Helpful Hints in Making the 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam

By Molly Hamilton
on June 25, 2020
2 comments

Helpful Hints in Making the 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam

I have long admired this dress design and was thrilled to finally get the opportunity to make it! The slim body hugging curves have an allure that make the 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam dress so captivating. This dress is a beautiful blend of Chinese tradition and urban Western influences that emerged in the late 1920’s. It has an undeniable glamour that conjures up all kinds of elegant notions. And for sewists, what makes this elegantly provocative silhouette even more appealing is how simple and easy it is to make!

This 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam dress pattern is a pleasure to make, plus it goes together amazingly fast. If you need a fabulous dress at short notice, this one can be done in just an afternoon's worth of sewing.

Woman standing outside, smiling, wearing a gold brocade Cheongsam

Now, that I have expressed the virtues of this dress, there are a few suggestions and hints I would like to share to make it even easier to sew.  I made this particular dress as a sample for Folkwear, modeled here by Esi, and it is a great example of some techniques that are helpful for this pattern and which can be applied to other garment sewing.  

I will be covering 1.) Using Directional Print/Design Fabric and 2.) Helpful Hints for Attaching Snaps

1.)  Using Directional Print/Design Fabric

The front and back pattern pieces are each cut on the fold, which makes this a simple dress to construct. The back of the dress is comprised of two pieces in one. Notice the upper Font G and Back B are all one piece. See Illustration 1 below.

So this dress is literally only two pieces - a front and a back (pictured below).  If you are using a solid fabric or a fabric with a non-directional print/design, this beautiful pattern has absolutely no issue what so ever.  However, if you are using a directional print or napped fabric, you will probably want to make a few changes, as we did with the dress in this post.  

Illustration of Hong Kong Cheongsam pattern Pieces Front A , Upper Front G, and Back B

If you are using a one-way-directional print/design (a pattern, print, design, or texture that runs up and down the fabric) as I have with this dress, then I have a few helpful hints to offer.

Matching the Pattern
The fabric I chose to use is made of a woven damask with a large one-way-directional pattern/design. Because the pattern is large, I decided that it was crucial that my front and back dress pieces be cut exactly the same, so the pattern would match at the side seams. It would look like a mistake if the pattern/design did not match at the side seams, especially considering how large the pattern/design is.

To address the matching, it made the most sense, to start laying and matching my pattern design from the bottom edges of both the Front A and Back B pattern pieces. I knew this would ensure that the sides seams would match. So far this is all straight forward. The Front A and Back B pieces match perfectly, having aligned the pattern working from the bottom edge of the dress up towards the shoulders.

Upside-Down?  No worries.

Because the upper front and back of the dress are cut as one piece, and the fabric I am using has a one-way-directional print/design, the upper front is going to be up-side-down when worn unless I make a change to the pattern.  This is because the back/upper front pattern piece goes over the shoulders from the back, meeting the front pattern piece at the chest.  So with a directional print/design, the upper front will actually look upside down.

Upside Down Fix

This issue of upper front being upside down can easily be remedied, by separating Upper Front G from Back B of the dress at the shoulder line indicated on the pattern.  We will need to create a shoulder seam.  All we need to do is cut the two pieces apart at the Shoulder Line and add 1/2 inch seam allowance at the shoulder line to both the Upper Front G and Back B pieces. See the illustration 2 below.

Illustration of Hong Kong Cheongsam pattern pieces Upper Front G and Back B separated at shoulder line and 1/2 inch seam allowance added to both pattern pieces

Woman, standing with back toward camera, in a gold brocade Cheongsam
You can see the shoulder seam here that allowed the front to be turned so the design would be correctly positioned on the front of the dress.

Reposition Upper Front G

Now, that Upper Front G has been detached from Back B, the Upper Front G pattern piece simply needs to be turned around and placed on the fabric, so the one-way-directional pattern/design of the fabric is not upside down. The two Upper Front G pattern pieces should be placed as mirror images as seen below in Illustration 3. You should have pattern pieces Front A, Back B, which will both be cut on the fold. And cut two of Upper Front G . See the illustration 3 below.


Illustration of Hong Kong Cheongsam pattern pieces Front A and Back B cut on fold. Upper Front G pattern pieces turned to correct direction and cut two.

Cut Out the Fabric

Now, that the pattern pieces are all sorted out, lets cut out the 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam dress. Place, and cut, pattern pieces Front A and Back B on the fold. Be sure to match the pattern/design from the bottom edges of both the Front A and Back B pattern pieces.

Cut two separate Upper Front G pattern pieces. In most cases you would probably want to make sure these pieces are also cut so the pattern is matching on each side.  Because of the mirrored-image pattern/design of my fabric, I decided to cut the two Upper Front G pieces as mirrored images of each other.

Once all your pattern pieces perfectly aligned, matched-up, and successfully cut out, your fabric pieces should look similar to the pieces below when Front A and Back B are unfolded. Notice how the pattern/design for the front and the back are the exact same.

The two Upper Front pieces should look something like what you see below. Of course, your pattern/design will be different from mine. See illustration 4 below.
Illustration of Hong Kong Cheongsam fabric pieces Front A, Back B  and Upper Front G cut out.

Now, continue to assemble your Hong Kong Cheongsam dress according to the pattern instructions.

woman standing outside wearing a gold brocade Cheongsam
You can see the upper front fabric design is right-side-up at the shoulder areas, matching the design alignment of the front piece of the dress.

 

2.)  Helpful Hints in Adding Front Hidden Snaps

Once the dress is constructed, the two pieces consisting of the front of the dress need to be secured to each other. Front A and Upper Front G become one to complete the interesting front design of the dress. The front of the dress opens and closes along the curved edges of Front A and Upper Front G, with hidden snaps to secure.  Adding a bit of fusible interfacing will help the snaps work better and allow the front pieces to lay flatter.  

Sandwich a small piece of fusible interfacing (about 1"x1") between the wrong side of Front Facing C and the wrong side of Front A as seen in the photo below.  Position the piece of interfacing under where each snap will be sewn down. This bit of interfacing will help to catch the needle and thread when sewing on the snaps. The idea is to keep any sign of the underneath snaps invisible on the front of the dress.

Photo of reinforcing fusible interfacing applied to Front A of Hong Kong Cheongsam.A bit of fusible interfacing helps to prevent catching the right side fabric of the front of the dress when sewing on the snaps.

Note: I have faced the Front Facing C with white interfacing. It is perfectly acceptable to turn the Front Facing C edge under using the 1/2 inch seam allowance as the pattern suggests.

Photo of reinforcing fusible interfacing applied to Front A and sewn on snaps applied to Front Facing C of Hong Kong Cheongsam.A reinforcing piece of fusible interfacing positioned under the snap.

Another technique to help prevent snaps from damaging your fabric is to add a scrap of fabric directly under each part of the snap.  Each snap consists of two pieces that mate together when closed. Cut a small round of scrap fabric to place directly under each mate piece of the snap for a bit of reinforcement and protection. The back if the snap can be sharp and with enough detaching and reattaching of the snaps over time, the friction can damage the fabric.

Up close photo of reinforcing fabric under sewn on snap on Front Facing of Hong Kong Cheongsam.Stitch the snap using a whip or blanket stitch, being sure to catch just a bit of the fusible interfacing underneath.

Align both mate pieces of the snaps and secure using a small scrap of fabric to strengthen and protect the fabric of the dress.

Photo detail of snap being sewn on Front A of Hong Kong Cheongsam.Snap mate being stitched on the dress with a scrap of fabric for reinforcement.

Depending on the size of the snaps you use, will in part determine how many snaps you use.  You may find using a larger number of tiny snaps is preferred over using a smaller number of larger snaps depending on the weight of your fabric. More tiny snaps tend to work well on lighter weight fabrics and larger snaps tend to work better on heavier fabrics.

Photo detail of sewn on hidden snap closed with reinforcing fabric on Hong Kong Cheongsam.

Snap mates all aligned and reinforced with a scrap of fabric underneath each snap mate. 

After you get all your snaps sewn on, be sure to have a look at the decorative frog closure instructions included in the pattern. I made the easy frog closures out of black satin rat-tail. Remember that the frog closure are meant to be decorative, so put a utilitarian hidden snap closure under or nearly under the frog closure to be sure the two frog closure mates stay securely in place when closed.

woman standing outside wearing a gold brocade Cheognsam

I hope you find the thoughts and hints I have provided in this blog to be helpful. Sometimes, even though a pattern can be very simple to construct, being aware of a few little details can make all the difference in how pleasurable the project goes and how well it turns out. There is so much to know when it comes to sewing, therefore it is my hope and intention to provide you with as much frustration-saving-advice as I can think to provide.

As always, everyone at Folkwear hopes you are all well. We look most forward to seeing what you create using Folkwear Patterns. Hope you give the 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam dress a try!

Sew Well,

Cynthia

 

 

211 Middy Blouse Sew Along: Day Five

By Molly Hamilton
on June 23, 2020

211 Middy Blouse Sew Along: Day Five

Day 5:  Making the neck tie

Throughout history some items of clothing have had design elements built into them that serve a well thought out purpose.  Each subtle details of the Middy Blouse View B (from 211 Two Middies pattern) is unique and has a function of its own. The distinctive collar served as extra protection from the sun on the shoulders of seamen. The pocket could hold any number of things, the scarf provides a cloth to wipe the brow or tie back ones hair, and the tab holds the scarf in place. The hip band provides an alternative to tucking the shirttail in a bottom garment waistband, which allows for comfort and ease of movement while looking finished and tidy. The Middy Blouse View B is loaded with details that create a balanced aesthetic. No matter what detail captures your attention first, this Middy Blouse design has so much to offer.

There is one more element to be added if you so choose, and is included in the pattern. The Middy is hardly complete without the useful and charming detail of the Pencil Scarf or Triangular Scarf. Even if you do not pair a scarf with a Middy Blouse, knowing how to make a scarf is a useful and easy skill. Scarfs are the decorative and utilitarian accessory perfect to wear with all kinds of outfits!

Close up photo of Pencil Scarf for Middy Blouse View B.

Fabrics That Make Good Scarfs

Scarfs can be made from any fabric, it just depends on the aesthetic you prefer. You may want a flowing look or a stiffer look, but a light- to medium-weight fabric is going to be best. I have chosen to use a piece of white cotton lawn to make a pencil scarf to accessorize my Middy Blouse View B. Rummage about in your fabric stash or even your scrap bin to find the perfect bit to make a new accessory!

Other fabrics work well too!  Try cotton voil, cotton lawn, handkerchief linen, silk noil, silk haboti, silk charmeuse, organza, stretch velvet, georgette, knits, rayon, gauze, flannel, etc. Basically, any fabric that will tie, knot, or drape is a good choice.

Do consider that fabrics that have an obvious right and wrong side might not be the best choice as both sides will be seen when worn.

Make a Triangular Scarf

It is fun and easy to make a simple scarf.  A scarf can be the focal point of any ensemble and made from endless combinations of fabrics and edge finishing details.

A scarf can be made small or large or any size in between, and can elevate the look of so many items in your wardrobe.

