Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sewing Pleats and Tabs: Ottobre Design - Autumn 2010 - Vahvero linen Romper

So after a hiatus of a couple of weeks, I've moved on to the second "step," if you will, of the Ottobre Design overalls I'm making for my girls.  At this stage, I make pleats on the front of the pants on either side that open up to the side seams.  There are a couple of things here that I have to interpret.  The first is the "depth" of the pleat.  It may seem silly, but I did think about this for a while.  The pleats are supposed to be 1 cm deep, so from outer-fold to inner fold, I measured 1 cm.  I think that's right.

The other puzzle is where to stitch down the pleats.  The directions say to "stitch across the pleats"--okay, got it--but where to stitch is a little fuzzier:  "plac(e) the first row 3.5 cm down from outer edge of seam allowance on top edge of front panel and spac(e) the rest 2 cm apart from each other below the first row."  What I don't quite get is what, exactly, the "outer edge of seam allowance" might be...

Ottobre patterns don't include seam allowances.  You trace the pieces, and add seam allowances.  The recommended seam allowance is 1 cm, but not being a metric kind of gal, I tend to add 1/2" instead.  So is the outer edge of the seam allowance the edge of the 1 cm that I was supposed to add?  Which would mean that I would actually subtract the 1 cm I was supposed to add, add 1/2", and sew the first row at 1.5 cm + 1/2" from the very edge of the front panel?  Anyway, that's what I'm going to assume.  We'll see how it works out...

In the meantime, I have created a little tab with a buttonhole that needs to be sewn to the inside of the garment on the wrong side of the pleats.  Again, there is some confusion over where to place the button tab:  "2 cm down from outer edge of seam allowance on top edge of front panel."  Then, I "stitch tabs in place along rows of stitching sewn across pleats," which I believe means that I would turn the garment over and stitch the tab to the wrong side by sewing on the right side.  Well, here goes...

Okay, so as it turned out, I discovered that the "outer edge" is not the edge of the piece as I cut it out (including the seam allowance).  The "outer edge" is the edge of the pattern piece before adding the seam allowance.  The instructions are translated from Finnish--I wonder if this might be a translation error?  Anyway, I discovered this by happy accident.  As I was sewing the first piece--the brown pair--I accidentally sewed 5 rows of stitching across the pleats instead of 4.  And I realized as I did this that it just seemed natural to keep going to the end of the mark I made for each folded pleat.  And that mark ended just as I made the 5th line of stitching, spaced every 2 cm.  So clearly, the top row was one row too many.  When I measured from the line I had made to indicate my seam allowance to the 2nd row of stitching, it was exactly 3.5 cm.  Mystery solved!  And so I proceeded accordingly, measuring from where my seam allowance began, and starting the first row of stitching 3.5 cm from that.

The only thing of note when I sewed on the button tab was that it had to be positioned so that the 2 cm gap between rows coincided with the buttonhole itself, otherwise I would have sewn the buttonhole closed!  I noticed that right away, though, so I could adjust my rows of stitching accordingly.  In a perfect world, I wouldn't have had to do that, because my buttonhole and my lines of stitching would have been positioned perfectly.  *sigh*  Ah well, this will be one of those garments that comes with the disclaimer that slight imperfections make it unique, right?

Hopefully, I will be able to write about the elastic shirring adventure next time.

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