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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

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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.

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.

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.



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.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

seriouslywtf posted:

I just wanted to post and say that you guys have inspired me to sign up for a local sewing class (I'm retarded and need someone to show it to me). I'm excited. :)

Thats a really good idea if you are interested in learning. Articles and tutorials can be great but nothing beats someone showing you.

My high school sewing teacher was vicious. She had one of those embroidery magnifying glasses and she would check out everything -- including our stay-stitching. She had no qualms about ripping out your work. She was crazy. Every time I see her (I live back in my hometown) she bitches that I didn't go to the Lesage School. I still want to, but I don't have the money, and Euros suck right now for conversion. If I ever find myself sitting on a years salary with nothing to do I am so there. My dream would be to either have my own successful shop or to spend my days stitching away in a workshop in Paris. God that would be great.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

I agree with both of you to an extent. If you're going to make a T-shirt from a pattern, an overlock machine would be ideal. If you don't have one, yes, it is possible, but you want to be very careful when finishing the seams because its going to cause problems. The neckline ribbing would be tricky too. I've done t-shirty type shirts and french seamed the side seams to keep it from fraying to poo poo, but it was crazy time consuming and it did have a 'made' look to it.

Now, the whole debate for me is that some really well made home-sewn looks like it was made, but in a good way. Detail stitching, etc can be really cute when done well. However, I agree that the first T-shirt will probably look a little rugged. Thats okay. Keep at it until you learn enough to make it look the way you like. Chances are it isn't going to look like an AA tee, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Also, I really like the yellow dress too, but I agree that the hem needs work. Did you machine or hand sew it? I'm not saying this to be bitchy at all, so I hope it doesn't offend, but it doesn't look pressed enough. On the side seams did you sew in the ditch when you did them?

I tend to use my overlock to do the bottom edge, then iron that inward and up, and hand-sew the hem.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

RedFish posted:


I am sure you didn't mean it that way, but ouch. We need to be cultivating bravery in this thread.


I understand where you and others might get the idea that she is trying to talk you out of doing projects, but I didn't get that vibe from her at all. Like the poster who asked about the $100 vest...I completely agree. Considering good material and stuff will run her about $50 she might be better off buying the vest she likes and then testing on cheaper material.

I would never encourage someone to not start sewing, but I would say that if you really like something intricate, and you aren't sure you could do it, it might be worth it to buy the item you like and then learn how to make it. I think Captain Schlork's response was honest, sewing is wonderful and fun, but if you expect immediate results you will probably be a little disappointed starting out.

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

In the best interest of everyone involved I think honesty will work best, and just as I wouldn't post a semi-beginner photoshop in GBS without expecting a certain level of criticism, nobody should post pictures in here if all they expect is compliments.

In the best interest of the thread I think we can let the whole hem comment thing die out now, because everyone involved has said their piece, and it would be really lovely to not have a thread at all over it. (Please?)

Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

I read a thread in Creative Convention about mixing textile medium and acrylic paint to do t-shirt stencils. I haven't tried it out yet, though.

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Lady googooGaGa
Nov 3, 2006

Are you freaking kidding me!?

Love it, how long did it take?

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