the rushcutter

Pattern Hack : Rushcutter View A with Buttons

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Original Technical Drawings

Recently, a customer got in touch and said that she wanted to make the Rushcutter View A (the version with sleeves), but would like to add buttons to the back, like View B, but wanted to check if it was an easy adjustment to make to the pattern. 

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A Rushcutter with sleeves and buttons

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It is a nice and easy adjustment to make, and it is a tutorial I have been meaning to create forever, so I thought this was a sign it was about time I got around to it, as I am sure she is not the only one who would like to make this adjustment!

A little bit about In the Folds patterns

If you have used the Rushcutter pattern, you will know that both stitching line and cutting lines are marked on the pattern.

Why is the stitching line marked?

When I first decided to start creating sewing patterns for home sewers, one of the first decisions I made, before I even started sketching, was that I wanted to create patterns that would help sewers develop their skills, in both sewing and pattern making.

By including the stitching lines on each pattern piece, it makes it much easier to understand how the pattern was originally made, but also allows for easy adjustments and 'hacking' to the pattern (as all pattern alterations should be done without seam allowance added to the pattern). 

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In the image you can see that the stitching line is marked with a red line, while the cutting line (outside edge of the pattern) is marked with a thick black line. If you wanted to make changes to this particular pattern piece, you could simple cut along the stitch line to remove the seam allowance, and the piece would be ready to be altered.

Understand your pattern

Before making any adjustments to a pattern, I always suggest having a good idea of how the pattern works and fits in it's original design.

So, for this example, have a look at how the button placket works on View B, before adding it to View A.

The button placket

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As you can see, the button placket is made up of three sections, that folded to create the button placket. The first (closest to the centre back) is 1cm from the centre back. This is the first fold line. The next line is 2cm from the first fold line and is the second fold line (the buttons and button holes will be placed between these two lines). And the third line is 1cm from the second fold line and is the edge of the pattern piece. 

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When the piece is cut, the first fold line is folded and pressed towards the centre back.

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The second fold line is folded and pressed, enclosing the raw edge inside, creating a button placket. 

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To finish, the buttons and button holes are placed on the centre back line. To see how this looks in fabric, you can check out this step from the Rushcutter Sew-Along.

Make the adjustment

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Take the 'UPPER BODICE' pattern piece from View B, and cut along the centre back line, removing the placket from the pattern. If you would like to keep the pattern intact, simply trace a copy of the placket section onto a seperate piece of paper. 

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Now that you have removed the placket, you can get your sleeve pattern (from View A) ready.

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You will be placing the right edge of the placket onto the centre back of the sleeve pattern (the stitch line).

Attach placket to sleeve

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Line the placket up with the centre back of the sleeve pattern and tape or glue in place.

And that's it... Your Rushcutter is ready for buttons instead of a zip!

If you don't have the placket piece from View B

If you have already printed your pattern, and then decided to change from zip to buttons, and don't have the pattern pieces from View B, do not worry! It is super simple to create the placket piece, with the help of a pencil and a ruler.

Remove the seam allowance

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Take your sleeve pattern and remove the seam allowance from the centre back seam (by cutting along the stitch line marked on the pattern).

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Take a small piece of pattern paper, and tape it to the centre back of the pattern, creating space for your placket.

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Create the placket by:

1. Drawing a line 1cm (3/8in) from the centre back, running parallel to the centre back. 

2. Drawing a second line, 2cm (3/4in) from the first

3. The final line will be drawn 1cm (3/8in) from the second line. 

Complete the placket shape

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Extend the top and bottom edges of the sleeve pattern to complete the placket shape.

ADD PATTERN MARKINGS

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Complete the placket by adding button / buttonhole placement markings.

And you are ready to sew!


Over to you

Do you have a pattern hack for the Rushcutter in mind? I'd love to hear about it!

If you use this tutorial, I'd love to know! Simply tag your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #draftingwithinthefolds.


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How to make a waist sash

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Last week, we pretty much finished sewing our Rushcutters! All we've got to do now is create a the waist sash (if you want a waist sash for your Rushcutter. It's totally optional!) 

Creating a waist sash is a really simple way to totally transform a silhouette. I decided to include a waist sash in the Rushcutter pattern to give sewers more options for their pattern.

If you haven't got the pattern, don't worry, keep reading, I'll tell you what measurements I used so you can make a waist sash for any pattern you like!

Drafting the pattern

First, you will need to consider how wide you would like your sash to be.  As a guide, the waist sash on the Rushcutter is 3.5cm wide.

Then you need to think about how long you would like your sash to be. Remember, you will need quite a bit of extra length for the bow. Consider tying some string or ribbon around your waist to work out how much extra you will need. For the Rushcutter, I took the waist measurement and added 1.15m for the tie. Sounds like a lot, but you really do need it!

Once you have your measurements, you can draft the pattern (or draw straight onto the fabric with tailor's chalk). Draw a rectangle DOUBLE the width of your finished waist sash and HALF the length of your finished sash. 

Add seam allowance (I went for 1cm, but this is up to you) to all sides. If you would prefer not to have a seam in the centre back, just add seam allowance to three sides (2 long sides and 1 short) and then write 'place on fold' on the side that doesn't have seam allowance.

Draw a line that cuts the pattern piece in half horizontally that will be your grainline and fold line.

Sew the sash

Take the two WAIST SASH pieces (from The Rushcutter pattern or the pieces you drafted) that you have cut and, with right sides together, join them together at the centre back with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance. Once stitched, press the seam open. 

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With right sides together, fold the sash in half length ways and press. Pin along the long edge and stitch with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance. 

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Use your fingers to roll the seam so that it is in the centre of the tube. Press the seam allowance open.

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Turn back both short ends of the tube by 1cm (3/8in) and press.

TURN THE SASH

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Take a safety pin or bodkin and attach it to one side of one of the short ends of the tube.

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Feed the safety pin through the tube to turn the right side out. Press flat. 

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Enclose the short ends of the sash, by stitching nice and close to the edge. Alternative, you could consider sewing by hand (with a slip stitch) to finish the ends invisibly.

Give the dress one final press and you are done!

How to : Sew a rolled hem with a standard foot

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There are many ways you could choose to finish the hem of your Rushcutter.

You could use the hem facing, just like I did for VIEW A, you could use a strip of bias binding, or like me, you could do a rolled hem.

