least try not to. Surprisingly only about 10% ever used a made to measure sewing pattern even though 64% were not always satisfied with conventional sewing patterns. The primary reason for this was poor fit. Woven fabrics are most popular in English speaking countries which is not the case in german speaking countries. I will be showcasing this in my next article.

How to sew a welt pocket on pants

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to sew a welt pocket on pants. This technique works for single and double welt pocket. Welt pocket is also called a  piped pocket or besom pocket. This technique is a combination of some techniques I saw on Youtube, a book called Pants for real people and by analysing my boyfriends dress pants. You will find that this is by far the most straightforward technique with the best looking results. I also made this tutorial because welt pockets are on both of Bodyfit sewing pattern`s trousers patterns. You can check them here.

https://youtu.be/tW4gwT6wZRc

Sewing tutorial – How to sew a sleeve placket on a shirt

In this sewing tutorial, I am going to show you how to sew a sleeve placket on a shirt or blouse. There are two basic variations on this, depending if your sewing pattern has a two-piece placket and binding or a one-piece all-in-one placket. Here you will learn how to sew a placket if you have a separate binding and placket piece.

This video is an excerpt from the women`s blouse video sewing instructions. You can access the full step by step instructions for this blouse after you purchase a corresponding made to measure sewing pattern. I wish you lots of fun sewing your shirts!

Here are the written step by step instructions, but I think you will agree that the video is far mor explanatory.

Stitch the binding:

  • On one long edge, turn in a 1/4” (5 mm) seam press.
  • Place right side of a non-folded edge of the binding to the wrong side of the back sleeve slit. Stitch up to the angle cut.

  • Fold binding over the slit edge to the right side of the sleeve and cover the seam with the fold. Edge-stitch along the whole length of the binding (move the sleeve away to complete the stitching). Bring the binding to the right side of the sleeve.

Stitch the placket:

• Fold in a 1/4” (5 mm) seam of the longer edge of the placket to the wrong side and press.
• Place the right side of the shorter edge of the placket to the wrong side of the front slit line. Stitch a 1/4” (5 mm) seam up to the angle cut.
• Bring placket to the right side of the sleeve, fold and press the seam to face the placket.
• Fold the sleeve crosswise to expose the little triangle (the slit point). Stitch the base of the slit point to the back of the placket and binding.
• Fold the placket to cover the stitch line with the folded longer edge.
• Turn the corners of the apex of the placket. Topstitch along the edges of the placket and across the base of the apex.

 

How to sew trousers – front slant pockets

The women`s high waisted trousers are unique in the way how you have to construct the front slant pockets. Because these trousers are without a waistband, they are great if you want to wear suspenders. You can`t  wear them with a belt since they don`t have any belt loops. Original old-fashioned trousers for suspenders (or braces) also never had waistbands. 

Made to measure sewing pattern custom trousers - Bodyfit sewing patterns

In the following tutorial I show you how to sew front slant pockets on pants without a waistband. The construction process is the same as with a standard pant side pocket. The only difference is, that you have to close the upper pocket entry from the waist to the upper pocket entry notch.

Leave a comment, if you like this kind of content!

You may wonder, how do the trousers stay up if you can’t wear a belt, but also don`t like wearing suspenders. The contoured, haute couture, channel-stitched waist facing is the answer.  You have to make the couture waist facing out of three layers. The layers are silk organza interlining, fusible interfacing and fashion fabric. You also need to reinforce it with channel stitches, which have a function of stay stitches. The construction of the couture style waist facing is shown in the video sewing instructions for the high waisted trousers. It is included with the purchase of the sewing pattern.

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