Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Making a Sleepsack - Part 2

The next stage of our sleepsack is the construction of the foot pocket. We begin with our 3 pieces, one that forms the bottom of the foot, and two that wrap around creating the rear, sides and front. Kind of looks like burning man at this point:
We want to clip and sew the rear seam first:
Glue and flatten the seam.
Now for the fun part. Attaching straight pieces to curved pieces is always a little tricky, and the stretchiness of leather also makes precision alignment difficult.

I start by aligning the rear seam with the center mark on the back of the foot base.
I attach the bulldog clips all the way around carefully checking position as I go. This is one case where having the same seam allowance on the curved and straight piece really helps. If they are the same then as long as you align the edge you are aligned at the seam. Once your are happy with the positioning of the clips, sew away. I didn't take a picture of it, but at this point I topstitch the front of the foot pocket seam as well. If you tried to do it before it would never align properly.
Next we'll glue the seam allowances. I usually glue both going up (instead of one up, one down) because cutting all the darts to make the lower seam allowance to lay flat would A. take a while and B. leave a messy result. By pushing both seam allowances up and topstitching you get a nice smooth surface on the inside of the foot pocket.

And here's a shot of the outside:

Next, we'll move on to the shoulders. The shoulder dart roughly aligns with the side seam, so I begin there and clip the rest in place.
This is after sewing, with the clips removed. Can you see how the shoulders are cut a little long? This is so I have room to adjust before sewing the collar in place. I would rather have a little extra here than not enough.

Here is the foot pocket clipped in place and ready for sewing:
Foot pocket clipped: top view. Once aligned and clipped into place, it is just a matter of sewing along the line, carefully removing clips as you go.
At this stage I'm almost ready to set the collar. You can see I have trimmed the shoulder panels back to match up with the front and back panels a little better, and have drawn a new guideline. Before I can attach the collar, though, I need to glue and flatten the seam allowances for the shoulder.
Here's the shoulder glued up:
And I also tackle the foot pocket...
OK, I'm ready to sew the collar in place. I begin in the middle and work my way towards the sides. Here's another situation where I have extra room built into the pattern (in this case in the rear panels) to give myself material to make adjustments to the fit between two pieces.
You can see in this photo the back panels extend beyond the collar.
I make a mark on the side I will be sewing from to indicate where the end of the collar is - as I don't want to sew past this point.
Once the collar is sewn in, I make adjustments to the rear seam so that they align perfectly with the collar.
Now I'll glue and flatten the seam allowances and the top edge of the collar. More gluing - yay!
This concludes part two - we'll be finishing up next time with the zipper, tongue and internal sleeves.

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