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Color Matched Trim

Finding trim is easier if you’re looking for black, white or common color. This fuschia jacket made from a wonderful soft Mendel Goldberg boucle wasn’t going to be easy, particularly if I wanted to avoid introducing another color. I did add silver or gold, depending on buttons.

When creating a trim, I make several variations to experiment with different yarns. If you’ve attended one of my trim classes, the techniques will be familiar.

All examples of trim use the same basic method. I make samples about 4 inches long. Once you decide which version to use, calculate the finished amount of trim you need. Measure the sample created with 20 stitches. If 20 stitches gives you 4 inches of trim and you need 40 inches, then start with a chain of 200 stitches.

First create a crochet base. Chain 20 plus 3. Turn and make a double crochet in every stitch. Weave a brass tube through the finished base to block it and even out the stitches.

Let cool and remove the tube. Weave a smaller tube through the stitches as shown. Pull the desired yarn or fabric through. Push the woven strand to one side and weave the tube through, alternating in and out with the first strand.

Chain stitch around the edge. Here I’m using a strand of flag yarn pulled from the boucle fabric. Using strands of yarns from the fabric guarantees a perfect match.

Finish with a chain stitch in the center. I did a version in gold and one in silver to audition with different buttons.

Trim 1: Using a size F hook, crochet the base with Sesia Elegant yarn with color: Rose. Chain 23, turn and make double crochet in every stitch.

Cut bias strips of fuschia silk double georgette 1.5 inches wide, fold in half lengthwise and stitch scant 1/4” from folded edge. Turn and stuff the silk tube with bulky yarn.

Weave the silk tubes though alternate double crochet stitches. Make a chain stitch through the middle with gold yarn. Finish the edges with a chain stitch using flag yarn pulled from leftover boucle.

Trim 2: Same as trim 1 except use size D hook for the base. Weave 3/8” wide bias strips of silk georgette through. Chain stitch through the middle with size C hook. Edge with the flag yarn from fabric.

Trim 3: Crochet base making double crochet every stitch. Weave one row of gold tape yarn, one row 3/8” wide silk georgette, one row gold tape yarn. Edge with flag yarn from the fabric.

Trim 4: Crochet base using gold metallic yarn and size E hook. Chain stitch along each edge with flag yarn from boucle fabric.

Trim 5: Use 3/8” wide bias strips of silk georgette as yarn. Crochet the base. Weave 4 strands pink tinsel yarn plus two strands metallic yarn through. Chain stitch inside the edge with gold metallic yarn.

Hard to make a decision. Possibilities are endless and by making your own trim you can guarantee a perfect match. Two opportunities to further explore French jacket construction and trims: New England Retreat, September 19-24 and Couture Sewing Class, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, January 16-21. 2023. These classes are not limited to making a French jacket but if you choose to work on a jacket, you will receive the identical information presented in the November French jacket class. The classes are small and allow for individualized instruction. You will receive my 100 plus page manual describing construction techniques unique to the French jacket plus an extended session on trims.

Enjoy creating your own unique trims.

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Recreating Couture

What do you do when this extraordinary fabric finds its way to the sewing room?

Here’s the designer dress to clone.

The pattern is a slim fit basic bodice with princess seams ending in the armseye, both front and back. The skirt draft is a flared skirt, split along princess lines and pleats added. Precise pattern matching is critical. The easiest way is to cut every garment section from translucent pattern paper; full front bodice/skirt, right and left bodice/skirt pieces. Lay everything out and be sure the motifs line up before cutting anything.

Notice that the grain lines are centered on each skirt section. The fold and lap lines of pleats are also marked, making it easy to position pattern pieces accurately.

This fabric frayed like CRAZY so each edge was serged using super fine thread; my favorite is Gutermann Scala 360, TEX weight 8. The serged edge adds no bulk and can’t be felt. This fabric was also super resistant to pressing. It folded easily along the crossgrain but required loads of steam plus my large tailors clapper (made from lengths of unfinished hardwood) to convince the seams to lie flat.

I chose a crisp silk taffeta line the skirt but felt it was too stiff for the bodice lining. Silk charmeuse was perfect. Lining extends to the edges of armholes/ neckline and fell stitched in place. For the skirt hem, I cut a 4” wide facing from silk taffeta and applied it to the hem. Edge stitching along the inside of the pleats keeps them in place. French thread tacks keep the skirt lining in place.

