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Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


I have a question. I'm an okay sewer. I can make basic curtains, pajama pants, hippie style skirts, follow simple patterns, etc, I've made a couple of dresses before. My brother is getting married a year from now and his fiancee asked me to be a bridesmaid. Anyway, I'm considering making the dresses. There's only going to be two of them, mine and another. I've found a pattern that is simple and attractive, and I'm confident that I can pull it off. And if not, I have a couple of people I can go to for assistance.

What I'd like is fabric advice. The bride absolutely hates bridal satin. Her dress has none of it and she doesn't want her bridesmaids in it either. (This is one of the reasons why I agreed to make the dresses, because most moderately priced bridesmaids dresses are that duchesse satin.) It's an informal outdoor wedding, the groomsmen are all wearing brown suits, and her colors are brown and aqua. I would really like to make what is essentially a lightweight sundress that I can then wear over again. Something that is washable and doesn't wrinkle badly. However, it still needs to be fairly high quality as it's going to be a bridesmaid's dress. I was thinking about a poplin, are there any other suggestions? Also, I'm going to visit all my local fabric stores, but the vast majority of them are JoAnn's or Hancock. We have a couple of others that I know of but not many (St. Louis). Are there online retailers that anyone recommends that have swatches you can get before you place an order?

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Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


Thank you! I ordered some swatches and hopefully will be able to find something I like. And yeah, when I said that about not wrinkling, I was specifically talking about linen. I have a linen skirt and a couple of blouses, one of which I made, that are the bane of my ironing existance. And then I drive to work and I'm a mess again. But we'll see. Bridesmaids don't get to sit down much anyway, right?

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


This may have already been asked on here, I have read the entire thread but it's been awhile and search is disabled.

What kind of machine is everybody sewing on? I have an old machine that my aunt gave me. It's from the 60s/70s and weighs a TON. Recently I've been having a lot of problems with it, the foot pedal isn't working correctly, and it's generally just a pain in the rear end, especially as I do a lot of dragging it all over the place to other people's houses, etc. So I'm thinking of getting a new one. I'm not quite sure where to start. I haven't sewn on new machines, we've always had really old ones (I learned to sew when I was little on my mom's antique treadle Singer in the cabinet) so I don't know how the newer models compare to the older ones as far as quality goes.

What brands/models would you recommend? I only do very basic sewing, no quilting or embroidery, so I just want something that will do the basic stitches, buttonholes, etc. I know I want something that has easily interchangeable feet and is super simple to thread and wind bobbins, etc. Basically I'm looking for quality, durability, and simplicity. As in, when I lose the manual and don't sew anything for 2 years I'll still be able to sit back down and thread the drat thing without getting frustrated and yelling at it.

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


RichBomb posted:

Just take it in for service and get a new pedal. New machines are by and large cheap plastic mehness. I sewed the jeans on the last page with a machine from the 1970's that was never sewed on, and the stitches are fairly good and the motor is stronger than most things you'll find today. Fix up what you have or go garage sale hunting this weekend (a search for "sewing" on craigslist should yield you a lot of those) and find a 5 stitch machine. No need to pay for another new inadequate piece of junk in the world when there are plenty of excellent and cheaper finds to be had.

Thanks for the advice.

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


Somewhat off topic, but does anyone have any advice on finding a dressmaker? I have a dress idea, actually a wedding dress, but it's far beyond my skill level, especially since I can't find a pattern for exactly what I want. I know of one person that a friend had make a dress for her, but she works only by patterns and only using certain fabrics that she orders from a bridal supply store and I have the fabric I want to use all picked out.

I did a search for dressmakers/designers in my city (St. Louis, MO) and found a lot of tailoring/alteration shops, but didn't really see much in the way of people who could create a pattern or vastly alter a pattern and create a dress from scratch. If I start contacting alteration shops will I usually find people who are able to do this? My other idea was to contact a local sewing/fabric shop, but I'm concerned about getting someone who "thinks" they could do it and then have trouble executing it the way I want. Does anyone else have any recommendations or ideas?

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


I've been wanting to try a quilt, but don't have access to a quilting machine and don't really want to pay someone to do it for me, so that cathedral pane quilt has me intrigued. I think I'm going to give it a try, only problem is I'll have to do it by hand as I don't have a functioning regular sewing machine either (for the moment, anyway). Is this an unfinished project waiting to happen? When you guys quilt, how much do you do by hand? I'm not a super fast hand sewer, but I'm adequate. I also wanted to include batting in between the layers of fabric, good idea?

