Sewing Basics: Make Your Own Clothing | Denise Bayron | Skillshare

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Sewing Basics: Make Your Own Clothing

teacher avatar Denise Bayron, Designer & Patternmaker

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Preparing Your Workspace


    • 3.

      Essentials: Straight Lines & Corners


    • 4.

      Essentials: Curved Seams


    • 5.

      Seam Styles: Standard, Three Ways


    • 6.

      Seam Styles: Clean Finish


    • 7.

      Seam Styles: French Seams


    • 8.

      Seam Styles: Flat Felled


    • 9.

      Finishing: Bias Binding


    • 10.

      Finishing: Facings


    • 11.

      Finishing: Hemming


    • 12.

      Shopping for Fabric


    • 13.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Have you always wanted to learn how to sew? Grab your sewing machine and learn the fundamental sewing techniques you’ll need to start creating your own projects!

Join Denise Bayron in this two-hour, power-packed class where she consolidates the building blocks of sewing and inspires you to follow your creativity. You’ll gain all of the technical skills you’ll need to make high quality garments and make use of that sewing machine that you might’ve been avoiding!

Easy-to-follow lessons include:

  • Gathering the proper tools to set you up for success, even if you're on a budget
  • Sewing the perfect hemline every time
  • Varieties of seam styles to ensure your garment will withstand the test of time
  • How to keep a clean line while turning a sharp or curved corner

Plus, join Denise as she visits a fabric store and shows you how to choose supplies that work both for you and the planet!

Get ready to walk out into the world in your new garments and when people ask you where you bought it, you can say “Oh, I made it myself!”

While any student at any level on their sewing journey can enjoy and learn from Denise’s trove of fundamental skills, this class was developed for the beginner who owns a sewing machine and is seeking to build a basic sewing vocabulary.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Denise Bayron

Designer & Patternmaker


Denise Bayron is a designer and patternmaker whose work spans the fiber arts to include knitting, sewing, crochet, and macrame.  She is currently writing a book under the working title, “Handmade Wardrobe” which will be published by Laine Publishing.  She has been featured in and collaborated with: 

Better Homes and Gardens Magazine

Apartment Therapy


New York Magazine, Ask The Experts

Martha Stewart, The Best Knitters to Follow on Instagram

Refinery 29, Insta Accounts To Follow If You Want To Start Making Your Own Clothes

