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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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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.

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. :cry:

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

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.

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. :shobon:
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.

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!

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. :)

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.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Molly Bloom posted:

Anyone have a good source for cutting bias strips? I used to know how...
These instructions look pretty good, as they show you how to join them together, too. Have you got a bias tape maker? Those things are wooooooonderful, and so much easier than burning your fingers trying to do it yourself. I've also found they're really good for making thin spaghetti straps for little summer tops. *sigh*

I finished my yellow satin dress this morning before work. I just need to press the hem before I slip it on on Friday night. :)

Edit: VVV there will be many pics after I wear it tomorrow night. I was on my own this morning and I've got my office christmas party tonight so I won't be home until stupid late.

squirrellypoo fucked around with this message at 16:10 on Dec 13, 2007

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Fino Martini posted:

I have a white shawl collar pullover that I'd like to dye a different color.
You really need to know the fiber content before you can go any further, it's necessary for choosing the right dye.

Captain Schlork posted:

Knit fabrics require at the very least a good overlock/merrow/whateveryoucallit machine and a sewing machine with a neat stretch stitch option. Preferably a coverstitch machine as well and these guys cost a poo poo ton of money. You'll just gently caress up your shirt if you sew it up with ordinary stitches.
Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

Home sewing machines can handle knits perfectly fine if you:
  • Use a ballpoint needle
  • Use a narrow zig zag stitch (or a triple stretch stitch if your machine has one)
  • Don't stretch the fabric as you sew

There is absolutely no need for a beginning sewer to have to buy an expensive overlocker just to make a loving teeshirt, and that kind of attitude is just going to turn them off sewing altogether rather than get into the joys of making clothing that fits and looks good. Hell, one of my first projects was resizing a teeshirt, and god knows if I'd read your post I'd probably not even tried.

And for the requests to see my yellow dress, here it is from friday night's party. I'll get up more photos on my site tomorrow. I'm too cold to do anything more now.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


ElanoreMcMantis posted:

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?
Your comments here are not offensive - they're constructive. Simply saying something sucks, without offering any advice or help, is really bitchy and has no place in this thread.

It probably isn't pressed enough - I used a press cloth but I think it probably should've been a bit thicker to cushion the 3 layers of fabric in the hem vs the one layer in the rest of the dress. I did the hem by hand and the stitching is faultless there (for once! God I hate hems, like a finaly, annoying hurdle between the real sewing and me wearing it!) - there's zero thread showing through on the right side, I only took up the tiniest amount from the back of the fabric. Because it was such a short hem, I actually took care with this one. I didn't stitch in the ditch at the side seams (I always do that for facings, but I never though to do it with hems, thanks!), but I did knot off my hem stitches whenever I got to a seam allowance, which was quite often on this one since it's the front panel, two side panels, and two back panels.

ElanoreMcMantis posted:

I tend to use my overlock to do the bottom edge, then iron that inward and up, and hand-sew the hem.
I pressed in about a quarter inch, straight stitched that, then hand-hemmed the folded edge in. I think it might just be that the thickness inside is a bit difficult to press right, though I'm open to suggestions on how to press with a cloth properly. Really, I'm not too fussed after seeing at least 40-50 hems in the V&A Golden Age of Couture exhibit that looked way more obvious than my yellow dress. And sewing and pressing isn't my life - I have a full time job, I'm training for a 10k, I live in a building site with no heating (it's 30F in my sewing room - my tailor's shears are so cold it hurts to touch them), and I have a varied social calendar. So putting things into perspective, I really don't mind if my hem is a bit wonky to wear for one night of partying.

Gonktastic posted:

How difficult would a lined vest be to make? I tried on this gorgeous bartendery type vest at Bebe and can't ever imagine paying $100 for something like that.
BurdaStyle's free Franzi vest pattern is pretty straightforward. Print it out, sew it up using an old bedsheet and see if you like the fit (if I'd do it again, I'd personally make it a little bit longer). If you don't like it, nothing lost. If you do, it only takes less than a yard of fabric and lining, so you'll still come out ahead. Though frankly, if you think sewing is only about saving money, you've missed the point entirely.

