Invisible zips are nice to look at, they give a professional finish to your garment and with a bit of practise are actually not difficult to insert when you know how.
This is what a concealed zip looks like…..
You will need to insert on your machine a concealed zip foot or just a standard zip foot will do (actually I prefer it!)
A concealed zip foot looks like the first image but make sure its one thats compatible with your machine. The second one is a standard zip foot.
Invisible zip foot
standard zip foot
This is what it looks like when its been inserted.You can see that also the cross seams are matched up perfectly, which is what you are aiming for when making any garment.Before you start, take a look at the back of your invisible zipper. See how the coils of the zipper curl toward the back? This is what makes the zipper less visible than a normal zipper. You will need to uncurl those coils by gently ironing the zipper flat first with the tip of a warm iron. This lets you stitch much closer to the coils.
Lay your zipper wrong side up, with the zipper open. Set your iron on warm (or the synthetic setting). Use your fingers to uncurl the teeth of the zipper while pressing it flat with the tip of your iron. Do this on both sides.
Lay your garment right side up, facing you. Place one side of the open zipper face down on the fabric and lined up one zip outside edge with one side of the fabric raw edge. NB there is a 1cm seam allowance with Cecily dress, however, if you have a 1.5cm seam allowance, then place with a 5mm space between the zip and the outside edge. Pin in position, with Cecily dress start just below the dart. If you have a cross seam (at the waistline for example) then mark the back of your zip each side so that you ensure your cross seams match up after sewing in your zipper. Hand tack.
Now instead of hand tacking, you could use quilters 1/4″ tape to temporarily adhere the zip to the fabric side edge before you sew it in.Stick a piece either side of the back of the zip.
Having inserted the invisible zipper foot into your machine, lower the foot down onto the zipper. Make sure that the zipper coil is in the left groove of the foot. If you don’t have an invisible zip foot, use a standard zip foot and nudge the needle over so it lines up with the coil underneath or as near to the teeth as possible.
Make sure your cross seams are aligned.Sew slowly as far as you can and (if you are using a standard foot, as close to the teeth as you can without sewing over the teeth). Stop when you reach the end of the zipper. Backstitch. Repeat for the other side of the zip.
Close the zipper up. Pin together the fabric below the zip and sew a 1cm seam sewing from the previous line of stitching to the end of the fabric. Do the same at the section above the zip.
Press the seams open on the back and press the zip on the right and wrong sides so that the coils spring back into action.
There you have now mastered the art of the concealed zip!
Baggy trousers are surprisingly flattering and I’m a total convert. I don’t wear tight jeans…..ever! I really don’t like them. Don’t get me wrong, I like a pair of jeggings under a tunic but jeans yuk…. I find them way too uncomfortable. These beauties, however, with their elasticated back waist section, are my go to trews for lounging about it or when I want to feel like a Hoxton Hipster ! : ) They also look great with sandals or flatties. Wear with short or long tees. You don’t have to tuck in your tee either, cover any lumps and bumps (we all have them!) with a tee or a tie belt (I love a tie belt).
Remember Elsie can be made in linen, heres a link to a fab linen supplier at reasonable prices…..
These trousers can also be made in a floppy viscose or polyester fabric for a ‘Palazzo Pants’ style which are perfect for holidays. Imagine lounging around the pool on a hot evening, sipping cocktails in your palazzos …… (well a girl can dream cant she!).
Elsie has front pleats on to the waistband and an elasticated back waistband (yippee!) so no zips just pull em on! There are also two rather lovely inset side pockets and an optional tie belt…..did I mention that already?
Heres a picture of Matilda wearing a longer version of Elsie made in a polyester print.
Actually Ive also made them from African Dutch Wax and I think they look oh so cool, perfect for holidays.
The pattern comes in two lengths – cropped or full length so if you can check the size chart for more details about the finished measurements and fabric quantities.
My cropped Elsie trousers (pattern cover picture) measured 22cm from the bottom of the hem to the ground, you may like to use this measurement as a guide as to how long your cropped trousers should be on you. Some of us have longer legs than others, so you can adapt the length to suit your body if needed.
