For the jumpsuit I just made, I read through the sewing instructions thoroughly – like all good seamstresses should do – but I chose to totally ignore them!
I thought the order of construction for these* was a bit of a challenge. Now I love a challenge, but there is no need to make things harder when you don’t need too! The instructions said to attach the pockets and front band after the shell was sewn together. If I followed this plan I would have put my quick-unpick to good use trying to topstitch those all pockets on, or finishing the lower end of the placket, and I am sure a relative beginner would have struggled too.
The order of garment construction can make a big difference in the ease of sewing, and whether or not a garment looks amateur or professional. In business I had to specify the best order of construction for the sewing contractor – writing sewing instructions was part of my day job. Although in the trade these are considerably briefer than the instructions included in a commercial pattern – no pretty diagrams or anything!
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to compare some of Vogue’s methods with the ones I used. Below I’ve listed five things that I did differently, and I’ve listed Vogue’s instruction in brief, then described what I did, and why. It will be interesting to hear what you would have done too – we all have our favourite methods!
Vogue: Stitch and clip inner corner of front.
What I did: I applied a small square of lightweight fusing to the corner. I clipped when I was ready to turn the front corner.
Why: Fusing is quick and reinforces the whole corner not just the stitching line. Clipping into the corner several stages before you are ready increases the risk of fraying or stretching.
Vogue: Assemble shell.
What I did: Attached front pockets. Next I partially sewed the front crotch seam and completed the front band, before assembling the full shell.
Why: Sewing pockets (neatly) is much easier when the front is a single flat panel, compared to a front with attached pieces that pull in all directions. Likewise sewing the front band is easier when the back has not yet been attached.
The only reason I imagine Vogue get you to assemble the shell is so that you can try it on at this stage. I thought I should mention that this is a good way to stretch all those raw edges (neckline, CF, armholes, clipped corners) out of shape! Even when I make a calico, I fusetape those raw edges to prevent stretching. Most of the time. At least I should do…
Vogue: Sew long edges of front bands, then staystitch neckline and assemble/attach collar, then finish bottom edge of front band.
What I did: Sewed long edges of front band, clipped into corner, then finished bottom edge of front band. Then I sewed the shoulder seams and attached the collar.
Why: Finishing the front band while the fronts are flat is easier than when they are attached to other pieces.
Vogue: Staystitch neckline
What I did: Nothing
Why: If my neckline edges stretch a little during handling, they will soon be unstretched when they are sewn to the collar! I would only stabilise a very unstable/loosely woven fabric here, and my method of choice would be fusing, unless the fabric was sheer.
Vogue: Attach collar
What I did: Much the same as their instructions, except I wrapped the collar around the front band rather than the front band around the collar, because I inserted a lining at this stage. I also turned under the CB neckline like in my convertible collar tutorial rather than hand sewing it into place.
Why: This made it easier!
But I did make things harder for myself by using the large (1.5cm/5/8″) seam allowances of the pattern around the collar – I tried, and will not try again. It is too fiddly to sew the opposing curves accurately, and I spent about ten minutes clipping and trimming it all – I think 6mm/1/4″ is the only way to go here!
I also did a lot of minor things differently – I blockfused all interfaced pieces, pressed the side bust darts up rather than down, and understitched the facings by machine rather than by hand. I do love hand understitching though, ever since doing it on my totally unnecessary cocktail dress. I might adopt this as my method of choice for my own clothes – when I have time!
I suppose we all develop our favourite methods of construction with time, and inevitably this means varying from the instructions. But don’t you think beginners be shown the easiest way to put a garment together – the way where the best possible outcome is obtained? i don’t think that was the case with this pattern. Do you often see things that you would do differently in pattern instructions? Do you even read them?!
*And when you refer to a jumpsuit, do you talk about these or this?!