Finished!!!

couture sewing, Uncategorized

New England Sewing Retreat

Monday, September 19 through Saturday, September 25, 2022

What could be better than 6 glorious days of uninterrupted sewing in the picturesque town of Bristol, Rhode Island. Join me for expert help creating your custom design. This is a great opportunity to work on a French jacket, tackle lace, refine fitting issues or work on an unfamiliar style. Class runs from 9 AM to about 5:30 PM but you will have 24 hour access to the studio in case you want to work overtime.

Those choosing to work on a French jacket will receive my 100 plus page manual of valuable construction tips plus we’ll do a session on creating your own custom trim. I also bring a number of jackets I’ve constructed for you to examine.

If you would rather work on fitting issues, bring a few toiles you would like help with. I’ll fit you and mark any changes needed. Then you’ll learn how to transfer those changes to your pattern. You can also work on creating a master sloper to be used in making necessary changes to commercial patterns.

Our home for the week will be a lovely 4 bedroom house with detached finished garage which will be setup as a spacious sewing studio. One block away is an additional house with 3 bedrooms. There will be a large cutting table, individual work spaces as well as professional pressing equipment. Bring your own sewing machine or borrow one if you prefer. Let me know you need a machine when registering.

While investigating the area, I discovered that Apple Annie Fabrics, owned by Anne Kendall is a 15 minute drive from our studio. Anne and I spent the morning chatting sewing and I received a tour of her well stocked store.

In addition to fabrics she has a large selection of thread, notions, patterns, etc. so not to worry if you forget to bring a necessary item. I also loved her inspiration wall of fashion.

I also spotted a wonderful bolt of boucle which I’ll be using for an upcoming custom trim class. This particular fabric combines black with deep rose threads; I’m envisioning multiple variations using coordinating yarns along with the fabric fibers.

Cost of the 6 day class plus 7 nights accommodations is $2250. Class without room is $1500. There will be welcome drinks/snacks on Sunday 9/18 plus 2 dinners: an authentic New England lobster boil and Portuguese style grilled feast. All are welcome to join us for dinner.

For a link to registration and additional information click here.

Also complete the contact form. Please note that all participants are required to have received a COVID vaccination.

Any questions, please email me at MF953@aol.com or mary@cloningcouture.com

Cloning Designer Garments, couture sewing, French jacket trim, French Jackets, Uncategorized

New Classes Open

Registration is open for classes in Palm Beach Gardens. Join the 7 day French jacket class from Monday, November 7 through Sunday November 13, 2022. These jackets involve considerable hand sewing and do take time, so expanding the class to 7 days made sense.

What is unique about this class? We will start with fine tuning the fit of your jacket toile. Detailed instructions will be sent several weeks prior to class.

Vogue 7975 is often used as the basis for a French jacket. It is easy to change the jacket’s length, neckline, sleeve and front closure. The pattern has princess seams ending in the shoulder which simplifies many fitting issues. Curvy figures need more shaping which can result in any horizontal stripe in the fabric to be mismatched along the upper part of the front princess seam. This photo shows the difference.

The right side (right side of photo) of this sample has been cut and sewn according to the pattern. For the left side, I’ve made some simple changes to the pattern and shaped the front side section with a steam iron. Note how the horizontal lines in the weave carry across the upper chest uninterrupted.

We will examine techniques to eliminate darts. For this sample, I wanted a very curvy figure, easily accomplished by a bra filled out with extra padding. It’s easy to achieve the look on a small busted model but harder when dealing with more curves.

The pronounced curves of this figure required additional shaping which could have been accomplished by adding a dart either from armhole to bust or side seam to bust.

Either dart placement isn’t ideal and will create unnecessary bulk. Fortunately most boucle fabric is pliable and can be molded with steam. Any distortion in the weave is hidden under the arm and a better solution than darts.

A few patterns have the classic three piece sleeve. Vogue 7975 has a standard two piece sleeve. It’s not difficult to convert the pattern. This method can be used on any sleeve.

Learn how to customize the look of a basic pattern. The neckline is easily converted to a stand collar, round or V-neck.

Coco Chanel said, ”never a button without a buttonhole.” Machine buttonholes are an option but handworked buttonholes are a true couture finish. Loosely woven boucle fabric isn’t the easiest to work with and mastering buttonholes does take practice. There are a few tips and tricks that make the finished result more professional.

Trims are the final embellishment. Shopping for pre-made trim can be difficult. You rarely find something that’s the perfect color, width and texture. Often trims are rigid and difficult to navigate curves and corners. Creating your own trim using fibers from the fabric and coordinating yarn isn’t difficult.

November dates not convenient? Another Couture Sewing Class is scheduled from Monday, January 16 through Saturday, January 21, 2023. This class isn’t strictly for French jacket construction but you can certainly work on one. It’s a perfect opportunity finish (or make significant progress) on a previously started jacket. Work on anything you like. Maybe you’re hesitant to work on tricky fabric or an unfamiliar style? Take advantage of expert help with planning and executing your project.

