Monday, February 28, 2005

Epilogue

I have worn my new suit a couple of times now.  My report is that it fits beautifully, and that at the end of the day, it looks as fresh as it did when I put it on in the morning. 

I can't say enough good things about the Marfy pattern that I used.  It was my first time using this company's patterns, and it is the best-drafted jacket pattern that I have ever worked with.  Not only does every seam and intersection meet perfectly because every marking was placed accurately, but the hang of the sleeves is also the prettiest that I have ever seen in a commercial pattern.

It may be intimidating to think of working with a pattern that has no instrucions or line drawings, but it is certainly rewarding in the long run.  It may also take a bit more attention to detail than with other patterns which provide construction information, but it is more than worth the effort. 

The Donna Karan skirt pattern with the unusual off-grain side seaming is also fun to wear.  It curves nicely where it is supposed to and is very comfortable to wear.  I was afraid that the side seams may pucker or ripple with time, but so far, that has not happened.

All in all, this has been a great project.

Monday, February 21, 2005

It's Finished!

My Inspiration: An original Issey Miyake Jacket:




My Version: The jacket is from the Marfy pattern 8460 and the skirt from Vogue 2767 (pattern details shown below as well).


Skirt pattern: Donna Karan Vogue 2767 design:
Jacket Pattern: Marfy 8460:



You can see more pictures of the finished jacket and skirt by clicking here:




http://www.flickr.com/photos/72428033@N00/sets/72157600491270054/




See some of my other sewing projects at:




http://www.flickr.com/photos/72428033@N00/sets/




Thank you for sharing this fun project with me.




Kathryn







Monday, February 14, 2005

Step 15. Assembling the Jacket Part VI.


The Collar



Since I had chosen the collarless look for my jacket, the collar area was stitched by first attaching the back facing piece that I had drafted to the front facing, stitching, and pressing the seams open. Then I stitched the neckline seam, using directional sewing techniques, sewing from the front opening around to the center back on each side of the jacket.



I melded the seam together by pressing with the iron, then clipped, trimmed, turned, and understitched the neck opening before giving it a final press.



The Front Buttonholes and Buttons



I stitched the front buttonholes using the same method outlined for the cuff buttonholes in Step 14. of this web log, using silk thread and gimp for reinforcement. Next, I stitched the buttons into place, using waxed silk thread. To make my waxed silk thread, I pulled my silk thread through beeswax and then placed one end of the thread between two layers of scrap fabric and pressed the "sandwich" with a warm iron, while I pulled the thread through the area under the iron to melt the beeswax into the thread.



The Shoulderpads



I stitched the shoulderpads into place, using stab stitches to attach them to the shoulder seam allowance and long thread chains to attach the front and back corners of the pad only to the seam allowance of the sleeve. I don?t stitch through all the layers of the shoulder pad when I attach it to the seam allowance because I don?t want it to dimple.



The Lining



I chose to use handpainted silk charmeuse for my jacket lining.



There are several methods of lining insertion, detailed in many sewing publications. Here are some options:



  1. Sewing the lining together and inserting it into the jacket completely by hand.

  2. Sewing the lining pieces together by machine and inserting it into the jacket by hand.

  3. Sewing the lining pieces and inserting the lining into the jacket, both by machine, with the exception of the sleeve lining, which is inserted by hand.

  4. Sewing the lining pieces and inserting the lining into the jacket completely by machine.

This last method is sometimes called ?bagging the lining?, and it is a method that I like to use unless I have lots of time available or the design of the jacket dictates a more careful insertion of the lining. For example, if there is a center back vent, I put the hem of the lining in by hand.



One of the best descriptions of bagging a lining that I have come across in my personal sewing library is in Sandra Betzina?s book, Power Sewing Step by Step, 2000 edition, Taunton Press. The section ?Visual Guide to Bagging a Lining? on pages 213-215 contains clear, stepwise instructions and lots of great pictures.



An online pictorial source for the technique of bagging jacket linings as well as other jacket lining methods can be found at Threads online, Sandra Millet?s article: http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00034.asp

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Step 14. Assembling the Jacket Part V

Note: Usually the collar, lapels, and front opening are completed before the sleeves are inserted. There is less fabric to work around if the sleeves are not attached. If practicable, though, I like to leave that step until last, as a matter of personal preference. I like putting the machine buttonholes in last, and like doing it as part of the finishing of the front opening. The only time I can do this, usually, is with the simple collarless jacket style like the one I have chosen. Therefore, for me, when making a “collared” jacket, Step 15 would be placed before this step.



The Sleeves



Sleeve Cuff Hem and Vent, Buttonholes, and Buttons



In Step 11, (the “prefitting step”) I had basted the sleeves onto the jacket, and checked for fit. At the same time, I had marked the desired sleeve length and depth of the vent. Then I removed the sleeve from the jacket and stitched and pressed the front sleeve seam only so that the sleeve could lie flat as I worked on it.



When I had first envisioned the jacket, I had decided that the sleeve vent was to be very deep, almost to the elbow, as an interesting design element. Accordingly, I had deepened the sleeve vent as described in Step 5 of this weblog.



Mitering the corner where the cuff hem meets the vent:


In this step, I pressed a 2 inch hem into the sleeve, and pressed the fold into the vertical edge of the vent. To make the mitered corner where the hem meets the sleeve vent



  1. I placed the sleeve, wrong side up, on my table, and brought up the corner between the hem and the vent, making a diagonal fold as I lined up the fold marks by:


    1. Aligning the vent fold mark on top of the hem fold mark on one side of the diagonal and the hem fold mark on top of the vent fold mark on the other side of the diagonal fold that forms.

    2. Pressing the diagonal fold so I could use those fold lines as the stitching lines for the miter.

  2. Right sides together, I folded that new diagonal line in half, aligning the edges, and stitched in the fold.

  3. I turned the mitered seam to the inside of the sleeve and checked to see that the miter was exactly where I wanted it to be. I verified that the hem fold and the cuff vent folds were straight with the mitered edge in place.

  4. When I was satisfied, I opened the mitered corner out one more time and trimmed away the excess fabric, and pressed the miter flat.

The cuff buttonholes:




  1. I used Tires 50 weight machine twist silk thread in both the bobbin and the needle, and a Universal 80 needle.

  2. I fused a rectangle of interfacing, cut on the straight of the grain, edges aligned to the vent edges, to the underside of the vent facing.