Note that the measurement of your scarf can be anything you choose depending on desire and application and how much fabric you have.

The instructions below recommend using a measurement of 36"x 36", which utilizes just the right amount of fabric to provide not only a interesting visual touch, but can lend a bit of protection and comfort when the elements require it.  

Start with a square piece of fabric measuring 36" x 36" square. Use the illustration below to guide you through the process.

Starting at the top right corner, fold the cloth on the diagonal, matching the bottom left corner. Press to create a crease. Then unfold to reveal the crease. Use the crease as a cutting guide.

Or use a straight edge to draw a diagonal line from opposite corners to create a cutting guide. Cut the diagonal line to create two separate triangles to make two scarfs (one for you and one to share!).

Make A Longer Pencil Scarf

The height of the Roaring Twenties was the heyday of the Middy Blouse. This popular look was finished off with an accessory referred to as the Pencil Scarf or "silks" that were worn under the sailor collar of the Middy Blouse and pulled through the tab below the front opening.

This version of the scarf is cut on the bias. Fabric cut on the bias has a bit of stretch, resulting an easy drape around the neck. But that does not mean you could not utilize any long straight piece of fabric to make a tie.

The pencil scarf is perfect for knotting, tying in a bow, looping loosely, wrapping around the neck or waist, or simply hanging open... whether cut on the bias or on the straight grain.

The illustration below shows how to make a bias cut scarf from a rectangular piece of fabric. Fold a rectangle of fabric as demonstrated in the illustration bellow to create a bias strip, using the folded creases as a guide. Note you can make the bias strip that will become your scarf any width your fabric will allow. Make a wide scarf, make a skinny scarf... the possibilities are endless!

This illustrated instruction uses a rectangular piece of fabric measuring 50" x 36" which will make a scarf measuring 3-1/2 inches wide and approximately 51 inches long.  Adjusting the measurement of your fabric will allow you to change the length, or width, of your scarf.

Fold the left bottom corner up to match the top edge of the fabric. Press to make a crease.

Unfold the the fabric to reveal the first crease.

Fold the right top corner down to match the bottom edge of the fabric. Press to make a crease.


Unfold the the fabric to reveal the second crease.

Cut along the guide lines created by folding the creases or draw a cutting guide line using a straight edge. The bias cut strip in the center is the Pencil Scarf. 

Note: I cut the length of my Pencil Scarf to make it shorter.

 

Finishing Scarf Edges

Once you have cut a piece of fabric to make a scarf all you have to do is finish the edges. The edge finishing is a great place to have fun and get creative.  You can make it quick and easy, or take time with hand sewing.  Finishing edges is a perfect opportunity to get creative and really customize your look. Use a contrasting thread to give your scarf an unexpected pop of color or use a subtle color for a softer look.

Use your imagination and have a look in your materials stash for a bit of inspiration. Any number of materials could be use to finish your scarf edges. Some possible choices to consider would be: embroidery thread, sewing thread, yarn, seam binding, lace, or soft ribbon. Another option would be to simply turn  the raw edge under a couple of time and stitch in place. Leaving the edges raw or creating a frayed edge has a look of its own. Once again the options are endless and only limited by your imagination.

Adding an edge finishing touch can be done by hand, sewing machine, or serger. Any hand embroidery stitch, such as a blanket stitch would be a charming touch. A zig-zag stitch made on a sewing machine would be quick and easy. Applying a bit of lace to any scarf edges could be done with a simple whip stitch by hand or an edge stitch sewn on a machine.

I have chosen to use a very easy and quick rolled hem made on my serger.

 


Making a rolled edge on the serger to finish my scarf edges.

 

Photo of finished tie used with finished Middy Blouse View B

Never overlook a scrap of fabric again!

 

Thank You for joining me in making Folkwear's newly released 211 Two Middy Blouse Pattern. I hope you found my thoughts and processes in making these two charming blouses useful. Folkwear is very excited to offer this pattern once again and we would love to see what you create! I look forward to making and doing with you again.

Stitch well,

Cynthia

 

211 Middy Blouse Sew Along: Day Four

By Molly Hamilton
on June 22, 2020

woman standing outside in summer, wearing a straw hat and blue middy blouse

Today we are finishing up View B from 211 Two Middies, sewing the sleeves and hip band.  Check out Days 1 (prep), Day 2 (View A), and Day 3 (starting View B).

Let's get to finishing up View B!

I can not tell you how excited I become when a garment I am working on, finally starts to take shape. I am happy to say that I am most pleased with my Middy Blouse View B results thus far. I so hope you are equally pleased with your project as well. We will be finishing up this version of the Middy Blouse by adding the sleeves and hip band, plus some finishing top-stitching and pleat details.

To finish up the making of the Middy Blouse View B, we will be using the remaining pattern pieces:  Front Sleeve M, Back Sleeve N, Cuff O, and Hip Band P.  Take notice that there is a women's and men's Cuff O and Hip Band P. 

Below are the remaining pattern pieces we will be working with.

Illustration of Middy Blouse View B pattern pieces Front Sleeve M, Back Sleeve N, Cuff O, and Hip Band

Final Pattern Adjustments Before Cutting Out Your Fabric

If you have not already done so, trace and cut out the remaining pattern pieces and make any adjustments required. We made grading adjustments in Day Three of the Sew Along to Front G and Back H of View B. If you made adjustments to the sides of the front an back of your blouse edges, you will need to make the same grading adjustment to Hip Band P with this Sew Along.

Grade the Hip band

To grade Hip Band P, add new strips of tracing paper to either side of the Hip Band P and secure with tape. Draw a horizontal line straight off the top and bottom edges on each side of the Hip Band P.  Since we added 1/4 inch to each side of the front and back, we will add 1/4 inch to both sides of the Hip Band P.  See the illustration below.

Illustration of grading the Hip band for Middy Blouse View BHow to easily grade the Hip band P. 

 

Simple Sleeve Width Grading

I have decided to grade the width of the sleeve pieces and cuff for a bit more room as well. The pleats could have been eliminated on the sleeve to garner more room, but I really like the look of the pleats and did not want to loose them.  I added an extra 1/4 inch to the bottom edges of the front and back sleeve pieces and 1/4 inch to either side of the cuff. I graded my sleeve pieces and the cuff as demonstrated in the illustration below.

Illustration of grading the front sleeve, back sleeve, and sleeve band for Middy Blouse View B.

Use a hip curve or French curve to create a smooth continuous drawn line (the blue line in illustration) connecting the added measurement at the bottom edge with the tip of the sleeve edge. Do the same for the front sleeve and the back sleeve. the idea is to only add width to the bottom of the sleeve and leave the edge of the arm pit undisturbed. 

How to Lengthen or Shorten Your Sleeves

The sleeve can easily be made longer or shorter, depending on your requirements. Use the line labeled "lengthen or shorten here" for lengthening or shortening. I decided to lengthen my sleeve by 1/2 inch.

Simply cut on the "lengthen or shorten here" line  to separate the sleeve into two pieces. Then insert another piece of tracing paper behind the two original sleeve pattern pieces, to will allow for the increase. Be sure the extra tracing paper is big enough to provide enough overlap on the back side to secure to the original pattern pieces with tape. A bit of tape added to the front side will help as well. Draw a line to connect the two separated pieces of the sleeve. Trim any access tracing paper away. Now the sleeve pattern has been lengthened and ready to use.

Illustration on how to lengthen the front and back sleeve pattern pieces by 1/2 inch.

To shorten the sleeve length, simply fold your pattern piece up making a pleat equal to one-half the amount you wish to shorten. tape it or pin in place to secure. There is no need to cut your pattern piece, simply pin or tape it in place. Keep it in tact for future use.

The Remaining Cut Out Fabric Pieces

Cut out all the remaining pattern pieces - two of each - if you haven't already. Your remaining fabric pieces should look like the illustration below.

 Illustration of all fabric pieces used in Day Four of Middy Blouse View B.se

Be sure to mark the right side of each of your cut out fabric pieces. Mark all instructional markings, such as the notches and pleats. It is not necessary to mark the button placement on the Hip Band. The button placement will depend on the size button you use and it is easy enough to measure the placement out when the time comes.

Step Three: Sleeves and Side Seams

The sleeve construction for this version of the Middy Blouse View B is comprised of a front and a back sleeve, along with a very simple, yet clever, cuff to finish the sleeve off. The sleeve quickly and easily attaches to the body of the blouse while laying flat. 

First, make the pleats before sewing the front and back sleeve piece together.

The construction for the men and women's sleeve differs only in that the women's version has pleats and the men's does not.  

Only the Women's Sleeve Gets the Pleats

Working on the right side, using the transfer markings for the pleat on both the Front Sleeve M and Back Sleeve N. Fold the pleat to the outside edge, matching markings, pin to secure, and press into place. Baste the pleat down just inside the 1/2 inch seam allowance to hold it in place. 

Photo of pleats made on sleeve edge.

Pleat on sleeve folded to the outside edge of the sleeve, pressed and baste stitched in place.

Now that the pleats are made, sew the the sleeve front and back together. With right sides together, matching the notches on the straight sides of each sleeve, pin and stitch together using the 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Press open and finish seams, or finish seams together and press toward the back of the sleeve.

It is easy to get the sleeves confused and not realize it until it is time to sew the sleeves onto the body of the blouse. Ask me how I know? This is why marking the right sides of your fabric pieces is always a good idea. 

 Front Sleeve M and Back Sleeve N pinned right sides together.

Front Sleeve M and Back Sleeve N pinned right sides together.

 

Wrong side of sleeve with seams pressed open.

Wrong side of sleeve with seams pressed open.

Due to the light weight of the handkerchief linen fabric I used to make my Middy Blouse View B, I decided to top-stitch on either side of the sleeve seam to create some extra strength and to add a bit of structural body to the sleeve. The top-stitching also anchors the seam allowance on the wrong side of the sleeve.

I chose to make my top-stitch with a thread that matches my linen fabric. A contrasting top-stitch thread could just as easily been used for a more contrasting and decorative design element. In this case I really like the subtle but addition detail that top-stitching lends. I used my ever so handy blind hem presser foot as a guide to accomplish this neat and easy detail.

Top-stitching on either side of the seam of sleeve using blind hem pressor foot.

Top-stitching on either side of the sleeve seam with blind hem presser foot as a guide.

Add the cuff to the Sleeve

Now that the sleeve is constructed, lets add the cuff. Do take note that adding the cuff is a bit different than expected... pleasantly so! The finishing work is easily done before sewing the sleeve to the body of the blouse.

With right side of the cuff to the wrong side of the sleeve, match the notch and edges. Ease the cuff and the sleeve into place and pin to secure. Stitch at the 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Pinning cuff to the sleeve for Middy Blouse View B.

Cuff pinned to sleeve.

A Thought on Easing & Pinning

You may notice that I sometimes use a lot of pins and wonder why?  This is a habit that ensures things stay where they are intended. When adding the cuff to the sleeve there is a fair amount of easing the pieces into alignment, so they fit together properly. If the pieces do not fit right, then the fabric will pucker and get caught up on itself when stitched. I like to take the extra time on the front end of tasks to help with my success rate, so I can keep moving forward. With all the time and attention this process takes, I pin a lot to help reduce the amount of do overs.

