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squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


It seems a lot of us are sewing these days, but there's no place for us to post our creations or ask questions or get advice without clogging up the Girls Shopping thread. So I've started this as a starting point for any kind of sewing or DIY clothing questions. I'm sure I've missed out on large swatches of information and questions, so I'll add to this list as the thread goes on.

I've been sewing for about 5 years now - I got given my sister-in-law's old machine and taught myself with a few basic patterns and asked the internet for help. This year I was featured in the New York Times during fashion week, and I had my first catwalk show in September. And this is just my hobby! I'd say a good 50% of my wardrobe was made by myself, which means I can get a better fit in the exact style I want, and it's infinitely more satisfying that going shopping. And this way it frees up more cash to blow on shoes.

RESOURCES
  • Craftster - huge forum that covers all the crafts, including sewing
  • BurdaStyle - the newest edition to the Burda sewing empire with free downloadable patterns and a community spirit
  • Pattern Review - searchable database of patterns and the resulting creations and a forum for more advanced techniques
  • SewStylish magazine - made by Threads but with a younger, more DIY focus to sewing. Each quarterly issue accompanies one Simplicity Pattern (sold separately) and tells you all the ways to pimp it out
  • Burda World of Fashion magazine - A monthly magazine with 50-60 clothing patterns included in each issue. Very very fashion forward, but with very sparse instructions and no seam allowances so not for beginners
  • Threads magazine - The ultimate advanced sewing magazine, which covers couture and professional techniques but has the tendency to be for an older audience

EQUIPMENT
  • Sewing machine - you can sew without one, but you're going to be moving rather slowly. The old vintage machines were built like tanks, for women who sewed every day, not like the cheap plastic ones brought out for curtains every few years like they are now. Resist the urge to buy a gizmo machine with a thousand stitches - you really only need straight, zigzag, and buttonholes. Advice for beginners buying a machine
  • iron - You absolutely MUST use an iron as you sew, pressing every sem as you go along. Pressing is not optional.
  • Overlocker/serger - These aren't necessary, but they do make sewing stretchy fabrics a lot easier and make your garments look more professional inside. Have a look inside the shirt you're wearing - see how the edges are coverd in a big chain of threads? That's the work of a serger.
  • Toolkit: hand needles, thread, scissors (to be ONLY used for fabric), seam ripper, assorted machine needles, chalk, assorted sewing machine feet, pins, pin cushion

PATTERNS
  • Major Pattern Companies - Simplicity & New Look, Vogue, McCall's, Butterick, Burda
  • Tips for following a dress pattern
  • How to resize a pattern - very useful if your chosen pattern is slightly too big or slightly too small for you
  • Good beginner patterns - Look for ones labeled "easy" and have a minimum of pieces. Stay away from stretchy or slippery fabrics to begin with, so try a pair of pajama bottoms in cotton or flannels, or an A-line skirt in cotton or twill as your first projects to build confidence.
  • Do NOT buy patterns based on the size you wear in stores. You absolutely must measure yourself and buy a pattern based on your measurements. Yes, it will be a higher number than the size in RTW clothes, but no one's ever going to see that number anyway!

FABRIC

90% of the fabrics at your local JoAnn's and Hancock's are cheap, synthetic crap. Buy for you muslins if you want, but low quality fabric will make your garment look cheap, no matter how good your techniques. Listed below are some stores stocking high quality fabrics (note: some of these also sell cheap crap in addition to the nice stuff). The names of fabrics can be confusing at first so compare names against a list of fabric descriptions to help you out.


HAND SEWING
  • Illustrated hand stitches - Shows you how to do the basic hand stitches. The hem, running, and backstitches will be the most commonly used - if you haven't got a sewing machine you should backstitch everywhere instead for the most strength.
  • Sew on a button - if you take your button-less shirt to a dry cleaners again, I"m going to slap you. It takes under two minutes to fix.
  • Darn a sock - Toes poking through? Here's how to sew it closed without getting a big lumpy line

TECHNIQUES

TUTORIALS / FREEBIES

KNITTING

See Google Embryo's post further down!

squirrellypoo fucked around with this message at 10:28 on Dec 5, 2007

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dopaMEAN
Dec 4, 2004


Thanks for making this! I just got into sewing this month, though I bought my supplies a few months ago. I've been hanging around craftster to try to get an idea of how to do things.

What is the best way to get a tailored look in clothes? I love the way well fitting clothes work, but I have football player shoulders, so button down shirts tend to drape and make me look huge. Do you just increase the dart around the waist?

As soon as I go buy my zipper, I'll be finishing up my first wearable thing, a zip up hoodie. I messed up a little, but it's coming along pretty nicely. I'll post pictures when it's done.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


dopaMEAN posted:

What is the best way to get a tailored look in clothes? I love the way well fitting clothes work, but I have football player shoulders, so button down shirts tend to drape and make me look huge. Do you just increase the dart around the waist?
Do you mean that you want to make purchased clothing more closely fitted, or that you want to created tailored styles?

