January 5, 2014

Coating Continues…

Next step: my first ever tracing-off of a RTW garment! Admittedly, a very, very small project but a trace-off nonetheless.

For the non-sewing-minded among you, this is where you copy a piece of clothing you already own, to make a sewing pattern, so that you can replicate the original. It can be pretty complicated, because you need to understand how the garment was constructed  and make sure there’s enough material to join all the pieces up (aka a seam allowance). However, I went super easy, as I was only trying to copy the collar from my current coat.

Here’s how it works:

1. I unpicked half the collar from the coat I’m copying. Why half? Because (almost) all sewing is symmetrical, and therefore sewing patterns are only ever for half of the garment. You then cut some pieces on the  fold of fabric (so it opens up into one piece of fabric, with two mirror image sides), or sometimes you cut them separately (say for the front pieces of a coat). In the case of my collar, the upper collar (what shows on the outside) will be cut on the fold, and the underneath will be two pieces sewn together (for reasons I shan’t go into here).

2. I traced around the collar fairly roughly onto tracing paper, and then “trued up” the lines with my ruler and french curve – basically made them straighter 🙂
3. Added seam allowances. As I was tracing from the final, sewn up, collar, I needed to add the seam allowances, so that once the fabric is sewn up and turned right side out, it’s the right size. To do this, I used my new favourite gadget, the Clover Double Tracing Wheel. You put two little serrated wheels into various slots until they’re the width you need – in this case, 5/8 inch. Because the wheel is in metric, you can’t get *exactly* 5/8 using the slots, but no worries – you can just slightly bend one of the wheels over (sounds a bit sketchy, but it works). So, I added seam allowance in no time:

4. Lastly: because my fabric is really thick, I needed to allow for “turn of cloth”. Here’s the theory: if you cut two bits of identically sized fabric out, put them on top of each other, and then  fold the two in half, the edges aren’t going to match any more, because one piece (on the outside) is going to need a bit more fabric to go around the corner. So, to make sure they match when folded, I added another 1/4 inch to the bottom of the upper collar piece:

So, let’s hope it works! I have to do a bit of experimenting with my fashion fabric and various interfacings to get the right amount of stiffness vs. flexibility, but I’m pretty sure I can do that.

Finally, a little tip. As I was creating my lining template (using this super tutorial by Jen at Grainline), I ran out of tracing paper. Quelle desastre! But do you know what I discovered? Christmas wrapping makes great pattern paper! Not to mention, you end up with super cheery patterns. You’re welcome, sewing internet.

Let me know what you think!