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Sewn for pleasure

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I took a little break from developing our new patterns to sew something for myself and my little one. I have been rather emotional as of late as my son is rapidly approaching two (!!!) and his babyhood is well in truly over and he’s half way through his toddlerhood, which had left me fondly reflecting on the last two years and trying to absorb as much as possible of his cute little ways and his mixed up words before he turns into a proper little boy and all will be forgotten.

I was also rather saddened that I haven’t had the chance to sew him anything (anything!) and that, well it’s just not good enough for a sewist is it? I had hoped to have both of our (matching) shirts completed for our Mothers Day (Australian Mothers Day), but the best of intentions and planning is no match for sleepless nights and a teething toddler.

The pattern is the very popular Archer shirt, made in a size 2 with no alterations apart from a slight modification to create a concealed button stand. The fit was great, but I’ll definitely add a little more length through the hip next time. I would be tempted to try the next size up for a slightly more oversized look and as I used a lightweight fusing, I really think both under and top collars, and both collar stands  should have been fused. The collar looks a little floppy in these photos. I made our shirts in a really beautiful quality Oxford cotton shirting picked up for a bargain for $4 per meter, a surprising find from East Coast Fabrics making this shirt a very economical sew.

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For Oscars darling little shirt I drafted the pattern myself, as after a quick search on the internet for came up void. Although he’s nearly two, he’s on the petite side and wears a standard size 12months.

I found sewing little clothes is very satisfying. They come together really quick, use minimal fabric and the results are better than store-bought. Topstitching cuffs and collars require a bit of concentrating and practice getting your hand used to manipulating the smaller size, but after a bit of practice the topstitching turned out perfect.

I REALLY enjoyed sewing both of these garments. it was such a nice break to sew for leisure and pleasure rather than work, reminding me how fortunate we are to be able to sew our own clothes, the amazing patterns and community that is available and the pleasure a hand sewn garment gives. After this little recharge we’ll be back developing our new designs with new updates soon.

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New Journeys; behind the scenes of the last wee while.

Well hello there! It’s been a quite the few months since our last post and an even greater distance since we released a pattern – but we are still here. While we have not been actively blogging or contributing to the flourishing sewing community (hasn’t it taken off!) – we have been watching it from afar.  You see we’ve had a slight distraction these last few months, a much desired + longed for distraction, and one that hasn’t come easily or without challenge. He’s Pattern Runway’s littlest member, a VIP we call ‘The Poppit’.

Now 10 months into the journey of motherhood,  I have pondered this post and introduction to you many many times not knowing how to manage my time, energy and emotion, to get my thoughts into some sort of coherent ramble and offer an explanation over our unintentional and poorly communicated leave of absence. We are so so sorry it’s been so long and miss you all dearly. All that aside let me introduce you, born a few weeks early – our little darling (that’s almost a toddler, not a baby anymore!!!).

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You might have noticed our other child, the fur baby in the images above – Louie the cat. He’s NOT amused with the new addition and is rather jealous, demanding and just plain naughty. Stubbornly demanding that he’s (still) the baby of the family, (and therefore, the most important). Having grown up with furry friends, despite the rocky introduction, I’m hoping that these two will become the best of mates and share many an adventure together.

Regarding new patterns and blog posts, if I have learnt anything these last 10 months, that is to not make promises. Little people, while adorable fascinating things that you very much fall in love with over and over again have this uncanny way of changing and interrupting your plans. What works one day, one week, certainly does not guarantee that tomorrow or next week will be the same. Disappointingly, there are no new pattern updates or sewing projects to inspire you with, there’s nothing even in the works but we do hope to be writing again here soon. Our hands are restless and craving to create and our wardrobe is rather shabby and neglected, providing much needed motivation to get creating again.

So we’ll keep this post short and sweet, we just wanted to catch you up on where we are at and introduce you to the VIP.

Gosh its lovely to be writing again, and dreaming about sewing and making. I’m off to pour a glass of wine with Mr PR and celebrate that I got this post, out of my head, written and live. Until next time my friends, it’s been lovely.

