August 26, 2016

Springfield Sewalong Day 5: Hemming


Today’s the final day of the Springfield Sewalong! And it’s a simple one: hemming.

  1. Fold up hem by 1/4″ (6mm) to the wrong side, press. Then fold up by another 1/4″ (6mm) and press again.




2. Sew along the edge of the hem, and press.


3. Repeat with the other side of the hem.

And that’s it! Enjoy your Springfield Top and maybe you’ll be inspired to make even more!

August 24, 2016

Springfield Sewalong Day 4: Finish armholes and neckline with bias facings


Today, we’re sewing a clean finish for the armholes and neckline using bias facings, which gives a really nice professional finish. You have two options for bias. First, you can make the bias facing from your main fabric, using the pattern pieces included in the pattern, which is generally the best option for light and midweight fabric as it will have a similar drape and look. If you’re using a heavier fabric however, you should make the facings from a lighter weight fabric (like cotton voile or rayon) to achieve the curve we need. Remember to cut the strips on the bias! That’s at a 45 degree angle to the selvage. The second option is to use pre-made bought bias binding you can get in stores – this is certainly quicker and easier, and it’ll be perfectly even. The downside is that it’s usually a little stiffer than self-made binding and can look a little more home-made.

Ok, on to the sewing! I’m going to demonstrate on one armhole, but it’s exactly the same process on both sides and for the neckline.

  1. Fold your armhole facing strip in half, wrong sides together, and press.


2. Pin the bias facing to the armhole, with the raw open edges of the facing lined up with the edge of the armhole. Leave a gap of about 2 inches at the armhole.


3. Sew the facing to the armhole at a 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance, leaving the 2 inch gap at the underarm.


4. Pinch the two ends of the facing so that they meet at the gap at the underarm. Use a pin to mark the point where they’ll need to be attached.



5. Sew the ends of the facing together at the pin.


6. Trim the ends, and press open.


7. Sew the remaining facing to the underam at the gap.


8. Trim the seam allowance to 1/8″ (3mm), then press the facing away from the armhole, so the seam allowance is underneath the facing.


9. Understitch the facing to the seam allowance underneath, very close to the edge of the facing.


10. Flip the facing to the wrong side of the top, rolling it slightly to the inside so that it’s not visible at all on the outside. Press over a ham, making sure the facing is curving around the armhole smoothly, and pin.


11. Edge stitch the inner edge of the facing, and press.


And that’s it! A simple and elegant finish. Continue with the same technique for the second armhole and neckline (with the gap at the center back).


Nearly there! Just one more step and our Springfield Tops will be complete.

August 22, 2016

How to sew a side seam with French seams and slits

I love using French seams, but they present a little bit of a challenge if there’s something else on that seam like a zipper, or  side seam slits, like on the Springfield Top. Here’s how I approach it – if you know any other techniques, let me know!

  1. Pin the front and back together at the side seams, WRONG SIDES together. Use chalk or a different pin colour to mark where the side slit starts.

Side seam with French seams and slits

2. Sew down the side seam to the slit marking, at a 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance. Stop and backstitch at the slit marking. Trim the seam allowance that you’ve sewn (but NOT the slit part) down to 1/8″ (3mm).

Side seam with French seams and slits

3. Press the seam, then fold the side seam RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, sandwiching the seam allowance inside the two pieces of fabric. Pin, again marking the height of the side slit.

Side seam with French seams and slits

4. Sew down the side seam again, at a 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance, stopping and back stitching again at the top of the slit.

Side seam with French seams and slits

5. Very carefully, use scissors to snip into the seam allowance at the top of the side seam, right up to, but not through, the stitching. This “releases” the fabric from the French seam.

Side seam with French seams and slits

6. Press French seam to once side.

Side seam with French seams and slits

7. Finish slit by turning the raw edge to the wrong side by 1/4″ (6mm) and pressing, then repeating another 1/4″ (6mm) and pressing. Do this on both sides.

