Costume College Saturday

Finally continuing my Costume College posts-

Saturday I had several classes spread out again, so was not able to socialize too much.  Here’s some of my favorite snapshots from Saturday during the day.  Ginger of Scene in the Past did camera duty for part of the day, as I was in class.

Saturday seemed to be all about the details- which was perfect, because I love nerding out over the little fiddly bits and perfect accessories.


Merja’s beautiful fan (Before the Automobile)katherinetennis

Katherine’s incredible drawn work 1920’s tennis dress. (The Fashionable Past)

Merja’s incredible striped dress.  She’s a costuming rock star.samantha

Samantha’s fun 1820’s dress. (The Couture Courtesan)shoemontage

Shoe love!  From left to right:  Ginger, Samantha, Merja.  Merja made her stockings, too.shoesphoto

Aubry (A Fractured Fairytale) documenting the shoe and stocking love.wig

Merja’s lovely wig, which I heard through the grapevine, was styled by Kendra (Author of the new 18th Century Hair book).  And Ginger in the background.

Next Costume College post will be the Gala!





I’m so excited that we reached half of our initial funding goal this afternoon on Kickstarter!  YEAH!!  I’m blown away by all the support and sharing we’ve gotten in the last couple of days!  THANK YOU!!!

I’ve had some questions about what will happen if/when we meet our initial goal, so I’d like to answer that here!

Here’s the skinny on the details:

  • The  funding  goal is to meet actual production costs of the clothes getting made.   That means we’ll only get the funds to make the clothing if the full $15,000 goal is met.  The initial amount doesn’t include payment for any of my time over the last 6 months, nor does it include any of the funds spent on startup fees, legal fees, sample making, etc.
  • Our Kickstarter runs for 30 days, regardless of when we meet our goal.  If we meet it sooner, we will have more time to go over the initial goal amount!


  • EXPAND OUR SIZING-  If we go $5,000 or more over the initial goal amount, that means I get  a new dress form to expand our sizing.  First would be a larger misses’s form, but the more we raise I’d like to add a plus size form, and a men’s form.  That means I could do a larger size range of the current sizing, and be working toward plus size women’s clothing AND men’s causal vintage wear for the future!  Real fashion dressmaker forms are much more pricey and accurate than “dial” type home sewing forms, so the more money we raise, the more likely that it would be to happen.  I know the #1 complaint I’ve heard is about the limited size range, and I’d like to address that need.  The only way it will happen is if we raise more funds!
  • If we hit DOUBLE THE INITIAL GOAL, that means I can work on the next collection of clothing designs!  I will give you a hint of what I want to do in future collections.  Vintage women’s jeans.  Cut and sewn 30s and 40s sweaters.  Vintage inspired comfy knit tops.  Casual men’s shirts and jeans.  OH MAN.  I WANT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!  But it costs a lot up front to develop!


Here’s the link to the Kickstarter campaign!




Costume College- Thursday and Friday

Costume College 2014 has come and gone already.  I can’t believe it!  It was a great year, but it went too fast, as it always does.  I got to see some great friends who don’t come out every year (yay!) my regular friends who do come every year (double yay!) and met some new people, too (triple yay!)

Thursday Ginger of Scene in the Past and I drove up to the LA garment district to go fabric shopping.  Or, so we thought.  On the way up we were rear ended on the freeway :(  It kind of put a damper on the day.  So, after a bit of a mess there to figure things out, my sad little smashed car full of costumes made it to the garment district, where we met up with our other friend and roomie for the weekend for some fabric shopping.   I was a very good girl and didn’t buy anything.  But we saw some great exhibits at the FIDM museum, and Ginger found some great taffeta.

By the time we got to the hotel for Costume College, we were tired and hot, but we had a good few hours before our room was ready.  It was a long day.  Car accident, hot weather, and a long wait to unload.  I was in a pretty foul mood and decided to stay in on Thursday night and lick my wounds (and not subject people to a grumpy me. Other than my roommates, who were very patient.)

Luckily, Ginger snapped just a couple of shots with my camera:


One of my friends in her gorgeous tiki themed dress she made.


Merja of Before the Automobile

Friday I had an all day class.  I was making flowers in Candace Kling’s limited class Ribbon & Fabric Cabochons.  I want to make ALL the ribbon roses now.  Such fun!  Here’s a few I made in class.


