Tag Archives: sewing

how to: sew a french seam

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French seams are a very delicate and easy way to add a level of professionalism to your ‘MeMade’ items. This method encases the raw edge of the fabric inside the seam. I particularly like to use this seam when sewing with silks. I’ve used cotton in this example, but there is a silk picture to show you at the end of the post.

 First, you need a 1cm seam allowance to work with. Pin the fabric wrong sides together. This feels very unnatural, and I still have to concentrate during this step. It’s so easy to pick up the fabric and whack the right sides together.

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Sew down your seam 5mm away from the raw edge.

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Being very careful, trim away the seam allowance, getting as close to the stitches as you dare! I usually cut off around 3mm-4mm.

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Once the seam is trimmed, fold the fabric so that right sides are together, encasing the raw edge in the new seamSome people like to use an iron to get a very crisp fold, but I find working the seam out with my fingers is just as good.

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Pin, and stitch another seam, 5mm away from the sewn edge.

That’s it! You don’t have any raw fabric showing, which makes for a very tidy looking seam. Below is a picture of a French seam in silk organza. I’ve pressed this seam to one side to flatten it. I really love how the seam is visible through the sheer fabric.

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This is actually part of a very special dress that I’ve made.. You’ll see more of it in a few weeks time!

Mitty x

how to: insert an invisible zipper

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I’ll admit that invisible zippers used to intimidate me. They give such a professional finish, and I didn’t think that I’d be able to achieve the same results. I had a look around on the internet for tutorials, and found that there are a few different ways to put them in.

After a lot of practice (and plenty of mistakes), I’m happy to say that I can confidentially insert an invisible zipper. Go out and get yourself a zipper foot that fits your machine. I found an adjustable one, and it has made the entire process much easier.

I’m going to show you my most trusted method. Prepare for LOTS of big pictures..

First, you need to iron the zipper. Open the zipper and using a low to medium heat, gently press the zipper teeth as flat as possible. This step makes everything so much easier, so don’t skip it out.

Pin one side of the zipper tape to the right side of your fabric, lining it up with the raw edge. The teeth need to be facing away from the raw edge. I like to start pinning the zipper a few mm’s away from the neckline. This makes finishing the zipper much neater, but we’ll get to that later. Pin the rest of the zipper tape down.

Now for some sewing. Baste the zipper to the fabric. This first row of stitches doesn’t need to be up against the teeth, so pick a point a few mm away from the teeth. Take out the pins as you come to them. This row of stitches won’t be seen, and will stay in your garment.

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The basting stitches make the next step a lot easier, as you don’t have to worry about pins getting in the way. Place the zipper so that the machine needle is coming down as close to the teeth as possible. You don’t want to pierce the teeth at any point, so just take it slowly.

In the picture below, you can (just) see both rows of stitches, the one on the left is the basting, and the one on the right is the finish.

Repeat these steps on the other side. I find the easiest way to line everything up, is to do the zipper up a few cm’s, and from the wrong side, pin the seam allowance together matching any notches in the pattern. Then you can pin the zipper and fabric together where they naturally fall. Sometimes this method is out by a few mm, but never enough to really matter too much.

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Now you need to finish the top of the zipper, which will look something like this:

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Open the zipper, and on one side, fold the top of the tape over at an angle.

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Take the facing/waistband and pin it to the zipper tape, with right sides of the fabric facing each other. This is where that few mm near the neck line come in handy. By pulling the facing over the zipper, you get a very clean finish.

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Sew the facing to the zipper, making sure not to get too close to the zipper teeth. The zipper-pull needs to be able to slide up the back of the tape, without getting caught in the facing.

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Chop off the bit of zipper tape that hangs out, and turn right side out.

Repeat on the other side.

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Last step! Finishing the bottom of the zipper into the seam. With the zipper done up, pin the seam together, matching any notches in your pattern. Fold the zipper tape so the raw edges of the fabric are level, and insert a pin in the seam allowance, just below the point you stopped sewing the basting and final rows.