For the former, if you want to make something more fitting, like say, a big XL teeshirt into a girls skinny fit one, the easiest way is to get a similar shirt that fits you rather well, and turn that inside out and lay it on top of the fatass shirt (also inside out) and trace around the little one with pins and sew it up. Depending on the hugeness of your starting shirt, you may also want to cut off the sleeves at the shoulders and make those narrower and/or shorter to match.

If you're trying to make a button-down shirt be more fitted at the waist, you could try increasing the darts (ie: make the width of the dart triangle wider at the base) but that might give you a weird shape so I'd definitely say to pin or baste these before you sew them up just to be sure. And when doing alterations like this, always make sure you're taking away an equal amount for all the darts or sideseams so you don't go all lopsided.

If you want to create your own tailored clothes from scratch, look for patterns that mimic your RTW (ready to wear) clothes that already flatter you - do they have princess seams? Peplums? Waist seams? Dropped hem? Collars? Start trying on your clothes in front of a mirror and see if there's any running theme with what looks best on you - everybody's different! For example I know tons of women look great in princess seams, but they look pretty awful on me 80% of the time so I generally stay away from them.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

dopaMEAN posted:

What is the best way to get a tailored look in clothes? I love the way well fitting clothes work, but I have football player shoulders, so button down shirts tend to drape and make me look huge. Do you just increase the dart around the waist?

If you mean that you want it to look as though it were made for you, yes darts and proper fitting of the pattern will assist in achieving that look. Can you tell me your measurement from shoulder to shoulder, bust, and waist? Depending on those measurements a different type of dart may work better. Does it just drape around you like a pillow-case shape, or does it fit in the bust but not the waist or vice versa? You want to make the areas that aren't fitting fit correctly, but if you take in the waist and the bust isn't fitted you will end up with a hollow bubble around your underarm/bust.

Edit: Seconding always basting before actually sewing when altering

On tailoring: People often end up diappointed when when they make their own clothes because they don't look the same as store bought. Understand that mass market produced clothing varies from high-end designer clothing varies from clothes you would buy from a small shop tailor.

Mass market is made in huge masses to follow trends as quickly as possible, with a low production budget, and many times it is not made as well as it could or should be. Your clothes won't look like this because A) You're just starting out! B) You're probably not using industrial machines C)Real high-end stuff looks way better (and quite different than many people expect) than mass market anyway.

A lot of contemporary clothing (Philip Lim 3.1, Theory, The Row) is made in factories, but in smaller amounts, allowing for more time to be given to each piece. Things such as french seams, hand stitching, etc are seen. Your stuff can and will eventually be able to look like this if you take your time and learn to do each step properly.

High end designer gowns and such are sewn with a crazy amount of detail. Look up the Lesage school of embroidery. It can take 10 people 100 hours or more to make a custom gown. Keep these things in mind when you are frustrated/feeling like quitting. A $40,000 gown costs $40,000 for a reason (mostly, anywho).

Also the quality of material that you buy is pretty much one of the most important things you have to factor in. A well made shirt will still look cheap if it is made with bad fabric.

Another thing it is very, very important to do when sewing -- USE THE IRON. Some people refuse to use an iron and that can make a really nice shirt/dress look cheap and thrown together. Make sure you properly trim and press corners. Finish your seams, and in areas where the stitching is visible go slow to make sure your stitches are even. If you teach yourself from the beginning that every part must be perfect, visible or not, your stuff will have great quality and it will last.

I am going to post a bunch of little pictures in here when I get home from work. I plan on sewing from 8 - 10 tonight. (Yes, I actually have to schedule 'me' time. drat being an adult.)

Lady googooGaGa fucked around with this message at 16:40 on Dec 3, 2007

RedFish
Aug 6, 2006
..blue fish, one fish, two fish: blue fish need not apply.



I'm in a similar boat as the above poster; I have 'tailored' shirts that do not fit me properly. Who do they make those for, anyway? Recently I read that most 'tailored' shirts are made for a B cup, which makes no sense once you get up into the medium-large-xlarge sizes.

I have an old (but barely worn) shirt in this style and once I replace the pieces of my sewing kit, I'm going to try taking in the back darts, because that's where I always have the most excess volume.

Is it better to walk into my local craftstore and pick up the stuff I need, or is it cheaper to buy it online? Most of my local stores are very out of the way to get to by bus and horribly overpriced. And I mean overpriced in that giant-chain-store sort of way.

I think I have the pieces of a toolkit somewhere deep in my storage, but I'd rather just get new stuff as I'm not sure of the quality or shape the old bits are in.

I think my first step is to try and make a duct tape dress form of me as I don't have a ready assistant to help me with fittings.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


ElanoreMcMantis posted:

Another thing it is very, very important to do when sewing -- USE THE IRON. Some people refuse to use an iron and that can make a really nice shirt/dress look cheap and thrown together. Make sure you properly trim and press corners. Finish your seams, and in areas where the stitching is visible go slow to make sure your stitches are even. If you teach yourself from the beginning that every part must be perfect, visible or not, your stuff will have great quality and it will last.
I cannot believe I left this out of the first post. An iron is just as important as your sewing machine, if not moreso. And this is coming from someone who never, ever uses the iron for RTW clothes. My iron lives next to my sewing machine, not with my laundry stuff.

