Ahoy pirates! Today on the blog I wanted to show you how to shorten different style zippers. With the new Go-To Jacket patterns releasing, you will be playing around with various size zippers so I find that it’s easier to just stock up on longer zippers (30-36″) and then shorten them based on your needs.
*Plastic separating zippers
Let’s talk about plastic separating zippers first. They are my favorite zipper style for kids and women casual wear. And shortening them is a peace of cake. There’s no need for any fancy tool or muscles 😉
Simply grab a pair of scissors that you do NOT use to cut fabric, a measuring tape and a lighter. Measure the length of the zipper you need for your jacket, mark it on both sides of the separating zipper. Move the zipper pull down and cut the desired length. Follow the instructions I give you in the video below to create a “zipper stop”.
Note: since you’re working with an open flame (if you don’t have a hot knife) please be extra cautious and avoid having your little ones “help out” 🙂
TIP: Always measure 3 times before cutting the zipper, just to be sure.
*Metal Separating Zippers
The other separating zipper you may use for hoodies or jackets is a metal zipper. Walmart always carries them so, on a pinch, it’s a good alternative for plastic zippers.
Shortening a metal zipper is more time consuming and it requires a little bit of elbow grease and more tools but it’s totally doable. Just grab those non fabric scissors, a measuring tape and some long nose pliers and watch the video below.
TIP: Mark on both sides of the zipper where the waistband meets the bodice, the pockets and the hood. This will make it a lot easier to make sure that everything matches when you zip up the jacket.
*All purpose zippers
If you are making a Wiggle dress and you need to shorten the all purpose zipper you are using you will only need your scissors, a measuring tape and some thread. Simply mark on the BOTTOM of the zipper (not the top as you did for separating zippers) where you would like for the zipper pull to stop.
Sew by hand a zipper stop at the mark you just made. Simply sew back on forth over the zipper teeth a few times. You can certainly use your sewing machine for this step but I find it easier to just hand sew the thread zipper stop. Cut the zipper 1″ below the thread zipper stop you just created and seal your zipper ribbon with a lighter. Optionally, remove the plastic teeth below the thread zipper stop. Tadah! You have shortened your AP zipper in minutes.
Now that you have shortening zippers all figured out, go and sew all the Go To Jackets and make sure to post them in the Patterns for Pirates group!
Ahoy Pirates! In our first P4P University blog of the year I wanted to give you a few tips and tricks to make adding knit cuffs to your projects easy peasy. Whether you’re sewing for yourself, your significant other or your little ones, adding cuffs to your sleeves or leg openings can be a tedious job. We can change that!
*Choose the right fabric for the cuff!
As I mentioned in the Neckbands 101 blog post, choosing the correct fabric for your cuffs will make a huge difference. The best one is rib knit or ribbing. If you do not have any ribbing handy or the colors you have do not work for your project the next best thing would be cotton spandex. I mainly use cotton spandex in for my kids’ shirts and joggers cuffs as I like to coordinate it with the main fabric. Whatever fabric you pick, make sure it has at least 50% stretch and excellent recovery.
*Always cut the cuff with the greatest stretch horizontally.
Always cut your cuffs cross grain! Even if the fabric you use stretches over 50% in both directions, you should never cut against the grain. Read all about the importance of “the grain” in Roberta’s blog post, When It Goes Against the Grain.
*Press your cuffs!
I know I talk about pressing a lot in my blogs, but you have to believe me, it makes your sewing life so much easier. I recommend grabbing those cuffs and giving them a good steam press as soon as you cut your fabric. This will create a memory hem that will make it so much easier to fold them once you sew the “loop” closed.
Press your cuffs after you sew them on too! 🙂
*Snip the seam allowance to create less bulk
This is one of tricks for creating less bulk at he seam. Once you sew the cuff to create a loop, grab your sharpest scissors and make a cut as close to the stitch as possible without, of course, snipping the stitch.
