Monday, May 18, 2009

I wish I did it better

...that's invisible zippers...they just don't come that easily to me. I know how to put them in but the order of insertion is contrary to what I know effortlessly when putting in the other types of zippers.

I did put one into the linen dress, I'm presently working on. It is amazing to me that I can add a silk organza underlining, change a design feature or add elaborate embellishments but stumble when it comes to invisible zippers. It is the reason that "The Dreaming of Spring" dress remains unfinished. I can see the friggin' invisible zipper in the back of the dress, have the zipper on hand but have been paralyzed at the thought of putting it into the dress.

However, now that I've inserted this one (with some assistance from my DD), I believe I can finally finish up the DOS dress ~ which needs to be completed and soon or I will be unable to wear it because it will be too hot. I've written out the steps and will leave them on my bulletin board so the next time I can just follow them instead of trying to remember how to get it inserted. Hopefully this will help with my unease and feelings of inadequancy.

So my question of the day is "What techniques hangs up or causes you to pause in your sewing?" What technique stops you from completing your garment or just gives you an extreme case of the willies before you go ahead, presevere and work it out? It doesn't matter how simple or complex the technique, share! I mean I showed you mine...so c'mon show me yours! *LOL* Maybe we can encourage each other to keep trying to perfect those techniques so that we all can get over our stumbling blocks!!!

And Patty, the Little Prince wore the booties to the drs today and my daughter said he was the hit of the office. Of course she took several pics...of course we can't get them out of the camera because her camera software is ALSO on the downed hard drive.

Okay people talk back to me!

68 comments:

  1. Just cutting out a new project. If I can cut out several projects at once, I can sew and sew.

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  2. Hemming knits! Today I feel very accomplished - finished a very wearable muslin of a crossover top in a rayon jersey that behaved a lot better then I expected! Now I just have to make my changes to the pattern and move on to the good stuff. It feels more stretchy to me - I hope it behaves as well as the cheap stuff!
    Sue in MN (where it is suddenly summer!)

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  3. I have to agree with you, the invisible zippers make me uneasy too. But one other big hurtle is the blind hems. They just never turn out blind when I'm doing them :(
    So many pants were I went back to a normal hem because I gave up after the 100th time trying.

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  4. I didn't like invisible zippers until i found a great tutorial at the sewing divas, that inserts the zip after the seam below it is closed, now they go in like a dream and i use them on everything. Other than that i cannot do a rolled hem to save myself, i have tried and tried but i always end up with an uneven bunched mess ... i have to do them all by hand which means i am not sewing alot of chiffon even though i love it.

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  5. I can do invisible zippers perfectly, but I am bad with regular zippers. I try to NEVER use them!

    Love your blog - I've been reading it for a few months now. My own sewing mojo has been AWOL for several months now and I'm hoping for inspiration.

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  6. Welt pockets, I usually cheat and leave them off, but they do add a nice design feature to coats and jackets so I really should practice them.

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  7. I also can do a perfect invisible zipper. I discovered the joy of them about 15 years ago. Once you get the hang of it you'll avoid the others. Sometimes I will get things cut out and then just walk away. I have a couple of outfits for my granddaughter that now will be to small if I finish them. I move on to other projects but leave those partially finished ones in the closet? I get bored with some projects. ummmmm?

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  8. I told my husband I would sew him some undershirts...simple enough right. But I have been putting it off for two months now! I made him two shirts two months ago but couldnt figure out what to do to get the pattern to work. I traced a pattern from a RTW undershirt and it sat on my desk for a month. I was so nervous that it wouldnt fit him and I wouldnt know how to fix it to make it work that I just didnt do it...until this weekend. And guess what? it worked and he loved it. Now he has requested 5 more...better get to cutting them out. The good part is that he has agreed to sit with me while I cut them out to cut down on the boring factor= )

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  9. Fusibles! I almost never use them, but very occasionally there's something that can't use a sew-in and I have to fuse. It is always an exercise in frustration.