Also, I added some fabric shops to the first post to give alternatives to JoAnns and Hancocks. *shudder* Hit me with your favourites if I've left them out.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


RedFish posted:

Is it better to walk into my local craftstore and pick up the stuff I need, or is it cheaper to buy it online? Most of my local stores are very out of the way to get to by bus and horribly overpriced. And I mean overpriced in that giant-chain-store sort of way.
Notions and tools I'd say get at your local store if you want, but stay the hell away from the fabric unless it's some anomoly and they actually have a buyer with a clue at your branch.

RedFish posted:

I think my first step is to try and make a duct tape dress form of me as I don't have a ready assistant to help me with fittings.
There's really good DIY dress form instructions here. Lots of people swear by them though I was really disappointed in mine - it kept collapsing and getting punched in and it was so much of a struggle to get the pieces on and off of it that I gave up and put a real dress form on my birthday list and got one. That was perfect until I lost all the weight and now it's slightly too big for me even on the smallest setting.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

For anyone dressform hunting:

DO check your local JoAnns if you have one. I got an adjustable there that retailed for $239 for $37.00 + tax because it was on display/last left. Your mileage may vary, but asking the manager to call you when the display model is the only one left can't hurt to try.

squirrellypoo: I am so glad you started this thread! I love it already.

RichBomb
Nov 16, 2004
a strange and terrible saga

Are there any more guy oriented pattern shops? All the denim at these places is 10oz stretchy garbage Do you know of any places to source high end denim from? Thanks

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


RichBomb posted:

Are there any more guy oriented pattern shops?
Sewers have been lamenting the lack of men's patterns for ages, I'm afraid. Burda do a menswear line and there's also KwikSew's mens stuff, but the other pattern companies tend to do only a token pattern or two more men, which is a shame. It might also be worth your while to look through the costume patterns to see if there's anything in there you could modify to suit your needs.

quote:

All the denim at these places is 10oz stretchy garbage Do you know of any places to source high end denim from? Thanks
If you're really particular about your denim, definitely go for somewhere that'll let you order swatches, like Fashion Fabrics Club's denim list so you can find out if it's what you want without having to spend a ton of money first. I also found this thread on Pattern Review that might help you find heavier weight denim.

squirrellypoo fucked around with this message at 17:50 on Dec 3, 2007

dopaMEAN
Dec 4, 2004


ElanoreMcMantis posted:

If you mean that you want it to look as though it were made for you, yes darts and proper fitting of the pattern will assist in achieving that look. Can you tell me your measurement from shoulder to shoulder, bust, and waist? Depending on those measurements a different type of dart may work better. Does it just drape around you like a pillow-case shape, or does it fit in the bust but not the waist or vice versa? You want to make the areas that aren't fitting fit correctly, but if you take in the waist and the bust isn't fitted you will end up with a hollow bubble around your underarm/bust.

My measurements are embarrassing, so they've been edited out!

Most things that I think fit well in the waist and bust do not fit my shoulders. This is especially true for jackets, I can hardly ever find ones that fit right. I just got a peacoat from old navy, and I could probably wear it as a maternity coat when the time comes.

I had to get a shirt for an interview, and to get it to fit my shoulders and bust, it was hanging square from my bust and there was too much fabric in my arms and around my hips. It made me look really old and frumpy.

Even though I'm fat, I'd like my shirts to have a more modern cut.

Oh, and what is basting exactly? I keep thinking it's stitching it, but that doesn't make sense. I might try my hand at pinning my sweater together to get a nice fit on it.

dopaMEAN fucked around with this message at 21:18 on Dec 3, 2007

vaginadeathgrip
Jun 18, 2003

all them bitches can't handle my sassy ass mouth

Oh yay, a sewing thread

My machine just crapped out on me. I don't really have the money to get it looked at. The upper thread won't pull through at all, I guess I might need to try messing with the tension. My parents bought me the machine from Costco last Christmas despite my request for picking one out myself. I think the next one I get will be older and built to last.

I've been sewing less than a year, but I've made some things I am pretty drat proud of which I will post at a later date. I also have a serger, which is a glorious piece of equipment to own. I loathe raw seams.

DonkeyChips
Sep 11, 2001

by Lowtax


I'd like to see a Goon sew up a nice pair of selvage denim jeans.

DonkeyChips fucked around with this message at 20:56 on Dec 3, 2007

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

dopaMEAN posted:

My measurements are embarrassing, but here you go:
. I might try my hand at pinning my sweater together to get a nice fit on it.

If you want to edit them out I saw them so now I have a better idea of what you mean.

It will be much easier for you to buy larger and learn to size down the waist of things. Alternatively, you could modify your own patterns, but for now you want to practice. Get a regular button down shirt, cheapie version. Get it so it fits in the shoulders and then place a few darts using just pins to see what makes it right.

