How To Sewing Solutions
Can a pattern for knit be made in a woven if cut on the bias? Yes! The first thing you need to do is change the grainline. To prevent ripples on bias seams, add 1" to the cutting line on vertical and diagonal seams. If you want the bias garment to fit a bit looser, cut an extra 1" for fit insurance at the side seams. Baste the side seams at 2L": L" for the existing seam allowance, 1" for bias and 1" for fit insurance. Let out or take in to suit, sewing the seams with a narrow zigzag (1.0 mm wide, 2.0 mm long). This will allow the seams to relax as the fabric relaxes. Cut the seam allowance width down to 1". Press open the seams, slightly stretching the seam allowances vertically as you press. Forget letting the garment hang 24 hours before hemming. Then give the whole garment an overall press, stretching the fabric slightly vertically with the iron. This will relax the fabric so you can use a hem marker to get an even hem.
If bust darts are always too high for you, try this easy solution: Across the front bodice, draw a horizontal line across the pattern 1" down from the bottom of the armhole. Cut apart the pattern and lengthen the bodice the amount you want to lower the front dart. Draw a horizontal line on the same front, somewhere under the dart and above the waist. Shorten the pattern on the second line the same amount you lengthened above the dart. Now the length of the side seams match.
This is Only a Test
Before preshrinking any fabric with a metallic finish in the washing machine and dryer, cut a 4" square and toss it in with your next load of laundry. The metallic finish might wash off. You'll be glad you didn't throw the whole piece in. Dry-clean the completed garment to maintain the fabric's luster.
Handle With Care
Can silk doupioni or silk shantung be washed? Yes, but only by hand using my favorite detergent for silk, a tablespoon of shampoo. Rinse in cool water and air dry. That being said, washing silk makes the fabric become softer and lose body. If you want the fabric to maintain its crispness, dry cleaning is recommended. In this case, no preshrinking is needed.
Not all hem allowances are created equal. Not only does the garment style determine the width of the hem allowance, the fabric comes into the decision as well. Typically a hem allowance on a knit top or full knit skirt is H", but on a straight or A-line knit dress, a 1H" width is preferred to give the hem weight. A jacket hem can be 1G" to 1H" while a coat hem is 2H" wide to give it weight. A blouse hem often uses a double turn of G". A full skirt has a narrow H" hem to eliminate bulk while a straight skirt needs a 2" to 2H" hem to give weight. Trouser hems are typically 1G", while a fuller pant needs a H" hem to eliminate bulk. For jeans, a double turn of H" is sta...