Q&A #3 Sewing Tips Vlog

Q&A #3 Sewing Tips Vlog

This week on the vlog we hosted a Q&A session with our wonderful followers and customers. It was your chance to tell us what you'd really like to know - here's a round up of the questions and answers. Thanks for taking part everyone and if you'd like to take part in a future session just leave your questions in the comments of the YouTube video this time.


We love using our YouTube channel as a way to engage with our lovely customers and followers. A few weeks ago we asked you all to leave any questions you would like answered in the comments so we could host a Q&A session and talk about the things you are most interested in. Thanks to everyone who took part and if you'd like to take part next time just leave your comments below.

Sewing question one

Kim Kennedy: How do you know when to do a forward shoulder and round back adjustment?

They are two separate issues, but often come hand in hand. If the shoulder seam is too far back at shoulder end of your garment this indicates the need to do a forward shoulder adjustment. If the shoulder seam is too far back at the neck end this indicates the need for a high round back if too far back adjustment. You will probably also notice clothes feel like they are pulling towards the back. There are also other variations of round backs that happen lower down or are slight.

Sewing question two

Sally Parkin: Do you have any recommendations for fitting for trousers - I am having a mare with most patterns that are fitted. The Marigold trousers by Tilly are about the only ones that I have managed to fit straight of the bat! Help please x

The first thing to say is you're not alone Sally. There are very few people who will be lucky enough for trousers to fit out of the sewing pattern packet. This is because there are so many variables in this area. A lot of the adjustments may need to happen at the crotch seam and inner thigh seam and it really is a matter of trial and error. Making toiles and learning as you go, testing, adjusting and learning.

You may find the 'Pants for Real People' book helpful, which is available on our site here.

When I made my first pair of fitted trousers I also found a brilliant document produced by Heather Lou of Closet Case patterns, which really helped me. It includes the 14 most common trouser fitting problems complete with diagrams of where wrinkles might occur and what problem they might be indicating. It really helped me when I made the Eleonore pull on jeans, my first fitted trouser pattern.

We also sell the Closet Case files sewing patterns, which include the Ginger jeans and Morgan jeans here.

Sewing question three

Mie: I have a question - I also need rounder upper back adjustments - did you sew a back seem in order to do this? Or add neckline darts? Thank you - great. video! Love all your makes...

You can do a high round back adjustment without sewing a back seam - slash pattern piece immediately below the neckline stitching line and just line the adjusted pattern piece up with the fold in the fabric. Adding neckline darts is to resolve the issue of a gaping back armhole caused by protruding shoulder blades.

Sewing question four

Jilly Tarr: Question. I would like to know what hem finish to use for different fabrics please.

Hem finishes depend on the fabric and the style of garment, we wrote an extensive article on the subject on our blog, which you can find here.

Some general rules of thumb are:

  • The more flared the garment the narrower the hem
  • Look at RTW garments in your wardrobe for ideas
  • Ask yourself will a visible stitch spoil the overall look of the garment?
  • How professional and high end do you want it to look?
  • Generally thicker, bulkier fabrics with require a deeper hem to accommodate the fabric as you turn it over and the weight of a deeper hem might be necessary for your garment to hang and drape properly.

Some examples I can give here are jersey and knit fabrics = twin needle or cover stitch, sheer and delicate fabrics often people do a rolled hem, denim is often top stitched with a visible hem, leather and leather look fabrics can be topstitched or glued. This is all down to personal preference too.

Sewing question five

Renae Leggieri: I’m new to sewing garments, I can follow a pattern & do the mechanics but am completely lost when it comes to adjustments or tailoring to my body type. Any suggestions on how to get started with simple adjustments for bust & waist?

One tip - is to choose high bust measurement rather than the full bust measurement because this will fit your armhole and neck better, then adjust the bust if necessary. You may need to make a small or full bust adjustment.

Make a toile look at where the problems lie - is it too tight across the bust or too full?

Waist adjustments also depends on your hips and the combination you have between waist and hips. Usually the alterations in this area may include adding darts, removing darts or altering the side seams. My example - I usually need to let the side seams out a little at thighs and mark the areas where the tightness begins and ends with pins then taper out and back in to the original seamline.

I often don't make a toile because I find it relatively easy to make adjustments in this area, but it depends on you and your personal fit issues.

Sewing question six

Kimberley’s knitting garden penny: I’m new to sewing. Would you talk about body shape and becoming styles for shapes?

Sometimes people don’t like to be told how to dress for their body shape and I understand that, not in any way am I saying this is how you should dress, it’s your body you can dress how you like. However, someone has asked.

I like to think about balance - I am a pear shape so feel better in clothes that balance my figure out. For example tight fitted trousers with a loose top, or dresses and skirts that accentuate my waist and bust and skim my hips and thighs.

Also think about your favourite outfits you have now, that you feel good in and why you feel good in them. What elements of them make you feel good? Can you create these shapes and styles with what you sew?

One of our lovely viewers also suggested a series of videos by Justine leconte videos, which includes ideas for dressing for a number of different body shapes and I've included the link below.

I hope you've enjoyed the video today and found it helpful. I fyou'd like to take part in the next one please leave your questions in the comments below.

Have fun sewing!


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