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Your Guide to Sewing Basics:
Your Guide to Fashion Sewing:
Member Since: 01/04/2010
Excited to finish a project late at night often results in mistakes when you're tired. Finish one of the tasks (sewing in a sleeve?) and go to bed. A fresh start the next day can make all the difference in the world in the final result.
For Betina: Recent articles in Threads Magazine review sergers and I found them very informative. I have enjoyed using my Bernette and have for about 20 years to much satisfaction. Recently the material chewed the fabric vs. cut and I took the machine to be adjusted. Rather than strip the tightening screw of the blade, the mechanic slipped a piece of sandpaper between the screw and the metal to keep this from happening. Just thought I'd mention this problem should it happen to anyone after many years of wear and tear. Like a microwave when it first came out, I never thought I'd use it so much but a serger is indispensable to quality sewing and long lasting garments.
When you shop for pins make sure they are made of steel. How do I know some are not? I use a magnet for picking them up on the floor and some just lie there not sticking to the magnet. They are made in China and probably from tin with not much steel in them and won't magnet. What a frustration to learn that, huh? I throw the ones away after straining my aged back picking the suckers up. The Chinese pretzel hold I call it.
You can always make sorter style pants, capris, clamdiggers, or ankle length which seem to be the latest styles for summer. I have made add-ons with contrasting fabric and shell to match. Get comments about the outfit that is very "custom".
This can be used in another application: an insert of embroidery using the fashion fabric as a frame or focal point insert for a pillow. Thanks for the great tip!
Beautiful but can you imagine sleeping in such a beautiful garment? Made for a honeymoon perhaps?
I dislike button cuffs because they interfere with my watch and bracelets so I have aways cut off the cuffs on ready to wears and made 3/4 sleeves for summer to fend off chilly air conditioning or modified them some other way. Saved cuffs make interesting fringes for a skirt or jeans that match many blouses in your closet. Obviously I never throw anything away........
Don't forget to adapt some jazzy bags and sacks for carrying things with canes, crutches, walkers and wheelchairs. They can be made out of quilted and denim fabrics to be washable and durable. Used to hold identification, pharmaceuticals, and other things that need access when traveling(to the doc'soffice or hospital) Compartments even with labels help to not forget necessities. Coordinating cushion and pillow covers than can be removed also make for cleanliness. Made from towels, they are soft and comfortable and can be colorful to encourage cheer. CR
I have had the pleasure of contributing to embroidery projects for some traditional bed hangings in the Governor's mansion here in SC, made two volunteer quilt squares for the largest quilt in the world here in Columbia that as a large banner represented classes held in our school district, and designed a kneeler for the Episcopal Cathedral in Jerusalem where I delivered and placed it there among more than 300 others representing various dioces in the world. The American Needlepoint Guild raffled off a needlepoint creche scene and each of us contributors stitched an animal or figure in canvaswork. The total project was raffled off for charity after other volunteers blocked and assembled the pieces. Each project I had a hand in taught me much not only about techniques, color choices and craftsmanship but the value of hands on stitching to help those in need. One thing usually leads to another and I look forward to the next challenge as an outlet for my love of embroidery.
I have seen small pieces of foam that protect delicate fabric from being ruined by clip hangers (MamaEuny). I have used clothespins padded similarly. Shoulder pads (extras from my stash) also come in handy. I just fold them around the plastic hangers, clip them securely with clothespins underneath and they serve to support and protect a bodice. Just thought you'd like to have a few ideas that might not have occurred using items you have on hand.
Loved the repurposing. Since colorblocking and patchwork is still fashionable, I have always wanted to add the moth-holed sweater's sleeves to the jacket I made a vest out of, combine two sweaters into one and fool around with clothing I am ready to trash for one reason or another by combining two or more articles of clothing. By that time, they don't owe me anything and sometimes even if it is just learning from your mistakes there is value in such creative attempts.
I am fortunate to finally have taken a space in a room of our 200 year-old farmhouse. It was once a library (lots of shelves), den (TV), childrens' play room (centrally located). It is near a pie safe I use for fabric storage in the adjacent room. There is a a fireplace (for cooler days), a back staircase to escape unnoticed) and heart pine floors (easily swept). The sewing room has evolved to my convenience--my threads and notions surround my L-shaped sewing machine/serger area. The ironing board stays set up and pressing materials at hand are stored in the library bookshelves. Behind the door of a small closet I hung a full length mirror. Over the years I've found three pegged thread holders at garage sales along with antique thread containers. The esthetics of the room revolve around a vintage machine base and wrought iron dress form. Tomorrow I will install fabric covered roller shades on the windows that I found at the flea market--darling vintage fabric discarded when they staged their house for sale. My button collection is housed in 25! color coordinated tins I have collected for 35 years. A bulletin board with ideas serves as inspiration. At 70 years old, I realize we sewists are an exclusive breed. My second machine ( an unused vintage Necchi) I am saving for my 13 year-old grand-daughter who I encourage to join me in a hobby that has served me well since home-ec classes through 48 years of marriage. I am excited to hear about the newest trends while hugging onto the good old days happy as a clam.
