Tuesday, June 24, 2014

3350 Photo Tutorial - Part 4 - SEWING THE OPEN BACK (VIEW A)

For the first step, we will show you the technique for the regular sewing machine. On all other steps, we will use a serger whenever it's possible.

Center Back Seam

Pin Lower Back pieces (G) together at center back seam, matching the double notch. Then sew with a zigzag along the edge ("zig" on the fabric, "zag" in the air) WITHOUT stretching the fabric:

Sew with a straight stitch, 6 mm (1/4") from edge, stretching your fabric gently. Sew another straight stitch.

Now you have a sturdy, stretchy center back seam!

Back Elastics

Upper Back

Place the Upper Back pieces (F) as shown, with the notch towards the bottom to identify the correct location for the elastic. Pin the elastic (at both ends) and sew a first zigzag (medium-large), stretching the elastic so it lays against the flat fabric (do not stretch the fabric).

Turn the elastic to the wrong side (the elastic nice and snug against the crease - you don't was any space between the elastic and fabric) and sew a slightly smaller zigzag (or use your cover stitch) for a nice finish on the right side.

Lower Back

Fold the lower back elastic in half and mark its center. Pin the elastic to the wrong side of the lower back curve, at ends and center (matched with center back seam).

When sewing your elastic, remember to pull just enough to have the elastic against the flat fabric. Do not stretch the fabric. If you do, the sewn elastic will not fully recover and the piece will not be flat when you are done.

After your first zigzag, fold the elastic and topstitch.

Pin Upper Back (F) over Lower Back (G), matching the side seam notch and baste together with a zigzag stitch.

Sewing the front to the back

Pin right side of Front (E) to right side of Lower Back (G) at crotch seam, matching centers, and baste with a zigzag.

Pin right side of Front lining to wrong side of Back and stitch. We always baste with a zigzag before sewing on the serger. It keeps the layers together and is much easier to undo if the layers slip.


*********************************************************************************
IF YOU ARE MAKING A GATHERED FRONT (we will add illustrations in view B post): 
  • Sew gathering stitches within the side seam allowances on your front main fabric pieces, starting and stopping about one inch (2,5 to 3 cm) from top and bottom corners.
  • Gather the side seams so they become the same length as the lining piece.
*********************************************************************************

Flip the lining to the wrong side of the front and pin the layers together, matching center fronts and notches.

Baste with a zigzag all around.

Congratulations! You are now ready to work on the bust pieces.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

3350 Photo Tutorial - Part 3 - CUTTING YOUR FABRIC

Now that we have our pattern pieces traced/cut and altered, we are now ready to cut the fabric.

Sweetheart Swimsuit (View A)

We will be making view A in a feline print with a black contrast band in adult size S. We have all our fabric and supplies ready, along with our tablet with the PDF instructions.



As you can see in the photo above, we decided to use bra straps for this one (with a kit purchased from Sew Sassy).

We will cut:

  • In main fabric (print): Bust X2  (A), Front X1 (E), Upper back X2 (F) and lower back X2 (G)
  • In contrast fabric (black): Contrast band X1 (C)
  • In lining: Bust X4 (A), Front X1 (E)

Main fabric

Here is the cutting layout for our main fabric:


As you can see, with the 60 cm (5/8 yard), you can actually make two swimsuits if you fold the fabric as shown in the picture. You fold it to have enough space for all your pieces and then measure to make sure your fabric is folded parallel to the selvage (the three orange lines are the same length).

Many people like to use weights and rotary cutter, but we prefer pins and scissors. Good scissors. We found these Kai Shears 10 years ago and never used anything else since then!

Pin close to the edge of your piece, taking just a little bit of fabric to keep everything nice and flat. Then cut along the edge of the paper, making sure you cut all notches carefully.


On the Upper Back piece (F), clip at strap placement mark:

On Front piece (E), clip the fold to mark center front (always do that when you have a piece cut on the fold):

Contrast fabric

We only need the small contrast band in black, so we fold the fabric to the width of the piece to use as little fabric as possible:



We mark center fold and make sure all notches are precisely cut. They will be very important when we adjust the bust gathers later on.