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  10. Zippers for me, too! And silk, drives me nuts... :)

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  11. For me, it used to be hand hemming (I like the look of that best), but I have recently conquered that skill - and I love doing them now. My next thing to tackle is button holes - they scare me and I always avoid them - but they are next to be tackled!!
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  12. Up until last night it was invisible zippers. Then I had to replace one for a friend of my husbands and I figured if I could so that, I could put them in. Now my problem is alterations. I'm finishing UFO's because I just can't muster the confidence to do a full bust adjustment to a top or make the full thighs, round seat adjustment to the pattern. So, everything remains uncut. Sigh.

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  13. For some reason, sewing knits is a problem for me. I've read how great it is to sew with knits and I thought "What am I missing here!" I always get ripply seams - with a serger, with a conventional machine, with different presser foot adjustments. I just can't do it!

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  14. I don't think a lot of people realize you have to have a special foot to sew the invisible zipper for it to look good. And you have to press your zipper first, finish the seam after you install the zipper. They were hard for me at first too. But the best news..you can't get any worse..you can only get better.
    For me I fear button down shirts getting all the holes in the right place and lined up. I hate to mess up on buttonholes. They're so hard to rip out and can destroy your fabric.
    I hate when I make stupid mistakes too. I let people make what they want in my class. Sometimes I could be helping people work on 6 different projects. When I move around a lot of the different projects sometimes I make stupid mistakes while teaching. When this happens I'll always pull out the seam for the student.
    Your blog is getting good. You wrote this at midnight and here at 7am you have all these post. Do you people sleep or sew all night? LOL

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  15. Oh, invisible zippers frighten me, too. And also rolled hems. I just can't figure out rolled hems no matter how many tutorials I read.

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  16. Hemming! I'm SO terrible at it!!! ESPECIALLY if it is a FULL skirt. Its the worst thing ever for me lol.

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  17. Zippers are somewhat daunting, I have lapped down pretty well, but I never tried invisible. Other daunting skill, slippery fabrics, chiffons, etc.

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  18. Welt pockets and bound buttonholes. Even though I can make them, it's a sinking feeling to cut a slit into a garment.

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  19. Just buttonholes because I really don't like the way my machine makes them. It only slows me down and makes me sigh and grit my teeth though. I can't stand to have unfinished projects lying around. That state actually prevents me from starting the next project.

    I use the package instructions from a C&C invisible zipper and don't have any trouble with them. I also use one at least 2" longer than the pattern calls for so that the bottom stays neat. I just bought an actual invizible zipper foot for my machine but haven't needed it yet. Perhaps that will make the insertion even neater. I have heard a pintuck foot works fine too, but I don't have a use for one of those!

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  20. Oooooh, the notch part of a lapel....sometimes its a go and sometimes its a mess and I never really know why. Or one side looks fantabulous and the other like its the fraternal twin....close..but no cigar! Tips? I'm all ears!

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  21. Adjustments to patterns always terrify me - I find them frustrating and I'm terrible at cutting out a pattern, fiddling around with it, but then being too scared to cut into the fabric in case my adjustments are wrong!

    I also haven't tried french seams yet - they worry me as I can't adjust them easily if I sew it wrong!

    Oh, and slippery fabrics frustrate me - e.g. lining fabrics, silks etc

    You've got to get it finished up as I want to see the finished D.O.S. dress - it looks like it'll be so pretty!

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  22. Another one for hemming knits. I am so lazy I just leave most of my knits unhemmed at the bottom and roll them under. And skirts are the worst too, they always bunch up on me. Haven't tried welt pockets or buttonholes yet. I'm waiting to take Ann's welt pocket class.

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  23. I can't do a rolled hem on my serger to save my life. I also have shied away from blouses because I am not so good at getting the stand to be perfect. Of course, if I made them I'd actually get good at it!
    As for invisible zippers, I love El's method, because you sew seam first. I had been using a zipper foot to install them, but recently I bought an invisible zipper foot from Viking which makes it a snap to sew. I like sewing the seam first because my biggest problem was sewing both sides the correct way out. I would always end up with twisted zippers legs. No more. The biggest pain though is finishing the bottom so that the stitching lines up. I actually think that a fly front zipper is easier to put in. Of course I have been making those for a million years!