You can do a really narrow rolled hem, which can be a beautiful finish on fabrics like organza or chiffon, but I went for something a little wider as I'd say most people aren't sewing their Rushcutters from chiffon! This method will work with a narrower hem, if you want one.

I know there are a bizillion great machine feet which can help you get all kinds of finishes, but I do things the old school way, as a lot of my learning was done on an industrial machine without any fancy feet. So in tofay's tutorial, I will show you how to sew a rolled hem with a standard machine foot.

Stitch

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With the dress inside out, using your fingers, turn up the hem by 5mm (1/8in) and stitch. If you go nice and slow you don't need to press and pin, and can just fold up the hem as you go.

Press

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Turn the hem by a further 5mm (1/8in) and press. Pin hem in place.

Stitch

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 Stitch along the original stitch line.

Press

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Give the hem a good press on the right side of the garment, You will see that you have only one row of stitching on the right side.  


I'd love to know if you have any secrets for finishing hems! Let me know in the comments.


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How to finish an armhole with bias binding

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At this point in the Rushcutter Sew-along, our Rushcutter's are really starting to look like Rushcutters!

In today's post, we will be finishing the armholes with bias binding. I am a huge fan of binding as a finish, it gives you a lovely clean finish, without the extra bulk of a facing. 

Even if you are not sewing The Rushcutter, I am sure you will find this tutorial useful for projects to come!

Measure the armhole

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Take a tape measure and measure around the armhole. Take note of the measurement.

Prepare binding

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For this tutorial, you can use store-bought binding or make the binding yourself

Cut a piece of binding the length of your armhole.

If you are using binding that you made yourself, you will need to fold it before sewing. Take the binding and with right side down, press one long edge under by 10mm (5/8in).

Join binding

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With right sides together, bring the short ends of the bias binding together at a right angle. The overlap will create a square. 

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Pin in place and stitch across the diagonal of the square. 

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Trim back the seam, close to the stitch line, and press the seam open. 

Pin binding to armhole

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Now that the binding is in a continuous loop, with right sides together, pin the unpressed edge of the binding to one of the armholes, being careful to evenly distribute the binding around the armhole.

Be careful about where you place the binding seam - I suggest placing it somewhere where is there is not yet a seam, to minimise bulk (for example, the middle of the back armhole). 

Stitch

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Stitch the binding to the armhole with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance. 

Clip into the seam allowance at regular intervals. This will help you achieve a smooth armhole. Trim back the seam allowance by 2-3mm (1/16in) if your fabric is thick or bulky.

Understitch

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Turn the binding to the right side and, using your finger, press it (and the seam allowance) nice and flat. Understitch the seam allowance to the binding. 

Edge stitch

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Fold the binding to the inside of the dress, rolling the seam line towards the inside of the dress slightly (this is so you won't be able to see the seam line from the right side).

Give the armholes a good press, from the outside.

And tah-dah! You have a lovely clean finish on your armhole. 


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How to : Join the bodice to the dress

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If you are following along, you will know that over the last few weeks I have been guiding you through the process of sewing a Rushcutter dress. 

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Today we will be joining the body of the dress to the bodice and your Rushcutter will really take shape. 

Pin

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With wrong sides together, match the notch at the centre front of the FRONT panel to the notch in the centre of the CENTRE FRONT PANEL. Pin. 

Continue moving from notch to notch, pinning the two pieces together. Curved seams can be a little tricky, so you will need to use lots of pins!

Stitch the seam with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance, going nice and slow. Stop regularly to left the seam up and check that all the seams are lying flat and there is no puckering underneath. 

Trim seam

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Trim back the seam allowance by 2-3mm (1/16in) and press the seam up towards the neckline.

Stitch

Fold the seam with right sides together, enclosing the raw edge within the seam. Press and pin. Stitch seam with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance.

Press

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Press the seam down towards the hemline.

It is just a quick post today, as tomorrow we are up to binding the armholes, and I wanted to write that as a separate post, so it can be a tutorial you can look back on in projects to come!


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The Rushcutter sew-along: View B begins!

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Today it's finally time to jump into The Rushcutter - View B sew-along, after concluding the sew-along for View A last week. 

I decided to construct this version with french seams, so that I could offer an alternative finish for those sewers who don't own overlockers, and because French seams are oh-so-nice! If you are not making The Rushcutter, but would like to learn how to sew a french seam, then keep reading. 

French seams are a good choice for you (even if you do have an overlocker), if your fabric is light to mid-weight. You get a lovely clean finish, which gives your garments a really high-end look. If you would prefer normal seams, just follow along, remembering to put right sides together (not wrong sides together, which is how you go about creating a french seam).

joining the front and back bodices

(sizes A & B only)

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For sizes C - K, the front and back bodice pieces are all-in-one. This was not possible for size A and B, because the armhole is not big enough to allow it, so these pattern pieces need to be cut and stitched together before following along with the instructions for all sizes,

With wrong sides together, attach the FRONT UPPER BODICE to the BACK UPPER BODICE and stitch together with a french seam (if you don't know how to sew a french seam, don't worry - I'll explain it in the following steps).

Preparing the button placket

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Place the UPPER BODICE face down, and fold back the centre back by 1cm (3/8 in), using the notches to guide you. Press in place.

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Make a second fold, this time 2cm (3/4 in) from the first, using the notches as a guide. Press in place.

adding interfacing

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If your fabric is lightweight, or quite flimsy, I suggest that you consider using interfacing to stiffen your button placket. I did not want to stiffen the whole stand, so decided to just use small pieces of interfacing to reinforce where the buttons and buttonhole will be sewn.You could consider cutting a strip of interfacing as long and as wide as the placket itself - depending on the fabric and finish you are going for. 

Open up the folds, and place your piece/s of interfacing with sticky side down. The folds will help you position it correctly. Press in place. 

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Re-fold the fold lines and stitch close to the edge on both sides. Your pattern placket is done!

Attaching the centre front panel

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With wrong sides together, join the CENTRE FRONT PANEL to the front sides of the UPPER BODICE pieces. Use the notch in the centre of the seam to help you place the pieces correctly. Stitch with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance.

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Trim down the seam allowances on both sides of the CENTRE FRONT PANEL by about 2-3mm (1/16in). Open the seam, and press the seam allowances away from the centre front.