Register by clicking on ”Classes” from the main menu. Any questions email me: mf953@aol.com

creating designer trim, French jacket trim, French Jackets, Uncategorized

Couture Trim Class with ASG Atlanta

I’m presenting a couture trim class with the ASG (American Sewing Guild) Atlanta chapter on Friday March 25 and Friday April 1. This is an 8 hour class (split into 2 four hour sessions) which will be presented via internet on Zoom. Both sessions will run 1:30 to 5:30 PM EST. One fee includes both sessions. The class fee also includes the trim kit so you will be able to create the trims along with me. This class was designed exclusively for the Atlanta ASG and open only to their members. The class has a few available openings and I have permission from the Atlanta group to open the remaining spots to my readers.

This trim from a Chanel jacket has always intrigued me and I FINALLY figured out a way to replicate it. It will be demonstrated in this class along with numerous other techniques including Kumihimo braiding.

If you’re interested, go to http://www.asgatlanta.org and register. The class will not be recorded so you will need to be available during class time. Registration will close on March 19 to allow time for your trim kit to be shipped to you.

There will also be a class on couture custom sleeves on Saturday, March 26 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST if you’re interested.

I will be offering additional trim classes later this spring and summer on my site. Thanks for reading.

Drafting Patterns, French Jackets, Uncategorized

Convert a Two Piece Sleeve to Three

A distinctive feature of many French (Chanel) style jackets is the iconic three piece sleeve. Vogue 7975 is a favorite starting pattern for many; however the sleeve is a standard two piece. I’ll go through my method for converting the pattern from a two to three piece sleeve.

First, trace the pattern onto translucent pattern paper. Eliminate the seam allowances. It’s much easier to alter patterns when you aren’t dealing with seam allowances. Make changes to the pattern, then add seam allowances back if you are more comfortable working with patterns which have seam allowances included. Include the marks indicating underarm and shoulder points as well as grain lines. Mark the front and back of the sleeve cap to eliminate confusion.

Working on a grain board/cutting mat makes it easy to keep the pattern properly aligned. Arrange the pattern pieces as shown with grain lines parallel to each other and seam lines just touching along the back armseye seam. Tape or weight the paper so it doesn’t shift.

Using a second sheet of pattern paper large enough for the entire sleeve, trace the shape of the sleeve cap from the underarm point to shoulder point, continuing through the front armseye seam. Mark the underarm and shoulder points. Also draw a line at a 90 degree angle to the grain lines intersecting the underarm point. This line represents the biceps width.

Move the undersleeve pattern to the front, arrange grain lines parallel to each other and trace the remainder of the arsmeye seam to the underarm point.

Also shift the grainline on the upper sleeve section so it is in line with the shoulder point. Connect underarm points with a horizontal line which should be perpendicular to the grainline.

Your draft should look like this:

Draw dashed lines from the underarm points to the hem. They will be parallel to the grainline and be the same distance apart as the biceps width. Measure the distance along the biceps line from back to the new grainline (intersects the shoulder). Measure distance from grainline to front underarm point. Compare the measurements. I’m working with a size 10 pattern. The back measures 7”; front measures 6.5”. Therefore the grainline is offset 1/2” from the midpoint of the front and back underarms. If your pattern size varies slightly, then use the measurements from your size. The additional curves which are mirror images of the armseye seam will be covered in upcoming steps.

Now calculate the sleeve taper from underarm to wrist. Measure the wrist on front and back sleeve sections and add them together for total sleeve wrist measurement. Size 10 is 9 inches. I want to offset the wrist by the same amount of the biceps. Divide 9 by 2 equals 4.5”. Add 1/4” to 4.5” for 4.75” back wrist. Subtract 1/4” from 4.5” for 4.25” front wrist. 4.75” plus 4.25” equals 9” so the total matches amount measured in the previous step.

Also draw in the elbow line. There are various methods for determining the elbow placement. You can measure from underarm to elbow. If you’re not sure, divide the underarm seam in half. Place the elbow about one inch higher than the midpoint.

Where the elbow and underarm seam intersect on the sleeve back, mark a point 1/4” wider than the elbow. Measure the distance from this point to the center grainline. Divide this distance in half (should be about 3 inches). Measure 3/4” down from the elbow line. Draw a line from this point to the halfway point just plotted, forming a dart at the elbow.

