Sewing Leader Resouce Manual

Sewing Leader Resouce Manual
Agriculture and Marketing
Rural Leadership Branch
4-H and Rural Organizations
Leader Resource Manual
August 1997
March 1997
I pledge my head to clearer thinking
my heart to greater loyalty
my hands to larger service
and my health to better living
For my club, my community and my country.
“Learn to do by Doing”
(Tune: Auld Lang Syne)
We thank thee Lord for blessings great
On this our own fair land.
Teach us to serve Thee joyfully
With head, heart, health and hands.
Who to Contact
If you have any questions about the 4-H program or this project, contact the
4-H Specialist in your area.
Western Region - Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis
South Shore Region - Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne
Valley Region - Hants, Kings
Central Region - Halifax, Cumberland, Colchester
Eastern Region - Antigonish, Guysborough, Pictou
Cape Breton Region - Richmond, Cape Breton, Inverness, Victoria 563-2000
Table of Contents
Section 1 - Introduction
Section 2 - Sewing Safety
Section 3 - The Sample Book
Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
Section 5 - Construction Techniques
Section 6 - Understanding Patterns
Section 7 - Fabric Basics
Section 8 - Body Measurements & Simple Pattern
Section 9 - Parts of a Sewing Machine
Section 10 - Beyond Basics
Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
Section 12 - Where to go for Help
Section 1
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 1 - Introduction
Welcome to the world of 4-H. We’re pleased to have you as a 4-H sewing leader. Your job
is of a friend, teacher and parent, however your many talents will help you here. Having an interest in
young people and their development is one of the first steps to success.
This project offers the excitement of developing the members life skills in addition to their
sewing skills. Through the year you’ll get to know the members better and see them develop the skills
of planning, decision making, working together and accepting a group decision. Use this knowledge,
your own expertise and imagination to plan a fun, interesting and challenging club program for your
members. And enjoy being a 4-H leader!
Your Role as a Volunteer Leader
As a sewing leader you are expected to:
plan project meetings which provide fun learning experiences
provide guidance for members in choosing and completing their projects for Achievement Day
provide a fun atmosphere at meetings and activities
encourage members to adopt a positive attitude and work together as a group
challenge the members to do their best
help each member set and reach goals for personal development
The basis of your club work is to complete the 4-H project. Through the project, leaders work
with the member to help them achieve the objectives of the project. Upon successful completion of the
project, members gain:
a feeling of accomplishment
recognition for their work
self confidence
Planning Your Meetings
You will want to make some initial plans before the project work
starts, but involve the 4-H members at some point early in the planning
process. Turning members on to the nitty-gritty of fabric selection and clothing
construction takes a deliberate effort and usually falls on the shoulders of well
meaning leaders.
To accomplish this seemingly awesome task, don’t despair. Careful
planning and creative learning are the key elements of a successful program.
Don’t Forget:
- Safety Practices
- Sample Book
- Record Sheets
1) Plan for Success: Remember today’s 4-H member wants a visual, fast
paced and up to date program. If project requirements themselves seem to be a stumbling block, try to
interject some of the suggested activities from this manual to stimulate general program interest. It is
important for the member to sew a stylish garment that fits and that they will be proud to wear.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 1 - Introduction
2) Set Regular, Realistic Goals: Encourage members to do the same. Remember, only so much can
be accomplished at a meeting. Stress the end product, but avoid discouragement for both leaders and
members by looking at a project as a series of small steps, each is a little success in itself. A finished
project on the other hand may sometimes seem an unsurmountable task.
3) Tune Into Members’ Tastes: Keep in touch with young peoples tastes--they change quickly.
Projects that were last’s years hits may flop this year. Shopping in teen and junior stores, reading teen
magazines and general observation can help keep you up to date.
4) Build in Flexibility: Respect both the individuality and difference in sewing skill levels of your
member in their project choices. 4-H’ers are encouraged to choose patterns they like and can cope
with. Making all the members sew the same pattern is a sure-fire way to turn them off sewing
5) Be Realistic: It is important to maintain a modern, realistic attitude towards home sewing. Most
modern women (and teens) sew to enable them to enjoy up-to-date fashions they can afford. Quality
of workmanship is important and learning the basic remains essential. However, don’t get hung up on
techniques and finishes that could discourage your members for good.
6) Maintain Your Sanity: By being as organized as possible about your 4-H program. Set a
convenient meeting place, date and time for your meetings and inform your 4-H’ers. Allow time to set
up and clean up and adhere strictly to start up and finish times. Make sure your 4-H’ers know what
they are required to bring in terms of supplies and equipment to each meeting. You should personally
be well acquainted with the project requirements in order to ensure that your group stays on top of
things. Senior members can assist junior members, easing your workload.
7) Be Enthusiastic About Your Program: It should be fun. Use fun projects to teach basic sewing
skills. Create a balance of learning and group social activity to break the monotony. While time not
spent on actual projects may seem like time wasted, it is often time well spent in the long run.
Motivated 4-H’ers work more efficiently. Here are some suggestions which can spice up your
a. Attend a fashion show in the area.
b. Plan a beauty culture evening - make-up demos, manicures, etc.
c. Visit a textile company or clothing manufacturer.
d. Have a “what my mother wore” meeting and enjoy the clothes of yesteryear.
e. Spend an evening up-dating a favourite outfit from last year.
f. Some clubs make simple Christmas gifts or Mother’s Day presents to promote that
festive spirit and keep members’ interest.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 1 - Introduction
8) Be confident: By volunteering your time, patience and energy as a 4-H sewing leader and by
following points 1 through 7, you can’t help but have a successful sewing class! Good luck!
Remember, your efforts are appreciated.
How Can I Make The Best Use of My Resources?
There are many resources available to 4-H leaders. Awareness of these resources and how to
use them will help in the planning of the years program.
1. Leader’s Resource Guide
The leaders guide has been developed as a reference for information that can be covered
IS IN THE MANUAL. Remember your members situation and select topics that will be of greatest
interest. If some of it is too in-depth for your members, DON’T USE IT. If some of it doesn’t apply
to your geographical location then, DON’T DISCUSS IT. The key is to be FLEXIBLE and meet the
needs of the members.
The Leader’s Guide suggests possible areas and techniques to cover, activities and presentation
ideas. Use this as a aid in planning your program. Again, DON’T FEEL THAT YOU MUST USE
ALL OF THE SUGGESTIONS. Use your imagination and creativity when working with the
When selecting activities and methods keep this chart in mind.
Members will retain 10% of
what they read.
- Members’ Newsletter
Members will retain 20% of
what they hear.
- Lectures, speakers, being
read to
Members will retain 30% of
what they see.
-Exhibits, posters,
Hearing and Seeing
Members will retain 50% of
what they see and hear.
- Observe demonstrations,
videos, films, slides, tours
Members will retain 70% of
what they personally explain.
- Discussion groups, judging,
expressing ideas
Saying and Doing
Members will retain 80% of
what they are personally
involved in saying and doing.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 1 - Introduction
- Practice, explore,
demonstrate, build
2. Simplicity Sewing Manuals
Get your club copy of the Simplicity Manual from your 4-H Specialist. This resource guide has
references made to two editions of Simplicity Sewing Book, 1975 edition and 1979 edition.
The cover of the 1975 edition, Simplicity Sewing Book, features a woman wearing a yellow
hat. On the side of the hat is a red pincushion and a yellow tape measure. The necklace is made of
spools of thread. The word Simplicity is in black.
The cover of the 1979 edition , Simplicity Sewing Book, features a woman with brown hair.
The writing on the cover is in deep pink. The word Simplicity is in white.
3. Club Members
The ages of the members in your club probably cover a span of several years. This means
there will be many different needs, strengths and abilities. Although it is important for the club members
to learn to work together, they must also recognize individual differences.
Junior Members - These members will be active and full of energy. Capitalize on this energy by
providing lots of variety in the meeting to hold their interest.
Senior Members - This group is striving for increased freedom from adult control. When the junior
members need some undivided attention, have the senior members plan and/or carry out an activity on
their own. For times when the whole club must be together, encourage senior members to share their
skills and experiences with juniors by guiding them through an activity.
Junior Leader - If there is a senior member in the club who has completed
several projects this may be the challenge he/she is looking for. You can
help this member put leadership skills into action by having him/her assist
with delivery of the club program.
Simple Projects - elastic waistband skirt,
shorts or pants
- sleeveless blouse
- jogging pants
Encourage the members to select project items they are capable
of sewing and will be proud to wear. Each year the member should select
different more challenging items and show an improvement in the quality
of their workmanship.
If you are unsure of what to expect from first year members, ask
to see a recently sewn item. Examine it to determine the members sewing
abilities. Then decide with the member what sewing techniques they are
capable of handling.
Intermediate - sweat shirts - T-shirts
- collars
- zippers
- set in sleeves
- buttons/buttonholes
4. Parents
Members will learn and enjoy more if their parents are interested
More Difficult - plaids, corduroy, velvets
- pleats
- blazers
- fly front pants
in what they are doing. INFORM parents what your goals are and those of the 4-H program.
INVITE parents to attend your project meetings to see their child in action. INVOLVE parents to help
you whenever you can. Recognize their support with thank you notes.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 1 - Introduction
5. Other Leaders and the 4-H Specialist
Don’t feel that you are walking this road alone. Other 4-H leaders and the 4-H Specialist are
willing to lend an ear for your ideas or offer suggestions.
6. Reference Books and Video
At the back of this guide you will find a list of reference books. They can be burrowed from
the Resource Specialist - Extension Services, N.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Marketing, P.O. Box 550
Truro, NS, B2N 5E3.
The 4-H section has numerous videos you can burrow for a two week period. Check their
audio visual catalogue.
Achievement Days
Achievement Day is an opportunity for the member to share the knowledge and skills they have
gained during their 4-H year. Each member is evaluated on the quality of their project work.
Consideration is given to the member’s age and the number of years they have been in the project.
Each club plans, prepares for and holds it’s own Achievement Day. Some counties have a
joint one for all the clubs. The club is responsible for consulting with the 4-H Specialist to decide on a
date. Staff from the Department of Agriculture and Marketing attend Achievement Days to evaluate
projects and present competition certificates to the club members.
Each 4-H member receives a ribbon for each project completed. They are presented with a
certificate that includes a sticker for each project completed. Members who participate in judging and
communications are recognized on the certificate as well.
Clubs usually make this event into a community day for the families and friends of the club
members. It is an opportunity to inform the public about the purpose and goals of 4-H.
All completed projects qualify for competition at exhibition or county shows. There the top two
junior and senior sewing articles are selected to compete at the NS 4-H Show.
Project Rules
Make sure you are familiar with the project rules to avoid disappointment at Achievement Day.
Sewing members are required to display two sewing project items from their years work, one must be
a garment they can model. If the member chooses to make a home decorating project, they are
required to model a garment from the past year. The member must complete a record sheet and
sample book containing three samples used in their project items.
Judging is an important part of all 4-H members activities. It helps members to recognize quality
in other sewing articles as well as their own. Members not only learn to recognize these
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 1 - Introduction
better qualities but they also must express their judgement by giving their reasons to the judge. It
increases their confidence in decision making and provides them with the practice of thinking on their
Your sewing members will be given the opportunity to judge a class of four items, for example;
skirts, blouses, hats, etc. Using the skills they have learned in their project work, members place these
items from first to forth (top to bottom) and give reasons to support the placing. This activity is done on
a county level before Achievement Days begin. Check with your general leader or 4-H specialist about
this. Your 4-H Specialist has a judging box you can borrow to teach your members to judge. The
more often a member is exposed to judging, the better judge they will become.
Record Sheet
The sewing member is required to complete a record sheet, an additional page may be
attached to record project meetings and events if extra space is required. Be sure that the members fill
out the sheet completely so that it reflects an accurate record of their years work. Members can use
metric, imperial or dural throughout, but do not switch back and forth between the systems.
The record sheet should include:
- Brief project, club and community events that the member took part in.
- A shopping record for each project item.
- A brief description of general construction points, problems and successes for each
project item
- A written fashion show commentary for the garment being modelled at Achievement Day.
Club Contribution
Leaders are expected to evaluate the members involvement in the 4-H club during the year.
Consider these points:
- Regular attention to meetings(project and general meetings, county and provincial
- Participation in speech or demonstration day.
- Constructive participation in discussion at meetings.
- Expression in public.
- Are they helpful at meetings and events?
- Do they set a good example of the 4-H spirit?
- Is their attitude positive?
- Are they dependable?
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 2 - Sewing Safely
Planning for a safe sewing project is important and that’s what this section is all about. Members are
encouraged to practice these points throughout their project year.
Sewing Box: Keep all the sewing supplies in a sewing box. Use a sturdy box (hard plastic or shoe
box) rather than a plastic grocery style bag. Sharp objects can pierce the bag causing injuries or lost
Cutting Supplies:
(a) Scissors or Shears -- Sharp scissors are a must for cutting or trimming fabric. Keep fingers away
from the blades when cutting. Keep scissors or pinking shears closed and stored in a case, when not
in use. When you pass them to another person, always pass the handles first.
(b) Rotary Cutter -- Use the special plastic mat so that the surface under the fabric is not damaged.
The blade is sharp so do not put your fingers too close. When finished with the cutter be sure the guard
is in place, covering the blade.
Pins and Needles: Keep pins & needles in a safe and convenient place. Never put them in your mouth
because you may swallow or inhale one, especially if you are startled or move suddenly. Putting them
in your clothing can cause scratches or they can stick into you. Always check carefully for pins on the
floor, a person or pet may get one stuck in their foot.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 2 - Sewing Safely
Carry or store pins in a tightly covered container or
a pin cushion. Pins will easily stick to a magnetic
pin cushion or pin catcher placed near the sewing
The traditional pin cushion (tomato shaped) is good;
however, once the fabric covering starts to wear,
the pins and needles easily fall out.
A proper fitting thimble prevents the needle from puncturing your fingers. A needle threader helps
prevent eye strain if you have difficulty threading the needle.
Sharp Sewing Aids:
Tracing wheels are available with smooth or
serrated edges. When marking tracing lines,
keep your fingers away from the blades.
The pointer or creaser , awl and hoop turner are all sharp objects so be careful not to puncture yourself
with them. When not in use store them in safe place.
A seam ripper can be used to remove stitches;
never use razor blades, they are too dangerous.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 2 - Sewing Safely
Sewing Machine and Surger:
Follow these steps to prevent any damage or costly repairs.
- Before sewing, make sure the machine/serger is in good working condition and you understand how
to use it properly.