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Still using your zipper foot, start sewing close to the zipper teeth (which are encased in the seam), just above the point you stopped sewing the basting and final rows.

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Finish sewing the seam. The beginning of this seam is usually more than my normal 1cm seam allowance, sometimes 1.5cm or even 2cm. Once I’m past the zipper, I gently slope my seam back down to 1cm.

Give everything a good press with your iron, and that’s it! Perfectly flat, and seamless!

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I hope this has been of some help! Remember, this is my preferred method, but there are plenty of other ways to put your zipper in, if this seems too complicated.

Mitty x

boobytraps workshop

For all the time I’ve been sewing my own clothing, never did it cross my mind that I could make my own bra. When it finally did cross my mind, there were a few things holding me back.

  1. Far too complicated, with under-wires etc
  2. Too fiddly, it looks like so many different, small bits..
  3. I don’t even know where to start with sewing elastic!

I did what any normal person would do, I started researching. What I found was much different to what I expected. There is an entire online bra-making community! Everyone is so lovely and informative! I’ll link some of my favourite blogs at the end of this post.

During my research, I started looking for suppliers of bra bits. There are heaps of online stores, but what I really wanted to find was somewhere I could go and actually look and touch the laces for myself. That’s when I found Boobytraps.

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Boobytraps are primarily an online store, however they do open to the public on Thursdays and some Saturdays. They have an amazing range of laces, elastics, and patterns. I was so excited to see that they also hold bra-making workshops! I signed up straight away!

I chose to make an under-wired, soft cup bra. All of my RTW (ready to wear) bras are the padded, molded cup variety, I was really interested to see if I’d find a soft cup comfortable.

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This is my finished bra! Was it difficult? Not really. Was it fiddly? Hm, a little bit, but not enough to turn me off making more! Is it comfortable? Absolutely!

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Under the guidance of our teacher, Lynn, we learnt the importance of lining a bra (none of my RTW bra’s are lined..), how to fully encase the seams to eliminate the itch-factor, how to insert under-wire casing, how to sew elastic properly… the list goes on! The workshop was totally worth the cost for the tips I learnt alone, not to mention the fact I walked away with my very first me-made bra!

 I decided to go with a light coloured kit, so I could really see what I was doing. The kit came with everything I needed to make the bra, including these gorgeous detailed elastic straps! So pretty!

I highly recommend these classes, but you do need to have a bit of stretch-sewing experience. I also took along my own sewing machine, stretch needles, silk pins, scissors and measuring tape.

Now to my favourite bra & lingerie blogs!

  • Visit Maddy at Madalynne for some truly ethereal, lovely lingerie inspiration/tutorials.
  • Erin at The Emerald Studio is incredibly talented! She even delves into the finer details of bra making, which I can’t get enough of.
  • Amy from Cloth Habit is the designer behind the Watson Bra pattern, which has a cult following. It’s a gorgeous little pattern, which you can purchase online.

I think I’m addicted to bra making. I’m OK with that!

Mitty x

the gift of fabric

I love thoughtful gifts, both giving and receiving them. My gorgeous friend, Nicole, gave me a very thoughtful Christmas gift, a lovely piece of fabric, and I instantly knew what I was going to make from it.

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This is a fairly thick cotton, and I’m 100% certain that it was a curtain at some stage. Seeing as I wasn’t sure where it came from, or how colour-fast the print was, I popped it in the wash. It came out looking just as lovely as when it went in! I’m so glad the colours didn’t run.

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The print is amazing, it’s so retro, and I just love it. I wanted to get one of those big flowers on the front of the dress, so that took priority while placing my pattern pieces.

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I’m using a self-drafted pattern, which is a basic shift style dress, with short sleeves, and minimal shaping (being bust darts). I’m also using a facing for a clean neck line.

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The dress came together very easily, finished in one afternoon! I don’t mind the slightly doubled-up pattern on the back, it was a necessity for getting that large flower on the front.

I’m very pleased with my new dress, and can guarantee that it will get a lot of wear. I’ll even be able to get away with it in cooler months, with tights and boots!

