The Sewing Place

Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats


Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« on: June 05, 2017, 21:05:41 PM »
I'll attempt to stop spamming the Japanese sewalong with my terror and keep it all contained here!

I'm doing two patterns from a Japanese pattern book I have. They all have handy pictures to follow and they all seem fairly easy fit wise (not really fitted) so I thought I'd have a go. My initial plan was one, but there are two patterns I liked, and there was indecision that turned into "why not do both?". So I decided to go crazy and do both. I have never sewn a dress before, nor have I sewn any clothing for yonks. I did knit a cable knit jumper for a 2 year old cousin 5 years ago though - that's helpful right?!

I have now traced and cut out both sets of pattern pieces. One has terrifying sleevies, and one has something called a yoke. It didn't look hard until I looked at the "instructions" and pictures.

I picked some nice Liberty cotton (on offer at sub £6 p/m - craft cotton so if it all goes wrong I'll quilt with it!) for the sleevies dress, and it has two patch pockets on - I'm uncertain about whether to try to pattern match as the fabric has a small repeated pattern, or whether to use a different fabric. It's got pleats in front, but these are super nicely marked out on the pattern and there are exact measurements on the little pictures. I'm rather worried about the sleeves...

The second pattern has shoulder strap things that looked simple until I looked at the little pictures. It also requires two fabrics. I initially wanted to go with cottons, though the pattern said to use rayon, but then I saw some nice "silky chiffon" and felt obliged to buy it. I've never bought chiffon, or sewn it, or cut it and the more I research it the more terrifying it seems to be and the more insane I feel! It also requires an invisible zip, however I've done loads of those on cushion covers, but it seems sewing one into chiffon might be problematic... I bought a cotton for the top bit with the shoulder straps and what I have now discovered (after reading the pattern pieces) is a yoke. I have been recommended French seams for the chiffon, which I feel confident about - it feels very P&Q-y.

So now I have my pattern pieces cut out I am waiting on my fabric, and I need to get my machine serviced asap (tomorrow I hope). I had a slight issue with adding a couple of seam allowances, and they all feel huge to this poor P&Q sewer.

I'm not sure whether to tack the pattern pieces together as a mock toile to see how the length and fit are? I haven't measured any of the pattern pieces - should I do that? What am I measuring? I have no idea how this all works, beyond being able to visualise the connections in my head.

If anyone can help with the whole crazy debacle please step forward! I have a feeling I may have bitten off far more than I can sew ;)

But at least I can always chop the fabric up and use it in a quilt if it all goes horribly wrong!


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 21:15:31 PM »
Chiffon is not the easiest fabric to work with, but once you get the hang of it, it's not that hard, either.
Sara Alm has a class on [u=]Sewing with Sheers [/u] that has some very helpful tips on cutting and sewing. If you want, I could make a short guide from her videos, but I really think it is helpful to watch what she's doing.
I suggest using a straight stitch plate as the zig-zag one kinda tends to eat up your fabric.
Also useful: starch spray. Just give everything a good spray, should be easier to handle after.
If you have a walking foot, use it, it will make things easier.
Other than that...don't get frustrated :D
This will be a bit challenging, but at the end you'll have learned a heap of new things :)
Good luck!
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 21:36:02 PM »
A straight stitch plate :S

This clothing making thing is a whole new world of sewing jargon!

I have a WF (of course! haha) so happy to use that.

I'm not entirely certain where all of my sewing things are though as they were "tidied" by someone other than myself. So finding all the required things may be tricky.

Am I good to go with pins? Or should I use needle, thread and tack it? The chiffon that is...

I don't have a craftsy membership unfortunately :(

Sudden thought - do I need pinking scissors? I only have my Janome standard machine so I know to zig zag near the edge of the fabric to help stop fraying...