  3. After making a few samples on scraps of the fused fashion fabric with the same number of thicknesses as the vent, I decided on using gimp cording to fatten up the buttonhole, and to set the machine tension to half a click above the lowest tension setting.

  4. I marked the buttonhole positions using the Simflex gauge (http://www.nancysnotions.com/product/supplies/fashion+and+accessory/garment+construction/simflex+expanding+gauge.do) to space the buttonholes correctly.

  5. I took a deep breath, and then sewed all six buttonholes, and then repeated the process on the second sleeve.

  6. When the buttonholes were finished, I pulled the threads to the wrong side and tied them, two by two, into knots, and then I buried the knots in the fabric, snipping each thread tail after the knots were buried.

  7. Then I applied Fray Block (I don't like Fray Check because it is too stiff), very carefully, using a toothpick, dipped into a little puddle of Fray Block, to the buttonhole opening, first on the front side and then on the wrong side of the buttonhole. I allowed this Fray Block to completely dry before cutting the buttonholes open.

Then, for each sleeve, I sewed the back sleeve seam and pressed it open. Next I sewed the buttons in place and hemmed the sleeves. The sleeves were ready to be set into the armhole.



Inserting the sleeves:



To insert the sleeves, I first stitched a 2 inch wide bias-cut strip of preshrunk wool crepe a onto the upper portion of the sleeve, using a basting stitch and a scant 5/8 inch seam allowance, stretching the strip as the machine basted it into place. This causes the cap of the sleeve to draw up slightly, and enables it to be fit smoothly into the armhole. Some sewists use the interfacing from old ties for this process, and others use a bias cut strip of self fabric. Still others use a wide bias tape sold in tailor supply houses. I prefer buying half yard pieces of both black and ivory wool crepe and preshrinking them thoroughly. Then I cut them into the two inch wide bias-cut strips and roll the strips up and store them with my interfacing supplies. Whenever I make a jacket, I just pull out a couple of those strips and use them in this step.



Once the sleeve is drawn up, I pin it into the armhole opening to make sure that the fit is good. If I need to gather more, I release the basting stitches and tug a little tighter on the strip as it is machine basted into place. If it has drawn up too much, I clip a few stitches to relax it.



Next, I slide the sleeve onto my sleeveboard and let the curved top edge mold around the larger curved end of the sleeveboard. I steam that top edge thoroughly and allow it to dry completely. This sets the memoryof that smooth curve into the fabric. Since my sleeveboard has two of these surfaces both approximately the same size, I do both sleeves at once, smoothing the sleeve head area around the sleeveboard and steaming and allowing them to dry. I let them REALLY dry, leaving them for an hour or more, if I can, because the combination of the gathering, steaming and setting the memory of the shape into the fabric almost always ensures that the set in sleeve will be pretty on the jacket..



Next I machine baste the sleeve into the armhole. I then check to make sure that there are no folds or dimples, and that the sleeve hangs nicely. Then I stitch the sleeve into the armhole, starting the stitching in the area of the back notch, stitching through the underarm area, across the top of the armhole, and around the back, and then on top of the beginning stitching until I come to just below the area of the front notch. This reinforces the underarm area with a double row of stitching. I check to make sure that there are no folds or puckers anywhere, as I gently push all of the seam allowances into the sleeve opening.



Some sewists like to press these seams open so that there is a smoother transition from the shoulder onto the sleeve. I don't like to press the armhole seam at all because I don't want to destroy the memory that I have created in the fabric in the previous step. ( I use steam and finger pressing instead, see last comment below). I don't know that there are any "rules" for this. As for much of sewing, personal preference should probably dictate the final look.



Next I clip any areas of thesleeve and armhole seam allowances which may be preventing the sleeve from lying smoothly, and trim away some of the seam allowances in the underarm area of the sleeve for comfort in wearing. Then I put the jacket onto my dressform. I ensure that all of the armhole seam allowances are directed into the sleeve area, and then I steam the shoulder area lightly, tapping the armhole seam gently with my fingers to ensure that it is smooth and that the seam allowances stay where I want them to.


Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Step 13. Assembling the Jacket: Part IV.



The Jacket Back





I use combination tape or stay tape to reinforce the back neckline and the shoulder seams. Once the back is sewed to the side seams, I will complete stitching the stay tape or the combination tape from the front in the continuation of the armhole reinforcement.





Sewing the Vertical Seams





Next, I assemble all of the jacket’s vertical seams, putting in “on seam” pockets, if they are present in the design.





Directional Sewing Techniques



I am not always successful at this (convenience wins out, on occasion), but I try, for each seam, to use directional sewing techniques in the assembly of the jacket. Directional sewing essentially means sewing with the grain, as much as possible, to ensure smooth seams. In general this means sewing from the wider area to the narrower area of the pattern piece. Looking at the edge of a piece of fabric as it is held in one direction, it either has a lot of pokey frays sticking out, or the frays lie smooth to the edge. Sewing from top to bottom in the direction in which the frays lie smooth to the edge is what is meant by sewing with the grain. This can get a bit tricky. On the neckline, for example, one half of it is stitched in one direction, and the other half of it is stitched in the other direction.





With this jacket, this means that I stitch all vertical seams in the same direction, starting at the shoulder or arm area and ending at the hem.





I also try to follow what I have heard called the "bias on the bottom rule": I place the side that has the most fabric to be eased into a particular seam next to the needle plate so that the feed dogs help with the easing process. This is particularly helpful for princess seams, and for any seam in which one side has to be eased onto the other, as in the shoulder and the two piece sleeves in the elbow area.





In order to sew directionally or keep the fabric to be eased facing the needle plate, I sometimes have to use the left seam guide on my needle plate as opposed to the one on the right side that I routinely use. This does not come naturally to me?I usually like to keep the bulk of the fabric to the left of the machine, but will make the sacrifice to have directional sewing. With directional sewing, I am pretty much assured that the seams on both sides of the jacket will look the same, since they have been handled by the machine in the same manner.





Next, I press all of the vertical seams, one by one, allowing each to cool before moving onto the next, as described in the previous step on ironing in this weblog. I do this at this time so that I can continue to follow that old pressing rule to never sew a seam across an unpressed one.