That little snip will make it so easy to please the seam allowances on opposite sides when you sew fold the cuff. In doing so, you will have so much less bulk at the seam, your serger will thank you! 🙂
*Place your sleeve inside the cuffs
Mark the quarter points on the sleeve (or leg) opening as well as the cuffs. I find that for the smallest of sizes, marking just the half point is sufficient.
To make sure you will not have your seam allowance on the outside of your sleeve (or ankle) 😉 place the right side of your sleeve inside the cuff and match the quarter (or half way) points.
*Sew or serge with the presser foot inside the sleeve
Most of the time the sleeve opening is pretty small so I find that it is easier the place the presser foot of my serger (or sewing machine) inside the sleeve as opposed to stitching on the outside. This is especially important when you make Baby Bear Joggers or and kids shirts with cuffs, like the Jolly Roger Raglan or the Yo Ho Henley.
*Do not topstitch.
As opposed to necklines, I find that cuffs and waistbands look a lot better if you do not topstitch them down. I do encourage you to press your garments when you finish sewing it, including the cuffs.
There you have it! 7 easy tips to follow when adding cuffs to your favorite P4P knit patterns. My boys are both rocking the JRR with add on cowl neck from the pack and faux layered sleeves from the blog.
Which one will you be making first? Make sure you post your creations in the P4P group and let me know if adding cuffs is now an easier “task”. 🙂
Many moons ago, I can remember calling my mom in a panic. I had printed out my first pattern for a garment, assembled it, and then just stared at all of the markings! Even though I’d sewn quilts for years before, this was my first attempt at making clothes and the pattern looked like a map in which I had no clue how to follow. After my “what did I get myself into” talk with her, she slowly walked me through each question I had and now after all these years we’ve come full circle and I’m making clothes for her!
Like many people, you will probably experience (or already have!) the “What have I done?” moment in sewing and question why you started a project to begin with. Have no fear! We’re here to help. We decided it was time to break that map down for you and help you learn how to navigate through the amazing world of garment sewing. In this post, you’ll find a description of all the key terms and symbols you might expect to see when starting your sewing adventures! So let’s get those patterns printed, assembled and let the fun begin! (If you’re staring at all of those pages you’ve just printed- don’t worry there either! Click here for our First Time User Tips, which includes how to assemble patterns).
The grainline tells you which direction the grain of your fabric should run. The grainline will run parallel between the selvages, or finished edges of your fabric. There are usually printer markings, contrasting trims, solid colors, etc found on the selvage. Typically, your grainline will have the less amount of stretch in knit fabric. A few weeks ago, Roberta shared some details and information about grainlines, why they’re important, and much more. You can check that out here.
The stretch of your fabric will run perpendicular to the grainline/selvage and will be the direction with the most stretch. As you can see in the picture below, the stretch is running the opposite way as the grainline. It is extremely important to have the right direction of stretch when it comes to the fit of your garment. The stretch will go around your body for most pattern pieces and is accounted for when the ease of a pattern is drafted (read more about ease here). For example, if a pattern is drafted with negative ease (finished measurements are smaller than your body) and you have the stretch going in the wrong direction, chances are, it won’t fit.
If a pattern piece is symmetrical on both sides, you will notice the center with a “FOLD” marking. This is commonly found on pieces such as the bodice, back, or sleeve in which both the left and right sides have the same appearance. You will want to fold your fabric wide enough for your pattern piece and align this marking to the fold of the fabric. To help conserve fabric, I like to fold it just wide enough for the pattern piece (shown above). A common error can be to fold the fabric exactly down the middle, leaving wasted material.
You might have noticed small triangles on some pattern pieces. These notches serve several different purposes. One of the purposes is to help distinguish the back from the front. For example, something like a raglan style top can easily get mixed up when assembling. These notches will help keep the front with the front and back with the back. The second purpose is to help with alignment. By matching these notches up, your pieces will be in the correct position.
You will typically find a hem gauge on both the sleeves and bottom edges. This is usually a triangular shape that notches out. It will mark the correct allowance for your hem. This is particularly useful when creating a memory hem. All you will need to do is fold your fabric up to this notch, press and unfold. Once you’ve sewn the seams, you will still have your pressed fold in place with the correct seam allowance.