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2017, 21:49:22 PM »
A straight stitch plate is a stitch that has only a tiny hole for the needle to go through, as opposed to the zigzag plate that has a much wider hole to accomodate the zig zag :D Don't worry if you don't have one. You can just cover the zigzag stitch with some tape that won't get the needle sticky and you're good to go.
On Craftsy you can buy individual classes. They usually have offers quite often - $14.99 or $19.99 for the class of your choice. I only buy when there's an offer :D
You can use pins, but be sure to use silk pins (they are thinner) and only pin in the seam allowance to avoid any holes.

Not sure you can zigzag near the edge, it really depends on the chiffon you have. Sometimes it frays really bad! But if you're going to make french seams, you could just use some fray check.
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2017, 22:05:40 PM »
Ok, I'll see if the sewing machine guy has a straight stitch plate when I take the machine tomorrow.

I was going to french seam the chiffon and maybe have a go with the cotton - french seams look nice from my googling :)

I don't think I have silk pins :s just quilting pins and some ancient mini pins that aren't very sharp anymore...haha there I was thinking how good my sewing collection was and how I had all the things I need to make a quilt, and now I am finding out I am missing vital pieces of equipment!

What about needles? I have my quilting needles, and my bog standards for sewing cotton...assuming I need are sharpy sharp one?

And how essential is seam binding or interfacing for chiffon for the bit of the zip that goes through it? Would a French seam on each hem be enough? This is stretching my love of invisible zips.

I think the fabric is arriving tomorrow or the day after so I'll know how bad it is then and probably come crying back about it all!

Oh, on the pockets and pleats dress there is a bust dart - I assume if I make that wider then it will make it more fitted around the bust? Or would it do something else entirely?

How do you nip things in at the waist/underbust? It's a little straight out from the shoulder, which I don't mind, but I'd like to try and make it a bit more fitted in that area so I'm not sompletely swamped. More curve in the seam so I lose fabric? Argh it's far too late and my sick bug is making my head very sluggish.


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 22:20:38 PM »
Don't forget for chiffon you will need to line it :)
Just test your usual pins and see if they leave a hole, they might be ok.
As for needles, universal 70/11 or Microtex 70/10 are both ok.
I have never sewn a zipper in chiffon, so I'm not sure what to tell you here. I would probably use some nylon stay tape, but I'm not sure it's the best choice.
The bust dart does make the garment more fitted around the bust. But if you increase the dart without actually increasing it on the pattern, your front and back side seams will no longer match :) But before you do increase it, make sure you actually need that (most patterns are drafted with a B cup, I assume this is valid for japanese patterns as well). If you do have a larger cup you could do a full bust adjustment, but that's a different can of worms :)
To make it a bit more fitted at the waist, just take in the side seam (not too much tho).
It's 12:20 here, imma go sleep because I feel like I'm not making any sense anymore  :D
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 22:46:03 PM »
If you are buying new pins make sure they are a good brand.  I bought some cheapies from China (only to make up the postage so nothing much lost) but they were so rough as to be unusable on any fabric!  I gave then to GD for a pins stick into foam art project.

Pins have (or should have) two sizes on the pack.  The first number will be somewhere between about 20-40.  That's the length in mm.  The second number will be somewhere between 0.45 = 0.75.  That's the diameter in mm.  Silk pins/wedding pins are likely to be 0.50.  For ordinary weight fabrics (quilting cotton etc) 0.60 is OK.

These would be good for fine fabrics.  These or these for general purpose.

:pin:    :pin:    :pin:    :pin:
Personally I prefer the berry head pins, so much easier to pick up, but that's personal preference.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2017, 03:16:16 AM »
Don't overthink this.  Don't worry about French seams unless your chiffon is a single layer.  If it's backed or lined, no need.  Pink raw edges for tidiness if you have pinking shears.

Generally, any seams enclosed in lining or facings don't get finished, so study your pattern for a bit to see what the instructions indicate.  They don't always/usually tell you when or if to finish seams, expecting you to see if they will be exposed or not!