Here is a chart showing the measurements:
IMPORTANT INFO! You will need to allow at least 10-15cm at the waist/hips (whichever is the largest measurement) for ‘ease’ this allows you to pull them on and off without struggle. Here are the finished waist/hip measurements:What are the fabrics suitable to make Elsie trousers in: linen, linen mixes or 6 oz denim (make sure its really nice and soft and has some drape to it). Then viscose, polyester drapey fabrics. Try to avoid anything too lightweight and nothing see through (no VPL s please!).
For Cutting instructions and Layplans see the paper pattern. You also need a half metre of 4cm elastic (soft variety) and 20cm of fusible light/med weight interfacing.
Here is an edited down version of the pattern instructions to give you an idea about whats involved.
Seam allowance is 1cm.
SEWING THE FRONT & BACK
Sew the fronts together RST at the centre front edge. Do the same with the back pieces at the centre back edges. Finish the seam allowances together.
Pin the pleats as shown on the template on the front only.
Two on the left hand side of the centre seam.Two on the right hand side of the centre seam.So it looks like this. Machine tack stitch the pleats to hold in position along the top edge so you can remove the pins and the pleats are held in position.
Pin a pocket lining to the outer curved edge with the RST. (right sides together). Sew along curved edge. Fold over and press to the reverse side. Pin then top stitch close to the curved edge.
Repeat for the other side and other pocket lining piece.
Add the pocket piece to the outer curved edge of the pocket lining with the RST.
Finish the raw edges and pin then machine tack to the trouser top and side edges. Machine tack. Repeat for the other pocket.
Sew the front to the back at the side edges with the RST. Finish the raw edges.
Sew the trousers together at the inner leg edges again with the RST. Finish the raw edges.
Now to the……drum roll please!
First make your tabs for the belt, or omit this if you are not having a belt.
Fold over the tab long sides 1cm to the wrong side. Press. Fold again in half. Pin, topstitch close to each long side.
Press over 1cm at one short side. Place to one side. Repeat for the other three tab pieces.
SEWING THE WAISTBAND -Method 1
this little film link below will help in inserting elastic using method 1
If you have an over locker you could insert the waistband this quick way…for an alternative way see the following section -Method 2.
Interface the front waistband only. Pin and sew RST at the short sides. Press the seam allowances open. Fold in half so the WST (wrong sides are together), match the raw edges.Pin the elastic at the side seams and extend across at the Back section.Machine tack close to the raw edges, making sure you don’t sew in any elastic. Finish the raw edge, also on the trousers front and back top edge.
Pin the waistband piece to the trousers top edge, align front and back, match up the side seams. Insert the tab piece short end under the waistband before you stitch, align with the outer pleats and insert two tabs in the same way under the back waistband. Hand tack stitch. Sew all around pushing the elastic beyond the (dropped down) needle as you go, careful not to sew the elastic so push it away from the seam edge or pin it in position.
Press the waistband upwards, seam allowance downwards on the reverse side.
Pin the folded tab end at the top secure with a small stitched rectangle end encasing the raw tab edge.
WAISTBAND – Method 2 (alternative method) where you encase the raw edges in the waistband.
So just like the previous method you sew the waistband together at the short sides with the RST.
Sew the elastic to the side seams, extend over the the back section.Fold over and press 1cm to the wrong side all around one long raw edge of the waistband.
Pin the waistband unfolded edge to the trousers top edge., match up the side seams and align the back and front. Sew all around. Insert the tabs as in Method 1.Fold the waistband up. Press at the seamline.
Fold over to the reverse side of the waistband encasing all the raw edges, keep passing the fabric along the elastic so you are always working with a flat piece of waistband.
Pin all around then either ‘stitch in the ditch’ or hand sew all around with a small slip stitch to secure the waistband edge. Press.
TIE BELT (optional)Join the tie pieces with the RST. Press the seam allowances open.
Fold the tie in half lengthways align the raw edges. Pin. Sew along one long edge and down each slanted edge leaving a 4cm approx opening at the centre join section. Leave a long end for turning. Trim the seam allowances to 5mm.
Tie the thread end on to a blunt ended chunky needle and pass in between the tie folds and out through the opening. Pull gently to turn inside out. Push out the pointed ends with a poking tool or tease out with a strong needle. Press so the fold is in line with the seam.
Top stitch all around which will close up the opening at the same time. Job done!
Insert through your little tabs and tie in a lovely bow. Esme would be proud. (this won’t make much sense if you don’t watch The Great British Sewing Bee!).
Lastly make a 2cm hem on the lower edge of your trousers.
