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DRESSMAKING
ALISON SMITHDRESSMAKINGThe complete step-by-step guide to making your own clothes
LONDON, NEW YORK, MELBOURNE, MUNICH, AND DELHIDK UKPROJECT EDITOR Laura PalosuoEditor Hilary MandlebergSENIOR ART EDITORs ...
GARMENTS 128The Skirts 130Classic A-line skirt 132Button front A-line skirt 136Classic tailored skirt 138Tailored evening ...
IntroductionMy passion is sewing. I’m never happier than when I’m in front of my sewingmachine creating a new garment and ...
8 How to use this bookThis book contains all the information you need to make your own clothes. There are patterns and ste...
9How to use this bookAn overview of each type of garment showcasesthe classic garments and all the possiblevariations you ...
Tools &MaterialsGood-quality basics are essential for successful dressmaking. Scissors, pins, needles,and thread are essen...
12A well-equipped sewing kit will include all of the items shown below and many more, depending onthe type of sewing that ...
13BUILD UP YOURSEWING KITCUTTING TOOLS pp.20–21MEASURING TOOLS p.18MARKING AIDS p.19USEFUL EXTRAS pp.24–25PRESSING AIDS pp...
14 Tools and materialsUsing the correct pin or needle for your work is extremely important, since the wrong choice can dam...
15Needles and pinsThere is a wide variety of pins available, in differing lengths and thicknesses and ranging fromplain hou...
16There are so many threads available that knowing which ones to choose can be confusing. There arespecialty threads desig...
17TOP-STITCHING THREADA thicker polyester thread used for decorative top-stitching and buttonholes.Also for hand sewing bu...
18A huge range of tools enables a sewer to measure accurately. Choosing the correct tool for the task athand is important,...
19MARKING AIDS Marking certain parts of your work is essential, to make sure that elements such as pocketsand darts are pl...
20 Tools and materialsCUTTING SHEARSThe most popular type of shear, usedfor cutting large pieces of fabric. Thelength of t...
21Cutting toolsSEAM RIPPERA sharp, pointed hook to slideunder a stitch, with a small cuttingblade at the base to cut theth...
22The term notions covers all of the odds and ends that a sewer needs, for example, fasteners such asbuttons, snaps, hooks...
23Decorative finishing touches—fringes, strips of sequins, rickrack braids, feathers, pearls, bows,flowers, and beads—can em...
24 Tools and materialsYou can purchase many more accessories to help with yoursewing, but knowing which products to choose...
25Useful extrasTHIMBLEAn essential item for many sewers, to protectthe middle finger from the end of the needle.There are m...
26A sewing machine will quickly speed up any job, whether it be a quick repair or making a dress for a specialoccasion. Mo...
27NEEDLEThe machine needle. Replace it regularlyto ensure good stitch quality. See p.28.Sewing machineBUTTONSTo provide va...
28 Tools and materialsYou can purchase a variety of accessories for your sewing machine to make certain sewingprocesses mu...
29Sewing machineBUTTONHOLE FOOTThis extends so the button can be placed in the back of the foot. The machinewill stitch a ...
30This machine is often used in conjunction with the sewing machine, since it gives a very professional finishto your work....
31TENSION DIALSThere are four tensiondials, one for each thread.HAND WHEELThis can be turned manuallybackward to disengage...
32Successful sewing relies on successful pressing. Without the correct pressing equipment, sewing can looktoo “home-made,”...
33IRONA good-quality steam iron is a wonderfulasset. Choose a reasonably heavy iron thathas steam and a shot of steam faci...
FabricsChoosing the correct fabric for your dressmaking project is vital. Considerations to bearin mind include the suitab...
36 FabricsA natural fiber, wool comes primarily from sheep—Australian merino sheep’s wool is considered to bethe best. Howe...
37WoolFLANNELGABARDINEMOHAIRA wool with a lightly brushedsurface, featuring either a plainor a twill weave. Used in the pa...
38 FabricsTARTANTWEEDWOOL WORSTEDAn authentic tartan belongsto a Scottish clan, and each hasits own unique design that can...
39CottonOne of the most versatile and popular of all fabrics, cotton is a natural fiber that comes from the seedpods, or bo...
40 FabricsCHAMBRAYCORDUROYDENIMA light cotton that has a coloredwarp thread and white weft thread.Chambray can also be fou...
41CottonGINGHAMMADRASA fresh, two-color cotton fabricthat features a check of varioussizes. A plain weave made by havinggr...
42 FabricsSHIRTINGVELVETA closely woven, fine cottonwith colored warp and weftyarns making stripes or checks.Cutting out: U...
43SilkOften referred to as the queen of fabrics, silk is made from the fibers of the silkworm’s cocoon. This strongand luxu...
44 FabricsDUPIONIHABUTAIMATKAWoven using a textured yarnthat produces irregularitiesin the weave.Cutting out: Use a nap la...
45SilkORGANZATAFFETASATINA sheer fabric with a crisp appearancethat will crease easily.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot req...
46 FabricsLinen is a natural fiber that is derived from the stem of the flax plant. It is available in a variety of qualitie...
47LinenPRINTED LINENSSUITING LINENFANCY WEAVE LINENMany linens today feature printsor even embroidery. The fabricmay be li...
48 FabricsThe term synthetic applies to any fabric that is not 100 percent natural. Many of these fabrics have beendevelop...
49Synthetic fabricsPOLYESTEROne of the most popular of theman-made fibers, polyester wasintroduced in 1951 as a man’swashab...
patterns &cutting outThe twelve basic patterns in this section can be used to make thirty-one differentgarments. Details ar...
52 Patterns and cutting outMost dressmakers buy a commercial paper pattern to make a garment. A pattern has three maincomp...
53Reading patternsEach pattern piece will have a seriesof lines, dots, and other symbols printedon it. These symbols help ...
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  1. 1. DRESSMAKING
  2. 2. ALISON SMITHDRESSMAKINGThe complete step-by-step guide to making your own clothes
  3. 3. LONDON, NEW YORK, MELBOURNE, MUNICH, AND DELHIDK UKPROJECT EDITOR Laura PalosuoEditor Hilary MandlebergSENIOR ART EDITORs Jane Ewart, Glenda FisherPROJECT ART EDITOR Hannah MooreDESIGN ASSISTANT Charlotte JohnsonSenior ProductioN EDITOR Jennifer Murraysenior Production Controller Seyhan EsenCreative Technical Support Sonia CharbonnierNew Photography Ruth JenkinsonArt Direction for Photography Jane Ewart, Alison ShackletonSenior jacket creative Nicola PowlingManaging Editor Penny SmithManaging Art Editor Marianne MarkhamPublisher Mary LingArt director Jane BullDK INDIASenior Editor Alicia IngtyEditor Arani SinhaAssistant Editor Neha Ruth SamuelArt Editors Mansi Nagdev, Ira Sharma, Zaurin ThoidingjamManaging Editor Glenda FernandesManaging Art Editor Navidita ThapaPRODUCTION Manager Pankaj Sharmacreative technical support Manager Sunil SharmaSENIOR DTP DESIGNER Tarun SharmaDTP Designers Nand Kishor Archarya, Manish Chandra UpretiDK USUS Editor Margaret ParrishUS SENIOR Editor Shannon BeattyUS Consultant Amy VinchesiFirst American Edition, 2012Published in the United States by DK Publishing375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 1001412 13 14 15 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1001—182909—September/2012Copyright © 2012 Dorling Kindersley LimitedAll rights reserved.Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of thispublication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system,or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying,recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyrightowner and the above publisher of this book.Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited.A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.ISBN: 978-0-7566-9820-1DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions,premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing SpecialMarkets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 or SpecialSales@dk.com.Color reproduction by Butterfly Creative Services and Opus Multi Media ServicesPrinted and bound in China by Hung Hing Offset Printing Company Ltd.Discover more at www.dk.comINTRODUCTION 6ABOUT THIS BOOK 8TOOLS & MATERIALS 10Basic sewing kit • Needles and pins • Threads• Measuring and marking tools • Cutting tools• Notions • Useful extras • Sewing machine• Serger • Pressing aidsFABRICS 34Wool fabrics • Cotton fabrics • Silk fabrics• Linen fabrics • Synthetic fabricsPATTERNS & CUTTING OUT 50Reading patterns • Body measuring• Altering patterns • Making a toile • Cutting outGENERAL TECHNIQUES 78Stitches for hand sewing • Machine stitches and seams• Reducing seam bulk • Darts • Gathers • Interfacings• Facings • Collars • Waistbands • Sleeves • Pockets• Hemlines • Zippers • Buttons • Hooks and eyes and snapsContents
  4. 4. GARMENTS 128The Skirts 130Classic A-line skirt 132Button front A-line skirt 136Classic tailored skirt 138Tailored evening skirt 143Classic pleated skirt 146Topstitched pleated skirt 152The Dresses 154Classic shift dress 156Short-sleeved shift dress 161Square-neck shift dress 164Sleeveless shift dress 167Short sleeveless shift dress 170Classic waisted dress 174Short-sleeved waisted dress 179Sleeveless waisted dress 181Waisted cocktail dress 185Classic empire waist dress 190Sleeveless empire waist dress 195Long empire waist dress 198The Pants 202Classic tailored pants 204Tapered capri pants 208Classic palazzo pants 210Wide-leg shorts 216The Tops 218Classic shell top 220Tie-neck top 224Long-sleeved tunic 226Classic princess-line blouse 228Short-sleeved blouse 233The Jackets 236Classic boxy jacket 238Boxy jacket with collar 242Classic shawl collar jacket 246Lined shawl collar jacket 251MENDING & REPAIRS 254Unpicking stitches • Darning a holeRepairing fabric under a buttonRepairing a damaged buttonholeMending a split in a seamMending a tear with a fusible patchRepairing or replacing elasticRepairing a broken zipperCUSTOMIZING 262Lengthening a skirt with a contrast bandTurning jeans into a skirt • Adding a collar andpockets to a dress • Embellishing a dress withsequins and beads • Embellishing a T-shirt withflowers • Adding a ribbon trim to a cardiganPATTERNS 276GLOSSARY 312INDEX 316ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 320
  5. 5. IntroductionMy passion is sewing. I’m never happier than when I’m in front of my sewingmachine creating a new garment and I wanted to share that enjoymentwith everyone who loves clothes and would like to sew their own. Thisbook offers you twelve basic patterns ranging from skirts and dressesthrough pants and tops to jackets. There are full instructions forscaling the patterns up, or you can access the patterns via adedicated website. The bonus is that the basic patterns can beadapted to make a total of thirty-one fabulous garments. If youmake them all, you will have a complete wardrobe whateveryour age and lifestyle.Beginners can start with the basic patterns and quicklyprogress to the more complex ones. For the more experiencedsewer, there are plenty of new ideas and techniques to try, oryou may feel like making the same pattern several times in differentfabrics for a variety of looks. I’ve also included detailed instructions forthe techniques needed to make every garment in the book. This sectionwill also help you to work with any commercial pattern. And, finally, there aresections dedicated to mending and customizing, enabling you to prolong theuseful life of your clothes.Happy sewing!