Most Patterns for Pirates patterns will include a cut chart. The cut chart is typically found within the first few pages of the tutorial and will give measurements for any rectangular pieces. For example, items like neckbands, cuffs, waistbands and elastic would all be found here. Some designers will included these as actual pattern pieces, however by providing a cut chart, you are able to save on both paper and ink. When cutting these pieces, I find it easiest to do so using a quilters ruler and rotary cutter.
Hopefully these tips help! Remember that we are always here to help, especially in our Facebook group. If you’re not a already a member, be sure to join so that you can ask questions and share all of your amazing Patterns for Pirates creations!
The Jolly Roger is probably one of the most used patterns in my son’s wardrobe! It’s fast, easy, and has lots of option to mix it up with the add-on pack. However, one of my favorite looks is a layered sleeve, which can be hard to accomplish when my son always wants to wear a sweatshirt! Enter- the faux sleeve! This hack is very easy to do and can also be used with other long sleeve patterns, including the Yo-ho Henley and Relaxed Raglan.
The only modification you will need to complete to achieve this look is to alter the sleeve. All other pieces will be cut out as directed and sewn as per the tutorial.
The first thing you will need to do is cut the upper sleeve piece. To do so, use the short sleeve cut line, however you will want to cut 1″ BELOW this line. Don’t forget to cut two MIRROR image upper sleeve pieces! After cutting the upper sleeve pieces, you will cut out the bottom pieces. Using the same method, use the short sleeve cut line again, however cut 1″ above this line. Again, don’t forget to cut two MIRROR images. You will now assemble your sleeve pieces. Place right sides together and stitch using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press your seam towards the upper sleeve piece.
You will now complete the rest of your Jolly Roger Raglan (or other shirt) according to the directions. Make sure that when you are sewing the sleeve and side seam, to align the faux hem as well.
Be sure to share your creations with us in our Facebook group and I can’t wait to see what kind of fun layering ideas you come up with!
We make woven fabrics on a loom. The weaver strings the lengthwise threads first, and we call them the “warp”. Then threads are woven through them creating the fabric. We call these horizontal threads the “weft” or the “woof”. We’ve named the edges of the fabric the “selvages” or “selvedges”, and we weave them more tightly to prevent fraying.
The warp creates the “straight grain” of the fabric, and the weft creates the “cross grain”.
Pattern pieces have grainlines printed on them. They are either arrows or fold lines.
When we cut a pattern out, the best way is to fold the fabric carefully on the straight grain of the fabric, lining up the selvages . If you need to straighten the ends of your fabric, take a snip through the selvage near one end. Then pull a horizontal thread. The missing thread will create a straight line for you to cut along.
Then place the pattern pieces down carefully with the grain lines on the pattern piece lined up with the straight grain of the fabric.
An easy way to check if your pattern piece is “on-grain” is to measure from the line on the pattern piece to the selvages in a couple of places. The distance should be the same.
It’s important for long pattern pieces, especially something like a pant leg, to be grain perfect. If it’s not, the garment will twist, and once you cut it, there’s nothing you can do to fix it. You’ll also never be able to match stripes or plaids if you cut off-grain.
Smaller pieces like pockets, collars, cuffs, and yokes can be cut on the straight grain, the cross grain, or the bias no matter what the lines on the pattern say. The “bias” is the direction that’s 45 degrees from the straight grain. It has more drape than either the straight grain or the cross, and edges cut on the bias don’t fray.
When you cut major pieces on the bias, it’s important to cut them in opposite directions or your whole garment will twist. But it’s not important for small pieces like pockets.
You can mark the bias on your pattern piece with a protractor or a quilting ruler.
Over time fabrics cut on the cross grain will droop more than then fabric cut on the straight. It’s not a problem for something like a skirt or pants made from a border print. The droop won’t be noticeable in the normal lifetime of the garment. You might see it in heavy curtains, though.