Easing needs to occur when two pieces meant to fit together don't. As in the this case, the cuff in a tad longer than the sleeve. This is in not an unusual occurrence in sewing and is often done on purpose to create dimensionality in the finished garment.  

To make easing the cuff and sleeve together easier, start by aligning the notches first. Then work at aligning the outer edges. Being sure the 1/2 inch seam allowance intersections (Addressed in Day Three), align properly.  

Think of the notch as an anchor that should not move. Pin it down first. Consider the outer edges as solid anchors too. Pin them down. Start easing and pining on either side of the notch. I like to divide the section I am trying to ease in half. Working in halves until the section is all eased into place and secured with lots of pins! This task takes a bit of time, but it pays off by creating a nice smooth fit that is a pleasure to sew, with no fiddling.

Back to Finishing the Cuff

After stitching the cuff to the sleeve, press the seam towards the cuff. Turn the remaining long edge of the cuff under 1/2 inch. Then, fold the cuff in half, having the folded edge cover the stitched seam.  Make sure both cuffs are the same width.  You can fold the cuff up as far as you like, making a wider cuff, as long as the stitched seam does not show on the right side of the fabric.  Top-stitch to secure the cuff to the sleeve and to create a neat clean finish all in one go! 

Photo demonstrating how cuff is to be turned up on itself for Middy Blouse View B.

Cuff sewn to sleeve edge, seam pressed towards the cuff, and cuff edge turned under 1/2 inch.

Sleeve cuff turned and and pinned for Middy Blouse View B.

The cuff folded in half and pinned to the sleeve.

View of right side of cuff pinned to sleeve of Middy Blouse View b and ready to top-stitch into place.

Another view if the cuff pinned to the sleeve and ready to be top-stitched in place. Notice the crisp cuff edge.

The nice thing about this cuff design is that the hemming is already done before the sleeve is even attached to the blouse.

View of finished top-stitching of sleeve cuff for Middy Blouse View B.

Top-stitch to secure the cuff to the sleeve and to create a neat clean finish all at once.

Add Sleeves to the Blouse

With right sides together, match notches 7 and 8. Ease into alignment and pin to secure. The Sleeve Back H (the smaller sleeve piece) should be positioned at the Blouse Back H.  Stitch on the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press the sleeve according to how you are finishing the seams, and finish the seams. The sleeve is now set. How easy!

Middy Blouse View B sleeve pinned to blouse body.

Sleeve pinned at body matching notches 7 & 8. 

 

I have pressed the seam towards the sleeve and top-stitch the sleeve edge to add the reinforcing details top-stitching provides.

Top-stitching to secure the edge of the sleeve on Middy Blouse View B.

Sleeve edge top-stitched to add reinforcing detail.

Side Seams

The blouse is about to become a functioning garment now!  With right sides together, match the under arm seams and pin into place. Match the sleeves at the cuff edge and pin in place. Match the box, above the vent opening, and pin in place. Stitch the side seam on the 1/2 inch seam allowance, from the cuff edge to the vent box, back stitching at each end to secure. Press the seams open and finish.

Pinning the side seam of Middy Blouse View B from the vent box to the sleeve edge.

Side seams pinned and ready to be sew up.

 The Vent

The vent serves as an opening at the bottom of the blouse where the hip band is connected. Because this is a pull-on-over-the-head design, the vent helps with easier access as well as being a lovely detail. Once the hip band is applied the effect is useful and distinct.

With the seams pressed open, turn the seam allowance under 1/4 inch and press. Turn again another 1/4 inch. Press and stitch close to the turned edge to secure. Create a horizontal stitch at the top of the box or vent opening to reinforce. Due to the pull-on-over-the-head design, this small area above the vent becomes a stress point, so it is best to give it a bit of extra strength with a few back stitches.

Construction of the vent on Middy Blouse View B and the side seam pressed open.

 

Step Four: Hip Band and Finishing

The pleats at the bottom edge of the blouse are a quiet complement to the pleats on the sleeve. Note that there is one pleat on each side, both front and back of the Middy Blouse View B for women. And there are two pleats on each side, both front and back of the Middy Blouse View B for men

Use the pattern placement guide for the pleats. Working on the right side of the blouse, fold the pleat towards the outside edge, match the pleat edges. Press to create a crisp fold to the pleat. Pin and baste the pleat in place inside the seam allowance. Do this for all the pleats on the front of the blouse and the back of the blouse.

Pleat pinned and baste stitched in place on the edge of the Middy Blouse view B.

 

Hip Band

The Hip Band is the final piece to be attached and our blouse will be assembled! With right sides together, fold the Hip band in half lengthwise on the center fold and press.  Stitch the short ends on the 1/2 inch seam allowance. I have pinned the length and the short ends to ensure everything lines up straight, before I press . . . just in case.

Hip Band folded in half and pinned together for sewing for Middy Blouse View B.Hip Band pinned to ensure all edges are straight. 

The Hip band for Middy Blouse View B pinned and short ends sewn together.Pin the short ends and stitch the short ends on the 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Trim the excess seam allowance and the corner tips to create crisp corners and edges when turning to the right side.  

Photo of trimming excess seam allowance on short end of Hip band for turning on Middy Blouse View B.

Seam allowance trimmed away.

Clipped corner to help create corner for Middy Blouse View B

Corner edge trimmed carefully to help create a crisp corner when turned right side out.

With the hip band turned right side out it is time to do the final pressing before attaching the hip band to the blouse edge.  Press the bottom folded edge of the hip band, and press the side seams.

 Hip band for Middy Blouse View B turned, pressed, and pinned.

Hip Band turned right side out and pinned again to align before the final pressing.

Sometimes the corners need a little help to crisp up the edges. It can be a simple as pulling the seam stitching out with a straight pin or needle. Perform this technique gently to prevent distorting the straight edge of your work.

Demonstrating how use a straight pin to gently pull the seam to shape a crisp corner on the hip band for the Middy Blouse View B.

Using a straight pin to gently pull the seam to shape a crisp corner.

View of rolled and pressed edge of hip band edge for Middy Blouse View B.
 

Press, rolling the seam to the wrong side slightly.  This will keep the seam from being seen on the right side of the garment.

Attaching the Hip Band

Attaching the hip band to the blouse is the same technique used in attaching the cuff to the sleeve. If you were surprised to find how nicely the cuff and sleeve went together, you will be equally please with this next step.

To attach the Hip band to the bottom edge of the blouse, match and pin right side of Hip Band to the wrong side of the blouse. The Hip Band is meant to sit on the hips loosely and the blouse edge billow softly on the band. As you align and pin, ease the two pieces if necessary. Stitch into place using the 1/2 inch seam allowance and press the seam towards the hip band. 

Pin right side of Hip Band to the wrong side of the blouse for Middy Blouse View B.
Pin right side of Hip Band to the wrong side of the blouse.

 

Seam pressed towards the hip band for Middy Blouse View B.

Seam pressed towards the hip band.

 

Fold under the raw edge of the hip band 1/2 inch. This turned under edge should slightly cover the stitch line. Use the stitch line as a guide, but also measure the depth of your hip band to be sure this measurement is consistent across the length of the hip band. Measure from the bottom edge of the hip band to the turned under edge to ensure a consistent depth. You do not want one end of your hip band shorter than the other. Pin the turned under edge as you go.

Turning edge of hip band under 1/2 inch and pinning in place for Middy Blouse View B.

Turning edge of hip band under 1/2 inch.

Another view of turned under edge of hip band on Middy Blouse View B.

Another view of the turned under edge.

The hip band pinned onto the Middy Blouse View B.

The hip band all pined down and ready for top-stitching.

The pressed turned under edge creates a crisp edge on the Middy Blouse View B hip band.

Press the turned under edge to create a crisp edge.

 

Finishing the Hip Band

One of the things I like most about the Middy Blouse View B design, is how the finishing of the edges happens so easily and neatly. This is a technique that can be applied to other sewing projects as well. So, make a note, as to what you learned in applying the sleeve cuffs and the hip band, in this project. It is often handy to have alternative and smart techniques for finishing, cuffs, hip bands, and waistbands.

The top-stitching serves as a finishing stitch, as well as a construction stitch. Sew a top-stitch close to the pressed edge using a blind hem presser foot as a guide. Remember to remove the pins as you stitch to them. The blind hem presser foot does not hurdle the pins very well, which will disturb the clean finishing stitches. A final top-stitch does all the work.

Finishing top-stitching detail on the hip band of the Middy Blouse View B.

Final Top-Stitching on the hip band.

Final Button Detail

Make the button holes on each side, of the front of the hip band edges. Your buttonholes placement will depend on the size and the number of buttons you decide upon, but our pattern suggests 3 half inch buttons.  Sew and secure the buttons on the right side of the back hip band.  Sew buttonholes on the front hip band on each side.

Photo of three button holes one the hip band of the Middy Blouse View B.

Three buttonholes on the front edges of the hip band.

Three mother of pearl button sewn on the Middy Blouse View B.

Three Mother-of-Pearl buttons are the final touch on the hip band.

Detailed View Of Buttons on hip band of Middy Blouse View B.

Another up close look at the hip band button detail.

I hope you are as pleased with your Middy Blouse View B results as I am. This blouse has so many details that blend together beautifully to make an interesting piece that invites closer inspection to fully appreciate all it has to offer.

Finished front view of the Middy Blouse View B

Finished Middy Blouse View B

 

Back of Middy Blous View B.

Back View Of Middy Blouse View B.

 

The last day of the sew along is tomorrow!  We will finish with the neck tie - a perfect compliment to this shit.

 

 

211 Middy Blouse Pattern Sew Along: Day Three

By Molly Hamilton
on June 21, 2020

211 Middy Blouse Pattern Sew Along: Day Three

For day three of the 211 Two Middies Sew Along, we are doing to start on View B of the pattern - cutting out the pattern, fabric, and begin on the front/back, neck and collar.  Check out Day 1 and Day 2 of the Sew Along!

This much-loved Middy blouse design (View B from 211 Two Middies pattern) has become synonymous with the iconic nautical aesthetic that came into being in the early 1920's and has endured over a century later. It's popularity continues because not only of its carefree charm, but it is as practical to wear, as it is comfortable. The multiple details of this blouse add so much character to what is actually a very easy blouse to make. The well proportioned iconic collar is the initial detail that sets this blouse apart from other over-the-head-pull-on tops. The unique sleeve construction and hip band with subtle pleats, are not only easy to execute, but worthy of closer inspection.

Once you realize how easy and quick this blouse is to make, you will most likely adopt this Middy Blouse as a new staple in your wardrobe. I am very excited to be sharing the making of this blouse with you, for it is a favorite, that I make nearly every season!

Trace the pattern pieces for the front of the Middy Blouse View B.

Trace the pattern pieces for the front of the Middy Blouse View B.

Let's get started! For today's Sew Along, we will concentrate on the making of the front of the blouse.