  6. 6. 8 How to use this bookThis book contains all the information you need to make your own clothes. There are patterns and step-by-step instructions for twelve classic garments, and variations of each. Additional guidance, if needed, is to befound in sections on key dressmaking techniques, tools, fabrics, and pattern alterations. Finally, sections onmending and customizing show how to prolong the life of your garments, both old and new.how to use this bookA guide to using the patterns shows you how toenlarge, photocopy, or download and print thepatterns. A handy size chart helps you find thecorrect size for you.All key dressmaking techniques are shown andexplained, step-by-step, in a self-containedsection. Turn to this section for extra guidancewhen completing a project, or use it as a generalreference for dressmaking questions.Each classic garment is profiled in an introductionspread that tells you what you need to begin yourproject, including materials, fabric ideas, andinformation on where to find the patterns.Every step of making each garment is demonstrated withclose-up photography and explained with clear text.Where further guidance may be needed, you are directedto the appropriate page in the general techniques section.PATTERN GUIDECLASSIC GARMENT OPENERS CLASSIC GARMENT STEP-BY-STEP PAGESGENERAL TECHNIQUESA pattern for each of the garment projects isprinted in the back of the book, and graded forsizes 6–22. Color-coding helps you find the correctsize when using the pattern.PATTERNSCLASSIC GARMENTSA simple A-lineskirt with a narrowwaistband willflatter all figuretypes and all agesthe A-line skirtsSKIRTPATTERN>>p.136>>p.134132 Garments 133LinenCorduroySkirtsDartButtonNarrowwaistbandSide zipperThis skirt is made in a cotton print,but works well in a wide range offabrics. For winter you could choosea cozy corduroy. For summer,linen will keep you cool and fresh.YOU WILL NEED• 51in (1.3m) x 59in (150cm) fabric• 1 spool matching all-purposesewing thread• 1 spool contrasting all-purposesewing thread for patternmarking• 39in (1m) waistband interfacing• 39in (18cm) skirt zipper• 1 buttonPREPARING THE PATTERN• This skirt is made using SkirtPattern One (see pp. 280–281)• Follow the instructions (seepp.278–279) to copy or downloadthe pattern in your sizeThis A-line skirt is shaped by the two darts in the front andback. There is a zipper in the left-hand side. The narrowwaistband is fastened with a button and buttonhole fastening.The finished skirt should sit just above the knee.CLASSICA-LINE SKIRTThis A-line skirt will never go out of style and can be worn at all times of theyear and on all occasions. It is also one of the easiest garments for a beginner tomake. It has only three pattern pieces—a front, a back, and a waistband. The skirtneeds to fit comfortably around the waist and across the tummy, so check yourmeasurements carefully against the pattern.Skirt Pattern OneBEFORE YOU START GARMENT CONSTRUCTIONFRONT BACK134 Garments4Stitch the LH (left hand) side seam, leaving a gap for the zipper.Press the seam open, then insert a zipper (see p.119).5Stitch the RH (right hand) side seam and press the seam open (see p.84).6Attach the waistband interfacing to the waistband (see p.94).1Cut out the fabric and mark the start of thedarts with tailor’s bastes (see p.91). Clip the endof the darts on the raw edge (see p.76).2Make the darts (see p.91) and press toward thecenter of the garment. 3Neaten the side seams on the back and thefront using a 3-thread serger stitch or a smallzigzag stitch (see pp.84–85).HOW TO MAKE THE CLASSIC A-LINE SKIRT135135Skirts7Attach the waistband to the skirt, matchingthe notches (see p.103). 8Layer the seam allowance by trimming thewaistband side of the seam to half its width(see p.89). Press toward the waistband.9Fold the waistband RS (right side) to RS. Pin,then stitch the ends of the waistband.11Turn the waistband to the RS, pushing the clipped ends out. Foldunder the raw edge, then pin and hand stitch in place.13Make a buttonhole on the overlap of the waistband (see p.125).Sew a button on the underlap (see pp.123–124).12Neaten the hem edge by serging (see p.116). Turn up a 11⁄2in (4cm)hem and hand stitch in place.10Clip the ends of the waistband to reduce bulk.matched notchesoverlap underlap2802 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 3002 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30024681012141618202224262830323436382468101214161820222426283032343638PatternsSKIRT PATTERN ONEFOLDSKIRT BACKCut 1 on folded fabricWAISTBANDCut 1CBJOIN28134 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 603234 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 603224681012141618202224262830323436382468101214161820222426283032343638Skirt pattern onesize 6size 8size 10size 12size 14size 16size 18size 20size 22NOTE: One square in the grid equals2in at full size. A seam allowance of5⁄8in (1.5cm) is included in the patternpieces. After you have cut out thepattern pieces in your size, you maywish to add seam lines 5⁄8in (1.5cm)inside the cutting lines (see p.278).FOLDSKIRT FRONTCut 1 on folded fabricCFOVERLAPJOINSIZES278 PatternsTo create any of the garments in this book, you will first need to transfer the pattern to paper. You can dothis in one of three ways: draw the pattern by hand onto pattern paper, enlarge it on a photocopier, ordownload it from our website. Before you begin, you will also need to find the correct size for you.Using the pattern sectionFIND YOUR SIZEStitching lineCutting lineSize 6 Size 8 Size 10 Size 12 Size 14 Size 16 Size 18 Size 20 Size 22321⁄4in(82cm)331⁄4in(84.5cm)341⁄4in(87cm)361⁄4in(92cm)38in(97cm)40in102cm)42in(107cm)44in(112cm)46in(117cm)241⁄2in(62cm)251⁄4in(64.5cm)261⁄4in(67cm)281⁄4in(72cm)301⁄4in(77cm)321⁄4in(82cm)341⁄4in(87cm)361⁄4in(92cm)38 in(97cm)341⁄4in(87cm)351⁄4in(89.5cm)361⁄4in(92cm)38in(97cm)40in(102cm)42in(107cm)44in(112cm)46in(117cm)48in(122cm)BustWaistHipPATTERN MARKINGSSEAM ALLOWANCE Cutting linesGrain linesPlace-to-fold lineLengthening and shorteninglinesButtonholeButton positionDartTuckMarkings to be transferred frompattern pieces to the fabric formatching or to indicate detailSingle notchesDouble notchesThe following markings are used on thepatterns in this section.Seam allowance is the amount of fabric thatis taken up by the seam. It is usually given asthe distance between the cutting line and thestitching line.The patterns in this section include 5⁄8in(1.5cm) seam allowance. This means thatto create a garment that matches themeasurements in the table, you will need tocut along the line on the pattern, and stitch5⁄8in (1.5cm) inside the cutting line. An easyway to remember to do this is to mark astitching line onto the pattern pieces beforeyou begin.You may have noticed that your size in the table islarger than what you would buy in a store. This isbecause stores often engage in “vanity sizing.”Find your size by taking your bust, waist, and hip measurements and finding the closest set ofmeasurements in the table below. If you are between sizes, choose the larger of the two.VARIED SIZESThere is no gold standard for garment sizes, but, ingeneral, dressmaking sizes tend to be smaller thansizes in stores.279Using the pattern sectionCOPY OR DOWNLOAD YOUR PATTERNMETHOD 1: DRAWING THE PATTERN BY HANDMETHOD 2: PHOTOCOPYINGMETHOD 3: DOWNLOADING FROM THE INTERNET1Each grid square in the patterns represents a2in (5cm) square at full size. To enlarge thepatterns by hand, you will need pattern paperwith a 2in (5cm) grid.1To enlarge the pattern on a photocopier, beginby copying it at 100%. Find your size in thetable, and draw along the line for your size inmarker or pen. Enlarge the pattern by 200%.1Find your size in the table. Go to website www.dk.com/dressmaking.2Begin by finding the colored line for your sizein the pattern. Enlarge the pattern onto yourpaper, mapping each square of the pattern onto a2in (5cm) square on the pattern paper.2Enlarge the pattern pieces again by 200% toreach full size. If you are using a photocopierthat has a 400% setting, you can use this setting toenlarge the pieces in one step.2Find the correct PDF for your garment andyour size. Download the PDF to yourcomputer. Print out the PDF. The PDFs will belabeled in the order that they fit together.3Depending on the size of your pattern paper,you may need to stick together several sheetsto fit all the pieces for a single pattern. Once youhave copied all the pieces, cut them out.3Once you have enlarged all parts of theoriginal page, piece them together usingthe gridlines as a guide, and tape them down.Cut around your size.3Trim the white margins from the printedpages, and tape the pages together, using theletters and gridlines as a guide. Cut out thepattern pieces.200%200%PDFAEIMBFJNCGKODHLPCBAThe gentlyflaring A-lineskirt of this long-sleeved dress issure to turn headsas you sashay bythe waisted dresses>>p.179>>p.181>>p.185>>p.176DRESSPATTERN174 Garments 175DressesLongset-insleeveCenter-backzipperCLASSICWAISTED DRESSThis dress has a darted bodice fitted into the waist for a smooth, flattering lineat the waist and hips. Choose your pattern by your bust measurement and adjustthe waist and hips if necessary. It is recommended to make the pattern in muslinfirst to ensure a good fit through the bust and waist, and to check the fit of thesleeve in the shoulder area. Lightweight fabrics work well for this dress and willensure that the slightly A-line skirt moves with a nice swirl as you walk.This dress is made in polyesterbrocade, but this style of dresscould be made in a variety offabrics from cotton prints tolightweight wools, or silk.YOU WILL NEED• 98in (2.5m) x 59in (150cm)fabric• 1 spool matching all-purposesewing thread• 1 spool contrasting all-purposesewing thread for patternmarking• 20in (50cm) lightweightinterfacing• 22in (56cm) zipperPREPARING THE PATTERN• This dress is made using DressPattern Two (see pp.288–290)• Follow the instructions(see pp.278–279) to copyor download the patternin your sizeThis unlined two-piece dress has waist darts in the bodice andin the skirt. It has long, fitted set-in sleeves and a lower necklinefinished with a facing. There is a zipper in the center back and theA-line skirt sits just on the knee.Dress Pattern TwoWool crepeSilkBEFORE YOU START GARMENT CONSTRUCTIONSkirtwaistdartBodicewaistdartLower necklineA-line skirtFRONT BACK116 General techniques1Put on the skirt or dress but noshoes. With the end of the ruleron the floor, have a helper measureand mark.1Using a 3-thread serger stitch, stitch alongthe raw edge of the hem allowance. 2Gently press the hem upinto position and basteclose to the crease.3Roll back the sergered edge.Using a slip hem stitch, stitch thehem in place.4Press carefully to preventthe serging from beingimprinted on the right side.2Use pins to mark the crease lineof the proposed hem. Make sure themeasurement from floor to pin lineis the same all the way around.1Adjust the dummy to your height andmeasurements. Place the skirt or dresson the dummy.2The hem marker on its stand will hold thefabric. Use the marker to mark the creaseline of the proposed hem.3Slide a pin through the slot in the marker,then gently release the marker.On a garment such as a skirt or a dress it is important that the hemline is level all around.Even if the fabric has been cut straight, some styles of skirt—such as A-line or circular—will “drop,”which means that the hem edge is longer in some places. This is because the fabriccan stretch where it is not on the straight of the grain. Hang the garment for 24 hoursin a warm room before hemming so you do not end up with an uneven hem.One of the most popular ways to secure a hem edge is by hand. Hand stitchingis discreet and, if a fine hand-sewing needle is used, the stitching should not showon the right side of the work. Always finish the raw edge before stitching the hem.MARKING A HEMLINEHAND-STITCHED HEMSUSING A RULERSERGED FINISHUSING A DRESSMAKER’S DUMMYLEVEL OF DIFFICULTY *TIPS FOR SEWING HEMS BY HAND1 Always use a single thread in the needle—a polyester all-purposethread is ideal for hemming.2 Once the raw edge of the hem allowance has been neatened by one of themethods below, secure it using a slip hem stitch. Take half of the stitch into theneatened edge and the other half into the wrong side of the garment fabric.3 Start and finish the hand stitching with a double stitch, not a knot,because knots will catch and pull the hem down.4 It is a good idea to take a small back stitch every 4in (10cm) or so to makesure that if the hem does come loose in one place it will not all unravel.HemlinesThe lower edge of a garment is normally finished with a hem. Sometimes the style of the garment dictatesthe type of hem used, and sometimes the fabric.117Hemlines4Turn down thebias over the rawedge and press.1This is a good finish forfabrics that fray or thatare bulky. Turn up thehem on to the wrong sideof the garment and basteclose to the crease line.2Pin the bias bindingto the raw edge ofthe hem allowance.3Open out the crease in the bias and stitch alongthe crease line, keeping the raw edges level. 5Using a slip hem stitch, join the edge ofthe bias to the wrong side of the fabric.Remove the basting and press lightly.BIAS-BOUND FINISHZIGZAG FINISHPINKED FINISH2Turn up the hem on tothe wrong side of thegarment and baste in placeclose to the crease line.3Fold back the zigzag-stitchededge. Using a slip hem stitch,stitch the hem into place.1Use this to neaten the edge of the hem onfabrics that do not fray too badly. Set thesewing machine to a zigzag stitch, width 4.0and length 3.0. Machine along the raw edge.Trim the fabric edge back to the zigzag stitch.4Roll the edge back intoposition. Remove thebasting and press lightly.2Turn up the hem on to thewrong side of the garmentand baste in place close to thecrease line.4Roll the hem edge back intoposition. Remove thebasting and press lightly.1Pinking shears can give an excellenthem finish on difficult fabrics. Machinea row of straight stitching along the rawedge, 3⁄8in (1cm) from the edge. Pinkthe raw edge.3Fold back the edge along the machinestitching line. Using a slip hem stitch,stitch the hem in place.