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  24. Invisible zippers are no problem, I do hand baste, and mostly follow the instructions in an article from Threads that they ran several years ago (June/July 2005, #119). Regular ones are, at least by machine. I'd rather hand pick a regular zipper any day than install one by machine. If I do one by machine (very, very rare these days), it involves *a lot* of hand basting. Blind hemming by machine isn't too hot for me, either. Even with pressing and basting, it doesn't look nice and I could have hand hemmed in the same amount of time.

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  25. here's another vote for invisible zippers, welt pockets and bound buttonholes. actually all buttonholes because there's so much riding on them....you finish the garment and everything is perfect....mess up that buttonhole and the whole thing shouts homemade.

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  26. My number one issue is fitting. I have such a hard time with tops that I don't know what other sewing techniques I can't do because I've never done them! Collars? Nope. Buttonholes? Uh-uh. Notched lapels, cuffs? Try again. My other issues include lapped/centered and invisible zippers (especially in a side seam) and setting in sleeves.

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  27. Knit hems and finishings. They always look like total crap. Hot-homesewn-mess doesn't begin to describe how bad they are. Check out my current blog entry if you have doubts.
    Invisibile zippers? They're a snap. Do 'em in my sleep. Maybe I'll do a tutorial soon. I had one bad one -first one in. Took it out about 8 times (I think - things got hazy after the 4th try - black thread on houndstooth). But I learned a lot. And bought a pin-tuck foot.

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  28. Like some of the others, I use Els' invisible zipper tutorial at Sewing Divas, so no fear there. I guess working with fussy fabrics, like sheers, would be a big fear. Collars demand a lot of perfection and those make me nervous too, though I plow ahead.

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  29. For me it's princess seamed jackets because I don't know how to fit them. I have avoided them but now I realize that boxy jackets don't suit me so I am going to bite the bullet and learn how to fit the princess seams.

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  30. I hate hemming anything! Invisible zippers is also a peeve for me too, along with cutting out patterns, sheesh got it out! I think I should devote one day for cutting, tracing and laying all patterns out,so that when I'm ready to sew it will be a smoother process. BTW, love ur Blog.

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  31. I bought a class on zippers from Pattern review and it is packed with tips on insertion. I never knew I could sew up the bottom of the seam FIRST and then stitch them in. But then I thought...in my wedding alteration business I have replaced invisible zippers and that is exactly how it's done. In a Patty Palmer pants class in Jan I learned she uses little strips of fusible interfacing on the wrong side if the seam allowances before she stitches in her zippers. This keeps both sides from stretching without adding bulk. They look so perfect!

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  32. Add me to the club! Invisable zippers!!! I guess it's cause I know how to put in a regular zipper... and then the method/tools are different... it really throws me.
    As my teacher used to say... practice, practice, practice! I guess that's what I need!

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  33. I hate anything with hand sewing... I'm so lazy about it and my stitches always look crazy!

    and I hate bias tape, too.

    I've never tackled an invisible zipper. Maybe I should try one of those.

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  34. #1 - Fitting

    #2 - Knits

    #3 - Slippery fabrics

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  35. 1. Zippers of any sort in a curved seam.
    2. Welt pockets and bound buttonholes
    3. Seam finishings. I don't have a serger so am constantly trying out different ways but never find the right one for the project.
    4. Lapels

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  36. San Antonio SueMay 19, 2009 1:44 PM

    Carolyn: 1) If you can find one, take the Islander Sewing course on zippers -- you'll never have a problem again, even with invisible zippers and they show you how to do it with your standard zipper foot. 2) My nemesis was bound buttonholes, but a course on PR with Kenneth King solved it. I look for a better way, read up in my books, consult Threads back issues with the help of the online index, and practice, man, practice!

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  37. Welt pockets, I leave them out or postpone making a pattern that has them. I love the way they look so I need to do it especially since I have collected quite a few tutorials.