- The machine/serger should be placed on a sturdy table or cabinet, set close to an electrical outlet.
Use an extension cord only temporarily. Keep the machine’s cord out of people’s way. Make sure
the light is working to prevent eyestrain.
Machine Use:
- Use slow speed when learning how to use the machine.
- Keep fingers away from the machine’s needle or cutting blades on the serger.
- Do not lean your face too close over the needle, if it should break a piece could fly up into your eye
and cause an injury.
- Use pins with large heads so they won’t get lost in the fabric. Remove pins as you get close to
them to prevent bending of the pins, the needles breaking, or damage to the serger blade.
- When finished sewing, make sure to turn off the light and put the needle and the pressure foot down.
Disconnect the cord from the wall outlet and then from the machine. This ensures there is no extra
power that might cause a problem. Close the machine carefully and replace the cover.
Pressing Safety:
Handle your iron with care. If it is a steam iron fill with water before plugging it in. Do not overfill
because it could boil over possibly scalding your arm or hand. Use distilled water if recommended by
the manufacturer. Only touch the iron on the handle. Keep hands away from steam and soleplate, you
could get a painful burn. Do not let the cord dangle off the ironing board. It could get caught and pull
the iron off onto you or onto the floor. If the iron does fall off, unplug it and have it checked before
using it again. A fall can cause the insides of the iron to become loose so it will not work properly and
cause a fire.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 2 - Sewing Safely
-Rest the iron on it’s heel on a solid surface.
Leaving it flat on it’s soleplate on the ironing
board can scorch the cover or start a fire if left
alone long enough.
- Keep the soleplate and the steam holes of the iron clean. If the steam holes contain dirt it could spit
causing it to burn or soil the fabric.
- When finished ironing, turn it off and unplug the iron. When cool, store it in a protected place.
It is important to have proper light when you are working. It will prevent eyestrain and it is easier to
see what you are doing. Without the proper light you could stick a pin in your hand or finger; burn
yourself with a hot iron or cut yourself with a sharp object.
Electrical Safety:
- Always unplug electrical equipment before cleaning or repairing it.
- Never plug two or more pieces of equipment into one outlet. This overloads the fuse, producing heat
which can destroy the wires, causing a fire. If fuses blow or circuit breakers trip repeatedly, call the
- Never use frayed or cracked cords; exposed wires can cause a fire or give you a shock.
- Use extension cords temporarily. Never run them under doors, carpets, rugs or mats. If you must
use a extension cord, never use one that is smaller in diameter than the cord of the electrical appliance
you are using.
The Sample Book
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 3 - Sample Books
Samples are used to teach members the basic skills and to master the techniques they are
using. The sample should be completed before the technique is done in their project so that when the
technique is used in their garment , the member understands the proper method. Practising on a sample
can help avoid a costly mistake when working on a project. It can give the members confidence to do
a good job on their project work.
Members are required to complete three samples each year and they must be used within their
project that year. The sample book must accompany the record sheet on Achievement Day. There is
a separate class for the book at Exhibition and NS 4-H Show.
If samples appear to be taking longer than anticipated to complete try beginning each meeting
with a sample. You may want to let each member work on their project until they reach the step were
the sample will be used. At that point complete the sample, then proceed with their project. It’s a
good idea to keep extra fabric and notions on hand for samples to eliminate the excuse of no supplies
so no samples are done.
Demonstrate the samples and prepare your own sample book. This way members can see
exactly what is expected and what a well done sample book should look like. The standard size for
samples is 10 cm square (4 inch). However, it is often easier to prepare much larger samples for
demonstration. Take your time when demonstrating samples. Emphasizing important steps and
making sure everyone sees and understands in the beginning will save time in the long run.
Encourage members to keep their sample book from year to year. This provides them with a
ready reference on many sewing techniques that they will use in the future. Remember, reap praise on
good samples and carefully completed sample books.
Guidelines for Sample Books
The following guidelines are intended to help the member complete their sample book.
1. Samples should be completed on a swatch of fabric the same as in the member’s garment. A 10 cm
(4 in.) square is appropriate for most samples. Some samples may be best done on small scale pattern
pieces to allow for the proper shape, complete the technique correctly and be sure it fits neatly into the
sample book without a lot of bulk. The edges of all samples should be pinked or treated by an
appropriate seam finish.
2. Samples should be done using a contrasting thread so that the technique is easily seen. They should
be clean properly pressed and cut on the straight of grain.
3. Samples should be fastened to the page using glue, staples or pins. If using glue a small amount is all
that is necessary; excess glue will come through the fabric and pages will stick together. Both upper
and under sides of the sample must be accessible for inspection on Achievement Day. Mounting
samples on construction paper is not a requirement, but does add Sewing - Leaders Resource Section 3 - Sample Book
considerable strength and durability to the samples pages. Instructions for the techniques and some
examples of where it might be used should accompany the sample. These may be neatly
hand written, typed or clipped from an appropriate resource book.
4. Samples should be displayed in a sturdy notebook, three-ring binder or scrap book. This allows
members to add to their sample book each year. A title page is optional.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
Here are some techniques that have been used as samples in the sewing project. They are
intended to be used as a guide. DON’T FEEL THAT MEMBERS MUST USE THEM FOR THEIR
SAMPLES. It is more important that members choose three samples that are used in their projects.
Members with no sewing experience may want to learn the basic hand stitches, but only if they are used
somewhere in the project. The hand stitches allow members to become comfortable with using a
needle and thread.
The Simplicity Sewing Book contains pictures showing how the different techniques are done.
Encourage the members to read and use the Simplicity book when doing samples. You will notice that
some of the samples have step by step diagrams to show how it is completed. Members are expected
to include the completed samples only in their book, not all the steps.
The techniques are arranged under the following headings - hand stitches, seams, seam finishes,
hems, zippers, other fasteners, elastic applications and construction techniques.
Hand Stitches
1. Running Stitch
- work from right to left.
- begin with three stitches in one spot.
- with point of needle, take a number of small
forward stitches, 3 mm (1/8 in.) long, same size
on both sides.
- complete with three stitches in one spot.
This is suitable for most fabrics and is usually
decorative. It is not recommended for seams
except where there will be little or no strain (ex.
joining quilting pieces).
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 49, 1979 edition pg. 138.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
2. Basting Stitch
- work from right to left.
- start with a knot.
- make a running stitch 6 mm (1/4 in.) long and 6
mm (1/4 in.) apart.
- end by taking a double stitch.
This is used as a temporary stitch to hold two or
more layers of fabric together.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 49, 1979 edition pg. 100.
3. Gathering Stitch
- working from right to left
- start with a knot.
- do first row on seam line (1.5 cm/ 5/8 in.).
- do second row 1 cm (3/8 in.) from edge.
- pull the ends left free to gather material.
- knot free ends together to prevent from coming
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
4. Backstitching
- work from right to left.
- fasten thread with three small stitches in one
- insert needle back at the start of the first stitch
and bring point of needle out 3 mm(1/8 in.) to
the left of where the thread came out.
- insert needle at start of second stitch.
- secure end by making three small stitches in
one spot.
- stitches on back will be twice as long (6 mm/
1/4 in.) as those on top. Stitches on top should
join and look like machine stitching.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 50, 1979 edition pg. 137.
1. Plain Seam
- pin material with right sides together.
- use stitch length of 2 mm(12 st. /1 in.).
- use 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) seam allowance.
- clip threads.
- press seams open.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 50, 1979 edition pg.160.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
2. French Seam
- pin material with wrong sides together.
- stitch a plain seam 1 cm (3/8 in.) from edge.
- press seam allowances to one side; trim seam
allowance to 3 mm (1/8 in.).
- turn fabric so right sides are together; fold at
seam and press.
- stitch 6 mm (1/4 in.) from fold.
- press to one side.
This seam is used mostly on sheet fabrics and
flannelettes. It is used on straight seams; and
looks like a regular seam on the outside but
forms a tuck on the inside.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 54, 1979 edition pg. 160.
3. Welt Seam
- make a plain seam.
- press both seam allowances to one side.
- trim the under seam allowance to 6 mm (1/4
- From the right side, topstitch 6 mm (1/4 in.)
from the seamline catching the untrimmed seam
allowance on the underside.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 53, 1979 edition pg. 161.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
4. Flat Felled Seam
- stitch a plain seam either on the wrong side or
the right side depending on which side you want
the fell to be.
- press seam open; then press both seam
allowances to one side.
- trim the under seam allowance to 3 mm(1/8
- turn under 6 mm (1/4 in.) of the top seam
allowance, and baste it over the trimmed edge.
- topstitch close to the fold.
- attractive and durable, a good choice for
sportswear, menswear and reversible garments.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 63, 1979 edition pg. 160.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
5. Piped Seam
- use purchased bias binding or a bias strip of
fabric folded lengthwise and pressed.
- place folded bias on right side of one garment
section with fold extending toward garment and
raw edges toward raw edge of seam.
- baste bias in place along seam line. Pin other
garment section to the first and stitch seam using
the basting as a guide. Press all seam
allowances to one side.
- used as a decorative touch often found at
collars, cuffs, or faced necklines.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 54.
6. Double Stitched Knit Seam
- pin material with right sides together.
- use stitch length of 10-12 stitches per 2.5 cm
(1 in.).
- use a 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) seam allowance.
- remember to stretch the fabric and seam as you
- sew a second seam 6 mm (1/4 in.) from the
first seam.
- trim seam allowance close to the second
stitching line.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 199, 1979 edition pg. 161.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
7. Zig Zag - Stretch Knit Seam
- pin material with right sides together.
- use a narrow zig-zag stitch and 12-16 stitches
per 2.5 cm (1 in.).
- use a 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) seam allowance.
- with a wider zig-zag stitch, sew close to
stitching line and trim away extra seam
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 199, 1979 edition pg. 161.
8. Special Stretch Seam
- pin material with right sides together.
- use the overedge or overlock stitch.
- use a 1.5 cm (5/8 in.)seam allowance.
- sew the seam so that the stitches do not extend
past the seam allowance.
- trim away excess seam allowance.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 199, 1979 edition pg. 161.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
9. Serged or Overlock Seam
- pin material together with right sides together.
- serge a 5-7.5 cm (2-3 in.) thread chian.
- lifting the presser foot, place the fabric
underneath and take four or five stitches.
- raise presser foot. Sew the chain around the
front and place it on the seam allowance.
- lower the presser foot and serge catching the
thread chain in the seam allowance.
- serge to the end of the seam, one stitch past the
end of the fabric.
- raise the presser foot, flip the fabric over and
bring it to the front of the needle.
- lower the presser foot and serge over the
previous stitching for about 2.5 cm (1 in.).
Seam Finishes
1. Clean Finished or
Turned and Stitched
- stitch 3 mm (1/8 in.) from raw edge then turn
edge under on this line and stitch again close to
- press finished seams open.
- quick, casual finish for light and medium weight
- not suitable for bulky fabric.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 123, 1975 edition pg. 52.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
2. Stitched and Pinked
- first stitch 6 mm (1/4 in.) from each seam
allowance edge.
- then trim edge close to stitching with pinking
- quickest method of finishing the raw edge of a
pressed open seam on fabrics that do not fray
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 123, 1975 edition pg. 52.
3. Machine Zig-Zag
- zig-zag over the raw edge of the seam as close
to the edge as possible.
- use smaller stitch for light weight fabric - larger
stitch for heavier weights.
- press finish seam open.
- best method for heavy weight fabrics that fray
- also suitable for other weights.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 123, 1975 edition pg. 47 and 52.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
4. Overcast or Whipstitch Seam Finish
- fasten thread on the wrong side of the fabric.
- working from right to left make slanted stitches
about 3 mm (1/8 in.) from edge and 6 mm (1/4
in.) apart.
- can be used to overcast single fabric layer to
prevent raw edges of fabric from fraying.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 138, 1975 edition pg. 50.
5. Serged
- serge over the raw edge of the seam as close
to the edge as possible.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
1. Plain Hem Stitch (slipstitch)
- hem edge should be finished.
- work from right to left.
- secure thread with 3 small stitches in hem edge.
- pick a single thread in garment and insert
needle diagonally under hem edge about 6 mm
(1/4 in.) away.
- the stitches slant on the wrong side and should
not be visible on the right side.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 140, 1975 edition pg. 50.
2. Narrow Machine Hem
- on woven fabrics, trim the hem allowance to
1.5 cm (5/8 in.) and stitch 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) from
the edge.
- press the raw edge over so that it meets the
stitching; then press the folded edge under, along
the stitching, making sure the stitching will not
show on the right side.
- edge stitch in place.
- if you have a hemming foot, your machine will
turn and stitch all in one step.
- suitable for sheet, light weight or medium
weight fabrics.
- often used for shirt hems and ruffles.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 141, 1975 edition pg. 61.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
3. Blind Hem (by hand)
- hem edge should be finished.
- work from right to left side.
- fold hem back against right side of garment
even with machine stitching and hem edge.
- secure thread with three small stitches in hem
- with point of needle, take a stitch through one
thread in the fold and insert diagonally through
the stitching below the hem edge.
- continue around garment.
- complete with three small stitches in one spot.
- this hem is done between the hem and the
garment fabric which protects the thread. It is
used mostly on bulky materials and knits.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 140, 1975 edition pg. 96.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
4. Curved Hem
- measure, trim and finish edge if needed.
- sew a row of machine stitches 6 mm (1/4 in.)
from edge.
- lay garment on flat surface hem side up and
- gently pull the bobbin thread with a pin around
garment to make gathers even.
- steam press to shrink fullness.
- hand sew hem in place.
- this is used on slightly flared skirts and dresses.
The hem must be eased at the edge in order to
make it fit. The finish you use on the edge will
depend upon the type of fabric you use.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 139, 1975 edition pg. 60.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
5. Catchstitch
- fasten thread on the hem side with 3 small
stitches in one spot.
- work from left to right with needle pointing to
the left.
- take a tiny stitch in the garment, 6 mm (1/4 in.)
to the right, close to the hem or facing the edge.
- take the next stitch 6 mm (l/4 in.) to the right in
the hem or facing so that the stitches form an “x”.
- repeat, keeping the stitches fairly loose, alternating from the garment to the hem facing.
- a flexible stitch good for knits.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 137, 1975 edition page 50.
6. Tailors Hem
- hem edge should be finished.
- pin hem in place.
- fold back raw edge and work from right to left.
- secure thread with three small stitches in the
hem edge.