This is a loose fitting hip length kimono which looks great in all seasons, either for a special occasion or as a loose fitting cardigan. With a wide front band, two optional patch pockets, and french seams on the inside, its an easy, fun and quick to make.
I made this kimono in this beautiful floral viscose fabric such as these ones now available on my Etsy shop. Other suitable fabrics include cotton, linen or any fabric that has a fluid drape quality.
It can also be made in thicker fabrics for colder days as a kind of jacket, which gives a completely different look. I recently made it in a woven wool fabric and lengthened the sleeves like this to make a Kimono style jacket.
Here, I am wearing Suki made in an ethnic woven stripe so its like a jacket, with special guest appearance of Madame Mabelline the cat.
Here is my lovely fam, Becky (fave sis no 2), Patsy (mum), Nilly (niece), Anna (fave sis no 1) and me (big sis) all modelling a kimono at my mums birthday get together.
Suki was demonstrated on The Sewing Quarter TV channel on 23rd April 2019, so if you fancy watching me make it here is a You tube link. Just scroll up to 3:00 to watch the one hour show.
Suki Kimono is sized from S-XXL (scroll down to see the finished measurements chart).
ADJUSTING THE PATTERN
You can adjust the size and length. Here is a picture of Suki with the body and sleeves length extended and an added tie belt. Please note the lovely topstitch detail in contrast colour thread. (I love a bit of topstitching!). For topstitching tips, please scroll down to the bottom of this page.
EXTENDING THE OVERALL LENGTH: You can make the kimono longer by using the larger sizes length lines or by extending the length of your pattern. You will need extra fabric if you make your kimono longer so another half metre should be fine or +80cm if you want to add length to your sleeves.
The pictures above show a version that I’ve made from glorious floral printed viscose fabric, Ive lengthened the body by adding an extra 25cm and also made the sleeves longer by adding an extra 10cm on the pattern. Make sure that if you do extend the body length, that you also cut the band pieces in the same extended length measurement, so for example, if you make a size Med kimono but use a size XL in length, then cut out two size XL band pieces or, if you lengthen the body by 25cm, then add another 25cm to each band length too ….simple!
One other thing is that you can simply lengthen a further 2cm by making a smaller hem on the lower edge, instead of 4cm as specified on the pattern. LONGER SLEEVE: You can also extend the length of the sleeve by adding on as much as you like, but remember you will need some more fabric. You will need an extra 10cm approx for 140cm wide fabric and 20cm for the 112cm wide fabric if you are extending the sleeve another 10cm.
TIE BELT: To make a tie belt and side tabs cut two strips 100cm x 12cm across the width of the fabric. Join the strips together at the short ends with the right sides together (RST). Press. Fold the strip in half lengthways with the RST, press. Sew down the long side and short raw edges with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving approx 4cm open at the centre join section. Trim the seam allowance to 5mm approx. Turn inside out through the opening pushing out the corners. Press nice and flat so that the seam is aligned with the fold. Topstitch all around or just stitch up the opening. Press.
SIDE TABS: Every tie belt needs side tabs and just two should do nicely. So cut one strip 5cm x 16cm. Fold over and press 1cm each long raw edge. Fold over in half and press, topstitch down each long side. Cut the piece into two equal pieces of 8cm. Fold over 1cm each short end. Pin to the side of the garment at the waist position. (To ascertain this try on your kimono, tie the belt around your waist so its comfortable, room for movement etc. Place a pin at the side seams where the tie belt lays naturally. Place the side tabs at these positions and stitch at each far end to secure them. If you find this a bit fiddly you could always hand tack them on first.
The pattern is available to buy on the website, click on the link below for details.
Scroll down for a photo step-by-step tutorial showing how to make up Suki Kimono.
Tips for sewing silk/satin/ viscose:
When sewing silk use a finer thread and insert a ballpoint needle in your machine.
Use sharp pins and pin in the seam allowance to avoid leaving holes in the fabric.
Make sure scissors are also sharp and nick free.
Try not to handle the material unnecessarily which can cause it to fray.
Adjust your iron to a ‘silk’ setting and take care with steaming, it can cause water marks.
Lay a sheet, old blanket or duvet underneath your fabric when cutting out to prevent it moving about.