Over the years I have amassed about 25 square metal cookie tins from the Charleston Cookie Company that still makes those wonderful benne cookies that I wear on my hips. I use the tins to store my buttons with color labels to match. They make cute multicolored gingham stacks in my bookshelf in my studio and make buttons EZ to find when I have to coordinate with fabrics at the end of my projects. I also have drawers of threads separated by shoe boxtops which are just the right depth to remove a selection of one hue for trying out in the light. Keeping them in a dark and dust-free environment keep them from fading and deteriorating.
The EGA, Embroiderers Guild of America and ANG, American Needlepoint and Quilting Guilds offer wonderful correspondence courses and annual conferences throughout the USA which allow enthusiasts to share as well as visit with other members and sponsors and chapters on their own turf where classes and tours of museums, sources and their cities are fabulous. Their publications are also a bargain for the price of membership. Google them for more info.
Like you, Kenneth, I found two coordinating remnants of Fortuny fabric 20 years ago. Since they coordinated so well with my oriental carpet in the oval tabled dining room, I fashioned a table covering and 12 napkins out of it. What a joy! The fabric has gotten softer and softer with each machine washing and I have never had to iron it if I grab it warm from the dryer. I have used it every day for all those years and still marvel at its beauty and practical stain resistance and durablilty. I never serve dinner or lunch without compliments on it. I only wish the fabric finishing plant where I purchased it was still viable here in SC.
Michael Drummond's shows design sensitivity. The others show technical elan but too much of a good thing--froufrou, uncomfortable to wear, distractions galore. Michael's shows repetition of line, color compatibility and other design elements (balance, proportion etc. that the others avoid just to show their technical efforts even though they are commendable, not very practical. After all, art like music and writing should be about communication, fashion should be wearable and comfortable like jewelry must be comfortable, hang and move right on the wearer. These basic elements, not only craft, should be followed first off in my opinion.
Donating much of my stash to a hospice thrift shop when the weather gets cooler and paring down what I have been saving before it REALLY gets dated. Then will make new cushion covers for my porch furniture for next year. I use elastic to make removable washable shower-cap style covers that are mitred in the square corners.
After that, purging the winter clothes that are too tight so that just one closet will accommodate ALL my clothing that fits. Simplify and donate is what we Americans need to do to help those who have lost their jobs.
Two machines I have are precious to me, but a talented Asian friend is now the proud owner of the antique unused goldleaf decorated chainstitching machine. She will use it for free embroidery on her creations.
The other one, also an unused beige vintage Necchi 535FA I picked up from a flea market dealer for $10.00. When I asked him if it worked he said he didn't know. Upon closer examination, I noticed the bobbin was there and the needle was threaded with full demo spool of yellowing dirty white cotton thread on a wooden spool. Probably stored in someone's basement. I cleaned off the dust, oiled it and now keep it threaded with white thread for repairs of lingerie etc.
Lucky me, the bobbin for my Bernina and Necchi are the same size. The Necchi, just like the one my husband bought me when first married, clatters away but makes a very nice stitch and I find it more than worth the tenspot I paid for it just for the nostalgia of it.
When I purchased the Bernina many years ago (not computerized) the dealer threw in a Bernette serger very reasonably. Like a microwave, I wondered if I would ever use it since it was such a pain to thread until I figured out (duh!) how to tie ends together and pull through the new colors. What I love the serger for is hemming jeans. Cuts down on the quadruple thickness and makes a nice frayproof edge for even top stitching. With three sons and a short husband, the serger has paid for itself over and over and still doing it now that 7 grandchildren have made their entrance.
I measure fabric length yardage by holding it from my nose to the end of my arm which is a yard exactly! Comes in handy when I estimate how much I need for a jacket, skirt, slacks, blouse or dress. There are times when a yardstick is not available such as yard sale or flea market. Double check YOUR nose to arm measurement. I'll bet it comes close enough.
Please, at 65 I am still interested in clothing construction, fashion and style, but are there no fashions for anyone but gals in their 20's? After all, our bodies need attractive coverage more than they do and we as a group are the consumers who might be more able to afford the fashions or am I just way off base and are these garments just used as inspiration for the rest of the RTW market?
Thx for the boiled wool tips. My dear husband bought me a spectacular Norwegian style embroidered boiled wool sweater for Christmas. The sleeves were long enough for an orangutang! The cuffs embroidered too--no way to alter. A return's shipping charges were prohibitive so I bit the bullet and risked cutting the sleeves off at the armscye, sergeing both scye and sleeve cap which I cut 6" off in shape to match, then seamed them with a slight zig-zag machine stitch. All of this at my husband's suggestion who has no clue about sewing at all! Steaming with press cloth smoothed the shoulder seam out to perfection. I was so proud of myself. Thought I'd share the experience for those who might contemplate another way to shorten a beautiful RTW sweater, blouse, or jacket sleeve with decorative cuffs. Nothing ventured, nothing gained...
Ten years ago I met Charles while taking a week-long sewing machine embroidery class in Milledgeville, Ga at the University there. Allowed to meander through his class on bias construction during our break, feeling cheated, I wished the scheduling conflict hadn't occurred allowing me to stay longer.
Dressed in natty black and white (tweed jacket, silk tie and pocket square) which I was told was his trademark, he impressed me with his appreciation of his young students slender figures just perfect for his garments which on me, although comfortable for sure would have revealed every lump and distortion of a Pillsbury dough boy figure--oh, well, I will never forget his name, his creations or his elan and am sorry that he like other talents will take his artistry with him to heaven. I can see the angels in his diaphanous bias garments already!
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