Monthly Archives: February 2013

BFG: Basic Shift pt 2- Gores, cuffs and collars

In part 1 we created 1/2 of our shift, putting in the sleeves and sleeve gussets. In part 2, we will be adding the gores and finishing off our shift.

Step 1- Adding the gore
Take a gore at the point. Line this up with the open seam you left at the top of the side. Sew this line down. Go back up to the top of the point. Sew this line down the other side seam. If you have a little bit of a tail sticking up, that’s ok, it works it’s way out in the end.

When you open the side completely up, on your ironing board, it will look like this.

You should find this similar to putting in the gussets. It should be a little easier, since you are not trying to create an armscye at the same time.

Step 2- Seal, flip, press and sew down
Zigzag your edges. Turn right side out. Press all the seams. Then run a sealing over stitch.

Step 3- Repeat on the other side

Step 4- Cuffs
Cut out a cuff. I make mine about an inch larger than what will go around my wrist. This allows for a button and 1/2 seam allowance. I like my cuffs a little wide so when folded they measure 1.5-2″ wide. There is a 1/4 turned up on each side, to create the edge that gets attached to the shirt. If you want a full shirt sleeve, with lots of poof, you sleeve cuff will be 2-3 times longer than the length of the cuff.


Step 5- Attaching the cuff
You can pleat or gather the extra length of the sleeve prior to attaching the cuff. Pin it in place.

You can hand sew the cuff on or machine sew it.

Step 6- Repeat

Step 7- Turn Collar
With the wrong sides out, iron a 1/4″ fold of the collar. When you flip this, the fold will be on the inside of the shift. This creates a nice edge to bind to the shift.*

When this is done snip the corners and flip and press. Stitch it down 1/4″ from the shift opening/edge. You will run a second stitch along the now turned bottom edge of the neckline lining.

Step 7- Trim and hem
Trim the bottom hem of the shift. I like mine to be a bit rounded.

The completed shift has a decorative edge along the neckline and sleeves that have a simple embroidered edge in black silk.

*This is the collar of a man’s shirt. I forgot to take a pic of the shift. The principles are exactly the same.

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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in BFG, Technique


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BFG: Basic Shift pt 1- Gussets

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, which means that I have a back log to get through. Lets start off with a shift. Shifts contain the 2 “g” words that make a lot of people curse. Gussets and Gores. They aren’t difficult, just persnickety.  I’m going to try and break down the technique into small chunks.  I’ll be using the shift I needed to create for the Bavarian Dress as an example.

Step 1: Cut the pattern
This shift needed to sit about 1/2″ above the front seam of the Bavarian Dress. I used the same pattern to create the neckline. I tipped the pattern from the center line about 20°.This adds material at the center and sides of the dress. Allows me to create a fitted top in the arms and chest, and more flared at the waist where the gores will go.

I added a 1/2″ to the neckline of the pattern, above what as needed for a seam allowance. This puts the neckline at the proper distance from the dress.
At this time cut out a second collar that is about 2″ deep. It should be the same size in as the shift. This will form the clean neckline.

Step 2- Cut out the gores and sleeves
On the fold, cut 2 triangles. I cut mine so the diagonal is about 1-2″ longer than the edge of side of my shift. I like a little wiggle room. I will trim out the excess later.Set these aside, we’ll come back to them in part 2.

Step 3-Cut out the gussets
The gussets are just 5″ x 5″ squares of linen. 2 per side. Heat up your iron.

Step 4- Cut out the sleeves
The sleeves are large tapered rectangles. The top edge measures the same distance as the arm scythe.

Step 4- Attach the gussets to the sleeves
A. Find the top corner of your sleeve. Sew one edge of the gusset along the outer seam of the sleeve (not along the top edge)

B. Find the opposite outer sleeve seam. Match this up with the diagonal that you have just sewn. This will skew your fabric slightly, but it works out in the end I promise. Continue the line to close up the full sleeve.

C. Zigzag the edges.

Step 5- Press and flip and press again
Press all the seams flat. Turn the sleeve right side out and press the seams again.

Step 6- Sew the shoulder seams and neck line.
Sew your shoulder seams. Press. And then add the neckline. This is right side to right side, sew and clip. Do not flip the neck line at this time.*

Step 8- Attach the sleeves to the shift
This is where it gets “interesting”. You start the attachment of the gussets to the garment in the same fashion as step 4. But you are now going to take the right side out sleeve and “set it” into the arm scythe that hasn’t yet been sewn. You can pin this, but I like a little more freedom of movement. So I start with one side of the garment and work around the hole. Start by taking the free corner of the gusset and lining it up down the side of the shift.GussetToShirt1

When you start sewing, follow the line all the way around the scythe. You will be attaching the sleeve and the gusset at the same time. When you get to the end, sew the remaining seam to the shift. Continue down for another 1/2″. Leave the rest of the side open for the gores.**

Step 7- Press and finish your seams
Run a zigzag stitch around the full sleeve. Flip and iron flat. Add a finishing seam to lock the edge down.

Step 8- Repeat on the other side
Once you have the sleeves on, take a break. It will be time for part 2 and putting in the gores shortly.

*We did this technique in this post Rather than do a full lining, we are only doing a 2″ border.

**If you are sewing a man’s shirt (you can follow the same instructions), continue sewing down the full side of the shirt and stop at the hem line.

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Posted by on February 18, 2013 in BFG, Technique


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