The Hem





The hem was inserted into the jacket at this point. I like to use a 2 inch hem allowance, which gives me a little more wiggle room than the conventional 1 1/2 inch hem usually called for in a pattern. Since I had completely underlined the jacket with fusible Textured Weft, placed so that the stretch was eliminated in the crosswise direction, I did not add any additional interfacing to the hem area. In fact, I usually don't interface the hem area unless there is no underlining.





I measure and lightly press the 2 inch hem into place and then baste the shoulder seams together. I hang the jacket onto my dressform and check to ensure that the hem hangs perfectly even, parallel to the floor. I also check one more time to ensure that the shoulder seams are and side seams are straight and in the proper positions as well. Next, I put the jacket on, with the shoulderpads in place, as usual, wearing the garments and shoes that I will normally wear with the jacket. I check, standing between my three way mirror assembly and a flat full length mirror, to ensure for one final time that the hem and seamlines are straight and hanging perfectly to my satisfaction.





Next I stitch the hem into place by first folding the front facing back, right sides together, and stitching at the foldline from the front opening fold to half an inch from the edge of the facing. I trim out the excess fabric at the corner, press, and turn the facing out to the right side. I turn under the serged edges that overlap onto the hem and slip stitch them to the hem. Then I stitch the hem into place. I usually use the method described by Cynthia Guffey (http://www.cynthiaguffey.com/sewing-books-how-to-2.htm) and Roberta Carr to secure the hem in place, leaving the last row of hemming stitches about 3/8 inch from the top of the hem edge. With this method, one essentially sews three rows of hemming stitches starting the first one close to the fold, and spacing the two others equally from the first row to just below the hem edge. The hem edge is left free so that the lining can be attached to it later.





The Ribbon Embellishment





This is the part that I have been waiting for ever since I envisioned making this jacket! I purchased 3 yards each of the finest French silk ribbon available at a local ribbon shop called The Ribbonry in Perrysburg, Ohio. The cost of the ribbons far exceeded the cost of the materials in the entire rest of the jacket--way more than the fabric, interfacings, threads, and charmeuse lining combined. However. I felt that the ribbons would be making the statement in this rather simple design, so I splurged. This means, of course, that I danced around starting the embellishment process for a day or so, because I didn?t want to mess anything up. I had to sidle up to it.





First I attached the two ribbons to each other at the edges, using ¼ inch Steam A Seam II. I did this step carefully, to ensure that the ribbons had equal tension on them as they were attached so that there would be no puckering. The nice thing about working with the brocaded and moirĂ© silk ribbons is that I was essentially working with two perfect selvage edges per ribbon. This made lining them up very easy, and controlling the minimal stretch due to the embellishment on the brocaded ribbon a breeze. I lightly pressed the Steam A Seam II, with no steam, over the paper backing, onto the brocaded ribbon. I removed the paper backing and then very carefully laid the brocaded ribbon on top of the moirĂ© ribbon, finger pressing them together at each edge. The sticky Steam a SeamII held them in place until I could set the seal with steam. Of course I used a silk organza presscloth for this whole process.





Next, I laid my jacket out flat, since the shoulder seams were not sewn (I had removed the basting stitches used for my hemming step), and began to work on the placement of the ribbon. It turns out that I really didn't need the Issey Miyake Vogue pattern, except for the line drawing on the back, which gave me an idea about the ribbon placement. I had previously stitched the front edge of the ribbon into the hem, at a diagonal, at the front of the jacket, during the hemming step. Then I began the zig-zag layout of the ribbon from front edge, up under the bodice, across to the back, and down to the back hem. Once the right side of the jacket was finished, I mirrored the ribbon layout on the left side of the jacket. I first secured the ribbon with silk pins, making sure that the pins would leave no pin marks in the ribbon. Then I basted the ribbon to the jacket with large basting stitches. I was relieved to discover that I had about 4 inches of the ribbon left over. Close call, indeed!





Finally I hand stitched the ribbon to the jacket with fine, small, hidden slip stitches and silk filament thread. This hand stitching took a very long time to complete, but was one of the most satisfying things that I had done on the jacket so far.




Front view:

Side Front closeup:


Back view:




The Shoulder Seams

I sewed the shoulder seams, incorporating the bit of ease that I built into the back shoulder as I altered the pattern, into the seam. I steamed, pressed, and "clappered" the seam as described earlier.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Step 12. Assembling the Jacket: Part III

 

 

Assembling the Jacket, Finally

 

Needles and Thread

 

  • I select a thread and needle size compatible with the fabric that I am sewing.  To do this, I make test samples and select the combination of thread, needle, and machine tension that best achieves my goals.

 

  • Sandra Betzina and Claire Shaeffer have both written wonderful books about choosing the proper needle and thread combination for various types of fabrics, as well as giving information about the fabrics themselves.  Sandra Betzina's book is Fabric Savvy, and her second one is More Fabric Savvy.  Claire Shaeffer's book is Sew Any Fabric, and her older book on the same subject is Fabric Sewing Guide.  Both of the Fabric Savvy books and the Sew Any Fabric are printed in a very user-friendly format, with concise information about many of the newer fabrics as well.

 

  • Silk thread:  I have a soft spot in my sewing heart for 50 weightmachine-twist silk thread.  I buy it from Things Japanese at www.silkthings.com.  I previously purchased a color card from that vendor, and use it to order the exact thread color required for my project.
    • I don?t use silk threads from other vendors unless I am assured that the thread is filament silk thread, as the TIRES brand is.  Gutermann, for example, has a silk thread composed of lots of short fibers, called ?spun silk thread? and is definitely inferior in performance to TIRES silk thread.  Because it is a little less expensive, I use Gutermann silk thread for basting, but not for assembling my garments.
    • It?s a delicious pleasure to sew with silk thread, both by hand and by machine.  It makes beautiful buttonholes and topstitching. I topstitch with 30 weight thread in the needle and 50 or even 100 weight thread in the bobbin. I use a Metallic or Topstitching needle, because the eyes are larger on these needles, and there is less chance of fraying the thread. The topstitching with this combination is lovely.
    • Silk thread is strong, but I have never had the experience of having the thread tear the fabric when stressed, a comment that I have heard.  It must happen, I?m assuming, but it has never happened to me.  Silk thread breaks, just like any other thread, and in my experience has broken before the fabric has been affected (on the rare occasion in which this has happened.  The most notorious seam for thread breakage is probably the crotch seam in pants.  If the pants are particularly fitted, then I use a polyester thread for this crotch seam instead of silk thread, so that there is a bit more give before all heck breaks loose.
    • I use machine weight (50 weight) silk thread to assemble garments made with wool and silk blends?jackets, sheaths, pants, trousers, tops and vests.  The seams sink down into the fabric and can become almost invisible, because the satiny finish of the silk thread reflects the color of the fabric. 
    • Compared with other threads used in garment construction, silk thread is expensive, at $4.50 per 100 meter spool, and usually adds about $10 to the total cost of the garment.  As I said, it?s a delicious pleasure, not a necessity. 

