One of my very favorite ways to finish a button-up shirt or shirtdress is with a bias-bound hem. We thought #shirtmonth was a great time to bring you this tutorial!
My mother was the person who taught me this trick; for curved hems this is her go-to process. And while she typically makes her own contrast bias tape, I always lean towards the store-bought variety. Either way, the finished result of a bias-bound hem is neat and tidy.
Bias-bound hems are ideal for button-ups because they typically have a curved "shirttail" hem. Curved hems can be finicky to press and sew. More often than not mine become stretched out and wavy during the process. Since bias tape is just a strip of fabric cut on the bias, it easily stretches around curved hems. Bias-bound hems lay flat and look great from the inside.
If you've never sewn with bias tape, you'll want to check out our How to Sew with Bias Tape post first. The method we're using here is similar, except that the bias tape is not sewn in the round. The only difference is how we sew the bias tape at the center front plackets.
I'm illustrating this method on the hem of my Wenona Shirt Dress that I decided to shorten into a shirt (before and after shots at the bottom of this post). The dress is sewn in a double cloth fabric.
Ready? Let's go!
How to Hem a Shirt with Bias Tape
First, find a length of 1/2" double fold bias tape that is at least 6" longer than the circumference of your hem.
You'll notice that I've already pressed one folded edge of the bias tape flat to prepare for sewing. I've also serged the shirt hem because this double cloth easily frays.
Find the center of the bias tape and the midpoint of the center back hem. Place one pin to align the pressed-open raw edge of the bias tape to the hem with right sides together.
Note: You'll notice that my bias tape is set about 1/8" from the edge of the fabric. That is because I want to make sure my bias tape covers the serger stitch. If you haven't serged your hem, you can align the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edge of the fabric.
Starting in the center back, sew the bias tape to the hem, traveling down the fold line of the bias tape. I don't pin the bias tape onto the shirt, I simply take my time making sure it's aligned as I sew. Stop sewing about 1" from the edge of the center front placket.
Repeat down the other side of the shirt hem starting at the center back. It might feel odd sewing with the bulk of the shirt to the right side of your needle, but it's important that you're sewing with the bias tape facing up for accuracy.
At the center front plackets, wrap the bias tape around the edge of the placket and trim the bias tape so there is about 1/4" wrapped around the underside of the placket. Pin to keep the bias tape in place.
Starting at the center front edge of the placket, sew the bias tape down until you meet the stitch line. Backstitch well to secure.
Flip the bias tape and the seam allowance away from the hem and press well.
Understitch the bias tape and seam allowance together about 1/8" away from the seam. This step is important! It'll allow the bias tape to uniformly fold towards the wrong side of the garment, so that none of the bias tape is visible from the right side.
After understitching, press the bias tape towards the wrong side of the shirt and pin well. At the center front plackets, you may have to tuck the top of the bias tape into the corner.
Sew the bias tape down from the wrong side of the shirt keeping a consistent seam allowance as you sew. Backstitch well at the center front plackets to ensure the bias tape stays tucked in there.
And that's it! Your finished bias-bound hem should look like this:
And here's what my Wenona Shirt looks like before and after I shortened it. I'll be wearing this so much more as a shirt!
I hope this tutorial was helpful for you! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get more content like this delivered straight to your inbox.
Today I wanted to bring you a tutorial on block fusing interfacing. Over the past few years, I have found this technique to be incredibly useful in shirt-making, or anytime I need to interface pattern pieces.
It's very straightforward; a total beginner can do this. In fact, I would argue that newbie sewists should block fuse their interfacing to make fabric cutting a bit easier.
What is block-fusing you ask? Simply put, block fusing is the process of cutting a large block of fabric and interfacing the same size. They're fused together and the corresponding pattern pieces (that require interfacing) are then cut from the block. You'll find out why it's important below.
When To Block Fuse Interfacing
This method can be used for most sewing projects, but here's a guideline of when it's most appropriate:
When you're working with lightweight, shifty fabrics. It can be hard to interface pattern pieces when you're working with lightweight fabrics like challis, crepe, and voile. The pattern pieces can shape-shift before you get the interfacing fused to them, making it hard to iron the interfacing onto the pattern pieces perfectly.
When you've got plenty of fabric and interfacing to work with. Block fusing often creates a bit of fabric and interfacing waste, unless you work in really small blocks. Don't use this method until you've looked at the fabric layout charts in your pattern and you know how the pattern pieces are supposed to be arranged.