The New Yorker

San Francisco Chronicle

Tiny House Expedition Video House Tour

Modern Daily Knitting 



<... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Having the skill to make your own clothing is truly empowering. You get to say my body is beautiful, the clothing I'm wearing is beautiful, and this makes me feel good. My name is Denise Bayron, and I make clothing. I design knitwear patterns and sewing patterns. I also teach people how to make their clothing from scratch. I knew that I wanted to make clothing for a living, but my mom was like [inaudible] which means, you can't make money making clothes. Thank you, mom. In this class, we will be learning the foundational sewing skills that you will need to make a handmade wardrobe. We're going to start with the basics, sewing techniques, finishing techniques, and then we're going to have the grand finale where you and I get to go shopping together. The beautiful part of sewing is that it is a creative journey. As you're making garments, your mistakes can turn into features. I promise you, when you're done, you're not only going to feel good about the skills that you've acquired, but you're also going to feel great about the clothing that you need. No better feeling than being able to say that you made the clothing that you're wearing. Are you ready? Let's get started. 2. Preparing Your Workspace: To get started, I'm going to show you the tools and supplies that I use at home. Let's start with my sewing machine. I personally use the Janome HD1000. HD standing for heavy-duty. It is able to sew through thicker fabrics like denim and leather, and that's why I love it. It also happens to be black. She's a sexy black beauty. I love this machine. I intentionally bought her because she was black. I live in a tiny house in a really small space, and so my machine sits out all the time. I wanted it to be practical, but I also wanted it to be beautiful. It also happens to be on the lower price range of sewing machines. It's not digital, it is a completely mechanical machine, and it's a workhorse. I love it, you may consider it as an option for you at home. The next thing that I use at home in my sewing arsenal is a cutting surface. I have this cutting mat, that is 36 inches or one yard wide by 25 inches long, and it's large enough for me to cut most pattern pieces. The cutting mat not only allows you to use a rotary cutter, a tool like this to cut directly on the surface, without damaging your table, but it also forms a grid, so that you're cutting your fabric on a grid or what we call on-grain. We'll talk about this further later. But all fabric are woven on a perfect grid, there're vertical and horizontal fibers. When you cut your fabric ideally you are cutting it on grain. What that does, it allows your fabric on your body to drape straight down rather than twisting. If you cut your fabric off grain, once you wash it, you may find that your side seams, rotate and twist on your body. When you cut, you cut according to the lines on your cutting surface, and you'll find that your clothing will drape well. The next tools I have standard shears. A cardinal rule of sewing, never ever use your fabric shears to cut paper, but you will be cutting paper because you have to cut pattern pieces. I suggest that you get a cheap, affordable pair of regular scissors to cut your paper with. The next thing which I mentioned earlier is a rotary cutter. By the way, I am that person who likes to have beautiful tools. You can see that all my tools are intentionally black. This company is LDH Scissors and they kindly sent me this pair of shears about a year ago. I've used them for a year and loved them. If you want to give them a try, there are beautiful and they perform beautifully. Now, my rotary cutter, when I push the button back it releases a very sharp blade. Be careful whenever you put it down, get into the habit of covering the blade each time. The next thing is pinking shears. These are very heavy, and what they have is a serrated blade, and they cut fabric with a zigzag edge. I'll explain further later what we use them for and why we use them. Then the last cutting tool I have are snips. These snips are used usually when you're starting and ending a seam so you can cut the tails on your thread. The next thing you will need is a ruler, so that when you're cutting on the grid on your cutting surface, you have a straight edge to cut against. You'll see that sewing rulers are clear and marked at every quarter inch so that you can see your fabric as you're cutting it. The next thing on the list is a pin cushion. The pins actually come in multiple colors which is helpful during projects when you need some mark, where you should begin and end a seem. Perhaps you might use a red for stop for example. I like the white ones because they're pretty and obviously, I like neutral colors. But, the glass part is really important because when you press your seam with your iron, you don't want to use pins that have plastic tips, because you'll melt the pins onto your fabric. Get yourself some glass pins and usually in every project with finishing, you will need hand sewing needles. This looks pretty terrible but obviously I brought it from home, so I actually use it, but it's just a little wheel that holds hand sewing needles. Then this is a sampling of my sewing machine needles. Be sure to buy something that's compatible, both with your project, and your sewing machine. The heads on these are standardized to fit most sewing machines, but notice they're labeled universal, which is what we'll be using in this class, and you'll use for your normal fabrics, jeans, leather, and stretch. They all have different purposes. You'll obviously use your needles to make a seam, but quite often, especially in the beginning when you're making more frequent mistakes, you're going to need a handy-dandy seam ripper, this is your best friend. Do not get angry at your seam ripper. You're going to have to rip out seams. Go with the flow, undo your work, and do it again. Other tools that you'll need for all general sewing projects, are marking tools. I personally like to use tailor's chalk. This is a blue chalk that when you wash the project will wash away. You can also get it in white, for when you're working with darker fabrics. A homemade tool is a bar of soap. You can mark your fabric. It will make a white line on your fabric, and then, you wash it before you wear it, and all the marks will wash away. For this class, you will need a few scrap pieces of fabric. I was really lucky to get these beautiful samples of botanically dyed fabric gifted to me by my friend Christine. Then addition to your fabric scraps you're going to need thread. Now, these are just practice runs that we're going through. But eventually, when you're selecting your fabric and your thread for your project, you want to match your thread as closely to your fabric. The way to do that when you hold a whole spool next to the thread, it may not match perfectly. But if you pull one strand and it disappears against the fabric, that means that it'll work for that project and your seam line won't be a contrast stitch. In this class, we will be practicing on fabric squares. We won't be making a specific garment, because clothing is really personal, and I want you to be able to choose the perfect pattern for you. What we will be accomplishing is teaching you the skills so that you can construct any garment of your choice by the end of the class. Another tool you may consider getting is a seam gauge. What this allows you to do is mark your fabric. For example, if I were folding this fabric to make a half-inch seam, I would move the dial to the half-inch mark, and then fold my fabric to the half-inch. This way we can get precision when we're making seams and your clothing will fit as you expected to. You won't be eyeballing your seam allowance, you'll be marking it exactly. In a not so classy move but something I actually use in my real life. I have a roll of painter's tape. If you want to keep your room pretty as much as I said I love beautiful tools, you can use washi tape, because it's prettier. But I use painter's tape because it doesn't leave residue. I'll show you how I use it. Every pattern you use, will tell you what the seam allowance is. As in what distance you should leave between the edge of the fabric and your stitch line. Your sewing machine has individual markings on the plate. I use painter's tape to mark my seam allowance. For example, at this moment I'm marking it at a half-inch, four-eights. When I run my fabric through the machine, I have a visual guide, a line that tells me stop here. If I get distracted or something happens, I don't ruin my seam, just helps me sew in a straight line. You'll also need an iron. Ideally with a steam setting, it will press really sharp lines onto your fabric, and you'll need an ironing board. Or if you don't have a space for it, you live in a small home, you can use a pressing mat. This is 100 percent wool, you can leave your iron on it for a little while and it won't burn, and it doesn't take up a lot of space. Another tool I like to use is Swedish tracing paper. It is paper but it feels like fabric and you can sew through it and try on your pattern pieces before you cut into your actual fabric. With your tracing paper, you're going to need a pencil, and what this allows you to do is to place the paper over your pattern piece, and trace the lines over it. You'll also need spare bobbins. I am showing you my personal bobbin case and you can see that the point of having multiple bobbins is that you will fill them with different color threads depending on the projects that you're working on. They'll get filled as you progress and as you work on multiple projects. You don't have to pre-fill them. These bobbins are specifically sized for your machine. I am going to encourage you to look at the manual on your machine, and it'll tell you what bobbin size you'll need. This does seem like a long list of supplies that you need to go out today, run out and buy, but don't be intimidated by the process. I have acquired these tools over time, and over my sewing journey. I will queue you, based on each lesson, to share what you'll need for that particular lesson, and they're meant to make the job easier. But don't worry about it if you don't have all of the tools. I have showed you all of my real life goodies, all of the tools and supplies that I use at home, it's your turn. Gather your supplies, gather a few scraps of fabric and your thread, and come back for the next lesson, where we're going to practice a few of our basic beginner skills. 