Side seam with French seams and slits

8. From the right side, sew up one side of the slit, across the top, catching the bottom of the French seam to secure it, and then down the other side. You may find using lots of pins or Wonder tape will help everything stay where it’s meant to be! You can also sew from the wrong side to make it a little easier (just make sure you have the right bobbin colour in your machine).

Side seam with French seams and slits

And there you have it! You’ve sewn a side seam with French seams and slits.

Side seam with French seams and slits

August 19, 2016

Springfield Sewalong Day 3: Sew shoulders and side seams


Today, our top is going to start looking like an actual top! We’ll be tackling the shoulder seams, side seams, and finishing the side seam slits. If you’re using French seams, there will be a post coming up next about how to handle the slits in that situation.

Sew shoulder seams

  1. Pin front to back at the shoulders, right sides together. Sew, finish seam, and press towards the back.


Sew side seams

  1. Pin side seams together, right sides together.


2. Sew down side seam, finish seam, and press towards back. PLEASE NOTE! In this version, I decided not to make the side seam slits (they’re optional!). If you are making the slits, finish your seam at the side seam marking for the top of the slit.


Finish side seam slits

  1. Press the raw edge on one side of the slit to the wrong side by 1/4″ (6mm), press. Fold over another 1/4″ (6mm), press again. Pin in place from the right side.



2. Sew up one side of the slit, over the top, and down the other side. You’ll get the neatest result if you sew this from the right side, but if that’s a little too fiddly don’t worry, you’ll be fine doing it from the wrong side! (just make sure you have the right thread in your bobbin).


3. Press, then repeat for the second side.

That’s it! Any questions for today?

August 17, 2016

Springfield Sewalong Day 2: Sew back


Welcome back to the Springfield Top sewalong! Today we’re going to be sewing the back. View A and View B have differently constructed backs, so we’ll deal with them separately.

Sew View A back

  1. Pin back hem band to back, right sides together. Sew, finish seam, and press seam down (in this case, French seams were used – here’s a tutorial on how to do them!).


2. Pin yoke to back right sides together, then sew, finish seam, and press seam down. For a bit of fun, I cut the yoke on the bias! You can experiment with contrast fabric, or playing with the pattern direction.


Sew View B back

  1. Pin center back to one side back, right sides together. Make sure the center piece is the right way up – the wider end should be at the top.



2. Sew seam, finish, and press towards center.



3. Repeat with second side back.


4. Pin yoke to top of constructed back, right sides together.


5. Sew, finish seam, and press down.



And there we have it! Any questions on this step? Next, we’ll be sewing the shoulders and side seams.

August 15, 2016

Springfield Sewalong Day 1: Prepare fabric & pattern, and sew bust darts


Hi everyone! Now that we’ve learned how to choose our size, grade between sizes, adjust bust darts and use French seams, it’s time to start making our Springfield Top.

Prepare fabric and pattern

First up, we have to get our materials ready. Here’s your checklist:

  • Wash and dry your fabric, to make sure it’s pre-shrunk and you’re not going to get any nasty surprises later!
  • Press your fabric so it’s nice and flat.
  • If you’re using a printed pattern, either cut or trace off your pattern pieces – if you’re making adjustments or are going to make any tops in other sizes in the future, I definitely recommend tracing.
  • If you’re using a PDF pattern, you’ll need to print and assemble it. Here are some pointers to help you.
  • Transfer all the markings to the fabric. For the notches, make a little snip into the fabric, within the seam allowance (so no more than 1/4″/6mm). For the dart markings, you can use a tracing wheel and transfer paper, or use a pin to mark the end of the darts and then join up the line between the notches and pin with a chalk liner.
  • Stay-stitch the neckline on the front and back pieces, starting at the shoulder and sewing to the center (front or back). Then, do the same from the other shoulder, ending in the middle. This should be a short stitch length, and beat a 1/4″ / 6mm seam allowance.

