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March 31, 2017

Dartmouth Sewalong Day 4: Side Seams and Hems

Today is the last day of the Dartmouth Top sewalong, and we’re almost done! We’ll start by sewing the side seams.

Pin the shirt together at the side seams, right sides together with the fronts on top to minimize any chance of missing a layer. Match the underarms and the notches.

Sew the side seam and sleeve seam in one go, starting at the hip, pivoting at the underarm, and ending at the end of the sleeve.

Press the seam allowance towards the back of the shirt and repeat with the second side.

The last step is to hem the shirt and the sleeves! Start by basting the two fronts together at the bottom edge. This is optional but makes hemming SO much easier, so I highly recommend it!

Next, press the bottom hem up by 1” and topstitch.

Repeat with both sleeves, hemming by 1”.

Give all the hems a good press and you’re done! We can’t wait to see what you’ve made. Share yours on social media using #DartmouthTop!


Cashmerette
March 27, 2017

Dartmouth Sewalong Day 3: Attaching Sleeves

Before attaching the sleeves, let’s baste together our shirt front to make it easier to manage.  For view A, place the front piece with the gathering on top of the other front piece, lining up the side notches with right sides facing up. Do the same for view B, but use the left hand front (as worn) as the top.

Baste the two fronts together at the side seams within the seam allowance using a zig zag stitch.

Now, let’s attach our sleeves. Place the sleeve on top of the body, right sides together and pin at the shoulder notch. Gently shape the armscye to match the shape of the sleeve cap and pin, matching notches.

Sew the sleeve in slowly, making sure there are no tucks or folds.

Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve and repeat with the second side. Next time we’ll be back to finish up our Dartmouth Tops!


Cashmerette
March 24, 2017

Dartmouth Sewalong Day 2: Fronts, Shoulders, and Neckband

Today we’re going to start the construction of our Dartmouth Tops! If you’re making view A with the Ruched Front start here, otherwise you can jump ahead to the Shoulder Seams section. Make sure you have all your pieces cut and prepped!

Creating the Ruched Front

Start by cutting two 4” pieces of elastic (not clear elastic.) Mark the elastic 1/2” from each end. This elastic is going to be creating the gathers so make sure it has a good amount of recovery when you stretch it out!

Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the outer front, matching the marks you drew with the elastic placement notches. The fabric will be bunched in between the pins.

On a regular sewing machine, sew the first 1/2” of elastic to the wrong side of the outer front within the seam allowance using a wide zigzag stitch. When you reach the first pin, keep the needle down and stretch the elastic until the fabric lays flat. Sew the elastic in this stretched position until the second notch. Stop stretching the elastic and sew the final 1/2” of elastic unstretched.

Repeat with the second side of the outer front.

Shoulder Seams

Pin both fronts to the back at the shoulders, right sides together. Place a piece of elastic along the stitching line and sew through all three layers. Press the seam allowance towards the back.

If, like me, your serger doesn’t much like trying to sew through elastic, cut your piece a bit longer and feed the elastic into the serger by itself until it has a few stitches in it and then add the shoulders underneath the elastic.

Sew Neckband

Fold the neckband in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and give a good press.

Matching the raw edges of the shirt with the raw edges of the neckband, pin the neckband all the way around the two fronts and the back, matching the notches.

Sew in place and press the seam allowance down towards the shirt. Optionally, you can topstitch to keep the seam allowance down. That’s it for today! Next time, we’ll baste the fronts together and attach our sleeves.


Cashmerette
March 20, 2017

Dartmouth Sewalong Day 1: Choosing your Size, Preparing Fabric and Pattern

Hi all! Carrie here! Welcome to our Dartmouth Top sewalong! Still looking for fabric? Make sure to check out our kits; these are some super soft and special jerseys that we found on our most recent fabric sourcing trip!

Cashmerette Dartmouth Top

Today we’re going choose our size, grade between sizes if necessary, and get our pattern and fabric all ready to go, so we can start sewing our Dartmouth Tops next time!

The first decision to make when sewing a Dartmouth Top is which size to choose. Thanks to the three cup sizes it’s more likely that you’ll fit in a “straight” Cashmerette Pattern than many other companies, but of course we all vary and chances are you may not be perfectly in one size. The good news is that sewing gives you tons of flexibility, and it’s easy to grade between sizes.

How to choose your size

There are two measurement charts: one is the Body Measurement chart, and the other is the Finished Garment chart. The Body Measurement chart helps you choose your size based on what numbers you get when you measure your body with a tape measure – it has numbers for your bust (around the fullest part), waist and hip. The Finished Garment chart shows you the size of the actual sewn garment – the difference between that and the Body Measurement chart is called “ease”, and it’s the amount of extra room in the garment that the designer recommends for the clothes to fit well and allow movement.

Generally, you want to start by comparing your measurement with the body measurement chart. However, if your measurements are between sizes you can take a look at the Finished Garment chart to see if you can fit in just one. The Dartmouth Top is designed with negative ease at the bust and a tiny bit of ease at both the waist and hips.

As with all Cashmerette Patterns, the best bet is to start with your bust measurement – you should use your full bust measurement, which is around the fullest part of your bust. Because of the cup sizing, you may find you could fit in two different bust sizes – in which case, you want to pick the overall size that’s closest to your waist size. So for instance, if your bust is 44″, you could theoretically be a 14 G/H or a 16 C/D. Which one should you pick? Take a look at the waist measurement – if yours is closer to 34″ (size 14), then go with the 14 G/H. If yours is closer to 36″ (size 16), then go with the 16 C/D.

Don’t fret if the cup size doesn’t match up with your bra size – there is so much variation in bra sizing that it’s not possible to perfectly line them up. Use your actual full bust measurement and you’ll be fine.

Grading Between Sizes

If your bust, waist, and hip measurements end up in many different sizes, you may want to grade between sizes. If you are making view A with the ruched front, you’ll want to keep in mind that your grading may affect how much fabric is gathered in the elastic section. If you’re grading out to a larger hip or waist, you’ll have more fabric gathered. If you’re grading to a smaller hip or waist, you’ll have less gathers. Make sure you still use the same elastic length so that the outer front side seams will line up with the inner front. For a run-down of how to grade between sizes on a knit, check out this tutorial here.

Preparing Pattern and Fabric

Now that we’ve chosen our size and graded if necessary, it’s time to prepare our pattern and fabric so that we’ll be all ready to sew next time!

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! This is especially important with knits. They can shrink an incredible amount!
  • Press your fabric so it’s nice and flat. Check to see if you get any iron shine when you press the right side. If so, you’ll want to use a press cloth when pressing between steps.
  • 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).
  • Cut all pieces, following the layout diagrams in the pattern.

Next time, we’ll get right into sewing!


Cashmerette

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