Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Intro and need help please–long sorry

lovetosew66 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

My name is Kathy. I am 43 years old, a mother of three grown boys (my youngest is 22), and a grandmother of a wonderful 4 y/o grandson. I am a Registered Nurse–looking for a part – time job right now–something, that I am able to do. I am a Lung Cancer survivor of 3 yrs now—Praise God! But mobility and breathing are tough . I am also very big now and it makes it even harder!
I lost my full time job in Spring 2008. I have been through and am still so very depressed …which, I pray will lift soon. I love to learn and study about/ and to sew. But, I am a huge procrastinator! I’ve yet to get started on any project after buying so many supplies and studying/reading for over a year now! This has been since I lost my job. I couldnt even afford the supplies I had purchased…

I sewed off and on my adult life(after work, week ends, etc)–and I am not an expert or anything near that ! lol I am a beginner wanting to dramatically improve !I think I am afraid to get started! Gee!

Anyway, I HAVE to complete a project that I have put off for a year now. The kids in my friend’s family and my own grandson are waiting for “SuperHero Capes” from me!I have to have one done by the week-end!

Questions and things I need help with soon:

1.My friend bought the fabrics for some of the capes. I had plain cotton here. She bought “Costume Silk Fabric” from Joanne’s for 1 cape , Satin Baroque (? A polyester satin) also from Joannes for another , and, “Crepe Back Satin” for another.

The sales associate told me on the phone that the “costume” type would snag and pull as I sewed it (my thoughts and fear too) –but the other types of satin were a better grade, but yet were a “polyester-type” satin. She said I would need to use a fine needle… but she didn’t know types,etc.

So, my questions are:

1, Does anyone know the size needle and the type of thread I need to use for seams for this project?9Or a web site that list such–which I think experience better too!)

2. I plan to use Joanne’s “Crushed Velveteen” to make “bias binding” to cover the edges. What type/size needle and what thread type would I use for this binding?

3. How could I use my Brother PE700 embroidery machine ( That I have never used!) to “embroidery” spider webs on one side of one cape..? What type stabilizer. I have the PED software.

4. Any tips or ideas on Serger use for seams on this type silk???

Thanks so very much.

Edited 11/12/2009 9:09 pm ET by lovetosew66


  1. stillsuesew | | #1

    I would try a Microtex sharp 70 or 80 on both fabrics. I cannot imagine using crushed velvet for bias binding.

  2. cafms | | #2

    Use some scraps of each of the fabrics after you've cut it out to try different needles, stitch length, threads, and other techniques.  You will get a feel for how much it might snag and just how it will sew out.  If the one will snag when you sew it, it will probably be worse when the children use it.  Does the crushed velvet stretch?  If so, you may not want to use the bias but just strips cut on the cross grain.  

  3. Tycho | | #3

    Kathy, my view is that you have taken on an ambitious job for a first project. So I suggest that you simplify as much as possible. Then you will finish quickly and have a feeling of accomplishment to carry you on to your next success. First, I think the crushed velveteen would likely be too heavy for a binding and would drag down the edges of the capes. For kids' costumes, you might consider a narrow hem. Second, embroidery on lightweight satin weave fabric is very challenging and would get you deep into the diverse world of stabilizers. Have you considered painting on the spider webs with fabric paint? It would be fast and would not change the drape of the fabric much, as the embroidery might. And I'm sure the kids wouldn't care.
    Have fun with your project!

  4. alotofstitches | | #4

    Kathy, You don't have a problem!  I've sewn all those fabrics with a 70/10 universal needle.  I would prewash all before sewing if you expect to have to launder after play as it will shrink.  Why not simply make a narrow hem around the sides and bottom?  You could bind the neck edge and make the neck ties at the same time.  The poly costume satin will blow in the wind as the boys run and launders great.  My granddaughters have had several costumes from that and it really holds up to play except it doesn't work with concrete!  The crepe backed satin is a heavier fabric and will not blow in the wind I don't think.

  5. User avater
    lovetosew66 | | #5

    Ty all so very much. I have the needle sizes that you recommended now and I also bought fabric paint for the webs! So... we will see!
    Again, thank you,

    1. sewelegant | | #6

      I don't have answers to all your questions, but your tale of being a procrastinator hit home!  Since I am retired and can devote as much time as I want to my sewing and crafts I seem to flit from one project to another and never spend enough time on one thing to get it all done at once.  However, I usually do finish the things I deem to be important.  It makes me feel good to just accomplish one thing... maybe sewing all the seams I can before ironing them and then closing shop and waiting until the next day (or just later) to do the pressing.  It reminds me of the days when Nancy Zieman had a series on sewing in small increments, I didn't do it then, but now I can see the value in it.  I may not have the extensive wardrobe I should have (with all that stash) but it's nice to know I can still sew up any garment I want - if I want to - it just takes longer.

      Maybe it is the same psychology that tells us to think about losing just 5 pounds and celebrate that accomplishment instead of letting the big challenge doom us.

      Edited 11/13/2009 9:18 pm by sewelegant

      1. sewluving | | #7

        sewelegant, you took the words right out of my mouth.  The retirement thing and procrastination.  (course I procrastinated prior to my forced retirement due to illness......but) Procrastination is such a 'bad' word.  LOL .........and my stash still keeps growing even with retirement.  LOL

        Heather in Calgary

      2. Lady Willoughby | | #8

        I, too, am retired and can identify with procrastination.  29 years ago I decided that I would make insulated Roman shades for our bedroom, complete with magnetic strips on the edges to make it cling to the window frames because our windows leaked air so badly that when the wind blew, the light curtains that were on the windows when we moved in would blow.  We live in Wisconsin and it was October so it was important that I get this project done.  I assembled all the materials and could not seem to get started.

        After a couple of months of procrastination and dread, I read or heard something addressing this issue:  people sometimes procrastinate because they fear that what they want to do will not turn out perfectly.  It didn't take me long to figure out that this was my problem.  I am not a perfectionist in all things, but when it comes to my sewing, I am.  Armed with the truth, I tackled the shades.  Never mind that I had made things harder by designing a bottom edge that echoed the curves on our French Provincial bedroom set.  I just plowed on and, much to my surprise, they turned out very well.  Husband installed them and they did their job for at least 24 years even though we had the windows replaced the next year.  I loved those shades and I loved gaining some insight into why I sometimes procrastinate when starting a new sewing project.

        Hope this helps someone.


  6. decoratrice | | #9

    Well, I am a procrastinator, too, and have figured out that there is usually only one thing scaring me, whatever the project, and if I can identify that one thing, the project becomes doable.  It's a lesson I have to learn again and again, though.  Depression is another matter--I have it in spades, but have been pretty stable since the Prozac-type drugs came out 20 years ago.  It's an illness, not a weakness, and it's AOK to get help for it.  Helps with the procrastination, too, as life in general becomes less scary.  Congratulations on getting back into sewing, you'll find lots of encouragement here.  Best of luck!

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More