Category: Construction

What i Made: The Nettie Bodysuit + Giveaway

It’s a familiar scene: a harried woman is perched in front of her closet and wailing to herself, “I have nothing to wear!” The absence of appropriate attire is a legitimate reason to lament, which is why having staples and basics is imperative to well-being and well-dressing. You’ll always know what to reach for. A classic trench, a striped tee, a pair of blue jeans – all are must-haves. And a backless body suit – another essential. Without it, your closet is replete, but with it, you’re locked, loaded and ready to go in any situation. Last year, Heather Lou released the hit pattern of the summer, The Bombshell Swimsuit, and this year, she’s at it again, just launching The Nettie, a dress and body suit. Inspired by one of everyone’s favorite blogger, Nette, The Nettie features a scoop neck and a low-cut bottom. Intended to be a versatile basic, sewers have many silhouette options: 3 sleeve lengths, 2 necklines and 3 back variations. Last, it has an optional snap closure so you don’t have to remove the entire thing when in the ladies room (I hate that!). When I received the email to be a pattern tester, my response was, I responded without any qualms for hesitation, “Did somebody say bodysuit? I’m in.” The instructions suggest using a 4-way stretch fabric with at least 50% crosswise stretch. I had a 2-way stretch lace in my stash (also used to make this intimates set) and I was confident that I could use it as long as I placed the DOGS (direction of greatest stretch) around the body. I cut the smallest size (size 4) and the only pattern change I made was reducing the back crotch length (I have a petite torso, but long legs). Because my version is not bra friendly, I underlined the front with satin…

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tags: Construction, What I've Made Comments: 58

Colette Guide to Sewing Knits Giveaway

Sewing knits is uncharted territory for many seamstresses. Unlike wovens, they have a give that it not exact, and because of that, it can be frustrating and hard to handle. Getting to know knits – their structure, how they’re made, best ways to cut, most effective tools, etc. – can make the leap into this category of sewing a lot easier. That’s where “Colette’s Guide to Sewing Knits” comes in, the newest book from my favorite indie company. Colette teamed up with industry expert Alyson Clair to give home sewers the know-how and the confidence to tackle any type of project involving stretchy fabric. For me, it was the chapter on sergers that I had the most fun reading. My current serger is on its way to the grave and I don’t plan on resurrecting it. By year’s end, I hope to upgrade to a better make and model (my eye is set Bernina’s 1150 MDA). The book’s basic overview of a serger plus tips on threading, different types of stitches and troubleshooting for stitching problems will definitely help me when shopping. Sergers are just a fraction of what this book offers. In my opinion, the book’s title needs a minor alteration; Colette’s Complete Guide to Sewing Knits is more appropriate. This book covers it all! Sarai and Alyson are offering a copy of the book to one Madalynne reader. To enter, like Madalynne and Colette Patterns on Facebook. Then, in the comments below, specify your method of entry and your contact information. If you’re already a follower on either platforms, don’t worry, just tell me so in the comments. Contest opens immediately and will close May 1, when a winner will be chosen, notified and featured on this blog. And can we end with congratulations to Sarai and Alyson –…

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tags: Construction Comments: 162

Minimum Stretch in Underwear

Undies are one of the easiest garments to sew (don’t ask me to call them panties, because I won’t). Streamlining construction, I combine the front and the back pieces at the crotch, so the only seams to sew are the side seams. Easy to make, yes, but I need more hands and fingers to tell you the number of times I’ve made a pair, but couldn’t fit them over my hips. That’s until I learned about minimum stretch. Working as an assistant in the technical design department, knits category, a big chunk of my time was spent flat measuring. Laying a garment flat on a table, I measured front body length, back body length, armhole depth, sweep, etc. One of the measurements I took was minimum stretch, and it was probably the most important spec I recorded. In a woven, closures such as zippers, buttons and plackets ensure that a customer can get in and out of a garment, but in a knit, you have to make sure that the garment can stretch enough so a customer can put his or her head, hips, hand or foot through the opening (that’s assuming it doesn’t have a closure). An example is a long-sleeve knit tee – one of the minimum stretch specs (there might be several in one garment) would be at the sleeve opening, and it would make sure a customer’s hand can get through. If the garment doesn’t meet spec, the pattern must be adjusted (or garments resewn) before it goes to production. No way, no how would any retailer allow a style to hit stores that a customer couldn’t wear. This is what I was missing in my undie makings. In an undie, the minimum stretch spec would be at the waist, and two factors affect it – fabric…

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tags: Construction Comments: 14