Reverse engineering standard work pt.7

Before we get into today’s tutorial, you all do know that I’m using disparate colors of fabric intentionally? Likewise thread? If I really wanted to cheat and end up with great looking samples, my fabric layers would be the same and the thread would match. Contrasts, especially in small frames, can be jarring and the end result doesn’t look as good as a typical garment would. I mention it because today’s cuffs almost look like they belong on a clown suit. The other thing I wanted to mention is that I use the home machine for tutorials because it’s like a handicap. If I can use the handicap of using a home machine and get good results, anybody can get good results. However, I will concede that you can’t sew certain things on a home machine. You just don’t get as good results. Pressure is the number one reason why. Anyway, if you’re just now joining us, you’ll want to review the previous posts in this series. The list is found at close.

Today I’ll be re-assembling the cuff that was disassembled in this post. I’ll be reversing those operations. Now, having done it, I can tell you that sewing the sleeve into the cuff this way looks a lot harder than it really is. This cuff came together very nicely.

First step is to cut out your cuffs. You don’t need my pattern for this step but you made need to modify one of yours to the following parameters:
Outside seam allowance is 3/16th or .5cm
Top seam allowance (sews to sleeve end) is 1/2″.
Notch the top seam allowance (at 1/2″)

Then, you’ll need to block fuse the cuff that will be the outer cuff. I’ve used yellow fabric for this side, blue for the underside. Below you can see my pieces have been traced out.

Below is a photo that amounts to a lecture. The lecture is: Cut All Lines Away. Always. No Exceptions. Failing to cut lines away is time waster because you’ll have nothing but trouble and wasted time spent trying to fit things together. If your pieces aren’t cut accurately, I guarantee they won’t sew accurately either. Nuff said.

The next step -in preparation for sewing- is to sew that top cuff allowance down. If you recall, the style I reverse engineered had a double row of top stitching. One row of top stitching was only on the top cuff if you recall. Fold your seam at the notch.

Below you can see I’m sewing that down.

Below you can see it’s done and I’ve laid it on top of the blue piece because I’m getting ready to sew those together.

Before I sew the bottom of the cuff all the way around, below I’ve folded the under cuff over the front like so:

Below you’ll see I’m part way through the seam:

Below you’ll see the cuff finished and ready to turn.

Below you’ll see I’ve turned and pressed the cuff. I want to mention that I did not do any clipping or trimming of the curved seam. 3/16ths works great. The other thing I want to mention about the photo below is that if you look closely (at the blurry photo, sorry), the underside of the cuff -the blue one- is slightly longer at the top. This is a good thing.

The other thing I wanted to mention was pressing. Enthusiasts do a whole lot of pressing, we do a lot less. If you’re using an industrial machine, the foot pressure can meld seams better so you can skip some pressing until the very end. However, pressing the cuff after turning it would be something we’d press before moving onto the next step. For example, we wouldn’t press the side seam of that sleeve before we joined it to the cuff. Pressing that seam would come with final finishing.

Below I’m preparing to sew the sleeve and cuff together. This is the part that is easier than it looks. All you have to do is line up the bottom of the cut edge of the sleeve to the very edge of the turned seam allowance of the blue cuff. And you don’t need to pin it either. Really, I think pins cause more trouble than they’re worth. The going in and out of them guarantees things won’t lie flat.

Below you can see another photo of the sewing of this seam. It’s a lot easier than it looks.

Below you’ll see the finished cuff for the clown suit. Ewww. It did come out well though. I haven’t top stitched it though and probably won’t. And both cuffs were caught in the seam. I don’t know whether you’ll start sewing cuffs like this but I sure will. I may eliminate that double row of stitching on the top of the cuff tho. I’d think that if you wanted to do the same, you’d just fold over both seam allowances at the top of the cuff before you sewed all the way around. Then you’d press it of course.

The last post in this series (tomorrow) will be one of the most useful tutorials I’ve ever done so you may want to be sure to see it. It will be useful to anyone who puts button holes and buttons on any kind of apparel item. I am never surprised anymore at just how many people don’t know how to mark buttonholes and buttons quickly and easily, ensuring a dead certain accurate line up between the two of them. I realize it’s a small thing but it’s one of the most useful things I have ever learned in a factory.

Entries in the reverse engineering standard work series (how to copy industrial sewing methods)
Shirt making tips
Standard Work (sounds boring, read it anyway)
Reverse engineering standard work pt.1
Reverse engineering standard work pt.2
Reverse engineering standard work pt.3
Reverse engineering standard work pt.4
Reverse engineering standard work pt.5
Reverse engineering standard work pt.6
Reverse engineering standard work pt.7
Reverse engineering standard work pt.8
Reverse engineering standard work pt.9

Spin off of Reverse engineering standard work pt.5:
A failed experiment
A failed experiment pt.2
A failed experiment pt.3
Reverse engineering standard work pt.5.1

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  1. Carol Kimball says:

    Please, please, collars at some point. With those two non-matching curves, can they essentially be done the same way?

    This is preliminary stuff for your next book/set of DVDs, right? The one so many of us are hoping for?

  2. hjm says:

    I can’t wait for the rest of this! I did my own research like you said. I just want to know what you have come up with.

  3. Jess and Josh says:

    We were picking apart a dress shirt we found at a thrift store just to see for ourselves how the placket was finished. I can’t wait to get to this tutorial. Anyways, we noticed it was done in one strip and folded, not in two pieces like the one in your tutorial. Have you ever seen it done like this? I’m ordering a digital camera cause I’m needing one constantly and I’ll photograph it for you if you like. I thought I would try both ways and see how each turned out.

  4. Tracy says:

    Thanks! I’ve used the “fold over” method, exploiting the turn of cloth, when I sew collars for my husband’s shirts and when applying zipper facings. Learned it here at FI and it works great! Can’t wait to use it on the next shirt’s cuffs now that I understand the concept better.

  5. Tracy says:

    Hi again, is this method of attaching the cuff also a good way to attach a collar stand on mens’ shirts? I’ve looked around FI and the forum but not found info on attaching collar stands. Any help is appreciated! Thx again, Tracy

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