We all know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And while sometimes I ignore the inside of my me-made clothes, I do think that a well made garment should be beautiful both inside and out.
Unfortunately, making the inside of a garment beautiful requires extra time, and chances are that only the person who wears it will know. So when I sew for myself or my family, I often choose finishing techniques that are fast, rather than beautiful.
The La Paz Pattern
The La Paz is a classically styled unlined knit blazer. It has all of the high-end features you expect from a classic blazer, but with the cozy feel of a sweatshirt. It is exceptionally versatile–it looks as great with a dress as it does with your favorite pair of jeans. And, again, it is so comfortable (I took a nap in mine yesterday).
La Paz comes in a range of sizes with bust cups A through DD. Having bust cup sizing is extra helpful on a complex princess seam pattern like this one. Only those with very large busts will have to deal with making a full bust adjustment, and even then, they will be starting from a DD cup, so the adjustment will be less significant.
Making the muslin
I highly recommend making a test garment (known as a muslin) before cutting out your final jacket. As a pattern tester, I made a simplified test garment that allowed me to check the fit without wasting too much time or effort. For the fit garment, only cut out and sew the Front (1), Side (2), Back (4), and Sleeve (5 & 6). It’s a good idea to use a fabric that is very similar to your final garment fabric. Using a fabric with a similar weight, stretch percentage and recovery will ensure that the fit of your muslin closely approximates the fit of the final product. Use the information you gather from your fit garment to make adjustments to the paper pattern before you cut your final fabric.
Making the inside beautiful: Hong Kong seam finish
I chose to finish the inside of my La Paz with Hong Kong seams. A Hong Kong seam uses bias tape to bind the raw edges of the seam allowance. It is a high class finish that allows you to add some pizzaz to the interior of your garment.
Step 1: Acquire Bias Tape
I chose to make my own bias tape from a lightweight cotton gingham. Ready made bias tape is available only in a few solid colors and one fabric weight. By making my own, I was able to select a very light weight fabric to keep my seams from getting too bulky and I was able to choose a pattern that perfectly matched my main fabric.
The La Paz requires yards and yards of bias tape, but I think the custom look is worth the time it takes to make it yourself. If you choose to make your own bias tape, consider using the continuous loop method (tutorial here). It’s an efficient way to make lots of bias tape. And remember, the bias tape you use for Hong Kong seam finishing doesn’t need to be folded and pressed before you apply it. Thank goodness! Another note: I used 1” bias tape for my Hong Kong seam finishes, but other testers said that 1 and 1/8” tape was easier to apply.
Step 2: Apply Bias Tape
I am not going to explain how to do Hong Kong seams because Kennis (the mastermind behind Itch to Stitch) has posted a series of instructive posts about how to do a Hong Kong seam under any circumstance. (Tutorials here and here). You have to be clever when you do a Hong Kong finish on a tight curve (princess seam for a large bust cup) or in the round (set-in sleeve) or around a corner (edge of a placket), and her tutorials explain how to be successful even in these tricky situations.
A note on difficulty classifications
It can be challenging to classify the difficulty of patterns, but this pattern can easily be labeled an advanced pattern. Creating a notched collar and double welt pockets requires precise sewing that is only obtained through experience and practice. That being said, it is a very well written pattern and even if you lack experience using some of the required skills, if you are willing to learn, you can be successful.
Making the La Paz was my first experience creating double welt pockets. I was intimidated, to put it lightly. I followed the tutorial on the Itch to Stitch Blog (link here) and found that I didn’t need to be paralyzed by my fear!
Here are my keys to double welt pocket success:
- Make sure you are well rested. Do not attempt at the end of a long sewing session or late at night.
- Begin with a pleasantly full belly. I suggest cookies.
- Remember to breathe. Always a good idea.
- Read the directions over a few times before you start. Envision yourself achieving sewing success.
- Measure twice, cut once. You can rip out stitches, but you can’t uncut what has been sliced.
- Be nice to yourself. Learning new skills takes time!
The finished product
I am absolutely thrilled with how my blazer turned out. It took a long time, but it is worth it to have a beautiful staple like this one in my closet.
Do you care what the inside of your clothes look like?
What seam finishes do you prefer?
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