I'm a fan of switching to hand sewing on any bits that cause grief on the machine, and have opted to sew chiffon entirely by hand on several occasions.  SOme are worse than others, the only way to know is to do some tests on scraps.  Fine needles, fine pins, use hairspray if you have no starch [saved my life on DDs chiffon bridesmaid dresses] and honestly, hand stitching zips is a ten minute job, no fuss.
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C'est moi!


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2017, 08:27:32 AM »
You'll be fine. Yes to what everyone else has said, and yes to tacking the bits together first to see how the fits works on you ( you could pin it all if you have a masochistic streak!)  Another vote for hairspray or starch to tame the chiffon. Press the chiffon under a cloth to avoid melting it!  Loving the yoked dress!
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2017, 11:26:33 AM »
 :S I wasn't going to line the chiffon which was going to be the bottom of the yoked dress (see I'm sounding like a pro garment sewer now! Yesterday I didn't even know what a yoke was!). And the plan was to wear it over jeans or leggings or something, depending on how see through it is. I wouldn't know where to start with a lining :S and aren't lining fabrics basically silk which is slippy too?! And then zip through lining and chiffon? P&Q is sooo much easier haha

I don't have hairspray or starch eek. I do have rotary cutter and big mat though for the P&Q fun stuff, so that should hold it firm?

That craftsy course is sadly not on sale at the moment and is many ££s :(

Here's hoping that the pockets and pleates dress is easy peasy, but I somehow doubt it!


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2017, 12:08:02 PM »
If you're not bothered by the sheerness and plan to wear it with pants anyway, lining is not a must. But depending on how sheer it is your bra will probably be visible (not saying it's a problem, it really depends on your prefference).
Lining doesn't have to be silk (although silk is nicer), it can also be polyester.
I'll try to post some tips from Sara's class (I got it on sale for 10$, no way I would have paid 60$ for it):

Make sure you pre-wash your fabric before using it. If you pre wash, stay stitch the cut edges (just a normal straight stitch, about 10-12mm from the edge), it will prevent them from unraveling too much while washing. Make sure you dry it in a way that doesn't distort the grainline too much (eg: don't put it on a wire diagonally).
Cut single fold, because it's very hard to align the grainline when you put it on the fold.

More to come later, as I have to watch more of the videos :D
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2017, 12:21:45 PM »
Thank you, hadn't thought of staystitching for washing! That could have been a big problem.

Hmm I'll just have to wear a nice bra (hah!) and hope no one notices. That's if it's wearable, and wearable outside the house! And hope it's not completely see through  :ninja:

60 does seem a lot, nice to know craftsy do heavily discount at times though.
There's a Suzy Furrer bodice sloper thing in the sale at £28 and I'm wondering if it's worth's cheaper than full price but still expensive!

Maybe it will end up as quilt scraps and I can try again in boring cotton haha. If only it was as easy as making a quilt!


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2017, 12:44:57 PM »
Suzy Furrer's class (all her classes actually) is SO worth it, I have learned so much. But if you can wait another week or so, I'm sure there will be an offer with 19.99 :D
You can sign-up for their newsletter and they will let you know when there's an offer.

Unravelling is not the biggest problem when it comes to chiffon. Is that the threads that unravel sometimes bunch into a knot and pull threads from the fabric. Now that's a problem.
Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2017, 20:24:28 PM »
Soooo the chiffon arrived...

I think I'll need a hand with this! Do I wash it first? And I'd need to straight stitch round it first? Big stitches? Does chiffon bleed?

And on a scale of chiffon see through ness, where am I standing?!

On a more fun note, I dutifully cofied aln the bits of the pattern including 'grain', now is grain the direction it stretches or doesn't stretch. And in regards to chiffon... ? I'm to used to bias and not bias!


Re: Insanity with Chiffon and Pockets and Pleats
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2017, 20:28:35 PM »
Grainline for cutting out purposes is parallel to selvages.  Stretch is no indicator as sometimes it goes one way, and sometimes t'other. 
C'est moi!