Step A.  The Jacket Front

Stay stitching

  • I always stay stitch the front neck edge before starting.
  • Next, I stitch the side front to the front piece.
  • Then I reinforce the armscye: the upper half with small bias strips and the lower half with a firmer twill tape. 
    • I force the twill tape into a curved shape with my iron before applying it to the armscye.  To do this, I place the twill tape under the iron with one end peeking out.  I pull that end into a circle as I press hard with my iron.  This causes the twill tape to curve slightly.  It is easier to set into the armscye whenit is ?pre-curved? this way.  Both bias and straight stay tape are available from www.clotilde.com  .  I trim the stay tapes away from the shoulder seam allowance to minimize bulk, and leave a tail of twill tape at the side seam so it can continue onto the back armhole once the side seam is joined.
    • Of course the stay tape is pre shrunk before using, by dipping it into hot water and rolling it nearly dry in a towel before hanging to dry.
    • On my last few jackets, I have used ?combination tape? which is a thin piece of stay tape stitched to bias stay tape, instead of the bias tape on part of the jacket seam and twill tape on the rest.  I use it everywhere?shoulders, armholes, and back neck seams.  I really like using it, but I haven?t worn the jackets enough to be able to evaluate its performance in the long run.  Early findings are that this tape is great.  I bought it from Mary Ellen Flury before she went out of business.  I would think that other tailor?s supply houses, such as Greenberg and Hammer, www.greenberg-hammer.com ,would have it available as well.
    • If the front shoulder seamline has a good deal of ?give? to it, I reinforce it with a preshrunk strip of very lightweight cotton, cut on the straight of the grain, or the selvage from silk organza.  I  keep this reinforcement out of the overlapping seam allowance areas at the neck and shoulder edge to minimize bulk.  I firmly stretch these reinforcing strips as I press to eliminate any stretch before stitching them to the jacket a scant 5/8 inch into the seam allowance. 

Welt Pockets and Other Pocket Styles

 

Next, welt pockets, if desired, should be sewed to the jacket fronts.  Great care should be taken in the placement of these pockets, because once they are in, they cannot be changed.  Many sewing experts recommend the use of templates made from tag board or manila folder material to aid in this placement process.  There are many tailoring books which show the stepwise insertion of a welt pocket.  The Singer Sewing Library book mentioned above is a good one, but there are many more.  In general, most reference books will be easier to follow than some of the pattern insert instructions on making the welt pocket, I feel.

 

Because I like to work with as flat a surface as possible, I don?t stitch in any darts into the front before the pockets are made, unless they intersect with the welt pockets.

 

Other pockets styles may be stitched at this time as well.  Sometimes I don?t stitch patch pockets on until later, so I can play with them as a design element.  Sometimes, only after the body of the jacket is sewn, can I see how I want the pockets placed, and whether, for example I want them cut on the bias for an interesting effect (fused onto the straight of grain underlining so they don?t stretch out of shape), or placed higher or lower than indicated by the pattern.

 

Bound Buttonholes

 

The next step is tosew the bound buttonholes on both the jacket front and the sleeve cuffs, if they are desired.  A bound buttonhole is essentially a teeny welt pocket,without the pocketing. There are many excellent references for sewing bound buttonholes.  Any good sewing reference book on tailoring should contain the stepwise method. 

 

I particularly like the Bound Buttonhole section in Roberta Carr?s book, Couture, the Fine Art of Sewing for some interesting ideas, but for great, highly detailed pictures and stepwise instructions, the Singer Sewing Library?s book on Tailoring, mentioned previously, is a winner.

 

The worst thing about putting the bound buttonholes in at this stage (it?s easier to make them on a flat piece, as opposed to wrestling with the entire jacket at the end of the assembly process) is that one has to know exactly where the buttons should be.  As described in Step 3 of this web log, there are some preferable positions for buttonholes and more visually pleasing spacings for them as well, based on the size of the buttons and the length of the jacket opening.  However, it is really nice to be able to decide on the buttonhole spacing after the jacket is completely assembled and can be tried on with the buttons pinned in place to determine the best look.  So, I make sure I REALLY want bound buttonholes in my jacket before I put them in at this point.  There?s no doubt that bound buttonholes are beautiful and give a very classy look to a jacket.  For those reasons, I bite the bullet and put them in before the jacket is assembled, and just trust that I have chosen wisely in my buttonhole positioning.

 

On my JJJ jacket, I decided to make machine buttonholes and to eliminate the pockets, since the ribbon embellishment covers the areas where pockets would normally be placed.

Step 11. Assembling the Jacket, Part II.

 

 

Prefitting the Jacket

 

With a new jacket pattern, especially, this is the place where I stop and test the fit. 

 

Since I had worked out the major fitting issues with a “muslin” of Pellon Tru-Grid, as described in Step 2 of this web log, this step should involve tweaking the pattern a bit, as opposed to making major changes.  Tweaking the fit is usually required because a jacket’s fit in the fashion fabric can often be slightly different from that in the muslin,  especially if the fashion fabric has been underlined, which adds to the “meat” of the fabric.

 

As excited as I am to rush full steam ahead, at this point, into the jacket assembly, I rein myself in one more time to adjust the bit, so to speak.  I don’t like to do a full press on a seam only to have to rip it out to tweak the fit at a later stage.  So I patiently assemble the jacket for this fitting stage by machine basting as many seams as are necessary, steaming them lightly to get them to lie flat only well enough so that the fit can be determined.  I only do a final press on a seam when it has been “approved”. 

 

I am small in the shoulders with an average size bust, so my fitting issues are often centered on the fit of upper bodice and shoulders.  For this reason, I sometimes baste in the sleeves as well. The fit of the sleeve onto the armhole can sometimes change the look of the upper bodice pretty dramatically, I have found. I really dislike a fitted jacket with folds in front of the armholes or creases radiating from the armhole to the bust.  These problems have usually been worked out in the muslin stage, but can still be an issue for me in the fashion fabric.