First, trace and/or cut out View B pattern pieces:  Front G and Back H,  Front Facing I, Tab J, Pocket K, Collar (& Facing) L.  

You can also cut out the other pieces to this pattern at this time: Sleeve Pieces M and N; Hip Band P; and Cuff O.   We will be using these pieces in tomorrow's Sew Along installment.  There are different hip band and cuffs for men's and women's sizes, so make sure you cut the one you want to use.

Pattern Pieces needed for Middy Blouse View B

Pattern Pieces needed for Middy Blouse View B

 

Making Pattern Adjustments and Preparing Fabric for Cutting

Before pining your pattern pieces to your fabric, take a moment to consider any sizing adjustments you might like to make. While a size small fits me just fine through the bust measurement, I have decided to make a bit of an adjustment to the width of the bottom of the blouse where it joins to the hip band. A little bit more width at the bottom would allow for a tad more room, therefore easier wearing. I am going to make this adjustment to the pattern pieces I have already traced and cut out. These adjustments could just as easily be made before cutting out the traced pattern. 

Pattern Grading Adjustment

This adjustment is easily accomplished with a simple technique referred to as "grading" between sizes.  This simple and subtle grading technique only deals with adding a bit of width added in the side seams.

Adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance at the side seams of the blouse bottom edge (both front & back), as well on the side seam edges of the hip band will add about an inch to the width at the hips, grading the hip size to between a size Small and Medium.  

When making adjustments, do so on a traced pattern. It is always a good idea to keep the original pattern intact. 

Start by adding a new piece of tracing paper to the back of pattern pieces Front G and Back H. Add extra tracing paper that is large enough to make the adjustment needed. Secure the new strip of tracing paper to the pattern piece with a bit of tape on the back side. You may want to tape on the front too.

With the new strip of tracing paper securely in place, draw a horizontal line straight off the bottom edge of Front G and Back H. Then add the measurement width required depending on the size you are making. For my blouse I am adding a measurement of 1/4 inch to the bottom edge of Front G and Back H. 

Illustration grading side seams for pattern Piece G Front & H Back for Middy Blouse View B

Using a straight edge ruler, draw a straight line connecting the arm pit curve point to the 1/4 inch measurement increase just made. The original edge of the blouse is a straight 90 degree angle, so this grading line is subtle and does not change the shape of the blouse or the drape in a noticeable manner. 

Cut Pattern Pieces from the Fabric.

Note that I am only pinning the pattern pieces we are using for this portion of the Sew Along. The other pieces will be featured in the next Sew Along Day 4. Go ahead and cut all your pattern pieces at this time if you like.

You will cut one each, on the fold, of Front G and Back H; one each of Front Facing I, Pocket K, and Tab J; two each of Collar and Facing L, Sleeve pieces M & N, Hip Band P, and Cuffs O.  Do not cut the slash line on the Front or Front Facing.  We will do this in another step. 

 

Illustration showing what front and collar of Middy blouse View A should look like once cut from the pattern.

Your fabric pieces should look like this illustration.

 

Step One: The Front Of Middy Blouse B

The detail elements (pocket, tab, and front facing) on the Middy Blouse View B all have a function and add interesting charm. The Front Facing is sewn on as a re-enforcing detail that will only be seen near the collar on the front side of the blouse. The Pocket and Tab details are prepared and applied to the front before the shoulder seams of Front G and Back H are assembled.

Prepare and Add the Front Facing 

To ensure a neat and clean turned under edge for the Front Facing, simply create a turning guide using a straight stitch along the 1/4 inch seam allowance. Do not back stitch at the beginning or end of the stitching as this will allow you to easily remove the stitching when finished. Turn under the side edges and curve toward the wrong side of the fabric. Clip around the curve, as needed and only to the stitching, so that the turned under fabric will lay down smoothly and flat. Press to create a smooth crisp edge. Once the edges are turned under and pressed, the stitching guide line can be removed.

With right sides together, pin the Front Facing to Front G. Match the center opening slash line and the boxes matching your size, at the bottom of the slash line.

Sew a straight stitch, 1/4 inch on either side of the slash line, tapering at the bottom to the box.  

Pinning the front facing to the center front of Middy Blouse View B.


An illustration of the stitch line and slash line have been added for clarity.

With small scissors carefully cut the slash line to the box.  Do not cut into or beyond, the stitch line. You may or may not want to carefully clip away a small amount of the excess seam allowance (if your fabric is loosely woven skip the clipping). 

Photo of cut slash line front facing of Middy Blouse View B.

Turn the facing to the wrong side of Front G. Using your fingers to help shape the edges and the bottom curve and press. 

Front facing of Middy Blouse View B turned to wrong side and pinned in place.

Secure and neatly finish off the facing on the inside, or wrong side, of the blouse by hand stitching or topstitching on the sewing machine right at the edge of the facing. The stitching happens on the wrong side of the blouse, using the Front Facing edge as a guide. I have chosen to top-stitch on the sewing machine. Remember, the top-stitching will be seen on the right side, so take your time to help ensure a nice finish. 

Using sewing machine to top-stitching front facing to wrong side of front of Middy Blouse View B.

 

Make Tab J 

To make the Tab J, fold lengthwise with right sides together. This time stitch a 1/4 inch seam allowance along the long edge and one of the short edges. Trim the seam allowance to make turning easier and eliminate bulk, then turn the tab right side out.  Tuck the remaining short side raw edge under, and press.

Making of Middy Blouse view B tab stitched before turning.

Using the the markings on pattern piece Front G, apply the finished Tab by top-stitching down on the short edges. Be sure to back stitch a few times to secure and reinforce the tab.

Make Pocket K 

Using the guide on the pattern, turn and press under 1/2 inch at the top of Pocket K. Turn under another 1/2 inch and press again for a total of a one inch.  Press to create a crisp edge. Stitch a topstitch close to the pressed edge to finish the top edge of the pocket.

Fold the remaining edges under 1/2 inch and press, but do not top-stitch. The remaining top-stitching comes a bit later when the pocket is sewn to the blouse front.

Pocket edges turned to wrong side.

Note: If adding any details or embellishments to the pocket, do so before the pocket is applied to the blouse.  We will be covering embellishments on the last day of the sew along, so stay tuned if you are planning to add any details.

Add Pocket and Tab Details to the Blouse Front

Next, position and pin the pocket to the left side of Front G, as indicated on the pattern, or in the position that suits you. Be sure all the raw edges are turned under and neatly pressed. Pin the pocket to the blouse front. Top-stitch close to the pressed edge and pivot at the bottom point and corners. Back stitch at the beginning and end to secure.  You can also re-enforce the top corners by stitching a small rectangle or triangle.  

Position the tab according to the placement on the pattern, centering under the front slash opening, and pin into place. Secure the tab in place and re-enforce the sides by stitching the short ends of the tab several times.

Pocket pinned into place on front of Middy Blouse View B.

 

Step Two: The Shoulder Seams and Collar

With all the Front G details made, the shoulder seams are sewn up next. With right sides together pin the shoulder seams, matching the notches of Front G and Back H.  Stitch on the 1/2 inch seam allowance, and press the seams to the back of the blouse, and finish.

I have chosen to finish the seams together in this blouse, and therefore all seams will be pressed in one direction, which is normally to the back of the garment.

Shoulder seams of Middy Blouse View b pinned together.

After having pressed the shoulder seams, I decided to top-stitch the seam right at the edge. This is often a prudent exercise, for the top-stitching not only holds the seam allowance towards the back of the garment. But it also creates some strength at a stress point, especially for a thin weight fabric like the handkerchief linen I am using to make View B.  You can also finish the shoulder seam with a serger before stitching it down.  This creates what is often called a faux flat-felled seam.

Top-stitching shoulder seam of Middy Blouse View B using blind hem pressor foot.

A blind hem stitch presser foot is an excellent tool for top-stitch along an edge.

The Collar

The blouse is coming along, but the addition of the collar is the point where the blouse really starts to take shape.

If adding any details or embellishments to the collar, do so while the collar is two separate pieces. It is much easier to work with flat fabric and before the two collar pieces are pined and sewn together. Be sure that any embellishments or details do not fall with in the seam allowance, unless this is your intention.  We will be covering embellishments in the last day of our sew along, so stay tuned!

With right sides together, pin all un-notched edges of the collar. Leaving the neck open for turning right side out. This opening in the collar is where the collar attaches to the back neck edge and the front side edges. Stitch at the 1/2 inch seam allowance, back stitch when pivoting at the corners for reinforcement. This will help maintain the corners when the seams are turned right side out. Trim the seam allowances and turn right side out. Press the edges, being sure to roll the edges slightly to the underneath side of the collar. This will create a neat finish, which is also a simple, but telling  tailoring technique.  This "underneath" side of the collar is called the facing (or collar facing).  

Under and upper collar of Middy Blouse View B pinned right sides together.Collar edges all pined and ready to be sewn up.

With right sides together, match and pin the center back notch of only the underneath side of the collar, or collar facing, to the center back neck notch of the blouse. Then pin the collar facing edge to the front edges on either side of the neck opening on the blouse. Start pinning from the center working out to the edges. Do this on the right and left side of the center back point. You will need to carefully ease the two pieces together, adjusting the pinning as you go. Stitch the collar facing and the back neck edge together, using the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Notice that the upper collar is still not attached and is waiting its turn.

Under collar pinned to back neck of Middy Blouse View B.

The under collar pinned to the back neck edge. Notice that the upper collar is unattached at this point.

Carefully clip the curve of the neck edge to allow the fabric to spread slightly and therefore lay smoothly at the back of the neck. Make the clips into the fabric edge stopping slightly before the seam stitching. Be very careful to not clip into or beyond the seam stitching. If you do, you will be cutting into the collar and back of the neck!  Be sure to leave the upper collar free.   Turn under the edge of the upper collar to create the finished edge of the inside back of the neck. Use the neck stitching as a guide as where to turn the edge under  (you will turn under the collar by about 1/2 inch). The turned under edge should conceal the stitching edge. 


Labeled photo showing clipped curve of neckline before securing the upper collar on Middy Blouse View B.

Clip the curve at the neckline before securing the upper collar.

Next we need to sew the upper collar to the back neck edge, by hand using a simple whip stitch or if you are a seasoned sewist you can use the stitch-in the-ditch method.

Here I am going to concentrate on using a hand-stitch method while rolling the neck of the collar. Despite what you might think, hand stitching is a very satisfying and relaxing task. It can also go surprisingly fast and look much better in instances like this. There are times in sewing, when the results using the sewing machine are simply not as nice as a hand sewn stitch. Hand stitching is a good option for finishing work and it allows for more control. The stitch placement and size are easily controlled if done by hand. 

The most important part about hand stitching is to pin the area you need to stitch with as many pins as it takes to hold the fabric securely. The pins help to keep the edges together so you can concentrate solely on the stitching. Remove the pins one at a time as you stitch.  Hand basting the collar to the neck is also a great option so that you don't prick your fingers and hands while hand stitching the collar down.  Just sewing a running stitch, going in and out of the fabric every 1/2' to 1" along the seam. 