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  38. I have to second invisible zippers, especially how to finish the open end when there is a facing or lining involved.

    My second problematic technique is inserting a zipper into a bias seam. I just made my niece a prom dress long distance and despite my interfacing the seam allowances and checking it over a cushion, it still doesn't lie completely flat when she puts the dress on. RTW doesn't fit each dress, and I know some of it is pretty atrocious, but some of it is well done. What is the secret to setting a zipper into a bias seam so it lies flat in the wearing?

    Lois K

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  39. For me it's the fitting - altering the pattern after I've traced it off. I want to just trace, cut, sew, and go! Unfortunately, the part I don't like is also the most important...

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  40. I came upon this from the Slapdash Sewist. She explains her method of installing an invisible zipper.

    http://theslapdashsewist.blogspot.com/2009/04/butterick-5209-retro-47-dress.html

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  41. I love invisible zippers, hate lapped ones, and am obsessive about twin needle stitchin on knits. I wish I had a stand alone coverstitch machine :0(

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  42. Eyelets. I have never finished a piece where the eyelets didn't rip a bigger hole in only a few wears. It makes me want to look for alternatives.

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  43. Oh, my goodnes...where to start...what intimidates me? Buttonholes, zippers (all kinds), curves, anything but a regular seam - French seams, etc. I could go on but you get the idea. I've finally signed up for a sewing class - the one just beyond beginner 'cause I can thread my machine and sew a straight (well almost) seam. Thanks for the inspiration and the continued motivation.

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  44. Good topic! I have lots of problem techniques but the worst is fitting knits - right now I have a pair of pajamas cut out of cotton knit and I am afraid I am going to "swim" in them. I cut knit tops with extra adjustment room in the side seams because there is just no making a muslin for something as variable as knits. What a pain!

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  45. Linings where no lining pattern pieces are given are my fear. I am ok making a tailored hunt coat where the lining is a million pieces as long as I have a pattern- just don't tell me to line an unlined simple jacket. I took a road trip to the area bernina place today and bought an invisible zip foot for my new machine which I hope is going to be really great. I have a stash of invisible that I was given and need to start using them. I have put a couple in but had to be particular when I got to the area where the seam closes in. mssewcrazy

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  46. I'll have to say mine is sleeves. Nothing looks worst on a hand mand garment is "home made" looking sleeves. I just took the sleeve class on PR review and I now know that the problem wasn't necessarily me! I've learned all kinds of way to deal with too much ease in the sleeve cap.

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  47. This is a fascinating topic and the responses here make very interesting reading. I have no trouble with invisible zippers and no trouble easing sleeves and I love welt pockets and bound buttonholes, but I am terrified of collars and stands - they just never, ever go on right. I always end up unpicking and doing over a few times. My waistbands always suck, too, although they are better now that I've learned to bind the inside with satin bias and not try to fold it under. I'm not great at bagging a lining, but I'm getting better. Collars will always scare me.

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  48. Collar stands! I don't know what it is about them. I know how to do them but I avoid them like the plague.

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  49. I think I may just be blissfully ignorant, but I have to say nothing really scares when it comes to sewing. I have enough stress in the rest of my life that I refuse to let sewing be anything other than pleasant. I figure even if I screw something up, it's usually fixable and even if it isn't, I will likely learn a valuable lesson in the process. I just keep repeating the motto, "What's the worst that could happen?"

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  50. I also struggled with zippers, and I did heaps of research and youtube tutorials and got them all sorted out. I think what I get concerned about now is hemming. I want to to look and hang perfectly or it all looks so homemade.

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  51. Zippers and collars!!I just made a top that called for a zipper and I took that thing out 10 tens and still didn't get it in right!

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  52. The invisible zipper gets me too.

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  53. 1. Cutting out and starting a new projects
    2. Buttonholes
    3. Hemming garments. I have UFOs that are just waiting to be hemmed. I going to buy a blindhemmer so I can finish what I start.