 

In addition, if the fabric wants to form a convex indentation between the shoulder and the bust, I know I should add a chest shield to the underside of the jacket.  A chest shield is an additional piece of interfacing from the shoulder to just below the armhole notch, and is designed to help that area lie smooth.  I don?t routinely insert a chest shield, since my figure only warrants it in some fabrics.  Most tailoring books have information about making a chest shield.

 

To evaluate the fit, I do the following things:

  1. I put on the same type of undergarments, top or blouse, and shoes that I will most likely be wearing with the jacket.  Sometimes it can make a pretty big difference in the fit.
  2. I position two or three small full length mirrors against the wall or leaned against chairs in front of the full length mirror in my dressing area. I do this so that I don?t have to twist and turn to see the back and sides of the jacket. 
    1. I try to stand these mirrors as vertically as possible so that there is no foreshortening effect.
    2. I stand them on little plastic footstools, so that they are high enough forme to see myself  ?straight on?.
    3.  I buy that $10 type of mirror that is about 1foot wide and 4 feet long from Target. 
    4. One of these days, I plan on hinging these three mirrors together (low tech?probably with duct tape, if it will work) so I can have a foldaway three-way mirror to use for this step.
  3. I make sure that the shoulderpads that I intend on using are tacked inside the jacket.
  4. I evaluate the fit standing, walking a bit, and slouching in my usual slouch, if I have one.  For example, I have one shoulder slightly higher than the other.  In my ?slouch mode? that is really obvious.  Usually I pad one shoulder pad slightly more than the other to offset this figure flaw.

 

Once I am happy with the fit, I mark the new stitching lines on the paper pattern, so the next time I use it, this process will be pretty straightforward.

 

Note: As tedious as it sounds, I remove the basting threads used for this pre-fitting process when I sew the final seams, because I don?t like a buildup of thread in my seamline.

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Step 10. Assembling the Jacket, Part I.

 

True Confessions Time

The first “No-No” that I do at this stage is to serge-finish all of the raw edges of each pattern piece.  Many sewing experts recommend against this practice because it obscures the raw outside edge of the pattern pieces, making the measured seam allowance imprecise as it is stitched. 

 

Personally, I hate handling pattern pieces with ravelly edges.  Even if the piece has been fused with an underlining fabric, the fused underlining seldom extends clear to the garment edges.  (Usually, I trim it away within about 1/8 inch of the fashion fabric’s edge before fusing.)  On garments without fusible underlining, the “raveling situation” can be worse, especially with more loosely woven fabrics.  When I try to be “good” and not serge finish the pattern piece’s edges at this point, I am almost always unhappy with my decision.  To my eye, a raveled edge is as imprecise as a serged edge. 

 

Finally, on occasion (as in,  in a rush or late at night), when I have tried to serge finish a seam allowance on a completed seam, the garment has somehow twisted under and I have nicked the fashion fabric in the body of the jacket.  Not a very habit-forming experience, that one.

 

For these reasons I very carefully serge the seam allowance edges before the garment is assembled, taking care to only trim the frays that stick out and not cut into the edge of the seam allowance at all.  To do this,I reduce the speed indicator on my serger to well below the "rabbit" (no kidding, there is a little rabbit profile just above the top speed setting on my serger. It's so cute.).  I serge very slowly and without distraction so that my seam allowances remain as precise as possible.

 

So that?s my confession. J

 

Note: A good friend of mine suggested that I buy the MaxiLock serger thread at Hancock Fabrics for a good all-purpose serger thread, in the color Graphite.  She said it blends with so many fabrics, and is great in a pinch, when the right color is not available.  I love using that Graphite color.  She was right?it does blend with many of the colors fabrics I serge.  Of course I don?t HAVE to have a great color match, since the jacket will be lined, but I?m happy, just knowing the match is there, under the lining.

 

 

Reference Books:

 

Often I find that the pattern instructions given for many garments are not clear or that the illustrations are poor.  For that reason, I often augment the pattern insert?s instructions with guidelines found in sewing reference books.

 

The Singer Reference Library's book on Tailoring is one of the best in my collection, because the information is clearly presented and the accompanying pictures are not only visually beautiful, they show the process in great detail.  In fact, in my opinion, it is one of the best books on jacket and coat making available, because it endeavors to teach all three methods, the conventional tailoring, machine methods, and fusible methods.   It is a comprehensive presentation of jacket and coat making from selecting the materials through to the finished product. It was published back in 1988, and is 127 pages long and is a hardback.  Its ISBN No. is 0-86573-242-6.  Lots of libraries have it in their collections. I googled it and found it on Ebay here:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=378&item=4523058629&rd=1&ssPageName=WD1V

 

and here:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=378&item=4524083573&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

 

and from a used bookseller here:

 

http://www.biblio.com/details.php?dcx=28130284&aid=bkfndr&t=1

 

 

 

There are many, many other fine publications.  Each sewist probably has a ?No. 1 Preference? based on her or his own needs and expectations.  This one is mine for basic (as in non-couture level) jacket and coat making.

 

Jacket Seam Pressing

 

Before I start sewing on the jacket, I set up my ironing station.  I usually spend as much time pressing the jacket as I do actually sewing on it, so I like to have everything ready:

  • Silk organza presscloth
  • Dauber or camel hair paintbrush with a small cup of water for applying moisture exactly where I want it
  • Presser?s Ham
  • Seam roll
  • Seam stick
  • Point Presser
  • Clapper
  • Sleeve board
  • Large chocolate candy bar (optional), placed away from heat and good fabric, but within easy reach in case of emergency. J

 