  7. 7. 9How to use this bookAn overview of each type of garment showcasesthe classic garments and all the possiblevariations you can make with the patternsprovided. Use these to see the full range ofoptions available as you plan your next project.A chapter on pattern alterations teaches you tocustomize patterns to fit your body shape—forexample, shortening arms or lengthening a top.These techniques can be used with the patternsin this book or with commercial patterns.At least one possible variation is suggested for each classicpattern, along with alternative fabric choices. Variations beginwith pattern alterations. Detailed step-by-step instructionsthen guide you through sewing the garment.GARMENT OVERVIEWSAll the essential tools and materials you mayneed are contained in a gallery at the beginningof the book. Full-color photographs and cleartext explain the uses of each.ESSENTIAL TOOLSThis section contains all the skills you need torepair worn items. Here you will learn theessentials, such as how to mend tears, darnholes, and replace lost buttons.A beautiful gallery showcases more than 30dressmaking fabrics and explains the uses ofeach. Use it to find more information on thesuggested fabrics for your garment or to findinspiration for future projects.MENDING AND REPAIRSFABRICSGet inspiration on how to update andpersonalize your existing pieces in a section oncustomizing. Six complete projects teach youhow to breathe new life into old garments.CUSTOMIZINGPATTERN ALTERATIONVARIATION PAGESOTHER USEFULSECTIONSCLASSIC GARMENT VARIATIONSskirtsThis section is the perfect place for a beginner to start.It gives instructions for making three fabulous skirts andone simple variation of each. These stylish garments arestraightforward and use a minimum of pattern pieces.thethe skirts... ... and their variationsSkirt pattern oneClassic A-lineskirt>> p.132Skirt pattern onevariationButton frontA-line skirt>> p.136Skirt pattern twoClassictailored skirt>> p.138Skirt patternthreeClassicpleated skirt>> p.146Skirt pattern twovariationTailoredeveningskirt>> p.143Skirt pattern threevariationTopstitchedpleatedskirt>> p.152This variation of the A-line skirt is a little morecomplicated and is the perfect next step for anovice sewer. To make it, you will shorten thebasic pattern and extend the center front tocreate the pleat. The buttons on the pleatare purely decorative. This skirt would makea great winter or fall wardrobe staple.BUTTON FRONTA-LINE SKIRTCotton twillDenimSkirt Pattern One VariationThis skirt is made incorduroy, but denim orcotton twill also work well.This variation of the Classic A-line skirt is shorter. It hasa zipper in the left-hand side and features a stitched pleatto which buttons have been sewn for decoration.YOU WILL NEED• 48in (1.2m) x 59in (150cm) fabric• 1 spool matching all-purposesewing thread• 1 spool contrasting all-purposesewing thread for patternmarking• 39 in (1m) waistband interfacing• 7in (18cm) skirt zipper• 7 buttonsPREPARING THE PATTERN• This skirt is made using SkirtPattern One (see pp.280–281)• Follow the instructions(see pp.278–279) to copyor download the patternin your sizeCenter front pleatwith buttonsZipperShorterhemWaistbandDartBEFORE YOU START GARMENT CONSTRUCTIONthe A-line skirtsSKIRTPATTERN>>p.137>>p.132FRONT BACK136 Garments 137Skirts5Open the front of the skirt.To form the pleat, press theCF line onto the stitched line.1To shorten the hem, copy the front and backpattern pieces. Mark the hemline. Mark thenew hemline 4in (10cm) above the old hemline.Draw a new cutting line 11⁄2in (4cm) below thenew hemline.2For the front pleat, mark a fold line 11⁄4in (3cm)to the left of the CF (center front). Mark the newCF 11⁄4in (3cm) to the left of the new fold line.3Cut out the fabric. On the skirt front, markthe fold line and the CF with trace bastes(see p.76). Mark a point on the fold line, 6in(15cm) from the hem edge, with a tailor’s baste.4Matching the fold line markings, pin down the fold line WS (wrongside) to WS to the tailor’s baste. Stitch along the pinned line. 6Complete the rest of theskirt as for the Classic A-lineSkirt steps 1–11.7Neaten the hem edge by overlocking(see p.116). Turn up a 11⁄2in (4cm) hemand hand stitch in place.8Stitch the remainder of the pleat in place,stitching through the hem. Press. 9Sew buttons (see p.123) along the CF.new hemlinenew cutting lineold hemlinenew center front (CF)new fold lineold center front (CF)HOW TO MAKE THE BUTTON FRONT A-LINE SKIRTtracebastestailor’sbastefold linepleat40 FabricsCHAMBRAYCORDUROYDENIMA light cotton that has a coloredwarp thread and white weft thread.Chambray can also be found as acheck or a striped fabric.Cutting out: A nap layout shouldnot be requiredSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on acotton setting; a pressingcloth is not requiredUsed for: Blouses, men’s shirts,children’s wearA soft pile fabric with distinctivestripes (known as wales or ribs)woven into it. The name dependson the size of the ribs: baby orpin cord has extremely fine ribs;needle cord has slightly thickerribs; corduroy has 10–12 ribs per 1in(2.5cm); and elephant or jumbo cordhas thick, heavy ribs.Cutting out: Use a nap layout withthe pile on the corduroy brushingup the pattern pieces from hemto neck, to give depth of colorSeams: Plain, stitched using awalking foot and neatened withserger or zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/16; sharpsor milliner’s for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting; use a seam roll under theseams with a pressing clothUsed for: Pants, skirts, men’s wearNamed after Nîmes in France. Ahard-wearing, twill-weave fabricwith a colored warp and whiteweft, usually made into jeans.Available in various weights andoften mixed with an elastic threadfor stretch. Denim is usually blue,but is also available in a varietyof other colors.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: Run and fell or topstitchedThread: Polyester all-purposethread with topstitching threadfor detail topstitchingNeedle: Machine size 14/16; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting; a pressing cloth shouldnot be requiredUsed for: Jeans, jackets,children’s wear41CottonGINGHAMMADRASA fresh, two-color cotton fabricthat features a check of varioussizes. A plain weave made by havinggroups of white and colored warpand weft threads.Cutting out: Usually an evencheck, so nap layout is not requiredbut recommended; pattern willneed to be matchedSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11/12; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting; a pressing cloth should notbe requiredUsed for: Children’s wear, dresses,shirts, home furnishingsA check fabric made from a finecotton yarn, usually from India.Often found in bright colors featuringan uneven check. An inexpensivecotton fabric.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutand match the checksSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14;sharps for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on acotton setting; a pressingcloth is not requiredUsed for: Shirts, skirts,shorts, home furnishingsJERSEYA fine cotton yarn that has beenknitted to give stretch, makingthe fabric very comfortable towear. Jersey will also drape well.Cutting out: A nap layout isrecommendedSeams: 4-thread sergerstitch; or plain seam stitchedwith a small zigzag stitch andthen seam allowances stitchedtogether with a zigzagThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14; aballpoint needle may be requiredfor serger and a milliner’s for handsewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting since jersey may shrink ona cotton settingUsed for: Underwear, drapeddresses, loungewear, bedding60 Patterns and cutting outRAISING A CURVEDBUST SEAMINCREASING THE WAIST ON A FITTED SKIRT INCREASING THE WAIST ON A GORED SKIRTLOWERING A CURVEDBUST SEAMADJUSTING A SEAM FORA FULL BUSTMost people’s waists and hips are out of proportion when compared to the measurementsof a paper pattern. To alter the pattern to suit your body shape, adjust the pieces for the waistfirst and then do the hip pieces.WAIST AND HIPS1Cut the center front pattern in the shoulderarea and spread the cut pattern pieces apartby the required amount. Tape paper behind thepattern pieces.1Tape paper under the center front and side frontpatterns in the bust area.1Fold a pleat in the shoulder area on the centerfront pattern to raise the bust point by therequired amount.2Fold both the centerfront and the side frontpatterns on the lengtheningand shortening lines by thesame amount.3Redrawthe armhole,raising it by thesame amount.2Divide the totalincrease requiredby two and add thisamount at the point of thebust at each seam line.3Draw new seamlines from thesepoints, taperingthem into the oldseam lines.SidefrontCenterfrontSidefrontCenterfrontSidefrontCenterfront2Cut both the centerfront and side frontpatterns on the lengtheningand shortening lines.Spread the cut patternpieces apart by the amountin the pleat and tape paperbehind them.3Redraw thearmhole,lowering it by thesame amount.1Increase the waistat the side seams.2Tape paper behind thepattern pieces. Dividethe total increase required byfour, since there are four seam lines.3Add this amount on the paperat the waist edge at eachseam line. Draw new seam linesfrom these points, tapering theminto the old seam lines.1Tape paper behind the patternpieces. Since there are manyseams, divide the total increaserequired by the number of seam lines.2Add this amount on the paperat the waist edge at eachseam line. Draw new seam linesfrom these points, tapering theminto the old seam lines.Side front Front61Altering patternsINCREASING THE WAISTON A FULL-CIRCLE SKIRTDECREASING THE WAIST ONA FITTED SKIRTINCREASING THE WAISTON A FITTED DRESSDECREASING THE WAISTON A GORED SKIRTINCREASING THE WAISTON A PRINCESS-LINE DRESSDECREASING THE WAISTON A FULL-CIRCLE SKIRTCenterfront1Tape paper behind the waist area of the frontand back pattern pieces. Divide the total increaserequired by four, since there are four seam lines.1Tape paper behind the waist area of each patternpiece. Divide the total increase required by thenumber of seam lines.1Decrease the waist at the side seams. Dividethe total decrease required by four, since there arefour seam lines.1As there are many seams, divide the totaldecrease required by the number of seam lines.1Tape paper behind eachpattern piece.1Carefully check the waist circumference onthe pattern against your