- catch a single thread in the garment and then a
single thread in the hem edge 6 mm (1/4 in.)
away, pull thread snug but not tight.
- it is similar to a running stitch; don’t cross
stitches because the hem will pucker.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 145, 1975 edition pg. 61.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
7. Blind Hem (by machine)
- hem edge should be finished.
- pin hem in place.
- fold back hem to leave 6 mm (1/4 in.)
projecting at top of the hem.
- the machine stitches the hem taking 4 - 5
stitches on the hem allowance, then one zigzag
stitch into the fold of the garment.
- continue stitching in this manner, being careful
to catch only a few threads on the fold.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 140, 1975 edition pg. 96.
8. Top-Stitched
- pin hem in place.
- use a stitch length of 12 stitches per 2.5 cm (1
- sew 1 to 2 cm (3/8 - 3/4 in.) from folded edge.
- backstitch three stitches at end.
- trim top edge of hem close to stitching.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 141, 1975 edition pg. 219.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Technique
9. Multiple Zig-Zag
- hem edge should be finished.
- pin hem in place.
- use the multiple zig-zag stitch on your machine.
- use a stitch length of 12 stitches per 2.5 cm (1
- start with needle close to hem raw edge.
- back stitch three stitches at each end.
10. Lock Hem Stitch(by hand)
- hold garment with hem fold toward you.
- fasten the thread in the hem, then lay the thread
to the left and hold it with your left thumb.
- take a tiny stitch through the garment.
- take a stitch through the hem 6 mm (1/4 in.) to
the right of the fastened thread.
- draw the needle through.
- holding the thread with your left thumb, take
another stitch 6 mm (l/4 in.) to the right of the
first and continue around the entire hem.
- useful on pants or wherever an extra strong
hem finish is desired.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 149, 1975 edition pg. 140.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
11. Tailored Hem
- cut a strip of interfacing in the bias, 1.3 cm (1/2
in.) wider then the hem allowance.
(A) pin to the inside with the lower edge of
interfacing at the hemline.
(B) catchstitch both long edges of the interfacing
to the fabric. If using fusible interfacing you can
omit the catchstitching.
(C) turn the hem over the interfacing and
catchstitch to the interfacing.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 136, 1975 edition pg. 250.
1. Centred Zipper
- machine baste along seamline, press seam open
- place open zipper face down on seam
allowance with coil edge at seamline. Starting
at bottom machine baste to top catching the
zipper tape and seam allowance only.
- Repeat on other side. Be sure zipper pull tab is up.
- close zipper , spread garment flat.
- on right side of garment top stitch across
bottom and up one side, repeat on other side.
- secure threads, press.
- remove basting threads.
- this type of zipper is used on heavy fabrics.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 170, 180, 1975 edition pg. 88 - 89
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
2. Lapped Zipper
- machine baste along seamline, press seam
- place open zipper face down on the underlap
seam allowance with coil edge at seamline. Start
at bottom and machine baste to top (through
zipper tape & seam allowance only).
- close zipper; turn it face up and finger press
toward coil so that a narrow fold forms.
- starting at the bottom edge stitch along fold
through the seam allowance and zipper.
- spread garment flat wrong side up. Turn
zipper face down over the seam allowance.
- machine stitch across bottom and up to the top.
- secure thread.
- remove basting stitches.
- this type of zipper is used for light and medium
weight fabrics.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 171, 1975 edition pg. 88 - 90.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
3. Simple Fly Application
The facing must be in one piece with pants front. If pattern does not have this extension, pin fly facing
pattern over pants’ front pattern, matching pattern front seams. Cut all in one. Mark centre front.
Step 1
- with right side together, permanent stitch seam
from C to B. Backstitch at both ends.
- machine baste centre front from B to A. Clip
to B as shown.
- press seam open between A and B.
Step 2
- place zipper face down on right side of right
facing with the bottom stop of zipper at B; left
edge of tape along front seam.
- stitch right zipper tape to facing only with
stitching line 3 mm(1/8 in.) from teeth.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
Step 3
- turn zipper face up. Smooth fabric back from
stitching line. Top stitch close to fold through
zipper tape and folded facing.
Step 4
- return zipper to face down position on left
facing. Stitch other side of zipper tape to facing
Step 5
-turn pants face up with seams flat. Mark
desired stitching line. Top stitch through all
thicknesses, curving in to end of basting just
below bottom stop of zipper. Backstitch. Make
a bar tack just above stitching line as shown for
extra reinforcement. Press. Remove basting
from centre front seam.
- Refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979
edition pg. 172 - 174, 1975 edition pg. 150
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
4. Exposed Zipper
This zipper is put in a garment without a centre back or centre front seam, before you sew any other
Cut a piece of woven fabric or interfacing 7.5 cm (3 in.) wide and 5.0 cm (2 in.) longer than the zipper.
Press a crease line in the middle of this fabric.
Press a crease line along the garment’s centre to use as a guideline for zipper placement. Place the
fabric on the garment, right sides together, with the crease lines matching.
Step 1
- starting at the neck edge, stitch down the
length of the zipper plus neckline seam allowance
across the bottom and up the other side. The
stitching should be 3 mm (l/8 in.) either side of
the center fold.. This forms a long box, 6 mm
(1/4 in.) wide and the length of the zipper.
- cut down the centre fold to within 1.3 cm (1/2
in.) of the bottom, then clip into the corners
forming a wedge.
Step 2
- turn the fabric to the wrong side and pres so it
is not visible on the right side.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
Step 3
- pin zipper in place in the opening, having the
metal stopper at the zipper bottom exposed. Lift
the garment and stitch across the base of the
opening catching the zipper tape and fabric.
Step 4
- unpin one side of the zipper. Fold back that
side of the garment to expose the original
stitching line. Sew the zipper to the garment
along this line, stitching from bottom to top.
(Catch only the fabric facing and zipper tape).
Do the same with the other side of the zipper.
Refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 176.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
Other Fasteners
1. Machine Buttonhole
- mark buttonhole area on garment.
- set machine at a narrow width zigzag stitch and
a short stitch length.
- position needle at one end of buttonhole
marking and lower needle.
- stitch slowly to end of marking, be sure the
needle is in the fabric.
- raise presser foot and pivot fabric for complete
turn; lower foot.
- take one stitch to bring needle to outer edge.
Set selector at widest width with needle on
outside edge. Make bar tack by taking 4-5
wider stitches in one place.
- reset width; stitch other side.
- reset width to widest width and make a bar tack; secure thread.
- cut buttonhole opening.
- If your sewing machine has a special buttonhole attachment follow the directions that come with it.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 106, 1975 edition pg. 65.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
2. Handworked Buttonhole
- mark buttonhole area on garment.
- make a row of very small machine stitches 3
mm (1/8 in.) from buttonhole marking on each
side and end.
- cut along buttonhole line.
- work from right to left.
- make a short backstitch near end between
back and stitches to fasten thread.
- insert needle from underneath and bring up at
machine stitch.
- make a loop; to make loop - thread from
previous stitch around to left and down to right,
under the point of needle.
- pull needle through fabric away from you to place knot on cut edge.
- stitch close together along edge.
- when you reach the end take several stitches close together (across both rows) to make bar tack. A
vertical buttonhole has bar tacks on both ends; a horizontal buttonhole has them on the end away from
the garment edge only.
- cover bar tack with buttonhole stitches.
- secure thread on wrong side.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 106, 1975 edition pg. 65.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
3. Bound Buttonhole
- cut a 10 cm (4 in.) square of fabric and
interfacing. Apply a piece of interfacing to the
wrong side of fabric. Edge finish the sample.
(A) mark the horizontal centre and ends of the
buttonhole on the interfacing side. Machine or
hand baste on these lines through both
thicknesses with a contrasting thread.
(B) cut bias strip of lining or organdy 2.5 cm (1
in.) longer than buttonhole and 3.8 cm (1.5 in.)
wide. Pin this fabric to the right side centered
over marking lines.
(C) on the wrong side, machine baste through
the centre of the buttonhole, following the basting
(D) using 15-20 stitches per 2.5 cm (1 in.), stitch
a rectangle the length of the buttonhole and 3
mm (1/8 in.) from either side of the centre line.
Start and stop at “X” to avoid weak corners.
Remove basting through the centre of the
(E) on wrong side, trim interfacing out of
rectangle to eliminate bulk. Clip rectangle from
centre to corners.
(F) turn lining to wrong side, press. This forms a
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
(G) cut two pieces of garment fabric on the
straight of grain 2.5 cm (1 in.) longer than
buttonhole and 3.8 cm (1.5 in.) wide. These are
the lips of the buttonhole. With right sides facing,
baste through the centre of the two pieces.
Refold pieces, wrong side together, press.
(H) place “window” over basted pieces with
seam at the centre and pin at the ends. (Pieces
are on the wrong side).
(I) turn fabric away from the buttonhole. Using
15-20 stitches per 2.5 cm (1 in.), stitch over
previous stitching through all thicknesses on long
side, stitching to end of piece. Do same for
other long side.
(J) turn fabric away from buttonholes on the end
and stitch across base of triangle through all
thicknesses several times.
(K) finish the back of the buttonhole on the
facing before attaching it to the garment. Follow
the directions for steps A - F. When garment is
finished, hand sew opening of facing over
buttonhole. (For sample, cut the facing from
garment material the same size as your sample.
Then proceed with steps A - F and hand sew the
opening over the back of the buttonhole).
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 107, 1975 edition pg. 63-65, 212-213.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
4. Buttons (2 or 4 hole and shank)
- attach buttons by using a single strand of
thread or a buttonhole twist.
- 2 or 4 hole - take three stitches in right side of
fabric where the button will cover it.
- place a thick pin or fine knitting needle on top
of the button. Sew through holes of button,
sewing over the pin.
- when the button is sewn securely, bring the
thread up between the button and the fabric;
remove the pin and wind the thread tightly
around the stitches, forming a shank between the
button and the fabric.
- stab the needle through to the wrong side and
fasten the thread with a few small stitches in one
-shank - take three small stitches under the
shank to anchor the thread. Sew shank to fabric
with several small stitches. Fasten the thread
with a few small stitches on under side.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 108, 1975 edition pg. 62.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
5. Hook and Straight Eye
- use for edges that overlap ie. waistband.
- sew hooks to inside of garment on the
overlapping side 3 mm (1/8 in.) from the edge,
making a few small stitches through the holes.
- also sew across the ends (under the hook) to
hold it flat.
- sew the eye to the outside of the underlap, with
the position marked by pins.
- use small stitches through the two small holes.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 131, 1975 edition pg. 93.
6. Hook and Loop Eye
- use where edges meet ie. neck closure on
dress or blouse.
- on the inside sew hook 3 mm (1/8 in.) from the
right hand edge, with a few small stitches through
the holes, also sewing across the end, under the
hook to hold it flat.
- stitches should not show on outside.
- sew the eye opposite the hook, letting it extend
slightly beyond the garment edge.
- make a few stitches along the sides of the loop
to hold it flat.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 131, 1975 edition pg. 66.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
7. Snaps
- to mark the fastener placement on your
garment, line up the garment edges evenly and
use pins to mark the exact spots.
- sew the ball half of the snap to the overlapping
section on the inside of the garment. About 3
mm (1/8 in.) from the edge.
- make several small stitches through each hole;
carrying the thread under the snap to the next
hole without letting stitches show on the outside.
- mark the position of the socket half of the
snap by closing the garment and using a pin to
stick through the socket.
- attach it with the similar procedure described above.
- snaps are used only when there is little strain and edges overlap. They come in different sizes
depending on fabric weights.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 131 - 132, 1975 edition pg. 65 - 66.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
8. Velcro Fasteners
- a two piece fastener made up of rows of hooks
on one side and a mass of loops on the other,
which when pressed together makes a tight
closure, yet can be easily re-opened with a
simple peeling action.
- attached to fabric by stitching all around the
edges of the Velcro tape to form a box (with
tapes wider then 2.5 cm (1 in.) also stitch
through the centre with an “X”).
- could be attached with adhesive where
- rougher side of the fastener should be attached
away from the body.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 132, 1975 edition pg. 219
Elastic Applications
1. Elastic Casing (Folded)
- turn under 6 mm (1/4 in.) edge of fabric, press.
- fold under again along fold line or width of
elastic plus 6 mm (1/4 in.).
- edge stitch along both folds.
- insert elastic through opened end of casing,
stitch ends of casing through all layers to secure
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 109, 1975 edition pg. 154.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
2. Elastic Casing (Applied Casing)
- turn edges of fabric strip under and press.
- pin strip on inside of garment along the marking
- turn under ends where fabric meets and leave
open (A).
- stitch along both sides of strip close to edge.
- insert elastic through opening using a safety pin
or bodkin, being sure not to let elastic twist (B).
- stitch ends of elastic together before letting
them go into casting.
- hemstitch opening.
- this is a quick way to control fullness of gathers
in a garment. Elastic casings are usually on the
inside of the garment and can be sewn on the
waistline, sleeves and sometimes around the
neck edge. It is suitable for most material but
better for soft materials that drape well.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 109, 1975 edition pg. 153 and 216.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 4 - Sewing Techniques
3. Hidden Elastic
Use this technique to create a casing at the edge of a garment and apply the elastic at the same
time. This type of application is suitable for knit fabric or tightly woven fabric using non-roll elastic.
- cut the elastic 1.3 cm (1/2 in.) shorter than the
sample size.
- divide the sample and the elastic into quarters
and mark.
- pin the elastic to the wrong side of the sample,
matching the markings and keeping the edges of
the sample elastic even with the fabric.
- stitch the elastic to the edge of the sample. Be
sure to stretch the elastic as you sew.
- turn the elastic and the fabric to the inside so
the elastic is enclosed. Stitch along the cut edges
through all thicknesses, stretching the elastic as
you sew.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 110.
4. Elastic Waistbands
- decorative elastic is used to replace the
standard waistband. They work well on knit
fabrics and lingerie.
- cut elastic 2.5 cm (1 in.) shorter than the
- divide the elastic and sample into four equal
parts, using straight pins as markers.
- on the right side of the sample pin the lower
edge of the elastic over 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) of the
fabric. Be sure to match the markers.
- stitch with the right side facing you, stretching
the elastic to fit the fabric as you sew. Use a zigzag, overlock or straight stitch.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 169, 1975 edition pg. 217 and 218.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
1. Machine Gathering
- set stitch length for a long stitch and make 2
rows of stitching.
- do the first row on the seam line (1.5 cm / 5/8
- do a second row 1 cm (3/8 in.) from edge.