3. Essentials: Straight Lines & Corners: We finally made it to the fun part. We're going to start sewing. I have two practice exercises for us to work on. The first is sewing straight lines and turning a corner which you will need for all garments, and also sewing a curved scene. We're going to look at two versions; what to do when you're seam is inwardly curving and outwardly curving? They are called convex and concave curves. You'll treat them differently. Stay with me. It's not complicated. These are going to be fun exercises. I am going to encourage you to look at the class resources. We have provided two downloadable PDFs so that you can have exactly what I'm working with right now. Sewing in a straight line is essential when top-stitching, and edge stitching. I will show you what that is in a future lesson. Let's do the practice work first, perfect the skill, and then we'll move on. When I took classes at San Francisco City College, my teacher would repeat the same things over and over again. I'm going to share those little tips and tricks with you. First, before you stitch, you are going to make sure that your presser foot is down, and before you hit that pedal to go, you're going to use the wheel to drop the needle into the fabric. Nothing moves, and so the presser foot is down and the needle is down. The next thing you're going to do is hold on to your tails for the first two or three stitches. If you don't, the needle will catch those threads and you'll get a nest, a big knot underneath the fabric. You see that with my right hand over here, I'm holding on to my tails. Now, this is really precise. I am going to reverse stitch, it's called back-stitching, for two stitches. Okay. That was down, two, and now I can move forward. When you backstitch first and then go forward, it locks the thread in. It's almost like tying a knot. Let's continue. I've already held my tails for those first two stitches, but I'll do it for you again. I'm going to go forward. Now, I'm going to follow the lines that I've traced onto my fabric and then you'll trace onto your fabric using your PDF. I'm going to sew to the bottom. Now pause a second and take this needle thread and pull it to the back of my work so it doesn't get in my way now it's just hanging back there. Now, I'm going to continue sewing in a straight line to the corner. I've got one stitch left so that I don't overshoot it. I'm going to use my wheel to move the one stitch. One other trick that my teacher always said was never walk away. That means never walk your wheel away from you. You want to always walk that wheel towards you. Now I want to turn the corner. My needle is down, my presser foot is down, I'm going to lift the presser foot, turn the fabric, remember my needle is down that is locking in that fabric and I can't move it in anywhere, and I'm going to now bring down the presser foot and sew again in a straight line. Let's do that again. Lift up the presser foot, turn your corner 90 degrees. Another tip to think about is I'm not looking at that needle, that needle is a moving target and it's going to blind you and irritate you, what I'm looking at is my line. I'm lining up, I'm placing that line in this little divot on my presser foot. It's almost like a guide for me to sew in a straight line. Let's go. Put your needle down, turn the corner. I drew these lines exactly half-inch apart. Now my needle goes down. Oops, I made a little mistake. Remember the thing about mistakes not being a problem? What I'm going to do is I'm going to lift my needle up a second, slide it back so that my needle is exactly where I want it to be, manually drop it down, and now I'm bang-on at that 90-degree angle. Turn the corner. I'm doing the same thing manually using precision. I'm at the corner. What we're doing is we're making concentric squares. Let's turn the corner. You'll see how pretty this is one way done. One more stitch, so I'm using my wheel. Hopefully, you've got in the idea of what we're doing so far. We are sewing in straight lines and pivoting at exactly half an inch away from the previous line. So I am lifting my presser foot, turning the corner, lowering my presser foot, and continuing the line. The last one. At the end, do you remember when we hit the backstitch at the very beginning to make a little knot? I want you to get in the habit of always back-stitching at the end of your stitch. This will prevent your seams from coming apart. I'm going to lower my needle, use the reverse button on my sewing machine. I just did two stitches back. I'm going to go two stitches forward. I'm doing those manually so that I don't overshoot. Boom, we are done. Now, I'm going to ask you to be the judge of my work. Let's see how I did. I'm using my little thread snips to cut the thread. I'm going to cut the threads from the beginning, and then we'll take a look at my work. Obviously, when you saw a garment, you're not going to be using contrast thread. I'm using black thread on white fabric. By the way, this is just a scrap from my real-life stash. Let's look at my lines. Are they precise? I can see that this one in this little corner is, let's say maybe 89 degrees, it's not exactly 90 degrees. But I told you, this is practice, it's not going to be perfect. If I, as your teacher, made a little question of little boo-boo here, you may have some boo-boos too. Extend yourself a little bit of grace, do this as many times as you need, pause the lesson, come back to me after you've tried this. Otherwise, all of my other corners are pretty close to 90 degrees. 4. Essentials: Curved Seams : In this exercise, we're going to practice sewing curved seams. For this exercise, you should cut larger squares in what we've been working with up to this point. I'm going to recommend that you space them in this way. You're using the same pattern piece, but your curve should be on the lower left-hand corner for the concave seam because we're going to be working with this portion of the fabric. Then for the convex seam, in other words, an outwardly facing curve, I'd like you to place the curve higher up, towards the upper right-hand corner, I'm going to cut my pattern pieces out now. I suggest you do the same, and we'll meet in a moment. here two final pieces should look like this. We'll be working on a concave curve, something similar to the curve on a sleeve, and a convex curve, an outwardly facing one, which you might find on something like a lapel, a folded lapel. My next step is to pin the pattern pieces together. We have two pieces of fabric along a curved seam, and you can place your pins approximately 1.5-2 inches apart. If this is your first time sewing a curved seam, I'm going to suggest that you be patient. We're going to work slowly and intentionally and finesse the sewing needle over the curve. Let's move over to the sewing machine. I'm going to sew this current seam at a half-inch seam allowance. I'm moving my tape, my guide to the half-inch seam mark. We're going to follow all the steps that we've learned up to this point. We're going to hold onto the tails, drop your needle in, I did a backstitch for two to three stitches, and then we'll start sewing. We're approaching the curve. This is where we're going to slow down and work intentionally. If you need to drop the needle into the fabric, pick up the presser foot and slowly turn the fabric. Remember to backstitch at the end, and we're done. Let's look at our work. We have a curved seam at half-inch seam allowance. Clip your tails. Very good. Now when we flip, if we think of this as looking like a sleeve, we should be able to flip the fabric around and see what that looks like. Here we go. What you can see is that the fabric is bunching. Although our seam was beautifully curved, we're trying to make fabric that is woven in a grid. We're trying to make it stretch over a curve. It's just not going to happen. For a concave curve, what we're going to do is we're going to return to the wrong side. We're going to clip the seam up to the seam line. Be sure not to cut through your seam line. What we're trying to do is make these fibers that are perfectly aligned. We want them to stretch over the curve. Now that we've clipped our curve, we're going to turn our work around again and see where we're at. We haven't pressed it. We haven't taken it to the iron yet, but it should lay flat. What do you think? I think that deserves a little victory dance. It looks really good, and we could see because my fabric is actually quite sheer, my cotton is a light weave, we can see that the fabric is able to stretch like fingers over the curve and it's laying flat. Congratulations. If your curve is laying flat, you did it. We did it together. Now that we've had some success with a concave curved seam, I want to share with you how to sew a convex or outwardly curving seam, this angle right here. Let's move back to the sewing machine and we'll work on it together. I'm going to backstitch for one or two stitches. Remove my pins as I go. Now I'm reaching the curve. I'm going to slow down and be intentional about it. I'm going to drop my needle in the fabric and I'm going to lift the presser foot so that I can gently rotate the fabric for one or two stitches and I'll continue doing that as many times as is necessary to get around the curve. Remember the backstitch at the end, and we're done. Now we'll look at the curve and see what we've accomplished. Ideally, you will not be sewing with contrast thread. I am sewing black thread on white fabric so that you can see my stitches. In this case, I think this looks really beautiful. It's a really clean curve that's matching my seam allowance. But if yours is a little wonky, don't worry about it. You're probably using a thread that matches your fabric. No one's going to know about it and if anyone comments on it, they're too close, tell them to move away from you. Now let's look at our curve. I'm going to flip my fabric to the right side. If this were Feelovision, you'd be able to feel that it's lumpy in there. We're forcing, again the grid of our fabric to lay over itself. Now the opposite situation is happening. We have a lot of fabric that spread this way and we want it to come together and lay flat. I'm going to show you how we're going to do that. First, I'm going to follow my own advice and I'm going to clip my tails. Then I am going to notch the corner. Notching simply means cutting little triangles into the fabric. We're cutting away some of the extra fabric about every inch, inch and a half. You can eyeball it, we're not measuring this. We're cutting away some of the fabric to get rid of the bulk. Now just be careful not to cut through your seam line because that would be a tragedy and you'd have to start all over again. Just kidding. I'm going to stop notching there. You can see my little triangles are cut. Now let's give it a try. We're going to flip it to the right side. But even with finger pressing, it should lay flat like magic. Now it's your turn. Go practice this as many times as you need to get your curves to lay flat, and next up, we'll move on to seam styles. 