How to sew a FRENCH SEAM *Sew seams using a french seam. This is a technique used to conceal seams which are visible by stitching twice, once with the wrong sides of the fabric facing, then again with the right sides of the fabric facing. Its an ideal technique for fabrics that are light and prone to fraying and garments where the inside seam is exposed. To make a french seam, firstly pin, then sew a 5mm seam with the WRONG SIDES together. Next, fold your fabric pieces so the RIGHT SIDES are together and press and pin so that the seam is aligned to the fold. Stitch again, this time with a 1cm seam allowance, encasing the raw edges inside. Finally, press your french seam to one side.
FABRIC REQUIREMENTS: See the chart below for fabric requirements.
You will also need: a reel of thread, an iron, pins, a hand sewing needle, a poker (a chunky knitting needle is good or a chopstick).
Pattern pieces for FRONT (1), BACK (2), SLEEVE (3), FRONT BAND (4), POCKET (5)
Here we go!
CUTTING OUT THE PIECES –
Using the Layplans above as a guide, cut out the following pieces:
FRONT (1)– Cut two.
BACK (2) – Cut one on the fold.
FRONT BAND (4) – Cut cut two pieces.
POCKET (5)– Cut two pieces.
SLEEVE (3)– Cut two pieces on the fold of the fabric.
SEAM ALLOWANCE IS 1CM
SEWING THE KIMONO
Pin the front pieces to the back at the shoulder seams with the right sides together. Sew. Finish the raw edges with a zig zag or overlock to prevent fraying. Press the seam allowances flat towards the back piece. Topstitch on the right side. See the bottom of this post for tips about topstitching.Now pin your sleeve piece to the body at the armhole edge, sew.
Press the seam allowance towards the sleeve. Top stitch. Repeat for the other sleeve.
Pin the front to back at the side edges with the WRONG sides together. Sew a 5mm seam.
Turn inside out so the RIGHT sides are together, press with the seam aligned with the fold. Pin. Sew another 1cm seam encasing all the raw edges. Press.
NB. To avoid seams ‘bunching’ under the armhole, make the french seam narrower at this section, or nick the seam allowance at the underarm section before and after making your french seam. Ease out any puckering with a good steam press.
On the lower edge all around, fold over and press to the wrong side 1cm then again 3cm. Pin. Sew. Remember, you can make your kimono a little longer by making a smaller hem at the lower edge.
Make the same hem on the sleeve raw edge.
SEWING THE FRONT BAND
Join the front band pieces at one short side to make one long strip with a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowances open. Topstitch either side of the seamline.
Fold over and press 1cm all along one long side of band.
Starting at the centre of the back neck and with the right sides facing together, pin the unfolded long side of the band to the back neck and front at each side, pin all around to the front sides either side, aligning the raw edges as you go and make sure to leave 1cm of band fabric extending beyond the body front lower edge on each side.
Stitch a 1cm seam allowance all around from front left side to front right.
Press the band away from the body with the seam allowance pressed towards the band on the reverse side. Top stitch on the band right side.
At the far ends of the front band at each side, fold the strip ends in half widthways with the right sides together and the raw edges matching, opening out the 1cm fold a little at each end. Pin, then stitch across in line with the body front lower edge up to the fold line.
Trim the seam allowance to 5mm, cut across the corners of the seam allowance then turn inside out to right side, pushing out the corners gently with a poker.
Press the band over to the wrong side all around so that all raw edges are encased inside. Pin, then hand stitch the band at the folded edge all around with small slip stitches. Its a good idea to line up the fold of the band to the line of stitching previously made. Make sure your stitching is as neat as possible. If you would like to have front ties** on your kimono scroll to the bottom of this page for instructions to make and insert before sewing the band.
Finally press your kimono.
Finish the raw edges of two longer sides and one short side of the pocket pieces.
On the unfinished side, fold over to the wrong side 1cm, press then again 2cm. Press. Stitch.
Fold over and press 1cm on the 3 un-hemmed sides to the wrong side.
Place in position on to the kimono. Pin. Top stitch all around, reinforcing the top corners.
**FRONT TIES (optional)
Cut two pieces 60cm x 4cm.
Fold over 1cm to the wrong side each long side and press. Fold the piece over again in half so you have a piece 60cm x 1cm. Tuck under one raw end. Tip: secure the folded short end with a small piece of quilting tape or wondaweb. Stitch close to the folded edge. Press.
Insert your ties raw edge under the band approx 1cm s cure with a few hand stitches before hand stitching your front band.