Before you begin the final hand stitching of the turned under collar edge to the back of the blouse neck, it is important to note that a subtle technique should be incorporated. This technique will help to ensure a nice roll at the back of the neck. Your neck and shoulders have a roll and so should the neck edge of the blouse. The goal is not to have the collar lay completely flat against the neck and shoulders of the blouse.

To make this slight roll, hold the collar at the neck between your thump and fingers and allow the collar to drape backward over your hand. This slight roll that happen naturally when the fabric falls backward, is all that it takes to make the roll. Use a few pins to hold the roll in place.


Because the collar has rolled backward, a bit of the 1/2 inch turned under seam allowance has been consumed by the roll. You will find the 1/2 inch turned under edge you had to work with has now been reduced by as much as 1/4 inch. This is what you should expect.

First begin turning under the edge, at the outer edges of each side of the collar, being sure the folded edge lays flat and tucks under. Move the edges of the collar and the edge of the blouse opening up to each other so they meet aligning perfectly. Notice where the collar and the neck edges align in the photo below.

 

Turning the upper collar edge under so it tucks up and into the edge of the blouse opening.

Turning the upper collar edge under so it tucks up and into the edge of the blouse opening.

 

When turning the finishing edge under, use the neck stitch line as a guide. You want to cover up the neck stitching line with the turned under edge. Pin the turned under edge in place to secure while hand stitching.

Pin the upper collar of Middy Blouse view B to the neck creating a roll.

Creating the neck roll, while pinning the upper collar to the back of the neck of the blouse

 

Pinned Middy Blouse View B ready to be hand whip stitched in place.

The upper collar rolled and pinned into position to ready for hand-stitching.

 

Next begin the hand whip stitching. Keep your whip stitches evenly spaced as small as possible. When working, stitch right up to the pin, then remove the pins as you go. Whip stitch all the way across the back of the neck and secure your thread by tying a double knot. Before snipping my thread I like to put the thread back on the needle and slip the thread under a few stitched to conceal the thread tail.

Raw edge of upper collar turned under and hand sewn to finish the inside of the neckline on middy Blouse View B.

Raw edge of upper collar turned under and being hand whip stitched to finish the neck edge.

Finished hand stitched collar edge of Middy Blouse View B.

Hand stitched collar edge. Notice the nice roll of the neck.

Finished details on front of Middy Blouse View B.

With the collar hand stitched on the front blouse details are complete.

 

Hope you found this portion of the Middy Blouse View B Sew Along informative and enjoyable. Join me for Day Four and we will complete View B of the Middy Blouse.

 

 

 

 

 

211 Middy Blouse Pattern Sew Along Day Two

By Molly Hamilton
on June 20, 2020

211 Middy Blouse Pattern Sew Along Day Two

Welcome to the Sew Along for the Folkwear 211 Middy Blouse View A.  Check out the prep work in Day 1 of the Sew Along.  Today, we are going to get into quite a bit more detail than even the pattern instructions give, so I hope it helps you make a beautiful shirt, as well as teaches some tips and tricks to have in your sewing toolbox!

The Middy Blouse View A is a very easy blouse to make with a touch of a nautical aesthetic, which can be played up or down. The construction is really simple and the details can be made as subtle or as interesting as you like. This blouse can be made in so many creative fabric and trim combinations. Which makes View A of the Two Middies pattern, simple but surprisingly different every time you make it!

Below is an illustration of the back of View A which includes its most unique feature. The patch originally served as a protective element that could be replaced.  Back in the 18th century navies, men's oily and dirty pigtails hung down their backs, staining their shirt backs.  The patch protected the shirt and could be replaced when too worn out from scrubbing (or too dirty).  Consider this patch a design element, to either add interest or to treat more subtly - or consider it a hearkening back to naval tradition. Have fun with it!

 

Illustration of back of View A Middy Blouse with patch.

 

 Trace and Prepare Your Pattern

View A pattern pieces, Front A, Back B, Patch C, Trim D & E, and Sleeve F for Middy Blouse View A

Let's get started! First, trace and/or cut out View A pattern pieces:  Front A, Back B, Patch C, Trim D & E, and Sleeve F.

illustration of Middy Blouse View A pattern pieces So simple and so few pattern pieces!

 

Preparing the Pattern Pieces and Making Adjustments 

Before you cut the fabric out, stop. Look at your pattern and consider if you want to make any simple adjustments. This blouse can be made with or without a shoulder seam. The length of the body and sleeves can all be changed very easily using the "lengthen or shorten here" line on the pattern pieces.  

Prepare the Front & Back of Pattern

For this project I am cutting the body of the blouse in one piece, as the pattern indicate.! Prepare the body pieces of the pattern by matching up the Shoulder Line of Front A and the Shoulder Line of Back B. Instead of cutting one of the front and one of the back each on the fold, the two pieces are combined (aligned) at the shoulder line. Resulting in making just one pattern piece, that is then cut at once on the fold. Hence, there are no shoulder seams. How easy!

Match the shoulder lines on both the Front A and Back B to create one pattern piece to be cut on the fold for Middy Blouse View A

Match the shoulder lines on both the Front A and Back B to create one pattern piece to be cut on the fold.

Note: If you are making View A, directional prints will not work, because the front and back are cut as one piece. As a result, if you position the print to run or lay going in the right direction on the front, the problem is the design on the back of the blouse would end up being upside down. This issue can easily be remedied, by cutting the front and back separately and sewing at the shoulder like you normally would.

 

Photo showing aligning Middy Blouse View A of the shoulder lines on Front A and Back B
Align the shoulder lines on Front A and Back B

 

Middy Blouse View A:  Align A & B on the shoulder line and tape into place to secure.

Align A & B on the shoulder line and tape into place to secure. 


Adjusting the Sleeve  

The sleeve can easily be made longer or shorter, depending on your requirements. Use the line labeled "lengthen or shorten here" for lengthening or shortening. I decided to lengthen my sleeve by 1-1/2 inches. Simply cut on the "lengthen or shorten here" line  to separate the sleeve into two pieces. Then insert another piece of tracing paper behind the two original sleeve pattern pieces, to will allow for the increase. Be sure the extra tracing paper is big enough to provide enough overlap on the back side to secure to the original pattern pieces with tape. A bit of tape added to the front side will help as well. Use a hip curve or French curve to create a smooth continuous drawn line (the green line in illustration below) connecting the two separated pieces of the sleeve. Trim any access tracing paper away. Now the sleeve pattern has been lengthened and ready to use.

Illustration demonstrating how to add length to sleeve of Middy Blouse View A.To shorten the sleeve length, simply fold your pattern piece up making a pleat equal to one-half the amount you wish to shorten. There is no need to cut your pattern piece, simply pin or tape it in place. Keep it in tact for future use.

This technique can be used to adjust the length of the blouse body as well. If you lengthen or shorten the body of the blouse, be sure to make the same adjustment to both Front A and Back B pattern pieces to ensure they are the same length.

View A has it's "lengthen or shorten" line at the bottom hem, so just extend the side lines/seams of the pattern down as long as you want.  To shorten, move the bottom hem line up as far as you desire.

Note: If you make length or width adjustments to the pattern pieces, be sure to re-check your yardage requirements before purchasing fabric.

Cutting Out Pattern Pieces

Now, that all the pattern pieces have been adjusted, we are ready to cut out the fabric pieces using the pattern as a guide. I have decided to work with the fabric right side up and wrong side together (note: it is perfectly acceptable to work opposite, wrong sides up and right sides together) and matching selvages, pin your pattern pieces to the fabric, or hold them down with pattern weights. Pay attention to grain lines on each pattern piece and the placement of the pattern pieces to be cut on the fold.

Cut the combined Front A & Back B once on the fold (remember the two pieces are taped together). Cut one patch (Piece C). Cut two sleeves (Piece F) on the fold. And don't forget to cut out the neck trim pieces (two of Piece E, two of PieceD).

 Colour Illustration of fabric pieces cut from using pattern.Illustration of fabric cut out using pattern pieces.

Before you remove the pinned pattern from the fabric, be sure that all notches and center points have been marked, on all the fabric pieces. Also, be sure to mark the right side of each fabric piece with a pin once the pattern piece has been removed. 

A good habit is to place your marking within the seam allowance if using a pin. This can help prevent the pin from damaging your fabric depending on the delicacy of the fabric. If using a fabric that could be damaged due to using a pin, make your mark using a fine needle and contrasting thread within the seam allowance to indicate the right side. 

Right sides of Middy Blouse View A fabric marked using pins inside the seam allowance.

Right sides of fabric marked using pins inside the seam allowance.

 

Step One: The Patch

In order to help ensure the patch has a neat and evenly turned under edge, sew a stitch line to use as a turning guide. On the right side of the patch fabric, except for the top edge (I accidentally pressed the top edge in the picture below, but you don't need to do it), stitch a long straight stitch, at the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Make the stitch all the way around the patch edges to create a guide. Do not back stitch at the beginning and end of your straight stitch lines. Only use this stitch line as a guide, later the stitch will be removed. Stitching one continuous line will make removing the stitch line more difficult, so it is fine to stitch each side separately.

Now, working on the wrong side of the patch, using the stitch line you just created, press the edges inward 1/2 inch on all the edges, except the top edge. The top edge will attach to the back neck and does not need to be turned down.

Clip the curves and corners and press all edges down firmly and cleanly. Use the stitch guide line to help you with the corner clipping too. Be sure to not clip into or beyond the stitch guide edge.

Once your edges are nicely pressed in place, the stitch line can be carefully removed, leaving a beautifully even crisp edge finish.

Clipped curve turned under edge of patch for Middy Blouse View A.

The patch edges all turned under and ready to be attached to the back of Middy Blouse View A.

The patch edges all turned under and ready to be attached to the back of the blouse.

 

Carefully align and pin the patch in place on the back of the blouse. Be sure the top edge of the patch is laying flat. Match the notches and center line of the patch and center back of the blouse to help with alignment.

Apply patch to back of Middy Blouse view A using pins before sewing in place.

Topstitch the patch to the back of the blouse. Position your needle close to the edge of the patch, and stitch 1/16" from the edge.   An edge stitch or blind hem stitch foot makes a good guide tool for this task. Remember to remove the pins as you come up on them as the blind hem presser foot does not hurdle the pins very well, which will disturb the clean finishing stitches. Topstitch slowly and pivot at the corners to secure and create a finished look. The patch is a very revealing detail, so take your time and enjoy the beautiful crafted results!

Edge stitch patch to back of Middy Blouse View A using blind hem pressor foot.

An edge stitch or blind hem stitch foot makes a great guide when topstitching along the patch edge.

  

Step Two: Prepare the Neck Line for the Trim

Once the patch is successfully attached, prepare the rectangle neckline of View A.  Work on the right side, sew a straight stitch line at the 1/2 inch seam allowance around the neck rectangle, to help as a guide for clipping the corners and turning the edges. Just for good measure, I added another straight stitch line around the outer most edge of the rectangle (about another 1/2 inch from the first) to provide stability and to help prevent the fabric from unraveling too much.