5. Seam Styles: Standard, Three Ways: We are now at a point where we are going to be sewing with our beautiful botanically died linen fabrics. That so exciting. I am going to start by demonstrating a standard seam. I'm using this first little fabric square that's dyed with walnut. I'm going to start my seam as we have. I'm placing it at a half inch seam allowance. I'm using my tape as my guide and I am going to drop my needle into the fabric. We're going to start by back stitching. We back stitch two stitches. You know what I just realized? I didn't pin these two pieces of fabric together and why that's important is because if we look at my existing seam, the bottom fabric has shifted about an eighth of an inch. Is that terrible? Not necessarily, especially because this is just a practice exercise. But let my mistake serve as a reminder to you to pre-pin your seams before you move them to the sewing machine. Since I realized I didn't pin them together, I'm being mindful to pinch the two pieces of fabric together with my fingers. Hold them so that both edges of the fabric align perfectly. When I get to the edge, I'm going to back stitch and then forward stitch and we're done. Now, this seam is unfinished. When I say unfinished, I mean, we haven't done anything to this edge to finish it. Why is that problematic? Do you see these threads that I'm able to pull from the edge of the fabric. If I don't finish these edges, these threads will continue to fray and work their way all the way to your seam line. Is that a problem? With some open mesh fabrics like linen where the grid of the fibers is pretty loose, this will fray. Once I put it in the washing machine, it's going to fray pretty quickly and your garments can fall apart. With less, let's say more tightly woven fabrics like some cottons, that might not be a problem. Let me show you an example. This is a dress that I made. It's funny because it's got lots of threads that are loose in here. This is a garment that I made about three years ago when I was first starting to sew. You heard me say that it's only been about three years. But let's look at my garment. Can you see how I've got these loose threads on the end side? My seams are unfinished and these other threads are also coming loose. What can we do to finish our garments on the inside? Let's go through those steps. The first option is to use the zigzag setting on your sewing machine. When you're ready to sew the zigzag over your edge, you'll want to make sure that your setting is set to the zigzag stitch about a medium width. When you're ready to start your zigzag stitch at the end of your seam allowance, be sure to drop your needle at the very edge of the fabric so that the threads can catch the fibers that may fray. Let's get started. You can move your threads back, they're no longer an issue. If you'd like, you can back stitch. That locks in your seam and then work right at the edge of the fabric. Back stitch at the end. Hold the needle up and we're done. I've sewn in additional line of stitching in zigzag so that when I put this garment, this little square in the sewing machine, when the thread starts to fray, that zigzag stitch is going to catch them and so the garment is less likely to fall apart. Your main seam will not come undone. I'm going to show you an alternative to the zigzag stitch and that will require me using a serger which is a different machine. I'm going to use the same square and I'm going to sew another straight line. Allow me to introduce you to my best friend, the serger. I use the brother Model 1034D. A lot of beginners sewists shy away from using a serger because this machine has four threads and threading it can be a little complicated. But I use my best friend, YouTube University, and found this brand of serger is so popular that there are many tutorials on how to thread it. So don't shy away from using this machine. It's actually quite simple. This machine uses the four threads, two to sew the straight line and two to overlap over the edges. It also has a setting for a blade that is going to cut off all of these little flyaway threads as I pass my fabric underneath the presser foot. I have my blade set to on. Just like you would with a sewing machine, I don't have to pin my fabric because it's already seamed together. But just like you would sew a straight seam on your sewing machine, we're just going to pass it through the double needles or two needles at the top and those needles are going to alternate and overlap the edge. I'm also leaving a little bit of this chain at the end, which makes it easier for the next time I have to sew another seam. Let's look at this. Do you see how beautiful that edge is? You can also choose to serge both pieces of seam allowance or both fabrics separately before you sew the main seam and then what you'll get, I'll show you on the garment that I'm wearing. What you'll get is an open seam like this. So you can press both sides of your seam allowance open separately. Given the opportunity to finish a seam with a serger, if I owned a serger, if I'm able to buy a serger, I would personally choose to buy and use the serger because it overlaps the edge. But in the absence of a serger, the zigzag will do the job. In this example, I serged both seam allowances together. That means that when I open my seam, I'll have to press the seam allowance to one side. It's important to press your seams as you're sewing. You can see on the right side, you get a very clean seam. Both seam allowances got pressed to the left. In this example, I initially serged each seam separately and then I sewed the straight stitch in black and that's so that I can, for example, press the seam open. Now, let's talk about why that's important. For example, in the garment that I'm wearing, you'll see that I implemented that same technique. I serged each seam allowance separately and then I sewed the main seam. What that does is it reduces bulk. When it was time for me to fold-over and hem my sleeve, if I had pressed them to one side, then my hem would have a bulky side and a flat side. When I press the seams open and I hem, there is no bulk. The fabric is evenly distributed between both sides. If buying or using a serger is not an option for you at this moment, or it was just too much and it felt too complicated, there is an alternative, something else you can do to finish your edges so that they don't fray. That's something we can all do. It's using pinking shears. The pinking shears have a serrated edge that will cut a zigzag into the fabric. Let's go ahead and do that. Here is my pinked seam. I'm going to open it and finger press it. What the pinking sheers do is by cutting a zigzag into the fibers, I'm no longer able to pull a vertical thread from the edge as I would on an unfinished edge. What it's doing, it's actually cutting the fabric on the bias, which is at a 45 degree angle and doing it over and over and over again. By breaking the fibers over and over again, it won't readily pull. You can see I'm pulling at the threads. It won't fray. Now that we've tried various seam finishing techniques, I encourage you to go into your closet, look at the garments you already own that you've purchased. Look at the insides, look at the guts and see how they're made. You may find that most ready to wear garments are finished with a serger because it's fast, it's efficient, and it works. But maybe if you have a few vintage items, you'll find that the seams are pinked. Pick what is right for you. There's no right or wrong way to finish your garments. Work with what you have, the tools that you currently have, and you can progress and grow, maybe grow into buying a serger later on in your sewing journey. Next up, we're going to learn how to sew a clean finished seam, which is going to hide these edges altogether. 6. Seam Styles: Clean Finish: Up to this point, we have learned various standard seam styles where we were finishing the seam allowance. In this lesson we will learn how to work a clean finish that encases or hides the seam allowance. You will see that for this lesson I have two squares, and can we take a minute to appreciate the beauty of this botanically dyed fabric? This one is dyed, it says eucalyptus on 100 percent linen. This is a mystery fabric because I lost the little sticky tape. But if you stick with me, we're going to go on a field trip to the store where this linen was dyed. So we have a party at the end. I'm encouraging you to stay along. The reason I have two is because I'm going to teach you the traditional way to make a clean finish seam, and then I'm going to teach you the Denise way. You're going to choose which one you prefer, and we'll see what happens. Let's start with the eucalyptus. First, I have already sewn the straight seam at five eighths of an inch seam allowance. Now I'm going to bring in my pressing mat, and I'm going to finger press the seam open first. Pressing your seam allows the seam to lay flatter on the right side. Now I've got my iron, we're going to press it in little steam bursts. This clean finish seam is also known as a press and fold. I'm going to take the five-eighths seam allowance and I'm going to fold it over so that the edge of the seam allowance meets the original seam line. Traditionally that's approximately a quarter inch. So I'm going to fold it over and bring in my iron and press as I go. Now we're talking really small numbers here. Five-eighths of an inch folded in half. So this is really finicky work. Don't get frustrated. It doesn't have to be perfect. This is going to be on the inside of your clothes and we want it to be beautiful. But if this is the first time you're doing it, give yourself a little grace. It's okay. Now, we're going to do the same thing on the other side, we're going to fold and press. Now, the traditional way of doing this is sewing a straight line of stitching right at the edge, also known as edge stitching, but moving the main fabric out of the way so that your new stitch line doesn't go through the main fabric. Let's try that together. Hold onto your tails, drop your needle into your work. Backstitch for the first couple of stitches, and then sew a straight edge. You'd like to get as close to the edge as possible. Now my eye again is not on the needle, it's rather on the slit here that's on my presser foot. That tells me that eventually the needle is going to reach that spot. Backstitch at the end, and we're done with one side. We're going to turn our work and do the other side. So we have one side with a seam, and this one is undone so we're going to do the same. We're going