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Fold the seam, with right sides together. You will see that this will enclose the raw edge and the original line of stitching inside the seam. Press and pin. Stitch the seam with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance. 

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Press seams away from the centre front. 

Joining the shoulder seams

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With wrong sides together, pin the front and back shoulder seams together. Pin in place.

Once again, stitch with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance, trim back, and enclose raw edge in a french seam.

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Press the shoulder seams towards the back, and then that's it for today.

Tomorrow I'll be walking you through using bias tape to bind the neckline.

Don't have bias tape? Make some yourself! 


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Finished project : The Rushcutter

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At last, after about four weeks of blog posts, I have completed the sew-along for The Rushcutter (view A)! Before getting on with view B, I thought I'd finally show you some pics of my finished Rushcutter.

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I have made so many versions of this dress, throughout the design process, but this one is my absolute favourite. It is an easy one to just throw on and look put together, and I can easily dress it up or down. It has already become an absolute wardrobe staple!

It's made from a lovely mid-weight denim which I bought second hand (so unfortunately don't have any more details about it). I was a little worried it might be a little too heavy for a Rushcutter, but decided to go with it anyway as it has a clear right and wrong side, which is really great when photographing sewing tutorials. 

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I got a lovely surprise when I finished making it, as I absolutely love the silhouette the denim creates. It's lovely and boxy and really shows off the details in the pattern.

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I have worn it a lot this spring with a pair of sandals, but also got a lot of wear out of it at the end of winter with tights and brogues. The weather has been awful here in Sydney, so I think I will still get a few more wears out of it before the year is out.

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I couldn't resist finishing up with this funny photo. This is my suspicious glance to see who was about to come and ruin my photo shoot!

Stay tuned, as next week I will be starting on the tutorial for view B of the Rushcutter (the sleeveless version).

The Rushcutter sew-along: The finishing touches

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So we are almost there! By now your Rushcutter should be really be looking like a dress. All we have got left to do is to finish the neckline and do the hems.

Finishing the neckline

Now that the zip is done, you can finish the neckline.

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With the dress inside out, fold the binding to the inside of the dress, rolling the seam line slightly towards the inside too. Make sure the raw edge is folded under, and press in place.

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Pin the binding around the neckline, using your fingers to smooth out the binding.

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When you reach the zip, make sure that the short edge of the binding sits a few milimetres away from the zip teeth. 

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Stitch along the edge of the binding. Press to remove any wrinkles.

Hem the sleeves

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With the neck done, move onto the sleeve hem. With the dress still inside out, fold back each sleeve hem by 4cm (1 1/2in). Press and pin in place. 

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Stitch the hem in place, by stitching close to the edge. 

Prepare the hem facing

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Take the FRONT and BACK HEM FACING and, with right sides together, pin them together at the side seams. Stitch with a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance. These seams will be enclosed in the hem, so do not need to be finished.

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Press both seams open.

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Finish the top edge of the facing (the edge that will not be attached to the hem of the dress). Consider using a contrasting binding for an interesting inner detail. 

Attach the hem facing

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Pin the hem facing to the dress, with right sides together. Start at the centre front notch and work way around the facing, matching each seam line with the corresponding notch. Stitch with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance.

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Trim back the seam allowance of your hem facing, to minimise bulk in the hemline.

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Lay the seam flat and, with the seam allowances pushed towards the hem facing, understitch the seam allowances to the facing.

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Turn the hem facing to the inside of the dress, being sure to roll the seam line slightly to the inside, and press.

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Stitch the hem in place, by hand or machine, close to the end of the facing.

Give the dress one final press and you're done! Wooohooo! 


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How to sew an invisible zip

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Zip time! And before some of you run away screaming, please just give it a go with me. I promise they're not that scary. 

Invisible zips really are the easiest zips to sew, and if you go nice and slow, you can get a really nice finish that I promise you will be proud of.

Finish the back opening

Try on the dress and adjust the back opening, if necessary.

Finish both sides of the back opening.

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Lay the dress right-side down and fold up the centre back seam allowance on both sides of the opening by 20mm (3/4in) and press flat.

Press the zip

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Open the invisible zip, and using a warm dry iron, press the zipper teeth flat. This will help you get nice and close to the teeth when you sew in the zip.

Pin and baste the zip

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Place the zip face down on the right hand side of the dress. Align the stop at the top of the zip with the neckline and the teeth of the zip with the pressed seam line. Pin in place.

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Now this is the step that really makes all the difference. Take a needle and thread (I always use a contrasting thread because it makes it nice and easy to remove the stitches later), and hand baste the zip tape to the dress. It takes a couple of minutes extra to do this, but it will ensure that the zip does not shift while you are sewing it in - and I prefer hand stitching to unpicking any day! When the zip is attached, remove the pins.

Sew one side of the zip

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Using an invisible zip foot, insert the teeth of the zip into the right-hand channel of the foot. Using your finger, roll the zip teeth so that the zip lies as flat as possible. Slowly stitch down the length of the zip, stopping just before you hit the zip pull.

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Close the zip and turn the seam allowance under, so that the zip lies flat. Press the fold. 

Matching the seam line

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You will have noticed that the seam that joins the sleeves to the body of the dress, runs directly through the zip. To ensure the seam lines match up on either side of the zip, take a pin and put it through the zip tape (on the side not yet sewed) in line with the horizontal seam line.

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Open the zip and place the zip tape face down on the left hand side of the back opening, aligning the pin with seam line.

You can use this same method for matching up waistbands, or waistlines on dresses.

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Stitch the second side of the zip

Pin in place and then continue pinning the remainder of the zip tape (once again aligning the zip teeth with the pressed line). Baste the zip in place by hand.

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Stitch the second side with your invisible zip foot - this time with the zip teeth in the left channel.

Admire your work

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Close the zip and give it a good press. Look at those lovely matching seams! Worth it, right?

Finish the centre back seam

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Turn the dress inside out and pin the remainder of the centre back opening closed. Make sure you keep the ends of the zip tape out of the way.

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Using an ordinary zip foot, stitch the remainder of the centre back seam closed. Start by putting the needle into the fabric where the row of stitching for the zip ends (or as close to that as you can get) and then lower the foot before continuing down the seam with a 2cm (3/4in) seam allowance. 