- pull ends left free to gather material.
- at both ends wrap the excess threads around
the pins in figure eights.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 135, 1975 edition pg. 45.
2. Staystitching
- used to keep curved, crosswise or bias edges
from stretching out of shape, such as necklines,
shoulders and waistlines.
- line of stitching made 1.3 cm (1/2 in.) from the
cut edge with matching thread, through a single
thickness of the seam allowance.
- stitching is done directionally with the grain, as
indicated with arrows printed on the pattern
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 158, 1975 edition pg. 86.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
3. Straight Dart
- fold on solid line with right sides together
matching all dots.
- stitch from wide end towards point following
dots, let the machine stitching trail off at the last
dot to make a smooth point.
- never backstitch at point of dart, but tie thread
ends together to secure dart.
- press bust darts down; shoulder and waist
darts towards centre.
- darts are used to shape flat fabric into a three
dimensional form that fits the body.
- used at the bust; the back shoulder, on the skirt
and pants’ back; and at the elbows.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 86-87, 1975 edition pg. 120-121.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
4. Diamond or Double Pointed Dart
- mark all dots on fabric and fold on solid line
with right sides of fabric together.
- be sure the stitching lines and markings are
matched; pin or baste.
- be sure to leave thread ends long enough to tie
a knot.
- make your first two or three stitches at the
point, along the fold.
- following dots, stitch to the other point
gradually allowing your machine stitching to trail
off through the last foot, and again secure the
stitching by tying the threads.
- reinforce the stitching at the centre or widest
- clip the widest part of the dart to within 3 mm
(l/8 in.) of the stitching.
- then press the dart towards the centre front or
- these can be straight or curved and are used to
shape the fabric at the waistline on one piece
dresses or close fitted shirts; blouses or jackets.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 120-121,191, 1975 edition pg. 86-87, 193.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
5. Curved Dart
- mark all dots on fabric and fold on solid line,
with right sides together, matching all dots.
- stitch from outer edge towards point, back
stitching at the outer edge and letting the machine
stitching trail off at the last dot to make a smooth
- tie thread ends together to secure dart.
- as a rule press vertical darts toward the centre
of the garment and horizontal darts downward.
- may be used on fitted dress bodice to shape
the fabric above the waist, or used to make skirt
or pant’s front conform to body curves.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 120-121, 1975 edition pg. 86-87.
6. Graded Seam
When you are using heavy fabric or have more than two layers of fabric, grading is necessary to reduce
- seam allowances are graded by trimming each
allowance a different width to reduce the
thickness of the seam.
- trim interfacing close to stitching, the next
seam allowance 6 mm (1/4 in.), and the
seam allowance next to the outside fabric l cm
(3/8 in.).
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 111, 1975 edition pg. 51.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
7. Waistband
- stitch and press under 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) along
unnotched edge of waistband. Trim to 6 mm
(1/4 in.) .
- pin right sides of garment and waistband
together matching notches.
- stitch along seamline and grade seam.
- press seam towards waistband.
- fold waistband in half with right sides together
and stitch ends. Trim to 6 mm (1/4 in.).
- turn right side out and press.
- slip stitch the edge to the seam,
catching a thread on the seam with each stitch
- slip stitch the underlap edges closed.
- a waistband is a strip of fabric stitched to the
top edge of a skirt or pants for the purpose of
holding the garment in place. It is like a belt and
may be wide or narrow.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 167, 1975 edition pg. 91 and 217.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
8. Facing
- staystitch the garment and facing edges.
- turn outer edge of facing under 6 mm (1/4 in.).
Press and edgestitch (A).
- place right sides of garment and facing
together; stitch 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) from edge.
- press seam allowance towards facing, trim
seams, clip (B).
- understitch through facing and seam allowance
very close to seamline (C).
- press facing in place and tack at seams with 45 short stitches.
- this is used to finish the raw edges of a
garment. Facings are used at necklines,
armholes, front and back openings. A good
facing should lie flat and hide any raw edges.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 54, 1975 edition pg. 126.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
9. Curved Seam (Inward)
- when you have an inward seam ( on most
necklines) clip the inward curve to relieve the
strain so they will lie flat when pressed open.
- outward seams (on rounded collars) have to be
notched to remove excess fabric.
- cut wedge-shaped notches from the seam
allowances to eliminate excess fullness so they
will lie flat when the seam is pressed open.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 159, 1975 edition pg. 51-52.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
10. Continuous Placket (sleeve)
Machine stitch along marked slanted lines at
lower edge of sleeves using small reinforcement
stitches for 2.5 cm (1 in.) along each side of
point. Be sure to clip right up to point of
stitching line at the point of slash, so fabric will
be flat when slash is open.
Spread edges of slash apart forming an almost
straight line. Measure length of stitching line.
Cut an on-grain strip of fabric 3.8 cm (l.5 in.)
wide, and as long as stitching line. Place right
side of strip to wrong side of slashed edge,
placing stitching line on sleeve 6 mm (1/4 in.)
from edge of strip. Baste. With sleeve side up,
stitch 6 mm (1/4 in.) from strip edge using small
length stitches. Press strip away from sleeve,
press seam toward strip. Then press under 6
mm (1/4 in.) on other edge of strip.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
Fold and pin the pressed edge of strip over
seam. Top stitch close to the turned edge
through all thicknesses.
- Press the front edge of the lap to the inside.
- Used on many sleeve openings.
- Refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 165, 1975 edition pg. 110.
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11. Top Stitching
- top stitching is a row of stitching on the outside of the
garment along or near the finished edge. It is usually
decorative, but can be functional as well -- for example
top stitching a patch pocket to a jacket. Use top stitch
to accent detail such as collars, lapels and pockets, and
to keep seam edges flat.
- use a sample of the actual fabric and with the same
number of layers as is in your garment.
- adjust stitch length and/or tension to achieve desired
affect. (Often stitch length must be increased for
desired effect)
- place sample edge along appropriate guide, lower
presser foot and stitch.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg.
148, 1975 edition pg. 214.
12. Stabilizing Seams
On knit and some loosely woven fabrics crosswise seams need to be stabilized to prevent stretching out
of shape. Shoulder, waistline, neckline and gathered yoke seams are the most common.
- measure seam being stabilized on the pattern
piece. Cut preshrunk twill tape this length.
- pin seam with right sides together.
- pin twill tape over the seam line.
- using a straight stitch of 10-12 stitches per 2.5
cm (1 in.) sew with a 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) seam
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 161, 1975 edition pg. 151.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
13. Bias Binding Application
Bias binding is an attractive way to finish a raw edge. It may be purchased as single or double fold, or
prepared at home using strips of fabric cut on the true bias.
Making Bias Binding
(A) Fold the fabric on the true bias. True bias is
the diagonal edge formed when you fold the
fabric so that the selvage edge is at a right angle
to itself (lengthwise and crosswise grains match).
Use a strip of cardboard four times the desired
width of the binding as a template and pencil
mark lines parallel to fold. Cut along each of the
lines to make individual strips.
Most patterns are designed with 6 mm (1/4 in.)
or 1.3 cm (1/2 in.) finished binding width, so
your fabric strip will usually be 2.5 cm (1 in.) or
5 cm (2 in.) wide.
Join the bias strips by pinning the ends (right
sides together) at right angles to each other.
Stitch a 6 mm (l/4 in.) seam. Press the seam
open and trim away the points.
(B) Make a continuous strip by marking a
rectangle of fabric as described in A. Cut off
excess unmarked fabric. With right sides
together form a tube by folding the marked fabric
so that the ends of the drawn lines meet and one
strip width extends beyond the edge at each end.
Pin the edges together and stitch 6 mm (1/4 in.)
seam. Press the seam open. Start to cut on line
1, continuing to cut around the tube on the
marked lines.
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Double Fold Bias Tape - is ready made with one
fold slightly larger than the other. Encase the
garment edge of the tape from the right side,
catching the fold of binding underneath.
Single Fold Bias Tape - with right sides together
and raw edges even, stitch the edges to be
bound. Fold the binding over the raw edge to
the wrong side and sew to the stitching line.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 103-105, 1975 edition pg. 246.
14. Stitched Mitre
A mitre joins two edges diagonally to form a corner. The mitres are used on patch pocket corners
and side seam slits in jackets or wherever a sharp neat corner is desired.
1. Turn under and press the seam allowance or
the hem and facing. Open out pressed edges
and fold corners diagonally, across through the
point where the two pressed lines meet. Press.
Open the corner and trim it about 6 mm (1/4 in.)
from the crease
2. Fold corner, right sides together, matching
the trimmed edges. Stitch on diagonal crease.
3. Trim fold diagonally at the point and press
seam open.
4. Turn seam allowance to wrong side and
5. Refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979
edition pg. 150, 1975 edition pg. 56.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
15. Mitering a Band Trim
Mitering gives you a nice square corner when attaching ribbon, contrasting fabric strip or decorative
trim to a square or rectangular surface.
- topstitch both edges of band in place. Stop
where the band is to form a corner.
- fold the remaining trim back on the stitched
trim and press the fold. Lay the trim along the
edge to which it will be applied forming a
diagonal crease at the corner.
- stitch on the diagonal crease, through the trim
and article. If the fabric is quite heavy you may
want to trim the fabric to a 6 mm (l/4 in.) seam.
- continue to apply trim, topstitching both edges.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 150, 1975 edition pg. 242.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
16. Double-Sided Ruffle
Ruffles are a soft way of decorating the lower edges of all sorts of soft furnishings. Although they look
purely decorative, their added weight will improve the hang of curtains or tablecloths. The doublesided ruffle is gathered along the centre and topstitched to the main fabric. The edges can be finished
either with a narrow machine hem or contrasting binding.
- cut a strip of fabric 9 cm (3.5 in.) wide and 20
cm (8 in.) long.
- make a narrow machine hem on the long
- make one line of gathering stitches 3 mm (1/8
in.) off the centre of the ruffle. Make a second
line of gathering stitches 3 mm (1/8 in.) off the
centre on the opposite side.
- draw up the gathering to fit a swatch of fabric
10 cm (4 in.) square. Pin the ruffle to this piece
of fabric. (Wrong side of ruffle facing right side
of fabric).
- machine stitch through both thicknesses on the
centre line of the ruffle.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition
pg. 157.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 5 - Construction Techniques
17. Box Pleat Edging
Box pleats are used on drapery valances and along the lower edges of slip covers, bedspreads or dust
- cut sample swatch 10 cm (4 in.) by 3.8 cm
(1.5 in.).
- cut a piece of fabric for box pleats 10 cm (4
in.) wide and 33 cm (13 in.) long.
- make a narrow machine hem on one long
edge and the two short ends.
- on the wrong side mark out the pleats using
tailor’s chalk or pins. Mark the piece at every 2
cm (3/4 in.). (Figure A)
- fold line B to line A and line C to line D and
so on all the way along.
- pin the pleats in place and press.
- sew pleats to sample swatch using a 1.3 cm
(1/2 in.) seam. Press seam up.
18. Bias Cording
Cording is used to accentuate seams on items such as pillows, collars, pockets, etc.
- prepare a bias binding strip. Lay a piece of
cord along the centre of the strip (on wrong
- fold the strip over the cord, keeping the edges
even. Pin in place.
- stitch close to the cord, using a zipper or
cording foot. Stretch bias strip slightly as you
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19. Corded Seam
- trim excess binding to match the seam
allowance where the cording will be sewn.
- place the cording between the two pieces of
fabric, right sides facing, the raw edges matching.
- using a zipper or cording foot, stitch along the
seam line as close to the cord as possible.
- refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1975 edition
pg. 54.
20. Repairing a Torn Seam
Two pieces 10 cm (4 in.) square of polyester/cotton blend or cotton fabric would be suitable for this
- make a plain seam.
- remove a 6.3 cm (2.5 in.) section of seam in
the middle of the sample.
- press the seam allowances together. Stitch the
opening on the seam line and 1 cm (3/8 in.)
before and after the opening.
- press seam open.
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21. Repairing a Torn Seam in a Lined Garment
A wool or wool blend fabric would be suitable with a lining attached to the sample before the edges are
- follow first two steps from Repairing Torn
- sew by hand from the right side.
- using the plain hem stitch take a stitch in one
fold of the seam, then another one in the
opposite side; insert needle diagonally under the
fold of the seam about 6 mm (1/4 in.) away from
the first stitch.
- take a few stitches over the old stitching before
and after the opening.
22. Application of a Patch
(A) Square or rectangle patch.
A piece of denim or a swatch from an old pair of pants would be suitable for this sample. The piece
should be 15 cm (6 in.) square to make it easier for patching. You may have a garment with a hole or
tear already in it. If so, cut your sample from this, if not, cut a hole or tear in the middle of the sample
5 cm (2 in.) square or 5 cm (2 in.) by 7.5 cm (3 in.). If on an open place of the garment - for example,
the back of a shirt, the patch can be sewn on by machine:
- cut a patch in matching fabric 5 cm (2 in.) larger than the size of the hole.
- cut along lengthwise and crosswise threads of the hole to remove any loose fabric from around the
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1. Clip each corner diagonally about 6 mm (1/4 in.).
2. Turn under the edges slightly beyond the ends of these clips. Press carefully.
3. Working from the wrong side of the garment pin the patch in place under the hole, matching the grain
or design.
4. Slip - baste the edges in place. Take 6 mm (1/4 in.) alternately in fold and patch. Be careful to put
the needle into the patch at the exact point where it came out of the fold.
5. Working from the wrong side of the garment, fold the garment back and stitch on the wrong side
along the line of basting, pivoting at the corners. Press seams toward the garment. Trim seam
allowances 6 mm (1/4 in.). If the material frays easily, overcast the raw edges.
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If on the knees of pants the patch will have to be sewn on by hand:
- prepare the hole to be patched the same as
before until the raw edges of the hole are
- place the patch under the hole with right sides
showing through, pin it in place.
- using matching thread, slipstitch or blind hem
stitch the patch to the garment taking several
stitches at the corners.
- on the wrong side, turn under raw edge and
hand hem the patch to the garment for added
(B) Corner Tear
- trim away loose fabric around the hole.
- cut a patch of matching fabric 2.5 cm (1 in.)
larger than the hole on all sides.
(A) clip the corners at an angle 1.3 cm (1/2 in.)
deep, fold and pin the edges to the wrong side.
- working from the right side of the garment, pin
the patch in place under the hole.
(B) with matching thread, use a slip stitch or
blind hem to stitch the patch to the garment.