to move the main fabric out of the way. What I've done is I've sewn the main seam line at five-eighths inch seam allowance and then folded over each seam allowance onto itself. So fold and tuck. Then I've sewn a straight line of stitching on one side and done the same on the other side. What that does is it hides the raw edge of your fabric underneath the folded seam allowance. That hopefully prevents your fabric from fraying when you put it in the washing machine. I'm now going to use my iron to press the seam and hopefully help the fabric lay flatter. This is the traditional way of working a clean finish seam. I'm going to go rogue and I'm going to show you my way of working a clean finish theme. In my opinion, it's more beautiful. You decide. I'm going to put away my iron for a moment. I'm just going to move it to the side here and I'm going to pull in my other fabric square. The traditional way of working a clean finish seam is to not include. I moved the main fabric out of the way when I was sewing the second line of stitching. I am going to invite you to consider sewing through the main fabric as a decorative feature. So I'm going to do the same thing that we did before. I'm going to fold over this seam allowance to about a quarter inch because it's five-eighths. I just butt up the edge of my seam allowance to the main seam line. Pull out your iron, press as you go. Now because I'm going to press the other side and I don't want to lose the crispness of this fold, I'm going to pin it. I will have to move these pins in a moment, but you'll see what I mean. I'm going to turn my work to the other side. Yep. I knew it. I'm going to move my pin for a second, fold the seam allowance under for about a quarter-inch. You may want to reinsert your pins. Then we'll take this to the sewing machine. Now we're going to do what we did earlier, sewing two lines of straight stitching, but this time we're going to include the main fabric. We're going to sew right through it. Every traditional sewist is losing her mind right now, having me teach you sewing through the main fabric, but ignore that. We're going to do it my way. Don't forget to backstitch. Don't forget your backstitch. Now keep in mind, I'm sewing with black thread. I've said this a million times. Black thread against this beautifully botanically dyed fabric. So my lines of stitching may not be as appealing if my thread matched my fabric exactly. We're going to do the same on the other side. We've got a little war. Denise Bayron against all other clean finish traditionalists. I'm going to call it, I win this one. Let's look at our two seams, wrong sides and right sides. I think the truth is, when we compare them, there is no right or wrong way. Whatever you prefer is the right way. Here is the traditional way to do it without catching the main fabric, and here is my way where I sew through the fabric. When we look at the right side, what's visible. Clearly here, you can't see your two lines of stitching. In my way, you have two decorative lines of stitching at either side of the real seam, the one that's holding the garment together. The reason I like to do it this way is because it's decorative. It's really pretty and top stitching is just an added feature to your sewing. But for me, more importantly, the raw edge is permanently tucked and sewn under. It is impossible for your seam to fray. Whereas when we do it the traditional way, that's still a little exposed. Now that we've practiced making clean finished seams, I want to show you a garment that I made very early in my sewing journey. To be honest, I didn't have the money or the courage to buy a surger back then, and so I started exploring ways of finishing my seams that didn't require a surger. So I learned how to do the clean finish and fell in love with this technique. So this is a linen captain that I made and I used a clean finish on the shoulder seams. This garment, part in its appearance, it has been worn and loved and worn to the beach and on vacation in Hawaii. I mean, it's been everywhere. But you can see that I folded under my fabric and because my thread matches the fabric, it really is beautiful. I did sew through the main fabric. So if I flip it, let's look at what it looks like on the outside. I think that these two lines of stitching are beautiful, I think they are decorative. Another thing that I should say is that this fabric is a linen hemp blend that I thrifted. So back when my budget didn't allow fancy sewing, this garment cost me less than $10 to make. Give it a try. Next up, we're going to move on to French seams. 7. Seam Styles: French Seams: We're now at one of my favorite seams styles, the French seam. Now, there is something we haven't discussed up to this point. Take it for granted that you would know this. We all wear clothing. Up to this point, all of the seams styles that we've sewn have been sewn right sides together, and that makes sense. We sew it so that the seam, when you put on your garment, the seam allowances are on the inside. But there's always somebody in the group who wants to do their own thing and go their own way. The next two seams styles that we're working on, will be sewn with the wrong sides together. Now you're probably wondering, how am I ever going to remember that, especially if the pattern that you're working with doesn't include French seams and you as the sewist want to add them, you're going to have to plan ahead, and sew the seams with the wrong sides together. But I don't want you to lose the thought that this is the opposite of all the other ones. How are you going to remember? I have a little song for you. Right sides together is the right way. Right sides together is the right way. Can you remember that? I know it's really goofy, but it's literally the song in my head when I'm thinking, "Man, a French seam. Wait, which way do I do it?" Every other seam other than this and the next one we're working on, are sewn right sides together. This one is going to be wrong sides together. We're going to grab our blue chalk. We're going to mark our wrong sides. Now this is a washable chalk, so when you wash your garment, it'll go away. Now my wrong sides are together. This would be the front of my blouse, for example, and this would be the back of my blouse. Traditional seam allowance for a French seam is 5/8 of an inch, but we're going to do a flip D do. I'm going to start this seam at a quarter-inch. The reason I didn't sew that quarter-inch before we started with our little squares, is that I wanted to show you a trick on how you can sew a quarter inch seam allowance without having to use your tape. Can you see I don't have tape on my machine? Let me show you a trick. Let's move over to the machine. The average presser foot, when I say average, I mean an average standard presser foot, not a buttonhole presser foot, not a zipper foot, just the regular old one that comes with the machine on the machine when you buy it, is usually about a quarter-inch distance from the needle to the right edge, and the left edge of the presser foot. Before we start sewing, how can I check that that's true for the presser foot I'm working with, and how can you check? I'm going to grab my seam gauge, this tool, and I'm going to butt up the edge of my seam gauge to the needle. I can see that the blue is lining up perfectly with the edge of my presser foot, so I'm good to go. I don't have to take the plate because the edge of the presser foot is going to be my guide for the seam. Let's go ahead, and sew a straight seam at a quarter inch. I've now sewn a quarter-inch seam with the wrong sides together. I'm going to grab my ironing mat and my iron, and we're going to press the seam open. The point of pressing the seam open is that it allows the seam to lay flat on the right side. You'll see why that's so important in a moment in a French seam. I'm using my fingers to spread the seam allowances open, and then I'm following that with the iron. I'm going to trim this seam allowance. I started at a quarter inch, and I'm going to trim it to 1/8 inch, which is half. This doesn't have to be perfect because this raw edge is going to be enclosed in our final seam. There is a reason we trim that seam allowance, and we're very precise about making it quite small at 1/8, is because our total seam allowance when we started, we said was 5/8 inch. We've already used one quarter of that, so what's left is 3/8 of an inch. Now I'm going to flip my fabric, and because I pressed that seam open, I now have a very sharp edge. I'm going to give it a press. Now we're working with the wrong sides facing out. Do you remember right sides together is the right way? I'm going to now use up what's left of our seam allowance, which is 3/8 of an inch. I'm going to grab my blue tape, my not such pretty blue tape, but it's so helpful. I'm going to mark my sewing machine plate at 3/8 seven inch, and that's going to be the guide for the next straight seam. I'm going to butt up my fabric to the tape, and sew in a straight line. Everything we've done up to this point is the same. This is where the magic happens. Here in lies the beauty of a French seam. Actually, let's give it a press just for a moment. I can't press the seam open because the seam allowances are sewn together, so I'm going to press it to the left. While I'm doing that, I'll give you another tip. Whenever you're making a garment with French seams or a seam allowance, that both seam allowances are sewn together, traditionally in garment making when you press them so that there's continuity in your garment, you will press them towards the back of the garment. In my blouse, my seam allowances are spread open. Had I finished this garment with a French seam, I would press it towards the back of my body. That's just a reminder, so that the other side will match. Otherwise, you might get wonky mismatched sides. We know this is our wrong sides because we marked it with chalk, and our beautiful enclosed French seam is on the wrong side. When we turn it over, it is as if nothing happened. It's beautifully invisible. What do you think? Can you appreciate the beauty of a French seam? It's one of my favorites and I hope you love it too. What differentiates a French seam from the clean-finished seam that we just worked on, is that the seam allowance is enclosed, and they're sewn together. It's also doubly stitched, which makes it a very strong and secure seam. A real life example of how you might use a French seam in your garment sewing is the blouse that I'm wearing right now. I did make this outfit in preparation for this class, and I included every seam style in this one outfit. I have put in a French seam down the front and down the back of my blouse. Next up, we'll be working on flat felled seams. 