Gonktastic posted:

Now it costs as much, if not more, than plenty of things you can get in the store. It's a fun hobby for me, but when I want a gorgeous pencil skirt, I'll pick one up and pay for it.
Whereas I'll make one, as I know it'll fit me perfectly, come in the exact fabric I want, I can hide pockets for specific objects all over, and it'll last ten times longer than one I bought. And every single time I wear it, I'll feel good and remember about the time I made it. And for me, that's a thousand times better than just going and buying one.

Gonktastic posted:

Now for the burning questions: Why doesn't the collar for my dad's shirt sit right? everything seemed smooth and well fitting when i pinned it, but after sewing the collar on completely, it's bunched in one or two places. Tommy Bahama I am not!
When you say "bunched" do you just mean that in a few places you got a weird tuck in the stitching? I'm afraid that happens to the best of us. You can try just seam ripping the stitches around the tucks and smoothing it out and just resewing those places, but you may have to rip it out entirely and try again. It might be helpful to use your machine's basting stitches the first time through, then going back and sewing it regularly.

Or if that's not what you're talking about, could you post a photo of the affected area please?

Fino Martini posted:

Alright the materials of the pullover are 78% cotton, 22% polyester (exclusive of trim?)
I'm afraid the only dyes I'm familiar with are Dylon, and I'd be wary of using any hot water dyes on cotton for fear of shrinkage. Dylon's cold water dye says it works well on cotton but not as vivid on polyester, though... It might be worth asking the knitting people on craftster.org about this as they might have more experience in dying natural fibers.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


RichBomb posted:

Can anybody recommend fabric shops in NYC?
Metro Textiles always gets recommended really highly, though I haven't been there yet (someday!). I can't find an official site for them, but there's a good guide to NYC fabric shops here which lists their address and phone number.

Google Embryo posted:


Here's the pattern!
ooh, I love that! I'm always drawn to close-fitting cloche-esqe hats in stores but I can never quite get them to work with my hair.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


ooh I am so excited! I got an early christmas gift in the post today - my brother bought me a Lilypad circuit board, light sensor, and power supply! :) These are little sewable Arduino components that you can program to do lots of fun stuff based on the inputs. I already bought some conductive thread this summer but haven't got around to doing anything with it yet, so I'm rather excited to get a bunch of LEDs and start experimenting... :dance:

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Nerobro posted:

My mind just weird places with that, bad-touch-o-meter? Or a "that's the spot" register?
Especially since they have a vibrating board! Accelerometer + Vibe Board = DIY sex toy clothing? (or at least that's what my office came up with when I passed the link around!)

I just have the light sensor to play with, really, but it says it takes anywhere from 0-5v input (daylight is 5v, darkness is 0v and indoor light is 1-2v) so I could have a variety of LEDs come on depending on the level of input. Shame I won't get to play until after christmas as having LEDs as an accent instead of sequins might be cool and not *too* tacky. Hopefully. Maybe.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Strelnikov posted:

It's not knitted -- my school has a printer that will print your designs on fabric! I designed the repeat print, printed it out onto lightweight china silk, and just did a serged roll hem on the edge. Once classes start up again, I plan to have some more fabric printed up and maybe make a suit with some squids on it or something.
OMG that is so cool! Are you limited to printing on lightweight fabrics like china silk, or will the dyes work on anything?

I think Bountee must use something similar for their teeshirt designs - they're not transfers and they're not screenprints and they say they use a printer there, too...

