She’s called The Rochester.
It seemed a fitting name as I went to college in Rochester, Kent and studied design and pattern cutting, and recently returned for the first time in about 30 years -while wearing one of my test samples as a wearer trial!
I love this hem detail, and it’s just the right length to wear with your jeans! There is also a dress version with a tie belt. I’ve been wearing them both constantly while I’ve been working on this pattern.
And not going to show you today, but a fab neckline too – I’m such a tease 😉
I’ll announce the release date as soon as I have one, just a little finalising on the instruction booklet to go!
A handy little tutorial to show you how to make a handworked button loop…..
| HOW TO MAKE A BUTTON LOOP |
| SUPPLIES to make a button loop |
Firstly gather your supplies:
button (1.5-1cm in width works well for a back neck opening), scissors, needle, beeswax (optional)
Thread: you have to make a decision here; help is at the end of the tutorial!
- embroidery floss – great colours but makes a bulkier button loop,
- ordinary sewing thread, will match your garment, good for garments made from delicate fabrics such as lawn. Run it through some beeswax to help strengthen it first.
- topstitching thread – my preference, good colour selection and strong.
| METHOD |
Take a length of thread. I’m using topstitching thread and have threaded my needle with it doubled so I’m making 2 loops with one stitch (because I’m lazy and it’s quicker). I’m working on the WRONG SIDE of the garment and starting my loop back a few millimetres back from the edge. Bring your needle out at the point you want your loop to start.
Make your loop big enough to go over your button. It can be a little bit trial and error to get the loop the right size – it’s wise to check now that it fits!
| Top tip | use your finger or a pen as a guide for consistency.
Decide how many strands you need in your loop and repeat. I’ve done 8 strands. (There is a little guide at the end) Fasten your thread off securely. With a new length of thread, bring your needle out at the base of the loop on the left. Work from the left towards the right and cover the loop with a standard blanket stitch: just put your needle through the button loop and keep your thread BEHIND your needle and pull the thread firmly. Slide the stitch along the loop so it sits to the left, right at the beginning next to the fabric.
Repeat, sliding each stitch snugly to the next, until the whole loop is covered with a closely worked blanket stitch. Secure your thread and stitch on your button.
| THREAD OPTIONS |
These are a few of your options regarding which thread / how many strands per button loop. There isn’t a right and wrong answer for which one to use – depends on what you’re making and what you have available!
My preference is the first one using topstitching thread / 8 strands. I actually thought it was going to be too bulky and setting back a little to the wrong side of the garment helps hide messy starts and finishes. It made a really nice sturdy loop and I do like a little bit of contrast thread, so matching thread isn’t an issue for me.
The second loop is again using topstitching thread but with only 4 strands for the loop, it’s a little floppy but perfectly serviceable. This one I set right on the folded edge of the cloth.
Number 3 is Embroidery Floss / 3 strands. Lots of choice for colours with embroidery floss but is a little bulkier in appearance. Might be nice on knitwear.(I can’t knit, so I’ve never tried that). You could also split the threads and work with fewer strands rather than the usual 8 that the floss is made of.
Number 4 is the most delicate of the button loops. Made from my usual sewing thread pulled through beeswax to strengthen. With 8 strands for the loop and the blanket stitch worked with a double thread for 2 strand coverage. This one would be lovely to use on a delicate fabric such as a cotton lawn.
I do actually really like the last one because I got to finally use my neon pink sewing thread that I bought for no other reason than the colour!
Happy Sewing! x
How to Lengthen or Shorten a Sewing Pattern
This is just about the easiest pattern alteration to do!
You’ve probably noticed, many patterns have horizontal length adjustment lines marked on them to show where to alter the length. I don’t do that on my patterns, I prefer a cleaner look. It’s so easy to get in a muddle with too many lines everywhere and so simple to mark any length adjustments only if you need them. This straight forward tutorial will show you how simple it is to lengthen or shorten a sewing pattern, to help achieve a great fit.
Your pattern (or copy of your pattern if you don’t want to alter your original)
Things to be aware of:
- If you are doing lots of alterations to your pattern, do any length adjustments first.
- Keep the grainline or “place to fold line” IN A STRAIGHT LINE, do not allow them to stagger.
- The Chain Effect: when altering one pattern piece, also alter the corresponding pattern piece in the same way and remember to check they still fit together after your alteration. It is very annoying to end up with the front skirt longer than your back skirt!
Draw an adjustment line horizontally across your pattern at a right angle to the grainline or to the “place to a fold line”
On a bodice: mark the line above the waist line but below a bust dart, and straight through any waist darts.
On a skirt (or skirt portion of a dress) below the hip line, but avoid any pocket details – no point making life complicated!
On a sleeve: half way along the underarm seam, unless it’s a fitted sleeve or has an elbow dart, then divide between two lines. (See “Good to Know” at the end)
LENGTHEN A PATTERN:
Place a piece of paper behind your pattern and tape the top portion of your pattern to it.
Extend the grain line. Draw a line parallel to the your adjustment line the amount you need to lengthen the pattern by. Tape the lower portion of your pattern to the new line, matching up the grainline. Re-draw the seam lines so that they match up again, these may need to be curved or may be straight depending on your pattern piece. It’s quite usual to need to blend the new lines together, adding a bit to one and taking a bit off the other.
SHORTEN A PATTERN:
Place a piece of paper behind your pattern and tape the top portion of your pattern to it. On your pattern, draw a line parallel to the adjustment line the amount the pattern is to be shortened. Overlapping your pattern pieces, tape the lower portion of the pattern to the new line, matching up the grainlines. Re-draw the the seam lines so they match up again, in the same way as lengthening a pattern.
Check your pattern pieces still fit together before cutting out your garment. Toile again if you need to!
Good to Know:
The Maria Wrap Apron: lengthen the straps
This is a great method to use if you need to alter the length of the straps of The Maria Wrap Apron too. Be sure to keep the grainline aligned as before, but you can just chop through the strap, spread the pattern the required amount and re-draw the edges with a straight line – all without changing the length of the angled edge that attaches to your apron! You will need to do exactly the same alteration to both the TOP and UNDER straps.
If you are lengthening or shortening a larger amount, you can spread the amount between two lines.
On a bodice, for example, take the amount needed to lengthen and place half above the bust dart, and half below the dart, this will of course lower the bust dart a little, so be sure you want it lower!
On a skirt, especially a maxi skirt style, half could go through the skirt in two places, this will lengthen the skirt and keep the hem circumference the same as the original. Alternatively, use one adjustment line and extra length could be added straight to the bottom of the hem, but the hem circumference will get bigger.
For a fitted sleeve: Spread the amount between two lines one above and one below the elbow/elbow dart.
Now, do I always use this method for changing the length of every pattern? ( I’m 5’2″ so it’s always shorten, shorten, shorten)
I do hope you’ve found this tutorial useful, and can now confidently lengthen or shorten a sewing pattern.