- if the patch is loose on the wrong side, hand
hem the patch to the garment making it sturdy so
it doesn’t tear off.
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23. Replacing a Broken Zipper in a Fly Front
Cut the sample 5 cm (2 in.) larger than the broken zipper. Remove the zipper and the stitching from the
waistband far enough to allow the seam allowance to be released also.
(A) open the left fly facing out flat, place the
closed zipper down over the facing. Using a
zipper foot, stitch close to the zipper coil and
again 6 mm (1/4 in.) from the first stitching.
(B) turn the fly to the inside so it lies flat. On the
outside, topstitch the original stitching line,
catching the fly facing.
(C) open the zipper. Insert the zipper in the
opening between the pant’s front and fly facing.
Using the zipper foot, topstitch close to the
zipper coil through all layers.
- cut off the zipper tape even with the waistline
- insert the top edges back into the waistband
and topstitch on original line of stitching.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 6 - Understanding Patterns
Patterns are much more than an envelope and tissue paper. Members should be able to
understand and realize the importance of the outside of the pattern envelope.
The front of the pattern envelope shows you pictures of all items included inside. It gives you
lots of ideas for making your project. Members must decide on the view to make and then check the
number or letter given it.
The back of the pattern envelope contains a description of the garment, body measurements
and size. It will also give you details about what notions and fabrics you will need to buy in metric and
imperial measures. Encourage members to use the pattern envelope as a shopping guide when selecting
fabric, notions, etc.
Inside the Envelope
Inside you will find the pattern instruction sheet which shows the pattern pieces needed to
make different views on the envelope as well as the layout for cutting each view. The instruction sheet
guides you through the step by step procedure necessary to complete the chosen view.
The Pattern Pieces
Each pattern piece contains many markings which are there to help you with cutting, marking
and sewing.
To help you sort out pattern pieces, each one is identified by the pattern piece number, name and size.
Most pieces contain the following directions and symbols (refer to diagram on page 74):
Notches - diamond shaped symbols, match these when fitting pattern pieces together.
Button and Buttonhole - show where to place buttons and buttonholes.
Dots - Circles which mark points to be matched before stitching, as well as placement
of details.
Letters - used to indicate the different pattern pieces needed.
Darts - shown as a V shaped broken and solid lines with dots. You always fold on the
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 6 - Understanding Patterns
solid line, matching the dots and stitch on the broken line.
Solid Lines - Mark where to position such things as pockets, buttonholes, waistlines, etc.
Grainline Arrow - used for positioning pattern pieces on the correct grain of fabric. In most
cases this will be placed on the lengthwise grain. A bracketed grainline with
instruction “place on
fold” indicates the pattern edge has to be placed exactly on the fold,
which is on the grain.
Lengthen or Shorten Lines - indicate where to adjust pattern pieces to assure proper fit
without destroying the shape.
Cutting Lines - solid line on outer edge which follow you when cutting your fabric.
Seamline - broken lines used to stitch pattern pieces together.
Seam Allowance - space between the cutting line and the seamline. Seam allowances are
usually 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) wide.
Hem - indicates how much fabric to turn up for hem.
Centre Line - broken line that appears on some pattern pieces to indicate where the
back or front is found on the garment.
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How To Read A Pattern
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 6 - Understanding Patterns
Here are two other pattern markings found on some pattern pieces.
Tucks are shown as broken lines with doubleheaded arrows in between indicating how to fold
the fabric and the stitching line.
Pleats are shown as broken and solid lines with
directional arrows to show how the fabric is
folded to form the pleat.
Refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 24-29, 1975 edition pg. 21-27.
Section 7
Fabric Basics
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 7 - Fabric Basics
Fabric basics should be discussed at the beginning of each year. Members should learn the
basic technique of fabric selection, care and straightening before they go to the fabric store to shop.
Fabric Types
Fabric Materials are what they are because of the fibres from which they are made; the way the
fibres were constructed or put together and the finishes added to improve their quality.
Fibres are divided into two categories:
1) Natural fibres come from plants and animals. They include cotton, linen, silk and wool.
2) Synthetic fibres are man made. They include acrylic, polyester and nylon.
Fabrics made from natural fibres are generally more comfortable, more durable and more
absorbent than those made from synthetic ones. Natural fibres are easier to handle during sewing,
when ruffles or puckers occur, they can be “eased” out with the use of your steam iron.
Synthetic fibres are more easily cared for which is important in active sportswear and children’s
wear. Most can be either hand or machine washed and are usually wrinkle resistant.
Blends combine the best features of naturals and synthetics. Usually material made of two or
more fibres are cared for according to the directions of the dominant fibre.
Understanding Fabrics
There are different ways of making yarns into fabric (material)--either by weaving or knitting. The most
common is weaving.
All woven materials are made with threads (or yarns)
threaded lengthwise in the loom (this is called the
lengthwise grain ); and with crosswise threads woven
over and under the lengthwise threads (called the
crosswise grain). This is done back and forth until
fabric is made. This process forms the woven fabric
which has outside edges called “selvages”. The
selvages are more tightly woven then the rest of the
fabric. The number of threads on the weaving loom
determines the different textures and effects available in
woven fabrics.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 7 - Fabric Basics
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 7 - Fabric Basics
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 7 - Fabric Basics
Ask the members to bring in samples of the
weaves to help in discussion. It will provide
them with a good understanding of the various
types of weaves and fabrics.
Plain Weave - is the most common weave. It is formed
when the thread in the crosswise direction (woof)
passes over and under each thread in th lengthwise
(wrap) direction. Broadcloth and gingham are some
common plain weaves.
Twill Weave - is formed with the threads more closely
woven than the plain weave. The wrap and weft
threads are interlaced and formed in a diagonal ridge,
which usually runs from the lower left to the upper right
of the material. As a rule twill materials are more
durable than plain weaves. Examples of twill weave
are denim, gabardine and herringbone tweed.
Satin Weave - is made by having several wrap threads
pass over four to eight weft threads before they are
woven into the pattern -- this creates “floats”. These
floats are parallel to each other and create the smooth
appearance of satin. An example of a satin weave is
peau de soie satin.
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Knit Fabrics are available in a great variety of weights, textures and patterns, anything from prints,
terry’s, plaids, textured tweeds, velours and metallic. The fibres are just as varied, naturals or
synthetics or a combination of the two.
Single Knits are made with a single set of needles that
produce a fabric with a right side (vertical ribs) and a
wrong side (horizontal ribs). Jersey and plain knits are
also called single knits. Tricot is a soft drapeable single
knit. Raschel and sweater knits are novelty, textured
knits with fancy designs made like single knits.
Double Knits - are made by machines that have two
sets of needles that form an interlock stitch, this gives a
double thickness to the fabric. Both sides of the
material are similar, but not identical. They are stable
having very moderate stretch. Some double knits can
be found with patterned or textured appearance
(jacquard knits).
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Interlocks have a very fine rib on both sides to create an identical look and good crosswise
stretchability. Sweatshirt fleece has flat vertical ribs on one side and a soft brushed surface on the
other, usually the wrong side. Rib knits are recognized by the heavy vertical ribs on both sides. It has
a good crosswise stretch and recovery. Spandex is a two-way stretch knit which can be stretched
repeatedly without breaking and will return to its original position.
Choose a pattern designed for knits. Some patterns have a “pick-a-knit” rule on the back of the
envelope to help you select a fabric and see that it will easily stretch the amount the rule indicates.
Choose a design with few pieces. If the fabric is quite stretchy avoid fussy details like curved
seams, pockets and buttonholes.
Use the “with nap” requirement to determine the amount of fabric needed.
Use interfacing for shaping and support in collars, cuffs and buttonhole areas.
Plaids are made by arranging colours and stripes in a repeating pattern, horizontally and vertically on the
fabric. The design can either be woven in or printed on the fabric in an endless combination of colours.
If the design is printed on, be sure it is on the straight of grain. If not follow the plaid rather than the
grain line when laying on your pattern.
Plaids are either even or uneven in design. Even plaids have the bars (stripes) the same on both sides
of the main bar. They are easy to match when sewing. The bars of uneven plaids are in different
arrangements on either side of the main bar. They are not easy to match when sewing.
To find out if you have an uneven plaid, fold the fabric on the centre of a main bar. If the design and
colours are repeat even on both sides of the fold then you have an even plaid.
Make sure the members are aware of these pointers when they are making a garment made from plaid
- choose a pattern shown in plaids or one with few pieces and seams.
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- adjustments should be made on the pattern pieces before laying it out.
- layout the biggest or most important pieces first, i.e. front, back.
- make sure the plaid fabric is going in the same direction in all pieces.
- use the lines in the fabric as a guide to match the pieces of your pattern. The lengthwise grains of the
plaid can be used to position the grain line which run up and down on your garment. The lengthen and
shorten lines can be used to position the pattern on crosswise lines of the material.
- use a pencil and a ruler when cutting out your pattern. Once you have the pieces positioned on the
fabric, use your pencil to trace the design on the pattern pieces. This technique will help you to cut the
plaid pieces to match at seamlines not cutting lines. Write the colour names between the appropriate
lines to assist with matching. Place the pattern piece to match over this piece lapping and matching
seams then trace the design onto the second piece along the seam line.
Napped Fabrics - are those with directional designs either because of a print design or surface texture.
Velour, suede, corduroy, velvet, and fur fabrics all have a nap. Select a pattern for napped fabrics, the
fabric yardage chart is on the back of the pattern envelope. All the pattern pieces must be placed on
the napped fabric with their tops all pointing in one direction, so extra yardage may be needed. When
nap yardage is not given, buy .35 - .70 m (3/8 - 3/4 yd) additional fabric to have enough. When laying
out the pattern pieces on the fabric, if you want the richest, deepest fabric colour, run the nap up. If
you prefer a lighter, shinier colour, run the nap down. The nap is also less likely to be roughed up
during use when it runs down.
Interfacing is a type of fabric applied to the inside of a garment to give it shape and keep it from
stretching. It is applied to collars, cuffs, lapels, armholes, and sometimes hems.
Interfacings are available in woven, non-woven, and iron-on forms.
Woven interfacings are plain weave and must be cut on a grain the same as a woven fabric.
Non-woven interfacings have no grain and are held together by bonding agents such as glue. Nonwoven are available in regular and all-bias form. The all-bias interfacing has give in all directions.
Sometimes these interfacings have a tenancy to shrink so they should be washed before you using.
Wash them the same way you intend to wash your garment.
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Iron-on or fusible interfacings have a substance on one side that enables them to stick to the fabric
once heat is applied. They can eliminate hand or machine sewing. Test iron-on interfacings on a
swatch of your material before you apply it to your garment to make sure it is not to stiff. Be careful
when pressing iron-on interfacing to your garments or it can easily be
applied wrong.
Interfacings come in different weights -- light, medium, and heavy. The weight that you chose should be
compatible to you fabric and never overpower it. When buying interfacing take your material with you
so you can test it - drape the material over the fabric to make sure that it is the correct weight.
Light weight interfacings are used mostly for blouses and summer dresses.
Medium weight for denim, winter dresses and light weight suits.
Heavy weight for corduroy, suits, coats and bags.
Interfacing should be added to a the garment with the least amount of bulk. This depends on the
weight. As a rule, the heavier the interfacing, the greater the need to reduce the bulk. For sewn-in
interfacings, bulk is reduced mostly by cutting off the seam allowance and using a catch stitch seam in
which the interfacing is stitched to the garment over the seamline; or the interfacing is machine stitched
with the garment in the seamline and trimmed close to the seam. For fusible interfacing, trim 1.3 cm
(l/2 in.) off the seam allowance before you press it onto your fabric.
Refer to Simplicity Sewing book : 1979 edition pg. 34, 1975 edition pg. 107 - 108.
Choosing Your Fabric
There are so many fabrics on the market today that we are often overwhelmed by the choices. Where
to begin? Learn what you can about the characteristics of the different fibres - their advantages and
disadvantages - and this will help you narrow down the choice for your project. If you are just starting
to sew it’s best to begin with an easy to use fabric; washable, firmly woven, plain or small design and
one without matching problems.
Remember these points:
- Choose a fabric that blends with the pattern - casual, sporty, dressy, tailored, etc.
- Use a soft, flowing fabric where fullness is required. A crisp fabric works best with a fitted or tailored
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 7 - Fabric Basics
- Select a colour that is becoming to your colouring and figure. Darker shades tend to minimize size.
- Consider age of wearer. Children’s and sportswear garments take rougher wear. Choose an easy
care, durable fabric.
- Some fabrics present sewing problems(slippery, bulky, etc.). Consider your sewing ability.
- Check the back of your pattern envelope for fabric suggestions. Avoid those that are not suitable.
- Cost of fabric - stay within your budget; be aware of the hidden costs such as dry-cleaning and
accessories and notions necessary to complete the outfit.
- Buy the correct amount. Fabrics “with nap” one-way design or those which look darker in one
direction require “with nap” amounts. For matching large designs or plaids add an extra 46 - 91.5 cm
(1/2 - 1 yd), for small or average size designs and plaids add 23 - 46 cm (l/4 - l/2 yd).
- Fabric Blends: Synthetic fibres can be blended with man-made or natural fibres. Treat the fabric
“care-wise” suitable to the most delicate fibre in the blend.
Preparation of Fabric
The next step after purchasing your fabric is to pre-shrink it. For example, if you intend to machine
wash the article then wash the fabric in the same temperature and cycle type. Be sure to dry it in the
same dryer setting to. Some fabric may be labelled “sponged or preshrunk” however, they should still
be preshrunk. Some fabrics contain sizing or special finishes that disappear after the fabric is first
cleaned. Sizing can make your fabric crisp or cause your machine to skip stitches. So you can
eliminate the problem before it starts. Both woven fabrics and knits should be preshrunk before cutting
out the pattern.
Straightening the Fabric
Straighten ends by cutting along a pulled thread or, on woven plaid or check along a crosswise bar.
However, this method works with 100% natural fibres only. Some knits, modern synthetics and
wonder fabrics are pulled off grain during the manufacturing process.
Follow these steps to straighten them:
- If the fabric has a crosswise design like stripes, fold it so the design matches along the width of the
- If the fabric does not have a crosswise design, draw a line at one end of the fabric that is at right
angles to a salvage edge. This line will function as your crosswise grain line. Fold the fabric so that this
crosswise line matches at the salvage edge.
For more detailed information, refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg. 30-33, 77-79, 84-85,
1975 edition pg. 28-32, 202-209.
