living handmade

Leave a comment

Jacked curves and cut down corners

When you make a jacket or something else with a lining, that you need to turn around, it’s important to do some inside work. To avoid that the seam allowance “bulks” inside on a convex curve, see top picture, you need to take away some excess fabric. This is achieved by cutting out small triangles on the curved area very close to the seam, but don’t cut off the seam!
And the opposite if the seam allowance “pulls”on a concave curve (i.e.. there is not enough fabric). You need to cut small jacks to give the fabric a better chance to “move” and stretch.
In pointy corners you can cut away the seam allowance to a point, leaving maybe 2-3 mm (second picture).
Hope this was helpful 🙂 As usual, if I forgot something or if you have questions, just drop a comment below. I’m planning to make all of you happy clothes-makers!

Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

How to make “French Seams” (pretty inside seams)


This is a little sewing tutorial on how to make a beautiful “French Seam”. This can be used instead of amateur looking zig-zag on a garment in woven fabric. It takes a little longer to make, but the result is spectacular and looks very haute couture! Let’s start 🙂

Haute Couture French Seams

1. When cutting out your pattern pieces, always add 1,5 cm in seam allowing.

2. Let’s say you’re making a skirt. Normally you would put, let’s say, the side seam, right side to right side. When you make a French Seam, you put the wrong side to wrong side instead, so that your right side will be the side you see. It will look, at first, as if your finished garment will have the seam on the outside. Which is true, up until this point 🙂

3. So, stitch with a straight seam, 0.75 cm from the edge of the fabric (normally the edge of the presser foot of the sewing machine.

4. Cut away the un-even edge, leaving about 4 mm “clean cut” edge, along the seam. The reason you don’t stitch 4 mm in from the beginning is that fabric naturally moves and might distort the seam a little. It’s prettier to do it like this, and with a little practice you’ll do it faster than one-two-three!

5. Next step is to iron the seam open or flat together to one side if the edges are too sensitive. YOu are still working on your “right side”, the outside of your skirt.

6. Turn the skirt inside out, so that you are now working on the inside (the wrong side). This is where your French seam will be. Iron your seam flat and pretty, edge to edge, so that the seam it self is really on the edge.

7. Now, sew along the freshly ironed edge, presser foot against edge, about 0.75 cm. Make sure that your raw edge (the one on the inside now) is covered by the final seam. If not, you will find yourself with ugly small threads on the outside of your skirt, very hard to cut or trim away. It’s better with a wider seam if you are not sure 0.75 cm will cover the raw edge. 


8. Once you are finished with your final seam, move your skirt back to the iron and iron flat against one side, making sure it’s smooth and nice on the outside (the right side). Voila, your finished seam of the inside of your skirt. Very, very pretty and very professional!


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Leave a comment

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!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –