Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sewing Curved Pockets.

I have been sewing the dress  Burda 7808 which I sewed in January this year. I was very impressed with the comfort of this dress during really horrible hot days and wanted to have another one as one dress like this is not enough for our Australian summers ( although why I am sewing it now when the hot weather is a long way off I really do not know ! )

 I am sewing the version with a collar, contrast front inset and adding the pockets. The pockets are curved with some slight gathering at the top. The instructions say to fold over the seam allowance of the pocket and baste. This is not so easy when the pocket is curved. Years ago I read this so simple tip to help with sewing curved edges. I have simply sewn a large gathering stitch around the edges of the pocket within the seam allowance. The threads are pulled gently gathering the pockets. The gathers are then adjusted to form a nice curved pocket. When you are happy , pin in place and then give the pocket a good iron. So easy and simple. I do wish the pattern companies would add in these extra little steps to help us sew better .
Cheers Janine.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cheesecake and Slippery Fabrics. - a sewing experiment.

How are cheesecakes and slippery fabric related ? I suppose you might want to eat some cheesecake after the nightmare of cutting and sewing that contortionist fabric . The real answer though is gelantine. My next project is for a semi-formal dress for my middle DD using the fabric above.
It is a very sheer and quite slippery georgette - off white with very large black feather motifs. It is the last of my ebay purchases from September 2010 - positively an infantile piece of fabric in my stash!
It was not quite what I was expecting - I don`t remember the site saying it was sheer and the size of the feathers was not mentioned but I was happy with this fabric as I have nothing else like it in my stash. Last year ( but it only feels like a couple of months ago ) I read in Belinda`s Sew-4-Fun a link for a tip to control slippery fabric. This tip was discussed in Patternreview`s forum and also is found in Lena Merrin`s blog who is the originator of this idea  ( and she said she was happy for this tip to be shared ) .

The tip is to make up a gelantine mixture and soak your fabric in this. THe end result is fabric that is easier to cut and sew. Use three teaspoons of gelantine and put this in a glass of cold water and leave for 30minutes. Then bring this mixture to the boil and then take off the stove ( do not boil the mixture ) . Add this gelantine mixture to three litres of cool water and then add your fabric. Leave for one hour and then drip dry your fabric. Iron and then you are ready to go.
It takes a bit of faith to put your precious fabric in gelantinous water so using a small scrap of chiffon I experimented. I used the above technique and soaked some fabric but cut off some chiffon and left this untreated. The resulting fabric still felt soft but pliable . It only smelt very faintly of gelantine - not at all unpleasant or overpowering.  I cut out three bias cut strips of chiffon  . The top strip is the gelantine treated chiffon and cut out with paper underneath ( another tip for cutting out slippery fabrics ). The middle strip is gelantine treated but cut out with no underlying paper and the last chiffon strip is untreated and cut out using paper. The top strip is definitely the best and the others are a bit wonky ( but the untreated fabric was definitely the hardest to deal with ).
I then practised some gathering, straight stitching and zigzags on the treated fabric and it sewed up nicely. Lastly I washed the gelantinous chiffon and it came up to its previously soft and silky condition. I can now march forth into my sewing room and tackle this fabric without trepidation ( until I get to the next step of ? underlining or ? lining it - lol ).
 Many thanks to the talented seamstresses who share their expert knowledge .

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Burda 7808- Bias Bound Armholes.

 I am making good progress on my Burda 7808 summer dress especially helped along by a holiday today - yay for Australia Day. I am making the sleeveless version which uses bias binding instead of those awkward facings other patterns use . I use the Kwik Sew method of applying bias binding which has an extra step which I think really makes this application  more professional  .

I used 4cm wide bias binding - ironed out flat and then folded in half right sides together  and then ironed again. The bias binding is placed right sides together on the armhole edge and sewn using a one cm seam.

This seam is then trimmed and the curves clipped.

This is the extra step which I thinks makes the extra difference . The bias binding is then understitched just like you would with a facing .
This is what the resulting understitched bias binding looks like. It is then folded under and stitched. The understitching allows the bias binding to be folded neatly and closely under the armhole edge. 

The bias binding is then stitched again from the inside  so on the inside of the garment there are two rows of stitching but only one row of stitching is visible on the outside and it looks very neat and RTW.

I wish the rest of my inner dress workings looked as nice as this but at least my bias bound armholes look good thankyou very much. Have a Happy Australia Day. Cheers Janine.

Monday, 14 November 2011

DIY Top Stitching Thread and a Sneak Peak.

Sewing time has been severely  restricted in my little sewing world leading to symptoms of withdrawal - buying fabric when one already has more than enough , thinking and dreaming sewing and sometimes getting a little crabby . I have however been sewing a skirt in small increments over the last couple of weeks and today being a `real` day off I have made quite a bit more progress.
Now about top stitching thread - I am aware that this stuff exists but either the shops I frequent do not sell it or I am doing a `man` look ( a thinly veiled reference to my husband who can not find things even if they are right under his nose ) . A few years ago a sewed a Kwik Sew jeans jacket and it had this great little easy tip for top stitching . You simply thread your machine with two spools of thread.
This provides a subtle but definite difference to the top stitching. It also means that there are more choices with the colours you can use.I have obviously used a very closely coloured matched thread which is more forgiving of any wonky stitches.
 I have been really enjoying sewing my skirt because the fabric is such a pretty summery peachy pink colour and a divine heavy weight vintage linen with all its slight variations in texture and colour.It is also very easy to sew . I hope to finish this soon because our weather is warming up now and I am looking forward to enjoying my new skirt. Until then, Cheers Janine.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Difficult to Sew Knit Fabric - and how I tamed the wild beast.

I am currently sewing Simplicity 2369 - a knit dress with a wrap front with tie and buckle details. I bought the fabric from Ebay using a store I have previously purchased from. I have been generally happy with these buys and hence why I have gone back for more. The fabric is a wild and loud royal blue, grey, black and white abstract knit and I really like the design .
However when I went to sew with this , it was the fabric from hell- stitch repellant material. I was trying to sew using a slight zig-zag stitch as I have done previously and has been recommended innumerable times. But the stitches would not take. I changed the ( new ) ballpoint needle to a ( new ) stretch needle and still no luck.I also used some tear away stabilizer but not all the stitches worked and when I tore away the stabilizer it really pulled at the stitches ( besides you really can not use this on all those seams ) . I ended up sewing the initial seams with 2-3 rows until enough stitches were staying. I then came to sew the pleats in the front wrap detail and it was just a mess and looked horrible. I had ( evil ) thoughts of chucking this project away but I was determined to succeed.
The internet really can be wonderful and I came across a simple tip from Threads and gave this a try. It worked and the previously stitch repellant fabric from hell became putty in my hands.

Set the sewing machine stitch length to 3 and stitch width to zero. As you sew the seams,  gently stretch the fabric and it worked - ALL the stitches took , no skipped stitches.

The above photo shows what the stitching looks like - zig-zaggy and springy. On the other side the stitches look more `normal`. When you stretch the fabric, the stitches  straighten up . Having stitches that can stretch and move with knit fabric is of course important to prevent broken stitches. So thankyou to  the sewist who wrote this article and thankyou to Threads for publishing this on the internet. You have saved this dress from the rubbish. Cheers Janine .

P.S - We saw the Australian movie Red Dog and we highly recommend it- lovely and quirky but gosh at the end I had to use all my willpower not to sob out loud. ( I am a sook though - I cried at Walt Disney`s A Little Mermaid when she married her handsome Prince Eric ! ) . I was surprised to see at the end credits it was based on a book written by Louis deBernieres  who also wrote Captain Corelli`s Mandolin and Birds Without Wings.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Nifty Dart Trick ( PHoto Heavy )

Just this week I learnt a really good little dart trick - I haven`t seen it elsewhere so I decided to show it here . Probably everyone else knows about this but you know the saying ` If it just helps one other person then it will be worthwhile. `.
I have always just left the threads at the narrow end part of the dart loose or before I knew better just  backstitched -gasp horror! I have seen a technique where you get a needle and insert the loose threads into the dart or just cut the threads really short. The technique I found is quicker than this . I wish I could lay claim to inventing this technique but I am strictly a follower not a leader. The below technique is from Singers The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing if my instructions and photos are as clear as mud. You can click on the photos to make them larger if this helps.

Photo 1 above shows the dart marked and starting to sew.

Photo 2 above shows the dart sewn - Continue until you just stitch off the edge of the fabric

PHoto 3 above  - Lift up the presser foot and pull the fabric towards you about one inch or 2 cms. This creates the length of thread above.

PHoto 4 - Set your stitch length at zero. Insert your material under the foot , lower your presser foot , insert your needle in the fabric inside the dart and stitch several times to secure the thread.

PHoto 5 above . Remove from your sewing machine and clip the threads close. As you can see the threads at the end are neat .

PHoto 6 - the outside of my ( unironed ) dart - see no puckers !

This is so quick. saves having loose threads inside and saves threading up your needle. I hope this is of some use.
Cheers Janine.