Me Made May the Clipped Curves Way

Me Made Dresses

I thought very carefully about Me Made May 2014. Not for one second did I consider not taking part, just to what level I wanted to get involved. After much thought and consideration here is my pledge…


‘I, Emma Jayne of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’14. I endeavour to wear at least one Me Made item five days per week for the duration of May 2014′

Me Made Tops

This year is not so much about meeting the exact details of my pledge but more to take note of the Me Mades (and non-Me Made wardrobe staples) that I wear more frequently using this to inform future sewing plans. In light of that I won’t be posting outfits daily or weekly but I will keep a tally and reflect back on Me Made May at the end of the month.

Me Made Skirts and Trousers

Are you taking part? If so, what’s your reason for doing so this year?

From Day to Night

In my excitement about the April issue of Burda Style Magazine I committed to my ‘to sew’ list two versions of the #115 blouse.  A day wear version to celebrate Spring (and a chance to road test the pattern) and an evening version.

Purple Burda 042014 Front (2)

I made plenty of alterations in an attempt to eradicate the boxy style but keep my favorite features – asymmetric overlapping front panels and a wide continuous hem. I removed another two inches from the back pattern piece, made some serious waist shaping front and back, narrowed the shoulders slightly, lowered the neckline a little, angled the bust darts a fraction and shortened the sleeves a lot. With the exception of the bust darts, these alterations were less about fit and more about achieving the silhouette I wanted for an evening look. And, just to demonstrate my attention to detail, I switched the diagonal of the outer most front piece to meet my lower shoulder… a trick of the eye to make my lopsided shoulders less obvious.

Purple Burda 042014 Front (355x534)

Knowing how the construction would pan out (I even trialled French seams for the Spring make), I had a clear path ahead which allowed me to focus on this tricky fabric. It’s the slippiest thing I’ve ever sewn. Given my recent love affair with lining everything with a vent, that  accolade is saying something. I was also quite paranoid about it all stretching out of shape: with two front necklines, two front diagonals and a curved hem, there was ample potential for wonkiness. I went to work with the Vilene edge tape after cutting out each piece.

Purple Burda 042014 Side

I am bowled over by the change from boxy to beautiful, now I have a blouse shape that works with my figure as well as ticking my style boxes. I know I nailed the vision I had in my head for this blouse too.

Purple Burda 042014

I just need to convince Mr CC to take me out for cocktails now that I have something suitable to wear to a trendy cocktail bar!

10 Top Tips for a Bias Bound Neckline

Something that’s really nice to do on a light weight garment, such as a  Spring blouse, is to bias bind the neckline instead of using a facing.

Bias Binding a Neckline a

In the past, I have been shown a number of ways to sew bias binding to a neckline and the way I sew them now is an amalgamation of the best bits of each. I wanted to share my top tips to sewing a bias bound neckline. I have presumed that you’re familiar with this technique already but if not, a full tutorial will be available on Spread Your Wings and Craft soon.

1. Pinning Precision

Bias Binding a Neckline e

I start and stop pinning about 1 inch away from the center back of the neckline (my example here has a center back seam so it’s easier to know where to start and stop).

2. Flatten Any Potential Lumpy Bumpies

Bias Binding a Neckline g

I like to pay particular attention to ensure that the seam allowances of the shoulder seams are laying flat. Either pressed open or to the back for French seams (like the example above) will assist in achieving a smooth neckline result.

3. Resist the Temptation to Straighten

Bias Binding a Neckline f

The single most important rule (and if you only remember one of my top tips, remember this one) is to allow the neckline to keep its natural curve as it passes under your presser foot. Do you see in the photo above the part of the neckline waiting to be sewn up is curving naturally to the right? I allow it to do that and I don’t straighten it out with my hand. As the fabric goes under the presser foot, I gently pivot it so that as the neckline is sewn, the curve rotates gracefully. Think about the needle on a record… the record doesn’t straighten out but the needle follows the circular groove.

4. Pin With Precision

Bias Binding a Neckline h

To get the most precise guide as to where to sew the bias binding together to make a complete loop, pin the remaining parts to the neckline.

Bias Binding a Neckline i

Then pin the two loose ends of bias binding together right at the centre back seam.

Bias Binding a Neckline j

Remove the neckline pins but keep the pin through the two loose ends in place. Pull the neckline away gently and sew the bias binding together at this pin mark.

5. Achieve Balance

For a centre back seam that is pressed open or a garment with no centre back seam, press the seam allowance of the joined ends of bias binding open.

Bias Binding a Neckline l

If, however, you have a French seam at the centre back, press the bias binding to the opposite side as the French seam. This will avoid one side being too bulky and balance everything out at the neckline.

6. When Not to Follow the Fold Line

This is somewhat of a ‘fudge-it’ tip in case your bias binding went a little squiffy when the loose ends were sewn together – let’s face it, the mere fact it’s cut on the bias means it’s prone to going wonky!

Bias Binding a Neckline m

So if your join is slightly out (and I mean slightly, any more and it’s worth unpicking and re-sewing it),  blend your stitching line between the two instead of following one particular fold line.

7. A Thoughtfully Pressing Matter

Bias Binding a Neckline n

Think about the curve that the neckline will fit over on the body – steep and tight at the shoulder but fairly flat across the back. Using a tailor’s ham (or rolled up towel) position your neckline on an area that matches the 3D body and be prepared to move and adjust the pressing aid as you press different parts of the neckline.

8. Under Stitch for Uber Smart Results

Bias Binding a Neckline o

Under stitch the bias binding to the seam allowances (matching thread colour to the bias binding is my preference) to get an easy fold to the inside of the garment later. Just like tip 3, follow the natural curve of the neckline and don’t be tempted to straighten it out by hand.