Some of the basics of pressing are

  1. I always use a press and lift motion with the iron, as opposed to the ?sliding back and forth?motion used when ironing garments.  ?Ironing? is different from ?pressing?.
  2. For plain straight seams, I first press the seam flat, on the wrong side, seam allowances together.  This is to meld the stitches together.
  3. Next, I place the seam over a seam roll or the seam stick, depending on how hard I want the seam crease to be.  The roll seems to give a softer edge at the seam than the seam stick does, usually.
  4. I finger press the seam open with the index finger of my left hand as I follow behind that  finger with the point of the steam iron in my right hand.  I steam, then press the point into the crease gently, as I follow my finger (at a ?discreet distance?, so my finger isn?t scorched J )
    1. Note: I often use a pressing cloth for this step as well, if the fabric appears particularly sensitive to the heat of the iron.  I test a scrap first, and if I don?t HAVE to use the pressing cloth, I won?t, so I can see what I?m doing a bit better.
    2. With a curved seam, the seam allowances may need to be clipped in order for the seam to lie flat over the curved surface of a ham for this pressing step.
  5. While the seam is still warm with the penetrated steam, I press it with the clapper, taking care not to imprint the edges of the seam allowance onto the fashion fabric.  Since the seam is over a seam roll or seam stick, the edges of the seam allowances should not come into contact with the fabric as the clapper is pressed into place.  The purpose of the clapper is to force the steam into the fabric to help set the crease as the fabric cools.
  6. Finally, I press on the right side of the garment, using the silk organza presscloth to protect the fashion fabric.  I press the entire seam in the up-and-down (not sliding) motion.
  7. A well-pressed seam lies flat and appears smooth on the right side, without the indentations of the seam allowances showing through.
    1. Sometimes the seam allowance edges want to show through no matter what I do, so I slip 1 inch wide strips of plain brown paper between the seam allowances and the wrong side of the fashion fabric.  That usually prevents the seam allowance impressions from coming through to the right side of the fabric.
  8. Occasionally, I have to either go back and press a part of the seam that didn?t press down the way I liked, or to press out a crease that may have inadvertently formed.  When this happens, I use the dauber, which is a small roll of soft wool held together with a rubber band, about the diameter of a cigar.  The end of the dauber can be dipped in water and used to softly ?sponge? the moisture exactly where I wantit.  Most of the time, I prefer to use a soft, pointed, medium-sized artist?s paint brush, dipped into water.  Then I just ?paint? the water where I want it.
  9. I use a point presser for pressing into corners of seams that intersect.
  10. Mary Roehr, whom I referred to in an earlier step (web site is www.maryroehr.com), apprenticed as a tailor at Saville Row in London.  Her instructions on pressing are wonderful.  One thing I remember her saying is that wool and other naturalfiber fabrics are like our own hair, and that the press will not lie as we want it to unless we let the piece cool completely before removing it from the tailor's ham, sleeve roll, point turner, sleeve board, ironing board, etc.
  11. One basic rule of pressing is never to sew over an unpressed seam.  Pressing seams as they are sewn is a good habit to follow.
  12. Another basic rule is to always point the iron in the direction of the grain, wherever possible (curved seams are of course an obvious exception).

Monday, January 31, 2005

Step 9. Fusing the Underlining and Interfacing to the Jacket Pieces

My Underlining Saga:

 

I chose to use Textured Weft (an HTC brand lightweight fusible interfacing) to underline my jacket.  The wool is a stretch-woven, and is very stretchy on the crosswise grain.  I did not want it to stretch in the areas where the ribbon embellishment would be placed, in particular.  For that reason, I needed a fusible interfacing that was stable in the crosswise direction as well as the lengthwise one.

 

I tried everything from silk organza to interfacing material, and nothing worked.  I even used silk organza on a Textured-Weft-fused piece, and I didn't like the hand at all.  Textured Weft, my original choice, was firm in the lengthwise direction, but had some give in the crosswise direction.  I love using it because it's about the only fusible that I have found that does not change the hand of most suiting fabric much, if at all, depending, of course on the type of fabric.

 

I then contacted Louise Cutting (through www.fabriccollections.com , her website), and she recommended fusible cotton batiste.  It is as light as a feather, and so fine a fusible fabric that you almost don't want to use it for interfacing!  However, when I tested a swatch, it made the hand of the fabric too firm--that is, the wool did not drape as it did with no underlining.  What I was looking for a product like Textured Weft, which did not change the hand of the wool, but was stable in the crosswise direction

 

Then, a SewingWorld friend, Fran, suggested that I rotate the Textured Weft 90 degrees, placing the grainline of the pattern pieces on the crosswise grain of the Textured Weft.  That way, the Textured Weft's more stable lengthwise grain would "tame" crosswise stretch of the wool stretch woven.  The wool's stable lengthwise grain would tame the Textured Weft's slight give in the crosswise direction.  It was a brilliant solution.  I tested it, and the test sample was perfect--exactly what I had been looking for.  I remember the famous couture sewist, Roberta Carr, mentioning that when two fabrics are layered or seamed together, the stronger grain prevails.  In my final sample, the lengthwise grain of each piece did the job that I wanted it to do...it kept the other fabric "in line".

 

Some basic thoughts on fusing:

 

Note:

I have to stop here and make a point about making good test samples when deciding on underlinings or interfacings for projects. It is one of the more (hopefully) intelligent things I do when planning my project, because if I make a wrong choice here, the look of the entire garment is affected. For this reason, I don't skimp on this step. 

 

I try to use as large a sample as my scrap fabric allows.  I like pieces about 6 by 9 inches, if possible. I am careful to align the grain of the fashion fabric with the grain of the fusible on these sample pieces.  I compare each tested piece to the original fabric to see if it achieves the look I want.  For an interfacing, I generally want the fabric to be firm and supportive.  For an underlining, I generally want the fabric to have as close to the original hand as possible.  Of course these "goals" change, depending on the type of fabric used and the look that I am trying to achieve with the garment.

 

Once the decision is made, I can happily fuse away, without worry.

 

I buy my Textured Weft from many sources, depending on who has a good sale going.  www.thesewingplace.com  and www.fabriccollections.com are twoplaces that I have used.  The Sewing Place is very fast in filling orders. I usually buy 15 yards at a time, since I use it a great deal for underlining suiting fabrics, and can sometimes get a "deal" by buying it in bulk like that.

 

I always pre-treat my fusibles as outlined in Step 6 of this web log.

 

Now, the nitty gritty on fusing:

 

About the Textured Weft, or any fusible...two things are absolutely essential when it comes to getting a good fuse--steam and pressure.  Without either, it is often difficult to get a good fuse that doesn't bubble with wear, or, as sometimes happens, the underlining or interfacing doesn't fuse at all.  I learned this from Mary Roehr, who is, in my opinion, one of the best pressing experts around.  Her website is http://www.maryroehr.com/   .

 

Textured Weft does not like a lot of moisture.  Too much or too little moisture, and it won't fuse at all.  I use a spritz from my spray water bottle and a shot of steam, and it fuses perfectly to everything that I have tried it with, but more on that in a bit.