I wore my Dust Bowl dress with totally non matching accessories, 50’s glasses, and a scarf over curlers during class. I was stylish. ;)

After class was the rush to get back, change into our outfits, and make it down to the Ice Cream Social.




Sara of Gilded Garb and Katherine of The Fashionable Past plus some familiar faces in the background (Lauren of American Duchess, Aubrey of A Fractured Fairytale, and Loren of The Costumers Closet)


Megan of MLSdesigns , and Ginger of Scene in the Past

I didn’t get any photos of my outfit, so I’m thankful the talented Jerry Abuan got a few of me.  I wore my gala dress from last year, but looped up the skirt and added a ribbon around the waist.

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Then, the marketplace opened, and we all swarmed the dealers to check out the beautiful things for sale!


I was pretty good (not really) and only bought a vintage 1920’s lace lingerie set and Kendra’s awesome 18th Century Hair and Wig Styling book.

Coming next… Costume College Saturday

Starting a New Regency Tailcoat

I’m back from Costume College (photos to follow soon) and I’m really excited about my new sewing project.  I have decided to make my husband a new Regency era tailcoat.

Pictured below is the previous tailcoat.  You can read all blog entries on that here.

At Costume College last year I bought the Laughing Moon Men’s Regency Tailcoat pattern #121.  The coat is a little late Regency, but I love that she said she took it from an original period garment.

P121-2TI made the mock up tonight and we tried it on.  My husband has more squared shoulders than the original and we had some other alterations to make, but the thing we noticed after the initial fit concerns was the strange roll line.  The roll line really popped up, and stood away from the neck.  It’s so against modern “classic” tailoring rules, and I started to make a new neckline, but my friend Ginger pulled out some books and we started seeing that my engrained view of collar roll lines was incorrect in this period.

For example:


Look how far Mr Brummel’s coat stands away from his neck, and how high it pops up at the roll line.

And looking at period paintings and fashion plates, and comparing them with modern period movies, we see the same.  The modern movies make the roll line where we’re accustomed to seeing it, while the original period sources make the collar stand up and out from the neck.

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So, while this post doesn’t show any actual progress, I thought I’d share this little revelation.  It makes my mind kind of turn inside out and I’m really trying not to look at it from our modern comprehension of fit, but the period one.  I have to keep batting my hands down from drawing or pinning alterations, because the way it is in the Laughing Moon pattern is actually the way the collar is supposed to fit in the period.

So, for those of you who are also interested in Regency era menswear, I thought this might be useful information for you on fit.

Have you made any Regency era menswear?  If so, share your info with me.


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Well hello again everyone.

I’m glad you’re back for my most complicated bit of this pattern so far, the sailors collar. I know that Lauren has been getting photos out there of the plain collar, so I decided to do the sailors collar version. A plus side being that the pattern of the front of the jacket does not need cutting down with this version. I always like to keep a pattern as full as possible for future use.

Anyhow on to the steps.

1. Cut out the pattern pieces.

I wanted to use the skirt material for the collar and thought I had plenty until it came to the crunch and I laid out the pattern pieces I needed. Oops. You may note that the front facing does not fit.

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So my addition to step 1 was having cut out as much as I could of the facing and then to sew a bit more material across the bottom and then cut this extra bit out.  It is much better to put the join at the bottom than the top as it might show on the bit that folds over otherwise.

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I also had to cut the facing side of the collar, cuff and belt in the main material, but then I was good to go.

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2. The Facing;

Sew a small hem along the edge of the facing that won’t be attached to the jacket.

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Pin the facing in place, right sides together


Sew along the seam line, I also like to sew along the bottom hem at this point too, just where the facing attaches.

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don’t forget to pivot at the corners and then clip to get a neat turn.

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When you get to the top, stop at the shoulder seam, there will be some facing sticking over with a raw edge, but we will cover this when we get to the back facing section.

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Turn and iron, here’s mine at this stage:

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3. The Sailor Collar:

Sew the collar and the facing along the 3 outside edges, right sides together. (The line down the centre is a crease not a seam so just ignore that, I ironed it out after.)

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I under stitched the facing down as far as possible, you won’t be able to get into the corners.

