Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What are you scared of?

Sewing-wise that is?  I was reading Karen's post on her blog, "Sewing by the Seat of my Pants" where she is reproducing a skirt that she saw on Andrea, one of her coworkers.  Now she has taken a design she saw, copied it, and reproduced it on her own skirt but she's scared of welt pockets.  That's quite a skill set she's using to make a skirt with but a sewing technique scares her.

Then I was reading an article in the new issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine and it hit me that there are probably others scared of techniques too.  I know what it's like to be afraid of a technique...for years I didn't use invisible zippers because I learned how to put in regular zippers and I had the application down to a science.  I even knew how long (30 minutes) that portion of the garment construction would take.  But with much fear and trepidation I learned how to insert invisible zippers and now put them into all my garments.  I'm not an expert by any means and still get a flutter or two when I begin the process but I'm not scared any more.

However, it's been years since I've done a welt pocket and the technique does cause anxiety.  This from a woman who will cut a pattern 9 ways into Sunday to get a new design.  So Karen is not alone in her fear of welt pockets.  How about you?  What sewing technique scares you?  Or what application do you avoid when constructing a garment because you can't adequately complete the task?  Let's discuss those fears and then develop a plan to conquer them...because they are just sewing techniques right?  And with some practice we can all become better at them!

This is my question of the day...so talk to me!  And if you have some great references for how to make welt pockets, please feel free to post them!  I'm gonna work on this technique for the remainder of the year so that I can start 2011 being able to make a wonderful welt pocket.

...more later!

59 comments:

  1. I can't think of any technique that I am afraid of trying. I think it comes from no boundaries when I learned to sew...I didn't know enough to find things difficult and if the directions didn't make sense I tried things my way. I started sewing in sleeves flat rather than setting them long before patterns started suggesting it, which drove my home ec teacher crazy! (Home ec was a required course for girls...shows you how old I am!) I am by no means an expert, but I move one with no fear!

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  2. I am surprised - and slightly saddened - to realise that I have got to the stage where the whole process is kind of daunting now! Shocked actually.....as at one time I would have made at least 60-80% of my wardrobe, and have made just about everything from baby to bridal.

    After a break of about 4 or 5 years I have now got to the stage where I don't know where to start to get back to what I loved! Sometimes I go into my sewing room....look at my patterns, choose one and match it with fabric...then think about everything I have to do before it becomes a garment, and instead of being excited....I am left feeling overwhelmed :-(

    Got to get back to some kind of sewing pleasure again!

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  3. I wouldn't say that I'm scared of them, but I do *avoid* sewing certain objects: woven blouses and dresses. I guess if I'm avoiding these items, then I'm scared of them--LOL! I've sewn several versions of the same blouse pattern, but I don't like the results. I wonder if I chose the wrong fabric, but instead of trying to sew it again (and solve the problem), I'll make a new knit tops. Ahh, I need to plan several evenings to work through this problem.

    Rose in SV

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  4. I'm scared of welt pockets too, and bound buttonholes - basically anything that involves making holes in my fabric! I'm planning to make a jacket with welt pockets soon, so hopefully I can face my fear.

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  5. I'm not super comfortable with knits. And I'm not super comfortable matching patterns (although that's more laziness than fear!) I'm working on a couple of coats, 2 of which sure could use a bound buttonhole, which is daunting as well (although the post Gertie did this week showing how to do the bound buttonholes sure was less intimidating than most!)

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  6. oops! forgot to subscribe to the comments! double post so I can get the rest of the comments on email!

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  7. Welt pockets and butttonholes are techniques that I need to work on. I tend to avoid garments that need these techniques because I have limited sewing time. I need set time aside to learn and practice different techniques.

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  8. In general I dislike setting in sleeves. I'm getting better at it but there are a couple of dresses that are sitting on the UFO pile just because I stalled when I went to set in the sleeves. I'm also more likely to just decide that a dress should be sleeveless rather than go through the process of easing in a sleeve.

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  9. oh, boy! I've been afraid of fly-front zippers, invisible zippers and bound buttonholes since I started sewing. I am happy to report that - just tonight even! - I finished my first fly-front zip. Maybe I'll try bound button holes on that coat project...

    Thanks for brining up this topic! I'm still new to sewing, so this is really relevant for me. Normally I look to your blog for inspiration and motivation, but shy away from the techniques you discuss.

