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Works in Progress

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Why do we reserve works in progress photos for Instagram? That’s not an always statement, but most of the time. Shouldn’t they be the subject of more in depth posts like finished features? Why mention the obstacles we faced after the garment’s complete when we can talk about them and solve them beforehand? Maybe it’s the surprise element? While I see that point of view, I’m more concerned with the quality of the end product rather than getting more hits. So, I’m going to try to talk about what I’m working on while I’m working on it so that we can work through the issues together, learn from one another and have a better product in the end. So, here is what I’m currently sewing.

First, isn’t the fabric for this blouse the best thing since sliced bread? I bought it a couple months ago on Etsy and it has sat on top of my sewing desk since. It’s a shame to put it away; it’s practically home décor. The final garment will be another version of Jasper Lee. Even thought it is an infantile make, there are still construction questions that have popped up.

Stabalizing shoulder seams is a de rigueur step. Because the garments weight is supported by this seam, it’s important that it’s strong enough to hold it up and not stretch out over time. But in the case of this top, it’s so lightweight that it doesn’t need it. Thoughts? My opinion is that using tape or a fusible would add unnecessary bulk to this crepe de chine. To justify my thinking, I inspected a couple of RTW, light-weight blouses. Nope, no stabilization! Now, mass manufacturing doesn’t always do it right, but they’re a good model. Also, I’ve yet to conquer my rolled/narrow hem foot. It’s a great presser foot, but passing a seam through it is not easy, even on silk, and it ends up looking like a hot mess at seamlines. I could hem the front and back separately before sewing them together at the side seam, but I’d like to have one continuous bottom hem. Any suggestions for how to pass a seam through this presser foot easily?
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Pairing this top with a pair of red pants, you can see that I’m fashionable late for 4th of July. What can I say? In an effort to learn more about pants, I drafted a wide leg shape using the same pattern as Orla Madison and Jasper Lee. On Orla, I underlined it with a sturdy cotton and surprisingly, I loved the structure and stability it provided. But every time I wear Jasper Lee, which is not underlined, they stretch out halfway through the day, and I’m continually pulling them up from 12:00 PM on. I’m thnking of always underlining my pants with a sturdy yet lightweight fabric if it’s not made of a denim quality material. Does anyone else have experience with this? Claire Schaeffer suggested it in her book, “Couture Sewing Techniques.” Also, to try one new construction technique, I’m following Workroom’s Social’s tutorial on how to add a single welt pocket. I’ve sewn a welt before, but not like her tutorial. Going to give it a whirl.

Stay tuned!


  1. Reply


    Great post. It is comforting as a new sewist to see your challenges whilst sewing new projects. I don’t post in progress projects because, as a new sewist who likes to go off script and modify patterns, I am never sure if my projects will result in wearable garmets.

  2. Reply


    Thanks for posting works in progress!

    I’m currently working on pants as well, and I thought about lining my future make (never thought of underlining..) so I can have all the seams hidden (and the pocket bags as well).

    Have you ever tried this method on stretch wovens?

    I thought of cutting the lining/ underlining fabric on the bias, but never tried it…

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      No, I’ve never tried this method on stretch wovens or cutting the lining/underlining on the bias. Good tip!

  3. Reply

    House Of Pinheiro

    So true. I never underlined my trousers because I make them of cotton sateen but I understand why in more delicate materials it would be great advantage.

  4. Reply


    I do enjoy a good WIP post – thanks :-). For the shoulder seams (i really don’t know the technical term for this sorry) but have you tried using a transparent plastic ribbon – its like elastic and with all the flexibility but without the stretch? I’ve seen this used in a few lightweight tops and barely adds any extra weight/bulk?

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Would it be like a tricot?

  5. Reply


    This makes me happy–I used to do WIP posts all the time, but kind of got away from it because it seemed like people were only interested in finished garments. So lately, I’ve only been doing them when a major issue comes up, or for super-involved things where the inner structure is as big a part of it as the outside. Like my wedding dress last year, which involved lots of underlinings and boning and things like that, and I’m planning to make a new winter coat soonish and that involves tailoring.

    I’ve never done a lining for pants, as I usually make them out of heavier stuff like denim and twill, but it’s an interesting idea.

  6. Reply

    lisa g

    i love WIP posts, but i generally don’t have time to do multiple posts for any given garment! these days i’m lucky if the final product gets a post.

    for the rolled hem foot, i run a short line of stitching at each SA to baste it in place before hemming. that doesn’t guarantee success, but it sure improves the odds!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thanks for the tip! I’ve tried that before, but it’s never turned out 100%. Who am I kidding, when does anything turn out 100%?

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    I like the idea of WIP posts, especially on garments with difficult or unique construction. This is a community based on sewing, and, to a lot of us, the process is almost more important than the finished garment. I love how much you can learn from this community, and WIP posts would be a great way to sneak in construction tips and tricks without having to take the time to write out a whole tutorial post.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      great point!

  8. Reply

    Laura S

    I agree that WIP posts are a good idea. As a beginner-ish sewer with no formal training, I love the tips I can sometimes pick up on posts like this. Love that Claire Schaeffer book, btw!

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    I have to say one of my pet peeves right now is it seems that almost every fabric I see now has Lycra in it. I am not sure why it is considered such a good thing. I want 100% natural fabric. Ecologically it does not make sense to put Lycra in my Cotton fabric which leads me to my final poin which is relevant. My old pants that do not contain Lycra stretch a little but they don’t fall down and I don’t have to pull them up every 5 minutes after I wear the.m for an hour. Does not seem that you should have to line pants to keep them from falling down.
    Thanks for letting me vent. This is one of my pet peeves. It is driving me to consider sewing my own jeans just so I can have a pair without Lycra that will last me more than a year!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You’re allowed to vent whenever you wish, especially when it comes to sewing. I’m all ears all the time 🙂

  10. Reply

    Barbara Grace

    I often use the selvedge from the fabric as a stabilizer for the shoulder seams.

    For the rolled hems I’ve found it easier to do them without the foot. Fold 1/8 inch from the desired length and stitch very close to the edge. Trim away the extra fabric, fold up the hem and stitch again. It makes a great hem and I do not lose my sanity!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I’ve had the most success with this method as well, but I was hoping to use my foot for its intended purpose!

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    I like reading WIP posts, but by the time I would get around to blogging a WIP, it would be long finished! 🙂

  12. Reply


    This is going to be super cute! Can’t wait to see the finished set!

  13. Reply

    emily marie

    As much as I love my rolled hem foot, it can be a pain to perfect – sometimes you have to give in and do it the long way. 🙂 Unless a fabric has a very sturdy weave, I always stitch close to the edge of the entire hem to stabilize & eliminate stretching. I’ve had the most success with seam allowances behaving when I clip them at an angle from the line of stitching. Love the looks of this pairing already. Bonne chance!

  14. Reply


    Stitch very close along the raw edge with a fine straight stitch using a fine thread before you use the narrow hemmer. The stitching will be a useful guide to feed the fabric as you stitch and will keep those seam allowances in check. Leave a long tail at either end as this helps you feed initially (something to hang on to) and at the end.

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    I like progress posts, myself 🙂 Just before I reach a seam when using my rolled hem foot, I pull the fabric off the foot (it’s still rolled though) and run it under the foot, just as I do when I begin the rolled hem. As soon as I get past the seam, I slip the fabric back through the foot, and continue. works like a charm every time (of course, I did a few too many hot mess rolled hems before I figured out that little trick…)

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