Sewing Techniques

Creating an hourglass shape in a loose-fitting blouse

To give a more flattering silhouette to a blouse the side seams may be taken in at the waist and vertical darts added to the front and back to give the garment an hourglass shape. This is a simple procedure and can give an ill-fitting top a whole new look. The same technique can also be used on the side seams of dresses



DIY Repair Kit


• Needle
• Matching thread
• Sewing machine (optional)
• Scissors
• Pins
• Fabric marker pen
• Tape measure



1. Try the blouse on inside out and gradually pin in the side seams between the points approximately 13 cm (5") above the waist and 7.5 cm (3") below the waist. The seam should curve gradually in towards the waist and ease back out into the original seam. You can draw a nice gradual sewing line with fabric marker. Before commencing sewing, check that you have taken in the same amount of fabric on each side of the blouse.


hand or machine stitch new side seam
2. Sew the seam by hand or machine using back stitch. As you commence to sew, back-stitch in the same place to secure the thread and sew evenly spaced neat stitches along the new seam line.



back stitch at either end3. Once the sewing is complete, make a few extra back stitches to secure the thread, then trim off the excess .Repeat Steps 2 and 3 on the other side seam. Press the seam to ensure the new stitching lies smooth and flat.


Stitching a bust dart into a top or blouse


Another way of creating a better shape in a loose-fitting blouse is to sew vertical darts from the hem to the bust point, on the inside of the front of the garment. This technique combines well with the technique for creating an hourglass shape in a blouse (see above). Together these alterations can create a very shapely blouse.


DIY Repair Kit


• Needle
• Matching thread
• Sewing machine
(optional)
• Scissors
• Pins
• Fabric marker pen
• Tape measure


pin out dart1. Try the blouse on inside out in front of a mirror. Pin a vertical dart from the hem of the blouse up towards the central point of the bust. The dart should be very narrow at the hemline, deepening towards the waist and petering out to nothing by the time you reach the bust point. Repeat on the other front panel of the blouse. Remove the blouse, try it on right-side out and re-pin before stitching if necessary, adding a sewing line in fabric marker pen if desired  . Make sure that both darts are the same length, size and depth, and equidistant from the front central opening of the blouse, in order to keep the garment fitting symmetrically on each side. If the garment already has such darts in place, but they are not deep enough to fit you properly, you can take in these darts in exactly the same way.



2. Back-stitch at the base of the dart to secure the thread. Sew the dart from the hem up to the end point, either by hand  , using small neat back stitches, or with a sewing machine (also using back stitch, with a stitch length of 1.5mm). When the sewing is completed, carefully knclip into seam allowanceot off the threads to secure the stitches. Repeat for the other dart.



3. Press the darts with a warm iron. Clip a small V-shape into the dart at its widest part (which should be at the waist), so the outer fabric can ease into the newly curved shape.clip into seam and cut v-shape


 


 


 



Further information


These handy techniques are by Joan Gordon and are from her book Stitch ‘n’ Fix published by GMC books (www.gmcbooks.com, ISBN 9781861086563). This handy guide is packed with tips and step-by-step photographs to show what to do when buttons pop off, hems unravel etc. It’s a fun and practical book, catering for all sewing emergencies and shows anyone who has never sewn before how to tackle these tasks and much more. Priced £14.99, for further details T: 01273 488005.

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