waist measurement.2Draw a new, lower waist stitching line onthe pattern. Adjust the finished lengthof the skirt if necessary.2Add this amount onthe paper at the waistarea of each seam line. Drawnew seam lines from thesepoints, tapering them intothe old seam lines.3If more increaseis required, thedarts can also bemade narrower.2Add this amount on the paper at the waist areaof each seam line. Draw new seam lines fromthese points, tapering them into the old seam lines.2Mark this amount on the pattern at thewaist edge at each seam line. Draw newseam lines from these points, tapering theminto the old seam lines.2Draw a new, higher waist stitching line onthe pattern. Adjust the finished length ofthe skirt if necessary.SidefrontFrontSide front2Mark this amount on the pattern at thewaist edge at each seam line. Draw newseam lines from these points, tapering theminto the old seam lines.275Adding a ribbon trim to a cardigan2Taking care not to stretch the cardigan, pina single length of ribbon, wide enough tocover the button band, from the hem of one frontup, around the neck, and down to the other hem.3Machine carefully along both sides of theribbon to hold it in place.4Evenly space assorted buttons, with a diameter no wider than the ribbon,the length of the ribbon, leaving it free of buttons where the two frontswill join. Stitch in place.5Where the two fronts are to join, stitch one half of a snap fastenerbeneath each button and the other half in the corresponding position onthe other side of the ribbon trim.1Carefully remove the buttons using sharpscissors. Take care not to cut the fabric.HOW TO ADD A RIBBON TRIM TO A CARDIGAN274 CustomizingIs your cardigan looking tired and dull? If so, why not add a prettyribbon trim to the front edges and some decorative buttons? Thistechnique could be applied to any style of cardigan. You could evenembellish the neck and cuffs of a sweater in the same way, in whichcase you won’t need the snap fasteners.Adding a ribbontrim to a cardiganYOU WILL NEED• A cardigan• 80in (2m) firm ribbon, thewidth of the button band• 15–20 assorted buttons• Snap fasteners• 1 spool matching all-purposesewing threadBEFORE YOU STARTPlaincardiganAn assortment ofbuttons and a glamribbon trim togethergive a tired oldcardigan a quirky,handmade look.256 Alterations and repairsSMALL SCISSORS SEAM RIPPER PIN AND SCISSORSAll repairs involve unpicking stitches. This must be done carefully to keep from damagingthe fabric because the fabric will have to be restitched. There are three ways you canunpick stitches.If you accidentally catch a piece of jewelry on a sweater or other knitted garment, it maymake a small hole. A moth could make a hole, too. It is worth darning the hole, especially if thesweater was expensive or is a favorite. Holes can also occur in the heels of socks; thesecan be darned in the same way.Repairing a tear in fabric, patching a worn area, or fixing a zipper or a buttonhole can add extra life toa garment. Repairs like these may seem tedious, but they are very easy to do and worth the effort.For some of the mending techniques shown here, a contrasting color thread has been used so thatthe stitching can be seen clearly. However, when making a repair, be sure to use a matching thread.MendingUNPICKING STITCHESDARNING A HOLELEVEL OF DIFFICULTY **LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY **Pull the fabric apart and, using very small, sharplypointed scissors, snip through the stitches thathave been exposed.Slide a seam ripper carefully under a stitch and cut it.Cut through every fourth or fifth stitch, and the seamwill unravel easily.On difficult fabricsor on very small,tight stitches, slide apin under the stitchto lift it away fromthe fabric, thensnip through witha pair of sharplypointed scissors.1Even if the hole is small, the sweaterwill be unwearable. 2Work several rows of running stitchesvertically around the hole. 3Complete the repair by working horizontal rowsof running stitches through the vertical stitches.257MendingA button under strain can sometimes pull off a garment. If this happens, a hole will be made inthe fabric, which needs to be fixed before a new button can be stitched on.A buttonhole can sometimes rip at the end, or the stitching on the buttonhole can comeunraveled. When repairing, use a thread that matches the fabric so the repair will be invisible.REPAIRING FABRICUNDER A BUTTONREPAIRING A DAMAGEDBUTTONHOLELEVEL OF DIFFICULTY **LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY **1On the right side of the fabric, the hole wherethe button has pulled off is clearly visible.2Stitch over the torn edges by handusing a buttonhole stitch.2Turn to the wrong side and apply a patchof fusible interfacing over the hole.3Reinforce the ends usingsmall oversewing stitches.1On the right side of the fabric, the edgesof the buttonhole stitching have tornand come unraveled.4Stitch the buttonback in place.3Work straight machinestitches over the hole onthe right side to strengthenthe fabric.24 Tools and materialsYou can purchase many more accessories to help with yoursewing, but knowing which products to choose and for whichjob can be daunting. The tools shown here are useful aids, althoughthe items you need will depend on the type of sewing you do.Useful extrasEMERGENCY SEWING KITAll the absolute essentials to fix loosebuttons or dropped hems while awayfrom your sewing machine. Take it withyou when traveling.TWEEZERSThese can be used for removing stubbornbasting stitches that are caught in the machinestitching.BEESWAXWhen hand sewing, this will prevent thethread from tangling, and will strengthenit. First draw the thread through the wax,then press the wax into the thread byrunning your fingers along it.LIQUID SEALANTUsed to seal the cut edge ofribbons and trims to preventfraying. Also useful to seal theends of overlock stitching.COLLAR POINT TURNERThis is excellent for pushingout those hard-to-reachcorners in collars and cuffs.14-IN-1 MEASUREA strange-looking tool that has14 different measurements on it.Use to turn hems or edgesaccurately. Available in bothmetric and standard.25Useful extrasTHIMBLEAn essential item for many sewers, to protectthe middle finger from the end of the needle.There are many types of thimble, so chooseone that fits your finger comfortably.LOOP TURNERA thin metal rod with a latch at theend. Use to turn narrow fabric tubes orto thread ribbons through slotted lace.TAPE MAKERAvailable in 1⁄2, 3⁄4, and 1in (12, 18, and 25mm) widths,this tool evenly folds the edges of a fabric strip, whichcan then be pressed to make binding.DRESSMAKER’S DUMMYAn adjustable form that is usefulwhen fitting garments, since itcan be adjusted to personalbody measurements. Excellentto help in turning up hemlines.Available in female, male, andchildren’s shapes and sizes.PATTERN PAPERThis can be plain or printedwith dots and crosses at regularintervals. The paper can beused for drafting patterns orfor altering or tracing patterns.
  8. 8. Tools &MaterialsGood-quality basics are essential for successful dressmaking. Scissors, pins, needles,and thread are essentials, as is a sewing machine. This section shows the featuresof your machine and the tools, materials, and extras needed for your project.
  9. 9. 12A well-equipped sewing kit will include all of the items shown below and many more, depending onthe type of sewing that you regularly do. It is important to use a suitable container to keep yourtools together, so that they will be easy to access and to keep them neat and tidy.CUTTING SHEARSRequired for cutting fabric.When buying, select a pairthat feels comfortable inyour hand and that is nottoo heavy. See p.20.PIN CUSHIONTo keep your needles and pins safeand clean. Choose one that has afabric cover and is firm. See p.15.NEEDLESA good selection of differenttypes of needle for sewingby hand. They will enableyou to tackle any hand-sewing project. See p.14.TAPE MEASUREEssential, not only to take body measurements, butalso to help measure fabric, seams, etc. Choose onethat provides both metric and standard units. A tapemade of plastic is best, since it won’t stretch. See p.18.SEWING GAUGEA handy gadget for smallmeasurements. The slide canbe set to measure hemdepths, buttonhole diameters,and much more. See p.18.SAFETY PINSIn a variety of sizes.Useful foremergency repairsand for threadingelastics. See p.15.BUTTONHOLE CHISELAn exceedingly sharpmini-chisel that gives a cleancut through machinebuttonholes. Place a cuttingboard underneath whenusing this tool or you mightdamage the blade. See p.21.Tools and materialsBasic sewing kit
  10. 10. 13BUILD UP YOURSEWING KITCUTTING TOOLS pp.20–21MEASURING TOOLS p.18MARKING AIDS p.19USEFUL EXTRAS pp.24–25PRESSING AIDS pp.32–33NEEDLE THREADERS p.14• Bent-handledshears• Paper scissors• Pinking shears• Snips• Trimming scissors• Seam ripper• Buttonhole chisel• Cutting shears• Embroideryscissors• Flexible ruler • Other tapemeasures• Wire needlethreader• Automatic needlethreader• Chalk pencil• Drafting ruler• Mechanicalpencil• Tailor’s chalk• Tracing wheel andcarbon paper• Water/air-solublepen• 14-in-1 measure• Beeswax• Collar point turner• Dressmaker’sdummy• Liquid sealant• Emergencysewing kit• Loop turner• Pattern paper• Tape maker• Tweezers• Clapper• Iron• Ironing board• Pressing cloth• Pressing mitten• Seam roll• Tailor’s ham• Velvet matNOTIONSAll the odds and ends a sewer needs,including everything from buttons andsnaps to trimmings and elastic. A selectionof buttons and snaps in your basic kit isuseful for a quick repair. See pp.22–23.ZIPPERSIt is always a good idea to keepa couple of zippers in your sewingkit. Black, cream, and navy arethe most useful colors. Seepp.119–122.THIMBLEThis is useful to protect the endof your finger when hand sewing.Thimbles are available in variousshapes and sizes. See p.25.SEAM RIPPERAlso called a stitch ripper, toremove any stitches that havebeen sewn in the wrong place.Various sizes of seam rippers areavailable. Keep the cover on whennot in use to protect the sharppoint. See p.21.PINSNeeded by every sewer to hold thefabric together prior to sewing itpermanently. There are differenttypes of pin for different types ofwork. See p.15.EMBROIDERY SCISSORSSmall pair of scissors with verysharp points, to clip threadsclose to the fabric. See p.20.THREADSA selection of threadsfor hand sewing andmachine/serge sewingin a variety of colors. Somethreads are made of polyester,while others are cotton orrayon. See pp.16–17.