Section 8
Body Measurement
and Simple Pattern
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 8 - Body Measurement & Simple Pattern Adjustments
Accurate body measurements are important when selecting a pattern size. The measurements should
be taken over a slip and under garments that will be worn with the garment. Do not take body
measurements over a dress, skirt, blouse or pants - the extra bulkiness will give measurements that are
to big.
Remind the members that they should stand erect and look straight ahead while being measured. Have
a leader, friend or mother do it for them.
The tape measure should be held snug but not tight when taking body measurements. It’s a good idea
to tie a string or narrow ribbon around the waist to mark the exact location of the waistline.
Measure carefully at the points listed on the body measurement chart. Record the measurements and
date, check them every six months or so for any changes that may occur.
Members should take their measurements before they select their pattern. Only a few body
measurements need to be taken to find out what pattern size is most similar. They include #1 and #3 8 below.
The following tips will help members to take the correct body measurement (refer to diagram p. 88).
1. Neck
Measure circumference at the fullest part of the
2. Back Width
Measure from the prominent neck bone down
centre back 10 to 15 cm (4 - 6 in.). At this
point measure across the back between body
folds formed by arms hanging straight.
3. Chest (High Bust)
Measure at under arm above the bust.
4. Bust
Measure around the fullest part.
5. Waist
Measure at ribbon or string around the waist.
6. High Hip
Measure 5-10 cm (2 - 4 in.) below the waist over top of hip bones
7. Full Hip
This is the fullest part of the hip, usually 10-23
cm (4 - 9 in.) below the waist.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 8 - Body Measurement & Simple Pattern Adjustments
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 8 - Body Measurement & Simple Pattern Adjustments
8. Back Waist Length
Measure from the prominent neck bone at back
neck base to waist.
9. Front Waist Length
Measure from the shoulder at neck base to the
waist (over bust point on gals).
10. Arm Length
With arm slightly bent, measure from the
shoulder (where the sleeve would set in) to
elbow, then to the wrist bone above the little
finger. Arm length is measurement of both.
Record both measures - the one from shoulders
to elbows; and from shoulder to wrist.
11. Wrist
Measure at wrist bone.
12. Skirt Length
Measure from the centre back waist to the floor
or the desired length.
13. Pants Side Length
Measure at the side from the waist too the floor
or the desired length.
Compare the body measurements with the pattern measurements. Remember that a garment made to
the exact body measurements would restrict movement and be uncomfortable. They must have a
sewing ease included. Ease, important for comfort and freedom of movement, is added to patterns
especially on the width. Patterns designed for “stretch knits only” have less ease because the fabric
“gives” and contributes to the comfortable fit.
The amount of ease built into most patterns is:
bust - 7.5 cm (3 in.)
waist - 2-2.5 cm for dresses (3/4-1 in.)
- 1.5-2 cm for skirt (5/8 - 3/4 in.)
hips - 5-7.5 cm (2-3 in.)
These measurements include the back and front pieces of the pattern.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 8 - Body Measurement & Simple Pattern Adjustments
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 8 - Body Measurement & Simple Pattern Adjustments
Select your Size:
If your measurements fall between two sizes, select the smaller size if you are small boned, the larger
size if you are large-boned.
Girls between sizes should select the size closest to the breast measurement and the back waist length.
Blouse, dress, jacket or coat - choose size by bust measurement.
Skirt, pants or shorts - select size by waist measurement. If your hips are larger than the hip
measurement with your waist measurement, select the size closest to your hip measurement.
Patterns with more than one Garment - select by bust measurement because its easier to make
adjustments in the hip area.
Refer to Simplicity Sewing Book: 1979 edition pg. 49-56, 1975 edition pg. 11-19 and pg. 145-168.
Simple Pattern Adjustments:
“No two bodies are made the same” and when you start sewing this saying becomes reality. When the
members select their pattern, most times, simple adjustments will need to be made for a good fit. The
first step is to compare the body measurements to those on the pattern. If any measurements differ
greatly, adjust the pattern pieces before cutting out the garment.
Simple Rules to Follow:
1. Bust, waist and hip adjustments up to 5.0 cm (2
in.) can be made at the side seams. Mark one
fourth of the amount to adjust in or out at the
side cutting lines.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 8 - Body Measurement & Simple Pattern Adjustments
2. For increases of more than 5.0 cm (2 in.) in the
hips and all waistbands, draw a line parallel to
the grain line through a dart if possible. Cut the
pattern along the line and spread it evenly l/4 of
the needed amount, tape to paper. To adjust
the waistband slash and spread at the side
seams or decrease the amount at the side
seams too.
3. Remember to make the same adjustment on
each piece that will be stitched together.
4. Length adjustments are made on the pattern
pieces where the words “lengthen or shorten
here” are found.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 8 - Body Measurement & Simple Pattern Adjustments
To Shorten: Measure up from the line the amount
needed and draw a line across the pattern. Fold
the pattern on the printed line and bring the fold to
the line you drew. Tape.
To Lengthen: Cut the pattern apart at the
lengthen/shorten lines and spread the pattern pieces
evenly the necessary amount. Tape a piece of
paper underneath the pattern to hold it the correct
Refer to Simplicity Sewing Book: 1979 Edition,
page 56 - 76; 1975 Edition, page 137 - 168.
Section 9
Parts of a Sewing
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 9 - Parts of a Sewing Machine
Members should learn the parts of a sewing machine and feel comfortable working with one before
starting their project. You may want to photocopy the machine on page 96 of this manual. Your
machine may not look exactly like the one here, however, all sewing machines have the same basic
Note: Have the members follow the diagram as you review each part. You can have them fill in the
parts as you explain them or have them fill in the names from memory after.
What Makes a Machine Tick?
A. Find the presser foot (3). It is a good idea to note that the material will not feed along if the presser
foot is not down. Use the presser foot lever (6) to lower the presser foot.
B. Your needle (4) should be in good condition when you begin to sew. If it is too dull it will often
cause the thread to break or tear your material. Some machines won’t start until the needle is in the
C. The balance wheel (14) turns as the machine sews. The balance wheel must be loosened before
you start to thread the bobbin. Sometimes the balance wheel needs a little start from you to start
the machine.
D. If your machine is electric, it will have either a foot or knee control. Press on the control to make
the machine go the speed you want - just a slow even speed.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 9 - Parts of a Sewing Machine
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 9 - Parts of a Sewing Machine
Threading The Machine
There are two threads on the machine, the upper or spool thread, and the lower or bobbin thread.
Since machines differ in their threading instructions refer to your manual on how to thread the machine.
Stress to your members the importance of not tampering with the machine tension and selector knobs.
If anything goes wrong they can seek help. The older, experienced sewers may feel comfortable
adjusting the tension on the machine. All members should understand what balanced tension should
look like. Refer to Simplicity Sewing book: 1979 edition pg 144.
Encourage all members by telling them that they shouldn’t worry if their stitching is a little crooked at
first. They will find with a little practice, fewer stitches will stray off the straight line.
Starting to Sew
When your members start to sew they should ask themselves these 5 quick questions:
1. Do I remember how to thread the needle?
2. Can I fill the bobbin?
3. What do I use the presser foot for?
4. How and when do I lower and raise the presser foot?
5. How does the light turn on and off?
Seam Guide for the Sewing Machine
If you do not have a seam guide attachment on your machine, you can make one.
Place a strip of adhesive tape with the left edge
of the tape 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) to the right of the
needle hole on the plate. Then when the raw
edge of the material is run along the inside edge
of the adhesive, a straight 1.5 cm (5/8 in.) seam
will be stitched.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 9 - Parts of a Sewing Machine
Give Your Machine TLC(Tender Loving Care)
Your sewing machine needs tender loving care, too. It will give you faithful service if you give it good
1. Dust and lint are a machine’s worst enemy. Use a nylon bristle brush provided with the machine to
dust all the machine mechanisms. Dust will cling to the brush, and you will have a sparkling clean
2. Give your machine a drink. Follow the instruction book for oiling procedure. Use a good quality
light-weight sewing machine oil. Oil sparingly, but frequently. Stitch through a fabric scrap to
work out surface oil.
3. Raise the presser foot at the end of each stitching to protect the teeth of the feed dog.
4. Replace bent or dull needles promptly. Make sure needles are set in correctly.
5. Turn off machine light, unplug, and cover after use.
Sewing Machine Needles
Needles are available types to suit the work for which they are used. They are made in many different
sizes, in order to draw threads of different sizes easily through fabrics of various weights.
Some needles fit most popular sewing machines. Check your manual for the type of needle that you
should buy. Buy good quality needles. Inferior needles may have a blunt point or rough eye which can
cause the thread to fray or break.
Needles range in size from fine to coarse. Some of the common sizes and their uses are:
(1) fine - size 70-75
Which is used for light weight fabrics such as
organdy, gingham, jersey, etc.
(2) medium - size 80-90
which is used for broadcloth, corduroy, etc.
(3) coarse - size 100
Is used for heavy fabrics
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 9 - Parts of a Sewing Machine
There are different types of sewing machines needles -- sharp, ballpoint and wedge.
Regular sharp needles are good for all woven fabrics because they produce even stitches with a
minimum amount of puckering. Do not use them for knit fabrics because they can skip stitches or
break the yarn. The ball point needle is best for knits and elastics because it goes through the yarns
instead of piercing through them. A wedged-point needle is most commonly used for leather and vinyl
because it makes a hole which closes back in on itself -- this avoids unattractive holes in the leather and
Parts of a sewing machine needle:
The top of the needle is round on one side and
flat on the other. This part goes into the needle
holder on your sewing machine. The lower part
is thinner and has a groove on one side. The
groove acts as a guide for the thread to feed
through the eye of the needle. Always put the
groove toward the position of the thread.
Change your needle often especially when sewing with synthetics. A good rule of thumb is to change
the needle at the start of each garment that you make.
Always replace dull, bent or blurred needles, they can damage your fabric. Problems can arise when
using the sewing machine and can result from:
- using the wrong presser foot and/or throat plate for the stitch you are making.
- pulling too hard on the fabric while sewing.
- not pulling the thread through the needle far enough can cause it to slip out of the eye of
the needle. Draw the two threads under the pressure foot, extending the threads about
cm (3 in.) behind it.
- needle could be inserted wrong.
Section 10
Beyond the Basics
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
Pressing Matters
When you make the effort to sew a beautiful garment, then press it beautifully as well. Follow the rule
“press as you go” to create a real winner when the sewing is finished. Many areas of your project are
difficult to reach for proper pressing when completely finished. It also builds shape into the garment.
To press your garment, place the iron on the fabric, then lift it up and put it back down in an
overlapping pattern until the entire area is covered. This prevents pulling the fabric off grin and
distorting the shape of the garment.
Pressing Equipment:
1. An iron and 2. ironing board are standard
household items.
3. A press cloth protects your fabric from scorch
marks and shine, secondly, when dampened they
provide additional moisture where needed.
4. A seam roll is a long, cylindrical firmly-stuffed
cushion. It allows you to press seams open without a
seam allowance impression forming on the outside of
the fabric. Strips of brown paper placed between the
seam allowance and fabric will help prevent a line on
the right side, too.
5. Tailors ham and press mitt are stuffed shapes that
help with pressing shaped areas such as darts, princess
seams and sleeve caps.
6. Sleeve board helps with pressing areas too small to
fit over the end of your ironing board.
7. Tailors board is a wooden tool useful for pressing
seams open at corners and points.
8. The pounding block is used as a tailoring aid to get
sharp creases on folded edges or to flatten seams on
hard to press fabrics.
9. Hem guide assists with measuring and pressing
hems at one time (before stitching).
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
If you work with velvet, corduroy or napped fabric, a needle board, placed under the fabric when
pressing prevents flattening the pile.
Rules of Pressing:
These rules will enhance the appearance of your finished product. Preplan your sewing project to
organize and include the pressing, too.
Sew as much as you can on each section of your project. When you reach a point where two
pieces with seams are to be joined then head to the ironing board. You may be able to do two or
three pieces before stopping to press.
Arrange your sewing area so the ironing area is close to your sewing machine.
Rule #l - Press as You Go - This means that you never cross one seam with another unless the first
seam has been pressed.
Rule #2 - Press in Three Steps - First press the seam with seam allowances together in the direction
it was stitched. Then press the seam open. Thirdly, press on the right side using a press cloth.
Rule #3 - Let it Cool - Allow the fabric to cool thoroughly. If handled while warm, the pressed fabric
may “forget” the shape it was pressed it.
Detail Pressing:
Press curved seams open using a tailors ham. Follow the pattern directions for clipping curves for a
smoother finish.
Press darts over the tailor’s ham. Press them as sewn to blend the stitches, then open or to one
side as the pattern directions tell you. To avoid creases at the tip, you can place a strip of brown
paper between the dart and the fabric.
On details such as collars, cuffs, facings, flaps, straps or belts, press the seam allowances apart
before turning them right side out.
Use steam to pre-shape flexible trims such as bias binding and fold over braid before applying them
to curved edges.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
Sleeve cap seam allowances are pressed, using point of the iron to shrink out the eased fullness
and get a smooth set-in sleeve. This is done after ease stitching the sleeve cap and pinning it into
the garment to draw up the ease stitching to fit. Remove the sleeve and pin it to tailors ham to press
the seam allowance. Once cooled, insert the sleeve in the garment. Once stitched permanently,
press together the seam allowance working only in the seam allowance area.
Hems are much easier to stitch if pressed in place before stitching. Place the hem guide into the
hem allowance, fold up along the hemline and lightly press. If you have a curved hem, machine
baste approximately 1.3 cm (l/2 in.) from the cut edge. Fold up at the hem line, pull up the hem
allowance to fit the garment using the basting thread. Steam press lightly to ease out the fullness.
Stitch your hem and press again
Baste your pleats first to hold in place. Place paper strips or your hem guide under each pleat to
avoid impressions on the right side of the fabric. For soft pleats, hold the iron slightly above the
fabric and steam press. For crisp pleats rest the iron on the fabric over a damp cloth and steam.
Use your pounding block for a crisp edge.
Gathers are pressed from outside using the point of the iron to press up to the seam line.
Sewing with Knits:
Knits are a versatile fabric that is easy to sew and care for. They are a number one selection for sewing
activewear. This fabric is handled the same as a woven fabric until you get to the stitching.
Use a ball point needle and stitch the seam with a little “give”. Most seams are not pressed open but
are finished with seam allowances together.
