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Thread: Could use some sewing advice

  1. #1
    Senior Member Radiana's Avatar
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    Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to make a blouse for myself. I have no pattern but will be using an old blouse to use as a pattern. The last time I sewed a piece of clothing for myself was 30 years ago when I was pregnant with my youngest son. I made a couple of maternity smocks.

    The blouse I'm using as a pattern has only two parts the front and back and the fabric is somewhat stretchy. When you lay it flat it looks like a T so the sleeves are not set in to armholes. I'm using regular cotton fabric. I know so little about sewing clothes but the simplicity of this blouse makes me think I can do it.

    So now to the question............Do Ii want to cut this blouse out on the grain or do I want to cut on the bias. If I want to cut on the bias how do I do that exactly.

    I appreciate any suggestions, I would love to be able to wear this on Easter.

  2. #2
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    I by no means am an expert, but I believe that if you are using a woven you should cut the fabric on grain.

    Lightweight jersey is often cut on the bias particularly when making a Diane Von Furstenberg type wrap dress. I makes the fabric drape into nice folds. But in my experience, when I have mistakenly cut woven fabric a bit off grain, it would not drape correctly and would twist and pull.
    Don't start cutting quite yet. Wait for some of the more experienced garment sewers to weigh in on this question. You are sure to get the right advice.

  3. #3
    Super Member bluteddi's Avatar
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    if the blouse u r using for a pattern is stretchy, im not sure using a non stretchy fabric will work... unless the pattern blouse is over sz'd.....

  4. #4
    Super Member JanetM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluteddi
    if the blouse u r using for a pattern is stretchy, im not sure using a non stretchy fabric will work... unless the pattern blouse is over sz'd.....
    Yes, Blueteddi is right. I missed that part. The blouse you are using as a pattern fits because it has that stretch or ease. If you duplicate it in a woven, chances are the new blouse will be too snug. I do not know how you could alter it to make it work.
    Are you anywhere near a JoAnn's? If so, you might want to look at the patterns. There are many that are "quick and easy". That, or you might want to find a knit fabric with the same amount of stretch of the blouse you plan to use as a pattern.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Radiana's Avatar
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    I see what you're saying. I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and use a regular pattern. I have one I bought a while back. Putting in the sleeves scare me a little but I think if I take my time with it they'll turn out o.k.

    Thanks ladies.

  6. #6
    Super Member Quilter7x's Avatar
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    Don't forget to use 5/8" seam allowance as opposed to 1/4" we use for quilting!

    I have made clothes before and it's always been recommended not to use something ready made to make a pattern from it. Patterns go on sale at JoAnn's all the time and I think it would be a good idea to use a pattern, especially if you haven't made clothes in a long time.

  7. #7
    Super Member cctx.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilter7x
    Don't forget to use 5/8" seam allowance as opposed to 1/4" we use for quilting!

    I have made clothes before and it's always been recommended not to use something ready made to make a pattern from it. Patterns go on sale at JoAnn's all the time and I think it would be a good idea to use a pattern, especially if you haven't made clothes in a long time.
    I have made duplicate Jersey blouses for a customer using an old blouse that she provided for me. It was hectic taking that old blouse apart because of the serging seams sewn on it. After I took that old blouse apart (and it was about 20 something years old ~the blouse) I then used tailors chalk to trace out the pattern sleeves, the front, back, and the front yoke.
    She wanted Jersey, and instead of the jersey she bought me some cheap polyester from Joann's, I had to go out and look for some good Jersey at Han cocks and Hobby Lobby to complete her blouse.

    The fabric she brought was made into a practice blouse, plus I already had some pretty Jersey knit which I also improvised to amend for her cheap fabric.

    So after all this has been said and done, she had (3) blouses made; (1) using her cheap fabric, (2) my Jersey print, and (3) the fabric that I had to purchase to make the color she wanted. For all this trouble, she was satisfied with the look, style, and fit of all three blouses and the replicated style; she gladly paid me $40.00 and requested another Jersey blouse in Eggplant.

    If possible, take photo shots of the blouse you're taking apart so you know exactly where the parts are supposed to fit back. Like puzzle pieces. This helps tremendously when you take photos before and after and this is what I usually do.
    Just wanted to share this experience.

  8. #8
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Since I don't see it mentioned, I'll add that it's important to use the grain lines as they were in the original. You should be able to see if the fabric was cut on bias or not. Patterns we buy have arrows to indicate how pieces are to be placed on the grain, and I would do the same - find the grain and use a ruler to mark it on your pattern, which you should make out of non-woven interfacing (so it will hold up and be worth your effort). I would also use the same type of fabric, whether knit or not, and if knit, one with a similar amount of stretch.

    Also, unless there is something unusual about the piece, such as a folded in facing, there is no need to pull the stitches of the item you are trying to duplicate (unless you plan to sew it back together!). Just cut as close to the edges of each section as possible and add the 1/2" seam allowance to your pattern. That should be much easier.

    Set in sleeves are much easier to sew if you sew the shoulder seam of the garment, then sew on the sleeve without sewing the sleeve seam, and finally sew the side seams from the bottom edge all the way to the end of the sleeve. A lot of patterns have you actually set in the sleeve after the side seams are sewn, and that's for the birds!

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose_P
    Set in sleeves are much easier to sew if you sew the shoulder seam of the garment, then sew on the sleeve without sewing the sleeve seam, and finally sew the side seams from the bottom edge all the way to the end of the sleeve. A lot of patterns have you actually set in the sleeve after the side seams are sewn, and that's for the birds!

    Good luck!
    This is very true. Put the sleeve in and then sew one long up the side and down the sleeve. Much easier. Most quick and easy patterns instruct you to do it this way.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Radiana's Avatar
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    Thank you so much ladies, you've all been very helpful.

  11. #11
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    If the uper part of the sleeve is a little larger and notches don't match, just take a basting stitch around from one notch to the other and that will help you ease in the sleeve. Good luck.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Feather3's Avatar
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    I make allot of my own clothing from RTW, including jeans, knit cami tops, etc. Most items, except jeans, I just turn inside out, trace around it on freezer paper. Then add seam allowance. If serging seams, which I do for all knits, I add 1/4". Otherwise I add 1/2"-5/8".

    I just made a summer cami top, with spaghetti straps, today. I used my serger for side seams & my coverstich machine to do the binding, straps & hem. If you don't have either machine use a overlock stitch. Always overlock the hem edge first then fold it under & stitch in place.

    Wash & dry your fabric first. Some knits will shrink allot once washed. You'll want to have it preshrunk before cutting it out. For all knits use a stretch stitch & a ball point needle. If doing set in sleeves sew your shoulder seams first, then set the sleeves, then side seams, then hem it. I'd suggest trying it on as you go. You can also pin it up & slip it on before sewing. Try to stick close to the same type of fabric as the item you're making. Using a tape measure take the measurement, from RTW, of the sleeve from front underarm seam to shoulder seam. Mark your fabric, pin & sew. It should come out right then. RTW is NEVER cut like we'd do it at home. Most are wire cut in bulk & the sewer just forces it to fit. Ask me I know...worked in factory for 11 years!

  13. #13
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    Great tips! I just got some fabric to make some blouses, too!

  14. #14
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    Woven fabric can be cut on the bias. It allows for more comfort and stretch. I would use a specific bias cut pattern because the two techniques are not simiilar.

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