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Your Guide to Sewing Basics:
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Member Since: 06/29/2009
I am an odd duck. I like to upcycle garments or things because something appeals to me about the fabric or style.
I like to add subtract or recreate an item. Most people hate to "mend" but give me something that needs to be fixed and I will make it wonderful again or something new. And I love the little bins of remnants for the chase.
I too am a lover of vintage clothing. I wore my aunt grayce's
edwardian wedding gown that was made in Paris and bought in
New Orleans. We too played dress up with it as children.
My parents went to Europe in 1939 and brought back authentic
French peasant dresses and they were out "forever" Halloween
costums. Wish I still had it.
Anyway as a left handed person in a right handed world I do many things with my right hand. Never could figure out why I had difficulty with embroidery until it dawned on me that I should figure out how to do it left handed. I bought a used
left handed embroidery book on Amazon and have never looked back. Makes a world of difference.
My mother was born in 1904, every week in her Cathlic Grammar school they would have hand sewing at the age of 12. I have the samples of her exquisite workmanship that is now matted and framed. I can't imagine a 12 year old today doing the same thing........
I bought what I assumed was an old singer sewing machine
and took it to be cleaned etc. Imagine my surprise that it was actually a Macy Sewing Machine. The guy told me it was made by Singer back in the day but was sold by Macy Dept Store
with their logo on it. Works like a champ! It too is very heavy and I use it thick material because my newer machine
has issues with heavy material sometimes.
The Textile Museum in Lowell, Mass. is an amazing place.
They have actual textile machines, all kinds of antique spinning wheels etc.
I saw the traveling exhibit of Princess Diana's gowns.
It was breath taking.
At last I am reading about people of my own persuasion! Too bad we can't get togehte and have great fun. I love anything that is thrift and combine that with a little imagination (sometimes too much) I am off and running. I love love love to shop at St. Vincent du Paul because all the money received from thrift stays in the community rather than shipping it off someplace else. Remember charity begins at home. I am a rare bird that I like to "fix things" and make them better. I have actually met people who cannot sew on a button. How sad for them but a win for me.
My latest rehab project is making tutus out of gathered strips of colorful teeshirts sewed on an A-shape tee shirt base that is gathered onto a waist. Soooo cute and the four little ones love them.
Remember you are only limited by your imagination!
Growing up on LI< NY I would browse the garmet district before catching the train. Button stores and ribbons galore.
Found my waxed blossom wedding headpiece and veil from that location. Moving on......ended up in NH not 20 minutes from
Keepsake Quilting. They have 10,000 bolts of lovely fabric all coordinated as to color and theme. Lets not even talk about their yarn store! They have a veranda with chairs for the husbands to sit and wait. Perfect!
Moving on a store called Zimmon's in Lynn, Mass. It is like going back in time to see fabrics on bolts and a bargain basement. Unfortunately thses places are drying up. Out to
LA there is similar store without the charm and I bought 1/2 yard of fabric at $125 a yard! It was like butter. Used that piece for the bodice.
Another place in NH is the Exeter Hankerchief Factory. It isn't what it used to be but it is still there!
Don't pass up yard sales, rummage sales, thrift stores for finding garments (to repurpose) and lengths of fabric.
Twenty years or so a friend gave me a deep red velvet pillow embelished all over with the above design. I had never seen anything like it before. She said it belonged to an very elderly friend of her and she gave it to her. She wanted me to repair it...........wish I had the above tutorial at the time. How about enclosing the edges in a seam instead of setting them free.LJ
I also inherrited from her a Schrafts chocolate box jammed with hand knitted trims. Some are crocheted and all neatly rolled into a coil. My Aunt Pat told me that Grandma would sit by the radio and knit or crochet. Grandma died very suddenly in 1940 so it is as she left it.
I also aquired a sterling silver 2" ruller on a fancy loop that hangs from a chain. Lovely. Also my grandmother's quilts that are in rough shape but can't bare to throw them
My mother was born in 1904 in Dayton, Ohio. She attended Catholic schools and every week they had sewing class. I inherrited a bag of her sewing, mending samples such as:
how to make a sleeve cuff, all kinds of darning techniques,
different hems finishes etc. And believe it or not she was
12 years old. I had them matted and framed in a long narrow
picture and it is hanging in my sewing room. I can't imagine a twelve year old doing such finery today.
I also have my grandmother's silver quilting thimble which does not have a bottom. She was a very tall and big boned woman and eventhough I am "big" it is too big for me. I can
wear it around my neck on a chain. Enjoy your treasures!
I have a cut work tablecloth that belonged to my mother as well. What I did was take a spring loaded tension rod and
inserted in the open cutwork on one end and it makes a lovely curtain. No damage to the fabric.
Quite frankly I have not been away for more than two weeks.
I have accumulated a wardrobe of reversable mix and match outfits. I try to stay to solid color on one side and something wild on the other. Many of mine came from ebay and
are amazing. Plus 99.9% of the items can be rolled up and packed and comeout fresh as a daisy. I also pack travel size
Downey Wrinkle Releaser. Bon Voyage!