Beebubbles posted:

I have a pair of Gingher scissors that are dying and I'd like to replace them.
Is it something that could be fixed by getting them professionally sharpened? Vintage Ginghers have an excellent reputation and it'd be a huge shame to ditch them.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


For anyone who's in the market for a sewing machine, Dress A Day wrote up a fantastic guide for choosing a machine today.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Cherry Hammer posted:

1) Knot the thread on the reverse side, pulling the needle through to the outside.
2) Slide the button onto the thread, into place.
3) Place a toothpick on top of the button holes.
4) Stitch over the toothpick, sewing the button on as normal.
5) ???
6) Remove toothpick.
7) Profit.
This is great, I'm terrible at explaining sewing techniques in words without photos or diagrams! I would just add:
6 1/2) Wrap your needle thread around the thread in the space between the button and your fabric to create a "stem" for the button

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Reformed Tomboy posted:

I was hoping somebody here may have some suggestions for me... I need to find a very specific patterned fabric and am having a hard time finding anything. I've looked online, and a few local shops, but have had no luck.
Is it one that you know is already made, or is it a "I wish I had fabric like X" situation? If it's the former, try to find out who the designer is and search by that, as a lot of fabric sites will credit the designer in their listings. If it's the latter, I'm not really sure - maybe look into computer printing (like the scarf earlier in the thread) or screenprinting/stamping your own?

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Vodafone UK are doing some great billboards right now. This one's my favourite, it always makes me giggle...



On the sewing front, I spent all weekend on my trouser suit: first I traced out all the pattern pieces for the jacket and trousers, then cut out all the pieces from the vintage Pendleton wool my grandmother gave me (she bought it from the mill in the 60s and then never did anything with it), and then yesterday I did allllll the interfacing. I want the under-lapels to be in navy satin so I have to wait for that to arrive before I can go much further, though.

I've got an interview with another big London newspaper this afternoon, who are actually getting me in a studio for a photo shoot tomorrow morning (with a hair and makeup person even! omg!), so I spent a good part of the weekend pressing all the clothes they want me to bring along. And then I had another girl come round on Saturday afternoon who wants to use our boat for a location for a fashion shoot next weekend. My god, it's been busy.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Goldaline posted:

Anyway. Some stuff from this semester:


Experiment in creating constructed surfaces with fabric.
omfg I love that. Perfect styling with the headband and 1950s vibe, too.

And I just now realised we have a DIY subform. thank you mods!

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Uff, I just blew 50 on bra and swimsuit making supplies at elingeria.de. I've never made either before, but I've been reading more and more about other sewers who make their own and I'm itching to give it a shot, especially since my temporary sewing room will be demolished and I'll only have very limited space for projects in the summer.

I got:
chocolate/turquiose bra kit (it has all the bits you need to make one bra and two pants, minus the underwires, which you buy separately)
Elan 350 bra pattern (since it's reviewed highly in a Threads article and it's similar to Victoria Secret bra I used to like)
Some swimsuit fabric that was black with a stripe and butterfly but must've sold out now because it's not listed anymore.
And various bits of elastic, lining, clasps, etc.

I'm quite excited since the January issue of Knipmode magazine features patterns for one bra, two pants, and a camisole so even if I don't like the Elan pattern I've still got one to fall back on.

Anyone here ever attempt lingerie or swimwear before? Any tips?

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


DeliciousDarkness posted:

If you are doing a mockup/muslin, make it in the same fabric as your final garment
hmm, that might be tricky, as I only bought a 150x105cm offcut of the swimwear fabric. :/

quote:

If you don't have a serger (preferred), use a medium-size zigzag with a ballpoint or spandex needle. Stretch the fabric a bit when you sew, not too much though. Let the machine pull it while you hold it a little taut.
I don't have a serger but I've sewn tons of knits in the past so I'm quite comfortable with my machine. Though once my much-delayed bonus comes through, I've promised myself to actually take the plunge and buy a serger. Not that I really need one, but at this point I'm looking for challenges and it seems the next logical step.

quote:

If I were you I'd do the bottoms first before I get into an underwire bra. When cutting, don't cut double - just cut one piece at a time - it's very easy for the spandex to get out of whack. Thread trace the grainline, or cut next to the selvedge and line up the pattern piece with a c-thru ruler. Lay the pattern piece down and trace carefully with tailor's chalk, making very sure not to stretch it, then cut out, for more accuracy. Actually, try making a triangle top beforehand too.
Ahh, these are really good tips, thanks! I wouldn't have thought to cut in a single layer, but since there's a non-repeating print on my fabric, it'd probably be best to do a single-layer layout anyway. And I'm planning on using my rotary cutter to avoid slippage as much as I can...