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  54. My biggest hang up right now is pattern alterations and fitting. It seems that when I do especially FBA the item becomes too big and outta shape. There was a time when I had less adjustments to make on my patterns and I'd sew up a storm, now it takes more time getting the fit right than getting the garment made. I guess I just need to keep practicing. Where zippers are concerned the fly front zipper has been my biggest challenge, to get perfect.

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  55. Last summer, I decided I needed to learn both lapped and invisible zipper insertion. So I read a couple of books I have from the 1960s, studied the zippers like crazy, and went at it step by step, and took pictures of every step. While I don't do it as automatically as I do a centered zipper, I can now do a pretty good job on both, and I have learned to love invisible zippers. As a confession, I have my step by step self written instructions in my thread drawer to help me along!

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  56. I don't like invisible zippers either. I don't avoid projects that use them, but I really dread sewing it when I come to that part!

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  57. I finally conquered fear of invisible zipper about a year ago, and I've done so many of them now that I recently found out I can't put in a regular zipper correctly anymore except as a fly front.

    Welt pockets and bound buttonholes make me break out in cold sweats. I just took Kenneth King's piped pocket and buttonhole class on Patternreview, and it made perfect sense, and my examples came out great, and I still get chills thinking about doing it to an actual garment.

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  58. Machine buttonholes. Seems pretty silly compared to inserting a zipper or welt pockets, but I'd rather do bound buttonholes. Machine buttonholes stress me out!

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  59. I used invisible zips all the time. I took a class with LaFred and she told us to throw away the plastic invisible foot! Press the zip out and use a regular zipper foot. Sew the zip in before you finish the seam. I use the reg zip foot and move my needle as close to the teeth as I can and then sew it again about 1/4" away from the teeth to secure it. Then sew the flaps to the seam at the bottom. Perfect everytime for me.

    Welt pockets freak me out!

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  60. I am so afraid of doing a blind hem, and I haven't even tried..just read the instructions over and over...I actually still take my pants to a tailor!! Silly, I sew, why should I still do that??
    I was afraid of doing an interior pocket in a handbag for the longest time..then I just jumped right in and did it, and now I never do a purse without one!
    I'm awful at getting a pattern to fit my body too...but hopefully with more practice it'll come!
    I enjoy your blog and can't wait to see the dress!!!

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  61. These are my biggest challenges that can be a real pain in the neck for me. Welt pockets, neck line and hems on knit garments and pattern alteration and fit..

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  62. I love invisible zips and they go in with no trouble for me. However, I have now lost my touch with a regular zipper installation!

    But my biggest sewing hangup is, of course, the fly front.

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  63. My problem is cutting out a garment. I HATE to cut out, or even prepare the pattern first. I always have to add additional length to both the top and botton of a garment. I realize that is not a hard fitting situation, I just don't like it. I'm much more precise with my sewing than cutting. I alway adore the sewing process, but not the prep stage at all.

    Karendee

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  64. Hemming:
    1. I wear ankle length skirts, dresses and pants.
    2.one hip is .5 inch higher then the other.
    3. Marking the hem on skirts and dresses drive me nuts. First try, the hem maybe marked evenly four inch from the floor, but believe me, when I turn that hem up, it will never look even all away around. I takes me weeks to get the drive to hem a pair of pants, skirt or dress.

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  65. Inserting sleeves and Fitting.

    CarlaF-in Atlanta

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  66. I love to cut out a pattern and make the adjustments. Right now I have three patterns cut out and all adjuments made I even made the muslins but sewing the garmet up in the fashion fabric is where I stop.I will go to test another pattern. After reading this post I realize this is nuts. I need to get on it and sew the patterns in the fashion fabric. Lord knows I have tons of nice fabric. What is wrong with me ????

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  67. For me the challenge is bound buttonholes, welt pockets and making a pair of pants that fit. Invisible zippers cause me not heartburn, but centered or lapped do. I have gotten a lot better with them but still have that moment of feeling ill prepared to take the next step.

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  68. I'm not afraid of any techniques so far... But I think some fabrics tend to be more difficult to deal with than others so any hard technique gets even harder

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