 

With almost any fusible, you will get some bleed-through of the glue...not through the front of the fabric, usually, especially with a fusible like Textured Weft, but often onto the presscloth.  That's just the nature of the beast. I dedicate one silk organza presscloth for use only with fusibles, and always use the same side of that presscloth against the fusible.  I usually mark the silk organza presscloth with a permanent black magic marker in the corner "For fusibles, this side up", so I know how to place it each time it is used.  Because the fusible's glue eventually stiffens the organza, I toss it out after several uses, when it starts to yellow and get stiff.  I also always use the same side of the flannelette facing up (see below for use of the flannelette).

 

Here's my method:

 

1.  Place a piece of flannelette pajama fabric on the ironing board on the board of the steam press.  This is great to use because of the nappy surface of the flannelette--it allows me to brush the "crumbs" of any fusible glue away (from any part where I've inadvertently placed the fusible over the edge of the fashion fabric) and protects the ironing board surface at the same time.

 

2.  Place preshrunk/pretreated fashion fabric on the ironing board, wrong side up.

 

3.  Place the preshrunk Textured Weft or other fusible on top of the fashion fabric, glue side down.

 

4.  Place the silk organza presscloth on top of the fusible.  Silk organza is wonderful to use because it allows you to see that the pieces are aligned as you press, and because it does not reflect or absorb the heat or steam.  It also protects the fabrics from scorching.

 

Note: I use real silk organza, not the poly organza that is available in many fabric chain stores.  The real silk can handle the heat and the amount of time that it takes to effect a good fuse.

 

5.  I spritz the surface of the presscloth lightly with water from a spray bottle.  In the case of Textured Weft, which does not like too much water or steam, I still spritz, but very, very lightly.

 

6.  I give the surface a short burst of steam from my iron or press, and then apply and hold firm pressure for 12 seconds.  I watch the clock religiously while doing this, so that the whole surface is uniformly fused.  If I'm using a hand iron, I lift the iron (never sliding it), and repeat the 12-second pressure step on the next portion to be fused. 

 

Note: I almost always use 12 seconds because it seems to work.  This is part of the sample testing phase, though, to determine the optimum amount of time to hold the iron down on the presscloth/fusible/fashion fabric sandwich.  I always start with 12 seconds and adjust either way. 

 

7.  I never move the fabric until it is cool to the touch.  This is because the fusible's glue can shift while it is still warm, which is another reason for a bubbling or unsatisfactory fuse.  I have both a suction ironing board and a suction steam press, so for this step, I suction the piece until it is cool, which only takes a couple of seconds.

 

8.  When the fusing process is complete, I remove the fused piece from the ironing board and brush any fusible crumbs off the surface of the flannelette before placing the next piece down to be fused.

 

I have fused many fabrics, from the softest cashmere to the densest suiting fabric. I don't usually like using fusibles with cashmere, because I feel it affects the hand too much for my taste, but for facings, it  has worked fine (using an interfacing-weight fusible on the cashmere facing, that is).  I would probably never use a fusible underlining for underlining all or part of the cashmere garment, though.  I am speaking of pure cashmere here, and for cashmere/wool blends which are predominantly cashmere.  The higher the wool content, the more likely I am to use a fusible for underlining as well (such as Textured Weft).

 

I have not had the experience of a fusible like Textured Weft's glue coming through on the right side of the fabric.  I have had that experience, though, with some other fusible interfacing materials on silk doupioni.  This is another really good reason for doing the test samples long before the garment fusing decision is made.

 

With a soft boucle suiting material, I turn the fabric over to the right side, after the fusing is complete and steam it lightly, brushing the surface with my hand to bring the nap back up. I also use a soft, soft baby brush to brush the surface of the fabric right after it's steamed and before I brush it up with my hand.  That helps to get all of the small loops back up into position.  I also use a soft baby brush on cashmere for the same reason, to get the soft surface fibers back into place.  I learned this baby brush method from Sandra Betzina.

 

One final word about fusing: 

Sometimes I have noticed that the front facing pulls up shorter than the other pieces when it is fused, even though I have thoroughly pretreated both the fashion fabric and the interfacing.  I assume this has to do with additional shrinkage going on during the fusing process, coupled with the fact that I use a heavier fusible interfacing fabric for the facings, as opposed to a lighter weight fusible on the pieces that are underlined, and the two fusibles behave differently.  I felt better after I read in Louise Cutting's and Sandra Betzina's publications that this is a common finding.  They recommend cutting the front facing piece about half an inch longer at the hem edge to solve this problem, and then just trim it to size when the fusing is complete.

 

OK, this is my final word :-) on fusing:

 

Sometimes it's hard to decide which pieces to underline.  It's pretty easy to decide about interfacing--those pieces are often labeled in the pattern.  But underlining--that's really a judgement call, based on the fabric.  Sometimes, for loosely woven suitings, I use Textured Weft on all of the pieces except the facings, which are fused with a heavier interfacing material such as Ultraweft or Armo Weft.  For other suitings, I may just underline the fronts and back, but not the sleeves.  Other times, I may just do the fronts only (not the side fronts) and a partial underlining over the shoulders, and then strips of underlining fabric or interfacing at the hems (both at the hip and the sleeve hems). 

 

Things to consider when making the decision about what should be underlined, and whether to use a fusible underlining or a "natural fabric" underlining material such as silk organza or cotton batiste are:

1.  The temperature--both the outside temperature and your internal temperature.  Textured Weft is polyester, and does not breathe as well as natural fabrics do.  Some people say it doesn't breathe at all, but I look at all those little holes and think that some air must be getting in and out.  Who knows...

 

2.  The fabric--some fabrics are firm enough that they really don't need to be underlined.  This is really a judgement call, and if I am at all undecided, I often go into my closet and pull out a RTW jacket of the quality and fabric type that I am intending to make.  I peek inside and see what the manufacturer used, and if I love wearing the jacket, I let that finding help with my decision.

 

3.  All, some, or none--where to place the underlining is usually dictated by the type of fabric.  In general, if I feel that the fabric is easily stretched out of shape, then I underline every piece.  If it is a firmer fabric, then I may underline only selected areas.  I am always very careful about partial underlinings, because I don't want the shadow of the underlining to be seen through my garment, and I certainly don't want the edge of the underlining fabric to leave a "show through" ridge--in the upper back, area, for example, for a shoulder area underlining.  I always pink the edges to minimize show-through ridges, for any partial underlining.

