Thursday, 22 November 2012


So I said I was going to describe my trouser pocket and fly finishing ways and if I don’t do it another week will pass by and not only will it not happen, but the thought of how it is not happening will block anything else I might want to write about.  And we don’t want all this to be over before it even begins.  So let’s go.

This is not a tutorial, mind, the very name of which now gives connotations which I am loathe to connote.  I do not seek to teach, nor to parlay this into a multimedia sewing and crafting career.  Someone, after all must be a passive consumer, these things are all pyramid schemes.  No, I merely seek to document, as much for my own benefit as for anyone else.  I do everything from first principles every time.  If I don’t make notes I will reinvent this in a year’s time.  I may anyway. I also disclaim that this may have been done elsewhere – I just have no recollection of seeing it.

Front pocket bags that hang solely from side seam and waist band are a problem for me, because when I jam my hands in my pockets (as I will) the characteristics of fabric cause them to swing out to the side, pulling down the front and emphasising my belly. But clearly I have to have pockets or what would I do with my hands? (answer: wave them when I talk, but that’s another story).  The pockets really need to be anchored to one another at the centre, or to a middle seam, to stop the push of my hands.  That way when I jammed my hands into my pockets, I would be stretching the pocket fabric across my belly, squishing it back (possibly to form an extra hip, but who’s counting).  

I have been intermittently toying with ways to achieve this by anchoring the extended pocket “yoke” of many Burda trouser patterns into the centre seam.  But this has never been fully satisfactory because as drafted this pattern piece is too short in width to reach the centre, and too short in height to fully cover the centre fly.  And if the piece is cut in the main material, often too bulky when caught into the seam.   

Then there's the fly underlap.  You need it to avoid unpleasant zip incidents, but then it’s all so bitty on the inside, which really bothers me.  And then I know that the other side of the zip is covered in use, but just having it sewn to the fly and otherwise sitting out there bothers me too.

So my solution is to extend the pocket yoke to the centre where it will act as a fly facing, thereby killing two birds with the one stone.

shape of yoke piece  - fly extension on main fabric at right
 The pattern needs to be adapted to do this, so that it will extend sufficiently past the centre line to permit it to be incorporated into the fly in this manner.  It is also necessary to shape it slightly, as the front of trousers for women usually has some waist shaping built in – this can be expressed in the form of a dart or pleat, but often it is a dart which is incorporated into the pocket shaping, by pivoting the pocket opening (another reason why a pocket may gape).  For this system you need a broad yoke at the centre, and the solution is to create a shape which curves up then down again at the fly.  This allows the piece to spread at the bottom to incorporate your hips.   
pinning yoke to pocket lining

I sew the pocket lining to the trouser front, then stitch this layer to the yoke piece. 

LH yoke trimmed to zip, RH yoke forms fly underlap

 The fly can already be done, or done now (fold the yoke back so it doesn’t get caught) but not topstitched.  Then I smooth the yoke over the fly, fold it and catch it to the zip to form the fly underlap.  The other side I overlock (serge) at a point which will cover half the width of the zip tape on this side. Then I lay it flat and topstitch.

Effectively the yoke becomes the top front of the garment, with the pocket area as an overlay.  I used this to finish this pair of trousers (noting that in this case they had a calico yoke with a facing, and that I made half the underlap in a nice cheerful purple to be confusing) a few weeks back.  At the time I was going to add that the pity was I didn’t like them.  But time has eased the relationship, and I’m quite happy with them now.  Inside and out.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Having a Bunt

Yes, well, I bunted.

I've wanted to bunt for years, but never quite had the nervc (or the time or the binding foot).  So finally, I bunted.  And you know how some ideas seem like a really good idea at the time?  Like the first time you had control of making the cake and got to determine how much was left in the bowl for licking.  And thought - "hmm, I'll try 80% and see how that goes" But it didn't go so well?

I'm feeling a sugar rush and a little touch of toothache.

And note how there are four cornflower blue flags?  I did those last.  The other 18 I roll hemmed.  By flags 19-22 I just wanted to binder the thing.  Guess which ones went most easily through the binder foot?
  And sit most nicely?

So, the message to take onwards though life?  Don't bunt.  Just don't bunt.  But if you must bunt, then DON'T ROLL HEM THE EDGES!!!!!!.   Thank you.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Zipless Sewing

Something quick(ish) and dirty (well it will be soon) for a change....

New Umbrella Canopy!

The sun ate our old one, and I just couldn't bring myself to throw out a perfectly good frame and start again.  It seemed so wrong.  But where to find a new cover for a decade old umbrella?  Why stitch it, of course!

There is a lot of stitchin' in one of these suckers, I must say.  Eight flat felled panels and a little round hemmed hat on top.

It helped immensely that the colour was so cheerful.  I chose azure precisely for this reason - navy would have had me reaching for the gin and razor blades.  And the thought of having it next to the pink rhodedendrons was an extra incentive to complete all those metres of seaming.

Though I probably didn't do as much as I could have, as I suspect that the seams could be a little stronger.  But then I suspect that the fabric could be a little stronger too, so it will be a race to the bottom, between my dodgy construction, and the durability of (home dec, admittedly) cotton twill, as I have no idea where I can get hold of sunresistent fabric.  And then maybe if I do a hot pink one.... maybe that would get me through the next time.

All set for our barbeque on Saturday.  Though there are a lot of scraps......hmmmmm.......bunting?