Basting refers to stitching together loosely. I do this at four stitches per inch. They are easy to rip out, dont poke too many holes, and then once you've basted, tried/checked to make sure the fit is correct, you sew at a regular stitch width and then pull the loose stitches out. This is for when you are doing collars and sleeves and you dont want to be trying something on with 100 pins poking at you. You can do it by hand, but machine is much easier...you should have a setting for stitch length.

http://www.sewing.org/enthusiast/html/el_darts.html

The above link explains the basics of sewing a dart, but I was taught a few neat tricks that I'll do a tutorial with later on. I'm hoping to get to it tonight, but I just had to leave work and go to the dentist to have my retainer adjusted and now my whole work load is going to be shifted around. By the weekend at the latest.

Strelnikov
Jul 24, 2004
I want to compose and decompose.

Thank you for making this thread :o
I am a huge sewing dork, and in fashion school, so after finals are over I'll probably be posting here all the time

I don't do a lot of internet shopping, but my favorite shops in Chicago are Vogue Fabrics (both the Evanston and the downtown locations, and they also have a website at myvoguefabrics.com) and Discount Textile Warehouse. I do like JoAnn's probably more than I should -- normally everything's pretty crappy and overpriced, but I went to their after-Christmas sale and with careful combining of coupons ended up getting about $400 worth of fabric and notions for my senior project for just a little over $150.

Also, thirding the importance of the iron. And you don't want some crappy $5 lightweight thing -- if you're doing serious sewing you want the heaviest, hottest, most dangerous behemoth of an iron you can find. My iron is the one my grandmother bought in the 1960s. It uses so much power that it dims my lights on its hottest setting, and it can burn through its entire water supply in half an hour if you really need to steam the hell out of something. It's the next best thing, I think, to the industrial irons we have at school. Then again, I just like old sewing tools in general; my sewing machine is from 1925 and only has forward straight stitch, but it's really cute and built like a tank.

RedFish
Aug 6, 2006
..blue fish, one fish, two fish: blue fish need not apply.

squirrellypoo posted:

Notions and tools I'd say get at your local store if you want, but stay the hell away from the fabric unless it's some anomoly and they actually have a buyer with a clue at your branch.
There's really good DIY dress form instructions here. Lots of people swear by them though I was really disappointed in mine - it kept collapsing and getting punched in and it was so much of a struggle to get the pieces on and off of it that I gave up and put a real dress form on my birthday list and got one. That was perfect until I lost all the weight and now it's slightly too big for me even on the smallest setting.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting to my local store will be a giant pain in the rear end, and is there anywhere cheap online that I can scrounge for the pieces of my toolkit?

I stumbled across that DIY dress form guide previously, I think I'm going to try out the paper tape version, since it seems to harden into shape. Thank you for starting this thread, and thanks to the experts who have come out of the woodwork!

Elanore, thanks for the advice. I measured my shoulders again, and it looks like they're even wider than I imagined

Gonktastic
Jan 18, 2007



I keep going back and forth on the Hawaiian shirt I'm making for my dad's Christmas present. Sometimes it looks like it'll fit perfectly, others I worry I hosed it up big time.

Basically, the store only had the pattern in XL. Instead of being patient and ordering it online, I bought it and tried to scale the pattern down. My dad has big shoulders, a broad chest and a small waist. 30 years in the Navy does you good! So, I think the pattern was very hard to scale down. I think the chest is going to be too small, and barring having him put it on a couple days before xmas, I have no way to properly fit it. So for a guy with (I'm pretty sure) a 42" chest and like a 36" waist, how is this going to fit? This is everything pinned, only the shoulder seams have been finished:



I know I didn't cut the neckhole right, so here is a closer and more confusing view of how I've got it pinned. Will it be okay to just cut it bigger, staystich it again, and put the collar on? Or will it mess up all the proportions for the shoulders?


I want it to be perfect. Hope you guys can offer some advice.

Bonus pic of my old machine!
What does all the symbols mean?!?! My reverse button has broken in half, and I don't know what the two knobs on either side of stich width do.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


DonkeyChips posted:

I'd like to see a Goon sew up a nice pair of selvage denim jeans.
It'd be near impossible (or at the very least prohibitively expensive) to get the raw selvedge denim to sew into jeans, seeing as how it's woven for that particular size and shape off the loom. It's not like you can get a big sheet of it and cut it up into all the parts or anything.

But I did make jeans last year.

RedFish posted:

I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting to my local store will be a giant pain in the rear end, and is there anywhere cheap online that I can scrounge for the pieces of my toolkit?
This "essential sewing kit" from Nancy's Notions looks like a decent deal, especially if you grab a pattern or two and some zippers along with it to save on shipping (I'd throw away whatever thread is in there though as it's likely going to be crap).