  11. 11. 14 Tools and materialsUsing the correct pin or needle for your work is extremely important, since the wrong choice can damagefabric or leave small holes. Needles are made from steel and pins from steel or occasionally brass. Look afterthem by keeping pins in a pin cushion and needles in a needle case—if kept together in a small containerthey can become scratched and blunt.Needles and pinsMILLINER’S OR STRAW A very long, thin needle with a small, round eye.Good for hand sewing and basting, since it doesn’t damage fabric. A size 8 or 9is most popular.TAPESTRY A medium-length, thick needle with a blunt end and a long eye.For use with wool yarn in tapestry. Also for darning in overlock threads.SELF-THREADING NEEDLE A needle that has a double eye. The threadis placed in the upper eye through the gap, then pulled into the eye belowfor sewing.WIRE NEEDLE THREADERA handy gadget, especiallyuseful for needles with smalleyes. Also helpful in threadingsewing-machine needles.AUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADERThis threader is operated with a small lever.The needle, eye down, is inserted and thethread is wrapped around.CREWEL Also known as an embroidery needle, a long needle with a long,oval eye that is designed to take multiple strands of embroidery thread.DARNER’S A long, thick needle that is designed to be used with wool orthick yarns and to sew through multiple layers.BODKIN A strange-looking needle with a blunt end and a large, fat eye.Use to thread elastic or cord. There are larger eyes for thicker yarns.SHARPS An all-purpose hand-sewing needle, with a small, round eye.Available in sizes 1 to 12. For most hand sewing use a size 6 to 9.BEADING Long and extremely fine, to sew beads and sequins to fabric.Since it is prone to bending, keep it wrapped in tissue when not in use.BETWEENS OR QUILTING Similar to a milliner’s needle but very short,with a small, round eye. Perfect for fine hand stitches and favored by quilters.CHENILLE This looks like a tapestry needle but it has a sharp point. Use withthick yarns or wool yarns for darning or heavy embroidery.Needles are available for all types of fabric and project. Keep a good selection of needles onhand at all times, whether it be for emergency mending of tears, or sewing on buttons, or addingtrimmings to special-occasion wear. With a special needle threader, inserting the thread throughthe eye of the needle is simplicity itself.NEEDLES ANDTHREADERS
  12. 12. 15Needles and pinsThere is a wide variety of pins available, in differing lengths and thicknesses and ranging fromplain household pins to those with colored balls or flower shapes on their ends.PINSHOUSEHOLDAll-purpose pins of a medium lengthand thickness. Can be used for alltypes of sewing.PEARL-HEADEDLonger than household pins, witha colored pearl head. They are easy topick up and use.GLASS-HEADEDSimilar to pearl-headed pins but shorter.They have the advantage that they can bepressed over without melting.PIN CUSHIONTo keep pins clean and sharp. Choose a fabric cover:a foam cushion may blunt pins.DRESSMAKER’SSimilar to a household pin in shape andthickness, but slightly longer. These are thepins for beginners to choose.FLOWERHEADA long pin of medium thickness with a flat,flower-shaped head. It is made to be pressedover, since the head lies flat on the fabric.SAFETY PINSAvailable in a huge variety of sizes and made either of brass or stainlesssteel. Used for holding two or more layers together.EXTRA FINEExtra long and extra fine, this pin is favoredby many professional dressmakers becauseit is easy to use and doesn’t damage finer fabrics.
  13. 13. 16There are so many threads available that knowing which ones to choose can be confusing. There arespecialty threads designed for special tasks, such as machine embroidery or decorative stitching. Threadsalso vary in fiber content, from pure cotton to rayon to polyester. Some threads are very fine, while othersare thick and coarse. Failure to choose the correct thread can spoil your project and lead to problems withthe stitch quality of the sewing machine or serger.ThreadsPOLYESTER ALL-PURPOSE THREADA good-quality polyester thread that has a very slight “give,”making itsuitable for sewing all types of fabric and garment. It is the mostpopular type of thread.COTTON THREADA 100% cotton thread. Smooth and firm, this is designedto be used with cotton fabrics.SILK THREADA sewing thread made from 100% silk. Used for machining delicatesilk garments because it can be removed without leaving an imprint,it is also used for basting or temporary stitching in areas that are tobe pressed, such as jacket collars.ELASTIC THREADA thin, round elastic thread normally used on the bobbin of thesewing machine for stretch effects such as shirring.Tools and materials
  14. 14. 17TOP-STITCHING THREADA thicker polyester thread used for decorative top-stitching and buttonholes.Also for hand sewing buttons on thicker fabrics.EMBROIDERY THREADMachine embroidery thread is a finerembroidery thread that is usually madefrom rayon or cotton. Also available onlarger spools for economy.SERGER THREADA dull yarn on a larger spool designed to be used on theserger. This type of yarn is normally not strong enoughto use on the sewing machine.ThreadsVARIEGATED MACHINE EMBROIDERY THREADRAYON MACHINE EMBROIDERY THREADLARGE SPOOL OF RAYON EMBROIDERY THREADCOTTON MACHINE EMBROIDERY THREAD
  15. 15. 18A huge range of tools enables a sewer to measure accurately. Choosing the correct tool for the task athand is important, so that your measurements are precise. After measuring, the next step is to mark yourwork using the appropriate marking technique or tool.Measuring and marking TOOLSMEASURING TOOLS There are many tools available to help you measure everything from the width of a seamor hem to body dimensions. One of the most basic yet invaluable measuring tools is thetape measure. Be sure to keep yours in good condition—once it stretches or gets snippedon the edges, it will no longer be accurate and should be replaced.FLEXIBLE RULERA sturdy, flexible piece ofplastic, this is perfect formeasuring armholes andcurved shapes. It is also usedwhen altering patterns.TAPE MEASUREAvailable in various colors and widths.Try to choose one that is the same widthas a standard seam allowance (5⁄8in/1.5cm),since this will prove extremely useful.RETRACTABLETAPEVery useful to have inyour handbag whenshopping, since you neverknow when you may needto measure something!SEWING GAUGEA handy small tool about 6in (15cm) long,marked in inches and centimeters, with asliding tab. Use as an accurate measurefor small measurements such as hems.EXTRA-LONG TAPEThis is usually twice the length of anormal tape measure, at 10ft (300cm)long. It is useful for measuring thelength of bridal trains.Tools and materials
  16. 16. 19MARKING AIDS Marking certain parts of your work is essential, to make sure that elements such as pocketsand darts are placed correctly and seam lines are straight as drawn on the pattern. With somemarking tools, such as pens and a tracing wheel and carbon paper, it is always a good ideato test on a scrap of fabric first to make sure that the mark made will not be permanent.DRAFTING RULERA plastic curved tool, alsocalled a pattern-markingruler, used primarily whendrafting or altering patterns.CHALK PENCILAvailable in blue, pink,and white. It can besharpened like a normalpencil, so will drawaccurate lines on fabric.CHALK MECHANICAL PENCILChalk leads of different colors canbe inserted into a mechanical pencil,making it a very versatile markingtool. The leads can be sharpened.TAILOR’S CHALKAlso known as French chalk,this solid piece of chalk ineither a square or triangularshape is available in a widevariety of colors. The chalkeasily brushes off fabric.WATER/AIR-SOLUBLE PENThis resembles a felt-tippen. Marks made can beremoved from the fabricwith either a spray ofwater or by leaving toair-dry. Be careful—if youpress over the marks, theymay become permanent.TRACING WHEEL ANDCARBON PAPERThese two items are used together totransfer markings from a paper patternor a design onto fabric. Not suitablefor all types of fabric though, sincemarks may not be easily removable.Measuring and marking tools
  17. 17. 20 Tools and materialsCUTTING SHEARSThe most popular type of shear, usedfor cutting large pieces of fabric. Thelength of the blade can vary from8 to 12in (20 to 30cm) in length.SNIPSA very useful, small, spring-loadedtool that easily cuts the ends ofthread. Not suitable for fabrics.EMBROIDERY SCISSORSA small and very sharp scissorused to get into corners andclip threads close to the fabric.TRIMMINGSCISSORSThese scissors havea 4in (10cm) bladeand are used to trimaway surplus fabricand neaten endsof machining.There are many types of cutting tool, but one rule appliesto all: buy good-quality products that can be resharpened.When choosing cutting shears, make sure that they fit thespan of your hand so that you can comfortably open thewhole of the blade with one action. This is very important toallow clean and accurate cutting lines. Shears and scissors ofvarious types are not the only cutting tools required; everyonewill at some time need a seam ripper to remove misplacedstitches or to unpick seams for mending.Cutting tools
  18. 18. 21Cutting toolsSEAM RIPPERA sharp, pointed hook to slideunder a stitch, with a small cuttingblade at the base to cut thethread. Various sizes of seamripper are available, to cut throughlight to heavyweight fabric seams.BUTTONHOLECHISELA smaller version ofa carpenter’s chisel,to cut cleanly andaccurately throughbuttonholes. Sincethis is very sharp,use a cutting boardunderneath.PAPERSCISSORSUse these to cutaround patternpieces—cuttingpaper will dull theblades of fabricscissors and shears.PINKING SHEARSSimilar in size tocutting shears but witha blade that cuts witha zigzag pattern. Usedfor neatening seamsand decorative edges.BENT-HANDLED SHEARSThis type of blade has an anglebetween the blade and the handlethat enables the shears to sit flat onthe table when cutting out. Popularfor cutting long, straight edges.
  19. 19. 22The term notions covers all of the odds and ends that a sewer needs, for example, fasteners such asbuttons, snaps, hooks and eyes, and Velcro™. But notions also includes elastics, ribbons, trimmings of alltypes, and boning.NOTIONsButtons can be made from almost anything—shell, bone, coconut, nylon, plastic, brass, silver.They can be any shape, from geometric to abstract to animal shapes. A button may have a shankor have holes on the surface so that it can be attached to fabric.Hooks and eyes , snaps, and Velcro™ all come in a wide variety of forms, differing in size, shape,and color. Some hooks and eyes are designed to be seen, while snaps and Velcro™ are intendedto be hidden fasteners.BUTTONSOTHER FASTENERSHOOKS AND EYESSNAPSVELCRO™Tools and materials
  20. 20. 23Decorative finishing touches—fringes, strips of sequins, rickrack braids, feathers, pearls, bows,flowers, and beads—can embellish or personalize a garment. Some are designed to be insertedinto seams while others are surface-mounted.From the narrowest strips to wide swathes, ribbons are made from a variety of yarns, suchas nylon, polyester, and cotton. They can be printed or plain and may feature metallic threadsor wired edges.Elastic is available in many forms, from very narrow, round cord elastic to wide strips. The elasticmay have buttonhole slots in it or even a decorative edge.Boning comes in various types and in different widths. You can sew through polyester boning,used in boned bodices, while nylon boning, also used on boned bodices, has to be inserted intoa casing. Specialized metal bones, which may be either spiral or straight, are for corsets andbridal wear.TRIMMINGS,DECORATIONS, FRINGES,AND BRAIDSRIBBONSELASTICBONINGSPIRAL METALBONENYLON BONINGSTRAIGHTMETAL BONEPOLYESTERBONINGNotionsBUTTONHOLE ELASTICBEADED FRINGERIBBON TRIMRICKRACK TRIMNARROW ELASTICWIDE ELASTIC
  21. 21. 24 Tools and materialsYou can purchase many more accessories to help with yoursewing, but knowing which products to choose and for whichjob can be daunting. The tools shown here are useful aids, althoughthe items you need will depend on the type of sewing you do.Useful extrasEMERGENCY SEWING KITAll the absolute essentials to fix loosebuttons or dropped hems while awayfrom your sewing machine. Take it withyou when traveling.TWEEZERSThese can be used for removing stubbornbasting stitches that are caught in the machinestitching.BEESWAXWhen hand sewing, this will prevent thethread from tangling, and will strengthenit. First draw the thread through the wax,then press the wax into the thread byrunning your fingers along it.LIQUID SEALANTUsed to seal the cut edge ofribbons and trims to preventfraying. Also useful to seal theends of overlock stitching.COLLAR POINT TURNERThis is excellent for pushingout those hard-to-reachcorners in collars and cuffs.14-IN-1 MEASUREA strange-looking tool that has14 different measurements on it.Use to turn hems or edgesaccurately. Available in bothmetric and standard.
  22. 22. 25Useful extrasTHIMBLEAn essential item for many sewers, to protectthe middle finger from the end of the needle.There are many types of thimble, so chooseone that fits your finger comfortably.LOOP TURNERA thin metal rod with a latch at theend. Use to turn narrow fabric tubes orto thread ribbons through slotted lace.TAPE MAKERAvailable in 1⁄2, 3⁄4, and 1in (12, 18, and 25mm) widths,this tool evenly folds the edges of a fabric strip, whichcan then be pressed to make binding.DRESSMAKER’S DUMMYAn adjustable form that is usefulwhen fitting garments, since itcan be adjusted to personalbody measurements. Excellentto help in turning up hemlines.Available in female, male, andchildren’s shapes and sizes.PATTERN PAPERThis can be plain or printedwith dots and crosses at regularintervals. The paper can beused for drafting patterns orfor altering or tracing patterns.