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So after a good iron, we are ready for the pleats. Here’s my lazy approach; place the pattern piece over the material and stick pins through where the lines are, all three lines. I use a padded ironing board covered table (cut an ironing board cover to fit a tv dinner table, it’s one of the most useful things in my sewing room.) for this as you can push the pins right in and they stay where you want them.

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Then bring one set of outside pins to meet the middle pins, using more pins, pin in place.

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Then do the same with the other set of pins, giving you a box pleat.

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Iron this well

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As you can see the pin marks stayed in the fabric, but with another quick blast from the iron, they vanished. If you fabric won’t do this then you may have to do the job properly and use tailors tacks.

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Then sew a baste line across the top of the pleat.

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4. Attaching the Collar.

Ok jacket prepped and collar prepped, lets put them together; I did this in 3 stages. I sewed the collar to the back of the jacket and then sewed the front pieces on.

So to start, matching raw edges, line the jacket and the collar up with the collar facing right side up onto the right side of the jacket along the back, matching notches and clip the jacket to fit.

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sew the seam stopping at the shoulder seams.

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You will now have the front of the facing loose and this needs to be attached to the lapel of the jacket.

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Pin it in place following the fold line, so that the sewing line will be on the fold line. But only through the facing not though the whole jacket.

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Sew in place but only through the collar and the facing. This will make it easier to sew the bit by the shoulder too as you have more to work with with the the facing spread out, it will make more sense when you reach this bit. Repeat for the other side.

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Next take the back collar facing and sew a small hem the same as we did for the front facing. Line up raw edges and pin to the jacket with the right side of the facing facing the collar, clip and sew in place only going as far as the shoulder seam the same as we have done for the other facings.

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Ok so now we have everything where it should be, but it will all look a bit of a mess, so it’s time to get the hand sewing going and tidy up a bit. The back facing will cover the raw seam of the collar at the back, and Lauren suggested using bias tape made from your fabric to cover the front area, but I decided to go a little easier than that.

Firstly I opened up the raw seam of the collar and trimmed right back the facing material, the paler colour in my pictures.

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Then I folded the collar seam over to encase the facing material, the bit between my fingers shows this.

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Holding this fold in place I hand sewed the seam in place

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paying particular attention to the end to make that neat

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I am still only working on the front facing so the front of the jacket is un-touched, here’s what it looks like from underneath.

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This picture shows the raw edge enclosed all the way up to the shoulder seam.

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Next sew the top of the front facing to the seam allowance of the back of the jacket, ensure that it all lies flat first

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Then fold the back facing down having turned the raw edge under and sew that into place to finish everything off neatly.

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And here’s the finished sailor collar fully attached.

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Well I that’s all from me. It’s been great doing these guest spots for Lauren who is such an inspiration. If you’d like to keep in touch you can always follow me on my regular blog Honey Pot Creations. Hopefully Lauren might let me back sometime to show you some of my hats. Check out my website for more details.

hugs and kisses




Clothing Sizes and Specifics- An Answer to Some Questions


So, a few days ago I released my “tentative” size chart.

Let me say, I don’t like size charts for the simple reason that I don’t like classifying sizes into titles.  In a perfect world, we would go from measurements alone and there would be no stigma of what size you fall into.  But we’re not in a perfect world, and ready to wear clothing sizes are all over the board, so I understand the complete frustration behind finding sizes, or figuring out what sizes you are.

I did get some response about not doing plus sizes, or larger sizes.  Trust me, I do hate having to limit sizing, too.  But let me take just a moment to explain to you why clothing companies can’t or don’t offer a broader size range.

Re-Sizing Patterns & Base Patterns

There’s a real, technical, reason behind sizing and sizing standards.  When you take one pattern and change it to different sizes, it’s called “grading.”  It takes a LOT of math.  But, as you’ll see, not all sizes can be graded from one pattern.

Generally, a “safe” grade rule would be up and down two to three sizes from your “base pattern”.  A Base Pattern is the pattern you draft your original pattern from.

But what is this Misses size vs Petite, Tall, Plus, and Junior’s?

All of those sizing types are based off of different proportions

Because of this, no amount of math will let you change from one size type to another.  So, for example, you can’t take a Petite and change it to a Misses.  You can’t take a Junior’s and change it to a Plus.  There may be Junior’s Plus, or Petite Plus, but that’s different than just Junior’s or Petites.

