If you've ever sewn a garment from start to finish, you most likely know of that one or multiple elements in the process that once sewn, make everything instantly come together! For me, that special moment happens when either completing the zipper, attaching both sleeves or sewing in the waistband.
When sewing bottoms, the waistband is often that single component that keeps everything together, binding the rest of the design elements into a finished product.
In this tutorial, I will be using a simple yet classic technique to sew a waistband to the box pleat skirt I've been working on in this recent sewalong. Attaching this particular woven waistband is especially rewarding as it provides structure and support to the deep pleating along the skirt's waistline. Needless to say, a classic waistband (like the one in this tutorial) will keep all the folds aligned properly while also visually enhancing the skirt's fullness.
When adding a waistband to an edge that houses pleats or gathers, it is always a good idea to first reinforce the folds or gathers with an additional stitch so that they don't stretch or come undone during the rest of the sewing process. Although waistband construction techniques vary based on style, fabric and design, reinforcing the garment's edge is one of those rules that needs to be followed regardless.
My skirt will have a basic two piece (faced) waistband that is non-stretch (woven). The design also calls for an invisible zipper sewn into the side seam which as you'll see below, will dictate the sequence of steps for sewing this particular band. That being said, if you follow the steps in order, you should not run into any major issues. If you're anything like me, you will find the process fairly enjoyable!
I love on-seam pockets so much that I could sew one with my eyes closed. Simple, yet extremely functional, on-seam or in-seam pockets (whatever you want to call them) work with almost all garments without altering them aesthetically. As you'll see below, they are also very simple to sew and will elevate just about any design. I like to add my own spin on it by making the pocket bag a contrasting color or print. It's a great way to add character and a pop of color to the garment without overwhelming it!
On-seam pockets are composed of two parts: the underlayer, which is sewn to the front piece of the garment, and an identical layer sewn to the back garment piece. When put together, the two layers form the pocket bag. Conventionally, these two pieces are identical in shape and are the mirror copies of each other. This facilitates the process of cutting and matching them to each seam edge.
The easiest way to draft a sewing pattern for an on-seam pocket is to use your garment's front pattern piece as a guide. Using the seam that the pocket will be sewn into, sketch out the shape of the pocket bag. Mark all the appropriate notches for matching and sewing the pocket pieces later. For a full tutorial on drafting this skirt pocket pattern, check out this tutorial: How To Make A Sewing Pattern For A Skirt On-Seam Pocket. Seeing the pocket pattern being drafted should hopefully help you visualize how each piece fits into the finished clothing item.
For the past few weeks, you've seen glimpses of this lined crop top go through some of its development stages. From a simple sketch to the more complicated sewing process in between, this blouse's construction progressed with minimal hiccups along the way. When all is said and done, it is so rewarding to see everything come together into a garment that fits and functions exactly as I envisioned it. I can certainly attest to that as I got the chance to wear the blouse (paired with a matching skirt to come soon!) at this year's Heart To Heart Gala.
As you go through the video sewalong and the steps below, you'll be able to access related tutorials that give you a detailed look at each process and sewing technique.
Designing And Sketching The Blouse
It all started with a sketch. Or rather, two yards of fabric I came across at the fabric store while browsing for something completely unrelated. I didn't have the design in mind at the time but this blue-gold abstract print reminded me of my undying love for classically full, structured skirts of which you'll see more in the skirt sewing tutorials to come. The medium weight nature of this fabric provided the perfect canvas for finally taking on the project.
For the design development and sketching video, check out: The Start Of A Sewalong- Sketching And Conceptualizing A Two Piece Cocktail Dress.
When I first started sewing years ago, I was completely perplexed (and intimidated) by the idea of finishing and sealing lining edges. You know the lining style I'm talking about? The kind where the lining is sewn shut without a visible sign or obvious opening. It used to confuse me to no end! Fast forward 10 years later, and sewing lining has become one of my favorite finishes due to both its simplicity and clean quality. Although this tutorial deals specifically with enclosing and sealing lining edges into a zippered blouse, it is imperative to first learn how to attach the lining itself. If you are unfamiliar with the process, check out this tutorial- Video Tutorial: How To Sew Full Lining To A Fitted Blouse With Darts
The blouse I'm working with is fully lined and has a hem facing. Before finishing the blouse hem itself, I attached the hem facing to the lining layer at the bottom. As an alternative, if you have a hem facing, you can sew it into the bottom of the blouse first after which you can connect it to the bottom edge of the lining. Some may argue this is a better technique, but I find that sealing the lining to the very bottom edge of the blouse hem is a bit more simple
On that same note, if your garment has a zipper, whether along the sides seam (like in this case) or any other seam (center back, center front, etc.) make sure the zipper is fully stitched into the blouse layer first before finishing the lining to the zipper tape.
Every time I do a tutorial about invisible zippers, I spend the first paragraph talking about their convenience and how much I love using them. This time around, I'll (try to) spare you the long praise- well, aside from telling you that invisible zippers are probably one of the best inventions in dressmaking.
In a previous sewing tutorial, I introduced you to the basics of sewing an invisible zipper using a regular zipper presser foot on your sewing machine (not invisible zipper foot). In this video tutorial, I'll walk you through an actual application of an invisible zipper into the side seam of a lined blouse. This application is widely used with form fitted woven dresses, especially those that are more formal and tailored. While my invisible zipper will be sewn into the side seam, you can use the same technique to apply it to any regular seam.
It is called invisible for reason- When closed, invisible zippers blend into the seam, becoming essentially unnoticeable on the outside of the garment. This characteristic makes it ideal for a quick, clean garment closure that doesn't alter its design.
Its simplicity doesn't require any special seam manipulation aside from the necessity of a seam allowance that matches the invisible zipper tape. In most cases, the seam that will house the invisible zipper should have anywhere from 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance, depending on the width of the zipper tape being used. The reason seam allowance is important with this type of zipper application is that for best (easiest) results, the zipper tape edges should be aligned with each corresponding seam allowance edges such that when closed, the zipper blends evenly into the seam without altering its fit or size.
If you are a sewing beginner, the notion of sewing lining can be just as much confusing as rewarding when trying to fit all those fabric pieces together like a puzzle. The confusion often stems from the fact that there are various techniques you can use to fully line a garment, and honestly, all of them are usually correct. Sewing is not as black and white as you may think, and there are often a variety of different methods for achieving the same task. So before we get started, remove the notion that you have to sew lining using a single technique. Obviously, you want to choose the one that is easiest and most logical for the project at hand, but it's OK if you reverse the steps or switch up the rules a bit.
In this tutorial, I'll show you the easiest technique for fully lining a sleeveless fitted blouse (with darts). This technique works only if you have a front or back seam that completely separates. Normally, a non-stretch woven garment that is lined will require some form of closure like a zipper, buttons, snaps etc. Zipper closures, of course, are simple and the most widely used so you can expect to have one down the center back seam in most form fitted, lined garments.
The blouse I'm lining in this tutorial is a crop top part of this sewalong in the making. This little crop top completes a two-piece cocktail dress that features a more tailored style. Naturally, a tailored garment is best finished with lining as it provides structure and emphasizes its clean lines.
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