May 18, 2016

Lekala 4456 Blouse Sew-Along #2: Cut and mark fabric, apply interfacing, assemble collar

Previously: Part 1

Hi! You came back! I'm delighted.

In the last installment, we ordered our custom pattern, assembled the printed pages, estimated yardage, and gathered our tools and supplies.

Now, we're ready to start construction. Woo hoo, finally some visible progress!

Today's agenda:

  • Cut out the fabric (20 minutes)
  • Mark darts (5 minutes)
  • Apply fusible interfacing (10 minutes)
  • Sew the collar (10 minutes)
  • Attach collar to stand (10 minutes)

With rest and interstitial dawdling, all of this will take about 1 hour to complete.

Cut out the fabric (20 minutes)

Remember, in this sew-along, the yokes and sleeves will be lined. This is different from the original instructions. I've marked the differences in bold, below.

Fashion fabric

  • Back yoke: cut 2 (originally,1)
  • Front yoke: cut 4 (originally, 2)
  • Back: cut 2
  • Front: cut 2
  • Welts: cut 2
  • Plackets: cut 2
  • Sleeve: cut 4 (originally, 2)
  • Collar: cut 2
  • Stand collar (aka collar stand): cut 2


  • Collar: cut 1
  • Collar stand: cut 1
  • Welts: cut 2
  • Plackets: cut 2

Cut the pieces, using the layout you created in our last installment.
Lekala 4456: Fashion fabric and interfacing.

Mark darts (5 minutes)

Lekala 4456 has two sets of darts:
  • Standard upward-angled bust darts in front
  • Vertical fisheye darts in back
Let's mark those darts. You have a number of options: water- or air-soluble fabric pen, tailor's chalk, washable markers, pencil, or tracing wheel with transfer paper.

My fabric is dark and drapey. I can't use anything too stiff to mark it, like a pencil or hard tailor's chalk, which would just drag the fabric along with it. In addition, a marker wouldn't be good here -- the dark fabric would gobble up the color. Therefore, I'm opting to use a tracing wheel with transfer paper. You use whatever you like, as long as it works for your fabric.

Place your fabric wrong side up on a hard surface.

Lay down the transfer paper, with the chalky (or waxy) side against the wrong side of the fabric.

Place the printed pattern piece on top of everyting.
As always, please pardon the atrocious state of my cutting board. I've had it for a long time, and I'm kinda attached to it, filthy mutt that it is.
With slight pressure, roll the tracing wheel over the dart markings on the pattern.
Roll, roll, roll in ze hay
Roll, roll your troubles away
When life is awful
Just jump on a straw full
And roll, roll in ze hay
Repeat for the rest of the darts.

Boom. That was quick.

Apply the fusible interfacing (10 minutes)

Using an iron and a press cloth, apply the interfacing to your pieces:
  • Collar: just 1 of the 2 pieces
  • Collar stand: just 1 of the 2 pieces
  • Plackets: both pieces
  • Welts: both pieces
Need a refresher on fusible interfacing? Hop over the fusible interfacing tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons. While you're there, check out their sewing patterns. I've been eyeing their double-collared, curved-dart Orla pattern for quite some time.
Lekala 4456: Fusible interfacing. For this lightweight peachskin fabric, I went with a very lightweight interfacing.

Sew the collar (10 minutes)

Tip: Below, I show you one possible way to sew the collar. Alternatively, follow Craftsy's method, which involves a little extra work and hand-stitching: Sewing perfect collar points on My peachskin fabric was not bulky, so the corners came out nicely using the method below, but you may wish to use Craftsy's technique if your fabric is thicker than, say, a crepe or challis.

Okay, onto the way I did it.

With right sides together, pin the two collar pieces to each other.

Starting at the short side near the curved edge, sew toward the straight edge. At the corner, pivot and sew along the long straight edge. Again at the corner, pivot and sew down the second short side. Leave the curved edge un-stitched.
Sew along both short sides, and the long straight side.
Clip the corner three times: once at a 45-degree angle close to stitching, and then cut off a little extra sean allowance on each side where the original clipping ends.
A thrice-clipped corner is a happy corner.
Turn the collar right side out. Use a pointy blunt object, such as a chopstick or bodkin, to push the corner into a crisp point from the inside.

Tip: Do you know any medical professionals ... or are you one? See if you can snag a hemostat from the office. Why? It might be a great alternative to a bodkin in this instance.
The collar, turned and pointy-cornered.

Attach collar to stand (10 minutes)

In my early shirt-making days, this part would always trip me up. The collar stand is sewn to the collar upside-down. The interfaced collar piece is not attached to the interfaced stand piece. Whaaaa?

Think of it this way: you want both interfaced pieces on the outside of the garment. The stand, which is attached to the main body of the garment, is simple enough: sew the interfaced part to the outside of the main body. But the collar itself gets folded over when you wear the blouse. Aha! So, you actually want the interfaced collar piece to face "inside" when you're constructing the garment (with the collar flipped up, aka un-folded). When you fold the collar over, the interfaced part is on the outside.

To get this configuration, lay down the pieces in this order:

  1. Un-interfaced collar stand: curved corners are closest to you, sharp-angled corners farthest from you. Wrong side of fabric against the floor, so that eventually it will be wrong-side-out in this layered sandwich.
  2. Assembled collar: un-sewn edge is closest to you. Interfaced side placed toward the floor. This means the interfaced side of the collar will be sewn to the un-interfaced stand. Intentional!
  3. Interfaced collar stand: lined up with its un-interfaced twin, with the wrong side of the fabric on the outside of your sandwich.

Collar stand sandwich! The piece you can't see is the un-interfaced stand, which is on the bottom and lines up exactly with its interfaced equivalent.
Sew the curved seam of the collar stand, leaving the last 1cm un-sewn on both ends.
Stop sewing about 1cm from both ends of the seam.
Clip the curves. Turn the collar stand right side out.
It"s starting to look like a real collar!
Press the ends of the stand into nice, even curves.

Even out the curves of the stand with your trusty iron.
Assuming all went well, you'll have a fully assembled collar + stand, ready to attach to the main body of your garment.

In conclusion

We did it! We started cutting and sewing! Now we have something that looks like an actual piece of a garment. High five yourself.

Next time, we'll sew those darts we marked, and attach the yokes in front and back -- including that extra special bonus lining we cut out.

How did today's session go? Any questions?

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