8. Seam Styles: Flat Felled: We're finally at our last seam style. This one also encloses the seam allowance. This one also is one of the rebels where its sewn with the wrong sides together. It goes against our sewn. Let's do that. Let's mark our wrong sides with our blue chalk. I have already sewn my straight line of stitching at a five-eighths seam allowance. That's important for this seam because we're going to need a little extra wiggle room. We've been working at approximately half inch most of the time here. We need the five-eighths because this seam does something really special. It is a reinforced seam, where we're going to take our fabric. If I could mimic it with my hands when I think of flat felled, I think of this. We're going to take one fabric and tack it over, fold it over, and lock our fabrics in. We use this seams style in areas that are high wear and tear and where we at all costs, cannot afford to have our garments fall apart. For example, jeans in the back seam and throughout the crotch curve. Let's look at it together. I'm going to open my seam allowance. I'm going to finger press it open. In fact, I'm going to grab my iron and press it a little thin. Then I'm going to use my shears and I'm going to trim one side of the seam allowance down to a quarter-inch. I'm being very careful not to cut my main fabric. When you cut fabric, you want to aim for making long cuts so that you don't get a zigzagged edge. Now, this is where the magic happens. I'm going to take the longer side, the left side here and I'm going to finger press it over the side that I just trimmed. By the way, trimming the fabric is called grading and sewing. I'm going to fold it and tuck it under just like we did in the clean finish seam style. You can see I'm taking the fabrics and tucking them under and folding them this way. If you like what you've done with your finger pressing, you can pin it. I've got this really nice wall mat underneath that's cushy. It's just accepting my pins. We pinned it now I'm going to grab my iron, give it a really good steamy press. Now we're going to take, let's see, will the pins come with me? The pins came with me. I probably don't want to move that to the sewing machine. I'm going to adjust the pins here. They were stuck into the mat and now I'm just quickly moving them through the main fabric on the other side. Now we can take this over to the sewing machine. We're going to sew a fine of stitching at the very edge of our fold, also known as edge stitching. Do you remember the trick that I mentioned earlier that the presser foot is a quarter-inch? This time I'm going to use this edge of my presser foot and line it up with my black seam line here. That is going to ensure that my new line of stitching is exactly a quarter inch away and that it's nice and straight. Let's give that a try. Don't forget to backstitch. Now let's look at our work. This is a flat felled seam, this is our right side, and this is our wrong side. But like I said, a pattern is like a recipe. It's a suggestion. If you like this side better as your right side, go for it. Traditionally in jeans, you'll find that the side with the two lines of stitching is what is commonly used on the side seams. Denim is not the only option for using a flat felled seam anywhere that you would like to reinforce a seam to prevent it from coming apart, is a good option to use a flat felled scene. Now, I finished these pants with French seams, along the legs. Both sides seams, but in the crotch curve starting at your belly button down through the crotch and up the back, I used the flat felled seam because I didn't want to risk sitting down and having my pants split. I invite you to consider using this seam the next time you make a pair of pants. I also invite you to go to your closet, grab a pair of jeans, and look for this seam style. I didn't forget to include a flat felled seam in this outfit, I promise you every seam style is included. My sash was made out of scraps. I only had two yards of linen to make my long sleeve blouse and skirt. What was left was what I could use to make my sash. So I didn't have the full length of the sash to both wrap around my 30-inch waist and also have enough to tie it. What I did, I pieced together four pieces also known as a pacing, which we will get to in a future lesson. I pieced together those four pieces of fabric of scrap and I joined them with a flat felled seam down the center back. The reason I did that is because I wanted to be able to confidently tie this thing as often as I wanted to, without risking it falling apart at the seam. You can find creative ways to use a flat felled seam anywhere there will be high wear and tear. Be creative, do you. We did it. We learned various seam styles that will get you through making any garment you choose. Your pattern will walk you through sewing and constructing the garment, such as shoulder seams and side seams and it'll tell you when and where to do it. What we haven't covered yet is how to finish the raw edges, for example, the neck hole, arm holes, cuffs, and hems. That is where we're going. Next up, we'll talk about bias binding. 9. Finishing: Bias Binding: Earlier we talked about how woven fabric is constructed. The vertical fibers are called the warp and the horizontal fibers are called the weft. Together, they create a woven fabric. When we cut or when we tear our fabric into straight lines, the tendency is for the fibers, for example, here, for the fibers to fray. Notice I'm able to pull out the complete strand. That's my warp, my vertical strand. When we cut this grid at a 45 degree angle, we interrupt that frame process and that is called cutting fabric on the bias. Bias tape is what I have here, is a strip of fabric that is cut at a 45 degree angle and thus will not fray even if I pull down the edge. Fabric at its best, does not stretch. It won't stretch vertically and it won't stretch horizontally. But if I pull out a 45 degree look what happens. Can you see how much stretch I get in that fabric? So we're going to use a tape that is cut at a 45 degree angle so that we can turn, smoothly turn corners as we finish off this raw edge. In preparation for this lesson, I pre-cut a mini bust so that we together can practice applying bias tape to the raw edge of our neck line. You'll see that our garment is multicolored and that's intentional. In order to distinguish so that you, as the viewer can see what I'm doing, I'm using a complete contrast color. I am going to give myself some slack, and I'm going to start at the shoulder seam, but I'm going to start about an inch away from the shoulder seam. That will reduce the bulk. I'm going to open my bias tape and you'll see that there are very specific folds. Let's look at how this is constructed. It's actually two inches wide, but it's sold as half-inch bias tape. Because when we're done, we're going to fold it on itself and the only part that will be visible will be half-inch of the width. I'm going to start by folding over the first half inch. That's intentional so that when I work my way around the neck line, I don't end up with a raw edge. I'm just going to start with the fold and you'll see how it works out once we get there. I'm going to attach it, right sides together, because right sides together is the right way and I'm going to pin the tape to my neckline. We are attaching a straight line to a curved edge. That means there will be some measure of easing, and easing means that you gently, not stretch, but you gently place the fabric in ways where there might be a little give in order to make these two ends meet. Believe it or not, when we're done, this straight edge will be round. I'm pinning perpendicular to the raw edge and I'm making sure that they line up perfectly. This is not a project that you want to attempt without pins. Just don't do it. You'll be crying about it later. So be sure to pull out your pin cushion and take the time to do it with intention. Now, I like my seams pressed open, so when I reach the other shoulder seam I'm paying attention and I'm holding it open and I'll use a pin to make sure it stays that way. Now, before we get to the point where our fabrics meet, you will see or you'll remember that I folded over the edge. I'm going to work my way over the folded edge so that when we flip the bias, the folded edge is what's exposed. For now, I'm going to be generous just in case, I'm going to leave about two to three inches of overlap. I know I'll have to cut that away later. That's okay. I'm not being wasteful, but it's better to give yourself a little room than to be short. The best part of attaching bias binding is that the line is already there for you. We're going to sow in this little crevice in the folds, so we have a straight line to follow. The trick is finessing the fabric around the curve so that we can get a curved scene. Let's move on to the sewing machine. I guarantee you that this part of the project is going to be fiddly. We're working with two inches of fabric and sowing at a quarter inch seam allowance. It's going to be fiddly. Just be patient, work slowly and I promise you, you can do it. Let's get started. Don't forget to back stitch, [NOISE] I just started applying my bias binding to the bust and it felt cumbersome that I was trying to stretch the neck line over the large surface area here at my machine. So I have a little trick, I'm going to remove and raise my presser foot and I'm going to remove my project for a moment. Now, I'm going [NOISE] to expose the sleeve part of my machine. What's the name of the sleeve part of the machine? I have no idea. But it's this area here that allows me to sow in a circle without all of this surface area. Now I can slide my mini bust over a smaller surface area and it'll be easier to work. I've dropped my needle down about two to three stitches, overlapping the work I already did. By overlapping the stitches, I'm able to ensure that my line of stitching is continuous.