Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sewing a Princess Seam

My weekend  was spent sewing, taking advantage of the cool weather that is not lasting much longer.  I basted my silk organza underlining  to my fabric.  I've done this for silk pants and skirts, but never on a jacket before.  Lots of time, but it really gives structure to a fairly limp fabric and it doesn't flatten a textured fabric .  The next step was to sew the cb seam and the princess seams.  With my DD cup I've had issues getting a smooth bust area on princess seams.  Now, I have a fairly large sewing library and for once I looked for techniques before I ran into trouble!  For the princess seams I used a method I found in Roberta Carr's Couture The Art of Fine Sewing.

 All of the seam lines are basted so that I was able to easily see the seam line on the right side and could  fold  the side panel on the seamline and place it at on the center front seamline.  The side panel seam line is pinned in place over a ham and the bust point has more closely placed pins.   Then it was  slip basted to hold the seams together exactly on the seam.  When sewing the seam, the side panel,  the weaker seam, is placed on top so that one side is sewn from the shoulder down and the other side from the hem up.  While the whole process is more time consuming the results are worth it. 

Above is the finished seam.  Smooth and easy to sew.

Next up is sewing the side seams and then the sleeves.  Normally I think that Burda's instructions for sewing a raglan sleeve are bad.  They have you sew up the whole sleeve and set it in as if it were a set in sleeve, when really the better way to do it is to attach the front and back sleeve to the garment body, sew up the top seam and then sew the under arm to the hem in one pass.  This jacket however has and under sleeve and a facing/cuff so that I can't sew it up as a typical raglans sleeve.  Burda has you sew the top shoulder, sleeve seam and one of the undersleeve sides to it and then sew the facing on while the sleeve is open. This actually makes sense.  Then you sew up the remaining seam and set it in the round.  Harder, but the fit is better.
The alterations I made to the muslin worked perfectly.  I don't have that drag line pointing to my full high hip in back and that 1890's look  has been replaced by a nicely fitted front and the lapel roll line does not gape.  I ended up removing about an inch from the front, actually all the way down to the hem at the princess line and moved the princess seam just to the  outside of the bust point.  When we were drafting our slopers with Kenneth King tossed out a nice tip,  a garment is more flattering if the princess line falls slightly to the side of the bust point. 
I know that I have left the pants unfinished, but the jacket is fun, interesting sewing and the pants?  Utilitarian that I've done a million times.  That will sew up quickly and easily.  So back to my jacket.


  1. Me too, I like Roberta Carr's princess seam methods.

  2. Roberta Carr is such a goddess. Your seams look wonderful. That's a great tip on the princess seam. Mine are always spot on down the apex. I will try this next time. Thanks.

  3. I haven't noticed that method eventhough I have read her book. Obviously did not read it that well. Your seam looks perfect and I am loving the silver colour.

  4. I have the book too but hadn't noticed the method. As a d-cup princess seamer I'll have to take a look.

  5. Looks perfect. Another one having the book and not noticed this technique.
    And your fabric! Beautiful, it will be a stunning outfit.