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Simply Sewn: Bindings 3 ways…

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Necklines and armholes quite often are finished with a facing. While I do like facings and the clean finish that they create, sometimes its nice to not have all that extra fabric and instead use a binding to finish the edge. A bound neckline or armhole can give a clean and professional ‘ready to wear‘ look to your self made garment. It can be applied in a few different ways to give a different look and with this method its quick easy and fuss free. In industrial sewing, most bindings are applied with a special foot with folding attachment that uniformly turns and folds the binding as you sew. With this method though, no special feet are needed, all raw edges are neatly enclosed and it’s really quite easy.

I have 3 different methods to show you using a simple neckline to demonstrate;

  1. Bound neckline, (no visible binding)
  2. Bound neckline, (visible binding)
  3. Using binding as a design feature + style line.

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1 – Bound neckline with binding turned to the inside:
In this example no binding is visible from the right side of the garment. The binding is sewn to the neckline, turned and folded to the inside and secured. The binding provides strength to the seam as well as finishing it neatly. This finish is suitable for light to medium weight garments such as blouses, dresses and tops. I like this finish because you only see a row of topstitching from the front.

Heres how to make your bias binding:

TIP to SEW FASTER: Make binding patterns that you can keep on hand for other projects, rather than having to work out the width of the bias binding strip each time. When making binding, cut more than needed and keep them aside for other projects.

Our binding strips are 3cm wide for this example.They are a little wider than average because our binding gets folded in half (lengthwise) and the folded edge becomes the edge of the binding, enclosing all raw edges with no tricky folding and pressing.

We arrived at this measurement (3cm) using the following calculation:
Desired finished width of binding (7mm) + extra mm’s (to allow for the turn of cloth, (9mm)), add seam allowance (6mm)** and double this (9mm +6mm = 15mm) x 2 = 30mm or 3cm.

**When using binding as a finish, I like to follow industrial sewing standards and use a smaller seam allowance of 6mm / 1/4” rather than the tradition home sewing patterns of 5/8 “ or 1.5cm. By using the smaller seam allowance you can sew curves much more accurately and you won’t need to trim, grade or clip the seam allowances. You may have noticed that when you buy prefolded binding, the seam allowances are made at 6mm / 1/4” , this is because the are made to the industry standard.

Press binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

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Working from the rightside of the garment, sew binding to garment aligning the raw edges.
Turn binding out flat and press. Understitch binding ( what is understitching? click here )
Fold and press binding to the inside and Edgestitch binding in place, using the folded edge of the binding as a guide.

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2 – Visible Binding

Binding can also be folded to the front of the garment, and topstitched, totally enclosing the raw edge of the garment in the binding. The binding in this instance becomes more of a feature, and could be in a contrast colour or print.

Similar to the method above, we need to make an even wider binding piece, because in this instance the binding gets folded around both the rightside + wrongside of the seam we actually need to increase the width of the binding. The finished binding measurement gets multiplied by 4, add to this the doubled seam allowance. 40mm (10mm x 4) + 12mm ( 2 x 6mm) = 50mm or 5 cm.

The only other alteration is we don’t have a seam allowance at all on our garment seam, 0cm, nothing, cut it all away as the folded edge of the binding must sit on the seam line in order to keep the integrity of the style.

With the binding pressed in half as before, and this time working from the wrong side of our garment, stitch the binding and garment together using the 6mm seam allowance. I like to slighty stretch the binding around curves as I sew, to help it lie flat. Fold the binding up and over to the front of the garment with the folded edge covering our seam line. Press. Topstitch in place.

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3 – Binding as a design feature

Binding can also be used flat to edge a garment. Because the binding is cut on the bias the raw edges will not fray. This gives quite an interesting fashion look to say an singlet or camisole or even a t-shirt neckline and I have used it in past garments,  cut in a sheer chiffon on a silk singlet, it gives a lovely light contrast.

The binding width is flexible, determined on style but not wider that 1” , (+ 1 x seam allowance). As the raw edge becomes our garment edge, we need to deduct the binding measurement from the pattern seam line so that the style line of the garment remains the same.

Working from the wrong side of the garment, stitch binding to garment, aligning raw edges and stretching slightly around curves. Neaten the seams together and turn binding out with seams to the inside and press. I like to edgestitch the garment on the right side to keep the seam sitting flat.

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So next time you are finishing a neckline, maybe try a binding in one of the methods above and I’m sure you will love the results as much as I do!

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