Technically, knit fabrics don’t have a grain, but the direction you cut your pieces out matters just as much. Big machines make knit fabric, but they work the same way we knit with yarn and needles. Some machines knit back and forth and some knit in the round. One results in a fabric with selvage-like edges and other in a tube of fabric.
No matter what yarn is used to create the knit fabric, the single knit process will result in a horizontal stretch in the fabric we call the “mechanical stretch”. Fabrics that only have horizontal stretch are usually called “two-way stretch”. The addition of elastane (Spandex, Lycra, etc.) to the yarns can create a fabric with both horizontal and vertical stretch, and it is usually described as “four-way stretch”. Whether the fabric is two-way or four-way, the horizontal stretch should be the circumference of your garment.
While the amount of elastane in the yarns might make the fabric stretchy enough for the garment to fit you cut with the vertical stretch used as the circumference, you shouldn’t cut it that way. If the mechanical stretch in the fabric hangs vertically, you’ll get elephant knees, saggy elbows, and baggy crotches. You can use the same method for making sure your pattern is lined up so the grainlines on your pattern are parallel to the edges of your fabric that we use for wovens. Knit patterns often have the horizontal stretch line marked, too.
There’s a saying in sewing- The fabric always wins. There is probably nowhere in sewing where fighting the fabric is more futile than not paying attention to the grain.
The full-length mermaid-esque dress is gorgeous, but maybe you want to pair it with a different top or choose different fabrics? With this simple hack, you can create a gorgeous set and wear them as separates. For the skirt, cut along the crop cutline. Stitch the center back seam and each side seam. Using the cropped band measurement and instructions, attach to the top edge of the skirt. Easy peasy!
How cute is Katy in this Ariel inspired Haloween outfit!
And seriously, how amazing is this sequin skirt!!
Keeping with the concept of separates, but perhaps you still wanted a dress. Doing a color-block bodice gives you a chance to mix up your fabrics. Since there is already a crop cutline on the pattern pieces that hits at the natural waist, we will be using that as a guideline. Re-trace the crop cutline 1/2″ above and below it to create your seam allowance on both the front and back pattern pieces. Cut your new top bodice and bottom skirt from both front and back. For the back, you will have 2 back top bodices (mirror image) and 2 back bottom skirt (mirror image) pieces. For assembly, with right sides together, stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance the front bodice to the front skirt. Repeat for both back bodice and skirt pieces. Continue construction as provided int he pattern. 🙂
Decorative Button Back
Adding embellishments to your dress can give it some extra special details that will set it apart from the next. Since the pattern is drafted for stable knits, you do not need a zipper or functional buttons to put it on, so these buttons are purely for decorative reasons. I love the finishing touch it gives the back. Using the center back seam as a guideline, I hand stitched pearl buttons every 1/2″. I used the zipper lengths as mentioned in the tutorial as a guide where to end my button placement. For this version, I used a total of 13 buttons. ”
Straps for off the shoulder
Love the off the shoulder but hate wearing strapless bras? No problem! Let’s add some cute straps to the Wiggle off the shoulder dress that will cover your bra straps. Print the off the shoulder option of the pattern and sew it up as per the pattern tutorial. Stop at the neckline finishing steps. Cut two pieces of fabric 4″x 9.5″. These will be your straps. The length of your straps may vary slightly based on the size you make.
Fold the straps lengthwise and sew them side with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Turn the straps inside out and press them with the seam in the center.
For perfect straps placement, try the dress on with your favorite bra. Mark with a pin or a clip where the bra straps will be.
Sew the straps to the dress with the right sides together. Finish the neckline as per the pattern tutorial.
That’s all! You now have yet a new style of the new Wiggle dress!
The Wiggle Dress is already packed with soo many options and great for every season but I don’t know about anyone else but summer here is HOT!! I can not handle any type of sleeves at all so a sleeveless version of the Wiggle dress would be what I would want for summer and lucky for me it is a really quick and easy hack. Let’s get started.
