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Camas Sew-Along: Cut into your fabric and sew the yokes

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Today we finally start to sew!

I have decided to photograph the woven Camas that I am sewing using a dotted cotton chambray as my main ‘sew-along sample’.  I know most people will be following along while sewing a knit Camas (since this is the type of fabric that the pattern calls for) but I thought that the very clear right and wrong side on this fabric would help to make the sew-along photos easy to understand so I couldn’t resist photographing a woven Camas!  Even though I am sewing with a woven fabric, I will still include information on stitch types that you should or could use when sewing with a knit.  If I mention straight stitching during a sewing step, for example, this is a stitch type suitable for both knits and woven fabrics at that particular point in the sewing process.


 

Okay, let’s delve right in – cut out your fabric pieces using the fabric layout provided in the instruction booklet.  I go into great detail about cutting out knit fabrics in our Comox Trunks sew-along so I haven’t repeated myself here.  Be sure to check out this post if you want some tips!

It is important to note that the Camas Blouse pattern includes 5/8″ seam allowances on all seams – while this large allowance is fairly standard for home sewers because it gives you wiggle room to fit the garment as you sew, it means you will need to do a lot of seam trimming (often called grading).  We will go over how to do this and where to do this at every single sewing step for the most professional looking results!  It is a very important aspect of sewing the Camas Blouse.

Sewing the Front Yokes

Camas Blouse Sew Along (1 of 29)

Create gathers on your blouse Front by sewing two lines of stitching using your longest stitch length.  The first line of stitching is 1/4″ from the fabric edge and the second line of stitching is 1/2″ from the fabric edge.  Stitch from the notch towards the neckline.  Don’t backstitch when sewing a gathering stitch since you will need to pull your loose threads taught in a moment!  You can stop your stitching either 5/8″ from the neckline or continue right to the neckline fabric edge.

Pull the gathers by grabbing hold of the bobbin threads from both stitching lines.  Even out the gathers so that they are nicely spread between the notch and the neckline.  You should leave the 5/8″ seam allowance along the neckline free from gathers.
Camas Sew Along Yoke Seamline

Pin the front yokes to your blouse fronts.  First, lay down one front yoke so that the right side is facing you, place the blouse front on top of it so that the blouse front right side is also facing you.  Finish the sandwich by placing the second yoke on top of the blouse front so that the wrong side is facing you (as pictured above).  Pin your layers in place so that the raw edges are even.  Note that each yoke edge should be even with the neckline and armhole at the seamline – this is 5/8″ in from the fabric edge.  You can see in the photo above that the yoke extends past the neckline and armhole within the seam allowance.  The yoke notches match the blouse front notch.Camas Blouse in a woven (2 of 29)

Above is another view of the sandwich you have made – on the left is your front yoke, in the middle is your blouse front, on the right is your front yoke facing.  Sew along the 5/8″ seamline using a regular straight stitch and backstitch at both ends.
Camas Blouse Sew Along (4 of 29)

Here is the first seam we will need to trim/grade!  To grade the seam, trim one seam allowance very short (1/4″), trim the middle seam allowance to 1/2″ and leave the third seam allowance at 5/8
“.  Trimming in this manner makes a nice transition from the thickness of three seam allowances to no seam allowance at all so that, when you press the yokes, there will not be a ridge where the seam allowances end.Camas Blouse Sew Along (5 of 29)

Press both the yoke and yoke facing upwards.  Gently press your gathers if you would like (this may or may not be necessary depending on the drape of your fabric).  My fabric doesn’t drape very much so I decided to press the gathers down and steam them a little bit so that they sit flat.Camas Blouse Sew Along (6 of 29)

Now let’s repeat this process for the back yoke!  Sew two lines of long basting stitches again and form your gathers.Camas Blouse Sew Along (7 of 29)

You will notice that the back features two notches between which the gathers are quite full – I really like that romantic full look but, if you don’t, you could perform an easy modification as follows:  Simply sew your gathering stitches across the entire blouse back.  Distribute the gathers as you prefer – you could do small gathers across the entire length of the back or you could do a wider stretch of medium sized gathers across the middle of the blouse.Camas Blouse Sew Along (8 of 29)