Clip the fold to mark center front at the top and bottom edges of the piece

Lining

Because we do not have two paper pieces for the bust piece and need to cut 4, we traced a dotted line around the edge with a fabric marker, pinned the fabric layers together and moved the piece so we can cut everything we need at the same time:

A dotted line is easier to do and works great for curves!


The last step is to cut the elastics to the length indicated in the charts printed on the paper pattern and included in the PDF instructions.


We marked the wrong side of the lining and black pieces because both sides are very similar and we want to make sure we always have our mirror pieces (not two left or two right). We used the fabric marker and chalk, but you could use little stickers or tape. Always mark the wrong side, not the right side in case your mark leaves a trace.

Twist-front Swimsuit

For the twist-front style, we will be using a nice border print for the bust and straps, and black spandex for the front and back. We could not find our Power Net (our sewing and fabric rooms are being renovated and our fabrics are stored all over the house!) so we will be using regular swimwear lining.

We will cut:

  • In contrast fabric (print): Bust X2  (B), Straps X2 (I) - cut J if you want adjustable straps
  • In main fabric (black): Front X1 (E) and Back (H) X2
  • In lining: Bust X4 (B), Front X1 (E)


Contrast fabric

Because we want the border print horizontal at the bust, we will have to cheat a little for this one and cut the bust pieces square with the grain rather than along the grain. Since the fabric has the same stretch both ways, it will work great!


If you want adjustable straps, you will need piece J, but we will go with a fixed strap for this swimsuit and therefore will not cut the little rectangular piece. As we said earlier, we use pins and scissors and cut carefully around every notch as they are all important for an easy construction.

VERY IMPORTANT: When cutting the Bust piece (B), make sure you clip at center front marks:


Main fabric

You fold it to have enough space for all your pieces and then measure to make sure your fabric is folded parallel to the selvage (the three orange lines are the same length).


Clip center front (the fabric fold) on Front piece (E)


and strap placement marks on the Back piece (H)

Lining

Because we do not have two paper pieces for the bust piece and need to cut 4, we traced a dotted line around the edge with a fabric marker, pinned the fabric layers together and moved the piece so we can cut everything we need at the same time:


We were able to cut the lining from the remant piece of our sweetheart swimsuit:

Clip center front (the fabric fold) on piece E and remove the paper and pins:

The last step is to cut the elastics to the length indicated in the charts printed on the paper pattern and included in the PDF instructions.


We marked the wrong side of the lining and black pieces because both sides are very similar and we want to make sure we always have our mirror pieces (not two left or two right). We used the fabric marker and chalk, but you could use little stickers or tape. Always mark the wrong side, not the right side in case your mark leaves a trace.

We are now ready to sew! Stay tuned for our first sewing photos.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How to Measure Fabric Stretch

Whenever you see a minimum stretch requirement on one of our sewing patterns, it is very important that you measure your fabric stretch both in the length and in the width.

Fabric stretch is not written on the fabric content label at the fabric store, but some online store now include it in the description.

How to see if your fabric has enough stretch

Across the grain (in the width)


  • Fold you fabric square with the finished edge of the fabric (selvage), away from the cut edge
  • Hold the pleat over the ruler printed on the back of the pattern
  • Stretch the fold to reach the end of the ruler (where is says "up to here"):

Along the grain (in the length):


  • Fold you fabric parallel with the finished edge of the fabric (selvage), away from the edge
  • Hold the pleat over the ruler printed on the back of the pattern
  • Stretch the fold to reach the end of the ruler (where is says "up to here")

How to measure the fabric stretch

If you do not have the back of the pattern on hand or if you want a percentage, stretch over a ruler to find out the exact stretch factor.