Gonktastic posted:

My dad has big shoulders, a broad chest and a small waist. 30 years in the Navy does you good! So, I think the pattern was very hard to scale down.
Wait a minute - my dad was in the Navy for 20 years and has an enormous beer belly! If you listen to him he'll tell you it's the Navy that got him drinking in the first place! (sorry I don't have any experience with your alteration - I've had to do materity alterations on my dad's stuff, though. I made him a santa costume last Christmas since he looks so santa-y anyway).

Gonktastic posted:

What does all the symbols mean?!?! My reverse button has broken in half, and I don't know what the two knobs on either side of stich width do.
Can you link to a bigger photo so I can zoom in?

Last night our power went off again so seeing as how my entertainment options were limited, I traced off the pattern pieces for Burda WOF 11/07 #105 for my Christmas party dress (4 pieces, but I'm making a facing instead of a lining, so it'll be more like 6). And then this morning before work I cut out the fabric, and I'm rather chuffed because I had just barely enough gold duchesse satin leftover from my boyfriend's velvet pirate coat lining to make this dress. I still have to cut out the facings from the scraps, though, but I think I'll have enough with only tiny pieces to spare, which is the way I like it. It annoys me when I'm left with something like .75 metres, which seems too big to throw away, but too small to actually do anything with.

Liface
Jun 17, 2001

by T. Finn


DonkeyChips posted:

I'd like to see a Goon sew up a nice pair of selvage denim jeans.

I believe nationalism was trying this, he might have even bought fabric already.

Moms Stuffing
Jun 2, 2005

the little green one

Can we talk about knitting and crocheting too? It's still DIY and you can make all kinds of crap with yarn and I love both even though I'm too lazy to make anything bigger than lace scarves or hats.

spatula
Nov 6, 2004


Oh gently caress yeah, crochet all the way. Also, it will help this thread not die!

Here's a Hufflepuff (lol) scarf I made for my boyfriend a few months ago. Colors aren't quite right (the real ones are yellow and black), but I think it looks better and less like a bumblebee. It also matches this Hufflepuff crest pin that he already had.


Right now I'm working on this hat for my mom. I'm using a varigated yarn, and the cables don't show up as well as I'd like among all the colors, but it's still nice. The recommended hook size is sort of big though, I probably would have gone down one size... the hat doesn't seem quite as snug as I would like it to be.

I tried to learn to knit, but that poo poo confuses the hell out of me. And I always screw up by dropping a stitch or something and I don't know how to fix it... ahhhh I'll never be a knitter.

I'm going to try my hand at sewing when school ends for the semester, maybe a week from now.

Moms Stuffing
Jun 2, 2005

the little green one

Spatula! That hat! So gorgeous! I'm a novice crocheter, but crochet is so easy to pick up if you knit already. I'll have to post some of my past projects when I get home. Right now I have about 5 half finished things laying around because I seriously despise sewing up seams and weaving in ends.

Oh I found one I had lying around the internet. This is my winter scarf and the first thing I actually made for myself because I tend to make things for other people.



It's really simple to make, believe it or not. It's a basic fan and feather stitch, it just looks fancy.

Right now I'm working on this:


This one isn't mine, but isn't pretty? Lace is the most fun thing to knit ever!

Ok I'm going to copy squirrellypoo and post some knitting tutorials and great places to get patterns. I have more at home that I'll add, but here's some that I remember off the top of my head.

The Basics aka Learn to Knit!

http://www.knittinghelp.com/ - This is the most awesome site. You honestly don't even need any others until you start doing some fancier stuff and even then she has most of that stuff covered. Simple instructions with videos that actually work!

Patterns Galore!

http://www.knitty.com - Online knitting magazine, everyone's favorite because it's not just old lady stuff!

http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/ - Tons of links to patterns!

http://www.lionbrand.com/content-knittingPatternIndex.html - You have to register to access these patterns, but they're still free.

http://knitting.about.com/ - The patterns here are more old lady, but there's a lot of help on here too. I personally love old lady patterns because I'm a bitter crone at heart so it doesn't bother me.

http://www.bevscountrycottage.com/baby.html#BABYsweaters - All kinds of baby poo poo. Some of it is really, really ugly. Knit and crochet patterns.

http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/completelist.htm - This is really cool! It's a bunch of antique knitting and crochet patterns. ALL THAT LACE

Knitting Communities

http://www.stitchnbitch.org/snb_groups.htm - List of knitting groups that meet IRL around the globe! There's also a fun series of books about knitting (and even one about crochet!) under the same name. P.S. we should start goon SnB meetings.

http://community.livejournal.com/punk_knitters/ - LJ knitting community, very inspiring because everyone always makes fun stuff and reminds me not to be a lazy rear end.

http://community.livejournal.com/20sknitters/ - Another fun LJ knitting community.

http://apps.facebook.com/stitchbook/ - A decent Facebook community, mostly links to knitty stuff it seems. It's not just about knit, there's a large database of crochet patterns too.

Like I said, I'll add more later!

