Turn of Cloth and a WIP


Its been a little quiet on the sewing front here recently… but that’s soon to change. I’ve been working away at turning the disaster that was McCalls 4993 into something I’d actually like to wear, and in the process had the chance to try a few new sewing things!

I’ve read about the impact of turn of cloth many times, but I’ve only come across a pattern that actually accounts for it once (Vogue 8333, which has a separate upper and lower collar piece). When I sewed up my first Marfy pattern – F2465 – I was sort of expecting to see the facing pattern pieces be slightly smaller than the outside pattern pieces, having read much about their superior drafting.

F2465 Marfy Top 22
Seam line on the fold of Marfy 2645

This was not the case, and whilst I suppose it could be considered a personal preference on whether or not the seam lines sit along the fold, or are sneakily hidden underneath, I’d prefer them to be hidden from view.

So with my current Work-In-Progress, I’ve ‘drafted’ (sheesh, that makes it sound like something really difficult!) a facing pattern piece for the dress strap, which is slightly smaller than the actual strap pattern piece – by 4mm. That 4mm then got added back onto the strap piece that will be on show, so it will still end up being roughly the same size. I say roughly because my fabric is thin and drapey – the thicker your fabric, the more allowance for turn of cloth is required.

The ‘under strap’ pattern piece sitting on top of the ‘over strap’

It makes it a wee bit more challenging to iron before turning out (yep, I’m still a pressinatrix), but by such a marginal amount I can’t even believe I’ve just written a whole sentence about it.

If you’d like more info on determining how much to allow for different types of fabric, then there’s a really good Threads article on this topic here. Otherwise, I’ll leave you to go about your business :)



  1. I always seem to forget about turn of cloth and I need to remember because your straps are going to look so neat! I love that article about the pressinatrix too, I really picked up my ironing after reading it :)

  2. I agree turn of cloth is so important for a nice finish! I guess it's difficult for pattern companies to accurately grade a smaller facing since they don't know just how thick the fabric we'll use will be? But they could surely take an educated guess from their fabric recommendations?! Or at least put a comment for how to check/amend in the instructions… :)

  3. funny, i've only thought about TOC with collars and such, never thought to add it into straps. it would definitely make them look neater! can't wait to see what you're making now :)

  4. It is the little details like this that make a garment really beautiful. Your explanation is very clear, and your straps will look terrific. I'm glad you are using that beautiful fabric for something else.

  5. Well I didn't know I was a Pressinatrix until tonight. I have to agree with you on pressing, especially if you want your outfit to look professional. Thanks for the information about facings. I have never really thought about making the under facings smaller until a week or so ago when I was looking at a tute on Angela Kane 's sewing web site. She shows you how to reduce facings on a sleeveless dress and the difference it makes is well worth the slightly extra work. You never stop learning!!

  6. I absolutely agree, its so much nicer not to see the seams! It all the little things that really make a beautiful garment….I can't wait to see how you have changed this dress, the fabric is gorgeous.

  7. in the anise jacket pattern (or maybe in the companion guide?), sarai gives a really clear explanation of turn of cloth and you trim the collar after moulding it to shape on a dress form so that the turn of cloth is adjusted for.

  8. I tried reading that Threads article and my sleepy brain didn't take it all in, but I get the gist of it. Nice little touch you are adding there :)

  9. An excellent post! I learnt how to do this from the Vogue 8333 instructions too, and I remember Sherry from pin scissors cloth doing a few tutorials on how to work it out too.

  10. Yep, that pressinatrix thing blew my mind. And goodness – does it make all the difference! I've even stopped feeling guilty about leaving the iron on… Thanks Suzy!

  11. I agree – should be based on the fabric recommendations! But the more I sew, the more I realise that patterns are just a starting point, rather than a black and white blueprint for what we should be doing. It's all experience based! Ah well :(

  12. It was a random thought that popped in my head… and I'm glad it decided to show up! The straps definitely do look much better, even if it's only me that notices it ;) Thanks Lisa!

  13. Oooh! I'll have to go and have a look at Angela's site, Majorie. Thanks for sharing!! And yep… pressing certainly makes a world of difference! :)

  14. Thanks for the link Gabrielle – I'll have to go back and read that!! Sherry does some awesome work… I've been missing her since she's been out of blogging action! It drives me nuts too… it just doesn't look well finished when the seams are on the outside!

  15. And it's always the little things! Dress is finished and I froze my backside off trying to get pictures of it outside!! haha… I'll have to write a post for it tonight :)

  16. Oh cool!! That's really lovely to hear, although it doesn't surprise me. Colette patterns attention to detail has always been up there, and such a thing is definitely necessary on a bulky winter coat!

  17. Vogue 8333 really is the bomb. And Sherry certainly has it nailed. I wish I'd read through her RTW coat sewalong way back!! She really has such a wealth of information on her blog. Thanks Carolyn :)

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