TOP SEWING Tips
from Sandra Betzina
Long & Short of It
For trousers, the pant leg should fall to the floor at the back of the heel when you're standing without shoes. A narrower pant that's cut the same length will bunch up too much at the ankle. So for a shorter pant, hem the pants to just under the anklebone or 2" to 3" above the floor. A good length for a cropped pant is 7" to 9" above the floor; if you're petite, 5" to 6" inches above the floor is a more flattering length because it lengthens the leg.
Same Place, Same Time
When altering pattern pieces that join, make the alteration in the same place on each pattern piece. For example, if you're upsizing a detailed yoked skirt pattern for a total of 3": Split the skirt front between the darts and add I", and then split the front yoke in the same area and add I". Split the skirt back between the darts and add I", and then split the back yoke in the same area and add I". Downsize a skirt in the same manner.
If the altered curve on the yoke and the skirt upper edge causes a slight jog, smooth out the jogs. If you added to one side of a pattern piece, take out the same amount you added from the piece that joins it so the end result is the same as the original.
Extend the life of fusible notions, such as fusible tape, fusible web and fusible thread, by storing them in sealed plastic bags. Two-gallon plastic zip-top bags rate top marks for storing patterns.
You've Got a Friend
If you have a friend who sews, set up regular sewing times to get together and sew. You'll accomplish a lot more and get to know each other better. And two heads are better than one for solving sewing and/or fitting problems.
Every sewer needs a good needle stash to avoid puckered seams. Stock your stash with the following:
This is a Test
If most of your fitting problems occur in the tummy and high-hip areas, test skirt and pant patterns by cutting the upper 10" of the pattern from scrap fabric. Apply stabilizing tape (such as Stay-Tape) to the waist so it won't stretch during the fitting. Machine baste the pieces together. The gap at center front or center back indicates how much to add when cutting out the pattern from the fashion fabric.
Cut It Out
When cutting, use your left hand to hold the pattern and fabric flat against the cutting surface. Cut with your right hand using long smooth cuts; be careful not to lift the fabric off the cutting surface higher than the blade ...