When your interfacing pieces are the same size as your pattern pieces. Before starting this process, check to make sure your interfacing pieces are the same size as the corresponding pattern piece. Some interfacing pieces may be smaller to reduce bulk in the seam allowance. For those scenarios, block fusing will not work. But, for example, if your collar pattern piece says, "Cut 1 fabric on fold, Cut 1 interfacing on fold", this method is appropriate.
When you have many pattern pieces to interface. Block fusing is especially useful when you have several pattern pieces to interface, like when sewing a button-up shirt. This method will save you time, because you only have to do the fusing step once.
For this tutorial I'm using a rayon challis fabric from my stash in a tropical print to sew a pair of Carolyn Pajamas. I'll be block fusing the front facing and top collar pieces. I'm using a lightweight, tricot interfacing.
How to Block Fuse Interfacing
Does block fusing sound like it'll work for your project? Great, here's how you do it:
First, lay your pattern pieces to be interfaced out on one end of your fabric to determine how big of a rectangle, or block, you'll need. For lightweight fabrics, I rip the fabric (both on the grain and cross-grain) to get the size block I need. You can also cut your fabric with scissors if you don't feel comfortable ripping or you need an odd-sized block.
Side note: I actually work in "blocks" for cutting all of my pattern pieces (not just for fusing interfacing). I'll rip one block for my bodices, another for my sleeves, etc. I find it's much easier to cut from smaller blocks, rather than having a bunch of fabric hanging off the edge of the table. Also, by ripping the fabric to form the blocks, the block is perfectly square, making it easier to arrange the pattern pieces on the grain. But beware, only use this method if you have plenty of fabric to work with.
Next, cut a piece of interfacing the same size as your fabric block.
Then, fuse the interfacing to your fabric. Be sure to use lots of steam to fuse the interfacing properly.
This is what your fused block should look like:
Finally, cut your pattern pieces out like you normally would.
This is what your fused pieces should look like, far neater than when the fabric and interfacing are cut separately.
If you haven't yet, give block fusing a try on your next sewing project! I think you'll find that this method saves you a lot of time and results in a super clean finish.
One of the reasons I love sewing button-up shirts and shirtdresses is that there are so many choices for fabric. You can use a crisp cotton shirting for a traditional look. Choose a drapey rayon crepe for dressed-up attire. Or go with linen for a casual look.
Structured or flowy, the fabric you choose for your handmade shirts and shirtdresses will have a big impact on the final garment.
Below is a list of our eight favorite fabrics for shirt and shirtdresses. Each photo links to a Fabric Files post: an exhaustive resource on how to buy, sew with, and care for each substrate. We even touch on the history of each fabric and why some fabrics are more expensive than others.
If you're sewing a shirt or shirtdress for #shirtmonth in one of the fabric types below, be sure to check out each post! Also, we just added seven new rayon and cotton-blend fabrics to the Indiesew Fabric Shop (like the lemon print you see above).
Linen is the OG of woven fabrics! It's made from the flax plant and is known for its breathable properties.
It's officially Shirt Month 2019, our favorite annual event! This is the second year that we'll spend an entire month celebrating the button-up shirt and shirt dress and it has become quite popular with the online sewing community! Check out #shirtmonth to see what we mean.
What can you expect this month? A lot of sewing inspiration! We've got pattern hacks, guest posts, tutorials, and new patterns lined up for you. And that's in addition to the new fabrics we've already loaded into the shop.
Shirt Month is designed to inspire you to sew at least one shirt or shirt dress in February. Many participants sew two or more!
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING, WHAT'S A SHIRT OR SHIRTDRESS?
For this event, we consider a shirt or shirtdress to be any top, dress, or romper with a full or partial center front placket and a collar.
Shirt and shirtdress sewing patterns
We currently have nearly twenty shirt and shirtdress sewing patterns available on Indiesew! And we'll be adding a few more over the next thirty days.
Just for Shirt Month, we've added six new cotton and linen fabrics to the shop! You'll see several of these fabrics on the blog this month as we show off what we've sewn for the event. Get 10% off these fabrics with coupon code SHIRTMONTH19. Sale ends February 28th.
If you want to get involved in Shirt Month 2019, choose a shirt or shirtdress sewing pattern and your favorite fabric! In the next few days, we'll be talking about fabric, so you can get yours washed and ready to go.
Then, over the next few weeks, show us in-process shots of your shirt using #shirtmonth on Instagram. By the end of the month, we'll finish our shirt of shirtdresses and show them off! Upload your creation for a chance to win a $50 Indiesew Gift Card!
