by Esi Hutchinson
Folkwear is featuring our #219 Intimacies this month! Since there are three different garment styles in this pattern, Molly, Victoria, and I decided to each make something from it for ourselves. It is a pattern we have all had our eyes on, just waiting to making something from it, and this was the perfect opportunity. You could make a slip, teddy, camisole, or tap pants/knickers from the pattern. I chose to make the teddy because I think it's so cute, and I don't really have any elegant nightwear in my wardrobe. I also think the teddy fits my style and comfort the best.
This pattern is also available as a PDF, you can get it here!
In this blog post, I'll be showing how I dyed the silk for the teddy as well as how I constructed it.
Fabric and preparation
The teddy calls for fabric that is that is light and drape-y -- something like silk charmeuse, crepe, habotai, cotton voile, or a handkerchief linen.
However, if you want to make the teddy for non-sleepwear, it would be cute in a lightweight denim for a summer outing to the beach or a lunch dat. You could also use a Tencel twill or medium-weight silk/cotton for a more structured and casual look. As always, you should check out our fabric collection to see if there is anything you could use that would fit perfectly for your style and comfort. Pre-wash and press your fabric before cutting.
You will also need two ⅜”/10mm buttons for gusset (or you may use snaps).
Optional: This pattern has instructions for crocheted lace and edging, appliqued lace, scalloped hem finishes, and ribbon rosettes. Keep those embellishment options in mind when you are deciding what you want to make and how you want it to look!
I wanted to use a silk crepe fabric for my teddy, however I didn't like any of the colors I saw online. I ended up getting a white silk crepe from Dharma Trading for me to dye! I planned to dye the fabric to use to make the teddy (not dye the teddy after it was made, though you could do this also). YouTube is a great source for learning how to dye using different dye methods. Also, most online stores will provide the instructions on how to use the dyes they sell. I also highly recommend fabric dyes from Dharma Trading Co. and Earth Guild.
And since it often happens to crafters, the idea in my head did not quite come out the way I planned. First, I had a little mishap when dyeing my fabric. I wanted to dye the fabric a mint green, but the fabric came out blue when using Cushing direct dyes for animal fiber fabric. A good lesson to definitely test a small swatch before you do the whole fabric. I often use these dyes at home so I trusted it completely. The Cushing direct dyes works amazingly well for plant fibers such as cotton, rayon, and linen, however when it comes to silk it can get tricky and not come out the color expected. Anyway, I had to re-dye my fabric using a lemon yellow Jacquard Acid Dye, these dyes are way more promising for using with silks. I didn't end up with the color I wanted initially, but the color I got I actually really love, it's more of a chartreuse. You can cut out your pieces and then dye your fabric or dye your fabric before cutting (or dye the finished garment), up to you. You should think about possible fabric shrinkage, fraying edges, or uneven dyeing, depending on your dyeing methods, and choose the option the best suits your project.
Now I can begin sewing the teddy!
These garments don't require a lot of fabric but it can be tricky when pieces are cut on the bias. Test the layout and then rearrange your pieces if needed. You can also read some sewing tips about cutting and sewing with silky and bias cut fabrics here.
Note: Read Authentic Detailing for Intimacies before beginning if you want to finish your garment with any lace appliques and/or lace edging techniques for this pattern.
I recommend using a French seam for most of the seams. I will indicate when it is probably wise not to use a French Seam.
How to sew a French seam: Wrong sides together, stitch seam only a scant 3/16”/5mm (Fig. 1). Press to one side. Turn right sides together and stitch on seam line, taking care to include previous seam (Fig. 2).
A good tip when sewing with silk, silky fabrics, or bias cut fabric is to baste your seams before using the final stitch length. This will prevent unwanted shifting.
With silk, you want to press really well because it shifts a lot, you can spray your fabric with water and use steam, this will make your pressing nice and crisp. Again, you might want to test your pressing with heat and water on scraps of your fabric before using on your garment.
STEP ONE: BODY
It is easier and neater to use a lapped seam (described below) on the Front and Back Inset seam. Or, you can use a use a standard seam if you'd rather.
For a Lapped seam, press under ½"/13mm along the Inset piece.