I am probably the only person in the world who likes to mend or make something new again....... I consider it a challenge to fix something or present it in a new way or fool the eye.
Yes I think that vertical stripes are a crowd pleaser. But I think that horizonal stripes have their place too. I think they look very nice layered under a tailored jacket or v-necked cardigan sweater.
This is a little off subject but the Amish Ladies do not use saftey pins but they straight pin everything. But they use zippers?!
Too bad this post does not work like an Opera Show when they had a prize or book under every seat. I wish that everyone who has entered could win the book.
I have been fascinated by Dawton Abby on PBS with the late
Edwardian costumes and into the 1920's fashions. Also Boardwalk Empire which covers the same era but on the American side of the pond.
I have a slim chance of winning but that would be a dream
come true. Thanks.
I am the youngest of four and will be 70 in July. So I am of the era when everything got ironed. My mother had a mangle dating from the 30's and she used it as a kitchen counter. I loved the way it jerked along and the smell of freshly ironed larger items. She must have gotten tired of the regular Ironing duties as she hired a women who ironed all day Tuesday. This followed Monday which was wash day. Everything got "sprinkled" and rolled up and sat for awhile before the lady ironed. The woman would drink beer and listen to radio soaps. When I got into high school we wore white tailored shirts with blazers. I was so lazy that I would only iron the front that showed. One day "we had to" remove our jackets. Was I ever embarassed! Believe it or not I can iron and do it pretty much like "grandma." Love the concept of double ironing. I remember being a "bride" and trying to figure out how to iron my new husband's pants.
My aunt came to the rescue and taught me. Everyone needs a teacher!And I love that spray on wrinkle release, so you see I am still lazy but the stuff has gotten me out of some last minute situations and no one is wiser.
Thank you Thank you Thank you for finally posting this most excelent article. I have refered to it many times in coments. I may be dreaming but I think that I saw online a
pant form? Why not use it for a man's shape. I used a cheap tourtier lamp base for my form because I am tall. You would have to get inventive if the person is tall rather than a stool. Fabulous for hemming clothes perfectly especially if you use one of those stand marking contraptions that spits out a line of chalk.
I did not make my wedding dress but I did make the duct tape
manequin when it was featured in Threads Magazine over 10 years ago.
What an amazing and accuracte replica of myself which includes all my lumps and bumps etc. Also I discovered that one shoulder is slightly lower than the other. I am too tall for the stool directions so I got my mits on a sona tube
(used for making deck cement supports). Cut it at the right height, put the dummy on it and steadied it over a cheap
tourtier type free standing light. Glued it all together. Put it on a rolling platform. Then to hide the duct tape I took an old Vogue basic pattern and made a skin tight cover.
At all the vital lines I took narrow ribbon, glued them down to the manequin. Instead of using a tee shirt I used a turtle neck. Filled the neck and made it into a pin cushion.
This manequin is perfect for pinning up hems. My daughter has the same odd shape as I do and I have made several things for her very easily considering she lives in a different state. It really makes sewing three dementional.
Ten years ago (?) Threads had an article on making your own dressmaker dummy by wrapping yourself in duct tape over a long tee shirt. Had a friend help me and believe me it shows every lump and bump. Perfect for hemming a skirt or dress etc. as no one wants to help you do that! I also discovered that one shoulder is slightly lower than the other. Maybe Threads will feature it again. Not only will it save you money but it is soooooooo accurate it is scary.
I had to tweak it because it I am 5'8" tall and couldn't find a proper stool to set the dummy on. I "rube goldberged" it with "sona tube" (for cement pilars) set over a free standing lamp etc. etc. Work beautifully.
ahhh, I am not the only one and I thought I was the only one.
I too have way too much fabric. Semi-organized. I read somewhere that if you fold fabric and place it in a box like a filing cabinet you can see at a glance what you have. It is easier if you stand the box on end and just stack the fabric. Ofcourse this probably wouldn't work for gigundo pieces but those sm-medium sized pieces that tend to get lost in the scramble.
My problem is that I make a mess with threads and cuttings despite the fact that I have a large waste container between my serger and sewing machine. I even have a bag around the serger and sewing machine and I am still a slob.
Usually before I sit down to sew I automatically plug in my iron so it is ready to roll.
I have 4 1/2 year old twin granddaughters; Ella and Emme. Last year I made Daphne and the ? lady from Scouby-do the cartoon. They so loved the costumes that they punched into them all year. This year they wanted a re-run and one wants to be Fred. So I found a out of print Simplicity dress pattern online and the purple/pink dress came out beautifully.
Cheated for Fred as I ordered a white V neck sweater online. So if she wants to wear the dress all year round she will have growing room.
I am a veteran of many Halloween costumes for my five children. My only regret is that I didn't save them.
On to next year!
My parents went to France in 1939 and brought back a peseant
dress and that was our official Halloween costume. Never thought to ask for something else. Wish it got saved because it could go in a costume museum.
When my daughter was in high school the band was scheduled to go to DisneyWorld in Fla for a performance. She burned a lovely iron shaped area on the back of her "uniform" white blouse. So quickly I found some matching white material and very carefully made another left back for her blouse. Whew.