Remove the basting stitches

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With the dress still inside out, press the centre back seam open. At this stage you can remove the basting stitch from the zip tape.


And you're done! Not so bad, right?


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How to finish a neckline with bias binding

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In yesterday's post in The Rushcutter sew-along, I showed you how to make your own bias tape, and today I am going to show you how to attach  the binding to the neckline. This method will also work if you are using store-bought binding, and will work on other sewing patterns that ask for a bound neckline and have a centre-back opening.

Measure the neckline of your garment

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Using a tape measure, measure around the neckline of your Rushcutter. Start measuring from the centre back on one side, and continue measuring around the neckline until you reach the centre back on the other.

Prepare bias binding

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Cut a piece of bias binding a couple of centimetres (1 inch) longer than your neck measurement. If your binding is not yet folded, place it face down and press one long edge of the binding under by 10mm (5/8in). 

Pin binding to neckline

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With right sides together, pin the binding to the neckline (pinning the edge that has not been folded), starting from the centre back and slowly working your way around the neckline. If you have two folds in the binding, that is totally fine. I just save time by only folding in one edge and then using the seam guide on my machine to achieve the correct seam allowance.

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Before sewing, turn the dress  over and check that all seams (and darts) are pressed the right way.

Stitch binding to neckline

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Stitch the binding to the neckline with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance. 

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Trim any excess binding from the centre back, so that the edge of the binding sits flush against the centre back on both sides.

Trim and clip

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Trim down the seam allowance by 5-6mm (1/4in). This will minimise bulk around the neckline, and help when turning the seam allowance to the inside of the dress. You can also clip into the seam to help it sit flat.

Understitch

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Using your finger, press the binding (and seam allowance) nice and flat, and understitch the seam allowance to the binding. This will help the binding to roll to the inside of the garment so that you won't see it poking out on the right side. 

We will leave the binding like that for the moment, as before we can finish it off we need to sew in the zip - so that's what we'll be doing tomorrow!


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How to make your own bias binding (the low tech way)

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I love home made bias binding. It is a bit more extra work than using the shop-bought stuff, but it is a great way to bust scraps and you can get a really beautiful finish. Making your own also allows you to use whatever fabric you like, as the stuff in store is pretty limited! You can consider using a contrast binding, or just making it from the fabric you have used for the main body of the piece, or using something lighter to minimise bulk in the seam you are binding.

There are bias binding makers out there, but I tend to do things the old school way, so I cut and fold the binding my hand. So that is what I am going to show you in today's post. As we are up to the point that they need some binding for our Rushcutters. 

There are two methods that I use to make bias binding, and the method I use depends on the fabric I will be using. 

Cutting bias tape from a stable fabric

If the fabric is quite stable (for example, cotton) I will mark the bias strips directly onto the fabric with tailor's chalk and then cut.

Cutting bias tape from a delicate fabric

If the fabric is flimsy or prone to stretching (e.g silk chiffon / organza, viscose, rayon or a knit) I take an extra precaution, by sandwiching the fabric between two layers of paper. I use this same method for cutting garments from these types of fabrics too. 

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To start, take a large sheet of paper. I love dot and cross paper, and use it for everything I do, but if all you have it blank paper, that will work fine too!

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Draw a line at a 45 degree angle across the page. If you are using dot and cross paper, you just need to follow the dots or the crosses diagonally to create a straight line.

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If you are using a blank sheet of paper, you can either use a set square to get the correct angle, or you can draw a large square / rectangle and match the diagonals. Either diagonal will work, so take your pick. 

Now you need to consider the binding you would like to make.

Working out the width of your binding

First of all, you need to think about how wide would you like your binding to be when it is finished. Binding comes in all kinds of widths, but for binding an armhole or a neckline, I would suggest you will want to make it between 6mm and 15mm. If you're not sure, go and look at your ready-to-wear clothing, and measure the width of the binding that has been used, and make a decision based on that.

Single or double fold

Do you want it to be single fold or double fold binding?  What is the difference, you ask. 

The difference between the two is that you will achieve a different finish. Single fold bias tape is the best choice if you are going for a clean finish and do not want the bias tape being visible on the outside of the garment. Double fold binding is good if you would like to make a feature of your binding (that is, it will be seen from the outside).

If you are making single fold binding, take the chosen width of your binding and times that number by three. This is how wide you will need to cut your bias strips.

If you are making double fold binding, take the chosen width of your binding and times that number by four. This is how wide you will need to cut your bias strips.

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For the Rushcutter, I wanted the binding hidden on the inside the armhole and neckline, so that meant I needed single fold binding. I decided I wanted 1cm wide binding when it was finished, so I cut 3cm wide strips.

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Using your first diagonal line as a guide, draw a second line the width of your binding away from the first line. Continue drawing lines until you have enough binding (I like to cut more than I need so that I always have a bit on stand-by). 

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Now, lay your fabric on top of a sheet of paper, matching the selvedge up with the edge of the paper. If your fabric is really prone to moving (or rolling - in the case of some knits) you can pin the selvedge to the edge of the paper. Next, place your bias guidelines on top of the fabric. Again, line up the straight edge of the paper with the selvedge of the fabric.

Use weights (or whatever you have got lying around) to hold the paper in position. Pin in place, along each individual bias strip.

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Cut along the diagonal lines, cutting through all three layers, and when they're all done, remove the pins. This can be down with a rotary cutter to speed up the process.

Creating longer strips

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If you need to create a bias strip that is longer than your cut piece, or need to create a loop (as pictured in the example) for an armhole for example, bring the ends of the binding together at a right angle, with right sides together. Pin in place.

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Pin in place. You will see that the overlap of the two ends creates a square.

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Machine stitch across the diagonals of the square, from top left to bottom right. Trim back the seam and press open. This will give you a lovely and smooth join.

Folding bias binding

You can use your binding as is, although it does make it more manageable and much easier to sew, if you fold it before sewing.  

When it comes to folding bias binding, you have a few options. You can get one of those doovawhackies that do the folding for you (which I am now seriously considering buying after seeing so many people showing them off during Bimble and Pimble's #bpsewvember). 

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As you might guess, as this a tutorial to show you the low-tech way that I make my binding, I will show you the way I do it with no props except for an iron.

