Friday, March 23, 2007

Building Bible Costumes -- Part 2

This is a further continuation of a tutorial began in The Inseam Pocket Tutorial and continued in Building a Bible Costume -- Part 1

After finishing the neckline, sleeves are next. My preference is to go ahead and finish the sleeves and press the hem up before sewing them in...much less fabric to wrestle around on the ironing board, and the hems are easier to press if you do them flat. (TIP: cut strips of a manila folder in useful widths...1", 1 1/4", 1 1/2", whatever you use frequently, label them, and use them as pressing templates. Makes a job like pressing up the hem on these sleeves a quickie!)

Next, sew the sleeves to the garment with a conventional machine, matching notches and shoulder seam/dot. Serge the seams together, or zig-zag them and trim...but only between the dots! (see photo...dots are clip marked). Press the seam towards the sleeve.

Starting at the sleeve edge, sew the underarm/side seam in one continuous seam, being careful not to catch the finished edge of the pocket (if you put a pocket in per the earlier post). Make sure to 1) have the ends of the seam joining the sleeve to the garment stacked on top of each other and 2) stitch on top of that when you round that curve. Serge the edge, trimming the seam to a scant 3/8" wide, and press seam towards the back. (If you're zig-zagging, trim the curve under the arm to 3/8" and zig-zag those seam allowances together, then clip the ends so that you can open the rest of the seam flat; zig-zag those seam allowances singly and press them open.)

Finish the raw edge at the bottom while the garment is're almost done!

Starting at the clip mark that's about 7" down from the top, sew the back seam all the way to the bottom with a conventional machine (it should be cut on the selvedge). Press that seam open.

Continue pressing the seam allowance to the wrong side above the stitching. If you have some, a little fusible web slipped under the seam allowance and pressed well will anchor it securely. Topstitch from the finished neck edge, down to the top of the sewn seam, across to the other side, and back up...about 3/8" from the fold.

For the closure, after much trial and error, we have found that the quickest, easiest, least distracting closure is to simply sew a bias tape tab at the neckline and use a snap closure to secure it. Start with a piece of single-fold bias about 2 1/2" long, folded in half. Zig-zag it securely to the wrong side of either side of the back (do you really want to debate 'his/hers' on this? Just pick one) at the top of the opening; edge stitch around the edges and along the garment edge to make it very secure.

I have a snap-setting tool to use...just a few taps with a hammer and the snaps are on! But, if you prefer, you can hand sew a snap in place (note to my sewing ladies...if you bring the garment in at this point, I'll be happy to hammer on the snap! ;) )

Here's what the snap looks like finished. Press the hems on the bottom and sleeves (the sleeves should just need a touch-up press at the seam) and topstitch in place.

And here's the finished, Biblical-style robe... ;). I'll post some info about the extra pieces (drapes, sash, headband) over the weekend.

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