Bias Binding a Neckline p

9. Pinning Perfectly

Unruly bias binding (usually ready made!) likes to unfold and ping open. You can tame even the most unruly and narrow bias bindings by pinning diagonally before sewing the final stage.

Bias Binding a Neckline t

10. Unpick but Just a Bit

Bias Binding a Neckline u

After sewing check all the way round for any puckers or folded over seam allowances. If you find any imperfections, unpick just the problem area and re-sew.

Bias Binding a Neckline w

Spring has Sprung as Burda Blossoms

Seriously, how ace was the April issue of Burda Style? I immediately spotted 3 patterns I wanted to make. I did a little Spring clean of my ‘to sew’  list and the wrap blouse 04/2014#115 was put in first place. The asymmetric front (I still don’t know why they called it a wrap blouse, it’s not wrap-like to me it’s asymmetric) and the wide hem that runs continuously from shoulder around the back to shoulder are exactly my style.

Burda 04/2014 #115

I had both a Spring-style day wear and something a little dressier for evening wear in mind for this pattern. First up is my Spring version made in the same cotton lawn as I made a my Berry Sorbetto in around this time last year (the print is rather Liberty Wiltshire-esq don’t you think?

Burda 042014 Front

There’s a hint of pulling from the shoulder to the bust. I think raising and angling the bust darts might fix this up for my next make. Also, the busy print is masking the asymmetric front somewhat so let me turn to one side so that you can see it more easily.

Burda 042014 Side

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Burda sizing and ease – according to the chart I spanned three different sizes for bust, waist and hips so I graded between these for my toile. The back was so voluminous, I had to take out 4 inches of excess from the back seam tapering to between my shoulder blades. I know this blouse was designed to be boxy but I’m not sure that shape really works for me.

Burda 042014 Back

Despite the boxiness, I am just as smitten with the asymmetric front and the wide hem as I was when I first flicked through the magazine. Plus my vision of an evening wear version in dressy (read difficult to sew) fabric of a single, rich colour must be brought to life. So, I am willing to tinker with this pattern to make it work for me but I do wonder when it’s less about fit and more about tweaking the silhouette is that betraying the original designer’s intentions? Have you ever had this dilemma?

Striped Scoop

I’ll spare you a whole paragraph of waffle about stashed fabric, the length of my to sew queue and the Stash Diet… yadda yadda yadda.

Scoop Tee

Let’s talk about the pattern instead: The scoop top is generously available as a free download with instructions from lovely Kristin of Skirt as Top. I went for the speedy approach: no measurements, cut out the one size pattern and skipped the pocket. The only care I took over this make was to match the stripes at the side and shoulder seams – my photographer (not my usual one, so big thanks to my cameo photographer for this) insisted that I show this stripe matching off and came up with an appropriate pose.

Scoop Tee Stripe Matching

I didn’t have any stay tape, twill tape, white ribbon or clear elastic in my stash so I used Kristin’s suggestion of cutting narrow strips of white light weight fusible interfacing to stabilise the shoulder seams. It works… not that I ever doubted Kristin’s advice!

Did you notice my button hair grips? My tutorial for this was posted yesterday on Spread Your Wings and Craft.

Contribute SYWAC

Stash Diet 2014: Quarter 1 Weigh-In

We are 3 months into Stash Diet 2014 and the slimming/weight jokes are still coming thick and fast with regards to the size of our stashes. I’m proud to report some promising first quarter activity.

This is how my stash was shaping up at the start of the year.

This is how my bulging stash looked at the start of the year. The photo is blurry because it was just about to topple over!

At the start of Stash Diet 2014, I had 13 pattern-fabric matched makes in my stash and I promised to sew these up before purchasing more fabric. I made 4 of the 13 matches (S4044 Trousers, Sage dip hem dress, Damson Gin dress, grey work skirt) and I haven’t made any fabric purchases this quarter, not even lining!

I took part in the Stash Diet Swap shedding 2 pieces of fabric, 1 batch of yarn and 1 pattern. I also received 1 piece of fabric (made into a Briar top) and 3 patterns.

And looking a little trimmer at the end of March.

Looking a little trimmer and an altogether more stable pile at the end of March.

And now it’s time for the weigh-in…

Stash-tistics at the end of Quarter 1:

Stash fabric height: 76cm (starting 90cm)
Stash fabric weight: 18.8kg
(starting 23.5kg)
Scrap fabric weight: 1.2kg
(starting 1.3kg)
Total stash weight: 20.0kg (starting 24.8kg)

That’s 4.8kg closer to my goal weight of 12.4kg and I’m keeping on top of the scraps too. More importantly, I haven’t bought any fabric so far this year – I know I’ve said that already but I’ve surprised myself so I’m enjoying bragging about this achievement. I expect this impressive start is due to sewing winter weight fabrics. Likely progress towards my goal will slow up as I transit from heavier winter weight fabric to lighter weights for spring/summer.

Giveaway Announcement

To celebrate one year of blogging I offered up a little parcel of goodies for guessing the name of my dressmaker’s dummy.

1st Anniversary Giveaway

If you managed to gather from my clue that the film was Thelma and Louise, you had a 50:50 chance of getting it right.

I call her Thelma.


There were 7 correct answers but only one name could be selected (by random number generator) to receive the goodies and that name was Lara of Dreaming of Avonlea.


Congratulations Lara, I can’t wait get these goodies in the post to you and to see what you make with them.

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments and well wishes for the 1st year anniversary of Clipped Curves.