Place your binding face down on your ironing board and fold back one third of your width (in this case 1cm) and press. 

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I tend to only fold up one of the long edges before sewing my binding, but you can fold both (as is done with pre-made bias binding). This tutorial from By Hand London shows a great trick for getting lovely even folds, with minimal fuss. I find that it is no problem to just use the stitch guide to check that I am stitching the binding with the correct seam allowance.

And that's it, a guide to making your own bias binding, the very low-tech way! Tomorrow you'll get a chance to use your lovely bias binding around the neckline of your Rushcutter. 


Do you make your own bias binding? And if you do, what have you found to be the best way to make it?


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Assembling The Rushcutter (view A)

Yesterday I showed you how to sew the darts on the raglan sleeve, in The Rushcutter sew-along, so today it's time to assemble the sleeves and get the sleeves and dress sections connected. By the end of this post, it will really start looking like a dress!

Attach the centre front panel

With right sides together, pin the CENTRE FRONT PANEL to the front side of each SLEEVE, matching the centre notches. Sew each seam with a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance, and finish the raw edges.

Press the seams away from the centre front. At this stage, you can also press your darts towards the back.

Sew the sleeves

Finish the bottom edge of both sleeves. Then, with right sides together, fold the sleeve so that you can sew the underarm seam. Pin and stitch with a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance.

Finish the raw edges separately and press open. 

Pin the sleeves to the dress

With right sides together, match the notch at the centre of the FRONT to the notch in the centre of the CENTRE FRONT PANEL.

I found getting the sleeves out of the way, by turning the sleeves to the right side, helped me when pinning this seam.

Move next to the seam that connects the sleeve and the centre front panel, and match it to the corresponding notch on the front of the dress. 

Continue moving from notch to notch until you reach the centre back. 

As you are matching two different shaped curves together, you will need to be really careful to match up all your notches correctly. 

Match up all the notches and seams on the second side, and then fill the gaps between notches with more pins to get a nice flat seam.

Sew the sleeves to the dress

Stitch the seam with a 12mm (1/2in) seam allowance. Go nice and slow, and lift the seam regularly to check that all the seams are lying flat and that there is no puckering on the underside of the seam.

Press

Before finishing the seam, open the seam and check that it is smooth and there is no puckering. If there is, just unpick a few centimetres (or as much as you need to get the seam to sit flat) either side of the puckers and then pin and re-stitch. 

Finish the seam and press up towards the neckline. Press from both the right and wrong side, to ensure that you get a nice flat finish. 


And that's it for today, is your Rushcutter starting to resemble a dress now?


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How to sew shoulder darts in a raglan sleeve

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Yesterday we finally started sewing our Rushcutters! We assembled the lower part of the dress, but before we can go any further, we need to get our sleeves started.

The shoulder dart

The darts are slightly different, depending on what size pattern you cut.

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For sizes A - F, the dart looks like this.

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While for sizes G - K, the centre of the dart has been cut out - this is to minimise bulk in the dart.

When complete, both versions will look the same on the right side of the sleeve.

Sewing the dart  (sizes A - F only)

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Take your sleeve and, with right sides together, fold along the centre of the dart, matching up the notches at the neckline and ensuring that the dart point is at the centre of the fold. Press and pin in place.

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Stitch the dart from top to bottom, stitching 15mm (5/8in) beyond the dart point. I generally stitch darts by eye, but if this is not for you, then you can mark the stitching line on your fabric with a fabric pen, tailors chalk, or even with a line of hand stitching (if your fabric is delicate).

Sewing the dart  (sizes G - K only)

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For the open dart, you can either stitch the dart and then just finish the raw edge of the dart (with overlocking or a zig-zag stitch) or, if you are using a light to midweight fabric, I would suggest using a french seam, to get a really nice clean finish.

To do this, fold the sleeve with wrong sides together, along the centre of the dart. Match the notches at the neckline, and check that the dart point is at the centre of the fold. Press and pin along the raw edge.

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Stitch along the raw edge with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance. 

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Trim back the seam allowance by 2-3mm (1/16in). This step is really important, because you want this edge to be hidden cleanly in the next seam you sew.

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Open the sleeve and press the seam allowance towards the front of the sleeve.

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With right sides together this time, re-fold the dart, matching the darts at the neckline, and also checking that the dart point is at the centre of the fold. Press and pin in place.

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Stitch the dart, from top to bottom, using a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance, stitching 15mm (5/8in) beyond the dart point.

Repeat process for the other sleeve. And that's it, shoulder darts are done!

Tomorrow we will continue assembling the top section of the Rushcutter (View A).


Do you have any special tricks you use for sewing darts?


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The Rushcutter sew-along : How to sew the pockets (view A)

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Welcome back to The Rushcutter sew-along.

Yay! After all that preparation, it is finally time to start sewing. 

In today's post, I'll be guiding you through the first few steps of The Rushcutter (View A). We'll be preparing our pockets, stitching them to the side panels, and then attaching our front and back.

Prepare the pockets

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Take your SIDE POCKET pieces, and finish the top edge of both pieces. Consider using an overlocker, zig-zag stitch, binding, or even folding the raw edge under by 1cm. The best finish for you will depend on your chosen fabrication.

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There is a notch on either side of the pocket, 4cm (1 1/2in) from the finished edge. You will be using these notches to help you fold back the pocket hem.

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With the pocket face-down, fold back the top of the hem by 4cm using the notches to guide you.

Press and pin.

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Sew along the edge to secure the hem in place. I used the edge of my overlocking as a guide to keep my stitching straight. If you are using a striped fabric, consider sewing your hem from the right side, so that you can follow a stripe, and get the line of stitching in exactly the right place.

Attach pocket to side panel

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Work out which pocket is for your right side and which is for your left, by checking the notches. Double notches indicate the back of the panel, and a single notch indicates the front. 

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With right-sides facing up, place the SIDE POCKET on top of the SIDE PANEL, matching the double notch on the pocket with the double notch on the side panel, and the single notch on the pocket with the single notch of the side panel. This ensures that the right pocket is matched with the right side panel. Pin in place.

You will notice that the pocket is slightly wider than the panel it will be stitched to. This is how it is meant to be! The pocket piece is designed to be a little wider, to create a bit of shape and volume in the pocket. 