We are so excited to finally reveal the 2019 Indiesew Blogger Team! We sent out our 2019 Collaborator Application on the second day of the year and it's taken nearly a month to comb through hundreds of applicants - the longest it ever has. Thank you to everyone who spent time applying.
We were absolutely blown away by the quality of content we saw in our collaborator application. Never before have we had so.much.discussion around who should be chosen for our 2019 Indiesew Blogger Team. Choosing this list with Angie has been one of the hardest things we've done as a team, possibly as long as we've been working together.
In fact, we had so many applicants this year and we were so conflicted that we decided to expand our network of collaborators in other ways. Today, we're announcing the seven bloggers who will make up the Indiesew Blogger Team this year.
And over the next year, you'll meet nine more sewists who will show up on the Indiesew blog as contributors. By working with sixteen women, we're excited to bring you more inclusion in terms of body and racial diversity. You'll see how that unfolds in the coming months.
The seven women above will be posting Indiesew related content on their blogs once per quarter. We cannot wait to see what each blogger sews up with our fabrics and patterns! Click over to each blogger's website to get acquainted; they all have an incredible wealth of content related to apparel sewing.
You'll start seeing us promote posts from the members above in the next few weeks. We highly encourage you to sign up for our newsletter, their content will be featured there so you won't miss it.
I did a happy dance when Peggy from Sew House Seven released the Merlo Field Tee. I love all things reminiscent of 70s fashion, and this design gives me major retro vibes with its contrast stripes along the shoulder and bicep. Paired with our cupro jersey (available in four colors!), I knew I was going to get a lot of wear out of this top.
The Merlo Field Tee is a sporty knit tee with two neckline and three sleeve length options. I chose the wide neck with the 3/4 sleeve length. I sewed this top in a size 4 graded to a 6 at the hips.
Merlo has a boxy fit and is intended to be sewn in knit fabrics with lots of drape, like bamboo, or rayon jersey. Our cupro knits are ideal for this design. The contrast panels allow you to use up scrap fabric and make a big visual impact.
I tend to avoid drop shoulder or dolman sleeve designs because I feel like my already small shoulders get lost without a defined armscye seam. But I was drawn to the Merlo because the inset panels actually draw the eye to the shoulders, making them more prominent. I think using a darker color for the panels next time would make an even bigger impact.
The fit for me is great, though next time I would probably size down one size, but still grade out in the hips. This top is one that I find myself reaching for when I want to be comfy, but still insert a hint of my love of 70s fashion.
Despite the extra seams of the contrast panels, Merlo is still very much a beginner-friendly pattern! If you're starting to get into sewing with more knits, this is a great design to try.
This fabric was a joy to sew with! I used my trusty Heat N Bond Soft Stretch on the hems, but otherwise, everything came together quickly and without issue. I love the drape and soft hand of this fabric! Check out my Penny Raglan I sewed in the grape colorway.
I hope the New Year is off to a great start for all of you! If you aren't already, make sure to follow us in Instagram to get a daily dose of sewing inspiration.
Happy new year sewists! 2018 was a great year for Indiesew, it feels like we're finally operating in a flow state, with daily processes in place, an incredible staff, and wonderful sewists to collaborate with. Each of these things make our work days so much easier.
One of my favorite programs we run year after year is the Indiesew Blogger Team. This team is a group of sewing bloggers who write about Indiesew products at least once per quarter. Collaborators are compensated monetarily for their work.
We've worked with incredible sewists (who are also stellar writers and photographers) over the past few years that have truly inspired us and our followers. It's been such a blast to work with these ladies. You've likely seen their makes in our weekly newsletter and on Facebook and Instagram.
In 2019, we are recruiting more sewists to collaborate with, but possibly in a different format than before. While the format of the 2019 program isn't totally solidified yet, we are opening up our collaborator application for one week for those interested in working with us.
Here are some general guidelines for those who want to apply:
You must fill out and submit the application by January 9th, 2019 at 10:00 p.m. MT.
You need to have either a sewing blog, YouTube Channel, OR a social media presence that is dedicated to sewing.
We want diversity! All people who sew adult apparel are encouraged to apply.
If this sounds like an opportunity you'd like to apply for, please fill out this form and include any and all information you think would be useful to our decision making process. All applicants will be notified in January with our decision.
My favorite post of the year is here! At the end of each calendar year, we tally up our pattern sales for the year to see which designs were bestsellers for the past twelve months. It's fun to see what's trending with sewists: what designs are favorites year after year and and what new designs emerge.