Some seams and hem edges are stabilized to prevent stretching and pulling out of shape. V-neck,
shoulder and waistline seams are stitched with a strip of pre-shrunk tape included in the seam. Hems
can be stabilized with inter-facing or sewn with a zigzag, double slipstitched, blind stitched, or using a
double needle to give a decorative look as well as preventing over stretching. You can also hand stitch
your hem, be sure to incorporate some stretch in areas that require some “give”. Buttonholes should be
stabilized with a piece of interfacing or lightweight woven fabric to prevent stretching.
The easiest finish at the waist is an elastic casing, however, a waistband can also be used. Ribbing
makes a nice snug fit at the neck and sleeve edge.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
Handling Napped Fabrics
These fabrics not only require extra care when cutting out but with stitching, too.
Stitch in the direction of the nap
Pin-base or hand-baste to prevent the fabrics from shifting.
Reduce bulk in seams by stitching narrow seams 6 mm (l/4 in.). Select an appropriate seam finish.
Grade enclosed seams at facings and slash darts to within 1.3 cm (l/2 in.) of the point and press
open. Trim the ends of the seam allowance or dart diagonally when one will be crossed by
In the hem area, trim the seam allowances to half their width from the hem fold to raw edge.
Press napped fabrics on the wrong side, in the direction of the nap. To avoid flattening the nap,
place the garment nap side down on a needle board or heavy bath towel. When pressing on the
right side, use a scrap of self-fabric as a press cloth.
Tailoring Made Easy:
Tailoring molds fabric into shapely lines you see on well made jackets or coats. This method uses
special sewing and pressing techniques to build permanent shape into a garment.
Let’s take a minute to compare the various methods of tailoring so you can determine which is easiest
and more appropriate for your members.
Custom Method -
Easy Method -
The interfacing is hand pad stitched to the garment. Even
though it is a slow method, the garment is durable and shape is
easily achieved with all fabrics.
Machine stitches replace the hand stitches. It’s a faster
method than custom and quite durable.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
Easier Method
Fusible interfacing is used in place of stitching. It’s a speedy
method allowing you to use fusible interfacing on any fabric
without creating ridges or altering the fabric surface.
Select the pattern before purchasing the fabric. If the member has limited sewing experience, choose a
style with simple, classic lines and few pattern pieces. A more experienced sewer can handle a fitted
jacket with more pattern pieces and construction details.
Follow the pattern instructions to make the project referring to the following techniques for specific
areas. If your pattern doesn’t have the roll line marked on it, you will have to determine the roll of the
collar during a fitting. Using the paper pattern pieces, pin the front and back together at the shoulder
seam. Then pin the under collar to the neck edge. Try these pieces on, folding the collar down and
lapels back so they lie flat. Crease the fold line of both collar and lapel, this line is the roll line.
Lapels: To reduce bulk, cut out any darts in the interfacing. Butt the cut edges and zigzag them together
or fuse together when attaching the interfacing to the garment. After the interfacing is applied, shape the
lapel by pressing it over a seam roll, using lots of steam. Allow it to cool and dry before removing.
Custom Method
Lay twill tape against roll line so it lies on the body side
of the garment. Pull the tape 6 mm to 1.3 cm (l/4 to
1/2 in.) shorter; this helps the lapel to roll and gives a
tighter neck edge on the lapel front.
Slip stitch tape in place easing the fabric evenly into the
tape without tucks or gathers.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
With thread to match the fabric, stitch from left to right.
Stitches on the interfacing side are 6 mm (l/4 in.) long
and 3 mm (l/8 in.) wide. Barely catch the material.
The stitches should not show on the right sides. Pad
stitching gives shape and helps the garment lie smooth.
Begin padstitching close to the roll line with stitches
parallel to it. Hold the lapel over your hand to create a
permanent roll. Don’t roll over your hand as much as
you get closer to the outer edge.
Easy Method:
Machine pad stitch the interfacing in the lapel area.
Rows of stitching should begin at the roll line and be
placed 6 mm to 2.0 cm (l/4 - 3/4 in.) apart.
To create a roll on the lapel, cut the twill tape the length
of the roll minus 2.5 cm (l in.). Zig-zag stitch the tape in
place, easing the fabric to fit.
Easier Method:
Fuse the interfacing to the garment. To create lapel
roll, fuse a piece of interfacing (the same shape as the
lapel) to the garment. Cut the twill tape and attach it
using the machine zig-zag as described above.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
Under Collar
Once you have completed the pad stitching, steam
press the under collar over the tailor’s ham.
Custom Method:
Sew the centre back seam of under collar, press open and trim to 6 mm (l/4 in.). Trim seam allowance
off interfacing on all sides.
Place interfacing under centre back seam allowance
and catch seam allowance to interfacing. Catch- stitch
the neck edge of interfacing to collar.
Hand baste or machine baste on roll line. Shape collar and steam press the roll line. Pad stitch the fall
of the collar with stitches parallel to the roll line.
Hold the collar rolled over the left forefinger,
perpendicular to the roll line. Do half the collar at a
time. Starting at the roll line, work the stand area
(toward neck edge) first then the rest of the collar.
Work only to just inside the seam line and trim
interfacing to seam line. Keep the interfacing pushed
forward so it bulges slightly from the wool. Don’t draw
pad stitches too tight. By holding your hand under the
curve while stitching, a curve develops at the roll line.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
Easy Method
Sew the centre back seam of the under collar, press allowances open and trim to 6 mm (l/4 in.). Apply
the interfacing according to pattern instructions.
Machine padstitch the collar stand, starting
at the roll line. Space the stitching lines 6 m (l/4
in.) apart and parallel to the roll line. Padstitch
the remainder of the collar, starting at the centre
back and stitch toward the collar points as
shown. The rows of stitches are 1.3 - 2.0 cm
(l/4 - 3/4 in.) apart.
Easier Method
Fuse the interfacing to each under collar
section. Stitch centre back seam and press
open. Trim seam allowances to 6 mm (l/4 in.).
Machine baste along the roll line. Cut a second
layer of interfacing to fit the collar stand area.
Fuse this to the under collar.
Finish your garment according to the pattern instructions. The true tailored garment will have shoulder
pads and a lining attached for a professional, clean look.
There are many commercial patterns available for bedroom accessories. Many of these projects use
straight stitching and have few pieces making them ideal for any 4-H member. When selecting their
projects and patterns you should provide some guidance to ensure they select an item suited to their
sewing abilities.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
When you consider the availability of good quality used clothing, its not unrealistic for anyone to remake
a garment to fit themselves or another family member.
Special Techniques
There are two types of make overs - (l) only minor changes are made such as refitting, adding a new
collar or shortening a skirt, (2) complete remaking of the garment.
When checking garments to decide how they will be re-made , consider these points:
hold the fabric to the light to detect thin spots. Can they be mended or covered with appliques or
decorative patches? Is the fabric strong and worth remaking?
if the wool nap is worn on the right side, check the wrong side. Does it still have wearability?
if the colour is faded on the right side check the wrong side to see if it is brighter
check to see if there is enough usable material to allow you to make a fashionable garment
consider the colour, texture and style for who will be wearing the clothing.
Pattern Selection
This will be one of the hardest jobs.
know the size and shape of the fabric pieces from the old garment, or from two garments if you
have to combine them for a make-over. Select a pattern as nearly like the original garment pieces
as possible.
check the location of buttonholes, pockets, darts and seams. The new pattern must allow you to
use these features as they are, to cut around them or to cover them with yokes, patch pockets or
other details.
after choosing the pattern check to see what minor changes you will have to make so the pattern
will fit your material. Add pleats, make a gore or side panel to avoid pockets; set in a yoke to
cover old buttonholes; add false cuffs to add length to sleeves or pant legs; decrease
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
the amount of flare in skirts; cover holes or worn spots with pockets; change style or collar; or
change dart placements.
Fabric Preparation
when ripping out seams do it carefully and check to see if its necessary. Unless you plan to turn the
fabric all seams may not have to be removed. The easiest way is to pull out the threads, alternating
top and bottom. Be careful not to tear or stretch the fabric while ripping.
don’t cut off the seam allowances, you may need every inch of the fabric.
remove all threads and tapes and brush away all lint from each section.
clean the fabric before cutting
it’s best to use commercial patterns in re-cutting or adding new sections
mend any tears or cover old construction points such as buttonholes, pockets or slashes. Plan your
pattern layout so these will be in an inconspicuous place.
pin the pattern securely to the fabric and cut accurately. Be sure the grain line is straight, cut all
notches and make necessary markings.
when fabric must be pieced to fit, stitch and press seam before cutting pattern. Match fabric if
working with plaids or stripes. Cut knits, napped or brushed fabrics in one direction.
Seam Finishes
Seam finishes prevent woven fabrics from raveling and knit seams from curling. When you add a seam
finish, not only are you adding a coutoure touch and improving the appearance, you are also adding
strength to the seam.
Seams are finished as they are stitched, before being crossed by another seam. A finish shouldn’t add
bulk or leave an obvious imprint on the right side of the garment after it is pressed.
Here are the most common seam finishes for today’s fabrics:
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 10 - Beyond the Basics
Pinked - for fabrics that are firmly woven, all weights
Pinked and Stitched - for fabrics that do not ravel easily, all weights
Overcast - moderate ravel, all weights
Zigzagged - for fabrics that ravel; small stitch width for lightweight and wider width for heavier
Clean-edge - for fabrics that ravel, not for bulky fabrics
Bound - unlined garments or heavier fabrics, those that fray excessively
French - sheer fabrics, hides raw edges
Mock French - sheers and lightweight
Flat-felled - sportswear, reversible, children’s - very durable, medium/heavy weights or overedge stitch
Knits - seam allowances stitched or zigzagged together, special machine overlock
Fashion Shows on YouSewing - Leaders Resource - Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
As many home sewers will denote, learning to sew involves much more than learning the technical
intricacies of cutting out or piecing together a garment. It involves learning which fabrics are suitable for
which patterns and which styles are most flattering to which figure types. It involves learning about
fitting, colour choices and fabric care.
The true success of a home sewer however, is measured not only by the mastery of technical skills, but
the ability to put these to use in building a stylish practical wardrobe that suits your lifestyle. This means
developing both fashion sense and self confidence.
In 4-H we take our fashion focus even one step further, to include modelling. There is little point of
making great clothes if you really don’t know how to wear them well. Our modelling emphasis is
designed to help 4-H models make the most of their clothes, and to help make sure that their clothes
make the most of them. It teaches movement, grace, poise and self confidence.
Planning The Show
A good fashion show doesn’t just happen. It requires careful planning and organization, most of which
takes place long in advance before the big night.
This planning is made easier if you consider tasks in a step by step sequence. Here are what we
consider the “top ten”.
Choose a theme or name for the show. Besides adding pizazz this can help in the selection of the
music, decorations and so on.
Plan stage door and backdrop according to the theme. Simple, colourful decorations usually work
3. Select music (preferably instrumental) suited to the theme. Have varying tempos. Arrange to have
this “mixed” with no breaks.
4. Arrange a sound system, lights and a technician. These items add greatly to the professionalism of
the presentation as a whole.
5. Select a commentator. Be choosy! He/she is much more then a reader of commentaries, and can
make or break a show.
6. If dealing with any number of models, group outfits by function, season or colour depending on the
show theme and selection of clothing available.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
Check commentaries for flow. Look at these individually and add “bridges” between groupings.
8. Plan stage movement for groupings and finale. Think of this as choreography. Remember, this
doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.
9. Practice, practice, practice! The more time you spend perfecting routines, the smoother the show
10. Remember that this is a show, not just a 4-H competitive event. Your presentation should both
interesting and entertain those watching it.
Writing Commentaries
The purpose of a fashion show commentary is to provide a brief but complete description of the
garment. The members want their outfit to sound very appealing to the audience, so it’s important to
construct your sentences very carefully. The commentary should “flow” well, be easy for the
commentator to read and be pleasing to the ear. Use adjectives to make the outfit come alive and be
The commentary is more then an garment description for the model. It provides clues for the entrance,
exit and modelling gestures. The commentary will bring attention to garment details. When a hand
gesture seems appropriate to accent any details or to add style to your modelling, be sure to practice it
until it seems natural.
The commentary should not be too long, but long enough to provide ample time for the model to show
off the garment. A lengthy commentary may bore the audience so it is important that it is short, snappy
and descriptive. An extra short commentary can also be a problem. Any model will agree that
modelling in silence because of a short commentary is not much fun.
The commentary is worth spending time on. If the member spent hours making the garment, they
should feel proud and want to show off their efforts to parents and friends. A well written
commentary can help anyone feel good about participating in a 4-H fashion show, and can be the
difference between doing an all right or super modelling job.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
Some points to help writing commentaries include:
- the commentary should tell about the member as well as the garment. The more information and
detail included, the more interesting the event.
- in the first couple of lines give the members name and club, then mention the garment that they are
- in the next paragraph describe the garment details. Be sure to include the type of sleeves, bodice
style, collar, waistband, pockets, etc.
- conclude with accessories and finishing touches.
To show off the garment to the audience the commentary should be about 3/4 page hand written.
Accessories and Finishing Touches
Fashion modelling requires a finished look from head to toe, a look only achieved when both the model
and their clothing looks the best. Very often the creation of this finished product depends to a large
extent on the attention paid to smaller details. With careful selection and use, accessories and finishing
touches can make the difference between an outfit that just fits the bill and one that is truly outstanding.
In competitive situations such as many 4-H fashion shows, they can be what make a winning outfit
stand out from the crowd, and help the judges remember particular competitors and their garments
when they tally their sources after the show.
With few exceptions the appearance of the models can be enhanced with careful application of makeup. When bright stage lighting is used, it becomes particularly essential as only those individuals who
have very dark, outstanding features can avoid the “washed out “ look. Do keep in mind that modelling
is an entirely natural situation. Models are viewed from a distance under unnatural light. Make-up that
may seem heavy under normal circumstances is often fine under fashion show conditions.
The amount and kinds of make-up required depend on the type of lighting to be used and the natural
colouring of the models. Many brunettes need only lipstick and light blush, while some blonds and red
heads may find that foundation of some kind is needed too. Translucent powder can be used by all
models to help set make-up and prevent shine.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
Sharing make-up can be a health hazard, so leaders should encourage members to bring their own
make-up to the show. Pre-show preparations can include a make-up night, when members can discuss
make-up choices and try their hand at make-up application. When possible it is important to apply
make-up under similar lighting situations to that which will be used on stage, in order to achieve the
most natural look an stage.
Fashion show dressing areas need adequate mirrors and lighting. When models are younger, it is also
helpful to have a number of volunteers to help with dressing and make-up application on the evening of
the show.
