TLC Sew Along Part 4 - Machine Stitching the Home Stretch May 09 2018

TLC Sew Along Part 4 - Machine Stitching the Home Stretch

Click here to read previous installment.


We're on the home stretch now! In spite of the somewhat time consuming detail of the reverse facing, this Caftan can zoom along quite quickly after that because the rest of the contstruction is done by machine (with a wee bit of hand basting to facilitate one step.)

Next in the construction is to attach the Side Panel to the bodice/skirt assembly. Start by turning the Side Panel right side out. Your bodice/skirt assembly should be inside out. Slip the Side Panel inside the bodice/skirt assembly and match up the shoulder seams and reference marks. (If this caftan looks off to you in terms of length, remember we shortened View B by about 12 inches to make a tunic length version.)


The Waist Insets go in between the notches marked on the pattern piece.


Stitch the Side Panel to the bodice/skirt assembly. There might be a bit of easing to be done along the bodice part of the seam.


Pivot at the small circles and stitch around the perimeter of the pocket.


Clip the seam allowance above and below the Pocket and press the Pocket towards the center front. Press the rest of the seam towards the Side Panel. (somehow, we did not end up with photos of this part! Sorry!)


On to the Waist Inset Facings. We'll show you our work attaching elastic to one end of an Inset Facing piece. You'll need to do these steps to finish both the Front and Back Waist Facings.

Turn in the 5/8" seam allowance all around the Waist Facing (the end of the seam gauge is 5/8" and makes for a quick check for accuracy).


Now turn under the tips of the seam allowance across the short ends to create a straight edge as shown.


Cut your length of elastic into 4 equal pieces and slide the end of one piece under that straight edge.



Edge stitch the straight edge through all layers securing the elastic in place.


 Flip the elastic towards the point at shown.


 Stitch from the right side securing the elastic to the point. Pretty much any configuration of stitching will do. The goal is to have that tip of the Waist Facing stitched to the elastic.


 Once you have attached the elastic to each end of the Waist Facings, turn the caftan inside out and place the Facing over the corresponding Waist Inset. We are working with the Waist Facing Front in these photos.


 Pin the Waist facing in place matching the center fronts. The folded edges of the Waist Facings should just cover the seams from the Waist insets.


 Even though hand basting seams like a pain, it is the best way to do this step. It is worth the small bit of time to hand baste the Waist facing in place.



Sorry for the change up but the photos now switch to the Waist Inset BACK. Here is the Waist Facing basted in place.


Working from the right side of the garment, edge stitch the Waist Facing through all layers. Take care to keep the elastic (or twill tape) free from the stitching.



 It will look like this from the right side:


On the inside, the edges of the Waist Facing should be secured and it will look like this:


 You can remove the basting stitches now.

All that is left is to make a quick machine hem and secure the elastic at the sides. Feel free to hem the caftan by hand if you prefer. The instructions call for a 5/8" hem but this is only a suggestion. You can put in a deeper hem if that is what you want. 

Turn up 5/8" and turn the raw edge down into the crease.


Stitch close to the fold.


Try on the caftan and pin or tie the elastic at the inside the caftan to your preferred snugness at the waist. Mark the elastic.


Overlap the elastic, aligning the marks and stitch together.


 You're done! Enjoy!

TLC Sew Along Part 3 - About Face! (ings) May 08 2018

TLC Sew Along Part 3 - About Face! (ings)

This installment covers the reverse facing at the armhole openings on the TCL Caftan.

TLC Sew Along Part 2 - Skirting the Issue May 07 2018

TLC Sew Along Part 2 - Skirting the Issue

Part 2 of the TLC Caftan sew along covers attaching the Waist Insets and the Skirt pieces to the bodice assembly constructed in Part 1.

TLC Sew Along Part 1 - Bodice Construction May 04 2018 1 Comment

TLC Sew Along Part 1 - Bodice Construction



The Bodice of the TLC Caftan is one of the things that makes the caftan unique and flattering. The bodice is more or less fitted to the body. The Waist Insets are held close to the body by either elastic or twill tape ties, effectively holding the bodice in place and making the bodice conform to the body. NO TENT!

So let's jump right in! 

Please pay attention to the note at the very beginning of the Construction details in the instructions. The note addresses how important it is to test your fabric to determine how stable the weave is on the straight of grain. The neckline is a surplice (sort of a wrap style construction). If your fabric has any "give" when you tug on it on the straight of grain, your neckline will most likely stretch out during construction and it will gap when you wear it. 

If your fabric stretches when you tug on the straight of grain, you will want to stabilize the neck edge of the Bodice Front. Cut a narrow strip of interfacing, 3/8" wide will do, and fuse it along the seam line on the wrong side of the fabric. 

Now to the sewing machine! The first steps are simple and familiar. Stay stitch the neck edges and make gathering stitches at the waist  and shoulder of the Front Bodice pieces. Start your gathering stitches 5/8" from the edge as shown. This just keeps the gathering clear of that seam.


NOTE:  If you made an FBA on your Bodice Front (see previous installment Sew Along Intro) - you would stitch the newly created side dart here and press it towards the waist.

Next, the Back Bodice gets gathering stitches at the waist and darts at the shoulders (pressed towards the center back.) Start the gathering stitches 5/8" from the edge just like on the Bodice Front pieces.



The shoulder seams are next:



Now the neck edge gets finished with bias binding. 

First trim 1/4" from the entire neck edge. This leaves you with a 3/8" seam allowance. The smaller seam allowance makes it easier to shape the bias to the curves.

The pattern instructions call for you to cut a bias strip from your left over fabric. We're using a contrasting fabric that shows better in the photos: a contrasting bias finish is pretty detail to add to your garment.

Start at the waist edge of the Bodice Front and pre-shape your bias strip by aligning the raw edges and pressing the bias tape as you go.


Shaping the bias strip neck curve is the most important part of this step and will help you have a nice smooth result. It helps to "ease" the bias tape at the sharpest part of the curve. The goal is to keep the outer edge of the bias strip nice and flat. You can kind of gather the bias tape along the inner or neck edge here as shown. Just enough to be able to keep the other edge of the bias strip flat as you go around the curve.

After you've pre-shaped the bias strip along entire neck edge, stitch it to the neck edge, right sides together.


Clip seam allowance at the curves and turn the binding to the inside.

Next you want to turn in the raw edge of the bias strip. We find it easier to turn in the raw edge here before you turn the bias strip to the inside of the bodice. 1/4" pressed in will do the job.


Now, when you turn the bias to the inside, that outer edge is already to go!

Next, stitch the bias facing in place by hand or machine. We machine stitched here for speed but got a crap result the first time.


Unpicked that hot mess and hand basted the bias facing.


Machine stitching the bias facing in place round 2 went much better. We stitched from the center back down to the waist and then repeated for the other side. Nice and smooth this time!


 That's all for this installment. Next time we'll attach the Waist Insets and the Skirt Pieces.

 Click here for the next installment in the sew along.

TLC Sew Along Introduction - Fabrics and FBA May 03 2018 2 Comments

TLC Sew Along Introduction - Fabrics and FBA

Get ready for the TLC Caftan Sew Along with a post about fabric choice and stash busting with this project. Also covered is a quick FBA tutorial for those curvy ladies with a D cup bra size and larger.