Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baby trench part 3: Assembling the sleeve.

For some reason I've been avoiding the baby trench. Probably because I know I want to add something to one of the front flaps, but I'm not yet sure what I want that to be. Since flap assembly is pretty close to the top of the construction order, that leaves me a bit stuck. So I decided to make the sleeves and post a Lesson-I-Learnt-The-Hard-Way-Many-Years-Ago for the benefit of anyone else who might need it! (Being almost entirely self-taught, most of what I now know was learnt the hard way.)

So, sleeves. I'd added a purely decorative back seam at the drafting stage, so step one was to sew front and back sleeve together and topstitch the seam. Then I added carriers for the sleeve belts. This very crappy photo (sorry, I didn't realise how fuzzy it was till I'd moved on about four steps) shows the carriers sewn on, and you can still just see the chalk lines I'd drawn on to position them. The hem is folded up to give an idea of the proportions of the finished sleeve.

Now for the lesson bit. If you insert the sleeve belt and anchor it at the raw edges of the seams while flat, when you sew the seam and turn the sleeve right side out, it will look like this:

Not the end of the world, and if you want a bit of pulling in there to slightly bring the sleeve in, then that's fine. I, however, being way too particular about these things, want it to sit flat when the sleeve is finished.

To do that is very simple. I anchored it at one end and folded over the seam allowance as though the seam had been sewn, and held it with a bulldog clip (I don't want to do any unnecessary pinning of this coated fabric). Then I folded the sleeve and wriggled the belt so that it sat flat, and did the same thing for the other seam allowance. As shown in this photo the belt is now sitting flat, as it will be on the finished sleeve.

(Please also note how I shaped the seam so that it will line up with itself when the sleeve is sewn. After I'd drafted the pattern and cut the pieces I realised that that was totally unnecessary - the seam has no shaping and doesn't have to line up with itself, so it could have been straight all the way to the edge. DOH! I do make work for myself sometimes. Lets just pretend that it is actually a Very Important Mark Of Quality that this seam does this shall we? Thanks for your cooperation.)

When you open the sleeve out flat you can just see the required excess length in the belt as a bump in the middle. Because I like to be sure about things, I anchor the other end as well before sewing the sleeve seam.

And when the sleeve seam is sewn and the sleeve is turned right side out and the hem is folded up, it looks like this:

Not a big deal, but it satisfies my "Everything Just Sew" anal nature!

Now I have a feeling I wll be unable to focus on anything else till the book I just bought from Trademe arrives - I got a copy the the third edition of Winifred Aldrich's Metric Patterncutting for Womenswear for $20! I already have the latest edition of her childrenswear book and the 2nd edition of her menswear book, but no womenswear ones. I know she's up to the 5th ed of this book but they're all worth having, so I am Very Happy Indeed, and now will have to wait probably till late week for my internet payment to show up the the seller to post the book to me. Naturally this means I will be unable to concentrate on anything else in the meantime!


  1. Judy - thanks for posting a comment over at mine. Im amazed that with 5 children you have time to sew anything at all. I've just been looking back at all those seriously cute little dresses you have made. Makes me want to be a better sewer!

  2. Well I hope you're happy. I finally decided I needed to buy the childrenswear book (which since I had a gift card from Amazon, I got used for about US$30.00). Hmmph. I so need to start drafting my own flippin' patterns.

    This baby trench is going to be so cute!