What I Do: Weight Substitutes

A few weeks ago, when I was attempting to cut out my Papercut Patterns’ Pleated Pants pattern (completed!), I was faced with tricky situation. I was cutting through the pattern, made out of a heavier, more durable paper, as well as  two layers of denim. The paper and fabric were too thick to pin accurately so I used some glasses to weigh them down.

20130619-122850.jpg

It worked quite well and I thought it looked quite pretty too! I’m currently making up another PatternRunway 1302 – the Easy Kimono Dress. I used the same ‘technique’ (could you call it that?) when cutting the fabric, even though I’m using a faille fabric this time. It’s just so much quicker than pinning!

20130619-122950.jpgHow do you work with heavier materials? Do you pin or weigh?

Advertisements

Finishing with a Serger

When I finished the seams on my merino cardi I simply used a three thread overlocking stitch. This was, admittedly, what the instructions suggested you do. But I thought I’d share how to finish my finishing.

20130531-083259.jpg

Unravel the tail of your overlocking threads, with a hand needle take the threads back into the seam bringing them out about a centimetre away. Cut the threads at/ close to your fabric. Stretch the fabric out to pull the threads back between the two layers of fabric. Finishing in a neat way was particularly important on the sash ties and hem of the cardigan.

how do you finish your finishing?

Ps – don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win some awesome vintage sewing patterns! Simply like my Facebook page! Easy!

20130531-085144.jpg

What I Do: Metric v Imperial Measurements

I realised the other day that I do something very odd. I use both inches and centimeters when sewing. I don’t used them interchangeably, they are each used for measuring different things, and only those things. I’m quite clear in my mind about when to use metric measurements and when to use the imperial system.

Background of tangled and entwined tapemeasures

Source

For example when I’m looking at the back of a pattern envelope for body or finished garment measurements I’ll only read the inches and I actually have no idea what my metric measurements are. However, if I’m adjusting a garment, mid- or post-construction I will always note this in centimeters. Also, I think of my height in feet and inches, but of the width of a bolt of fabric in meters and centimeters.

I’m not entirely sure why I do what I do. Perhaps, for me, it’s the most logical way. I guess it could have something to do with working with vintage patterns when I first started sewing, or perhaps because my mum talks in imperial measures so it’s easier to fall in line.

Do you work in metric, imperial measures or both?

What I Do: Practice My Buttonholes

I’d like to preface this post by saying that I’m no Pollyanna. I’ve only ever made one muslin before and it was so off putting that I still haven’t made the actual dress. However, button holes are one of the few things I do actually practice.

I find inserting fasteners (zippers, buttons, snaps, hooks and eyes etc) to be the most difficult part of completing any piece of sewing. They often require hand sewing and they always require accuracy and a lot of time. Before I start sewing button holes I always practice them on a scrap of the same material that I’m using for the actual garment. For example when I was making my Vintagey Blouse I practiced stitching the button holes many, many times.

20130401-084618.jpg

And lucky I did because the first fifteen were all awful. Do you practice before you sew?

Don’t forget: if you’re in Auckland in the weekend of 27-28 April were having a Sewing Meet Up. There’s already a great group of people interested in this inaugural event – are you? Let me know!

20130401-085509.jpg

Pattern Pyramid Winner & MORE

20130311-085210.jpg

Earlier this week I posted about the Pattern Pyramid I hosted. BUT THAT WAS ONLY HALF THE STORY – I received another, very thoughtful gift from Sew Biased, a copy of the original handbook that would have come with the Elna Grasshopper. Sew Biased noticed that I had previously blogged about My Grasshopper which was my grandmothers 1950s (or ’60s?) sewing machine. I used it for many years and even though I now have a computerised Janome my Grasshopper still keeps me company in my sewing room.