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  10. Where to begin? Fly front zippers and lapped zippers daunt me. Though I have managed them. I am just never sure how I managed them in the end and they don't always work out. Welt pockets and bound button holes I haven't even dreams of.

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  11. I've never tried sewing on thin seam bindings. There's no way I would even know where to start. Do I need a binding foot?
    Add to that, matching patterns. Actually I think I'm more afraid of messing up the binding than matching a pattern ... lol

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  12. Silly me, I want to hear the rest of the comments too! Sorry for the double post.

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  13. Hmmm, not afraid of anything but I *do* need to be more patient when fusing interfacing!

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  14. I fear neck facings. In every sheath I make I do all the trimming, clipping and understitching required and always there are a couple of inches at the centre front that roll forward on me, exposing a sliver of lining or facing. For my whole sewing life this has made me crazy and every time I hope this won't happen and it does.

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  15. I was able to conquer my fear of welt pockets. I made many, many samples and I no longer fear them, but I still make a sample or two before I put one in a garment. Now, I've decided to work on front plackets. The bottoms tend to look a little sloppy. Again, I'm going to practice, practice practice! I'm also a little intimidated by knits.

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  16. I don't like to sew chiffon on the bias. I'm not afraid of it, I just don't like it.

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  17. I would say I'm not afraid of any techniques. That being said, there are certain ones that I don't use every week (like welt pockets!) and so I get a little out of practice. My answer to that is to sew up a samples before I make them on my garment - a warm-up of sorts.

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  18. Bound buttonholes for me. I have good luck with Sigrid's site for tutorials. http://sewingtutorials.blogspot.com/

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  19. I am afraid to adjust the settings on my serger. Also until recently I was afraid to make more than one buttonhole in anything. I also get stalled by fitting issues. I was bolder in my sewing room when I was younger. Funny, I'd think experience would make me feel less intimidated....

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  20. I totally am with her (and you - boy does that make me feel better!) about welt pockets and their little brother, bound buttonholes. I've done the pockets once, and while they were not a disaster, they were certainly not up to my usual standard. I also hate setting sleeves in the round. Oh, I do it, but if I can figure or finagle a way to set them flat, I will.

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  21. I'm not so much scared by techniques as such as I will keep trying and researching how to do things until I learn. I'm more scared of buying expensive fabric and then cutting into it and getting it hopelessly wrong...

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  22. Being the type who always is up to a challenge, I can't say that I fear any of the processes. That doesn't mean I am good at them, just don't fear them. I'll try anything. I do believe that every attempt and eventual success in sewing puts another tool in the tool kit that can be pulled out at any time a design warrants it. Its nice to have a big fat stuffed tool box.

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  23. I don't think fear stops me, it's a lack of quiet needed to really get an understanding of what to do. Sometimes, like now as I read Making Trousers for Men and Women, I completely don't get it the first few times I look at the instructions. But, yesterday I picked up the book will looking at the pants pattern I planned to use and everything clicked.

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  24. I'm not a fan of buttonholes, mostly because my sewing machine is a flighty maiden and will sew five test ones perfectly and then go kerblooey when I start on the actual garment. It's too stressful, so I use hook and eyes, snaps or similar if at all possible.

    I'd like to do bound buttonholes on my sew-along coat, but I cut up the muslin I made with the collar and stupidly didn't mark where I'd like the buttons to go. I might just cheat and use extra big snaps. :shame:

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  25. Bound buttonholes! Mostly because they normally go on something you've put money into fabric for, and if you mess them up, the whole thing turns into a wadder! I came up with a new definition for "Muslin": It's the garment you make the first time you use a pattern and you don't know whether it will become a wadder or not!"

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  26. I don't know that I am actually afraid, but there are many techniques I don't have great skills at (welts, invisible zips, buttonholes - bound and machine, since my machine is not consistent, similar to others here. Being self-taught and by reading blogs, I have learned alot, I just need the time and quiet house to practice. I don't get either regularly enough to always finish projects. Another thing is fitting me - I have read, tried, etc, but it's hard to get it where I like it and can wear it. There again, time and ability to concentrate keeps me from consistently trying.