At the back wrist, mark a point 3/4” towards the center and 3/4” below the wrist hem. Connect the lower elbow dart leg to this point. The wrist will be shortened 3/4” so 3/4” needs to be added to the front underarm. Draw a line from the elbow to a point 3/4” to the right of the original seam.

Connect the front and back wrist hem with a smooth curve. Also shift the center grainline from elbow line to wrist 3/4” as shown.

Fold the pattern vertically, matching back underarm to grainline. Turn the pattern over with underside up. You will see the armseye curve. Using a red pencil, trace the curve as shown. Repeat for the front.

Now you will draft the narrow under-sleeve. Starting at the underarm, measure 1 and 1/4” to left of grainline; 1 and 1/8” to the right. Move to the elbow line. Measure 1 and 1/4” to the left, 1” to the right. Move to the wrist. Mark 1 and 1/8” left of the angled line, 7/8” to the right. Connect the points to form the under-sleeve. Shown in green.

The under-sleeve now needs to be removed from the outer edges of the back and front sleeve. Measure towards the center of the sleeve on both back and front, the same amounts that were used to draft the under-sleeve. Back underarm, measure in 1 and 1/4”, front underarm 1 and 1/8” towards center. Elbow line 1 and 1/4” along the back, 1” along the front. Wrist 1 and 1/8 at back, 7/8” at front.

This is the right sleeve. The under-sleeve as drafted is for the left sleeve. To create a right side pattern, flip the sleeve draft over and trace the under-sleeve onto pattern paper.

Flip the draft back to the right side and cut the back and front sleeve sections as shown. The elbow dart won’t be sewn as a dart. When constructing the sleeve, you will ease about two inches either side of the dart, drawing up the excess length to match the under-sleeve seam.

Shorten the front sleeve seam about 1/4” and redraw the wrist hem curve. The front seam will be stretched during construction to produce a better curve in the finished sleeve. Yes, the front sleeve seam that attaches to the under-sleeve will be slightly shorter than the corresponding seam on the under-sleeve pattern.

If you want to add sleeve vent for buttons/ trim, tape extensions onto the pattern. I used 1 and 1/2” wide and 4” long. If you want longer vents for more buttons, then just make the vent longer.

The grainline of the undersleeve can be changed to bias providing a little more flexibility in the sleeve.

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Drafting a Stand Collar

Want to add a stand collar to your French jacket but don’t have a pattern? Here are easy directions for drafting your own. Two jackets to which I’ve added a stand collar.

I used Vogue 7975 which has a high round neck. To draft the collar measure the pattern from center back to the shoulder seam. Note that measurement. Then measure from shoulder seam to center front.

Draw lines at right angles to each other in the lower left corner of pattern paper.

Mark the intersection of the two lines CB (center back). Measure to the right of CB the length of CB to shoulder seam as measured on the jacket pattern. Mine was 3 5/8 inches. Be sure to measure the seam line, NOT cut edge. Mark shoulder point.

From the shoulder point measure towards the right the distance from shoulder to center front on the jacket pattern. Mine was 4 1/2 inches. Mark the point as CF (center front).

Draw a line 3/4 inch long up from CF.

Using a French curve draw a smooth curve from the shoulder point to the point 3/4 inch above the bottom line.

Decide how wide you want the collar. I used 1 1/4 inches. Draw a line parallel to the bottom line.

You can leave the top edge square or round off the corner. I use a circle template to determine how I want the curve shaped.

Finished collar pattern. This pattern has no seam allowances. I cut it from card stock so it’s sturdier and can be used as a template for pressing the seam allowances under.

The collar is slightly curved. Rather than cutting the collar so that the horizontal weave of the fabric is interrupted, the couture way of working is to cut a straight strip of fabric on the crossgrain. The fabric is shaped with steam into a curve to match the collar pattern. Position the fabric wrong side up with the neckline seam away from you. Using a steam iron, stretch the upper edge and ease the bottom edge to create a curved strip of fabric. The curve of fabric should match the curve of the collar pattern.

Thread trace the seam lines. To make the curved edges identical use the card stock template to press seam allowances under. A machine basting stitch along the curve can help ease in fullness. Add either fusible or sew-in interfacing. I used fusible for this demo.

Press the seam allowances along the outer edge of the collar under. Don’t press the seam which will join the collar to the jacket. The template will ensure the curved ends are identical. The inside of the collar can be either self fabric or lining. I’ve used self fabric for this inside collar. Attach the outer collar to the jacket along the neckline. Fell stitch the turned under edges of outer and inner collar together.

Next up will be transforming the two piece sleeve of Vogue 7975 into a three piece.

creating designer trim, Uncategorized

Additional Custom Trim Class

Thank you to all those who registered. The March 1 class sold out within the first day so I’m offering the same class one week later. You can sign up for the March 8 class here. Same time: 5-7:30 PM EST.