First, you are going to cut all your pieces except for your sleeves. You do not need to modify the armscye at all for this hack so just cut your front and back as usual. Sew the shoulder seams and side seams as directed in the pattern, but skip the section for adding a sleeve. Next, you will iron and pin your armscye to the wrong side 1/2″ inch as shown below. Topstitch using your favorite stretch stitch.
Now just finish up the dress or top as instructed in the pattern and you’re done. Quick, right!?
Full Zipper Back
As soon as I saw the Wiggle dress I knew I had to make a full zipper back! So I took it up a notch and bought a dual zipper. This style zipper opens at the top and bottom. You can add this zipper to the high back, low back or even the off the shoulder option as well as the above, bellow or midi length. Just make sure the zipper you use is long enough! As a point of reference, I used a 48″ zipper for the high back, midi length style.
Start by marking the hem on the center back seam.
Add a strip of 1/4″ Wonder Tape to the center back seam, 1.4″ away from the edge. Start at the point you marked above and stop 1/2″ away from the top.
Repeat with the other back piece.
Remove the paper backing of the Wonder tape and adhere the zipper right sides together. Sew in place with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Zip up the zipper and place the other side of the back piece, right sides together, making sure that the bottom and top match.
Sew in place and top stitch.
Now that you have your back piece ready, sew the dress as per the tutorial. You will be enclosing the zipper in the bottom hem as shown below.
All done! Now all you have to decide is where the next date night will be! 🙂
I loved the idea of a full-length zipper like Alex showed us above, but when it came to finding one locally, I wasn’t able to get one the length I needed. I did find a chunky zipper that would be perfect to use as an exposed zipper and just so happened to work out that it’s finished length was about knee length. I opted to go with the midi length and do a split hem at the center back. You will install your zipper the same as you would in the tutorial, except place it on the RIGHT side of the fabric with the wrong side of the zipper centered along the back seam.
I’ll be honest, Judy created this dress while we were pre-testing and I had to replicate it. Adding a lace applique is super easy but adds a super sexy and classic flair. For this particular version, the lace extends along the entire side seam, so I constructed my bodice first, added the lace to the top, then sewed my sleeves on so that the lace was enclosed in the armscye. You can, of course, add lace wherever you’d prefer, such as the neckline or bottom hem but I love the silhouette the wide stripe gave from the front and back. I used a fairly narrow zig-zag stitch down the center seam and along each edge of the stretch lace trim. Be sure to keep your lace taut as you sew along the waist and hip curves.
Front Leg Slit
What sexy dress doesn’t include a slit! Show off those legs and add a front slit to your wiggle.
We couldn’t end this epic hacks series without a Wiggle dress/Sweetheart mash up. I just had to make myself a black velvet and lace long dress. We all need one in our closets, right?
This mash is super easy. Simply take the front patterns of the wiggle dress and mark the sweetheart color-block lines using the Sweetheart dress top pattern piece. Don’t forget to add the seam allowance!
Sew the two front pieces (lace and velvet) as suggested in the Sweetheart pattern.
Once you do that simply follow the directions in the Wiggle Dress pattern to finish your dress. I used lace for my sleeves too. Since I didn’t have any black elastic and I certainly couldn’t use white elastic for the neckline, I used clear elastic instead. It worked like a charm!
Tadah! Just by adding a sexy sweetheart color block front, you took your Wiggle dress up a notch!
Holy Moly…. I think we covered just about every hack we could come up with to take The Wiggle Dress to the next level (if it wasn’t already on its own)! Make a Wiggle? Hop on over to the Facebook Group, and share your makes, we’d love to see it!
We’ve been asked so many times how to achieve that perfect V neckline so today on the blog we will be covering a few tips that will help you get that look you’re striving for every time.
Now that you we have those tips covered let’s take a look at some V neck specific tricks that will ensure you will have the perfect neckline.
Don’t skip the stay stitch!
A stay stitch is a straight stitch that will help your fabric stay in place, it will keep it from stretching and distorting. You will be sewing a stay stitch on both the neckband and neckline, a couple of inches on both sides of the V point.
Always press the V neckband!
Press the neckband before you attach it! It will make a world of difference! Pressing it will make it easier to maneuver when pining it to the neck opening and when attaching them.