  23. 23. 26A sewing machine will quickly speed up any job, whether it be a quick repair or making a dress for a specialoccasion. Most sewing machines today are aided by computer technology, which enhances stitch qualityand ease of use. Always spend time trying out a sewing machine before you buy, to really get a feel for it.Sewing machineAUTOMATIC NEEDLE THREADERA pull-down gadget to aid in threadingthe machine needle.DOG FEEDSThese metal teeth grip the fabricand feed it through the machine.PRESSER FOOTTo hold the fabric in place while stitching.Various feet can be used here to aiddifferent sewing processes. See pp.28–29.BUTTONHOLE SENSORA pull-down sensor that automaticallyjudges the size of the buttonholerequired to fit the button chosen.NEEDLE PLATEA transparent, removablecover reveals the bobbin. Thisplate is gridded to help stitchseams of various widths.SHANKTo hold the variousfeet in place.Tools and materialsTHREADING GUIDESMarkings to help guide you inthreading the upper thread.
  24. 24. 27NEEDLEThe machine needle. Replace it regularlyto ensure good stitch quality. See p.28.Sewing machineBUTTONSTo provide various functions,such as reverse, lockingstitch, and needle-in.REMOVABLE FREE ARMThis section of the machine will pullaway to give a narrow work bed thatcan be used when inserting sleeves. Italso contains a useful storage section.LCD SCREENAn illuminated screenthat displays informationsuch as needle positionand stitch type.SPOOLHOLDERTo hold your sewingthread in place.HAND WHEELThis can be turnedtoward you to movethe needle up ordown manually.BOBBIN WINDERWinds the thread fromthe spool onto thebobbin, keeping it undertension. See p.28.STITCH SIZEUsed to increase and decreaselength and width of stitch.TOUCH BUTTONSThese quickly select the most popularstitches such as zigzag and buttonhole.STITCH LIBRARYAll the different stitches this machine canstitch. You just have to key in the number.SPEED CONTROLA slide, to control thespeed of your machine.
  25. 25. 28 Tools and materialsYou can purchase a variety of accessories for your sewing machine to make certain sewingprocesses much easier. There are different machine needles not only for different fabrics but alsofor different types of thread. There is also a huge number of sewing-machine feet, and new feetare constantly coming on to the market. Those shown here are some of the most popular.SEWING-MACHINEACCESSORIESPLASTIC BOBBINThe bobbin is for the lower thread. Some machines take plastic bobbins,others metal. Always check which kind of bobbin your machine uses, sincethe incorrect choice can cause stitch problems.OVEREDGE FOOTA foot that runs along the raw edge of the fabric and holdsit stable while an overedge stitch is worked.EMBROIDERY FOOTA clear plastic foot with a groove underneath that allowslinear machine embroidery stitches to pass under.MACHINE NEEDLESThere are different types of sewing machineneedle to cope with different fabrics. Machineneedles are sized from 60 to 100, a 60 being avery fine needle. There are special needles formachine embroidery and also for metallic threads.METAL BOBBINAlso known as a universal bobbin, this is used with many typesof sewing machine. Be sure to check that your machine requiresa metal bobbin before you buy.
  26. 26. 29Sewing machineBUTTONHOLE FOOTThis extends so the button can be placed in the back of the foot. The machinewill stitch a buttonhole to fit thanks to the buttonhole sensor.INVISIBLE ZIPPER FOOTA foot that is used to insert an invisible zipper—the foot holds thecoils of the zipper open, enabling you to stitch behind them.BLIND HEM FOOTUse this foot in conjunction with the blind hem stitchto create a neat hemming stitch.ULTRA-GLIDE FOOTA foot made from Teflon™ that glides over the fabric.Useful for synthetic leathers.WALKING FOOTThis strange-looking foot “walks”across the fabric, so that the upper layerof fabric does not push forward. Great for matching checks and stripesand also for stitching difficult fabrics.ZIPPER FOOTThis foot fits to either the right- or left-hand side of the needleto enable you to stitch close to a zipper.
  27. 27. 30This machine is often used in conjunction with the sewing machine, since it gives a very professional finishto your work. The serger has two upper threads and two lower threads (the loopers), with integral knivesthat remove the edge of the fabric. Used extensively for neatening the edges of fabric, the serger can also beused for construction of stretch knits.SergerAs the serger works, the threads wrap around the edge to give a professional finish.The 3-thread stitch is used primarily for neatening. A 4-thread stitch can also be used forneatening, but its fourth thread makes it ideal for constructing a seam on stretch knits.SERGER STITCHES3-THREAD SERGER STITCH4-THREAD SERGER STITCHYou can purchase additional feet for the serger. Some will speedup your sewing by performing tasks such as gathering.SERGER NEEDLESThe serger uses a ballpoint needle, which creates a large loop inthe thread for the loopers to catch and produce a stitch. If a normalsewing machine needle is used it can damage the serger.SERGER FOOTThe standard foot used for most processes.Other feet are available for gathering and cording.SERGER ACCESSORIESTools and materials
  28. 28. 31TENSION DIALSThere are four tensiondials, one for each thread.HAND WHEELThis can be turned manuallybackward to disengage a stitch.DIFFERENTIALFEED DIALThis dial controlsthe ratio betweenthe two layersof fabric feedingunder the foot.STITCH LENGTHDIALTo set the length ofthe machine stitch.THREAD GUIDESTo guide the threadfrom the reels.THREAD GUIDESTo guide the threadthrough the machine.KNIVESTwo knives inside the machinecut away the fabric edge.Serger
  29. 29. 32Successful sewing relies on successful pressing. Without the correct pressing equipment, sewing can looktoo “home-made,”whereas if correctly pressed any sewn item will have a neat, professional finish.Pressing aidsSEAM ROLLThis tubular pressing aid is used topress seams open on fabrics thatmark, since the iron only touchesthe seam on top of the roll. Alsoused for sleeve and pants seams.CLAPPERA wooden aid thatpounds creases intoa heavy fabric aftersteaming. The topsection is used tohelp press collarseams and points.PRESSING CLOTHChoose a cloth made from silk organzaor muslin, since you can see through it.The cloth stops the iron from markingfabric and protects delicate fabrics.Tools and materials
  30. 30. 33IRONA good-quality steam iron is a wonderfulasset. Choose a reasonably heavy iron thathas steam and a shot of steam facility.IRONING BOARDEssential to iron on.Make sure the boardis height-adjustable.PRESSING MITTENSlips on to your hand togive more control overwhere you are pressing.VELVET MATA pressing mat with a tufted sideto aid the pressing of pile fabrics,such as velvet.TAILOR’S HAMA ham-shaped pressing pillow that isused to press darts and press theshape into collar and shoulder curves.Also used in making tailored garments.Pressing aids
  31. 31. FabricsChoosing the correct fabric for your dressmaking project is vital. Considerations to bearin mind include the suitability of the fabric for the particular project, whether or notthe fabric will need lining, and how easy it will be to care for once it has been made up.
  32. 32. 36 FabricsA natural fiber, wool comes primarily from sheep—Australian merino sheep’s wool is considered to bethe best. However, we also get wool fibers from goats (mohair and cashmere), rabbits (angora), camels(camel hair), and llamas (alpaca). A wool fiber is either short and fluffy, when it is known as a woolenyarn, or it is long, strong, and smooth, when it is called worsted. The term virgin (or new) wool denoteswool fibers that are being used for the first time. Wool may be reprocessed or reused and is then oftenmixed with other fibers.WoolPROPERTIES OF WOOL• Comfortable to wear in all climates since it is available in many weightsand weaves• Warm in the winter and cool in the summer, because it will breathewith your body• Absorbs moisture better than other natural fibers—will absorb up to30 percent of its weight before it feels wet• Flame-resistant• Relatively crease-resistant• Ideal to tailor since it can be easily shaped with steam• Often blended with other fibers to reduce the cost of a fabric• Felts if exposed to excessive heat, moisture, and pressure• Will be bleached by sunlight with prolonged exposure• Can be damaged by mothsCASHMERECREPEWool from the Kashmir goat, andthe most luxurious of all the wools.A soft yet hard-wearing fabricavailable in different weights.Cutting out: Since cashmere oftenhas a slight pile, use a nap layoutSeams: Plain, neatened withserger stitch or pinking shears(a zigzag stitch would curl the edgeof the seam)Thread: A silk thread is ideal, or apolyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14,depending on the thicknessof the fabric; sharps forhand sewingPressing: Steam iron on asteam setting, with a pressingcloth and seam rollUsed for: Jackets, coats, men’swear; knitted cashmere yarn forsweaters, cardigans, underwearA soft fabric made from a twistedyarn that produces an unevensurface. Crepe will have stretchedon the bolt and is prone to shrinkageso it is important to preshrink it bysteaming prior to use.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: Plain, neatened with sergerstitch (a zigzag stitch maycurl the edge of the seam)Thread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12; sharpsor milliner’s for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting; a pressing cloth is notalways requiredUsed for: All types of clothing
  33. 33. 37WoolFLANNELGABARDINEMOHAIRA wool with a lightly brushedsurface, featuring either a plainor a twill weave. Used in the pastfor underwear.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or zigzag stitch or aHong Kong finishThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting with a pressing cloth;use a seam roll as the fabric isprone to markingUsed for: Coats, jackets, skirts, pants,men’s wearA hard-wearing suiting fabricwith a distinctive weave. Gabardineoften has a sheen and is prone toshine. It can be difficult to handlesince it is springy and frays badly.Cutting out: A nap layout isadvisable since the fabric has a sheenSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threador 100 percent cotton threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting; use just the toe of the ironand a silk organza pressing cloth asthe fabric will mark and may shineUsed for: Men’s wear, jackets, pantsFrom the wool of the Angora goat.A long, straight, and very strongfiber that produces a hairy clothor yarn for knitting.Cutting out: Use a nap layout,with the fibers brushing downthe pattern pieces in the samedirection, from neck to hemSeams: Plain, neatened with sergerstitch or pinking shearsThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting; “stroke”the iron over thewool, moving in the direction ofthe napUsed for: Jackets, coats, men’swear, soft furnishings; knittedmohair yarns for sweaters
  34. 34. 38 FabricsTARTANTWEEDWOOL WORSTEDAn authentic tartan belongsto a Scottish clan, and each hasits own unique design that canonly be used by that clan.The fabric is made using a twillweave from worsted yarns.Cutting out: Check the designfor even/uneven checks since it mayneed a nap layout or even a singlelayer layoutSeams: Plain, matching thepattern and neatened withserger or zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharps forhand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting; may require a pressing cloth,so test firstUsed for: Traditionally kilts, but thesedays also skirts, pants, jackets, softfurnishingsA rough fabric with a distinctive warpand weft, often in different colors.Traditional tweed is associated withthe English countryside.Cutting out: A nap layout is notrequired unless the fabric featuresa checkSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitch; can also be neatenedwith pinking shearsThread: Polyester all-purpose threador 100 percent cotton threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a steamsetting; a pressing cloth may notbe requiredUsed for: Jackets, coats, skirts,men’s wear, soft furnishingsA light and strong cloth, made fromgood-quality thin, firm filament fibers.Always steam prior to cutting out sincethe fabric may shrink slightly afterhaving been stretched around a bolt.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or zigzag stitch or aHong Kong finishThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14,depending on fabric; milliner’sor sharps for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting with a pressing cloth;use a seam roll to prevent theseam from showing throughUsed for: Skirts, jackets,coats, pants
  35. 35. 39CottonOne of the most versatile and popular of all fabrics, cotton is a natural fiber that comes from the seedpods, or bolls, of the cotton plant. It is thought that cotton fibers have been in use since ancient times.Today, the world’s biggest producers of cotton include the United States, India, and countries in theMiddle East. Cotton fibers can be filament or staple, with the longest and finest used for top-qualitybed linen. Cotton clothing is widely worn in warmer climates since the fabric will keep you cool.CottonPROPERTIES OF COTTON• Absorbs moisture well and carries heat away from the body• Stronger wet than dry• Does not build up static electricity• Dyes well• Prone to shrinkage unless it has been treated• Will deteriorate from mildew and prolonged exposure to sunlight• Creases easily• Soils easily, but launders wellEYELETMUSLINA fine, plain-weave cotton thathas been embroidered in sucha way as to make small holes.Cutting out: May need layout toplace embroidery at hem edgeSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitch; a French seam canalso be usedThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on acotton setting; a pressing clothis not requiredUsed for: Baby clothes, summerskirts, blousesA plain-weave fabric that is usuallyunbleached and quite firm. Availablein many different weights, from veryfine to extremely heavy.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11/14,depending on thickness of thread;sharps for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on asteam setting; a pressing clothis not requiredUsed for: Toiles (test garments),soft furnishings