Metric ruler (easiest)

  • Hold the fabric as shown above with your left fingers at "0", right fingers above "10 cm". 
  • Stretch until you feel resistance and look at the number.
  • If it stretches to 16, it means you have 60% stretch, if it stretches to 12, it means you have 20% stretch.

Imperial ruler (requires you to do a little math)

  • Hold the fabric as shown above with your left fingers at "0", right fingers above "5 inches". 
  • Stretch until you feel resistance and look at the number.
  • Calculate "stretched measurement" minus 5: _______
  • Divide that number by 5 and multiply by 100
  • For example, if it stretches from 5 to 8 inches: 
    • 8-5=3
    • 3/5=0.6
    • 0.6 x 100 = 60%
  • Cheat Sheet:
    • If it stretches from 5" to 5 1/2" = 10%
    • If it stretches from 5" to 6" = 20%
    • If it stretches from 5" to 7" = 40%
    • If it stretches from 5" to 8" = 60%


    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    3350 Photo Tutorial - Part 2 : PATTERN + SIZING

    Now that you have your fabric, pattern and notions, let's talk about the sizing and pattern.

    SIZING

    First, take a look at our one-piece swimsuit measurement chart. There are many sizes in that chart, so you can be sure we have the perfect one for you!

    Forget about your ready-to-wear size or size you use in other patterns. Take your tape measure and measure (or have someone help you with that):
    • Full bust
    • Waist (smallest part)
    • Hips (fullest part)
    • Torso (center of your shoulder, over the fullest part of your bust, down between your legs and back up to the shoulder).
    If you are lucky, all measurements will fall in the same column (or only 1 size up/down, in which case go with the middle size).

    My measurements are all over the chart! What do I do?

    Find the size that corresponds to your bust measurement. If your bust measurement is more than 2 sizes bigger or smaller than the waist/hips, use the bust to select the bust and contrast band pieces size and the waist/hips for the other pieces.

    For example, you can sew a size V bust to a S swimsuit without any problem. From there you have two options:
    1. You can stretch the smaller piece to make it fit with the larger one when assembling 
    2. You trace the front (E) and back (F or H) and copy the bust size line at the top of your piece  (I prefer this technique to avoid stretching or extra gathers where the two sections meet. 
      • For example, if you are making S swimsuit with V bust:
        • Trace size S as is
        • Move your piece up so the center front corner matches size V center front corner
        • Trace size V bust seam line
        • Redraw the side seam
        • You now have a size S swimsuit with size V bust and bust seam. This means you have to trace size V for the contrast band.


    For more sizing combinations, challenges and alterations, please read our sizing 101 blog post that features real-life example

    I have a long / short torso

    If your torso is different from the torso measurement for the size you are using, please use this little formula to shorten / lengthen your bodice pieces



    Try to lengthen/shorten close to waist level:


    Gathered front pattern alteration

    If you like the gathered front style, slice the front piece (E) above and below the waist notch and lengthen to double the length of the front side seam:


    Keep a copy of the unaltered front piece because you will need when cutting the front lining.

    Maternity swimsuit alteration

    Maternity one-piece swimsuits patterns are pretty much inexistant in the market. A one-piece style can be tricky because the baby bump grows so much (and you don't want too much fabric at the beginning or too little towards the end...).  Here are two posts that I really like and I think would be worth a try:

    PDF PATTERN

    After you have saved your swimsuit PDF pattern to your computer, print it at 100%, measure the test square and assemble the tiles as instructed in our How-to guide. Indiesew also has a great post that shows you how to assemble a digital pattern.

    We grouped the pieces by style so you have as little pages to tape together as possible:

    PDF pattern grouped by piece / view

    Then you can trace or cut your pattern. 