Snip the V point as close to the stay stitch as possible!
As you can see in the video below, a snip in the right place can make a huge difference. Using sharp scissors, carefully make a vertical snip about 3/8″ long, getting as close as possible to the stay stitch without snipping the stitches.
Sew the V points with the sewing machine!
Taking the extra time to attach the V part of the neckband with the sewing machine will help you achieve that much desired crisp V point. Plus, if you’re not 100% happy with how it looks you can definitely seam rip it and reattach it a lot faster than if you were to have used your serger.
Here is how I attach the V neckband to the neck opening.
Are V necks less scary now? 🙂 I sure hope these tips will help you get that perfect look you’re aiming for. Don’t forget to brag about your awesome V neck shirts in the P4P group too!
Ease is a term using to describe how much extra fabric there is around your body after the garment is sewn up. In sewing and pattern groups you often see the question, “Does this run big/small/true to size?” And most the time the same pattern and size will have an array of answers! Confusing right? The truth is the pattern is designed with a certain amount of ease the designer has picked based on the size chart.
So, when the designer like me drafts a pattern they decide how much ease they want for the intended fit. They use not only the listed body measurements, but an entire book of standard/average measurements for each part of the body to give the pattern a certain amount of ease everywhere along the body. I try to give the most important measurements in the measurement chart and finished measurements to help you pick the perfect size for your preference of fit. I usually have more measurements in the tutorial than on the listing pictures so that when you’re ready to pick a size for that certain garment you can see if you need to modify, grade between sizes on that particular pattern. Here is the size chart within the tutorial for the Peg Legs:
Some ease is needed for certain garments. Woven/non-stretch fabrics require much more ease since they don’t stretch. A body requires ease to move, bend, breathe, etc comfortably. Designers use the recommended amount in general for guidelines and can add more if they want a looser fit. Knit garments can, and often do have negative ease. Negative ease means the garment finishes smaller than your body and much stretch to fit on to your body as well as when you move.
There is a very wide span of “what fits” within a single garment. For a knit shirt using a stretchy fabric- lets pick cotton spandex with about 75% stretch) you can have up to about 50% negative ease and still move and breath, this would be what most would call “skin tight”. You can also have a few inches of ease for a looser fit, what most would call relaxed or baggy. And within that range, everything technically “fits” because you have enough ease for movement. The rest is up to the designer to create the design ease they have in mind. When the question is asked, “Is it true to size?” it really can’t be answered. It is true to the designer’s intended fit with the amount of ease they drafted into the garment. Whether it is how much ease you prefer personally for that garment depends on if your personal preference is the same as the intended fit. I’m always surprised to see someone post in our FB group “this is huge” or “it’s too tight”, I try very hard to show intended fit through listing pictures, use the best describing words in the listing and give a good description in the tutorial along with the measurements. But, what one person with the exact same measurements and fabric choice finds “too snug” another might describe as “huge”. It’s all personal preference!
Lets think about what a big range that is… I’m going to go down to 30% negative ease since this is a pretty tight standard athletic/swim amount of ease, most clothes wont be tighter unless we’re going to add in compression fit/slimming undergarments. I will do hips at 40 (top end of the medium). So you could easily have a well drafted pant pattern with a finished full hip measurement of anywhere from 28″ all the way to 45″ depending on the intended fit and suggested fabrics. Most knit pants can easily range from 28″-42″ depending on the kind of knit they’re drafted for.