Use the stitch line as a guide for snipping the corners and folding the edge of the fabric to the right side. Fold the edges to the right side of the fabric. Press to create a clean finish.

Middy Blouse View A straight stitch reinforced neck opening with clipped corners.

The trim on the neckline could be made of any number of things, like solid, embroidered, or striped ribbon, handmade or pre-made purchased bias tape, twill tape, braid, soutache, or embroidered decorative trim. No matter what you decide to use, just remember that neck details tend to draw the eye in and therefore becomes a focal point. So keep this in mind when deciding what kind of detail you want to apply. 

Note: Wash and dry your trim material or ribbon before using.

The trim for this project can be cut using the pattern piece D & E. Simply turn the raw edges under the 1/4 inch as the pattern suggests, and press into place for a clean edge before applying.

Another easy method that produces the same results... but just a bit quicker... is accomplished with a tool called a bias tape maker. I have chosen to cut my trim pieces using the pattern and then use a bias tape maker, which worked great! Use an iron to press the edges as you slowly pull the tape out of the bias tape maker tool. This is a very handy tool for all your bias making needs (and Folkwear has a selection to purchase from)!  

If you don't have a bias tape maker, you can use the instructions in the pattern.  Just fold each long edge of Pieces D and E toward the center of the fabric and press.  

The pattern recommends these neck trim pieces to be cut on the straight grain of the fabric. However, t is perfectly acceptable to use a bias cut fabric for the trim.  Since the trim will not be going around curves, it is more efficient to cut on the straight grain of the fabric. 

Making Middy Blouse View A neck trim using bias maker and iron.
Making trim strip using a bias tape maker and an iron to press the edges.

 

Ready to apply Middy Blouse View A trim to turned under neck.

The neck of View A getting ready for applying the trim strips. Trim made with bias tape maker. Notice the folded over edges of the neck opening will be covered with the trim strips.

Attaching the Trim Strips

Apply the shorter side neck trim strips (Piece E) first.  You do not need to turn under the short edges of these pieces.  Pin and align the trim right up to the edge of the neck opening. The folded over raw edges of the shirt will be covered and disguised by the trim strips. This is a really nice raw edge finishing technique to remember for future projects!

Middy Blouse View A apply shot trim to neck first and pin in place.

Stitch the shorter trim strips down with a topstitch on the sewing machine.  Stitch 1/16 inch from each edge of the trim. 

Once the shorter trim strips are applied, then pin on the longer strips.  Turn the raw end edges under and make sure the edges are straight and squared off neatly.

Apply Longer side to trim to Middy Blouse View A usingpirs to secure.

Topstitch the longer trim strips on each side of the strip, in the same manner as the shorter trim strips. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end either side of each strip to secure.

Finished Neck Trim top-stitched in place on Middy Blouse View A.

Topstitching completes the neck trim.

 

Step Three: Sleeves & Seams

Find the shoulder placement:  Match the boxes near the bottom of the side seam.  Smooth out the blouse fabric and align the bottom of the armhole (armsyce) as well.   Where the shirt if folded at the top of the blouse is the top of the shoulder.  It is important to locate the shoulder placement, or center point, despite not having a shoulder seam.

To find the sleeve center point, simply fold the sleeve in half.

The sleeve center point must match up to the shoulder center point. Place pins to mark the center points of the shoulder placement and the sleeves center fold to help with alignment. Work with the project right side up.

How to find shoulder line of Middy Blouse View A.

Pin indicates center point of shoulder edge.

 

To find where the alignment of the sleeve and blouse armhole seam allowances match up, measure out the 1/2 inch seam allowance intersection of each edge, using pins as markers then match up the pins. Be sure right sides are together.

How to find seam allowance intersection of Middy Blouse View A.

Find the 1/2 inch seam allowance intersection on both the armhole and the sleeve pieces marking with pins to help with alignment.

With right sides together, match the center points and side edges, pin the sleeve to the body of the blouse and stitch in place using 1/2 inch seam allowance. 

Sleeve pined to the body of Middy Blouse View A and ready to be stitched.

Sleeve pined to the body of the blouse and ready to be stitched.

If doing a flat-felled seam, press sleeve seam allowance towards the body. Or press towards the sleeve if serging or using another method of seam finishing.

See the pattern instructions for flat felled seams (we will also have a tutorial of this technique soon!).

Press sleeve seam of Middy Blouse View A towards the sleeve.

Pressing the seam.

Sew up the Sides Seams

Now that the sleeves are attached we are ready to sew up the side seams. With right sides together, matching notches, and underarm seams. Sew the side seams together starting at the box that indicates the top opening to the side vent and back stitch. Continue sewing the side seam up towards the sleeve and finish with a back stitch at the sleeve edge. Press the side seams open to flat felled the seams. If using another seam finishing method, the seams are generally pressed towards the back of the garment.

 

Step Four: Finishing the Vents and Hem

With seams pressed open, starting at the vent box marking, turn the seam edge under 1/4 inch. 

Turn vent edge under and pin on Middy Blouse View A.

Turn the edge under again another 1/4 inch, for a total of the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press and stitch close to the turned under edge, up one side, across the seam, and down the other. Back-stitch horizontally, a few times at the top of the box to help reinforce the vent opening.

Vent Edge turned under and showing remaining seam allowance pressed open for middy Blouse View A.

 

Hem the Sleeves and Bottom Edge . . . and that is it!

Determine the depth of the hem you would like for both the sleeves and the bottom hem of the blouse. Turn the hem edge to the wrong side of the fabric by half the hem measurement, pin to hold in place, and press. 

Hem edge measured, pinned in place, and pressed for Middy Blouse View A.

Then, turn half the hem measurement up again, pin to hold in place, and press.

For example: I have chosen a hem of one inch. I first turn the hem up 1/2 inch and then again 1/2 inch, for a total of one inch.

Pressing turned hem for Middy Blouse View A.

Either stitch your hem in place by using a whip stitch or edge stitch done by hand, or use a straight stitch, or top-stitch, close to the turned edge using a sewing machine.

Topstitching of hem of Middy blouse View A.

Notice the hem stitch is close to the turned edge for a neat finish.

Finished bottom hem and side vent finish for Middy Blouse View A.

Finished bottom hem and side vent finish.

 

I hope you are as pleased with your finished Middy Blouse as I am. I am already thinking of all the other fabric and trim combinations I would like to try!

Woman wearing View A of 211 Two Middies

Back of woman outside wearing a white version of View A from the sewing pattern 211 Two Middies

There is yet another version of this blouse to make! I hope you will join me for day three of this sew along, where we will start the construction of the iconic Middy Blouse View B.

 

 

 

 

Folkwear 211 Middy Blouse Sew Along: Day One

By Molly Hamilton
on June 19, 2020

Folkwear 211 Middy Blouse Sew Along: Day One

Folkwear is excited to re-release our favorite nautical-inspired blouses, the 211 Two Middies, just in time for easy, breezy summer wearing. These are the perfect pieces that provokes a smart, yet carefree, aesthetic with just a touch of nostalgia.

Read about the Middy Blouse history and the inspiration for this pattern re-release in our previous blog post!

The 211 Two Middies pattern provides two different blouse versions (View A & View B) that will surely become seasonal staples in any wardrobe. You can find this pattern in either a printed or a downloadable pdf version. The size offerings for women range from XS to 2XL and S to 2XL for men.

 

flat illustrations of Two Middies sewing pattern, front and back

 

Today, we are starting a Sew Along for both middy shirts in this pattern. These blouses don't take a lot of time to sew, allowing time for creative embellishments or to make a neck tie (all part of the pattern)! Join us over the next few days to sew your own middy blouse. Here's the schedule:

Day 1 (today):  Preparation - selecting size, selecting and preparing fabric, getting to know the pattern.

Day 2:  Cutting and sewing View A

Day 3:  Cutting and sewing View B - front, back, neck facing and collar

Day 4:  Finish sewing View B - sleeves and hip band

Day 5:  Neck tie for View B

 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Day 1:  Preparation

First, get the pattern (it's on sale through the 26th!).  Then, you can move on to selecting fabric, gathering materials, and figuring out what you are going to make and how!

Selecting Fabric

Sometimes a specific pattern and fabric just seem made for one another and the pairing is easy, but just about any fabric is perfect for this Middy blouse project as long as it is not too heavy. 

If you need a bit of inspiration or if you are not sure where to begin, be sure to see the Folkwear Pinterest board for different inspiring Middy Blouse looks and our fabric suggestion blog post.

Below is a collection of woven cottons and linen fabric swatches from my collection that would all be perfect for a Middy blouse.

collection of woven linen and cotton swatches

This pattern is perfect for light weight woven fabrics, such as shirting, cotton lawn, voile, handkerchief linen, mid-weight linen, chambray, gingham, oxford cloth, silk noil, etc. Any fabric that has a relatively light hand and drapes well would be suitable for this project, especially for warm weather wearing. A good test to help determine a good weight of fabric to use, is to double the fabric over and hold between your fingers and ask yourself if it feels too bulky? This technique helps in determining if a fabric will work well for pleats, gathers, or if it will make a nice crisp corner when the fabric is turned.

For cooler temps this pattern could be made with just about any weight of cottons such as twill, light to medium weight linen, flannel, denim, fine wale corduroy, or a light weight wool would all do.

Just the right knit would provide lovely results too. A medium weight knit like a double knit cotton or wool jersey, a firm 6 oz jersey Rugby type fabric, or even a ponte would be ideal. Look for double knit micro fibers in medium weights. If using a knit for the Middy Blouse, the knit needs to to be stable, which means some stretch, but not so much that the shape of the blouse can not be maintained due to too much loose drape and stretch.

For this sample, I am using a lovely pale gray cotton for the blouse body, with a blue-green cross weave linen for the neck trim for view A. For View B I have chosen a soft periwinkle blue handkerchief linen for the blouse body and a white cotton lawn for the tie.

Yardage, Sizing, and Adjustment Considerations

Once you have decided on a fabric, consult the yardage requirement chart on the back of the paper pattern or included in the PDF pattern instructions. You can choose a size based on the measurements in the chart. I considered the bust measurement first for both View A & View B, keeping in mind the loose fit.  The chart (below) is meant as a guide for the basic aspects of body to garment measurements. You can also see the yardage chart through this link (PDF).  We will learn some simple grading techniques using the chart measurements to allow for some easy adjustments. 

Sizing and yardage requirements for 211 Two Middies sewing pattern

Consider Simple Grading?

Simple sizing adjustments can be made using this pattern. For example, if you find the blouse pattern for the View B fits you nicely, but the band might not fit as loosely as you prefer, then a simple adjustment may be in order. If your bust is size Small but hips are size Medium or Large, you can adjust by grading a bit between sizes. Adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance at the side seams of the blouse bottom edge, as well on the side seam edges of the hip band should do the trick. This technique is called "grading." The general grading rule of thumb when adding or subtracting width at the side seams is 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch for sizes 6-18 and 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch for size 18 and up. The grading term describes the re-aligning of the original pattern and the newly added measurement.  This simple and subtle grading technique will be demonstrated in the making of the Middy Blouse View B. So stay tuned!