  36. 36. 40 FabricsCHAMBRAYCORDUROYDENIMA light cotton that has a coloredwarp thread and white weft thread.Chambray can also be found as acheck or a striped fabric.Cutting out: A nap layout shouldnot be requiredSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on acotton setting; a pressingcloth is not requiredUsed for: Blouses, men’s shirts,children’s wearA soft pile fabric with distinctivestripes (known as wales or ribs)woven into it. The name dependson the size of the ribs: baby orpin cord has extremely fine ribs;needle cord has slightly thickerribs; corduroy has 10–12 ribs per 1in(2.5cm); and elephant or jumbo cordhas thick, heavy ribs.Cutting out: Use a nap layout withthe pile on the corduroy brushingup the pattern pieces from hemto neck, to give depth of colorSeams: Plain, stitched using awalking foot and neatened withserger or zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/16; sharpsor milliner’s for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting; use a seam roll under theseams with a pressing clothUsed for: Pants, skirts, men’s wearNamed after Nîmes in France. Ahard-wearing, twill-weave fabricwith a colored warp and whiteweft, usually made into jeans.Available in various weights andoften mixed with an elastic threadfor stretch. Denim is usually blue,but is also available in a varietyof other colors.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: Run and fell or topstitchedThread: Polyester all-purposethread with topstitching threadfor detail topstitchingNeedle: Machine size 14/16; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting; a pressing cloth shouldnot be requiredUsed for: Jeans, jackets,children’s wear
  37. 37. 41CottonGINGHAMMADRASA fresh, two-color cotton fabricthat features a check of varioussizes. A plain weave made by havinggroups of white and colored warpand weft threads.Cutting out: Usually an evencheck, so nap layout is not requiredbut recommended; pattern willneed to be matchedSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11/12; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting; a pressing cloth should notbe requiredUsed for: Children’s wear, dresses,shirts, home furnishingsA check fabric made from a finecotton yarn, usually from India.Often found in bright colors featuringan uneven check. An inexpensivecotton fabric.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutand match the checksSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14;sharps for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on acotton setting; a pressingcloth is not requiredUsed for: Shirts, skirts,shorts, home furnishingsJERSEYA fine cotton yarn that has beenknitted to give stretch, makingthe fabric very comfortable towear. Jersey will also drape well.Cutting out: A nap layout isrecommendedSeams: 4-thread sergerstitch; or plain seam stitchedwith a small zigzag stitch andthen seam allowances stitchedtogether with a zigzagThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14; aballpoint needle may be requiredfor serger and a milliner’s for handsewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting since jersey may shrink ona cotton settingUsed for: Underwear, drapeddresses, loungewear, bedding
  38. 38. 42 FabricsSHIRTINGVELVETA closely woven, fine cottonwith colored warp and weftyarns making stripes or checks.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutif fabric has uneven stripesSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or zigzag stitch; a runand fell seam can also be usedThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12; milliner’sfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on acotton setting; a pressingcloth is not requiredUsed for: Ladies’and men’s shirtsA pile-weave fabric, made byusing an additional yarn thatis then cut to produce the pile.Difficult to handle and can beeasily damaged if seams haveto be unpicked.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutwith the pile brushing up fromhem to neck, to give depthof colorSeams: Plain, stitched using awalking foot (stitch all seamsfrom hem to neck) and neatenedwith serger or zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 14; milliner’sfor hand sewingPressing: Only if you have to; usea velvet board, a little steam, the toeof the iron, and a silk organza clothUsed for: Jackets, coatsCHEESECLOTHA fine, plain, open-weave cotton.Can be found in colors but usuallysold as natural/unbleached or white.Makes great pressing cloths andinterlinings. Washing prior to useis recommended.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: 4-thread serger stitchor plain seam, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitch; a French seam couldalso be usedThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11; milliner’sfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting; a cloth is not requiredUsed for: Curtaining and otherhousehold uses
  39. 39. 43SilkOften referred to as the queen of fabrics, silk is made from the fibers of the silkworm’s cocoon. This strongand luxurious fabric dates back thousands of years to its first development in China, and the secret of silkproduction was well protected by the Chinese until 300 AD. Silk fabrics can be very fine or thick and chunky.They need to be handled with care, since some can be easily damaged.SilkPROPERTIES OF SILK• Keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer• Absorbs moisture and dries quickly• Dyes well, producing deep, rich colors• Static electricity can build up and fabric may cling• Will fade in prolonged strong sunlight• Prone to shrinkage• Best dry-cleaned• Weaker when wet than dry• May watermarkCHIFFONDUCHESSE SATINA very strong and very fine,transparent silk with a plainweave. Will gather and rufflewell. Difficult to handle.Cutting out: Place tissue paperunder the fabric and pin thefabric to the tissue paper, cuttingthrough all layers if necessary;use extra-fine pinsSeams: FrenchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 9/11; finemilliner’s for hand sewingPressing: Dry iron on a wool settingUsed for: Special-occasion wear,overblousesA heavy, expensive satin fabricused almost exclusively forspecial-occasion wear.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutSeams: Plain, with pinked edgesThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14; milliner’sfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting with a pressing cloth;use a seam roll under the seamsto prevent shadowingUsed for: Special-occasion wear
  40. 40. 44 FabricsDUPIONIHABUTAIMATKAWoven using a textured yarnthat produces irregularitiesin the weave.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutto prevent shadowingSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12; milliner’sfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting with a pressing cloth asfabric may watermarkUsed for: Dresses, skirts,jackets, special-occasion wear,soft furnishingsOriginally from Japan, a smooth,fine silk that can have a plain ora twill weave. Fabric is often usedfor silk painting.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: FrenchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 9/11; veryfine milliner’s or betweens forhand sewingPressing: Steam iron ona wool settingUsed for: Lining, shirts, blousesA silk suiting fabric with an uneven-looking yarn. Matka can be mistakenfor linen.Cutting out: Use a nap layout sincesilk may shadowSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or zigzag stitch or aHong Kong finishThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14; milliner’sfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting with a pressing cloth; a seamroll is recommended to prevent theseams from showing throughUsed for: Dresses, jackets, pants
  41. 41. 45SilkORGANZATAFFETASATINA sheer fabric with a crisp appearancethat will crease easily.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: French or use a seamfor a difficult fabricThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11; milliner’sor betweens for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting; a pressing cloth shouldnot be requiredUsed for: Sheer blouses, shrugs,interlining, interfacingA smooth, plain-weave fabricwith a crisp appearance. It makesa rustling sound when worn.Can require special handlingand does not wear well.Cutting out: Use a nap layout,with extra-fine pins in seams tominimize marking the fabricSeams: Plain; fabric may pucker,so sew from the hem upward,keeping the fabric taut under themachine; neaten with sergeror pinking shearsThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11; milliner’sor betweens for hand sewingPressing: Cool iron, with a seamroll under the seamsUsed for: Special-occasion wearA silk with a satin weave thatcan be very light to quite heavyin weight.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutin a single layer as fabric is slipperySeams: French; on thicker satins,use a seam for a difficult fabricThread: Polyester all-purposethread (not silk thread as itbecomes weak with wear)Needle: Machine size 11/12;milliner’s or betweens forhand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting with a pressing cloth asfabric may watermarkUsed for: Blouses, dresses,special-occasion wear
  42. 42. 46 FabricsLinen is a natural fiber that is derived from the stem of the flax plant. It is available in a variety of qualitiesand weights, from very fine linen to heavy suiting weights. Coarser than cotton,it is sometimes woven withcotton as well as being mixed with silk.linenPROPERTIES OF LINEN• Cool and comfortable to wear• Absorbs moisture well• Shrinks when washed• Does not ease well• Has a tendency to crease• Prone to fraying• Resists moths but is damaged by mildewCOTTON AND LINEN MIXDRESS-WEIGHT LINENTwo fibers may have been mixedtogether in the yarn or there may bemixed warp and weft yarns. It haslots of texture in the weave.Cutting out: A nap layout shouldnot be requiredSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: A steam iron on asteam setting with a silk organzapressing clothUsed for: Summer-weight jackets,tailored dressesA medium-weight linen witha plain weave. The yarn is oftenuneven, which causes slubsin the weave.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or zigzag stitch ora Hong Kong finishThread: Polyester all-purposethread with a topstitching threadfor topstitchingNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting (steam is required toremove creases)Used for: Dresses, pants, skirts
  43. 43. 47LinenPRINTED LINENSSUITING LINENFANCY WEAVE LINENMany linens today feature printsor even embroidery. The fabricmay be light to medium weight,with a smooth yarn that hasfew slubs.Cutting out: Use a nap layoutSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting (steam is required toremove creases)Used for: Dresses, skirtsA heavier yarn is used to producea linen suitable for suits for menand women. Can be a firm, tightweave or a looser weave.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or a zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purposethread with a topstitch threadfor topstitchingNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a cottonsetting (steam is required toremove creases)Used for: Men’s and women’ssuits, pants, coatsA linen woven with additionaldecorative yarns such as metallicor lurex.Cutting out: A nap layout isnot requiredSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or a zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purposethread with a topstitch threadfor topstitchingNeedle: Machine size 14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Press carefully as decorativeyarns may melt; use a pressing clothUsed for: Dresses, jackets
  44. 44. 48 FabricsThe term synthetic applies to any fabric that is not 100 percent natural. Many of these fabrics have beendeveloped over the last hundred years, which means they are new compared to natural fibers. Somesynthetic fabrics are made from natural elements mixed with chemicals, while others are made entirelyfrom non-natural substances. The properties of synthetic fabrics vary from fabric to fabric.synthetic fabricsPROPERTIES OF SYNTHETIC FABRICS• Durable and usually launder well• Can be prone to static and “cling”to the body• Can dye well and are often digitally printed• Mix well with natural fibersACETATEACRYLICIntroduced in 1924, acetate ismade from cellulose and chemicals.The fabric has a slight shine andis widely used for linings. Acetatecan also be woven into fabricssuch as acetate taffeta, acetatesatin, and acetate jersey.Properties of acetate:• Dyes well• Can be heat-set into pleats• Washes wellCutting out: Use a nap layoutdue to sheen on fabricSeams: Plain, neatened withserger or zigzag stitch,or 4-thread serger stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a coolsetting (fabric can melt)Used for: Special-occasionwear, liningsIntroduced in 1950, acrylic fibersare made from ethylene andacrylonitrile. The fabric resembleswool and makes a good substitutefor machine-washable wool. Oftenseen as a knitted fabric, the fiberscan be mixed with wool.Properties of acrylic:• Little absorbency• Tends to retain odors• Not very strongCutting out: A nap layoutmay be requiredSeams: 4-thread serger stitchon knitted fabrics; plain seam onwoven fabricsThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14,but a ballpoint needle maybe required on knitted fabrics;sharps for hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on a woolsetting (fabric can be damagedby heat)Used for: Knitted yarns for sweaters;wovens for skirts, blouses
  45. 45. 49Synthetic fabricsPOLYESTEROne of the most popular of theman-made fibers, polyester wasintroduced in 1951 as a man’swashable suiting. Polyester fibers aremade from petroleum by-productsand can take on any form, froma very fine sheer fabric to a thick,heavy suiting.Properties of polyester:• Nonabsorbent• Does not crease• Can build up static• May “pill”Cutting out: A nap layout is onlyrequired if the fabric is printedSeams: French, plain, or 4-threadserger, depending on the weightof the fabricThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 11/14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron on awool settingUsed for: Office wear, schooluniformsRAYONSYNTHETIC FURSAlso known as viscose and oftenreferred to as artificial silk, this fiberwas developed in 1889. It is madefrom wood pulp or cotton lintersmixed with chemicals. Rayon canbe knitted or woven and madeinto a wide range of fabrics. It isoften blended with other fibers.Properties of rayon:• Absorbent• Nonstatic• Dyes well• Frays badlyCutting out: A nap layout is onlyrequired if the fabric is printedSeams: Plain, neatened with sergeror zigzag stitchThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 12/14; sharpsfor hand sewingPressing: Steam iron ona silk settingUsed for: Dresses, blouses, jacketsCreated using a looped yarn thatis then cut on a knitted or a wovenbase, synthetic fur can be made fromnylon or acrylic fibers. The furs varytremendously in quality and some arevery difficult to tell from the real thing.Properties of synthetic furs:• Require careful sewing• Can be heat-damagedby pressing• Not as warm as real furCutting out: Use a nap layout,with the fur pile brushed fromthe neck to the hem; cut just thebacking carefully and not throughthe fur pileSeams: Plain, with a longer stitchand a walking foot; no neateningis requiredThread: Polyester all-purpose threadNeedle: Machine size 14; sharps forhand sewingPressing: If required, use a cool iron(synthetic fur can melt under a hot iron)Used for: Outerwear
  46. 46. patterns &cutting outThe twelve basic patterns in this section can be used to make thirty-one differentgarments. Details are given for making up the basic patterns, followed by theadaptations that are required to produce the variations.