Also, I really like the idea of having every single square be different. Any suggestions for places to get really super cool remnants or charm packs? I looked through a lot of the ones at Fat Quarter Shop and really like some of the fabrics but I'm open to suggestions, especially for really good deals or vintage fabrics.

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


I think I'm going to give it a shot. I went through my future mother-in-law's scrap bag last night and found a few things. I think I'll send out a general request to everyone I know that sews asking for small pieces (just enough for one "pane") of colorful fabrics. I actually found a dinosaur print from the 80s that was leftover from a hawaiian style shirt my fiance used to wear when he was a little kid. It's pretty drat adorable.

Thanks for all the advice, I really like the cathedral pane style. I've seen them before but don't know anyone that's ever made one, but it seems perfect for a hand-sewing project. I'd really only be able to use a machine to sew the blocks together anyway. Each pane would have to be handsewn into the backing fabric whether I had a machine or not. And I've got people whose machines I could use for short amounts of time if I get really sick of sewing the blocks together.

Has anyone had any experience with making black the main color of a quilt or bedspread. I'd be using a cotton of course and I'd love to have the backing be black so the colors really pop, but I'm a bit concerned with it fading. I still want it to get that soft/worn quilt look (my favorite thing about quilts), but I also don't want it to end up looking gray and dingy. Also on the fabric question, I can get upholstery samples through work, and they'd be the perfect size for a quilt, but of course upholstery fabric is much heavier and less washable than regular fabric. This also got me to thinking about using fabrics with different fiber contents. Do I need to watch out for that or is it pretty much anything goes?

I'm also really excited about getting back into sewing. I lost my machine in a flood and so I've been knitting only for the last year or so and this seems like a perfect opportunity to start a fun new project. Blackwork embroidery is next, after I get more comfortable with long stretches of sewing by hand.

Nione fucked around with this message at 14:16 on Jul 29, 2009

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


I was hoping to get an opinion about a sewing machine I found on craigslist. It seems like a great deal, but I don't know much about the brand or the model. The woman selling it is going to get back to me with some more information, but if there's anyone who has experience with White sewing machines I'd appreciate any input.

Just so you have some more information, I don't do any heavy duty sewing. I make some skirts, dresses, pillows, etc. No leather or canvas or anything. I'm also trying to get started doing some quilting and want a machine that I can use just for piecing.

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/art/1803598481.html

Thanks!

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


handbags at dawn posted:

For $35 you can't go too far bad. Those old machines are great for the kind of sewing you want to do, especially piecing. A nice straight stitch is all you need for piecing and those machines do that excellently.

And I like the Alice things - I like the rabbit's outfit the best.

Awesome, thank you! I'm going to pick it up from her tomorrow morning. I'm very excited to have a machine again. Mine (an old 70s Necchi) was ruined in a flood and I keep forgetting and buying pieces of fabric that just lay around with no purpose. (Actually, that's completely untrue, I don't forget. I just can't NOT buy the absolutely gorgeous, on sale, last piece in the store hunk of fabric, even if I KNOW I will never ever ever have the time or patience to sit down and hand sew anything.)

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


Artemisia posted:

-Easy to take somewhere to be fixed or tuned up, if it's needed. I'm not against buying a vintage machine if that's the best option for me, but I don't want something that it's going to be hard to get fixed or find parts for.

Seriously, just look around a bit. I bought an old White sewing machine on Craigslist for less than $50. It's awesome. Mine's really old, so no zig-zag, but I've had it and used it for a year and have yet to have any issues with it. I'm actually considering taking it in to get it cleaned/oiled because I never did when I bought it. The machines that are mostly metal are not going to wear out/start doing funny things like the newer ones are. Plus, sewing machines are the kind of things that people keep for as long as they can, there's an entire industry of people dedicated to repairing/replacing parts for old sewing machines, you just have to find them. I used to have a 1960s Necchi that was great, it was a gift and was missing some parts. I found an entire website dedicated solely to old parts for Necchi sewing machines.

If you've got the money to throw down, find an old Pfaff. It'll still set you back a bit, but it'll last forever. A coworker has the Pfaff that belonged to her grandmother and it's ANCIENT. That thing will never ever die and there are a million stores that still service and sell Pfaff machines.