MATCHING QUILTED CLUTCH PURSE
What a nice quick project to make out of the leftover fabric and a perfect accessory to match your kimono. This easy to make quilted clutch purse makes a lovely addition to any outfit for a special event. With its optional loop handle, useful for carrying lipstick, powder compact, money and keys.
Finished size: 23cm x 16cm approx
You will need:
One piece 41cm x 25cm (bag) and one piece 5cm x 30cm (handle).
One piece 41cm x 25cm.
One piece 41cm x 25cm in fusible H640 fleece Visilene wadding or wadding with fabric spray glue.
A magnetic clasp.
One gorgeous button
An invisible marker pen.
This is what you do…..
1. First spray glue your wadding to your outer bag piece or fuse with an iron if using the H640 Visilene.
2. Mark out lines at a 45 degree angle and 5cm or 2″ apart with a fabric invisible marker pen.
3. Stitch along the lines to make a criss cross quilting trellis pattern with a stitch length of 2.6.
4. Place your quilted piece on top of the lining piece with the right sides together. Pin together. Round off the two top corners using a saucer or small plate to mark out the curves, then trim.
5. Sew all around the edge of the piece with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving an opening of approx 4cm at the lower un curved edge at the side for turning. Nick across the corners and curved seam allowance with small V’s.
6. Turn your piece inside out and push out the corners. Press.
7. Make your loop handle. Fold in each long side 1cm and press. Fold in half lengthways. Press. Top stitch down each long side.
8. Insert your magnetic clasp (masculine side) at the rounded flap side, positioned at the centre, 2.5cm (1″) down from the top edge of the lining.
9. Fold your bag piece straight side up 13cm, with the wrong sides facing. Pin at the sides. Insert the handle loop raw ends, sandwiching them in between the folds, so the loop section is extended beyond the bag. Top stitch down each side 4mm (1/4″) from the edge.
10. Insert your magnetic clasp (female side) at the straight side, positioned at the centre, 7cm (2 3/4″”) down from the top edge of the outer fabric to match.
11. Stitch on a button at the flap outer side in the same position as the magnetic clasp.
There you have it!
Who doesn’t leerrvve a bit of topstitching? Well I certainly do! But, like everyone, I like it to look nice and neat. So as well as extending the stitch length to 2.8-3.00, I also like to pop one of these little guys on my machine. Its called an Overcast or Overedge foot. I would really recommend them for perfecting the art of topstitching. If you haven’t already got one in the darkest depths of your sewing machine box of attachments, you can buy them for around a fiver, just check that its compatible with your machine. This attachment can also be used when zig zag finishing raw edges by the way and also ‘stitch in the ditch’ sewing. You need to be able to shift your needle over to the required position for topstitching, and the little bar sits in the ditch of the seam and acts like a guide to keep your topstitching nice and straight and even. Bliss!
Here are some pattern weights that I made myself and I find really useful when using a more sturdy paper pattern. I use them instead of pins which not only saves time but also keeps the pattern flat as you cut.
I make them out of scraps of fabric but actually this fabric was printed with squares in exactly the right size, but you could use anything you like. Its fun to use all one type of fabric, like Liberty fabric if you are a fan or just mix up your favourites from your stash.
i like to put something like corduroy on the bottom because I think it makes them a bit sturdier underneath but its not essential.
The weights measure approx 5cm x 5cm but you could make bigger ones if you prefer.
I also put a bit of good old poly stuffing in mine so I can stick my pins in them as I work which is pretty good.
What you need:
Square metal washers 5cm x 5cm which you can get at any good hardware store or online here . Screwfix also do packs of 10 for a fiver which are slightly bigger.
Cut out two pieces of fabric 6cm x 6cm for each weight. (or add 1cm to the widths each side if you are making ones in a different size).
Polyester stuffing or scraps of wadding are good.
This is what the metal washers look like.
Sew your pieces with the right sides together with a 5mm seam allowance. Clip the corners and turn inside out. Poke the corners out or tease out with a needle.
Insert your metal washer. Add some wadding under the top section only.
Turn under the raw edges of the opening and hand stitch. i sometimes do a fancy bit of blanket stitch here with some embroidery thread to make a feature of it.
There you have it. Also good for needles , don’t want them to feel left out!
I also like to make a simple little zip bag to put them all in. But thats another post for another day.