Why?  Because when we “grade” a pattern, we do this flat, with math, in 2-D.  The body is different.  It’s in 3-D, and it not only is 3-D, but it moves, and has different needs based on age, size, height, and weight.  That’s why we have each of these different size “types”.

Your Base Pattern Size Limits Your Size Range

In my case, my Wolf professional form is a Misses’ 34″ bust, which I bought after I graduated from fashion school, over 10 years ago.  Sadly, that means I’m already not in the middle of the size range for misses’ sizing.  That means my size range is already limited, because I can only size up so much and still have accurate grading from a small base pattern.

Why Can’t Startups Start with a Bigger Size Range or Different Size Types?

Well, most of it comes down to financial reasons and skill sets.

As of now, I’m not making any profit, of course, because my clothing line hasn’t launched yet.   I’m on a pretty tight shoestring right now, so I’m using the tools I already have, which includes the smaller professional dress form.

My Kickstarter goal will only cover production costs- not startup fees OR pay for my time developing this line over the past few months, or for filling orders or time I spend working after the launch.  After I actually am able to make a profit,  some of that will go into a new professional form, which can cost over $1,000.  It’s big money up front for a startup who’s not got much to start with!  So all of my “base patterns” are for my size SMALL form currently have.  All of my patterns are Misses’ sizing, because that’s what my form is.

Now, if the Kickstarter goes gangbusters and we go above and beyond the goal, adding larger misses’ sizing is a definite possibility with future releases!  But right now, I just don’t know, because, ultimately, my time and work and the future of my clothing line are in the hands of the future customers (that’s you!).

However, down the line when I get a size medium or large misses’ form for drafting my base  patterns, I still won’t be able to do plus sizes by using that form and my skill set.  Because to do that I’d need a different dress form, and a different, unique skill set for making those types of sizes.

Other Sizing Types Require A Different Skill Set

In general, fashion school teaches you to draft misses’ sizes, not plus, petites, or tall.  We did have one junior form in fashion school, and none of the misses’ outfits we drafted ever fit it, or vice versa.  I remember, we always had to be careful not to grab that form.  It made out outfits we were graded on look bad!  Because our outfits were drafted for misses’, not juniors’, and we were graded based on both our pattern drafts, and how our mock up looked on the form.

People can spend lifetimes perfecting their skill set.  I was always very skinny (and ridiculed for being so), so I learned some tricks for my size type then.  I’m now “normal” for my age/height so I have been making clothing in my personal size range for a great while.  I just don’t know what it takes, from personal experience, to do plus sizes, or petite’s sizes, or tall sizes.  But people who ARE in those sizes and have spent a long time learning to do what they need to for their size type are generally more used to the unique concerns of that size group.  For that reason, if I’m able to do different size types, I think it would be in everyone’s best interest, if I hired someone who KNEW that size range, their specific needs, and knew how to address them and make the best, most high quality clothing in that size range, that was possible.

I’m not even able to offer clothing in the size range I had a hard time shopping for when I was younger, either.  Based on the responses to my surveys, there was not enough demand.  My younger me would not be happy, so I understand the frustration when size ranges do not accommodate the size you need, on either side of the board.

So Why Does Sizing Vary So Greatly WITHIN a Size Type?

Most fashion companies use Misses’ sizing.  But there is no standard size chart, so a company is free to use whatever measurements they want to use to make up their sizing, and they are free to change it down the line (add or subtract sizing, change measurements, etc).

If a size chart doesn’t say it’s Junior’s, Petites, Tall, or Plus, you can bet it’s Misses’ sizing.  In general, it’s the industry standard UNLESS it has a target audience within the other sizing types.

Some have size charts varying depending on the particular design, too, so ALWAYS check your size charts before buying!

What are you doing for your size chart?

In my case, I made my “tentative” size chart based on what I felt I could safely grade from my Misses’ size base pattern.  I compared this to what other companies that my target customer base buy from, and I made my sizing.  It falls closely in line with Revamp, Stop Staring, and ModCloth.

I’m currently asking people I know are much more skilled than I am
with grading to see if it’s possible to expand the Large and XL sizes a bit more
.  But I want to make sure it’s a safe thing to do, so my garment quality won’t be compromised on those sizes.  I want to make sure what I do make will be the best I can make it.