--------------------------

My question is if anyone has any good resources on hand beading. I'm considering making a hand beaded flapper dress and I'm slightly concerned that I'm biting off way more than I can handle. How hard is it to sew beads onto sheer chiffon? Are there any techniques to use so that each bead is secure, instead of one bead falling off, followed by 2,000 more? Also, if I wanted to do complicated designs (I'm thinking art deco peacock feathers on black chiffon), what's the best way for getting that all laid out and keeping it straight while you're working?

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


So, I'm going to be starting a flapper costume pretty soon and needed some advice. I can't seem to find a pattern for one (even though ALL of the major brands USED to have flapper dress patterns, now the only way to get them is to pay $20 on ebay or something!). I have sewn things without patterns before (mostly skirts and pillows), so I SHOULD be able to figure out a very simple sheath dress like I want. My question is on the neckline. I want either straight across with straps or v-neck. The straight across with straps would be easiest, because it's literally a tube from my neckline to my hips. However, I have wide hips, my shoulders and waist are my narrowest parts. I want the waistline to fall at my hips and then I'm doing a slightly wider/flared skirt covered in peacock feathers and beaded fringe. If I make the tube my boob width at the top and then flare out to my hip width at the bottom, is that going to look ridiculous? Should I try and add darts? The ideal situation would be to have it be large enough that it slips over my head without a zipper. Do I need to just buy some white muslin, give it a shot, and see what it looks like?

For my fabric, I was hoping to make the top part sheer or chiffon. (I'll wear a slip or something underneath) I've never sewn with sheer fabric before, do I need special needles or something? Also, when it comes to hemming the neckline/finishing seams, what do I need to know so it doesn't look like crap? (My seams are traditionally terrible unless something is lined!) Oh, and my sewing machine doesn't do zigzag stitch, will a straight stitch be okay for lightweight fabrics like that?

Finally, any good resources for either hand embroidery/beading or a place where you can have appliques made to your specification? I want peacock feathers embroidered/beaded around the neckline to go along with the feathers I'm using as fringe on the bottom of the dress.

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


Reverend Cheddar posted:

Ooookay bit of a tall order here. If you want it to slip over your head but not have a zipper and not be stretch, you can do it if you go for an a-line or trapeze line as long as its not super flared. My gut is telling me that with your proportions a 'normal' flapper dress is just gonna be odd. And just as a rule, unless you're as flat as Robin the Boy Wonder, you need darts. Us women are curvy.

For your finishes, since you want sheer/chiffon I will advise against facings and recommend a veeeery thin bias strip instead for those spots. I know they'll be a bitch to sew but the facings will definitely show otherwise. Use the smallest size needle possible. Straight seams will be okay, just be very careful. The one good thing about sheer fabric is that you have leeway to cheat a little on the seam finishes: sew on the selvedges about 2mm away from your seam, another one 2mm from that, then cut off the excess.

Appliqués though, I dunno. :(

Well, it seems like my boss both has a serger AND is willing to sew a zipper in for me. Is there a good place to go to figure out darts? I've never done them without a pattern. And yes, unfortunately I'm not built like a flapper, I have curves.

Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


Ok, so this is what I'm going for... http://www.bluevelvetvintage.com/20s-vintage-beaded-black-chiffon-and-lace-flapper-dress.html

Now, when I look at that I don't see any darts. It's got Bust: 36", Waist: 36", Hips: 40". I take that to mean it is very slightly a-line. If you were going to put in darts, would you do them under the arms? I think I could handle under arm darts if I draw it all out carefully like I'm doing a pattern, I was just hoping for a guideline like 'waist measurement = X, bust measurement = Y, do this to find out the amount your darts need to take in.'

I'm thinking now of just not doing any really detailed beading on the bodice and only doing a little around the neckline, using beaded trims. The sheer chiffon should stand up to a beaded trim on a ribbon backing, yes? The skirt I'm doing in beaded fringe and peacock feathers.

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Nione
Jun 3, 2006

Welcome to Trophy Island
Rub my tummy


Eponine posted:

Oooooh that's a good idea. Maybe a quilt with the tag of the wedding invite on the inside? I'm thinking of a smaller wall-hanging but I'm worried quilted wall-hangings are really 80's and no one ever had the heart to tell me.

Frankly, they're not at all my style, but I don't know your friends. If it were me, a basic quilt with colors I liked that I could use as a throw on the couch while watching TV or take to the park to sit on at a concert would be a much more useful gift.

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