But before we count them down, here are some Indiesew highlights from 2018:
I traveled to Norway this summer with Leslie to visit Marie-Fleurine for nine days! It's so rewarding to see online sewing connections grow into beautiful friendships.
Angie and I (mostly Angie) cut and shipped nearly 5,000 yards of almost entirely overstock fabric. That's almost 70% more than last year!
Returning from last year, the Minttu Top is my favorite knit tank for summer. This swing tank top has a clever all-in-one facing for a clean finish. We've created a video for this method to help you along the way.
I was excited to see the Moto Sweatshirt make this list this year, because we put so much work into this pattern in collaboration with Seamly. This asymmetrical zip-up sweatshirt is a great alternative to a classic hoodie. Be sure to check out our Moto Sweatshirt Sewalong.
4. Kila Tank
When I released the Kila Tank in July, I didn't realize how many sewists were looking to add a knit racerback tank to their wardrobe. Since then, we've seen many of you sew up multiples of this pattern using our video sewalong.
The Highlands Wrap Dress is experiencing another year of popularity, which makes me so happy. This wrap dress is a more intermediate project, but a stunning dress for summer wear and special events. (Tori's Highlands Wrap Dress shown here.)
1. Ogden Cami
The Ogden Cami remains our #1 bestselling pattern for the second year in a row! This sweet and simple camisole is great for layering or lengthening into a dress. It's safe to say most sewists have sewn this one up by now, and we expect it will remain popular for years to come! (Sophie's Ogden Cami shown here.)
Please note: All orders that contain an Ogden Cami paper pattern will likely ship the week of January 7th due to backordered inventory.
Want to grab one of these tried-and-true sewing patterns for your own stash? Use coupon code BESTSELLERS18 to get 15% off any of these designs until Friday, January 4th at 10 p.m. MST.
Indiesew is closed January 1st, but all physical orders will otherwise ship according to our shipping policies. Please consider the Ogden Cami exception noted above. Digital pattern orders are fulfilled immediately.
I love the fit of this boxy top for a pajama shirt. But I also think it'll be ideal to wear on hot summer days. The pattern sewed up really quickly. From cutting out the top to hemming it took about 1.5 hours. I love an instant gratification project!
This cupro jersey was the perfect substrate for this design. It's lightweight (about 5 ounces per square yard) and has 50% stretch and really nice drape. It's definitely a fabric made for comfy tees like the Penny Raglan.
I also sewed a pair of joggers to wear with my Penny Raglan. These are Seamly joggers, which aren't yet made into a sewing pattern (and no longer produced), but we're considering it. I sewed these joggers using our Vintage Grey French Terry fabric.
These joggers have pockets, front pleats, and a slit on the side leg at the ankle. When Seamly was producing these joggers to sell, there were actually zippers at both ankles. I had a pair of those joggers and I found that I was always leaving the zippers unzipped, so I decided to forgo zippers on this pair.
Again, these pants sewed up super quickly. They took about an hour from start to finish and I've been wearing them nightly to bed. This fabric is super warm and cozy!
If you have strong feelings about whether we should make these Seamly joggers into a sewing pattern or not, please leave a comment below!
But I wanted to wait to add this pattern until we launched Winter Knits Week. Yesterday, we launched several new ponte fabrics (perfect for this design) and I finally get to show off my Fulton!
The Fulton Sweater Blazer is a knit blazer with a relaxed fit and patch pockets. The notched collar, which lays flat against the neckline, adds a touch of modern visual interest. This design includes two sleeve lengths and two bodice length options.
This sewing pattern lies solidly in the intermediate category, because of the notched collar. But Alina's video tutorial makes sewing that part much easier than I expected.
I sewed the size 4 (graded to a 6 at the hips) in View A (the shorter bodice).
The fabric for my Fulton Sweater Blazer has a story of its own. It's a long one involving two bottles of RIT Fabric Dye (Emerald and Dark Green), and it's fully documented on Instagram under the Fabric Dyeing highlight.
In short, this fabric is 100% cotton interlock, which has the weight and structure I wanted, but not the recovery (the sleeves stretch out a bit). My next one will definitely be sewn in rayon ponte.
Perhaps my favorite part of the Fulton Sweater Blazer is the shape of this design. Fulton has a nice curve through the waist, so it doesn't appear oversized or bulky. I adore the center back seam, a detail I wish more patterns included as it makes a basic piece look a bit more intentionally designed.
I know my Fulton will be getting lots of wear in the future and I can't wait to start on my next one, in View B!