She wore it for the rest of her high school band performances.
Another time I made a victorian blouse for myself to wear at a living history museum event. When I got home I realized that one of the very full sleeves at the top was not a mirror image of the other sleeve and lacked the same amount of fullness. The calico type print was very busy so I hope no one noticed, or they didn't say anything.
My in-laws were due for a visit and I wanted to impress them with eilet lace trimmed sheets. What I did was sew the lovely eilet lace on the side of the top sheet. Lucky for me it was a king sized sheet on a queen bed. I just turned the whole sheet around and no one was the wiser. I won't tell if you don't!
This is for the lady who is making the ribbon yoke for the woman with uneven shoulders. Why not put an appropriate shoulder pan on the low shoulder to bring it up to the level of the other shoulder? Just a thought. I know this was listed a long time ago and I hope the person rereads the comments.
Maybe twenty years or so a woman in our town used to actually dress like that! She was a recptionist in an office and my husband used to lovingly call her MiniMouse.
Sadly she fought a long couragous battle with cancer and passed away. I think of her everytime I visit the dentist next door and the courage to dress as she pleased in a very
conservative New England town.
I was pregnant with my third child. My two older children were four and five years old. I was trying to keep them awake
in a recliner so they could see the "event." Well I looked over when it happened and they were sound asleep!
If there is a piece of cloth, a needle, sewing machine,sissors, serger or whatever I love to fix, mend, or creae something. My ten year old grand nephew drew an amazing christmas card of a cement dog that sits on his grandmother's front porch. His aunt created an amazing christmas card out of this drawing for his grandmother to use at christmas time as cards.
I was soooooo blown away I decided to take it a step further.
I created a fabric copy of the dog on the computer and built a country french (fabric) pillow around the picture. My sister in law called me and was sooooooooo thrilled that she asked me to make four more. Lucky for me I had a big bag of country french scraps from a LA store which is no longer in business.
I also have five granddaughters including almost four year old twins girls. Last year they had a Scouby Doo birthday party.
I created Velma and ? costumes. Believe it or not one tries
to punch into the purple dress and the other one wears the
orange sweater even though the sleeves are too short. Makes my heart flutter..............
I learned to sew by my mother's knee. I made doll clothes for my Terry Lee doll and thought they were wonderful but were probably gastly. My mother never said a negative thing.
I did take a sewing class at Singer Sewing Machine Company
one summer vacation during elementary school.
I went to a very progressive school (back in the 50's) and my sewing and cooking continued. In high school I was light years ahead of everyone else. As a matter of fact the dress that I made in class my mother wore to my brother's wedding. I have continued to sew because it was a necessity especially because I had five children. Something always needed attention. Today I have a serger and a good machine.
If you can read you can sew.
My greatest achievement was teaching a young lady who had a full scolarchip to Vassar how to sew. She sewed and mended
for her "rich" schoolmates and socked the $$$ and today is a Phd.
I amazed at how many young women who don't even know how to sew a button on!
Ohe more thing. I had forgoten about this until I read someone elses comment. Sometime during one summer in elementary school I took a summer sewing course at
Singer's. I remember there was this other girl with an unusual first name and she explained the reasoning for her name. Her parents took the first letter of her other
sibilings and created a name for her. I remember during the 1980's I saw her name on the roster of a big decorating/crafts magazine. Believe me no one in the
world would have a name like that! So maybe that sewing class
propelled her into a career when she grew up.
My mother was very relaxed about me sewing using her old singer. I was quite young. It had a knee pedal. My brother gave me a Terry Lee doll and I was off and running making probably the worst doll clothes ever. My mother never said anything negative. I was hooked. Most people hate mending or fixing something but I love it. People come to me with their mistakes. My greatest joy was teaching a summertime boarder who worked for us who went to Vassar on scolarship.
She begged me to teacher her how to sew. Thus she did allot of mending for the "rich girls." And she sewed dresses for their graduation ceremony called a Daisy Chain. She made enough money to go on an overseas vacation in 2000. When
I turned 50 my husband asked me what I wanted? I quickly replied, "A serger." He said, "what?" And I said come with me. I am now on my third serger. Love it and have done so many home dec. things etc. Still need a sewing machine and
hand sewing........ I am amazed at how many people were turned off my sewing with their 7th grade home ec. class.
What a wasted opportunity. I have my mothers hand sewn
samplers with every stitch imaginable. (b. 1904) And completed when she was 12. I can't imagine kids today doing such intricate work. I had a cub scout group once and taught them how to sew on buttons. I still have my son's sampler of buttons and intend to give it to his wife who can't sew on a button! I must have come from another world.
My brother gave me a Terry Lee doll when I was about ten years old. I remember being laid up with Mumps and making the most outlandish doll clothes. I was smitten.
The following summer I took a Singer Sewing Class and made a full skirt. One girl in the class had an unusual name and I have seen her listed in creative magazines in the credits. I never became famous but have had a lifetime of sewing experiences.
I am apalled that there are people who can't or won't sew
on a button.
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