Moms Stuffing fucked around with this message at 12:22 on Dec 5, 2007

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Google Embryo posted:

Can we talk about knitting and crocheting too? It's still DIY and you can make all kinds of crap with yarn and I love both even though I'm too lazy to make anything bigger than lace scarves or hats.
I'd say go for it as there seem to be a lot of people who do both (even though I personally don't give a poo poo about yarn) but if it gets to be a bit too string-happy we might need to split the thread.

Tobasko
May 15, 2006


Sweet, I'm looking into getting into sewing over Christmas break, I've only hand-sewn a bag and some pillows before, and I've never touched a sewing machine before so this thread should come in drat helpful.

Moms Stuffing
Jun 2, 2005

the little green one

squirrellypoo posted:

I'd say go for it as there seem to be a lot of people who do both (even though I personally don't give a poo poo about yarn) but if it gets to be a bit too string-happy we might need to split the thread.

Cool! I actually do want to learn to sew too and have been meaning to. I even have a sewing machine somewhere. Pants never fit me right because of my ham hocks so it would be nice to be able to make some that fit.

EDIT: Holy crap squirrellypoo you have made some loving adorable clothes!!!

Moms Stuffing fucked around with this message at 19:31 on Dec 4, 2007

Gonktastic
Jan 18, 2007





There's the zoomed in image. Not only are those symbols alien to me, I can't figure out how you would choose one anyway. While I'm asking, the top left switch doesn't seem to make a difference, am I missing something important?

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Gonktastic posted:

There's the zoomed in image. Not only are those symbols alien to me, I can't figure out how you would choose one anyway. While I'm asking, the top left switch doesn't seem to make a difference, am I missing something important?
ok, from left to right all the bits look to me like: upper thread tension (the black/blue/red knob), then the top left slider looks like a stitch selector, the slider next to it looks like needle placement (in the middle or to the left or right of middle) and then the stitch selector, with the half-broken reverse knob down below.

The weird symbols to me look like it's a key/legend for decorative stitches, but I don't see a way to choose them, either - is there any compartment on the top of the machine (or anywhere else) that might take a rounded cartridge or disc? That's the only thing I can think of, as I remember seeing my friend's vintage Toyota machine that changed stitches by placing various plastic discs into a compartment (she got a full set off eBay). It was the weirdest machine I ever saw, but it's the only thing I can think of. #20 is a nice invisible hem stitch though.

I don't know if you've figured this out, but it looks like you have to use a few levers in tandem to get zigzag - have that upper left dial at the far left position, and then increase the stitch width to get progressively wider zigzags. Or if you shift that lever to the far right with stitch width zero, you'll get a triple stretch stitch, with a weird zigzaggy version of it if you increase the stitch width.

Without any markings, I'm afraid I can't tell you what the two little mystery knobs on either side of the stitch width selector do... Though I'm not seeing a stitch length selector anywhere (which there definitely should be)?

Really, just get some scrap fabric and start pressing dials and see what they do. And if you can find a make and model # anywhere on it, definitely google it and see if you can get a manual somewhere.

And Google Embryo - aww, shucks. thanks!

Gonktastic
Jan 18, 2007



Yeah, I've figured out how to get zig-zag stitch... however, you have to manually hold the stitch width knob. Absolutely stupid. So you're holding the knob with one hand trying to keep it steady on one size, you're trying to hold the fabric flat and straight with the left hand, and have to pause to pull out pins, and hope that your stitch doesn't change size every 2 inches.

So, here's to hoping I get a new machine for Christmas!!

I'll be showing off a Hawaiian shirt soon.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

Okay I took three quick photos:

My machines:



My closet (excuse the insanity but I am low on space and I still have a crapton of walmart bins that I have no room to unload).



For all I love my designer stuff, I have this attraction to really hideous things. I love 'ugly' clothes.

The shoes below were a pair of 7 dollar walmart shoes that I am in the process of revamping. I'm really into shoes as of late, but since I can't make my own heels for them I just buy inexpensive ones and then remake them. The houndstooth on these is gold and black (pictures are tough to take in my studio, I have really low light because bright light gives me headaches), and the feathers are white and gold. They aren't stitched on yet, but they are about to be, and then I am going to add some beadwork just because. Now I realize these are pretty oddball, but if anyone wants to know how I do/did it, I will bring another lamp up here when I do the left shoe and take photos as I work.



squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


ElanoreMcMantis posted:

Now I realize these are pretty oddball, but if anyone wants to know how I do/did it, I will bring another lamp up here when I do the left shoe and take photos as I work.
I'd be really interested to see how you're doing it - are you recovering old shoes with new fabric or are you chopping off everything above the sole and rebuilding them? In either case I'd be interested in what you use to affix and/or stiffen them...

Shoes and hats kinda baffle me, but I'm going to start off simple with a little fascinator to match that yellow dress I'm working on I think. I need to buy some cheap hair things from the pound shop to cannibalise the clips out of first, though.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


FYI, BurdaStyle's latest free pattern is a pair of skinny jeans. The pattern I use for all my jeans and trousers is from an old issue of Burda WOF magazine and these look really similar in the crotch curve. If you're just starting to seew, you really don't want to attempt these, though, as you'll probably end up hating sewing, your machine, your denim, and life in general. Save these until after you've had a few projects under your belt.

