Cuffs ‘R Us

Some weeks, as you frequent readers will know, it is just pant hems and more pant hems coming in the front door. But this week I have been doing lots of spring jackets for women who lunch and since they bring along their own difficulties (the jackets not the women) I thought I would share them with you.

Not all ready-to-wear has the real deal mitered sleeve hems but the more you spend, the more they put into the finishing and guts of the garment which is never seen but makes a world of difference to the exterior look of the jacket.

So let’s face it, if you are spend $300-500 and up for a single jacket you want that puppy to have all the bells and whistles and hold up to many years of wear and compliments.

Carlisle makes high end clothing and it is a treat to work on their clothes since they have the right interfacing and extra fabric to make my job a little easier. Let’s check out the first jacket…a pure silk woven number with no mitered edge. A simple alteration…if there is such an animal.

Be sure to click on the photos for a larger view!

In the first photo you can see that I needed a whole new strip of interfacing so I can attach the hem edge to it instead of to the silk. It is less bulky that way as the hem edge is “floating” on the interfacing. You will also notice that the underarm seam was tapered in and tapered out again to allow the hem edge to lie flat once it is flipped back to be attached.

I have seen seamstresses’ work where they just cut off what they don’t want and then “flip and stitch” and then end up with puckers when the new hem allowance pulls…DUH. It is so easy to “flip and check” and measure what the  difference is and correct it first and make a better job if it.

Also in high end jackets the new hem is also whip-stitched halfway between the new fold line and the hem edge to help take the weight off the hem stitching as in the second photo. See the clip on the right side of the photo, I can only do that as long as there is interfacing to support and protect that raveling silk. It allows that area to spread and relax once folded and pressed.


These next 2 photos show how to measure how much lining to cut off…for me it makes sense to use what I cut off the silk as a template. Then as Nancy Zeiman says “preview it”. Pinning the lining into place shows that it too is too small since it too was tapered so now what?

Again using the “flip and check” technique you can see exactly what you need to do to make them match…1/2 inch extra is needed and that translates to 1/8 less seam allowance times 4. Take the stitching 1/8 inch out from the old seam allowance and things will certainly work out smoother. You may be thinking to yourself…Heck this looks like a lot of time and energy…and you are right…but if you want a quality product in the end…DO THE WORK.

This leads to the real challenge…a customer brings in a lovely pink wool jacket and needs the sleeves shortened and you peek under the cuff and dumb-duh-dumb-dumb….OH NO, the dreaded mitered cuff!!!! Shortening should be no problem, lengthening always is if they have cut off the seam allowance but this time, 2 things are working in my favor…there is excess fabric and I am shortening.


Now maybe you are thinking, what happens next? Hmmmmm, me too!


The new fold line is basted and new interfacing has to be added in the curved section all the way cross to the other side because the new hem edge will be attached to it.

And that it what was done, new interfacing, whip stitching, hand hemming and the same lining fitting trick and eventual closing and stitching the buttons back on.

OK, now some of you are saying…Wow, I thought that first one was labor intensive, but this second one…who wants to bother? Well my clients know what goes into a jacket, well if they don’t I sure do share that with them, and it takes a good 2 hours to complete a mitered sleeve hem so the money is there if you know what you are doing. And product I could not live without is this Fusible Tricot Interfacing on a roll:

I can cut it to the 3 inch width to what I need and press it down a voila’ it is perfect every time. It is available at that great company WAWAK.

Now it is back to some bridal gowns…have a great weekend!

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3 Responses to Cuffs ‘R Us

  1. Alethia says:

    Thanks for sharing that info about the tricot roll…never knew! Since reading your blog, I now receive catalogs from Wawak, thanks!

  2. Pingback: Pants Cuffs R’ Us | fit for a queen

  3. John Yingling says:

    One of the best things I ever bought from WAWAK. I use 1″ tricot in both black and white for lots of things. I do a lot of center back coil zippers in costumes, both woven and knit, and I always use a strip at the CB edge before I set in the zipper, no stretching and sharp creases. Just finished some quick tailored men’s white poly jackets and used lots of the tricot on the hems. Might have to order some new rolls!

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