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  27. Lapels. Notched lapels. I have had successes and failures, but ultimately I avoid them like the plague. Ugh. If anyone has a good tutorial on lapels, I am all ears!

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  28. I don't have any techniques I fear, although I haven't tried bound buttonholes/pockets, or invisible zippers yet, so I may have to change my statement in the future. Like Freya, it's more a fear of ruining a really nice fabric, in my case - especially when the garment is just about done. And like Sownbrooklyn, not understanding how a technique works due to lack of time to study and understand it.

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  29. I'm not exactly afraid of any techniques either, although I am with Kilts on the whole process is daunting stage just because I have to refresh skills, and there are a lot of skills that need refreshing. But I'll get there.

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  30. I have had such issues with the buttonhler on my Viking that I have avoided anything with lots of buttons. I will make a bound buttonhole without a qualm but machine made? I still haven't learned how to use my Singer buttonholer on the machine I bought to use it. Just for making buttoholes!

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  31. It's not a technique per se that I'm afraid of. I don't like to think of cutting into an expensive piece of material for fear of ruining it somehow. I wish I had the confidence I had at 13--one of the first dresses I chose to sew was a plaid with princess seams!

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  32. Anything that requires putting holes in a garment that's almost complete (or getting there) is scary to me. Practice samples help to ease the way to working on the actual piece. I've also found that because there are usually several ways to get the same results - sometimes another method works better in certain instances. Samples are the only way to find out.

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  33. Some of the other posters have mentioned it--but making samples is definitely the way to go to reduce fear. Take the time to practice on some samples before tackling the technique "for real." Quick mockups also help--nothing you'd ever wear but they can help visualize.

    I can't say that I'm really fearful of anything sewing but sometimes I'll overthink to a ridiculous degree. Gotta work on getting out of that mindset and moving forward!

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  34. Welt pockets are scary. You mess up the pocket, you mess up the garment piece. I once took a couture course that was too advanced for me, but which I took because it was available and I never got through the welt pocket. There were easily 25 steps. My teacher was a little hard to understand, a bit imperious, and I was inexperienced. Even when I would check the setup with tutors beforehand she still said it was wrong when I brought my sample to class.

    But even the teacher stressed that you had to be extremely precise in the planning, measuring, and sewing else you could have a disaster.

    I now know at least three methods. The one I recommend is:

    After ironing on the fusible interfacing or basting the sew-in:

    Thread trace the opening, and if you have time, the box. Silk thread is best.

    Machine stitch only the top and bottom lines. Leave long threads.

    Check that the lines are perfectly parallel. If one line is one or two stitches too long, remove it (them); if too short, take the threads, thread them into a needle and hand sew the stitch(es).

    Cut the opening very carefully creating the two 3/8" triangles at either end.

    Pin the lips back 1/4"; baste in place.

    Backstitch by hand in each of the ditches.

    Press the lips.

    Fold back the triangles, check that you have a nicely shaped box.

    Baste the triangles, or hold them in place and stitch back and forth three times by machine.

    Press.

    If desired, add a hand or machine reinforcement at each corner.

    Proceed with the facing and pocket bag.

    I'm sure I've forgotten something, as happens when one is describing a detailed task from memory, but that's the gist.

    In some ways, sewing is common sense: you have to make samples. The time professionals have to experiment and take risks is a major factor separating them from we home sewers.

    I also would never make something with a welt pocket unless I had enough extra fabric to cut another piece. Or I would see if I could convert the botched pocket into a patch pocket.

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  35. I'm not afraid of buttonholes, but why should I figure out the buttonhole function on my crappy machine when I can go to Jonathan Embroidery and have them made by experienced operators with professional machines for under $10?

    I once made some buttonholes on a Reese machine. If I could afford one and had room for it, I'd consider buying one. BTW, there's a Reese welt pocket machine that apparently knocks off pockets in seconds, but it's scores of thousands of dollars.

    I would make simple pleats, but if I had something difficult, I would go to Stanley Pleating in NYC.

    If professionals send out tasks to specialists, why would I, a self-sewist, think I could do better? (Assuming the service is affordable, of course.)