Klams Jam
Sep 8, 2007


How easy would it for me to take in a winter coat my self? I got it last winter, and over the past year I've lost about a stone and a half, and dropped a dress size. I love my coat but it now looks like a sack on me.

Could I just take some darts in at the waist and back, or is there more too it?

Madama Butterfly
Apr 6, 2005

All who dare to cross her course are swallowed by her fearsome force!


ElanoreMcMantis posted:

The shoes below were a pair of 7 dollar walmart shoes that I am in the process of revamping. I'm really into shoes as of late, but since I can't make my own heels for them I just buy inexpensive ones and then remake them. The houndstooth on these is gold and black (pictures are tough to take in my studio, I have really low light because bright light gives me headaches), and the feathers are white and gold. They aren't stitched on yet, but they are about to be, and then I am going to add some beadwork just because. Now I realize these are pretty oddball, but if anyone wants to know how I do/did it, I will bring another lamp up here when I do the left shoe and take photos as I work.

Please do!

I've been saving a couple of pairs of shoes that the dog chewed on and that I can't bear to throw out.

This might be a cool way to salvage them.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

I actually got to spend the whole day so far working without having 100 things to do. I started a skirt I've been wanting to do, but I had to take a break because I am short a zipper. I was trying to do a funky bow thing but it isn't working at all, and I've frustrated the poo poo out of myself.


The following should be practiced with cheaper material than you plan on using for the regular shoes so you don't ruin your good materials.


The shoes: I haven't done the left one because I got pulled away from finishing the right one last night -- BUT: I'll explain do it so if anyone is in a tinkering mood they can play around.

If the shoe has a hollow heel (you can tell by tapping it on a hard surface), I usually cover the original shoe. I once ripped a pair of hollow heels to the bare parts, but I couldn't reattach the sole right. Generally with platforms/thick chunky heels you have some surface area.

Covering a shoe:

I use a combination of regular puff paint and cement compound (not rubber cement, but often found in the same section of the store). I mix the two, 1.5 parts puff paint to 1 part cement. It stinks to high hell, so make sure you're in a ventilated area. The puff paint should be as close in color as possible to the material you are using, because if you accidentally use too much, it won't stain your material.

Cut your material FIRST. Lay the shoe on its side and trace. Do it with both sides of both shoes -- make sure to do each shoe, it won't work to make one pattern.

This makes it a little bigger than it should be. Then trace the front toe of the shoe. Cut the front toe tracing out (you'll have to eyeball or measure the opening where your foot goes to get it right), and lay it over the side tracing. If you're eyeing it, youll be able to tell how tape the pieces together to make it wrap up so it fits the shoe like a little coat. There will (or should be) overlap. Hold the paper over the shoe and tape it to be sure it fits. Once you have that pattern, cut out your material.

Fold the excess material over the top of the shoe, then pull it off and fold it back so it is a perfect fit. Press it very carefully. Carefully stitch the top edge over the fold (machine or hand, but make the stitches even), trim the excess, then press it again. Now stitch the back of the shoe-jacket together, and you will have a little shoe coat.

Do the same folding/press/trim/stitch/trim with the lower part of the shoe. At this point, all you need to do is fasten it.

Do the following carefully:

Stuff the about-to-be-covered shoe with newspaper as tightly as you can. You don't want it to bend.

Take the puff paint mixture and coat the original shoe with a thin layer. Let it dry until when you poke it your finger sticks a little.

Pull the newspaper out of the shoe and on the edge of a surface, bend the shoe pressing the toe against the edge (like it would bend while walking). Be sure it isn't cracking, if it is, you used too much cement. Pull the cracked pieces away and do your best to wipe away what you can and remake your mixture. This doesn't always work, so make sure to check while everything is drying to get it off right away if it cracks.

Add another thin layer, and while it is still wet take the material covering, and starting at the bottom back of the shoe pull the material up and over the shoe. You may have to stretch it a bit. Smooth the material from the center sides toward the back and center side to front. Don't smooth toward the middle. Don't press too hard or it might soak through.

Let this dry for 20 minutes, then using an edge, bend them a bit. I do this every 20 minutes for the first hour, and then every few hours till dry (I advise 24 hours, but I cheat and wear them out after 6 or so, so I'm not one to talk).


You more than likely will gently caress it up the first time. I've done about 30 pairs and I still regularly gently caress up from time to time. It's very much a learning process. Thicker material works best, but vinyl can be really tricky. Thin material can work but I usually line it with something.

You can cut up the paper pattern and sew a bunch of material together to get really funky projects. Make sure you give yourself a seam allowance. Also it can be fun to get chiffon or another light sheer and bunch it up and just stick it to the shoe. Once you get used to making the pattern you can make some really neat combos.

What happens if they get wet?