UPDATE: The link wasn’t working but it should be fixed. Class half-filled so it did work for some. You can also navigate to the class by going to “Shop” on main page, open Catalog and go to class. Thanks all who alerted me to the problem.

For my readers in Australia: Australia is only accepting Global Express Mail which is more expensive than the Global Priority offered in the shipping options. I’ve sent an email to those interested to see if we can find one person/shipping address. I will send a bulk order which that person can then distribute within Australia. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll put everyone in touch with each other.

I’m thrilled that so many of my readers are interested in exploring custom trims. See you soon.

couture sewing, creating designer trim, French jacket trim, Uncategorized

Creative Trim Ideas Class

To expand my variations of custom trim, I’ve been experimenting with tubular yarns as well as crocheting with narrow strips of fabric. Many boucles are woven using tubular yarns, such as these two.

I pulled strands of the tubular knit from the fabrics and filled them with bulky wool yarn. Wool yarn works better than acrylic or cotton as it is lofty yet soft and flexible.

The tubes can be woven through a crochet base or braided. A technique for tubes of fabric used as braided trim here. This boucle contained gold tubular yarn as well as multiple other fibers and lent itself to several variations of trim.

You can also find tubular yarns put up in rolls or skeins. Any time I find metallic silver or gold I stock up, as gold/silver compliment many fabrics.

Another interesting technique uses narrow strips of silk georgette fabric to work a chain stitch along the edge of trim. This is a version created from a combination of ivory wool yarn combined with fibers pulled from fabric yardage and edged with a chain stitch of silk georgette. The bias edge of silk frays just enough to create a soft textured finish.

Join me on Tuesday, March 1, from 5-7:30 PM (Eastern standard time) for a hands-on virtual workshop in which we’ll create multiple variations of trim. Sign up (PLEASE NOTE: This link is for the March 8 class. The March 1 class is sold out) through the Cloning Couture Shop. The class is limited to 20 participants. A kit containing crochet hooks, sample boucle fabric plus assorted yarns is available here or you can source your own materials. The class is held via Zoom and will be recorded so if you can’t participate live, the recording will be available. You can also download and re-watch the class as often as you wish.

Here is the jacket I used for demonstration in a recent French Jacket Class. The trim utilizes fibers pulled from the yardage plus silk georgette used as yarn.

Plus a couple of closeup shots of the trim.

Enjoy creating your own customized trims.

couture sewing, Drafting Patterns, Dress Forms

Custom Dress Forms

In my recent moulage/dressform class, students used everything from a custom made full body form from Wolf to a display form found at Hobby Lobby. Evidence that you can get almost anything that resembles a body to work.

We ripped the existing base off the display form and replaced it with a wooden dowel. The dowel fit into a sturdy cast iron base and was a huge improvement over the rickety wooden one. Class begins with taking about 25 body measurements. We then draft a moulage, or mold, of the body. The drafted moulage pattern is cut from sturdy muslin and tested on the body. Fit adjustments are made and transferred back to the paper pattern. When all looks good, we cut the final dressform cover from heavier muslin and do one last fit check.

The muslin cover is draped onto the form. Placement and amount of padding is assessed and we start padding the form to fill out the cover. Depending on where padding is needed, I’ll suggest using various bust cups, cotton quilt batting or polyester batting. The poly batting is steamed to compress and firm up the shape. The display form fit her neck and shoulders surprisingly well. Bust, waist and hips can all be customized with layers of compressed batting.

At the opposite end of the dressform spectrum is a custom made full body form from Wolf. This student had wrestled with fitting problems for years and tried everything from body scan versions to this custom model but nothing seemed to address a key fit issue.

She had already drafted a custom cover to fine tune the fit. It needed firmer padding and a key adjustment for a high hip. After drafting the moulage it was test fit and elastic tied around the waist to pinpoint the fit issue. The right hip significantly higher causing skirts and pants to ride up on the right side. Notice the position of the waist when her back draft is laid out on a grid. Lowering the hem on that side really doesn’t fix the problem.

We carefully marked the dressform cover and added padding to duplicate the hip contours. The finished form is a much better fitting aid with balance lines correctly placed.

We tested the fit using several of her dresses. The new mannequin pinpointed the need for a slight full bust alteration to remove the drag lines around the bust dart. The moulage patter is used to create a custom sloper or basic pattern which can be used as the basis for drafting additional styles and correcting commercial patterns.

The next custom moulage/custom dressform class will be held January 10, 11 and 12 in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. For more information: Dressform Class