View A: Sew front hem band to front

For view A with the hem band, the first step is to sew the hem band to the front. This step is covered in the French Seams tutorial here. If you’re not using French seams, then pin the hem band to the front piece right sides together. Then sew at a 1/2″ /12mm seam allowance, finish the seam allowance, and press down.


Sew bust darts (all views)

  1. Pin bust dart on the wrong side of the fabric, matching up the two marked lines that form the dart. I like to use a few pins along the marked dart (check on the other side that they’re lining up perfectly), and then one at a right angle, to mark the end of the dart.


2. Sew the dart, starting at the side seam (wide end of the dart) and ending at the apex. When you get to the apex there are a few different techniques for avoiding bubbling (you definitely don’t want to backstitch) – the most common is to sew a few stitches at the end almost parallel along the fabric edge, and then sew off the edge of the fabric and hand-tie the threads. Alternatively, you can sew off the edge, move the fabric back half an inch and sew a few stitches into the dart bulk to secure.

Press the dart flat over a ham or a rolled up towel, from both sides.


3. Press the dart up, over a ham. We’re pressing it up because that’s better for larger busts – we tend to have more volume at the bottom of our busts rather than the top, so it helps round things out a tiny bit.


4. Now press from the right side, avoiding pressing the very end of the dart.


5. Repeat with the second side.


Darts, done! Come back on 17 August and we’ll be tackling the back.

Do you have any questions on sewing bust darts?

August 11, 2016

How to sew French seams on the Springfield Top


A great way to instantly elevate your Springfield Top is to use French seams, which are a remarkably easy, but super professional, way to finish all the inside seams of your garment so that they are fully enclosed. Even if you’re a beginner, French seams are totally do-able! And they’re a great neat finish if you don’t have a serger.

This tutorial will take you through how to do French seams to attach the hem band of View A of the Springfield Top, but the same principle applies to all the other seams (with the exception of the bust darts and hem). During the sewalong, the gingham top has been finished with French seams, and the chambray top has been finished using a serger.  French seams are great for lightweight fabrics like silk, voile or lawn, but heavier fabrics are too bulky for this technique.

So here are the pieces we’re going to be French seaming: the Springfield Top View A front, and the View A hem band.

How to sew French seams

  1. Pin the hem band to the bottom of the front with WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. Yes, you read that right! Almost all sewing has you sewing right sides together, but for French seams, the first step is to do the opposite, and put the wrong sides (inside of the garment) together. This is the step it’s most easy to do wrong, so pay attention here.

How to sew French seams

2. Sew the seam at a 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance (which is half the pattern’s 1/2″ (12mm) seam allowance).

How to sew French seams

How to sew French seams

3. Now, trim the seam allowance in half, to around 1/8″ (3mm), using scissors or a rotary cutter and ruler. Make sure you don’t cut into the stitching line.

How to sew French seams

How to sew French seams

4. Now, press the seam allowance flat to one side – here I pressed it up, but the direction doesn’t matter.

How to sew French seams

How to sew French seams

5. Flip the hem band over the seam allowance so the pieces are right sides together and the seam allowance is enclosed inside,  and press again.

How to sew French seams

How to sew French seams

6. Sew the edge at 1/4″ (6mm) again, catching the raw seam allowance inside the seam.

How to sew French seams

How to sew French seams

7. And you’re done! Press the seam down towards the hem.
How to sew French seams

How to sew French seams

It’s a few extra steps than a regular seam, but it’s totally worth the hassle for a beautiful enclosed seam that feels great and washes beautifully.

Here’s a crib list for every French seam you do:

  1. Sew WRONG SIDES TOGETHER at half the pattern’s seam allowance (for Cashmerette Patterns, that’s 1/4″/6mm).
  2. Trim the seam allowance in half.
  3. Press the seam allowance to one side, then flip pattern pieces right side together, with seam allowance enclosed inside.
  4. Sew RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER at half the pattern’s seam allowance.
  5. Press.

Let me know if you have any questions! For the Springfield Top, you can use French seams for the hem bands, back seams, shoulder seams and side seams.


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