Note: Due to the minor size adjustment described here, the fabric yardage will not be affected.

Determine your size and any adjustments you might require and purchase your fabric accordingly.  Do not forget the width of your fabric matters. Be sure to purchase enough fabric to lay your pattern out properly and the way you intend. Design elements like stripes or pattern design should be considered. You will need to consider if your fabric design is directional and therefore you need to carefully plan how your pattern pieces will lay out, this may require more fabric yardage. Matching plaids will require consideration and most likely more fabric to enable matching. 

If you are making View A with the front and back combined as one pattern piece, note that directional prints will not work, because the front and back are cut on the fold as one piece. As a result, the print on the back of the blouse would end up being upside down. This issue can easily be remedied, by cutting the front and back separately, adding seam allowances, and sewing at the shoulder like you do!

Extra Details

Be sure to read the bonus material provided in the Folkwear 211 Two Middies pattern for ideas and instructions on some great embroidery designs to add to your blouse. It is easy to add extra detailed touches with ribbon, soutache, twill tape, patches, and braid, but some elements need to be added before the shirt is completely put together.  The nautical theme is just one of many possibilities to explore! 

Preparing Fabric

Once you have your fabric, it is a good idea to test the fabric for washability and shrinkage. Cut a small corner of fabric from your yardage that measures approximately 3"x4" rectangle. Place the swatch of fabric on a scrape piece of paper and trace around it. Set the tracing aside to use as a future reference. Wash and dry the fabric swatch according to fiber content recommends, or in the manner in which you intend to care for your finish garment. Then place your fabric swatch back down on the tracing to determine if your fabric shrank or changed in any way. Not all fabrics behave the same. Washing and drying gives you better insight into how your fabric will behave in the real world of washing and wearing. This simply allows you to make any needed adjustments forehand to help prevent disappointment.

Trace edge of fabric swatch on scrap paper before washing fabric to determine shrinkage.

Trace around the edges of the fabric swatch on a scrape of paper.

Tracing of fabric swatch to help determine shrinkage.Tracing a a fabric swatch helps to see if the fabric shrinks after washing and drying.

It is also important to wash all of your fabric yardage before beginning.  If your fabric has a loose weave, you might consider securing the raw cut edges first so it doesn't unravel. This is a simple, yet practical extra step. On your sewing machine sew a straight stitch or long basting stitch to keep the raw edge of the fabric from unraveling or getting tangled due to loose threads. Using a serger for this purpose is an excellent choice as well.  

A serge stitch helps prevent the raw edge of the fabric from unraveling when washed.
A serge stitch helps prevent the raw edge of the fabric from unraveling when washed.

This is also a good time to determine the right or wrong side of your fabric. It may be perfectly obvious for some fabrics, but not so much for others. If you have trouble determining the right from the wrong side, simply pick a side and stick with it. If you are unable to decide no one else will ever know the difference. Indicate the side you deem to be the right side, buy marking it using a needle and contrasting thread. Just catch a few threads of the fabric and tie the marking thread off with two or three tiny knots to secure.  

Once your fabric is all washed and ready to go, give it a good pressing not only to smooth it out, so the pattern will lay down well, but to force yourself to give the fabric one last good inspection before you lay out your pattern. Inspect for any flaws in the fabric that you want to avoid. Occasionally when being manufactured fibers can break, or snatches and pulls can happen or, discoloration can occur.  When ironing the fabric I intend to use for this project I came across a perfect example of a flaw. I knew it had been noticed, because the inspector left a visible tie thread at the edge of the selvage, adjacent to the flaw.

The white thread tied to the selvage indicates a flaw in the fabric to be avoided.The white thread tied to the selvage indicates a flaw in the fabric to be avoided.

Be Respectful of the Grain... 

For this project I am using a woven fabric and before pinning the pattern to the fabric, it is important your fabric is "on grain." This means your fabric grain must be straight. Grain refers to the lengthwise and crossgrain yarn of the fabric. It is important that fabric is on grain so your garment will fit and drape correctly and have the effect you intend. Always remember to have respect for the grain to avoid disappointment.

The vertical and horizontal yarns are always at right angles to each other. The fabric was woven on a loom this way and this is how it comes off the loom - with the grain perfectly aligned at right angles. 

If a fabric does not match up at right angles it is off grain, and the grain must be restored. To return the yarns of the fabric to their original rectangular position, the horizontal ends (the cut or raw ends) need to be straightened. Note that we are only concerned with the horizontal grain. The vertical grain (the selvedge edge) has already been established as straight by the loom along the selvedge edge. 

If your fabric has a "woven in" guide, like a stripe, line, plaid, or check your task is quite easy. You can trust the thread creating the stripe, line, etc. to be straight, because it had to be woven straight.

The next best thing and the easiest method of restoring the grain, is to tear the fabric. This creates an edges that is straight and is perfectly perpendicular to the selvage, making it easier to layout your fabric so that the grainline is straight.  Many fabrics tear easily, but not all. It is best to make a small test first. Make a cut through the selvedge and just into the fabric, with the point of your scissors and give the fabric a gentle tear. If it tears easily, proceed tearing carefully. If you are not used to tearing fabric, this process can be a bit unnerving, but all will be fine. Torn fabric grain should be straight. 

If your fabric will not allow for tearing (as in the case I encountered with the handkerchief linen I am using for this project), then try pulling a thread to create a straight guide to cut by. To do this cut into the selvedge and into a small amount of the fabric, just enough to pull a crosswise yarn with your fingers. The idea is to pull the thread to create a guide to cut by. Do not try to pull a thread all a in one go, the entire length of your fabric. The thread will most likely break, so pull a short distance, then cut.

Fabric gathers up along pulled thread used as cutting guide to straighten fabric edge.Fabric gathers up along pulled thread.

 When you pull the thread sometimes the fabric will gather up along the pulled thread. Simply smooth the fabric out a bit without pulling too much and cut along the guide the pulled thread has created. Continue the whole length of the fabric.

Use pulled thread as a guide to cut by to straighten fabric edge.Smooth gathered fabric out a bit and use pulled thread as a guide to cut by.

Just know that sometimes the fabric is not cut properly straight when you purchased it. Sometimes a printed design is unfortunately not printed straight on the fabric, which is most unfortunate. Sometimes nothing can be done to fix this issue.  Not all fabrics are created equal and knowing what to look for in fabric quality can help to avoid disappointment. 

Be aware that when fabric is not straight, you can lose precious inches, once the fabric is straightened. For this reason it is wise to buy a little bit more fabric than the pattern calls for. My rule of thumb is 1/4 of a yard more than I think I will need... just to be safe.

In the photo below you can see the attempts taken to find the straight edge of the fabric. I moved over gradually in order to determine the least amount of fabric to be wasted. This photo illustrates how incorrectly the fabric was originally cut. However, it is straight now!

 

The wasted fabric removed to restore the grain line.The wasted fabric removed to restore the grain line.

 

 

Gather Your Materials:

Photo of materials and pattern to make Middy Blouse View A & B.

 

  • 211 Two Middies pattern
  • pattern tracing material, if you are not cutting your pattern
  • fabric yardage
  • thread
  • buttons for the waistband (View B)
  • interfacing for cuff and waistband, if deemed necessary
  • bias tape tool, optional

... and all the usual tools and notions: pins, scissors, tracing paper, pattern weights, pencil for tracing, measuring tape or ruler, iron and ironing board. And a sewing machine in good working order.

If you decide to do any of the embroidery options provide in the pattern instructions then you will need embroidery thread, needles, and embroidery hoop for hand work.

Ready to Begin!

My inspiration comes from blue skies, white billowy clouds, warm sand, and sea glass. I have decided upon a pale taupe-gray cotton for the main body of View A, with a blue-green linen cross weave for the neck trim. For View B, I have chosen a beautiful light blue handkerchief linen and a very light weight white cotton lawn for a neck tie. 

Fabric and notions for Middy Blouse View AFabric and notions for Middy Blouse View A

Fabric and notions for Middy Blouse View BFabric and notions for Middy Blouse View B

 I hope this start of the Sew Along has given you some useful things to think about in planning your project. Have fun gathering your materials and dreaming up ideas for your Middy Blouse! I am off to trace my pattern and I will meet you back here to begin Day Two: Cutting & Sewing of the Folkwear 211 Two Middies View A.

 

 

 

 

 

Fabric Suggestions for 211 Two Middies

By Molly Hamilton
on June 15, 2020

Two women standing side by side in two views of 211 Middy tops.  Woman on left is wearing View A which has a simple squared neckline made in a light tan linen with a blue binding at neck.  Woman on the right is wearing View B made in raspberry voile.

The Middy Shirt has been a fashion classic for over a hundred years, although it has been a part of naval tradition since the days of sailing ships.  Its popularity peaked in the 1920s when newly-liberated women wore Middies for active sports and with skirts for more dressy occasions.

Flat line drawings of two views of middy top. Both views show front and back views.

 

Our View A is a very simple garment worn by British seamen in tropical climes.  Traditionally made of a white cotton twill with blue binding around a square neck, the Shirt featured short sleeves and a self-patch in the back.  The neck binding can be made from the same fabric or a contrasting fabric (perfect for nice scraps of fabric).

Young man wearing View A of Middy top.  Sewn in blue chambray. Top is short sleeved and has square neckline.Close up back view of middy top view A.  Shows details of self-patch on back of shirt.Side angle of young woman in light tan linen middy top View A.  Shirt has dark blue binding around square neckline.
Chambray Fabric (left and center) European Linen (right) both from Folkwear

In the 1920s, View B was worn for school, office and sports, paired with a pleated skirt.  Comfortable and practical, it has been popular fishing and camping wear for decades.  A square Middy collar, short set-in sleeves, band cuffs, and a side buttoned hip band, detail this popular shirt.  A tab below the V-neck opening catches the contrasting scarf or tie often worn with this Middy.  Instructions for neck tie are included.  Heavy to lighter-weight fabrics are great for this view.  And try a contrasting fabric for the sleeve cuffs and/or collar. 

Woman in light blue voile middy top View B.  Optional white neck tie is worn with top.Back view of woman in View B.  Shows squared color.  Woman is looking over her left shoulder.
Organic Cotton Sheer Volie from Folkwear

Suggested fabrics:   Views A & B: Medium- to heavy-weight cotton, denim, cotton twill, and blends; rayon; heavy-weight silk; wool challis; knits.  View B, also: Wool flannel; pinwale corduroy. But, lightweight fabrics can work also - they just make a lighter, breezier shirt.

Below are some fabric suggestions from some of our favorite fabric stores.  Please note, these suggested fabrics are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written, and may go out of stock from store at some point.  If link is invalid for specific product, look for a similar fabric you can substitute.

Molly is just made a new Middy top (View B) using a floral lawn, and it is lovely.  I love the prints that Liberty of London offers and the lovely feel of their fabrics.  Bolt Fabrics always has a nice selection of Liberty of London lawns.