Woven pants don’t have quite the range, since you take away the option of having negative ease and using stretch for the movement ease needed. But, A woven pant for a 40″ full hip can still range from about 42″ up to 46″ depending on the intended look of the design. We very often get the question if you can sew a knit pattern with a woven non stretch fabric. The answer is mostly no. Most knit patterns depend on the stretch of the fabric to give some, if not all, of that movement ease you HAVE to have for your body to comfortably move, bend, breathe, get the garment on and off, etc. If you would like to know how much wearing ease you need to get the slimmest possible woven garment there are ways to measure that. For your full hip you can place the measuring tape around your full hip-mine is about 40″. Keep the tape carefully in place, but loosen your grip at the front. Very slowly sit down, or bend/squat. You will notice that the tape will pull and need more room. This is called your “sitting spread”. Lovely name right 😉 , but it is how much you “spread” when you sit/squat. You need this much ease or extra fabric around your hip in any woven garment to be able to move comfortably. There are tighter dresses out there with less ease there, but you aren’t sitting cross legged on the floor in that tight woven pencil skirt. You probably aren’t even sitting comfortably in it. The hip is the easiest measurement to check your ease need. But, the same concept can be a check for bust, arms, thighs, etc. putting the tape measurer around and moving and breathing, letting the tape slide to the biggest range you use while moving. If you check this sitting/moving measurement against the finished measurements of the pattern you will know if you can use a non-stretch fabric and still move comfortably.
I did a quick video about measuring your needed “wearing ease” here:
A designer’s job is to choose how much ease they want for a certain intended fit and look. Lets take one of my patterns The Pumpkin Spice Dolman. It is a looser cut with a quite a lot of ease through the bust and about 0 ease at the full hip. I intended it to be a loose, slouchy fit and works best with fabric that has a soft drape. Some might find the design ease I added too much if they don’t like the loose, slouchy look. It doesn’t mean the pattern “runs big” since that is exactly the amount of ease intended for the look I was after. It just means you prefer a tighter fit that intended.
A slimmer cut shirt like the Slim Fit Raglan or Layer Me Up has negative ease at the best and less ease through the body. Again, this doesn’t mean the pattern “runs small” it is meant to be smaller and tighter as designed.
Lets take another pattern, this time a fitted one, the Peg Legs. The Pegs are a traditional tight fit legging with negative ease. The standard ease used in athletic wear is usually 20-30%. The Pegs are right in the middle through legs and up at the higher end at 30% at full hip and high hip. Since they do not have elastic I preferred the tighter end of normal to help them from inching down. We’ve seen them compared to others with less negative ease and neither are wrong, just a different preference on how fitted the designer had in mind.
Now lets talk about how you can use this knowledge to your advantage in sewing for yourself! Once you understand ease and fabric choices you can essentially make the perfect garment fit you every time before even cutting! WHAT? I know, amazing right? Now, this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something you will come to learn about your preferences over time and experimenting. But, the more you pay attention to both your fabric choices and the design ease the faster you will get there!
Take all the clothes you love and look at them, study them! For that matter take the ones that you think are a little tight or loose too. How much ease does it have to your body? On the bust, waist, hip? What fabric is it made out of (this doesn’t have to be exact, but “thin and drapey or thick and stable categories work well). Now you can apply this to your sewing choices. You will learn if you like a looser fit with those thinner drapey knits- or a tighter fit with those. Maybe you tend to always love thicker stable knits with you do have a more fitted garment. Whatever you find in your “research” try to apply that to your pattern, fabric, size choices. If you know you tend to like at least 2″ of ease at your waist you can know if you want to grade in or out at a waist on any t-shirt pattern. Maybe you only like knit pants with some negative ease on the booty… When you open up a new knit pant pattern you can pick your size off that finished measurement chart and know for certain you’ll like the fit on the booty. If you are just beginning it’s something you will want to make an effort to pay attention to. Eventually it will become second nature 🙂 You’ll be able to open up a new pattern and know just how to use it to create YOUR OWN intended fit if you happen to not love the designer’s intended fit.
Since we did the blog post about Knit Fabrics and included a printable cheat sheet for those diving into the world of garment sewing- we’ve been asked to do a Woven Apparel Fabrics one as well! As part of our Summer of Wovens I’d like to present
I worked hard on a Woven Fabric Cheat Sheet that you can download and look through when trying to pick the perfect fabric to pair with your woven patterns.
I also did a show and tell with the woven apparel fabrics I had in my stash in our Facebook Group. But you can watch it here as well:
I hope this helps you pick the perfect fabric for the P4P patterns drafted for woven fabrics!