Thanks to Nicole, for such a thoughtful gift!

Mitty x

Guest Contributor – Susan Mitchell

How exciting! Our first Guest Contributor to Made by Mitty! I think it’s very fitting that the first cab off the rank should be the very talented, Susan Mitchell from Blue Valley Bears (who also happens to be my mother)!

Gorgeous little bear, Polly

Gorgeous little bear named Polly (adopted)

Susan has been creating gorgeous bears since 2005. She purchases mink coats from Ebay, and breathes new life into them, by turning them into the most adorable little friends you’d ever hope to meet.

A little lion called Aslan

A little lion called Aslan (adopted)

Although each little creation is “one of a kind”, the Blue Valley Bear family all have the same distinctive characteristics. Soulful little eyes, puffy cheeks, and a halo of soft, fuzzy hair. Hours are spent carefully sculpting their gorgeous faces, and making their little accessories.

A kitten appropriately named Mischief

A kitten appropriately named Mischief (adopted)

While bears are the most common creations, Susan sometimes branches out, and makes a bunny, with long, floppy ears! Or she’ll do a lion, with a big mane! Kittens are also a popular choice, and get snapped up quickly by collectors.

And now we come to the ‘contributor’ part… I am thrilled to be able to offer an original, specially made Blue Valley Bear creation on Made by Mitty!

Sangani, available on Made by Mitty!

Sangani, available on Made by Mitty!

“I am very happy to offer for adoption a new bear called Sangani; this sweet bear stands just 6 inches high. Sangani is completely hand stitched from recycled vintage mink furs in medium brown and leopard printed. Dark brown ultra-suede is used for his feet and paw pads. Many hours have been devoted to precisely hand scissor sculpting his muzzle to reveal his round cheeks and little chin, his mouth is embroidered with black perle cotton. Sangani’s cute nose is hand sculpted from dark brown polymer clay and sealed for shine and durability. He views the world through black glass eyes with white ultrasuede detail for a “Please love me” expression and his face is completed with many layers of shading to enhance. On the inside he is five way cotter pin jointed, his arms and legs are double cotter pin jointed, which allow his limbs to flop and move with ease. Each pattern piece is reinforced with cotton for strength and durability and all seams are double stitched to last a lifetime of hugs, he is filled with poly fibre. Sangani wears a grosgrain polka dot ribbon.” – Susan, Blue Valley Bears

If you’d like to adopt Sangani, please visit our Etsy store for more details. You’d better hurry, we only have one bear available, and who could resist that face!

Visit

Visit our Made by Mitty Etsy store to adopt Sangani. Click here

  •  Watch the interview with Susan! Click here!
  • Want to see more from Blue Valley Bears? Click here to view the website.
  • Or click here to read the blog.

Made by Mitty has launched!

Hey! Welcome to the Made by Mitty blog! Over the next few posts, I’ll be telling you all about myself, and where this little business came from. For now, I’d like to share with you some photos from our Launch Party (which was SO much fun!), and details on a few of the things you can find in our Etsy store.

Myself and Reagan, ready for a big night!

Myself and Reagan, ready for our big night!

We had such a great turn out, the 2 hours just flew by! Nothing could have prepared us for all the support we’ve received, and we’d like to thank everyone who came along.

Now to the products! Here I’m showcasing our cushion covers, which come in a range of patterns and sizes. Of course, we do make other things, like skirts, cami’s, silk ties, silk bow ties, and much more!

Cushion cover in Mitty Diamonds

Cushion cover – Mitty Diamonds

Cushion cover - Seigaiha in Maroon

Cushion cover – Seigaiha in Maroon

Cushion cover - World Map

Cushion cover – World Map

Cushion cover - Black & cream arrow fletching, Lime Green Cocktails, and Lime & Fletching

Cushion cover – Black & cream arrow fletching, Lime Green Cocktails, and Lime & Fletching

If you’d like to rummage through our virtual racks, then click here to visit the Etsy store, or click the Etsy store button in the main menu.

Stay tuned for more Mitty goodness soon!