    PAPER PATTERN

    After a few days of stalking the mailman, you have your paper pattern - yeah! You can now cut it or trace if you want to save it (because you know your daughter/niece/sister/neighbour will want one too :))

    Inside Jalie 3350 paper pattern


    There are many blog posts and tutorials online showing you how to trace a pattern. Donna and Rachel's blog post shows you the different alternatives. I'm really happy that they show my favorite technique: taping the pattern to a large window / patio door. This not only gives you great lighting, but it keeps your kitchen table free (and the pattern cannot be reached by those little hands who want to "help" you).
    Funny little Jalie story 
    Imagine... early morning, early 80's... mom had been working all night (she would make prototypes during the night so I could try them first thing in the morning). She was looking for a tiny polo shirt collar stand piece. You know, the pattern piece shape that often accidentally makes it way to the garbage with other paper scraps. The piece had disappeared! And it was the original draft. She was tired and I assume she did NOT feel like drafting another one. Then she realized I was under the table playing with my Barbies. A mother's instinct... She said "open your mouth". I'm not joking. The piece had fallen off the table and for some weird reason, I decided that it would be breakfast... Yep, I would eat Jalie patterns for breakfast :) I don't remember her grounding me... She kept working with a chewed-up pattern piece... Ahhh the joys of sewing with kids around!
    If you do not have a large window and don't have a crafts store nearby, get a roll of plastic sheeting at your local hardware store and grab a Sharpie. It works very well and you see our beautiful full-color pattern lines lines much better! You can read more about this technique on The Hapless Seamstress blog.

    WHICH PATTERN PIECES DO I NEED TO CUT/TRACE?

    Front:
    • View A (sweetheart): You need pieces A + D + E
    • View B (twist): You need pieces B + C + E
    Back:
    • View A (open back): You need pieces F + G
    • View B (closed back): You need piece H
    Straps:
    • Fixed straps : You only need piece I
    • Adjustable straps: You will need pieces I + J

    PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS

    Just like a recipe, it's always a good idea to quickly go over the instructions to have an idea of how the garment will be constructed. I strongly recommend you print the instructions or save them on your tablet. I love reading instructions on my tablet because I can zoom in on smaller illustrations, I save paper and I never lose them! 

    In the next post, we will cut the fabric, lining and elastic.

    Monday, June 16, 2014

    3350 Photo Tutorial - Part 1 - FABRIC & SUPPLIES

    Welcome to the 3350 Photo Tutorial!

    Starting next week, we soon show you how to make a stunning one-piece swimsuit from A to Z. Instead of doing a sew along that would last a few weeks, we want to post everything within a few days so you can finish this project quickly or take it slowly if you can only work on it a little bit every day. 

    If you get stuck, post your question in the comments section and we will gladly help you. 

    Jalie 3350 Swimsuit - A (sweetheart) front with A (open) back

    While we are getting ready for photos and sewing, I thought it would be a good idea to start with some useful information and inspiration photos so you can gather your supplies before we start posting tutorial photos next week.

    WHAT WE WILL BE MAKING

    We will show you in detail how to make a 3350 one-piece swimsuit. The pattern is available in both paper and PDF formats.


    This pattern includes 27 sizes (yes, all in one enveloppe!) and we worked very hard at adjusting the style (leg openings, cup coverage) so it fits beautifully, from toddlers to plus sizes.

    Variations



    A front: sweetheart with contrast band (EASIEST)
    B front: twist front (FOR INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED BEGINNERS FOR AN "I CAN'T BELIEVE I MADE THIS! FEELING")
    A back: open back with G-hook closure (EASY, REQUIRES A G-HOOK, A FEW EXTRA STEPS)
    B back: closed front (with optional tummy-control front lining) (QUICKEST, BUT CAN BE A BIT HOT IN THE SUN)

    Jalie 3350 Swimsuit - B (twist) front with A (open) back
    Jalie 3350 Swimsuit -  B (twist) front with A (open) back


    Extra variation: We will show you how to alter the lower front pattern piece for a gathered front.


    FABRIC

    Main fabric

    You will need a good quality lycra with nice stretch and recovery both in the length and in the width. When shopping for your swimwear fabrics, look for nylon/spandex or nylon/lycra. If you plan on making a tummy-control version (full back, powernet lining), you want to avoid the beautiful poly/spandex prints for the bottom part of your swimsuit as they are thinner / have less body and don't look as beautiful when stretched out.