Liberty of London Floral Lawn

 

This peach striped seersucker fabric would be lovely for either view of the Middy Top.  The light weight breath ability will be a great choice for summer weather. Hart's Fabrics has this available for you!

Close up photo of peach colored cotton seersucker fabric. Fabric has thin white stripes spaced closely together.
Peach striped seersucker fabric

 

Oak Fabrics has some beautiful corduroy, and this one by Merchant and Mills would be beautiful (we have a tan version in our store for a more neutral/sporty version). 

red corduory fabricHarrisa baby whale corduroy

 

We just received a shipment of new fabrics here at Folkwear. I love the feel of this 8 oz. denim and can't resist listing it seeing as how the pattern calls for denim in the fabric suggestions.  It really is quite lovely and would be perfect for a denim version of either of these shirts! 

 

 Washed Dark denim on bolt.
8oz Merchant & Mills Washed Denim

We also have some lovely linens and a chambray available in the Folkwear fabric shop - all of which would be great as either version of this pattern.

 

Fabric Suggestions for 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam

By Molly Hamilton
on June 14, 2020

Fabric Suggestions for 122 Hong Kong Cheongsam

This classic dress in two lengths is synonymous with elegance. The Cheongsam (Cantonese for "Long Dress) dates from the 1930's and is homage to the merging of Eastern and Western fashion from this time.   

It is a perfect dress to show off some amazing brocades or silks.

Suggested fabrics: Light to medium-weight silk; lightweight brocade and jacquard weaves; satin; rayon or blends.

Below are some fabric suggestions from some of our favorite fabric stores.  Please note, these suggested fabrics are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written, and may go out of stock from store at some point.  If link is invalid for specific product, look for a similar fabric you can substitute.

I love this floral silk noil jaquard from Stone Mountain and Daughter!  It would make a gorgeous dress!  

white silk jacquard fabric

 

This medium-weight silk tweed from Bolt Fabric is beautiful and would make a lovely dress that could be accented perfectly with finishing touches like frog closures.  

orange silk tweed

 

And, this black and silver floral brocade from Style Maker Fabrics would make a stunning Cheongsam.  

black and white floral brocade fabric

 

Finally, this silk/cotton sateen would be a simple option, and would be especially beautiful with a contrasting fabric binding.  Harts Fabric has several other colors also.

 

 

 

 

Introducing the 221 Two Middies pattern

By Molly Hamilton
on June 11, 2020

Man and woman wearing middy shirts (one blue and one pink) standing in front of a white background

We are excited to introduce (or re-introduce) the 211 Two Middies sewing pattern!  First published by Folkwear in 1980, 40 years later, we are bringing it back in a slightly different form - in a larger size range with with two handsome blouses for women and men based on traditional naval shirts of the past.

Pattern cover for Folkwear 211 Two Middies sewing pattern

The sailor's Middy has been worn for countless generations by seamen, petty officers, and midshipmen (for whom it was named) on all the oceans of the world in navies from the U.S. and Great Britain to the Soviet Union and Japan. It has also been a constantly recurring feature of children's and women's dress since at least 1850 (in 1846 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert dressed their young son in a sailor outfit for a royal portrait that sparked this fashion trend).  And, in April 1980, women in the U.S. Navy were issued white middies and bell-bottom trousers as official garb, replacing a less distinctive skirt and blouse.

View A is the uniform of seamen in the British line drawing of View A, frontNavy during World War II and for many decades earlier. The original was made of heavy white twill cotton with blue binding of dungaree cloth around the square neck opening. It was worn with white shorts and various head coverings depending on the sailor's origin.  The odd-shaped self-patch across the back shoulders and down the center back exemplifies the persistence of naval tradition. It is a reinforcement to strengthen that section which was soiled by Line drawing of Middy Blouse, View Athe sailor's pigtail worn in the 19th Century (and before). Heavy scrubbing with a brush and saltwater was needed to remove the natural oils, until the back wore out and had to be patched.  You can make this shirt with or without the patch, but it also gives a chance to make an interesting color-block look to the shirt.  It makes a good undershirt (and is great for wearing under our 270 Metro Middy Blouse)

View B is a collared Middy originating from 1927, and our original was khaki line drawing of Middy, View B, frontcolored twill with no trim. The hip-banded style was adapted from navy-wear to sports clothes in the twenties, and was shown also in "sports silk, foulard, crepe de chine, linen and gingham”. Women and girls wore middies especially as sport clothes and for school until the 1920s when, at their height of popularity, the familiar square collars (as on this version) were added to garments for all occasions.  line drawing of View B, back from 211 Two Middies sewing patternThis Middy collar, often trimmed with braid and/or stars, has been added to all styles of dress, from the modest bathing costumes and voluminously skirted gowns of Victorian times to the scanty flapper dresses of the Roaring Twenties. Small children, especially boys, have been outfitted in sailor suits since before uniforms in the British Navy were officially regulated in 1857. Royal princes from various European dynasties are frequently pictured arrayed with full insignia, ties, and often a whistle strung around the neck and tucked in the breast pocket.  Neck ties are still part of navy dress.  We teach a simple method of cutting and sewing a tie to add to this shirt version in the pattern.  This shirt has a breast pocket and a tab to hold the tie.

The pattern also includes several pages of traditional decorative embellishment for View B - including how to use soutache and braid and how to embroidery the traditional stars. 

Both of our shirts are sized for men and women; men for sizes Small to 2X-Large and women from X-Small  to 2X-Large.  

For inspiration for this pattern, we put a Pinterest board together with ideas for modern wear as well as images that show the historic context of this garment.  Some of my favorites are below.

Woman in a red middy shirt with white trim on a sail boat.
I've seen lots of middy tops in white and blue/navy, but red is also an excellent choice - the trim here is traditional, but perfect for a vintage-modern look too.  The large collar is lots of fun!  (Pinterest link)

Woman on catwalk wearing a leather skirt and white middy top with blue trim
From the runway - a middy top inspired look.  Again, the trim is fun, and I like the different colored cuffs and collar - a great way to use fabric! (Pinterest link)

Middy top made with white eyelet fabric
I would not have thought to use an eyelet fabric for this shirt until I saw this.  And I love it!  So pretty and feminine.  (Pinterest link)


Love the older images of women wearing Middy Tops.  These two women from University of Utah in their Middies with neck ties and skirts are very sporty.  (Pinterest link)

Illustration of two women from 1920s cooking over a campfire, wearing middy shirts and knickers.
I love this image too because it shows how the Middy was used as an "outdoor" outfit for women - for camping and sports.  I like the short sleeves and knickers with the shirt.  (Pinterest image)

 

We will have a blog post with fabric suggestions in a few days, as well as a sew along for both of these shirts!  The sew-along will begin next Friday (so order your pattern soon to join in!) and for 5 days, we will tackle different aspects of sewing this pattern.  The patterns are quite simple to sew, but the sew along will dive deeper into the pattern and sewing techniques used.

In honor of those who served, and in honor of black lives, 20% of all sales of this pattern for the next two weeks will go to NABVETS (National Association for Black Veterans).  This historic fashion, and pattern, was a tribute to military garb, and contributing to NABVETS helps bridge the gap that has underfunded and undervalued service men and women of color in America.

 Get your 211 Two Middies pattern now!

Fabric Suggestions for 271 Sunset Wrap

By Molly Hamilton
on May 22, 2020

Woman outdoors wearing 271 Sunset Wrap.  Garment is made in a grey double gauze fabric.

There are lots of great fabric options for making the 271 Sunset Wrap!  The pattern uses about 2 yards of a 60" fabric or about 2 1/2 yards of a 56" fabric.  These are great lengths to use up fabrics in your stash. Also great length to splurge of some good fabric for a garment that will be a wardrobe staple. 

Inspired by the elegant and simple styles of the 1940s, this easy one-arm wrap shawl is a breeze to make, allowing you to sew up a beautiful wrap in an hour or less. This wrap can be made for winter with heavier-weight warm fabrics or is perfect for summer evenings made from lightweight material with good drape.

Close up of woman outdoors wearing sunset wrap.  wrap is made with a rayon velvet polka dot burn out fabric.  wrap is draped over shoulder.

And, another little trick to think about, is that this pattern can be made without the exact right amount of fabric.  If you have a great fabric that would work, but are short by 1/4 yard or so, you can still use this pattern.  Just shorten the pattern by folding a pleat perpendicular to the long side until it is the length you wish. Of  course, you don't want to make the pattern so short that it cannot be draped over your shoulder!  So use your judgement!  

The main fabric rule for this pattern is that whatever fabric you use, it should have pretty good drape. A very stiff fabric will not work well with this pattern as you want it to fall gracefully around your shoulder and neck. However, you can easily test the fabric by draping it over your shoulder.  If you like the way it hangs, it will be fine for this pattern!

Suggested fabrics: Fabrics with good drape such as silk chiffon, charmuese, rayon, crepe, and wool or wool blends.  Note that back side of fabric can be seen.

Below are some fabric suggestions from some of our favorite fabric stores.  Please note, these suggested fabrics are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written, and may go out of stock from store at some point.  If link is invalid for specific product, look for a similar fabric you can substitute.

We love this striped border linen from Stylemaker Fabrics.  They currently have a couple colors available in stock.  And, a bordered fabric is fabulous in this pattern!

 linen cotton fabric blue with darker border strips

I really love the texture of this checker weave silk noil from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics.  Such an elegant fabric that will go with everything!  They carry a nice selection of silk noil.

natural color silk noil fabric with textured checker weave pattern

And, this fun and beautiful double gauze from Oak Fabrics is gorgeous and would be a fun fabric to use for the wrap.

Here at Folkwear we have made several of the sunset wraps using the voile we have in stock.  These are available for purchase at Folkwear Clothing.  The voile drapes very nicely and wears so well.  We have Sunset Wrap kits available with the sheer organic cotton voile.

raspberry color sheer organic cotton voile fabric

Woman in sunset wrap made of  raspberry pink cotton volie

We also have some lovely European linen in stock here at Folkwear. Check out our complete fabric selection here

European linen tan colored on boltEuropean linen goodnight blue color on bolt

Knit fabrics will even work with this pattern, with a few modifications.  If using knit fabrics, either serge or stitch seams with a zig-zag stitch.  The hem can be turned up only once (at 2 inches from cut edge) and the hem edge can be serged, cut, or left intact since it will not ravel.  Or, just trim to the hem line and leave un-hemmed.  You just want it to look good from the inside since that side can occasionally be seen when wearing the wrap.  To hem a slippery knit, I sometimes use Steam-a-Seam when I iron the hem allowance so that it stays in place and does not stretch.  You can stitch right over the interfaced hem tape.  Use a cover stitch or zig-zag stitch to sew the hem (if you are going to sew the hem).

This dark magenta and pumpkin floral ponte knit from Hart's Fabrics is intriguing.  I like the subtle color pattern in this abstract print.

ponte knit fabric abstract magenta and pumpkin colored flowers blurred into dark background

This is another fun burnout floral knit from Vogue Fabric. I can imaging this being a nice light layer for me at the beach this summer. 

gold floral knit fabric