Fashionable Stitching & Structured Hems

Red-Velvet-1 Sunni

SunniS is our Red Velvet Muse today!  Many of you know Sunni from her beautiful and informative blog.  She also runs A Fashionable Stitch, a US-based online notions / haberdashery shop that stocks many of the interfacings and stabilizers that work so well with knit fabric and Cake sewing.

Red-Velvet-5

Sunni used a floral jersey fabric and inserted pockets into the side seams, you can read about it on her blog.  If you have Tiramisu, it’s easy to use the pocket from Tira for this!   Sunni opted to use a self-binding at the neckline edge instead of the neck facing in the pattern.  I’d been planning to stitch this option later to show how it works and she got there first!  It’s a great alternative neckline finish, though it can be more challenging than smaller or straighter bound edges.

I’m so pleased Sunni and I had the opportunity to work together on this!  Her personal style and mine aren’t the same at all, but we both enjoy a good dress pattern.  I would always notice and admire her makes during Me Made Months and on her blog before she had a shop and I started making Cake Patterns.

Do you do that?  Do you follow the makes of another sewist even if your styles aren’t at all the same?  Is that just me?

At any rate, I love what Sunni sews and what she does for the online sewing community.

Structured Hem

Picture 48

I like wider hems on narrower skirts, it gives a little more shape to the garment.  Besides, skinny hems on narrow skirts can feel skimpy and they often ripple easily.  (Fusible webbing can prevent this.)

RV Striped

My first Red Velvet dress has a wider hem with no interfacing (shown above), and it crumples in the wash.  I wanted to prevent this, so I fused some 1.5″ strips of fusible interfacing behind the hem on my next Red Velvet Dresses.  It worked well, so I used it on every other version since!  I’ve been washing and wearing them heavily for two months and the hem is eternally crisp, even fresh from the bottom of the laundry basket.

Structured Hem Visual Reference

You can see the steps to make your own structured knit hem for Red Velvet on sewingcake.com.  I show you how to cut strips from interfacing (it’s a great use of scraps) and also linked to the wide stay tape in Sunni’s shop because it is *excellent* for these hems.  I get a lot of questions about where to source tapes and stabilizers, and I’m glad to recommend A Fashionable Stitch to help you get exactly what you need.

That’s all for today, I’m pulling together more content to fill out Red Velvet on sewingcake and I hear a rumor that the patterns are being sorted and packed to be sent to me, Leila and Evie to send to you!

For tomorrow, I plan to publish the bust and bodice sizing guide as well as two vis refs for adjusting the Red Velvet bodice. Judging by the state of my inbox, we have some questions about adjusting bust length and full bust alterations!

If you have other questions or curiosities about the patterns, leave me a comment below.  It helps me prioritize publication and gives me a better idea of the kind of info and tutorials you’d most like to see.


10 comments

  1. Good hem tip. Sunni’s dress is gorgeous. I do follow blogs that have different styles than my own because I find them beautiful and and engaging. Just because I would never wear “it” doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it on someone else. That’s the beauty of individuality.
    PS. Can’t wait to get my patterns in the mail!!

    • Yes, I hope you try it, I love love love the way it works. :) And you’re so right about appreciating differences!

      Not too long, now. Then we can have the sewalong!

  2. I am loving ALL the versions of this dress, Steph! I’ve been wanting a versitile knit dress pattern & the Red Velvet dress fits the bill. I’m curious how/why you choose different design elements. Facings vs. bindings, cut on sleeves vs set in sleeves for example. :)

    • Thanks! Everyone did some really lovely sewing, it’s so inspiring! :)

      Well, the types of seams and treatments used is usually the best balance I can find between durability, ease of sewing, design, and washability. I don’t think many people “do the ironing” on a weekly basis anymore, so I like for my makes to come out of the laundry mostly ready to wear.

      For set in sleeves vs kimono sleeves… Well honestly I just wanted to make a tee pattern that was relatively easy to customize so I played around with both types. Kimono sleeves can be adjusted in a pretty intuitive manner. Adjusting set in sleeves is more fiddly and difficult to explain well, and even the late great Coco Chanel used to gripe and obsess over never finding the perfect arm-scythe shape. Besides, kimono sleeves are often found on lovely old vintage dress patterns that were designed and intended for regular people to make and wear as a part of their daily lives. I like that.

      Susan just wrote a very intriguing post exploring kimono sleeve fitting, by the way: moonthirty.com/protracting-a-good-fit/

  3. So great to see how Sunni made this dress fit her own style. I love her curved side seam pockets.

    I definitely enjoy reading sewing blogs of sewers whose styles are different from mine. I find it important to expose myself to a diversity of styles. I naturally seek out the things I like, so it’s fun (and important, too) to discover and explore what’s different.

    Thanks for the tip on the structured hem! I already have some 1-1/4″ fusible knit stay tape from Sunni’s shop – excited that I get to put it to good use!

    As for tutorials, I would love to see one for the curved side seam pockets like Sunni’s! :) Also, I would love to know more information about how/if to adjust the pattern if you have a knit that stretches both crosswise and lengthwise. Thanks, Steph!

    • I think so too, about exploration! :)

      Yes, the tape should work beautifully here.

      Well, I might not write a tutorial on the pocket because Casey did such a great job: http://blog.caseybrowndesigns.com/2011/06/shaped-pockets-tutorial/ :)

      For 4-way stretch, the fitting is a little more fiddly but possible. Basically, the bodice needs to be shorter. How much shorter depends on the topography of the wearer and also the weight of the fabric. But yes, I want to explore stretch directions together sooner rather than later- 1-way, 2-way, 4-way and how to adjust. The good news is it’s possible/simple to adjust while sewing, it’s nothing a little basting/ripping won’t solve.

      • thanks for the tip about Casey’s tutorial. I’ll check that out! :) So glad you’ll be talking about stretch directions! I learn so much from you.

  4. I’m ordering some of that from Sunni! Thanks for letting me know how to properly use it!

  5. Thanks for the wonderful tip on hemming with interfacing and serging. I would always have ripples in my knits and know I won,t. Love your blog, Pat Miodonski (_rmiodonski@aol.com_ (mailto:rmiodonski@aol.com) ) from Buffalo, New York about 8 hours from NYC.


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