Stitch around the edge of each pocket, using a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance. This stitching is just to hold the pocket in place for when you attach the front and back pieces to the side panel. This stitching will be hidden within the seam allowance. 

Attach the front

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With right sides together, pin the SIDE PANELS to either side of the FRONT. Use the notches to guide you - especially if you are using a slinky fabric that is prone to stretching when cut on the bias! Check that you are attaching the edge of the SIDE PANEL that has single notches. Stitch each seam with a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance, and finish the seam.

Attach the back

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With right sides together, pin the open side of each SIDE PANEL to the corresponding BACK PANEL (you will know which one is which by looking at the notches). Stitch seams with a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance. Finish the seam.

Press

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Press the seams away from the SIDE PANEL. The seam allowances should match up nicely with the curve.

Well that's all for today! Tomorrow we will be getting onto the sleeves, so stay tuned.


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The Rushcutter Sew-along: Cutting your fabric

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So it's finally time to cut out our Rushcutters!

If you are sewing a long with me, by this stage you should have gathered your supplies, picked your size,  printed your pattern, made a toile and made any necessary adjustments. Now that much of the hard work is done, it's time for the fun(ner) stuff!

Prepare your fabric

Grab you fabric (that you have pre-washed, dried and pressed) and lay it out on a flat surface. I won't judge you if your only flat surface is on the floor! I went years without a proper cutting table and I managed just fine - so use whatever space you can.

Cutting flat vs cutting on the fold

Generally speaking, most patterns ask you to fold your fabric lengthways, matching selvedge to selvedge, so that you can cut a piece once and get a pair. This is the most time efficient method (and what I included in the pattern's instructions), but I must say that I generally cut flat.

By cutting flat, you get much more control, which is especially good if you are using a placement print or matching a print or stripes.

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The other bonus is that you use much less fabric. Above, I have shown the suggested lay plan for View A on 115cm (45in) wide fabric. By cutting flat, instead of on the fold, you could save almost 1 metre (the saving is not so big when using 150cm wide fabric - about 30cm). So if you are tight on fabric, or have a bit of extra time up your sleeve, then I recommend giving it a go. 


Pattern piece inventory

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View A

Front - cut 1 on fold

Back - cut 1 pair

Side panel - cut 1 pair

Side pocket - cut 1 pair

Centre front panel - cut 1

Front hem facing - cut 1 on fold

Back hem facing - cut 1 on fold


View B

Front - cut 1 on fold

Back - cut 1 on fold

Side panel - cut 1 pair

Centre front panel - cut 1

Front upper bodice (size A and B only) - cut 1 pair

Back upper bodice (size A and B only) - cut 1 pair

Upper bodice (sizes C - K only) - cut 1 pair

In-seam pocket - cut 2 pairs

Optional

Waist sash - cut 1 pair

Cutting tips + suggestions

If you are using a heavy weight fabric, consider cutting your in-seam pockets (View B) in a lighter weight fabric. You could also consider a lighter fabric for the neckline / armhole binding.

You may also want to use consider adding interfacing to your hem facings - if you would like to add weight to the hem. 

Cutting your fabric

After working out what pattern pieces you require, cut loosely around the pattern pieces. This will make them much easier to handle, and give you more flexibility when working out the best cutting layout. 

If you are cutting on the fold, fold your fabric lengthways, with right sides together, matching your selvedges. You may notice that I cut my pattern with wrong sides together. This is because I was planning to make my dress with the wrong side of the fabric on the outsidem but changed my mind at the last minute!

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1. Place your pattern on the fabric, and measure the distance between one end of the grainline and the selvedge. Hold this side in place with a weight or pin.

2. Measure the distance between the other end of the grainline and the selvedge, and pivot until it is the same distance as the first side. 

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3. Use weights (or whatever you have got lying around) to hold the pattern in place, and use pins to hold in place. 

4. Cut around the edge of the pattern, being very careful to get as close to the line as possible.

Cutting notches

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When the piece is cut, work your way around the pattern, cutting into each notch. The notches are 6mm - try not to cut them any longer as you may risk getting too close to the stitching line. Be careful to find them all - they really do help when making sure you are putting the correct pieces together!

Marking the dart point

There are a number of ways to mark the dart point, and the best option will depend on the fabric you are using.

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1. If you are using something stable, or dark in colour, fabric chalk or fabric pen will work fine.

2. Mark the dart point on one side of the fabric, and then put a pin through the point so that it comes out the other side. Make sure the pin is nice and straight, and then mark the dart on the other side with chalk.

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3. If your fabric is a little more delicate or prone to moving, use a needle and contrast thread to put one long stitch through both layers of fabric at the point of the dart. Tie a knot at wither end of the thread.

4. Open up the two pieces and cut the thread in between. Now you can tie a knot on either side so that the stitch remains in place.


Do you cut the old-school way like me? Or are you a rotary cutter kind of gal (or boy)?


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The Rushcutter sew-along: more pattern alterations

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In yesterday's post, I showed you a few alterations that you may want to make to The Rushcutter: lower the neckline, add or removing volume, shortening and lengthening the pattern.

Today I have a follow on post for you, as I was worried I might intimidate you if I put all the alterations in the one post!

Create a slimmer Rushcutter

The Rushcutter sewing pattern is designed to be over-sized, so there is a lot of ease in it. It may be a little too much for some of you, so, in today's post, I will show you how to slim down the dress a little. It is not overly complicated, but is slightly more difficult  than it would be on a more conventional pattern, as it does not have side seams!

I would suggest, before making any major adjustments to the pattern (like this one) make a toile, so you know exactly how much width you can afford to remove from the pattern.

1. To start, take the 'Side Panel' pattern piece. This is where we will be removing some width from the pattern piece. The grainline, which runs right through the middle of the pattern piece (and therefore down the side of the body) is where you will be removing the fabric from.

2. Work out how much you would like to remove, by referring to your toile. You will want to take the amount evenly from both sides of the dress. Divide the total amount by 2 and then distribute this measurement either side of the grainline (on the stitching line) - half on the front section  of the pattern piece (indicated by the single notches) and half towards the back (indicated by the double notches).

3. Cutting from the top, cut along the grainline, down towards the hemline. Do not cut all the way through the pattern. Stop a 2-3mm from the bottom, so that a small "hinge" of paper remains intact. You will now notice that you can separate the two sides of the pattern quite easily, without detaching them entirely. 

