Tell-tale signs of an accomplished sewer
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Ah, the sweet taste of praise. Maybe that’s the first phase of a sewing addiction—when our friends and peers show admiration for the garments we make. Their support and high regard is intoxicating and keeps us working, learning through the rough spots so we can get to greater and more impressive results. Today an apron…tomorrow a winter coat. Here are a few tips for things you can do to improve the finished results on your next project.
Buttonhole placement—A center front row of buttons can occur on skirts, dresses, jackets, blouses, coats, vest, and more. Even though button placement is shown on the pattern, if you are taller or shorter than the standard used to design the pattern you may need to adjust their position.
1. A single row of buttons (as opposed to double breasted buttons) is usually placed on the center front line. If you follow the recommended button size listed on the pattern, the button edge should then fall half the button diameter from the finished edge. This is a well-balanced horizontal position.
2. To check the vertical button placement, hold the pattern or the garment up to your body and on the center front line place a pin that is perpendicular to the bust point. Place a second pin on the waistline. Divide the space between the two pins into equal distances for button placement. For buttons above and below the two pins continue to repeat the same spacing.
3. Everyone needs to practice making a few buttonholes every time they work on a new garment. Sew your buttonholes while you practice by starting from the bottom buttonhole and working up the garment. That way, by the time you get to the top, where people are most likely to notice the quality of your buttonholes, you will have perfected them. The less than perfect ones are in a position where they won’t be as noticeable.
Pressing facings—This is the biggest tell-tale sign of an inexperienced sewer and the easiest correction to make if you do it during construction and don’t wait until after the garment is completed. When you sew facings to a garment—they can be at the armholes, collar, neckline, center front, lapel, and hemlines—trim the seam allowances and press the seams open. Use a pressing tool such as a ham, sleeve board, or tailor board to hold the curve in the seam as you press. This prevents the seam line from caving in at the edge a forming a small pleat. After pressing the seams open, fold along the seamline and finger press the edge rolling the seamline slightly to the underside of the edge (the hidden edge). Then press the edge with your iron and understitch if desired.
General pressing tip—Pressing is essential throughout your sewing process. Press at every step to prepare for the next step, but don’t over press. Shoulders, princess seams, bust and waist darts are all garment areas that are engineered to form to curves, if you press them flat it ruins the look. These areas need to be pressed on a curved surface such as a ham, steamroll, sleeve board, or tailors’ board to support the shape.
Keep Sewing! And, don’t forget to share your results with us.