So that’s it, in a nutshell.  I hope you can understand a little more clearly about how sizing works.  Truly, if other companies are like me, they WISH they had the resources and skill set to offer fashions for EVERYONE!  I really do.  It makes me totally bummed when I hear some people can’t wear what I’m making :(  But I can only hope that in the future I will be able to do so.  I’m hoping so, because I REALLY want to make this happen!

If you’re interested in more of a technical reason behind sizing, make sure you check out these links:

Colette Patterns:  Grading Patterns for Plus Sizes

Fashion Incubator:  What is an Optimal Size Range, Pt 2.

Fashion Incubator:  What is a Size Break?

Fashion Incubator:  Why Existing Manufacturers Don’t Add Plus Sizes

Fashion Incubator: Grading is Not Morphing

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Suit-along: The Pockets on Your Jacket.

Right then lovelies, you’ve sewn your skirts and marked all the sewing notations on to your jacket as per Lauren’s last post and you’re now ready to get your pockets sewn on. So there’s how I did mine.

There are a number of ways you can go about pockets, the original instructions didn’t go into any detail, but Lauren gave us more:

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As she had already covered facing quite well and it is fairly similar I decided to do the ‘cut a duplicate piece’ method to make my pocket.

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I cut the pockets out of the main fabric and then placed the pattern piece onto lining material and using the same pins pinned it to the lining material and cut out.

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Since the iron was already set up, I even gave the pieces a little iron at this stage and then pinned right sides together around the 2 side edges and the curved top edge. I am going to leave the bottom side open to turn later.

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Start sewing at a bottom corner pivot at the top corners, leave the needle in, lift foot and turn material, but I’m sure you all know that, and then take it slow around the curved edge. This is where I came a cropper first time as I was carefully staying the same distance away from the edge all the way round the curve, but then somehow ended up a lot lower and now in the centre. You’ll see what I mean.

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So I stopped and undid that bit of sewing and then marked up where I wanted to sew with my disappearing ink pen, which I just love, but be warned wash out reside even if you can’t see it if you want to make an heirloom. Or just use it on things that are for normal use, as I do.

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Then I re-sewed following the line instead, much easier.

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Next stage is important if you want a nice smooth curve, because you can sew a lovely curve but without clipping and ironing it won’t look good when turned. So carefully clip the edge around the curve getting as close as you can without cutting the sewing thread.  (If you do re-sew that part just a little further in).

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Cut down to the point in the centre and also cut the corners off

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and then give it a good iron before turning as this sets the thread in place somehow.

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I like to under stitch anything like this to stop any chance of the lining fabric showing. So next stage for me was to under stitch, the side seams as far as I could. Under stitching is sewing the lining to the seam allowance.

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Under stitched hem

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You can see the natural tendency is for the edge that has been under stitched to lie so the lining isn’t showing

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The rest I help out with my sewing knife, a blunt curve that can be held in the curve under the iron to help the whole flattening process. I now have 1 raw edge remaining at the bottom and I fold it under so the raw edges are inside the ‘bag’ area and iron flat, then when it is sewn onto the jacket there will be no raw edges to think about at all.

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Furnished pocket ready to go.

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I also decided to topstitch the top of the pocket with two rows of stitching to match the stitching to the jacket and stop any chance of the lining moving.

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Here they are ready to go on to the jacket.

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I sewed them in place first before doing anything else to the front pieces, even ironing, well you know me. So mark where your pockets should be and the pin in the pockets place.

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 and then sew on.

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I sewed around the outside first with the needle set to the right hand position, down one side across the bottom and then up the other side. Without cutting thread or anything I then sewed 2 stitches across the top of the pocket and pivoted the material so I was then coming down the side I just sewed up. Then I followed the line of stitch and repeated leaving the needle at the right hand side. Without having a 2 needle facility on my machine, this is the best way I have come up with for doing this, if anyone has any better please let me know. [picture 21]

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So here are my pockets in place and I’m ready for the next step.

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 Did you notice my mistake, not reading the instructions first I sewed my top pocket onto the left hand side, so used to doing men’s vintage shirts I guess. Well I’m not moving it now.

Hope all that might help some of you, and I look forward to getting to the collars stage next.  Can’t wait to see all your creations too.

Hugs and Kisses