[NOISE] I'm intentionally using my left hand to finesse and fly in the fabric as I go. My right hand is carefully holding the bias binding at the edge of the fabric of the raw neckline, while my left hand is ensuring that the fabric that is underneath the presser foot is flat, that there are no wrinkles underneath it. I've reached my shoulders seam and I want to make sure that it's pressed open. At the moment, it's all folded towards me. I'm going to backstitch to give myself enough room to slide my seam gauge in and open that seam allowance. What I'm using is just a flat surface to gently slide the seam allowance open. I've reached the part of the neckline where I started. I'm going to overlap the bias binding over the folded edge where I started, and I'm going to sew about an inch past where I started, to make sure that my seam lines are lining up perfectly. You can see that the way I'm ensuring that they line up, is I'm placing my stitch line or the folded line in the bias directly over the stitch line I already made. I'm looking at the two, if I use this as a tool, a marking tool. Here's my fold, here's my stitch line, I'm going to make sure that that lines up perfectly. Do you remember the bit about giving yourself an extra inch or two? This is where it comes in handy. When you're done, backstich, and now we get to look at our work. Now, the goal is to press the bias binding toward the inside of our work. I'm going to encase the seam allowance with the bias and fold it in, then we're going to press, and pin. This takes a little bit of patience and time, but we're going to get it. We're going to ultimately fold it in this way so that you won't see the green at all, and the entire seam allowance is encased. Before I press it, I'm going to trim away this over edge. I've turned my work so that the wrong sides are facing up. That allows me to turn the bias binding over my stitch line and press. You can see I'm pressing it over so that all of the green is now showing on the wrong side where it won't be visible when you wear it. This gives you creative freedom to make your own bias or buy bias in a fun pop of color, pick your favorite color, pick a power color. I'm going to press it and pin. The moment when the beginning of the bias tape meets the folded edge where you started, where the end meets the beginning, is such a beautiful moment. If you were wondering why we took the time to practice sewing a curved seam, now you know. This is the moment where all that practice comes into play, because you will need the skills to finesse this curve and get a beautiful finished edge. I'm starting my stitch line just behind the shoulder seam, and I'll sow all the way around, and then backstitch right next to where I started. All of the steps that we've done before, where we were dropping a presser foot and the needle, and holding our threads, all of that still applies. I'm still using my left hand flat and I'm tugging gently on the fabric to make sure that the fabric that is approaching the presser foot is flat. This will prevent ripples in your neckline. I'm coming up to the point where I started my seam, my stitch line. I'm just going to make sure to need it and overlap for one or two stitches, and then we're done. We did it. Let's look at our work. We've applied the bias binding to the raw edge of the neck hole, and encased the raw edge within the binding. If we look inside of our work, we can see that we kept our shoulder seams, pressed open, and you can also see where I started this final line of stitching with a backstitch and ended with a backstitch so that it overlaps. Another thing of note is that when I began applying the bias, I folded this edge down. Now, you can see why that was really important. If I hadn't folded it down, we would have had a raw edge at the beginning of the seam. This is one method of applying bias where it is hidden on the wrong side of the garment, but if for example, you wanted a more playful garment or you wanted contrast on the right side of your garment, you can do the reverse. You can apply it on the wrong side and flip it out. Be creative. Think about what you want the finished results to look like, and enjoy the process. Next up, we'll be working on facings. 10. Finishing: Facings: We've just learned how to finish a neckline using bias tape, by binding the raw edge with the tape. Using tape inevitably leaves a seam line at half an inch, or a quarter-inch of your neckline. What if you'd like to work with a really delicate fabric and you don't want a seam at your neckline? Well, another option is facings. What is a facing? You might think, let me show you. I made another mini-bust for this lesson. Again, it's the exact same neckline that I'm currently wearing. To match the neck hole I made a small piece of fabric that matches it in dimension and shape. We are going to attach this facing to our bust, and we're going to finish it so that the facing hangs on the wrong side. Can anybody in class tell me which sides should be facing? Right sides facing is the right way. Remember our song? Right sides facing. This is my right side on my facing, because my seams are here, and this is the right side on my bust because my seams are here. Let's attach this facing to our neck hole, and just like we meticulously attached a bias binding to our previous project, we're going to take similar steps to attach this facing. The first step however is to line up our shoulder seams. So by that, I mean here's our shoulder seam on the facing, and I'm matching shoulder seam on our bust. I'm going to line them up, and double-check my work, because I want that to match perfectly. I'm then going to pin it in place. I'm going to pin both seam allowances just to be a little extra sure. Once I've got that shoulder seam pined, I'm going to approach the other, and I'm looking at my seam allowance, making sure it's open on both sides, and making sure that these seam lines will be inline. I'm pining vertically, or perpendicular, shall I say, to my future seam line. Now that my shoulder seams are pinned, I'm going to work in quadrants. Both shoulders attached, I'm now going to attach center front, and center back. Now it's time to go to the sewing machine. Are you ready? I like to start the seams because there's always a back-stitch that doubles your stitch line. I like to start it in the back, you might not want to back-stitch right in the center front where it's visible when someone's looking at you, so I'm going to start behind the shoulder seam. Using my tape as a guide, I'm now able to identify where my half-inch mark is. Trap your needle into the fabric, and start with the back-stitch. I just back-stitched for three stitches, and now I can let go of these threads and continue working in a circular seam. We're quickly approaching the beginning of my stitch line. As we did earlier, we're going to overlap the stitch lines. Look how pretty that is. We are finessing that. Look at that, it's going to line up perfectly. Overlap, back-stitch. We did that. Let's look at our work. Because this is the right side of our work, and our facing is now chilling in and hanging out on the outside of our shirt, we don't want that, we want to tuck it into our shirt. How are we going to accomplish that? Well, we're going to do two things. First, we're going to grade this seam. I'm going to use these little scissors that I brought from home. Grading a seam is trimming it down. But we're only going to grade the seam allowance on the facing. Our seam allowance here is half-inch. I'm going to snip in approximately a quarter-inch, and now I'm going to cut away the seam allowance facing by about a quarter-inch. This is not going to look perfect, because cutting in a circle is difficult. But work slowly and then, I cut my other facing. What happens if this happens to you? Roll with it, we're fine. Nobody died. I'm going to snip away the little piece that I didn't mean to cut. I'm going to mourn the loss of this piece, and I'm going to keep going. Can you think of why I'm doing this? What would be the purpose of cutting this fabric away? What I'm doing is I'm reducing bulk. I want to flip this facing into my shirt, and I want it to lay flat. If I had all this extra fabric, there'd be a little bulk at the neckline. I'm getting rid of some of the fabric to reduce bulk. If I attempt to fold this under, the fabric is going to try to stretch over a curved seam. I am going to clip my facing seam allowance, and I'm going to stagger it by clipping the main fabric, the beige one that's dyed with walnut. I'm going to clip, and clip, all the way around. I'm staggering clipping the seam allowance and clipping the main fabric allowance so that I don't clip one over the other and create a weak spot. That's it. We did it. I think that's enough. First I'm going to try to finger press it, fold it over with my fingers, and see how it lays, okay? If this isn't a win I don't know what is. I'm a little boo-boo. No one will ever know about it because it's hidden underneath the facing. This is our pre-pressing results, we're not totally done but I wanted to have a feeling of where we're at and see if we applied this facing adequately. I'm going to get my pressing mat and my iron. Notice I'm doing something intentional here. When I fold my facing in, I'm making sure that I can see a little peek of the main fabric about an eighth of an inch. That's because if I were being playful, which in this case actually applies, if my facing were a contrast color, then I don't want this red to show from the outside when I'm wearing a brown top. That's why when I press, I'm rolling the edge so that the facing lies on the inside. What do you think so far? Is this a pretty finish? Can you see how we've finished this row edge without having an exposed seam along the neckline? It's quite beautiful, I think. Now there's one more step that we should do in order to finish this garment as well as possible. One thing that can happen with the facing is that as you wash and wear it the facing can roll out, so we can take a step that's called understitching to ensure that the facing always lays on the inside. An understitching really is only stitching the seam allowances that are now hiding under here that we snipped and stitching them to the facing, not through the main fabric. I'm going to sew a straight line of stitching along this curved seam and I'm making sure to catch the seam allowances and attach them to the facing. I pressed the seam allowances towards the facing, so towards the right, and I'm just going to be really cautious to check. Stop along the way and check and make sure that I'm catching those seam allowances. My stitch line should be about one-eighth of an inch around our neck hole or original seam. I'm feeling with my fingers underneath as I move with the fabric, I'm feeling that I'm catching the seam allowances. Reaching the other shoulder seam and I'm making sure that all the seam allowances are underneath the facing. We've arrived at that sweet spot where the beginning of our stitch line and the end of our stitch line are going to meet and match up perfectly. Remember the backstitch. We did it. Let's look at our work. That line of stitching ensures that your facing will never flip out, that you're not going to turn your neck and suddenly you have fabric sticking out of your neck hole. It's always going to roll in towards the wrong side. I'm going to get my pressing mat and my iron, and we are one step away from finishing. I'm really happy with this outcome, what do you think? Did we do it? I think we did it. At the beginning of this class, I