Edit: boscokitty - I just noticed your username. We have a 6 month old cat. His name is Bosco. :)

squirrellypoo fucked around with this message at 10:38 on Jan 10, 2008

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


All this cross stitch talk made me remember my one and only project. I made this this summer, mostly in the back of cars, using stuff from my mom's 30 year old stash of materials, floss, and pattern books. Now I just need to take it to the store to get a mat and frame. :)



(we live on a boat)

And in other news, the collar of my suit jacket is pissing me off. Or rather, the under collar. I pinned it a couple ways but it's not laying quite right so I've let it sit overnight to think about what it's done. In the meantime I'm dismantling some 2 Ikea pillowcases to turn into placemats and a remote control caddy. Exciting stuff.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


weeeee I'm a centrefold star today!!



Full text here

And I'm in the Metro tomorrow, though I don't know if that's with photo, or just the interview. The Daily Express one was fun, though, because it was a studio shoot with full hair and makeup people (I lost my false eyelashes virginity). They even taught me the stereotypical "Daily Mail" pose so I can emulate the page 3 models, hahah

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Ozma posted:

I'd love to learn more about repurposing clothes. I've got a small stash of weird clothes I'd never wear but bought because I thought I might do something with them but never HAVE done something with them...
You should take a few photos of the weirdos and post them in here. We might be able to make suggestions or give you ideas. I think it's easier to hack apart something you're never wearing currently anyway because you've really lost nothing if it all goes tits up. If it was some beloved heirloom I'd feel a lot more nervous about chopping and changing.

Also, I'm in this morning's Metro newspaper, too. I think the media are coordinating efforts, even I'm getting a bit sick of seeing me...

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


seriouslywtf posted:

Thanks! I even put in a zipper on the bottom, which I'm pretty proud of.
poo poo! That's pretty hardcore for a beginning sewing class, well done! I was going to ask if it was an envelope flap-style or just sealed up, but I didn't think you'd be doing a zipper so soon! :)

The pillow looks great, and it sounds like they got you super excited to go out and try other things, which is exactly what you need starting out. I'd suggest picking up a simple A-linke skirt pattern (something like this maybe?) for your next project if you fancy it (and since you're such a whizz with ye olde zippers!).

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


dear god, I finally finished the tuxedo-inspired jacket I've been working on for the better part of January. I made it using vintage Pendleton wool suiting my grandmother bought from the mill in the 1960s, but it was the bitchingly complicated pattern with next-to-zero instructions that was the real challenge. I absolutely love Burda WOF, but I'd forgotten how crap their instructions are when you actually need to refer to them.

Thank god the matching trousers should pretty straightforward - I bought some sew-in boning at the weekend to stabilise the big waistband/belt thing, though. I love high waisted trousers and skirts, but I hate the way they wrinkle the first time you sit down!

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


For any aspiring sewing newbies out there, A Dress A Day has got a great Guide to Learning To Sew up today, with lots of good advice and tips on how to begin.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


papermastermind posted:

I was wondering if anyone could recommend some sewing books, more specifically on tailoring/fitting clothes. I posted a while back about having nightmare/back shoulders (10 inch chest/waist difference) that cause nothing to fit from mid-back and below. I'll probably run to my local library and just see what they have, but if anyone's got some specific recommendatons I wouldn't mind dropping a few dollars into learning :)
I've heard a TON of good things about Fit For Real People, but the only reason I haven't picked it up is because I'm pretty much bang-on standard figure (I guess I'm not a Real Person. :( ). One book I do have, though, and is absolutely excellent is Making Your Clothes Fit by Patricia Burkhart Smith. It's from the 70s and really out of print, but it's absolutely fabulous - it's filled with drawings of wrinkles in garments in various places, and what kind of fitting problem those wrinkles mean, and exactly how to change your pattern to fix said problems. I got mine cheap from a library clearance sale who didn't know what it was worth. I'd say it's definitely worth the $35 that abebooks seller is charging (though not $75!!) and if pages are missing from that copy, I'll scan the missing ones for you to fill it in. I think FFRP is probably better for you since it deals with big alterations, though, and the 70s book is more about small tweaks and getting the fit absolutely perfect.

