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Simply Sewn: Under-Stitching


If you are wanting to create a professional ‘ready to wear’ look to your self-made clothing, you’ll be wanting to familiarise yourself with the term and technique of UNDER-STITCHING. Ever had a facing or pocket lining refuse to stay hidden and pop out for attention? Most likely its because it hasn’t been under-stitched.

When I was learning to sew, the pattern instructions would often instruct me to ‘under-stitch‘ things like pocket facings, inside waistband facings etc, but in my impatience and and eagerness to wear my new garment, this was a step that I skipped over as I really didn’t understand what understitching was and why it was necessary. Over the years as my sewing skills increased, so did my desire for SEWING PERFECTION. Once I learn’t the what and how, I was impressed, it gave such tailored and professional finish with a crisp sharp edge and a perfectly turned facing that stays put!

While this might not be news or ‘new’ to some of you I thought that I’d do a little tutorial for those that are new to sewing and get everyone on the same page so we can all enjoy facings and linings that play nice and remain hidden. HERES HOW:

THE DETAILS: WHERE IS IT USED? Under-stitching is always used on the inside of the garment on any facing; i.e. neckline, armhole, inside pockets and shaped waistbands and also on bindings. It is a row of stitching, sewn from the right side of the garment, close to the seamline and through all the seam allowances forcing the seam to roll inside the garment to prevent the facing or pocket lining rolling outwards and being visible from the front of the garment.

HOW TO: Stitch the seam, the seam allowances are then graded ( if needed ) to 6mm, (1/4″), clipped or notched ( if needed ), then pressed to the side where the UNDER-STITCHING will be placed, i.e. pressed into the facing. I’m using a curved pocket piece to illustrate this technique.

**I like to use a smaller seam allowance, 6mm (1/4″) on seams that are curved such as pockets, collars, necklines etc. Because of the small allowance, I very rarely ( if at all) need to trim, grade, notch or clip the allowance as it turns very easily. This makes for quicker sewing!


Working from the right side of the garment, stitch through the facing and all seam allowances, staying close to the seamline.


Turn facing to the inside of the garment and press. If you look closely you will be able to see that the seam has rolled to the inside and about
1-2mm of the outside (shell) fabric is visible from the wrong side, which is perfect!

When making this tutorial I didn’t realise that black spotted linings don’t make for very good photos! Sorry for causing any eyestrain! Seeing spots anyone?





Inspire: Every Day White Lace


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I’m currently loving these stylish ladies in white.  Traditionally thought of  as a fabric for the more formal attire, but worn casually, mixed with denim or converse sneakers, I’m loving a little white lace for everyday and what is forecast to be a very HOT summer here, down under in  Australia.

Made into a slightly oversized T-shirt (worn with shorts), cute blouse with collar, a simple shift dress or gathered skirt, (You could try our free one) It has definitely caught my eye and something I’m looking to sew.


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Now to find the perfect fabric. Any suggestions friends? Has any one else been sewing with lace?



How To Alter the Height of the Dropped Waist Dress:


With this Dress (or any drop waisted dress) PROPORTION is really important to making the dress work. Depending on your height and body length you may need to shorten (or lengthen) the bodice of dress to change the height of the dropped waist. Heres how:


* Front Bodice
* Back Bodice
* Placket
* Front Binding

The best place to alter the length of the bodice for this style is between the WAIST and the HIP. Our dropped waistline falls right on the hip line at about 18.2 cm below the natural waist for the size 36 (subsequent sizes increase by 0.3cm).

Working with the front and back bodice of the Dropped Waist dress: Draw a line 90º to the grainline, 1/2 way between the waist seam and the center of the contour dart – the centre of the dart is the widest part that should measure 3cm between the dart points. This is also where the waistline is.


Cut the pattern a part on this line.

To Shorten: Overlapp the pattern pieces by the amount needed to shorten and tape in place, making sure to use the same measurement for the front and the back bodice. Blend side seams and cut off excess. Redraw dart legs. Shorten the front binding and placket by the same measurement.


To Lengthen: Place a piece of paper underneath the top of the bodice section. Measure on the paper the extra amount needed to lengthen and draw a line. Extend the grainline on to the paper. Place the lower section of the bodice onto the paper at the line drawn and match grainlines. Tape in place. Draw in new side seam and dart legs. Lengthen the front binding and placket by the same measurement.

True your pattern: This is where you take your pattern pieces and align them up in the way that they are to be sewn to make sure the pattern fits together accurately. I.e. place the front bodice on to the back bodice aligning the side seams and “walk” the side seam. Be sure to check that the PLACKET and FRONT BINDING also fits together well with the Front Bodice.

You may still need to adjust the Skirt length to get it 100% but thats an easy one to change by changing the hem allowance. With any pattern changes we recommend making a toile in a cheaper fabric to check the fit before constructing in your chosen fabric. I hope this little tutorial helps to customise the fit and get a perfect fit for you.