If you’ve ever tried to get more than a couple yards of trim onto a sewing project, then you know the hard part isn’t sewing straight, it’s keeping all that trim under control while sewing straight. At the workshop I normally put it on the chair behind me and run it over my shoulder. At home I have a stool, so I hauled out a few tools and made myself an impromptu spool holder….
Month: February 2011
Sometimes, you want to know if dye is going to bleed (or shift) in the wash. This is particularly good to know if you don’t plan to prewash your fabric. What? Missa, you blasphemous cheat! I know, we always want to prewash the bejizzies out of everything, but there are times when you don’t want to, either because you know it shouldn’t bleed but it’s red and you’re using it for bias on a white blouse or because you’re making something that you don’t want any possibility of pre-shrink stretch-out in (like a corset) or whatever, and you just want to know if it’s safe. Here’s a quick test.
Making bias tape is shockingly easy. Sure, it’s a little tedious, but it’s really easy. The question is, why would you make bias tape when the fabric store sells it? Maybe you want bias made out of something other than a poly-cotton blend. (Honestly, once you see real silk bias binding, there’s no going back.) Or maybe you found yourself in some sort of silly situation that requires 20 or more yards of bias tape, and payng 3.59$ for every 3 yards of the stuff just failed to look like a good idea. Whatever your reason, here’s how you do it….
So, if the flurry of short posts isn’t a dead giveaway, I’m having massive fits of ADD today. I went out into the garage (aka, sewing room) to make a corset for Tyler. I haven’t even pulled the fabric for it yet. I made a little smocky-poo for Piggy, picked beads for the green thing, walking in and out of the house 62 thousand million times, and knitted part of a scarf. You know those days?
I went through my stash of glass beads, looking for some that will work with the sort of bog-scum-green color I picked for the Eleventh Century schmata. From what I understand, I should be using less shiny glass beads, coral beads, seed pearls, and little gold flatty-bits. I don’t have gold flatty-bits, so I’m using gold trim. Beadlandia, however, is just full of opportunities for me…
Some people are really good at threading needles – thread, needle, stabby-thread-through-needle-eye, presto-change-o, needle threaded. Some people are maybe no so much and it goes more like, thread, needle, stabby, stabby, stabby, curse, stabby, CURSE, stabby, stabby, needle threaded. If that sounds familiar, great news! There’s a way to thread a needle without all the stabby-stabby business.
You know those mistakes you make over and over and over? One of my biggies is with hand-sewing. I’ll get everything laid out, with my fingers carefully positioned to start, and then realize that I’ve forgotten to thread the gosh-darned needle. I’m not even kidding! This has to be the most basic thing in the universe, and I’m completely resistant to learning it. That’s why I know how to thread a needle with one hand….
This is another of those “Duh!” tricks to speed up your sewing. I’ve been making silly little dolly chemises, and I keep running into areas where I need to sew 1/4″ by hand to close a band, or finish a sleeve vent. This happens in normal sewing, too, but you’re usually looking at 2″ or so. Normally, you have to grab a thread, thread a needle, knot the end of the thread, find someplace relatively hidden to lodge it, and then you get to actually start sewing. We can cut out at least two of those steps.
Sometimes, you need to sew a chemise and you don’t really want to spend a lot of time on it. Either you’re out of time, or the thought of sewing just one more chemise in your life inspires a sense of soul-crushing despair. Anyway, I’ve worked out a couple tricks over the years to get the stupid things sewn as quickly as possible, with a bare minimum of hand work, so that they still come out looking decent.
Warning: I’m about to go through a lot of things that are simply not best practices. (That’s why it’s called cheating.)
Here’s your 40 second visual rundown on just what an underarm gusset does in a simple smock/shift/chemise/shirt pattern. I have two very simple smocks here – one eleventh century style, a la Kohler, and the other more of a sixteenth century style, adapted from Arnold. There’s a drastic difference in the fit at the shoulder.