vas0line posted:

Basically, the idea is to take a pair of pants and hem them about calf length, like capris, but slightly higher. Is this a fairly easy task for a novice like myself to undertake, or should I take them to the tailoring shop down the street? How much would a tailoring shop typically charge for such a menial task?
That's really straightforward (and you can practice on a thrift store pair first if you're really nervous. Put them on, cut about two inches lower than you want the hem to be, then fold a half inch in to the inside, then fold in 1.5 inches again (so you have a clean edge inside). Sew with a straight stitch if it's a woven fabric, or with a narrow zigzag stitch (or double needle) if they're stretchy. Start with wovens first, they're much easier to deal with.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Immortal So Far, I looooove that first skirt and the evening gown in particular! I can just imagine how the back pleats on that skirt would move as you walk.... mmm.

I've been busy tracing out TONS of patterns from some borrowed Patrones magazines but in amoungst all that I managed to complete my tuxedo-inspired suit I was making from my grandmother's vintage Pendleton wool. And now that I've finished that, I've started on a fantastic Jean Paul Gaultier pencil skirt from the latest Patrones that I'm doing up in black wool crepe with two scooped panels in black satin.

Oh, and I made a cape for a little kid this weekend, but I won't get to give it to him until next week. :) I'm glad I remembered about a little thing called choking hazards before I did the fastener and went with a velcro tab in the end!

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Hey, I'd actually wear the last jacket! :)

Goldaline posted:

One semester down, one to go! I'm making twelve t-shirts out of shower curtains and old t-shirts right now.
Nice! I made a dress out of a shower curtain last summer (the cloth-type shower curtain, not the plastic kind) and it's been featured in like 12 international newspapers and magazines so far, without any kind of work on my end. Things made from shower curtains are a hot item and make reporters drool for some reason.

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


boscokitty, that quilt top is amazing! I haven't got anywhere near enough patience for that kind of thing - I can barely stand to hand stitch a hem before I get bored...

[url=http://www.fehrtrade.com/gallery/90/mutton-dressed-up-glam[/url]I made two quick and easy tops over the weekend, and photographed them coincidentally as my work outfits for the past two days[/url]. I wore the purple and grey one yesterday, and I'm wearing the brown top and my red cords today.

Oh, and boscokitty, at the bottom of that page you can see my Bosco kitty, since he was getting in the way of the photoshoot. He's a big black furball. :)

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Buddleia posted:

My first silk project will be Vogue 8392:http://www.voguepatterns.com/item/V8392.htm?tab=very_easy_vogue_sportswear&page=2

The middle view, of course. Who on earth would wear the other two views? Anyway, I've made it once already out of a cotton blend I picked up at an estate sale years ago, and it turned out really nicely and was very easy. So, the pattern is easy and I've done a dry run that went well. Also, it's dupioni silk, so much more manageable, as far as I can tell.
Ooh that'll be really nice in dupioni (which is waaaaaaaay easier to work with than charmeuse, btw). But yeah the other views - wtf?

Dupioni ("raw silk") is really easy to work with. The edges fray a bit more, but otherwise it's not terribly different from working with plain cotton - it presses well, isn't slippery, and generally handles well. Just don't expect it to drape! You don't have to do all the special silk things with it, but if you want to use it as practice for the charmeuse, go right ahead.

quote:

If that goes well, I have another project in mind, and that's where it gets a bit scarier. I have some beautiful charmeuse with butterflies all over it. After looking at what feels like every pattern available, I settled on one I had back from when I worked at the fabric store, so mid-1990s. But it's very simple, no collars, no gathers, no zippers or buttons. It's not tailored, either. So that's a good start, I guess.