 

 

 

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Step 8. Cutting the Fabric

1.  I place the fashion fabric, right sides together, on my large cutting table (a ping pong table completely covered with a gridded cutting mat), and align the selvages to one of the gridlines.

Note:  Sometimes it is difficult to determine the right and the wrong side of a fabric.  Fabric is sometimes shipped from quality vendors with the right sides together, but this is not always the case.  I look at the fabric very closely, sometimes using my lighted magnifier, to detect whether one side has more thread floats than the other (I want the thread floats to be on the wrong side to minimize snagging).  Occasionally, it is just a matter of personal preference.  On these "close call" types of fabrics, I pin a couple of safety pins into the right side along the length of the fabic so that I am consistent in using the same side for all of my pattern pieces. Using the safety pins to denote the right side becomes helpful if I have to cut another piece later on in the process, after my fabric remnants have been stored.

2.  Next I test the fabric's grain by clipping a tiny bit into the selvage at one end of the fabric and pulling a thread across the crosswise grain.  I check the alignment of that pulled crosswise thread with the grid to ensure that the entire piece is positioned on grain with respect to the cutting surface.  Sometimes that results in the selvages not being aligned. If they are seriously misaligned, then the fabric is off-grain and must be straightened before the pattern can be cut.  If the selvages are wavy or dimpled, as sometimes happens, then it is harder to tell whether the fabric is aligned properly.  In that case, I find a lengthwise thread slightly away from the selvage to check against the crosswise pulled thread.  The fabric is properly aligned when the lengthwise threads (selvage) and crosswise threads are perpendicular to one another.

3.  I have previously cut my paper pattern on the cutting line, or on the stitching line if I plan on adding the seam allowances with chalk or by using a rotary cutter with a spacer arm.  I have included any desired alterations on each pattern piece.  Although I pressed the paper pattern before the paper fitting process, I press it once again, taking care to avoid touching the iron to any areas with tape on them. Note: A friend sent me a sample of paper tape found in the "booboo" section of the drugstore where the bandaids are sold.  It can be ironed over, unlike Scotch tape.  I use a warm iron.  I never use steam because it will shrink the tissue paper. 

4.  With the help of large, gridded rulers and T-squares, I place each pattern piece on the fabric, aligning the grainline with that of the fabric.  I check the grainline carefully several times--first, when I place the piece on the fabric and secure it with pattern weights, second, after the weights have all been placed, and finally just before I cut.

Note:  Sometimes I have traced the paper pattern onto Patternease or Pellon Tru-Grid, ensuring that the pattern's indicated grainline lies along one of the grid lines.  This paper fabric is not always true in scale, however.  Although it is drawn with a 1 inch grid, the spacing is not always constant across the length and width of the paper fabric.  For that reason, I choose one line of the grid and mark it as my grainline on the pattern piece.  I always verify the grain with respect to that single line.

5.  I don't often align the pattern pieces the way they are indicated in the pattern layout in the guidelines.  I use my best judgment.  In general, for a jacket, I like to lay the pieces side by side as they go onto the jacket, keeping the corresponding notches at the same level.  I do this especially with tweeds or other fabrics which have even the most subtle patterning.

Note:  I usually try to use the "with nap" layout with most fabrics.  I study the fabric carefully to see whether there is a color or texture difference when the fabric is viewed from each direction along the lengthwise grain.  Even when I am relatively sure that there is no difference, I still try to use the "with nap" layout if I have enough fabric.

6.  If the fabric has a pattern, design, stripe, or plaid, I match all designs at each seam, wherever possible. I take extra care to look at any design on the bust or the derriere to ensure that no eye-catching design element is placed where I wouldn't want it in the finished garment. 

Note:  This whole process is more complex than described here.  Refer to sewing books regarding matching plaids, stripes, or one-way designs.  Essentially, with the fabric doubled, each piece is a mirror image of the one below it.  Unless one is good at visualizing the layout of a design on a mirror image and exactly aligning the layers of fabric, it is usually best to cut the pattern on this type of fabric in a single layer, flipping the pattern piece over for its complementary piece.

7. Next, I check the grainline of each piece once more.  Then I check each piece off my list that I previously checked or highlighted on the pattern insert.  I want to make absolutely certain that each piece is accounted for before cutting.

8. I check each piece against the pattern layout, making certain that any unusual indications have been adhered to, and verifying that whatever I changes I may have made in the layout have been well thought through.

9.  Now  I take a break.  I walk around the cutting table, looking at the layout from all sides.  I think about the garment's final look and check to see whether the layout supports that vision.

10.  I begin the cutting process at one end of the fabric and continue systematically toward the other end. I do not lift up any of the pattern pieces until the entire cutting process is complete.  I usually use a rotary cutter.  Occasionally I will use shears, especially my microserrated dressmaker shears, with fine fabrics or with polarfleece.

11.  Going back to the end where I first started cutting the fabric, I use a small pair of scissors to score around each pattern piece, ensuring that there are no connected threads. (I especially have to do this if I have used a rotary cutter).  Again, I move systematically down the length of the fabric, examining each pattern piece separately.

12.  Next I transfer any pattern markings and add any tailor tacks as needed.  I check every single pattern piece to ensure that I have not neglected a marking.

Note: I always use fine elastic thread in a large-eyed needle to place my tailor tacks.  The elastic thread does not pull out of the fabric the way conventional thread does.

13.  I pin a tiny gold safety pin into the seam allowance on the right side of each pattern piece, so that, should they become separated, I will always know what I have designated as the right side.  I remove the pins during the fusing or underlining process, or as I attach the piece to the garment if it is not underlined or interfaced.

14.  I remove the marked pieces from the cutting table, grouping them in stacks according to the body part:  Front pieces, Back pieces, Sleeve pieces, Lining pieces, Interfacing pieces.  I try to keep the pieces in these stacks throughout the assembly process.  I know it sounds stupid, but it is sometimes possible to mistake a side front for a side back piece, so keeping the pieces in their corresponding stack minimizes the chances that I might make a goof.

15.  I repeat this entire process for the lining, interfacings, and underlining.

Note: I know sewists who stack the fabrics one on top of the other and use the rotary cutter to cut through them all at the same time: fashion fabric, lining, underlining, and interfacing.  I have never used this method, so I can't comment on it one way or another.  It might be fun to try, as long as the accuracy of the cutting line is not compromised.