4. Now, swing one side of the pattern over the other (doesn't matter which one) until the points that you marked overlap. You will see that, by doing this, you have removed a slice from the middle of the pattern. Tape (or glue) in place.

5. By taking out this slice, the underarm curve will now come to a sharp point. Redraw the stitch line and the cutting edge, with a nice smooth line, to correct this. 

Now that you have removed some width from the side panel, you will need to remove the same amount from the raglan sleeve - as these two pieces are sewn together. 

1. Remember the amount we distributed either side of the grainline on the side panel? Take this measurement and divide it by 2. Measuring in from the underarm seam (remember to measure from the stitch line, if your pattern still includes seam allowance), marking a point the distance determined. Repeat for the second side.

2. Draw a line from the points marked, down towards the hemline, meeting with the original stitch line, at the line that indicates where to fold up the sleeve hem.

3. Redraw the cutting line, by adding 1.5cm seam allowance to the new line.

Re-draft the pocket

You may decide to make a short version of the Rushcutter. Megan, one of my lovely testers, decided to shorten hers to tunic length. Nice, right? The only problem is that you end up losing quite a bit of pocket depth. The easiest way to solve this is to simply re-draft the pocket piece, so that it will be your desired depth.

I will show you how I drafted the original pattern piece, so your new pattern will fit perfectly, just like the original!

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1. Work out how deep you would like to make the pocket, you can do this by referring to the original pattern piece, or by holding the 'Side Panel' pattern piece up to your side and marking where you would like the pocket to start. Mark the point on the grainline of your pattern piece.

2. Draw a line, perpendicular to the grainline, from the marked point. Extend the line 5mm past stitching line on both ends (this is because the pocket panel was drafted to be slightly wider than the piece it is stitched to, to add a little volume).

3. Starting at one endpoint, draw a straight line that meets the bottom corner of the pattern piece, easing back into the original stitch line. Repeat for the other side.

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4. Take a seperate piece of paper and trace a copy of the new pattern piece, being sure to also transfer grainline and notches onto the new pattern piece.

5. Add seam allowance to both sides and the hem (not the top edge, just yet). The seam allowance needs to be 1.5cm on each side and 1cm at the hem. 

6. Draw a line that runs parallel to the top edge of the pocket, 4cm above the original line. Fold along the top edge of the pocket.

7. Trace the seam lines onto the pocket hem (you want to do this so that when the piece is cut, and you fold the top hem of the pocket back to finish the edge, it meets the pocket smoothly).

8. You now have your pocket piece! Add markings and get sewing!

Relocating the shoulder dart

After trying on your toile, you may feel that the dart does not quite sit on your shoulder. If this is the case, you may want to move the dart slightly forward or backwards, from its original position.

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1. Work out where your dart needs to be (by measuring in relation to the original dart) and draw a straight line running from the new location on the neckline, to the original dart point.

2. Focusing on the original dart, cut down the outside dart arm, from the neckline to the dart point. Don't cut all the way to the end, stop when you are 2-3mm away. Do the same with the line you just marked, also stopping a few millimetres from the end. This will create a small 'hinge,' which allows you to move this section of the pattern, whilst still keeping the pieces attached.

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3. Rotate the cut section until you have closed out the original dart (one dart arm overlaps the other), and tape in place.

4. You will now see that you have opened up a new dart. To complete it, you will need to add dart shaping, and seam allowance to the new dart.


Okay, thats it for today's post. And guess what, tomorrow it's finally time to cut some fabric! Yippee! Let me know if there is an alteration that I didn't include in today or yesterday's post that you need!


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How to (and why) make a toile

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At this point in the Rushcutter sew-along, I thought it would be a good time to talk about toiling.

What is a toile?


A toile (also known as a ‘muslin’) is basically a draft version of a garment. A toile is normally made from a cheaper fabric, so that you can test the fit of a particular garment before cutting into your real (and normally more expensive) fabric. 

It is best to choose a fabric to toile in, that is similar to what you plan to make the actual garment in. If you are using a lovely sandwashed silk, then you will need something with a similar handle and drape as the silk, so you can get a good idea of what the final garment will look like. Making a winter coat? Choose something with a similar thickness and drape.

 

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While I was developing The Rushcutter I made countless toiles. Many of them are ‘wearable toiles’ – meaning that I used a cheapish fabric and finished them properly, but expected to need to make some small adjustments. This way I could wear them around for a few days, and see how each dress really felt out in the wild! 

Why should I toile?


We all come in different shapes and sizes, and although I may have the same measurements as the girl next to me, this does not at all mean we have the same body shape. Some of us may have a sway back, forward sitting shoulders (that’s me!), narrow shoulders, longer legs etc. By doing a toile, you can quickly see if any adjustment needs to be made. As you sew more garments for yourself, you will get better at knowing what to look for, as you will often notice the same fitting problem across the board. 


How do I make a toile?


Make up the dress in your chosen toiling fabric. You don’t have to add facings, collars or pockets etc. I never bother with buttonholes or zips when I toile, I just pin the opening closed when it’s on.

You just want to check the overall fit of the garment, so you will only need the main pattern pieces. There is no need to even finish the seams! Mark the position of pockets so you can check pocket placement, without actually having to sew them.

When sewing, consider using a long stitch length, so that you can quickly and easily unpick any seams that need to be altered. You can also use a contrasting thread to make it even easier to see your stitches. As you will not be adding binding around the neckline and armhole of The Rushcutter, make sure you trim back the seam allowance (1cm) so you can get an accurate idea of how it will look when it’s finished. 


What’s next?

Try it on, get in front of the mirror and take a look! Is it sitting like it should? How does it feel? Can you sit down comfortably? Can you raise your hands in the air without showing off too much booty? Is it hanging properly? Does it feel too tight in any areas?

If you do need to make some changes, then take a pen (or fabric marker / chalk) and draw the changes directly onto the toile.  

Check the neckline

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For example, if the neckline is too high, then draw where you would like the neckline to be. If you are toiling in a darker fabric, or making a wearable toile (like I was), then use masking tape to indicate problem areas and mark the changes on that. I also like to use tape to write notes on the toile, if needed.

