La Sylphide Sewalong: Hem and Buttons

Posted by: LLADYBIRD on 3:41 AM
I'm afraid I've got some good news and some bad news today, guys. The good news is - we are SO close to finishing our La Sylphides! Yay!
The bad news is purely selfish - once we finish our La Sylphides, this sew along will be over like hammer pants. Boo! I've really enjoyed sewing along with everyone, so it's a bummer to have it end. On the flip side - we get new garments to wear, so that's pretty neat :)

Anyway, we have to actually finish the garments before we can claim they're ready, so let's get that going stat!

There are a couple of different ways to hem the skirt or peplum. If you'd like an invisible finish, we have a great tutorial for a blind hem sewn by hand. Personally, with all the top stitching going on with the garment, I'm not terribly concerned with having an invisible hem, so I am using my rolled hem foot to make a small rolled hem.
Remember when we clipped the seam allowance next to the placket at both the top and the bottom? The remaining raw edge sticking out is your hem allowance. We don't have to do anything with the placket at this point, just get that raw edge hemmed up so it looks just as clean as the placket :)

Fold up a couple of inches of the raw edge and finger press into place.

Using a rolled hem foot, sew along the part you just folded as usual, keeping close to the edge of the fold. After you've sewn about an inch or so, stop and lower your needle.

Now raise your presser foot and coax the remainder of the folded fabric into the little metal roll. This will fold the fabric for you and perfectly stitch along the edge, thus doing all your work for you. Yeah!
(Ugh, I just noticed all that fuzz along the top of my needle and it's making my eye twitch. Sorry about that, I swear I clean my machine regularly!)
Continue sewing along the remainder of your hem. You may need to fold the fabric every couple of inches before you coax it into the foot, but seriously - that little gizmo is gonna do most of the work for ya.

Once you reach the opposite placket, you will probably notice that the fabric gets all crammed up in the foot if you try to continue. No problem! Just lower your needle, raise the presser foot, and remove the fabric from the inside of the foot. Keeping it folded (this best works when you only have an inch or so left of your hem), you can stitch along the top as normal.

You should end up with a very tidy baby hem that looks beautiful on both sides.

Buttons are next! Mark your button hole placement and sew on the right side of your garment. For this style, I like to make vertical button holes but horizontal ones are good if you are concerned about gape-age, since they will give you a little bit more room at the button.

 To mark your button placement, overlap the plackets, making sure to match up the waist seam. Stick a pin in the middle of each button hole.

When you open the placket (be careful not to pull out your pins!), you can mark where the pins are and thus where your buttons need to be sewn. If you need help with hand sewing on buttons, here is a tutorial.

One last finishing touch I like to add is sewing a hook and eye at the waistline seam to keep it from pulling open (I realize you could also sew a button right here, but I like to wear my stuff with belts, so I need a smooth waistline). You can also do this at the bust point if you find that you have pulling there.

Sew the hook on the button hole side of the garment, keeping the hook close to the edge of the placket (but not quite flush).

The easiest way to mark the placement for the eye is to rub a piece of chalk over the hook. Hopefully you can see it - it's light pink.

Close the buttons above and below the hook and then firmly press the chalked hook over the under placket.

When you lift the placket, there should be a faint chalked dot on your fabric. This is where you will sew your hook.

I like to use a flat hook because, again, it keeps the waistline nice and flush. Also, I'm totally aware that buttons are missing their rhinestones :( They're vintage, and I think they're pretty enough to stand alone, even without the extra sparkle! What do you think?

And that's it for this sew-along! Be sure to upload your photos to the Flickr Group so we can all see! I'll be back next week with my three (!!!) completed La Sylphides.