promised you that together we would acquire and practice the skills that you needed to make a proper garment. Did we do it? I think we did it. Congratulations. We're done with facings. Let me show you an example of a garment that I made that includes a facing. This is a much loved and worn top that I made and you can see it's two-tone because I made it out of scraps. If I flip it inside out and we look at the guts, this was a really fun, playful project for me. I modified the pattern to add a facing. But you can see that it looks exactly the way our class projects looks. I finished it with my gold serger thread and attached it. I wanted to make the neckline a boat neckline and it had more of a scoop, so I modified it and applied the facing. There's one more thing I wanted to share with you about my gold serger thread. One of the reasons many new sewists shy away from working with the serger is that they say it's difficult to rethread it. I refuse to rethread my serger if I don't have to. My trick is I just use gold thread, four spools of it, and that's the only color I ever buy. I'm going to invite you, what's your power color? Pick that and serge all of your clothing with the same thread. Next up, we're taking the final step to finish your garment, we'll be working on hems. 11. Finishing: Hemming: The final step in finishing your garment is hemming. Hemming means finishing the raw edges on your sleeves, on the bottom of your shirt, a skirt or trousers. How do we do it? We're going to use our seam gauge, and I'll tell you my preferred hemming numbers. I like to turn up my hem by half an inch, so I'm using my seam gauge to measure that accurately. I'm going to finger press, I'm going to get my pins. Use your seam gauge as you go, painting and marking and checking as you go. In this case, it's important that you check with your seam gauge because you want your hand to be even all the way around. I'm going to reattempt something. Can you see that the seam line on my hem is slightly shifted to my left? I'm going to remove this pin, realign that seam line so that it matches my side seam. That is similar to what's happening on my skirt right now I have two sides seams. You will also have side seams on the insides and outsides of your trousers. Also on a sleeve, as you can see here, if we look at my hem, you can see that my seam line matches perfectly. Also in an actual garment, you would have finished your seams using one of the seam styles that we learned in this class. Now that I pressed the first half inch of my seam, I'm going to remove my pins and I'm going to do the same thing all over again, but this time with a one inch measurement. I'm going to move the marker on my seam gauge, right on the first try we got one inch. I'm going to start at the center of that seam. You might think this is really meticulous work to pin and press, and it's worth it. When your garments are beautifully made and people compliment you, and them you'll want to as every awkward so it does, you want to show them how it's made on the inside. Take your time and have a sense of pride in what you're doing. We're now going to press this, so a straight line of stitching and we are done. It's important to note that I am doing this on one of our practice squares, so I'm working flat. You will likely be doing this flat and sometimes in the round, it's all the same. Let's take it to the sewing machine. You can top stitch. That means that you will sew from the right side and line up your fabric to the one inch mark on your sewing machine plate. Or you can do my version, which is to see what you're doing and make sure that you're catching the fabric as you sew. I am going to sew from the underside, don't tell anybody I told you to do that. I'm going to edge stitch this hem. I'm sewing at about 1/8 of an inch away from the edge of the hem. Don't forget to back stitch. We did it. We learned all of our techniques. What do you think of our hem? A nice straight line right along the edge and we're done. Congratulations. You now have all of the skills you need to make a garment. The last step in this journey is the fun part. We are going to go together shopping at my favorite craft store. Are you ready? 12. Shopping for Fabric: Today we're at A Verb For Keeping Warm, which is a natural dye and fabric and yarn shop in Oakland, California my hometown. It is one of my favorite stores for buying craft supplies. It's special to me personally because this is where my sewing journey began. I arrived at this store as a knitter who knew zero about sewing. But when I entered the space, I was greeted by someone who looked like me and as a black Latina, that made me feel at ease, it made me feel safe. I was able to say that I didn't know anything about sewing, but I was eager to learn, and the staff and the owners here, welcomed me with open arms and taught me everything I needed to learn. For me, it was important to find a place where I could walk in with the mindset of a beginner, because we all have to start somewhere. It can be intimidating to walk into a fabric store or a yarn shop and not know what patterns pair with fabrics or what supplies you might need to make a specific project. But if you walk into a place where they make you feel welcome and they make you feel safe, then you can ask all of the questions and not feel like your questions are silly. One of the things that makes this place very special to me, is that it is a woman owned and Latino owned business, and all of the materials and fibers that they sell here, many of them are organic, but certainly all of them are natural, the fabrics are dyed, and the yarns are dyed with botanical material. If you don't live in the Bay Area and you can't physically come to this store, I strongly suggest you find your local store. The benefit is that you'll be building community, you'll get to make friends that are interested in the things that you're making. You'll be able to exchange and swap ideas and maybe swap fabric and tools and supplies, and you'll financially support the store that will provide you with the tools that you need to make the garments that you want to make. I feel like the belle of the ball because I'm surrounded by all this beautiful fabric, and today I wanted to show you some of my personal favorites. I have a selection of fabrics here that I've picked from the wall that I really like. Here we have a few cottons, a hand spun silk, a beautiful linen, and a really soft annabi wool. I really like these fabrics because they're breathable, they feel good against the skin, and here in California, they're also multi-seasonal. Another reason why you, as a beginner sewist might appreciate them is that they're textured and because of the texture and the not being slippery, you can press them easily and they won't slip under the presser foot of your sewing machine. I picked these three cottons because they have several things in common, but also they're different. We have this beautiful cotton from Merchant and Mills that has a lovely ribbed texture, this Kurti cloth from artisans in India. The individual threads are hand spun and then the fabric is also hand woven, so it's really special. Then we have this cotton, I happen to really like this print, is from cotton and steel and you can likely find this fabric at your local fabric store. Next, let's move on to this beautiful linen, it's Merchant And Mills in the ginger colorway. I like the natural wrinkled texture, I just think it's really beautiful, and I strongly suggest that you try working with linen and see if you like it. It's really breathable, beautiful for the summer, but you can get away wearing it throughout the seasons. Next, we have this outrageous beautiful silk. It is hand spun, the fibers are hand spun and then hand woven, and just check out that gorgeous texture. Finally, we have this beautiful wool that's made by hand weavers in Japan, and it's double-sided. Now check out the drape on this fabric. When you want to make a jacket out of this beautiful wool, I can't wait to try it. These are my personal favorites and why I like them is hard to explain. I just intuitively enjoy these fabrics. When you go shopping for fabric, trust your intuition. Choose the colors that you like, the silky textures that you like. Maybe you take a whiff of the wool, fibers just smell good and feel good. Go through the aisles, pick what you like and enjoy the experience. So what happens if your budget doesn't allow you to buy all the luxurious, beautiful, hand woven, hand dyed fabrics? There are alternative choices. You might enjoy using rayon. Rayon is made from plant materials too. I've even used recycled polyester fabric because it's made from recycled plastic bottles and it averts them from our landfills. Other alternatives is rifting fabric. Or perhaps you have a garment in your closet that you don't wear often or at all, you can chop it up and turn it into something else. Use your creativity, think of any piece of fabric as a source material for your garments. Wherever you go, keep your eyes open and I'm sure you'll find some creative uses for your fabric. I hope you can sense at the end of this class and at the end of this journey that I have found a place that brings me real joy. In this space, I'm at ease, I enjoy the sensory experience, feeling all the fabrics and the yarns, all the wool and silk. My encouragement to you is to take the time to find a place in your community that also brings you joy. You may visit various shops until you find the one that speaks to you. It may take time to build community and find friends that share your interests, but I promise you, it's totally worth it. 13. Final Thoughts: Thank you for allowing me to be part of your sewing journey. I look forward to seeing any pictures, whether or not you've finished your project. If you want to share it with me, please take a picture and post it to the project gallery. I would love to see it. If you enjoyed this class and you enjoy my teaching style, I would like to be connected with you. I'd like us to become friends. Please join me on Instagram. Follow me on Instagram @bayronhandmade. You can also find me at, my website where I have a newsletter that I send occasionally when there are fun things happening in my business. Remember, if you're excited to work on sewing projects, I am currently working on a book where I will be publishing this and many other patterns in multiple crafts, such as knitting, sewing, crochet, and macrame. That means that you and I have a whole craft journey to go on together. You did it. You now have everything you need to make the handmade wardrobe of your dreams. Get out there, go buy your patterns, go buy your fabric, have fun, make mistakes, try again, and I cannot wait to see the wardrobe that you make.