On the wrong side of the Front, I placed the pressed edge of Inset along right side of seam line of of the Front (matching notches), and pinned on the wrong side to make sure that the raw edges are even.
Turn to the right side and pin on the right side taking the pins out from the wrong side and hand-baste in place.
Baste through all three layers, then on the right side top-stitch along the pressed edge.
Do the same for the Back.
Now you can remove the basting stitches.
Overcast seams by hand or machine to finish these seams.
Now with right sides together, baste then stitch the front and back together. You can use a French seam for this step, but I pressed the seam open and serged the raw edges.
STEP TWO: STRAPS AND FACING
Press under ¼"/6 mm on both long edges of the Strap.
Fold in half lengthwise along Center Fold Line and you can baste, then stitch, close to both long edges.
With right sides together, hand or machine-baste the straps to top points of the back insets.
Now you can try on the teddy to determine the strap length: place a pin at point where top of the Front inset meets desired length of the strap. Trim off excess of STRAP so that it measures ½"/13mm beyond pin.
Hand or machine-baste the strap to the Front inset with right sides together, making sure STRAPS are not twisted before your sew the facing (or add lace edging).
Note: You can omit the facing if you are finishing your garment with lace edging.
Stitch facings together at side seams, and clip inner corners to dot as marked on pattern piece.
You can either press under ¼”/6mm along lower edges of facing or finish with a zig-zag or serger. I serged the bottom raw edges of facing to finish.
Now you can stitch the facing to the body with ¼”/6mm seam line, sandwiching strap ends (make sure not to catch the straps in the stitching in other places).
Clip to seam at Center Front and Center Back to help with a smooth turning of the facing to the inside.
Turn facing to inside and press. Top-stitch close to pressed edges.
You can baste the lower edge of the facing to the teddy. You can top-stitch or slip-stitch by hand along pressed edge. Since my fabric is light and silky, I whip-stitched the facing to the center inset and front/back seam lines, as well as the side seams. This keeps the facing from popping to the outside and hides the stitches on the inside (they aren't seen on the outside of the teddy).
STEP THREE: GUSSETS
Stitch the Front Gussets together at curved edges, to the box (with right sides together). Backstitch at box to secure. I used a French seam here.
Repeat with the Back Gussets.
Press seams open if you did not use a French seam, and zig-zag or serge the raw edges.
Press under ½”/13mm on the short straight edge with button and buttonhole markings on both gussets. Turn another ½"/13mm and stitch along pressed edge.
Stay-stitch on the seam line, ¼”/6mm from the slashline on front and back of teddy, tapering to and pivoting at the box at the top of the slashline.
Now, cut on the slashline to the box.
With right sides together, match seam lines and boxes of the front gusset to the front of the teddy using a ¼”/6mm seam line. (Raw edges will not be even at the top of Slash.) Backstitch at box. I would NOT use a French seam here as it would be way too tedious.
Pivoting at the box, stitch adjoining side of front gusset to front.
Repeat with the back gusset. Press seams away from gussets.
Zig-zag raw edges together to finish.
STEP FOUR: FINISHING
Note: If you plan to finish your garment with lace edging or hand-scalloped edging, disregard Hem instructions below.
Press under ¼”/6mm on bottom raw edge, turn again ¼”/6mm and stitch close to pressed edge around leg opening, starting and ending at gusset edge.
Make two buttonholes as marked on Pattern Piece of front gusset. And, sew two buttons on back gusset. OR, you may apply snaps instead, which I did - using sew-on snaps.
My teddy is finished! I think it turned out pretty well. I love the color I ended up with. Remember if you dyed your garment fabric wash it by itself several times just in case it continues to bleed. With silk its best to handwash or dry clean.
The trickiest part of this pattern for me was the front and back gussets. You can practice beforehand if you have never done it before. For me, silk is the hardest fabric to work with but I love the challenge. It was so rewarding when finished - and feels luxurious and comfortable. I'll be wearing this to sleep! And maybe I'll make one to wear outside my home!
September 15, 2023 6 Comments on Sewing (and dyeing) the teddy from #219 Intimacies