Remind models that make-up should be applied before putting on the garment to be modelled. If the
item to be modelled has to pulled over the head, a neat trick to prevent transfer of make-up from the
model’s face to the garment, is to first put a pillow case over the head and face, pull on the garment,
then remove the pillow case. A loose plastic grocery bag can be used if a pillow case is not available,
but normal caution regarding the placement of the plastic bag should be exercised.
When it comes to modelling, a hairstyle becomes just another accessory to improve the model’s
appearance and complement a garment. Needless to say it should be clean, well styled and suitable to
the garment to be modelled. The hair should not be distracting (or in case of very log hair) hide fashion
details of the clothing. It can however be styled with a comb, bow, clip or other accessory that
matches the rest of the outfit.
Thought should be given to the most appropriate way to style hair long before the show. This gives the
member time to practice styling and to experiment with any special equipment or styling agents needed
to achieve the desired look.
On show night it is wise to have on hand in the dressing area various hair styling devices for last minute
touch ups, as well as lots of hair spray!
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
Other Accessories
Fashion accessories include shoes, belts, purses, jewellery and other items used to compliment a
garment, to create a finished look. Quite literally they can make or break an outfit and warrant careful
consideration. One rule of thumb is that “less is more”. Too many accessories can create a cluttered
look that becomes distracting.
Models should experiment with accessories prior to the show, and have someone analyse their look
from a distance away. This will after all be the judges” vantage point.
“Props” can also become accessories to complete the look of a garment. Carrying books with a school
garment, or a tennis racket with sports shorts can add a little pizazz to a garment that looks simple on
it’s own. In addition these can both help catch the judges attention and give nervous models something
to do with their hands. Again, keep props simple. They are meant to complete a look, not compete
with it. If props are used make sure that the models have a chance to practice with them, so carrying
them looks natural and doesn’t interfere with overall modelling style.
The Finishing Touches
Fashion shows are exciting, rewarding and a lot of work. They can be one method of educating 4-H
members and the community about clothing quality, fads and fashions. 4-H sewing members must
display their articles of clothing as part of their project. What better way then a “Fashion Show”.
In order for your fashion show to be a success, you have to consider more then just great clothes.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
When picking the location for your fashion show, make sure that it is reflecting the atmosphere and
image you want. Little touches such as flowers, scenery, posters or even streamers can liven up any
room or stage.
This may include such items as fancy napkins, and/or engraved invitations asking leaders and members
to attend. It would also be nice to include the community by having your fashion show open to the
public. Special refreshments such as ice tea with lemon or mocktails (fruit punch) would be good. A
small luncheon may be served. Some suggestions for your guests
Sewing - Leaders Resource Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
could include cheese and crackers, finger sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres or sweets.
A 4-H fashion show is part of your sewing project and can be very rewarding for the member and the
fun part of the sewing project. It builds a sense or pride in your work. Your fashion show can be an
enjoyable evening for all.
4-H modelling is much more then just another 4-H competition. It is an exciting way to learn about the
fabulous world of clothing and fashion.
Putting together a fashion show teaches another whole set of organizational skills. It requires careful
thought and planning, but the successful finished product makes all the effort worthwhile.
Good luck with your 4-H Fashion Show. Make it a highlight of your 4-H year. Have fun with it. And
don’t forget -- Fashion really does show on you!!
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 11 - Fashion Shows on You
Name of Model: ____________________________________________________________
County: ___________________________________________________________________
Fit; Drapability; Suitability of Fabric to Design; Style
suitable to Figure Type; Overall style and Design.
Overall Appearance; Grooming; Good Use of Accessories;
Entrance; Gestures; Poise; Displays Clothes in a
Pleasing Manner; Confidence; Smooth and Appropriate
Turns and Poses.
JUDGES INITIALS ________________
Section 12
Where to go for Help
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 12 - Where to go for Help
There are many topics in this manual you may need more information on. There are lots of resources
in your own community. Fabric shops and clothing store clerks can help you with fabric selection and
choosing the right patterns to suit the members. They can also help at fashion show time. Some
communities have fashion shows at special times of the year. They can serve as a resource in
organizing your own.
Books and Other Resources
Books - Your local library has a great resource of sewing books to help with any section of this
manual. Extension Services Library has books you can borrow for a two week loan period. Your 4H Specialist will have a list of what is available.
Videos - The following videos are available from the 4-H office, NSDAM, PO Box 550, Truro, NS,
B2N 5E3 or by phoning (902) 893-6585. When ordering use the title and the number of the video you
wish to view. Make certain you state the date that you will be showing the material, so that it reaches
you on time. The materials are loaned on a two week basis. Please return them by the date specified
as there are other 4-H clubs that would like to see them.
Pressing and Construction Details (Clothing Construction Techniques #3): In eight
segments, demonstrates pressing techniques, staystitching, directional stitching, making
darts, tucks, pleats and gathers, finishing edges, hand stitching, layering, trimming, clipping
and notching seam allowances and machine stitching techniques. Produced by Iowa state
University. (2)
Sewing - Create Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, Volume 2 - PFAFF - Creative
1473CD-(30:00) Demonstrates how to create your own stitch designs from personal
sketches, photographs, signatures and more. Teaches how to use the four monogram
alphabets and three sets of numerals pre-programed in the PFAFF Creative 1473CD,
cross-stitch capabilities and dual feed walking foot.
Serging and Active Sewing Wear - (60:00) Presented with T.V.’s “Sewing with
Nancy”. Specializes in sewing and serging golf and tennis wear, swimwear, exercise
outfits and designer sweatshirts.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 12 - Where to go for Help
Serger - PFAFF - Hobbylock 794 - Finish with the PFAFF Flourish. PFAFF
Educational Consultant, Teri Angeline Wasserbach, makes it easy to learn how to use the
PFAFF Hobbylock 794 overlock machine. The first section of video covers the basis of
operating the machine. Included are a simple guide to basic controls and functions,
maintenance made easy, step-by-step easy threading and changing knives and needles.
The second section covers specific overlocking techniques and shows you how simple it is
to do everyday serging as well as to decorate many of your sewing projects. Subjects
include planning your garment, finishing tips, stabilizing seams, sewing denim, using metallic
thread and ruffling, gathering and shirring. Also covered are how to sew a flat-lock stitch,
how to sew rolled hems and tucks, blind hemming and serging elastic.
Sew Easy, Sew Beautiful - This video gives beginners a step-by-step, start to finish
guide on everything they need to know to make three simple fashionable garments: a top, a
skirt and a basic shirt.
Sewing with Leather - (45:00) Learn how to sew high fashion leather garments in your
home with your own machine. Jennifer Hurn takes you by the hand and shows you how
easy and enjoyable it is to save money and do it yourself. Includes: introduction to leather
types, preparing your pattern, cutting your leather, adjusting your machine, and special
sewing tips. By: Tandy Leather Company.
Sewing - Singer LK140 - (45:00) Demonstrates machine.
Sewing - Singer LK150 - (35:00) Demonstrates machine. English/French.
Sewing - Singer Ultralock II - Instructional Program. English/French.
Busy Woman’s Sewing Video Combo - This video contains two one-hour parts. Part I:
Shows how to sew more quickly and professionally using a serger and other conventional
time saving devices. You will also learn how to update your skills on a blouse and blazer
pattern. Part II: Shows how to quickly sew a knit top, skirt and slacks. After viewing
both parts, you’ll know how to quickly sew all garments to create a new wardrobe.
Beginning Sewing Combo - Begin to Sew - this begins at “square one” by giving logical
and basic guidelines on choosing fabric and pattens.
Basic Sewing Skills:(12:00) Wrap, woof, and salvage and their relationship to grain line
are discussed clearly illustrated on a loom. Staystitching, clean stitching, understitching,
plain seams, darts, gathering and blind hemming on the straight stitch sewing machine are
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 12 - Where to go for Help
Sewing Made Simple - Part I: (22:35) Produced by the Canadian Home Sewing
Needlecraft Association. Includes brief descriptions of the following: the use of proper
sized sewing machine needles, sewing buttons on by a sewing machine, blind hemming, top
stitching, applique and quilting.
Sewing Made Simple - Part II: Produced by the Canadian Home Sewing Needlecraft
Association. Includes brief descriptions of the following: maintenance of the sewing
machine, shell edging, making filler cord, lace trimming, decorating stitches and
Sewing Power I: Introduction to Lifestyle Sewing (30:00) Selecting Patterns (30:00)
Fabric Selection (30:00) Preparation to Sew (30:00) Suitable for leaders. Produced by
McCall Pattern Company, 1985.
Sewing Power II: Mechanism and Care of the Sewing Machine(30:00) Measuring,
Marking and Finishing a Hem (30:00) Insertion of a Sleeve, Stitching a Sleeve Hem
(30:00) Discussion of Fabric and Style for a Classic Co-ordinate Ensemble (30:00)
Produced by McCall Pattern Company, 1985.
Sewing Power III: Pants or Skirts Part I (30:00) Pants or Skirts Part II (30:00) Simple
Jacket Part I (30:00) Simple Jacket Part II (30:00) Produced by McCall Pattern
Company, 1985.
Sewing Power Part IV: Simple Jacket Part III (30:00) Finishing Jacket and Beginning the
Blouse or Dress (30:00) The Blouse or Dress Part II (30:00) Produced by McCall Pattern
Company, 1985.
Sewing Power V: Finishing a Blouse or Dress (30:00) Sewing for Men (30:00) Sewing for
Children (30:00) Sewing for the Home (30:00) Produced by McCall Pattern Company,
Decorating with Sheets - (17:45) This tape features decorating tips for all rooms of the
house. It shows ways to use sheets to create a house full of new ideas. Basic
demonstrations are given in the tape with more specific instructions given in the
accompanying booklet. They also discuss decorating ideas in each room featured. By:
Westpoint Pepperell.
Magic Steam Press - Singer. Operating and using a steam press. Becoming familiar
with the features and operating the steam press.
Sewing - Leaders Resource - Section 12 - Where to go for Help
Sewing - Create Beyond Your Wildest Dreams, Volume I - PFAFF, Creative
1473CD - (45:00) Introduces features of the machine, how to operate, points out
control buttons and their functions and explains how the electronic instruction book leads
you through the stitch selection.
Singer Quantum CXL Instructional - (22:56) Demonstrates machine attachments and
their uses.
Singer Quantum LE Instructional - (18:45) Demonstrates machine.
Ready, Set, Go - A guide to 4-H model training and co-ordination of fashion shows.
Kettle Creek Canvas Company - This video is about the Kettle Creek Canvas
Company, a clothing franchise specializing in comfortable relaxed clothing.
Olivers - Colours - This video is about the “colour” consultation company.
Suggested Uses
gingham, calico,
corduroy, denim,
flannelette, duck,
chino, etc.
Durable, cool, dyes
well, absorbent, ease
of laundry and
Shrinks and wrinkles
(unless treated),
colour loss by
“bleeding” and
sunlight, damaged by
First test for
“bleeding”, machine
wash, line or
machine dry. Iron
while damp.
Blouses, skirts,
dresses, uncreased
pants, sportswear,
pyjamas, aprons,
children’s clothing,
table linens, crafts,
As above. Heavy or
bottom weight in
gabardine, chino,
sailcloth, duck, etc.
Fewer wrinkles,
resistant to abrasion
and tearing. Good
crease retention.
Laundry ease,
If high percentage of
polyester, oily stains
a problem. Less
cool and absorbent
than cotton.
Machine/hand wash,
medium cool
temperature, line
machine dry, mod.
Iron, pre-treat oily
As above. Pants
bottomwear weight
suitable for jackets,
suits, pants,
jumpsuits, etc.
handkerchief, lawn,
suiting, dress weight,
slub fabrics, etc.
Cool, strong,
absorbent, crisp.
Wrinkles, shrinks,
damaged by mildew.
Dry clean to retain
crispness (suits,
jackets, skirts).
Pants, jackets suits,
dresses, skirts, table
linens, needlework,
Worsted, woolens,
felt, crepe, tweed,
gabardine, flannel,
melton, challis,
Absorbent, warm,
durable, wrinkle and
abrasion resistant,
molds well and
keeps creases, good
Shrinks, attracts
Dry clean, some
hand washable.
Don’t rub or agitate.
Press with cloth and
steam iron. Press,
don’t iron.
Coats, suits, skirts,
pants, blazers,
dresses, feltdecorations and
Raw silk, broad
cloth, shantung,
crepe de chine,
organza, linen,
Absorbent, warm,
strong, lustrous,
drapes well.
Weakened by
perspiration and
Dry clean unless
labeled, hand washed
(some colours may
bleed). Press on
wrong side at low
Blouses, dresses,
suits, jackets.
linen, challis, suiting,
matte jersey.
Static resistant,
absorbent, dyes
well, can be
Wrinkles, shrinks,
poor, abrasion
resistant, looses
strength when wet,
holds body heat.
Dry clean or gently
machine wash.
Dresses, pants, suits,
jackets, skirts.
Taffeta, satin, silk
like fabrics, tricot.
Drapes, dyes well,
silk like luster dries
Weaker fibers,
wrinkles, weakened
by perspiration,
fades, “static cling”.
Dry clean or gently
machine wash,
tumble dry (low), iron
at low temperature.
Lingerie, sportswear,
swim wear, rain
wear, formal wear.
Knits - sheers to
heavy weights, cire,
water proof fabrics,
Strong, elastic,
durable, resilient,
warm, abrasion
resistant, wrinkle
resistant, holds shape
well, resists moths
and mold.
Pills or snags easily,
static clings, nonabsorbent, holds
body heat.
Machine wash, line
or tumble dry, iron.
Blouses, dresses,
suits, jackets,
sportswear, knits.
Single or double
knits, fake fur, pile,
corduroy, taffeta,
crepes, sheers,
lining, trims, laces.
resilient, warm
abrasion resistant,
wrinkle free, holds
shape well, resists
moisture and mold.
Stains are hard to
remove, pills, static
cling, holds body
Machine wash,
tumble dry, needs
little or no ironing.
Sports wear (jogging
suits etc.), pile,
jackets and coats,
suits and skirts.
Body Measurement Chart
1. Neck
2. Back width
3. Chest
4. Bust
5. Waist
6. High Hip
7. Full Hip
8. Back Neck to Waist
9. Front Neck to Waist
10. Arm Length
(shoulder to elbow)
(shoulder to wrist)
11. Wrist
12. Skirt Length
13. Pants Length
14. Height
Date Measurements Taken
Your Pattern Size
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