Last week, we finished our pattern layout and cut the pieces we needed. We should have two large pieces that make up the body, two overlap pieces and two sleeves. If we were making kimono or yukata, we would have additional pieces, such as a yoke (a piece used on the inside of the garment to stabilize the neckline), a collar (eri) and half-collar (han-eri). As we don't actually want a collar that will be visible when worn with yukata, we can omit all of these pieces.
This week, we're getting down to actual construction! If you've read your pattern instructions (and really, read all of the instructions!) then you have an idea of what the order of assembly should look like. What follows here are some practical pointers on those steps.
First, I like to finish all of the straight edges of my fabric by running them through a serger, or overlocking stitch machine. This is a specialized sewing machine that uses at least two needles and several cones of thread to create a stitch that covers and reinforces the edges of fabric. This is not necessary, and you can progress just as easily without it, but I find it gives my garment a more finished look and cuts down on frayed edges. You can create a similar effect by using a zig-zag stitch on a regular machine or by using pinking shears. If you decide to trim your fabric with pinking shears, be careful that you are not cutting too far into your seam allowance!
|You can see the serged edge on the back seam piece of the body.|
At this point, the Folkwear Pattern suggests an order in which to sew everything together (Preliminary Construction). As we are not making kimono, there is only one seam here that you need to worry about-- the back seam. We don't have any of the other pieces. Another step that I consider to be 'Preliminary Construction' is finishing the front edges of my overlaps ('overlapse' in the Folkwear pattern).
|Serged front edge of overlap, folded over to finish.|
In the image above, I have both of my overlaps sitting with (what I decided would be) right sides together. Using the serged threads as a guideline, I've folded the material back on itself, then back again to completely obscure the threads and create a neat 1/4" hem. Once I've pinned the whole front of the overlap, I can flip both pieces over and repeat the process on the other overlap so that they will be mirror images of each other.
|Sewing the front edge of the overlap.|
Next, it is back to the ironing board, where you will press your seam allowance towards the overlap. I like to do this before trimming the neckline so that I get a more clear idea of just where to trim (the pattern instructions say to trim, then iron). While you're here, press your back seam open, too!
|Seam allowance is pressed towards the overlap. You can get a more clear view of your neckline so that your trimming is even.|
I will use my overlap pattern-piece, aligning the front edges and getting the slant even with the neckline to get a clear line on where to trim. I generally need to remove only 1 1/2" or so. Once this is trimmed, we are clear to place the stay-stitching that will be our guideline for our bias-binding collar (or for a regular collar if we were doing juban or kimono).
Our next steps include finishing the neckline, attaching (optional) sleeves, and finishing, and we'll have a look at all of these next week! Until then, if you have any questions or comments about our progress so far, please feel free to leave them in the comments!