living handmade

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What is the grain line?

The grain line is the direction that the woven threads run. The most simple weaved fabrics are made of horizontal and vertical threads.
The threads that run end to end are the lengthwise grain. The threads that run from selvage to selvage are the crosswise grain line. The selvage is the firm edge that run along the length of the fabric and follows the fabric roll. 
There is also the true bias grain. It runs at a 45 degree angle to the lengthwise and crosswise grains.
It’s very important to understand the grain line when you sew. All pieces has to follow the same grain line, see the cutting lay out for pants above. The garment will look very funny if the grain line has been ignored 😉
The true bias is slightly stretchy as it runs diagonally between the threads. Dresses on the true bias grain was very popular in the 30’s and as they were stretchy, the dresses could be pulled over the head without using zippers.


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Making the Burning Burta Maxi dress

This is how I make my favourite dress, the Burning Burta maxi dress. I looooove this dress, each piece is made to order and measure made, so there is always a new challenge for every dress I make. The cutting out takes a long time on my knees!! (my cutting table is not big enough), but the dress is quick to put together, using French Seams and Haute Couture hemming, see the sewing tutorials above. This particular dress is for a raori girl in Australia. I cut the lining and the main fabric at the same time as the pattern pieces are the same size, saving me also a lot of time. I always add the seam allowing onto my pattern pieces, it’s so much easier to add patterns notches as well (markings to match up when you sew). I never use pins for straight lines, I just make sure the markings add up. Oh, normally I iron the fabric before I start as well 😉
If you want to check out this dress in my shop, click here.

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Prettiest hem for silk and chiffon

This is a little sewing tutorial on how to make a beautiful “mini hem” on a thin chiffon skirt, wedding dress or anything else in a thin woven fabric. This hem works particularly pretty on “curved” endings, like a circular skirt. This hem is so small and makes pretty waves at the bottom of your garment, the smaller the seam is, the “wavier” it gets. Haute couture and high class sewing, but oh! so easy once you’ve gotten the hang of it 😉 It’s quite similar to making a “French Seam” actually, the same principles. Here we go!

Haute Couture Mini hem

1. This seam will need about 1,5 cm seam allowing, so go ahead and add that for the hem.

2. Stitch on your machine, about 0.75 cm from the edge of your fabric. Or presser foot wide. Stay straight, if the fabric edge makes an ugly curve, don’t follow it! Stay straight and nice and sew a straight seam all along the edge of the fabric.

3. Cut away the excess fabric along the edge with very sharp scissors, leaving about 2-3 mm of a clean cut edge. 

(The reason you don’t stitch this close to the edge from the start is that the machine thread and needle are pretty thick, compared to the fine threads in your fabric, and the fabric will rather pull away its threads where the machine needle hits, and you will end up sewing in thin air with the loose fine threads of the fabric hanging in the air together with the seam 🙂

4. Once you’re done cutting away all the excess fabric, fold the edge carefully back and iron flat so that the seam will stay about 1-2 mm from the edge.

5. Stitch down ON the previous seam, making a seam 1-2 mm from the edge. 

6. Iron back the seam one last time, so that the seam is now 3-4 mm from the edge.

7. Finally, stitch on the previous seam. Make sure you really stitch ON the old seam, otherwise you will have two parallel seams close together, not very professional 😉

 8. Iron flat and the seam will look something like this! Finished!
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