I’ve photographed the back yoke “sandwich” differently in case you didn’t quite understand the first set of photos or the instructions in the booklet.  First, lay one yoke on your work surface so that it is upside down and so that the right side is facing you.Camas Blouse Sew Along (9 of 29)

Now place your blouse back on top of the yoke so that raw edges are aligned and the blouse back right side is facing you.Camas Blouse Sew Along (10 of 29)

Add your last yoke to the top of this sandwich so that the wrong side is facing you.  Carefully in all layers so that your gathers sit flat (it is easy to accidentally push them to the side so that they don’t sit evenly!).Camas Blouse Sew Along (11 of 29)

Once you’ve sewn your yoke, you can grade the seam allowances in the same manner that you did for the blouse front.  This is especially important for the back yoke because the bulk of the full gathers is considerable.Camas Blouse Sew Along (12 of 29)

Press the yokes upwards.  Now it’s time to finish the yokes by sewing the shoulder seams!  In the Camas instruction booklet I illustrated a way to sew this seam that involves a bit of extra sewing but is easier to understand when illustrated.  Some of you have emailed me and mentioned that the “burrito method” would work well for this pattern – I agree!  You can find great tutorials for sewing the burrito method here:

  1. Grainline Studio’s Burrito Method Tutorial for the Archer Shirt
  2. Male Pattern Boldness Burrito Method Tutorial for the Negroni Shirt

 

We will continue with this sew-along by using the method from the instruction booklet.  I prefer this method when sewing with knits because it is less likely to stretch out knits that do not have very good recovery because you do not need to roll up the body of the blouse and stretch the yokes over this roll as you would with the burrito method.  Also, I think a knit shoulder seam benefits from the stability added from the extra stitching that we will be doing below:Camas Blouse Sew Along (13 of 29)

Begin by pushing your front and back yoke facings (the inner yokes) out of the way so that you can work with only the front and back yokes.  Lines up the shoulder seams – you will only be working with two layers of fabric.  Sew these shoulder seams using a straight stitch and a 5/8″ seam allowance.Camas Blouse Sew Along (14 of 29)

Press the seam allowance open.  Now we will sew the same seam on the yoke facings!
Camas Blouse Sew Along (15 of 29)

Photographed above is the same view that I illustrated in the instruction booklet.  Pin the yoke facings together at the shoulder seam so that the right sides are together – it is easiest to do this if you position the blouse and yokes as they will look when they are finished – that way you eliminate the risk of accidentally twisting the yokes.  It is easy to access the whole shoulder seam by pulling it towards the neckline of the blouse – as you can see below:Camas Blouse Sew Along (16 of 29)

Sew this seam at 5/8″ and press it open.  You can trim this seam allowance to 3/8″ to grade it in comparison to the main shoulder seam.Camas Blouse Sew Along (17 of 29)

Finish the shoulder seams by opening up the blouse so that the yoke and yoke facing shoulder seams sit one on top of the other.  Stitch in the ditch to join the two layers together.  This step isn’t 100% necessary but it is a nice way to add structure and stabilize the shoulder seam.  It also prevents the layers from shifting around.
Camas Blouse Sew Along (18 of 29)

That’s it for today!  Your Camas Blouse is already taking shape!  On Friday we will be adding the sleeves and sewing the side seams.  We will even hem the main blouse so that it is ready for the placket!

 

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Camas Sew-Along: Camas Blouse Hacks

Camas Blouse Sew-along Announcement

Welcome back to the Camas Sew-Along.  I hope you had a great weekend!  Today we have our last pattern manipulation post before launching into actually sewing our blouses.  I will do a quick post tomorrow about fitting your shoulders but since this wasn’t part of the sew-along schedule and is due to a request in the comments, today’s post still counts as the last one before we get to the good stuff (sewing)!

Today we are talking about pattern hacks.  Here are a few easy ones that I have cooked up – many of them based on Camas hacks the sewing community has blogged about or added to Instagram!

