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Linen Season

Torrential downpour all weekend here in Oregon. Oh, happy day...sewing weather! The spring and summer linens are pouring in, my new Bernina 570 QE is set to go, and Paris is on the horizon, so I kicked off with a UFO I'd started for the sewing expo.

Vogue 9174 AKA, the Diagonal Seam Shirt sewn in our Tin Man Linen, which out of stock, checking to see if the supplier has more...though we have this same base Italian linen in other color ways on the website. Cruise through our Linens section on the website to see these and many other options. BTW, did you know that you can sort through any fabric on the website using the red SORT BY box at the top left on each page according to price, high to low, best selling, newest to oldest or alphabetized A-Z or Z-A.

I made the pattern pretty much out of the envelope using the longer version.

Did a full bust adjustment (FBA), which took a bit of time with the front seaming details: taped the pattern pieces together on each of the two fronts, made the adjustments, then re-cut along the seams, trued things up and now am set to make this again...have another one cut in a light cotton. The fabric is a good weight for spring, does not wrinkle much, should be fine for travel, will work as a light jacket worn over a sleeveless tunic or thin sleeved t-shirt. I lowered the front neck edge and adjusted the collar accordingly. A handy to know patternmaking rule is that a collar or collar band should measure the same amount as the neck edge of the garment along the seam line. Following that guideline, first, I lowered the front neck edge (about 3/4"), then staystitched to prevent stretching, then measured the neck seam along the stitching line on the garment and compared it with the pattern. Adjusted the collar band, the outer collar and small bias inner collar to fit.

Vogue 9193, AKA, 'the drop pocket tunic' sewn in our Watercolor Brushstrokes Linen (sold out, more coming soon).

Sewn straight from the pattern with my own personal adjustments. To double check the fit, I started by staystitching the neckline, basting the shoulder seams and pinning in the side seams. After trying on the shell and checking things out, I lowered the front neck edge 1" and finished the neck with a narrow single layer bias binding. The pattern instructions call for a bias facing or a small standup collar. I wanted the tunic to layer under jackets and sweaters, so went for the thinnest flattest neck edge finish. I changed the order of construction a bit to do this. Left the left shoulder seam open for a few inches at the neck edge so the bias could easily be applied while the neckline is flat.

To achieve a narrow binding, don't try to cut or sew the binding narrow. Cut the bias strip wide, (for the one shown here I started with a strip about 2+" wide). Press to take the stretch out, then re-trim. This is a basic trick I learned from my couture pattern making teacher who trained in French couture and it works. The bias strip will stretch a bit and the width will vary. No problem as the next step is to re-trim it to an even width, about 1 1/2-2", making a test sample will give you the best width for your fabric. If you have never done this before, make a few test samples to get the hang of it.

Stitch the bias to the neck edge using a 1/2" seam, pulling with a slight tension so the finished band will hug the neck. Apply more tension about 4" at center front and back. Press flat as sewn, then carefully trim the seam allowance to an even 1/4-3/8" width. Working at the ironing board over a ham, wrap the binding and give a light press. Stitch the shoulder seam closed. Adjust the binding width and place pins in the ditch of the seam. Stitch. Trim the seam on the back side close to the stitching line. While you can turn this edge under in the pressing stage, I left the edge raw so it would be as flat as possible as shown in the photo below.

This lovely little video tells how linen goes from plant to fabric.

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© Marcy Tilton