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.


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?

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


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.


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!


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:


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


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!?