  47. 47. 52 Patterns and cutting outMost dressmakers buy a commercial paper pattern to make a garment. A pattern has three maincomponents: the envelope, the pattern sheets, and the instructions. The envelope gives an illustrationof the garment that can be made from the contents, together with fabric suggestions and otherrequirements. The pattern sheets are normally printed on tissue paper and contain a wealth of information,while the instructions tell you how to construct the garment.Reading patternsThe envelope front illustrates the garment that can be made from the contents of theenvelope. The illustration may be a line drawing or a photograph. There may be differentversions, known as views. On the reverse of the envelope there is usually an illustrationof the back view and the standard body measurement chart that has been used for thispattern, plus a chart that will help you purchase the correct amount of fabric for eachview. The reverse of the envelope also includes suggestions for suitable fabrics, togetherwith the notion, which are all the odds and ends you need to complete the project.READING A PATTERNENVELOPENumber ofpattern piece.Pattern codenumber forordering.Description of garment givingdetails of style and differentviews included in pattern.List of pattern sizes in standardand metric measurements forbust, waist, and hips in each size.Suggested fabrics suitablefor garment as well as adviceon unsuitable fabrics.Notions requiredfor each view.Outline drawing of garment, including backviews, showing darts and zipper positions.Garment measurements box givesactual size of finished garment.Chart to follow for required fabric quantity,depending on size, view, and width of fabric.MISSES’UNLINED JACKET, SKIRT, SHORTS, AND PANTS.Unlined, semi-fitted, V-neck jacket has short sleeves, front buttons,optional waistline darts, and optional breast pocket. Straight skirt,above mid-knee, and trousers or shorts with straight legs, havewaistband, front pleats, side seam pockets, and back zip.FABRICS: Jacket, skirt, shorts, and trousers: wool crepe, soft cottons,sheeting, linen, silk, silk types, and lightweight woollens. Skirt, shorts,and trousers also challis, jacquards, and crepe. Unsuitable for fabricsprinted with obvious diagonals. Allow extra fabric in order to matchplaids, stripes, or one-way design fabrics.Use nap yardages/layouts for shaded, pile, or one-way design fabrics.*with nap. ** without napNOTIONS: Thread. Jacket: three 1.2 cm (7⁄8 in) buttons; 6mm (1⁄4 in)shoulder pads. Skirt, trousers: pkg of 3.2 cm (1 1⁄4 in) waistbandinterfacing; 18 cm (7 in) zip; and one hook and eye closure.Garment measurements (6 8 10) (12 14 16) (18 20 22)Jacket bust 92 94.5 97 101 106 111 116 121 126 cmJacket waist 81 83 86 89.5 94.5 100 105 110 116 cmJacket back length 73 73.5 74 75 75.5 76 77 77.5 78 cmSkirt A lower edge 99 101 104 106 112 117 122 127 132 cmSkirt A length 61 61 61 63 63 63 65 65 65 cmShorts B leg width 71 73.5 76 81 86.5 94 99 104 109 cmShorts B side length 49.5 50 51 51.5 52 52.5 53.5 54 54.5 cmPants B leg width 53.5 53.5 56 56 58.5 58.5 61 61 63.5 cmPants B side length 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 103 cmFabric needed (6 8 10) (12 14 16) (18 20 22)Jacket 115 cm*/** 1.70 1.70 1.70 1.80 1.80 2.10 2.20 2.20 2.20 m150 cm*/** 1.30 1.30 1.30 1.40 1.70 1.70 1.70 1.80 1.80 mInterfacing 1 m of 55–90 cm lightweight fusible or non-fusibleSkirt A 115 cm*/** 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 2 m150 cm*/** 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.5 mShorts B 115 cm*/** 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 2 m150 cm*/** 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.5 mPants B 115 cm*/** 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.7 2.7 m150 cm* 2 2 2 2 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.3 m150 cm** 1.6 1.6 1.8 2 2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.3 mMETRICBody measurements (6 8 10) (12 14 16) (18 20 22)Bust 78 80 83 87 92 97 102 107 112 cmWaist 58 61 63.5 66 71 76 81 86 94 cmHip 81 84 86 91 96.5 102 107 112 117 cmFabric needed (6 8 10) (12 14 16) (18 20 22)Jacket 45 in*/** 17⁄8 17⁄8 17⁄8 17⁄8 2 23⁄8 23⁄8 23⁄8 23⁄8 yd60 in*/** 13⁄8 13⁄8 13⁄8 11⁄2 17⁄8 17⁄8 17⁄8 17⁄8 2 ydInterfacing 11⁄8 yd of 22–36 in lightweight fusible or non-fusibleSkirt A 45 in*/** 13⁄4 17⁄8 17⁄8 17⁄8 2 2 2 2 21⁄8 yd60 in*/** 11⁄4 11⁄4 13⁄8 13⁄8 13⁄8 13⁄8 11⁄2 11⁄2 15⁄8 ydShorts B 45 in*/** 13⁄4 13⁄4 13⁄4 13⁄4 2 2 2 2 21⁄8 yd60 in*/** 11⁄4 11⁄4 13⁄8 13⁄8 13⁄8 13⁄8 11⁄2 11⁄2 15⁄8 ydPants B 45 in*/** 25⁄8 25⁄8 25⁄8 25⁄8 25⁄8 25⁄8 25⁄8 27⁄8 27⁄8 yd60 in* 21⁄8 21⁄8 21⁄8 21⁄8 21⁄4 21⁄4 23⁄8 21⁄2 21⁄2 yd60 in ** 13⁄4 13⁄4 17⁄8 21⁄8 21⁄8 21⁄4 23⁄8 21⁄2 21⁄2 ydGarment measurements (6 8 10) (12 14 16) (18 20 22)Jacket bust 361⁄4 371⁄4 381⁄4 393⁄4 413⁄4 433⁄4 451⁄4 473⁄4 493⁄4 inJacket waist 313⁄4 323⁄4 333⁄4 351⁄4 371⁄4 391⁄4 411⁄4 431⁄4 451⁄4 inJacket back length 283⁄4 29 291⁄4 291⁄2 293⁄4 30 301⁄4 301⁄2 303⁄4 inSkirt A lower edge 39 40 41 42 44 46 48 50 52 inSkirt A length 24 24 24 243⁄4 243⁄4 243⁄4 251⁄2 251⁄2 251⁄2 inShorts B leg width 28 29 30 32 34 37 39 41 43 inShorts B side length 191⁄2 193⁄4 20 201⁄4 201⁄2 203⁄4 21 211⁄4 211⁄2 inPants B leg width 21 21 22 22 23 23 24 24 25 inPants B side length 401⁄2 401⁄2 401⁄2 401⁄2 401⁄2 401⁄2 401⁄2 401⁄2 401⁄2 inBody measurements (6 8 10) (12 14 16) (18 20 22)Bust 301⁄2 311⁄2 321⁄2 34 36 38 40 42 44 inWaist 23 24 25 261⁄2 28 30 32 34 37 inHip 321⁄2 331⁄2 341⁄2 36 38 40 42 44 46 inIMPERIAL567815 piecesABAB
  48. 48. 53Reading patternsEach pattern piece will have a seriesof lines, dots, and other symbols printedon it. These symbols help you to alterthe pattern and join the pattern piecestogether. The symbols are universalacross all major paper patterns.PATTERNMARKINGSCutting lineMultisizecutting linesGrainlinesPlace-to-fold lineLengthening andshortening linesSeam line orstitching lineSeam allowanceHem allowanceHemlineButtonholeCombined buttonand buttonholeButton positionDartPleatTuckBust point or hiplineMarkings to betransferred frompattern pieces to thefabric for matchingor to indicate detailSingle notchesDouble notchesTriple notchesZipper placementMany patterns today have more thanone size printed on the tissue paper. Eachsize is clearly labeled and the cutting linesare marked with a different type of linefor each size.Some patterns contain a garment of onesize only. If you are using a single-sizepattern, cut around the tissue paper onthe thick black cutting line before makingany alterations.MULTISIZE PATTERNSSINGLE-SIZE PATTERNSStraight arrow must be placed alongstraight grain, parallel to selvages.Where there is a choice of size lines, follow the desired size line.Where there is one lineonly, it applies to all sizes.Lengthening and shortening linesDartcuttinglineStraight arrowmust be placedon straight grain,parallel to selvages.Notches on both sidesshould match toensure correct edgesare joined together.Open dart is verywide, and fabricis cut away withpattern followingcutting line.Notches are usuallysingle on frontarmhole and doubleon back armhole.Zipper markingsindicate length of seamopening for zipper.Alteration linesindicate bestplace to lengthenor shortenpattern pieces.Darts are marked withlines, and sometimes withdots or circles that matchwhen darts are folded.Pattern pieces withoutgrainline have a place-to-fold line, to be positioneddirectly on fold of fabric,parallel to selvages.}}}}}}

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