Friday, September 25, 2009

The Traditionalist (and a tutorial!)

So, last week I was walking in the woods, and was thinking about flannel and tartan. And here is the result!

I love the traditional look of this jumper. It has a simple design that I enhanced with a little piping and some well placed buttons. I chose black watch plaid on the cream flannel so that it would pop. This dress has growth pleats to which I added tartan ribbon. Growth pleats are just horizontal pleats that are usually about an 1" to 1 1/2" inches in width. It will be in my etsy shop soon.

Anyway, I liked it so much that I decided to make it in red as well, using some European brushed twill that I've had for awhile. Not only that, but I thought it would be nice to share my technique of piping insertion in the yoke, so here goes.

A disclaimer: I am not a sewing expert, so if anyone can offer some more advice, it is much appreciated. These are simply my techniques for working with piping.

So, the first thing you want to do is to choose a simple jumper pattern with a separate yoke. I chose to make the design 'Louise' from Children's Corner. This jumper features buttons down the back, a full skirt, and growth pleats.

Decide which size you will be using. For the red dress I used a size 2. Roughly cut out your pattern piece for the front yoke and then cut a piece of the yoke fabric that is slightly wider than double the yoke width. You want to leave enough extra fabric to compensate for the seam allowances when you stitch down the piping.

The next step is to prepare your piping. I use the Darr ruler and cut off the excess piping allowance. My seams are 1/4", so if yours are wider, you would want to plan accordingly.

Put wondertape on one side. This allows you to place the piping exactly where you want it, without the hassle of using pins. It will wash away when you wash the garment.

Try to place the piping to the slight left or right of center. This doesn't matter all that much because you will select the center front line after the piping is inserted. Stitch straight down the piping directly over the thread used to make the piping itself.

When you have completed that, you simply fold the fabric over the seam allowance of the piping, right sides together. Make sure there is no gap between the piping seam allowance and the fabric itself. In order to keep the grain correct, you have to make sure it's pretty tight. Then stitch just barely to the left of your original stitch line, "squeezing" the piping, and making sure that none of the other threads are showing.

Open the fabric piece up again and press lightly.

Now for the second line of piping. You want the seam allowances to face the other direction. So if your piping seam allowance lay to the right previously, this time you want it to lay to the left, and vice versa. I want my piping to be about two inches apart, so I carefully measure all the way down as I put it into place. Stitch as before.

It will look like this as you stitch the second side.

Press again, making sure the seam allowances lay out from the center.

Now you want to fold your fabric piece so that the two lines of piping match up, so I put right sides together. You want to make sure that the two lines are directly over each other. If it's easier to pin them together, then do so. The fold of the fabric becomes the center front, and then lay your pattern piece as indicated on the fold line.

This pattern requires a lining, so I cut them out at the same time.

When you are done, your piece should look like this. Two lines of piping centered on the center of the yoke. Now just use this piece like you would have used a normal piece of fabric. Just be sure to keep the seam allowances flattened the way they were pressed.

I'm quite pleased with the cute, traditional look, and this is the finished project.

Happy sewing!

From New Hampshire,


ReginaH said...

Melissa, the dress is so darling! The red twill is TDF! You create such wonderful traditional designs with a vintage & unique style.

littlegirlpearl said...

Thanks Regina! The twill came from the Oilily outlet outside of Amsterdam. I nearly died of joy when I saw it. I picked up a velvet-y cotton in red at the same time, but I think that fabric is all for the P.!

Sarah said...

This is why I follow your blog. You're inspiring!

kaiolohiakids said...

I think you method is totally ingenious! I've sewn all my life (which is a long time) but I've never put piping in anything but along an edge. So smart to do it & cut the bodice after!! Thanks for the great tutorial!

Die Schaubude said...

Many thanks for this great tutorial ! Your really cute dresses are my motivation to try sewing some for my daugther ;) greetings from germany

littlegirlpearl said...

Wow, thanks everyone!! So glad this helps! I cut out a smaller piece of yoke fabric first for any yoke treatment whether it's pintucks or small pleats. It makes lining everything up a lot easier.

Melissa said...

Oh, BOY do I love that. Love, love, love. The cream one is my favorite.

You need to do an old-fashioned coat to match-- with a detachable hood. Yes, indeedy.

Anonymous said...

Adorable! What a wonderful tutorial! Thank you.

Amanda Pedro said...

oh wow! thanks for teaching me something new. And I just happen to have a similar pattern. Was thinking only summer, now I can make a winter one.
thanks thanks thanks

Hallie said...

Melissa, I am only starting to scratch the surface of your blog! Your sewing tips are so helpful, and your photos are great too! I have a question--I know you are really busy! But I am about to have my first booth at a crafts fair. I do heirloom sewing, so my fabrics and designs don't look like yours (just wanted to mention that!), but I loved reading your entries about getting ready for your New England show, the one where you built the dowel stands and the umbrella stand. My question is about your sign--it looks simple but it's very clear and readable. Would you mind telling me if you made this yourself or if you had it printed somewhere? If you prefer to email me back, I'm at hallierichmond at Again, I know you're busy and just wanted you to know I am a fan! Best wishes, Hallie

littlegirlpearl said...

Hey Hallie,

Thanks so much for all the great feedback!

My sign was actually done through my local graphic design/photo processing store. I knew what I wanted it to look like, but didn't have the capability on photoshop to do it myself. I took my idea down to Flash Photo in New London, NH, and had them work with me. They printed it on a very thick paper cardstock, and I simply attached hooks on the back. I am toying with the idea of having a vinyl banner made out of it because it's been a little rainy lately! Hope that helps, and best of luck with your show!

Jennifer said...

so cute! I need to buy some piping and try my hand at this.

Merlynn W. said...

OMG! What can I say,you have truly out done your self. Was going through my e-mails,saw The Fabric Shopper and there you were.Went to your Etsy and saw your new line. "WOW" it is beautiful. Love the colors, love the look and style. Your cream and navy dress is soo sweet, but I love the dark top(and button) with the dark print on the bottom.

casserole said...

Lovely!! I was just thinking that I wanted to make a A-line jumper for my daughter, and was wondering how I might embellish the front. And then I happened upon your tutorial - problem solved!!

I featured your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


life in yonder said...

I love this traditional look, and the simple pattern gives room for so many different varities, depending on the details and fabrics you use. I'd love to find a pattern like this. And your tutorial is gerat!

sisters4saymoreismore said...

thatis goreous and so classy! love it!

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