Category Archives: Tutorials

How to sew an in-seam pocket – Dallia Dress

Continuing with my chosen theme of sewing with floral fabrics in March, I have selected this very crisp cotton print of florals on a black background.

Do you like to step outside your comfort zone with different fabric choices from time to time, to experiment with your style?

Dark florals are a print style that I have taken a while to warm to, however I can now declare quite confidently that I really do like them. It’s one of those strange facts about life that the more you look out for something, the more of it you see and I now see dark floral fabric on everything, everywhere I go, from clothing, including men’s shirts, to lunch boxes and home furnishings.

Dallia Shift Dress Side Pocket
Dallia Shift Dress Side Pocket

Dark floral dresses seem to have been hitting the worlds runway shows for a few seasons now and the designs have filtered down to the high street collections. As home sewers and dressmakers though we know we can make it better than the high street! Better quality fabric and a much better personal fit and usually for a better price too. That said, inspiration has to flow from a starting point. I have put a link to my pinterest board which contains a small collection of the big name designers, like Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Alexander Mcqueen and Michael Kors, who have all explored this idea of the dark floral in their various different ways.

Follow Sewing Avenue’s board Dark Floral Inspiration on Pinterest.

Pockets

When I was creating the pattern for my Dallia shift dress I wanted to make it a very wearable garment and nothing makes a piece of clothing more practical than the addition of useful pockets.

They give you somewhere to keep your tissue or your loose change. They can however have a down side when it comes to creating elegant lines on a dress, skirt or shirt. It is very tempting to fill your pockets with items which really pull the cloth out of shape.

There are many different types of pockets, the Patch, Welt, Kangaroo and In-seam Pocket, to name just a few, and each has its uses on different styles of clothing. I wanted to include pockets on my Dallia Dress which would give it a relaxed day wear look and be useful but not change the line of the body, so I have gone with the inseam pocket style here.

How to sew an in-seam pocket

 

This is a technique which uses a separate in-seam pocket piece. It gives you the option of having pockets on both sides of the dress, just one side or even leaving them out of the pattern all together.

In this project I am putting pockets in both side seams.

Dallia Shift Dress - In Seam Pocket Placement
Dallia Shift Dress – In Seam Pocket Placement

Start by marking the position of the pockets that you want, they are suggested on the pattern, however you can adjust the positioning so that it is perfect for you.
With right sides of the pocket and the dress fabric facing one another, pin pocket piece in place between your markings. Stitch along the seam allowance between your markings, leaving the 1.5cm/ ⅝ inch unstitched at each end of the pocket piece.

Repeat this for the other side.

Place the back and the front of the dress pieces right sides together with the pockets extended to the outside of the seam.

Dallia Shift Dress - In Seam Pocket Construction
Dallia Shift Dress – In Seam Pocket Construction

Pin the seam including the pocket pieces in place.

Stitch the side seam from the hem up to and then around the pocket pieces, reinforce at the pocket markings by sewing a few back- stitches, then continuing up to the under arm edge.

Press the pockets flat.

Under-stitch inside the pocket pieces ¼ inch/0.5 cm from the side seam to prevent them from rolling out.

Dallia Shift Dress Seam Pocket
Dallia Shift Dress Seam Pocket

Take a look at all the new patterns in my pattern store which updates regularly as new PDF downloadable patterns are added.

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Happy Sewing

How do I take my body measurements and why should I bother?

 

If you want to sew an item of clothing for yourself or someone else it is obvious that you will need the correct basic body measurements. You will need the measurements even before you purchase the pattern as commercial patterns don’t usually have all of the size options in one packet. They vary from one pattern company to another and even from one style to another. You probably won’t find a pattern with exactly the correct sizes for all of your body areas, so buy one which covers your sizes and be prepared to make some pattern alterations to it before you begin your sewing project. So knowing how do I take my body measurements is important in making a garment the right size.

When you are choosing which pattern to use it is worth remembering that not many items of clothing fit us as snugly as the set of measurements you will take. Most garments have shape and style which gives the body room to move about, so the set of size measurements for a size 10 for example, are not what the actual paper pattern or the finished garment will measure. You can also directly measure the paper pattern yourself to see how this compares to your size. Remember there will be a seam allowance on the pattern.

 

When you buy ready to wear clothing you will be used to seeing measurements for the bust, waist and hips, however to get a good fit on a garment which will be perfect and look exactly  how you want it to, there are other measurements you need to take as well. Considering some people, myself included here, choose to make their own clothes, or to have them made, is because ready to wear just does not fit them, this is important. RTW only cater for the average height and sizing, and people who are symmetrical. Most of us are not average but when we buy off the peg we have to make do with the best fit that we can find and it’s not always the correct fit.

 

 

So how do you take your measurements?

 

First of all you will need someone to help you. It is difficult to take accurate tape measure readings of your own body by yourself. So as well as a tape measure which is long enough to measure all of your body parts including your height, you will need a pen and paper to write it down. So dress in your regular fitting underwear and you are ready to begin.

 

Front Body Measurements
Front Body Measurements

 

Bust

Measure across the widest part of the bust,under the arms and across the widest part of the back with the arms hanging loosely by the sides of the body.

To measure your cup size, measure around the body just under the bust, take this measurement away from the first measurement and if the difference is one inch you are an A cup, two inches difference is a B cup, three is a C cup, four is a D cup and five will give you a DD cup.

 

Waist

Mark the waist by tying a string snugly around your middle. It will roll naturally to your waist. Take the measurement where the sting settles.

 

Hips

Keeping the tape measure parallel to the floor and level all of the way around, measure the fullest part of the hips which should be around eight inches below the waistline, depending on the individual.

 

Shoulder length

This is the distance from the base of the neck, shrug your shoulders to find this point at the neck, to the edge of the shoulder.

 

Apex of bust

The distance from the base of the neck to the point of the bust.

 

Back Body Measurements
Back Body Measurements

Back waist length

This is sometimes called nape to waist and is the distance from the prominent bone at the back of the neck to the waist.

 

Sleeve length

With your hand on your hip measure from the top of the shoulder to the wrist. Note this down as one total measurement and two separate measurements, top of shoulder to elbow and elbow to wrist.

 

Dress length

Measure from the base of the neck at the centre back to the desired hem length. The back of the knee is a good reference point if you are uncertain of desired finished length at this stage.

 

You will need the following measurements if you are making trousers/pants.

 

Seated Body Measurements
Seated Body Measurements

Crotch depth

Sit down on a firm chair with your feet flat on the floor and measure from the waist to the chair seat.

 

Side Body Measurements
Side Body Measurements

Crotch length

From the waist at your back under the body between your legs to the waist at your front. Also note down how this divides into two measurements, back waist to the centre point between the legs and the front waist to the centre point between the legs, This may not be an equal division of the overall measurement.

 

Inside leg

From the midpoint under the body to the finished hem length, if you don’t yet know this, measure to the ankle bone.

 

Outside leg

Measure from the waist, over the curve of the hip, down to the desired hem length or the ankle.

 

 

Now that you have all your measurements, keep them safe and check them every six months for any changes.

 

Happy sewing