    You can find great swimwear fabrics online:

    Lining

    You can find swimwear lining at all three stores listed above. We often see beige lining, but we prefer going with black or white, whatever compliments the fabric best. For a tummy-control swimsuit, you can use PowerNet (a mesh with limited stretch) for the lower front. You will still need regular lining for the bust.

    Please refer to the back of the pattern for yardage. If you would like to gathers at lower front, please add 1/3 yard (30 cm) to the lower front fabric yardage. 

    SOME FABRIC INSPIRATION

    SWEETHEART FRONT (view A)

    With the sweetheart, you can use one, two or three different fabrics. Your fabric choice will help you enhance your body's best assets. It looks great in solids, stripes, florals... You can also use the straps if you want to add a little pop of color too.

    • To enhance, use a lighter or bright color or go with an eye-catching print.
    • To minimize, go with a darker color for the bottom piece or more subtle print.
    • To emphasize curves, pick a print that creates a cut-out or princess seam effect.



    TWIST FRONT (view B)

    The twist front looks best in a solid or print that will make the twist detail stand out. With some florals, the twist becomes less visible. You can use the same fabric all over, or go with contrast twist front or straps. There is no contrast band on this one.


    NOTIONS

    In addition to your fabric and lining, you will need:
    • 1 cm (3/8") Elastic 
      • Knit elastic: That is what we have always used on swimsuits because it is very easy to sew and has great stretch and recovery without being too stiff. It always had a great lifespan too. It is also easy to find in most fabric stores. Do not use braided or woven elastic. We explain why in our How to Sew Elastics video.
      • Rubber: Our favorite is by far FILPAR rubber elastic
      • Requirements (error in elastic yardage on the back of the pattern) please use these quantities:
        • Young children (sizes F-K): 3 m (3 1/4 yd)
        • Teens (sizes L-O): 3,5 m (3 7/8 yd)
        • Women (bust 31" to 36"): 4 m (3 1/4 yd)
        • Women (bust 37" to 50"): 5 m (5 1/2 yd)
    • Rings and sliders
      • Only if you want adjustable straps
      • You can find them at Sew Sassy and Bra-Makers
      • If you plan to spend more time in the sun than in the water, you can use bra strapping for your swimsuit straps. They will save you some time and will look just as good (but do not resist as well to chlorine or salt water)! Sew Sassy sells strap kits that includes the straps, rings and sliders. 
    • G Hook
      • For open back only (great to minimize tanning lines!)
      • Available at Bra-Makers Supply and Sew Sassy
      • If you cannot find one, don't worry. You can still make the open-back style, but the top section will simply sewn at center back.
    • Cups (optional)
      • You can steal cups from another swimsuit / bikini you no longer wear or find some at lingerie stores or online


    NEEDLES

    We have been using Schmetz Stretch needles on all our projects since 1983, on both our regular machine and serger.


    SEWING MACHINE

    You can make the 3350 swimsuit with a regular sewing machine. If you have a serger, you can use it for construction seams and for a clean finish. In the assembly post, we will show how to get great results with both. Meanwhile, you can take a look at our sewing technique for stretch fabrics using a regular sewing machine on YouTube:



      OTHER SUPPLIES

      You will need the usual:
      • tape measure
      • pins
      • good scissors (I strongly recommend you put this pair of Kai scissors on your Christmas or birthday list!)
      • fabric marker / tailor's chalk
      • thread (we use 100% polyester thread on both our regular machine and serger)
      • tape (for PDF pattern assembly)
      • tracing paper + pencil/pen or plastic sheeting + Sharpie (my personal favorite)

      I think that will be enough for today :) Gather your fabric, order your pattern through our website or your favorite Jalie retailer and free up some time in your schedule next week for your fabulous swimsuit project!

      The next post about sizing and pattern alteration.

      If you have any questions about the design, fabric or notions, please write them in the comments.