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Use a tape measure, or ruler, to make note of any distances / measurements. You can write them directly on the toile (like I do) or write them on a piece of paper. 

Focus on the overall fit

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If it feels too big, pin out some of the excess fabric in the side seams and / or centre back.

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If the dress feels too wide in the body of the dress, pin out the excess in the centre of the SIDE PANEL. Remember, if you bring the dress in at the side, you will also need to reduce the width of the sleeve, as these two pieces join together. 

On the contrary, if an area is too tight, cut into the fabric and use pins to fill the gap with a separate piece of fabric.

Check the length

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Check the length – does it need to be lengthened or shortened? Place a pin horizontally at your ideal length (or take note of how much longer you would like to make it).

Is the hem sitting straight?

You will see in the image above that the hem lifts slightly at the front - this could be a sign of needing to do a full bust adjustment (my dummy has quite large breasts for her size!) The same goes for the back. If the hem is lifting at the back, you may need to add some length to the pattern.

Focus on the placement / position of design details 

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Check the pocket placement (whether it is with actual pockets or just markings of where they are) and make note of any changes required.

Check dart placement / shoulder seams

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For View A, check the placement of the shoulder dart. Does it sit on your shoulder and finish at the peak of your shoulder? You will see in the image above, that the dart sits slightly back from the shoulder line. 

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To mark the change I required, I used masking tape to draw in the new dart position (being sure to also mark the dart point).

For View B, check that the shoulder seam lies on your shoulder. Re-draw the shoulder seam if you feel it needs to be further forward or back.

Check the sleeves

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Have you got enough room in the sleeve to bend your elbow? Is the length of the sleeve right?

All done. Now what?


If you have made a lot of changes, you may need to make another toile to check the fit again. If the changes are minor (shortening or lengthening, moving the shoulder dart, changing the neckline etc.) then you will probably be fine to skip making a second toile.

In the next post I will show you how to go about transferring these changes to your pattern!


I'd love to know, do any of you always make a toile? I must say, I'm a bit cheeky and skip it sometimes (I do often regret it though!) 


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How to grade between sizes

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For many women, your measurements will range across several sizes, and you will need to grade between sizes after you print your pattern. The Rushcutter pattern has a lot of ease in it, and I have said already that you should really check the finished measurements before deciding you need to grade up a size at the waist or hip. But, this technique is one you can use on all nested patterns, to grade between sizes, and after saying all this, you may still feel you would like to grade between sizes for your Rushcutter!

In yesterday's post in the Rushcutter Sew-along, I showed you how to use layers to print only the size (or sizes) you need.

How to grade between sizes in a nested pattern

When your pattern is printed and assembled, take a contrast coloured pen or pencil and a ruler.

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With your ruler, draw a diagonal line from one size line to the next. As you can see in my example, I have gone up from a size A at the bust, up to a size C at the hip.

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If you are a size A at the bust, and then a C at the waist, you will need a sharper diagonal line.

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If you do make this adjustment to your pattern, be sure to change all relevant pattern pieces, so that the pieces still fit together. 


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The Rushcutter Sew-along: Selecting your size

So now that we are all feeling inspired (hopefully) and have chosen our fabric, it is time to think about sizing. The Rushcutter sewing pattern is available in sizes A - K (approximately equivalent to AU size 6-24).

Take your measurments

To select the appropriate size, first take your measurements.

It is best to take your measurements while wearing only underwear, or otherwise very tight clothing, so that you can get true measurements. Get someone to help you, if you can. Otherwise take your measurements in front of the mirror, so that you can check that your tape measure remains parallel to the floor, and is not twisted. 

First, measure your bust and take note of the measurement. 

Measure your waist... and don't suck in your tummy like me!

And then measure your hips.


Body measurements

Now look at the size chart and circle where your measurements lie. Your measurements may lie across several sizes or between sizes. 


Rushcutter finished measurements 

You should also look at the finished measurements of the Rushcutter. This dress is designed to be oversized, so there is A LOT of ease included (14cm at the bust, 43cm at the waist, and 28cm at the hip). If your bust measurements  fit one size and then your waist and hips are another, it is likely that you can go with the size of your bust, but do check the finished measurements and make a decision based on them. It is no problem if your size ranges between  multiple sizes. It is very easy to grade between sizes, as the pattern is nested, and I will show you how to do this next week in the sew-along. 

Take note of which size/s you need to print, as the pattern has been made with embedded layers so that you can just print the size/s you want! Layers make it much less confusing to cut the right size, and also saves on ink (and paper, in some sizes).

In the next post in the sew-along, I will show you how to print and assemble your PDF pattern


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The Rushcutter Sew-Along : Gathering supplies

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I hope that yesterday's post in the Rushcutter sew-along inspired you! I know it sure did inspire me. Now that you (hopefully) know what fabric you would like to use, let's talk supplies.

Below is a list of ideal supplies, but before I go on, I must say that I  am an advocate of using whatever you've got at home (within reason, of course) for your sewing projects. So if you've got a zip that's a little too long or a little too short, then use it! Buttons a little bigger or small than required? Use them! If you don't have an invisible zip around, then consider using a standard zip. As well as this, consider cutting your fabric flat, rather than on the fold, you'll be able to squeeze your pieces on way less fabric (I will talk about that more when we get to cutting fabric). 

For View A, you will need:

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  • Fabric: 2.9m x 150cm wide (3 yards x 60in) OR 4.2m x 115cm wide (4 5/8 x 45in)
  • 40cm (16in) invisible zip
  • Coordinating thread
  • 35mm bias tape (store bought or made at home) - I will do a tutorial about making your own binding, so stay tuned, if you think you'd like to go down that route

For View B, you will need:

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  • Fabric: 2.2m x 150cm wide (2 1/2 yards x 60in) OR  3.3m x 115cm wide (3 5/8 yards x 45in)
  • 3 x 10mm (3/8in) buttons 
  • Coordinating thread
  • 35mm bias tape (store bought or made at home)
  • A small piece of iron-on interfacing (not required for all fabrics, but if your fabric is quite delicate or flimsy, this is a good way to stabilise your buttons and buttonholes)

When you have chosen the fabric you will be using, you will need to wash it, dry it and press it. Use the same method you plan to use when laundering your actual dress, to avoid it shrinking after the first wash!

And that's all for today. Tomorrow we'll be talking about sizing!


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