The Camas Cardigan

Doesn’t this Cardigan by Katie of Handmade Threads look like something you would want to wear every Spring day?  The Camas Cardigan is the easiest hack of all – simply sew your blouse as directed in the instruction booklet without making any changes to the pattern pieces…and then skip the last step – closures!  Don’t add closures to the Camas and you will have an open front cardigan.  Or, sew all of the steps for a cardigan that buttons up.  Easier yet, grab the Camas Blouse that already sits in your closet and magically transform it into a cardigan by wearing it over another top! 😛

I will be sewing a Camas Cardigan during the sew-along that features our soft and snuggly black interlock and a contrast gathered lace back.  I’m sewing this version using the next pattern hack too:

Cozy Camas with Full Length Sleeves

If you would prefer to sew a Camas featuring a full length sleeve rather than the 3/4 length included with the pattern, here is how you would go about adjusting the sleeve pattern piece:

Camas Blouse Full Length Sleeves

First, ignore the “Lengthen or Shorten Here” line unless you are just making a small fit adjustment.  For a style adjustment, you do not want to use this line because it will preserve the width of the hem – a hem suited to the widest part of your forearm will not be suited to your thin wrist!

To extend the sleeve to full length, measure the length of your arm, or even easier, the length of a shirt sleeve that fits you well.  Draw a new hemline that is parallel to the original hem.  Make sure to include the 5/8″ hem allowance!

Determine how wide you need your hem to be by measuring the circumference of your wrist (or the well fitting shirt).  Make sure, once again, to add two 5/8″ seam allowances to this measurement!

Draw new seamlines up from the hem until they meet the existing sleeve seams at a pleasing angle.  You can now sew a Camas with full length sleeves!

A Swooped Hem Camas

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I made this swooped hem Camas Blouse using a light and flowing silk from Britex Fabrics.  I wanted to emphasize the weightlessness of the fabric so I exaggerated the curve at the back of the hem considerably.  For this blouse I adjusted both the front and back of the panels to create a high-low hem (the front curves upwards so that the shortest point is the placket).  This was a fun experiment but in retrospect I wouldn’t have adjusted the front of the blouse since I think the original downward curve at the front is more flattering.  In the tutorial below I show you how to adjust only the back panel to achieve the swooped back and still maintain the curve over the hips and across the front of the blouse.

The key if you only adjust the back panel is to shape the hem curve so that it meets the side seam at the same angle as the original hem curve.  Keep in mind that an exaggerated hem curve may make hemming a bit tricky – you can use a rolled hem for a curve like this!

Swooped Hem Camas Blouse

 

The Camas Dress/Tunic

Inspiration for Camas Dress

Camas Dress inspiration: The T.A.- Okay Dress from ModCloth

I have two different approaches for lengthening the Camas to become a dress – one is the approach I am using for a Camas Dress that I am currently halfway through making.  I decided to make a slim dress with straight side seams and I envision wearing it with a self fabric belt, cuffed sleeves and black leggings – I can’t wait to show it to you!  Here is the shape I created when lengthening the pattern:

Lengthening the Camas Blouse

To do this, cut along the lengthen and shorten lines.  Spread the Front, Back and Placket out equally.  Draw new seamlines – be sure to keep the original angle at the base of the armhole for at least the 5/8″ seam allowance so that you are not interfering with the armhole shape.

The second approach you can take to lengthening the Camas into a tunic or dress is to keep the shaped side seam for a ‘fit and flare’ look.  Melissa of Happy Stitch has created a tutorial to do just this and posted it over at the Imagine Gnats blog!

Camas Blouse Tunic Length

Some of your inspiring pattern hacks:

 

Your Camas Blouse Hacks

  1. A woven Camas with sleeves and yokes cut from the same fabric blogged at Neues vom Sonnenfels.
  2. Piping added to the yoke seams!  Blogged at Gros Bécots.
  3. A sleeveless Camas with no placket and a cross-over front blogged at Thread Snips.

A very creative Camas Blouse alteration featuring no centre front opening and a cute neckline keyhole by Sylvie.

And some freshly interpreted Camas Blouses with no hacking needed!

Camas Blouse Freshly Interpreted

  1. The Camas as business attire by Pattern Revolution
  2. A maternity (and breastfeeding) Camas by Hachis Parementure
  3. The Camas meets sequins at Jolies Bobines
  4. The Camas in gold and black at By Clo’th
  5. A pleated and color-blocked Camas by Effortless Attention

 

What Camas Blouse hacks have you performed or do you imagine?