I read up on sewing with silk - so, French seams, size 9 sharp needle, silk pins, check, check, check.
Instead of silk pins, you might be better off using weights and a rotary cutter because that stuff just loves to slide everywhere as you're trying to cut it out. But yeah, a really sharp needle is a must or you'll get pulled threads on every stitch (ask me how I know, ugh).

quote:

What about bias tape? This top has no facings; the neck edge is supposed to be finished with bias tape. I wouldn't think your standard broadcloth bias would work so well with silk charmeuse. But there doesn't seem to be a source out there for silk bias tape. Please tell me I don't have to make my own. What do I use?
Omg, get yourself a bias tape maker. Coincidentally enough, I just got back from a holiday where I had a long ferry & train ride on either end, and I spent most of that time hand sewing binding onto the seam allowances or a silk charmeuse blouse I made months ago (which I didn't french seam. stupid. stupid. stupid.). Making bias tape with the maker really isn't that big of a deal, it really speeds up the process. You feed the bias strip in one end (I use some tape on the strip at the very beginning to get it started) and the maker folds it the right way and you have the iron in the other hand and press it as it comes out. For my blouse, I bound it with some lining fabric since I didn't have enough of the charmeuse left over. Any lightweight fabric in a similar colour will be fine if it's going to be folded into the inside. But you really need to conceal every raw edge in charmeuse or it'll fray EVERYWHERE, as I learned the hard way! But don't buy the premade stuff, that'd just be gross, especially on such an otherwise nice top.

But it hasn't turned me off it, not at all. I just bought some GORGEOUS printed charmeuse when I was on holiday, even better as it was 10 euros a metre (marked down from 42!) and I got the very last of it, which was exactly as much as I needed for a blouse I had in mind. :)

Edit: well-timed, SewStylish just posted a bunch of tips for sewing with silk and I learned a few in there, too!

squirrellypoo fucked around with this message at 13:01 on Feb 28, 2008

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


I hacked two Ikea pillowcases into four placemats (with cutlery pockets) and coasters last weekend. I've been meaning to do it for ages but hadn't quite gotten around to it.

Otherwise, I'm currently midway through making BurdaStyle's JJ blouse, but the instructions for it are so loving bad, I'm willing to bet money that they were never proofread before being uploaded. Simple stuff, like saying to sew Ruffle II like this and then do Ruffle II in the same way. Or saying "left side" when you meant to say "wrong side" because you've confused right/left with right/wrong. It's so bad I actually got out a pencil and started correcting it, teacher-style until I got fed up and just threw them aside. It's weird, I've done a bunch of their patterns before and found the directions to be quite good, so I don't know what happened on this one...

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Buddleia, this "Fear Not The Fabric" post was written just for you!

I just finished up two shirts and made a 30 second muslin of the next blouse I'm going to make in some silk charmeuse. Want to do a sew along on our respective patterns?

squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


Janelle posted:

What's the point of the 2 parallel rows? Are you pulling on both rows to make the gather, or just one?
Pull on both lines to make the gathers, then sew your seam between the lines. After it's all attached, remove the gathering stitches with a seam ripper. You want to have two rows of gathering stitches so they don't shift and become uneven when you go to sew them permanently. Believe me, your gathers will look much, much nicer if you do two rows, and it usually don't take much more time.

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squirrellypoo
Feb 8, 2003


seriouslywtf, I love it! And who cares about raw edges if that's the look you're going for? Especially here, when you'd get a chunk of the print missing if you did that. I applaud your ability to cut right in and go. :)

Today's my birthday and for the last few years I've been making myself something nice to wear on the day. Since I had a four day weekend right before it, I made myself jeans and a fun little bolero. I'm wearing them right now, but with better shoes. :)

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