If you use delicate material, they might end up ruined. I haven't had it happen, but I keep ballet flats in my car for when it rains or similar if I'm worried. Otherwise, they will just dry. I have heard different methods of coating them, but none of my bought shoes are coated, so I'm not going to bug around with it. I haven't tried it with leather yet, but I really want to when I have enough to buy a few hides. I'm sure I'll boffer it up.


If you want to make boots from regular pumps you do the same sort of thing, but you have to modify the pattern a bunch, and then reinforce it by layering some denim underneath.

I know I suck for photo updates, but I promise I will do my best next time I am off from work at least for the pattern part. If anyone wants to test it out in the meanwhile and take pics go for it!

I hope this explains it well, but if you have any questions I'll be happy to clarify.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


I've posted a tutorial on How to Make A Fascinator up on BurdaStyle. It actually doesn't require any sewing as you can do it all with a glue gun, and you get a nice bit of fluff to wear on your head in the end...

I'm still waiting on the invisible zipper I ordered online to appear before I can finish my yellow satin dress, so I'm making christmas crap instead today. Right now: a tree skirt out of some ivory curtain remnants and some red bias binding that's older than I am.

Strelnikov
Jul 24, 2004
I want to compose and decompose.

Those shoes are awesome, I love the feathers! I'll have to try this with some of the truly hideous shoes in the back of my closet sometime.

I wish I had good stuff to post, but I've been working on my senior project line for the past six months and I've come to hate everything about the designs and my target market. So here are some old things --


It's finals week and I'm not the only one who's stressed.


A sweater I designed and knit last spring for a class. I dyed the green yarn myself too, in kind of an emergency process where the yarn I ordered on the internet was totally the wrong color of green, so I boiled it in a pot of every color of kool-aid until it stopped hurting my eyes.


I knit a fox scarf. Its mouth opens and closes with a spring clip.


And just for fun, here's the skirt and corset I made for my halloween costume. I was Typhoid Mary.

papermastermind
May 25, 2005

I make for a salty appetizer!

Guys can sew, too!

I've dropped around 40 pounds in the past 3-4 months and have reached around my ideal weight, so I'm ready to get into actually having a wardrobe of clothes. Thing is, now that I actually care about what I wear and I'm not a fatty, buying shirts is a nightmare. My shoulders are huge and my chest is around 45 inches, while my waist comes down to about 34. So if I wear a large shirt, it'll fit my shoulders/chest, but drape down and look terrible below. Mediums fit great at the waist, but suction onto my chest. It's very hard to find a fitting shirt, since most store-bought stuff is straight cut. Even tapered, most shirts are still too big. It's that extra "baggage" that hangs around my back that is my downfall.

I've been attempting to tailor my owns shirts for a few months now, and I haven't had a whole lot of success. I generally just sew down the side seam. Thing is, if I get it to form to my body (not be skin tight, but not have it be all loose and baggy around), it's ALWAYS too tight in the chest and the front in general (on a button up shirt, when I sit, the buttons get all scrunched up). I've discovered it's because, in sewing down the side seam, material is take from both the front and back of the shirt. I only need to take it from the back.

Are darts the solution? Aren't they meant for women's shirts? I've always wondered how darts work, anyway, because doesn't having that random seam down the back of your shirt look kinda bad? I honestly don't know, though, because I can't say that I've ever actually seen a dart (or maybe I have).

If darts are the solution, I was thinking that I should just re-do the side seam to get a general fit everywhere, then make the darts to accentuate my back > waist.

Any advice would be great

papermastermind fucked around with this message at 04:46 on Dec 9, 2007

PK
Apr 30, 2004

EXFOLIATE! EXFOLIATE! EXFOLIATE!


Klams Jam posted:

How easy would it for me to take in a winter coat my self? I got it last winter, and over the past year I've lost about a stone and a half, and dropped a dress size. I love my coat but it now looks like a sack on me.

Could I just take some darts in at the waist and back, or is there more too it?

Are there already darts in it? You may not want to take in too much more through the darts if there are. Maybe you could take some out through the side seam?

thoran
Aug 28, 2007


I'd love to make my own t's would it be possible to take a well fitting model such as AA tees and remove the stitching and make a pattern from that and make copies?

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Strelnikov
Jul 24, 2004
I want to compose and decompose.

papermastermind posted:

shirts and darts

I have seen darts on men's shirts, but mostly on the really trendy ones that are meant to be more fitted than usual. If the stitching line bothers you then only do it on fabrics that will hide it well, not on something like a stripe that will show off the dart intake. Definitely redo the side seam before you add darts, though -- darts will create volume in the front of the chest which is great for women's clothes, but I imagine not so much for you. You may need to make a small dart, but most of the fabric should still come out of the side seam.


thoran posted:

I'd love to make my own t's would it be possible to take a well fitting model such as AA tees and remove the stitching and make a pattern from that and make copies?

For something like a t-shirt with very little shaping, you don't even need to remove the seams. Just lay it out completely flat and trace the outline on a piece of paper, drop the neckline a couple inches for the front, and then lay it out again so the sleeve piece is flat and trace that.

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