The manual has many pearls of wisdom…

20130317-220409.jpg
Turns out there are 17(!!!!!) place that you’re meant to oil

20130317-220942.jpg
And that I’ve been refilling the bobbin incorrectly all this time…awkward

20130317-220240.jpg
There’s also five whole pages on what to do when things go wrong. Very handy indeed.

Now on to the thing you’re actually wanting from this post … The winner of the Pattern Pyramid … AND THE WINNER IS Country Girl Couture – WELL DONE! Send me an email and I’ll send this package your way!

New Picture (2)

For now I’ll leave you with this slightly weird video of someone demonstrating the Grasshopper’s functions…

What I Do: Patterns

It occured to me the other day as I was reading The Slapdash Sewist that perhaps I am not normal.

As the love of sewing skipped a generation in my family I spend a huge amount of my sewing time guessing, experimenting, making it up and when all else fails reading the instructions or googling. However there is at least one piece of information about sewing that I distinctly remember coming from my mum: Don’t cut through the pattern, fold the sides under at the correct size and cut around that.

Like so:

20130125-110321.jpg

And when the pattern piece goes in, for example at the neckline, I cut through the pattern in wedges and fold them under:

20130124-092455.jpg

By comparison, from what I can remember, The Slapdash Sewist seemed to cut her pattern pieces twice. Once around the largest size on the pattern piece, and then a second time, under the pattern piece. I guess she must have her pins lined up right next to the correct sizing and hold the paper pattern up with one hand and cut with the other.

The way I do it is almost definately the way that my grandmother, the original owner of the Grasshopper, would have cut her patterns. And whilst I realise that I nolonger need to ration my patterns in a WWII kind of way, I quite like doing it the way I do.

So, how do you do it? I am strange!?

In Love with My New Serger/ Overlocker

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was given an overlocker or serger for my birthday! And before we get much further I’d like to ask if anyone knows the difference between the two? It seems that people in New Zealand talk about overlockers and the American blogs I’ve read talk about sergers. EHow tells me that they are pretty much the same except that sergers can do a few more stiches – is that true? For argument’s sake, I’ll refer to it as an overlocker in this post because I’m more comfortable with that term

So here is my birthday gift – a Baby Lock BL097

20121106-195050.jpg

This is IMMENSELY EXCITING for me because since taking up sewing again, in January this year, I have completed 15 items of clothes – 9 dresses, 4 skirts, and three tops (and have three more dresses and a cape waiting patiently to be finished *cough cough*). That is to say – this year I’ve been mad keen on sewing. And I set myself a wee goal, that if I was still sewing next January I would buy myself an overlocker. However, when the opportunity presented itself I couldn’t pass it up.

20121106-195732.jpg
So far I’ve only got white and black thread so bear with…

I’m not sure about the situation in other blogger’s homelands, but in New Zealand overlockers are hideously expensive, generally starting at $800, compared to sewing machines which can start at $200. So when this model came on sale and it coincided with my birthday, it was as though fate had it written in the stars. Mum and I went halve-sies and since then I’ve been overlocking like it’s going out of fashion.

20121106-200558.jpg

I took great joy in overlocking as I sewed my Lady in Red dress on Sunday; I’ve also overlocked the lining of my yellow Kate Middleton dress (above), yet another WIP; and I’ve overlocked this mystery item (below) which I’ll tell you about next time:

20121106-202214.jpg

There is an awful lot of chatter on the internet about how nervous-breakdown-inducing threading an overlocker is and I’m sure this chatter is only aided by scenes like this, which I am the first to say, look intimidating

20121106-211411.jpg

the inside of my overlocker

…and the fact that it comes with several tools – including this vaguely threatening looking pair of tweezers – doesn’t help

20121106-211416.jpg

And I may be new to this game, but patience goes a long way. I know, call me Sally the Sage. But truly, I’d never threaded an overlocker until this week and if I can do it then it must be dead simple. On the inside of this Baby Lock there is a colour coded guide of how to thread this machine

20121106-211028.jpg

If all else fails, follow the instructions…
– An old family saying