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  36. Wool scares the daylights out of me. Don't know why - not sure how to pretreat, or press - all of it. So - I have some lovely skirt length pieces as well as a beautiful red destined to be a coat - guess I should do something about it - eh? g

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  37. I am afraid of starting a project that will take more than one weekend to complete. I am so scared I won't finish. I had to pause work on my coat to get into my self-imposed sewing room cleanout. I actually laid awake last night worrying that I will never get back to the coat and finish the last 5% of work remaining.
    Today, in the light of day, I have calmed down and realize I WILL finish this horrid organizational project and calm will return to my sewing room.

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  38. Just scared of the unknown: bound buttonholes and welt pockets come to mind.

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  39. Oh my gosh I have so many things I am scared of that you'd think I had a sewing phobia. BUT I am tackling 3 of my fears with projects that I am currently working on: the FBA, welt pockets (I really hope you get good advice on this!) and lining a jacket - lining the sleeves makes me tremble.

    BTW - my word verification is "glych" which seems rather ominous and possibly appropriate for this post... although I hope not.

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  40. Any technique I have not used in a while gives me pause. My solution is to do practice runs and look for a tutorial. I'm also an avoider, as in I avoid working on something by doing something else. My solution is to plan something I dislike or add another incentive, then I will finish doing what I was avoiding. Convoluted but it works. I get my house cleaned top to bottom by scheduling company.

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  41. I'll join the 'fraidy cat chorus. Bound buttonholes and welt pockets. Scared to even think about them.

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  42. I'm afraid of the unknown. Right now I am making some wool bike knickers for my son. Since there aren't any patterns I have had to modify one. The muslin turn out well but I am still struggling with the real thing. My goal is to work on it a minumum of 1 hour a day. (I work so this is reasonable) I am starting to see some progress.

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  43. In the sewing world, I'm not really scared of anything. I certainly haven't tried everything, and there's lots I'm not really that great at, but I'm not really scared of these things. I love learning new techniques, and quickly get bored of doing the same old thing. You know, it's just fabric and thread, buttons and zippers, and what really can they do to you. You mess up, and it really doesn't judge you or hurt you (well, ok, some sewing TOOLS can hurt you). Unlike people, or, you know, snakes. THERE's something to be afraid of, lol!

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  44. Welt pockets, bound buttonholes, and lapels with collars. These all require practice time that I don't have right now, so I avoid them.

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  45. Yes, welt pockets are still a daunting challenge for me. It's actually one of the reasons I don't quilt....alll that precision with small pieces of fabric. I do know that it's something that I'll have to practice, practice, practice and so far I'm not willing to put that time into it. On the other hand, all I had to do was to buy an invisible zipper foot, follow Sandra Betzina's instructions and I conquered the invisible zipper. Now if only Viking made a welt pocket foot....

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  46. Not really afraid of anything, but when doing something like welt pockets or bound buttonholes, I'll always test once (or a few times) in the fabric I'm using.
    Though writing this, I'm realizing that I have some very thin silk fabrics that I keep postponing to work with as I have no practice with it.
    My favorite method for welt pockets is in the book Cool couture by Kenneth King.

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  47. Hmmmm... Apparently, I live in fear LOL! I am afraid of my pattern and fabric selection and have a dreadful time starting. Past that, I'm not afraid of any techniques. My results may not always be good, but I'll tackle anything. I like the Kenneth King Cool Couture book as well, along with Claire Schaffer's "Sew Any Set in Pocket".

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  48. I would have to say my fear is the first or second or third time I try a new technique. I think more so alot of my fears are fitting challenges. Like not being able to quite get a woven blouse to fit correctly. Nice to no others have sewing fears too.

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  49. The less I sew, the more out of practice I get, and the more afraid of everything I get!

    I used to put in invisible zippers with ease (and no fear) when they were first available to the home sewing market--the 60's, I believe. Now I overthink it (and many other things).

    I would LOVE to know, other than practice, how you overcame your "fear" of invisible zippers. What method do you use? Do you sew the seam first, or leave it open until after the zipper is inserted?

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  50. Well, Carolyn, you've brought it out into the light, and there are quite a few of us huddled here, admitting to our fear of welt pockets and bound buttonholes. Comforting to know I'm not alone.

    Most techniques I've been uncomfortable with have been overcome by sheer practice and finding "my own" way to do it when the "proper" way didn't always make sense. I think that's one of my issues with welts is there really isn't a good back-a$$ward way to do it that I've figured out so far.

    And precision isn't my strong point. I'll match plaids until my eyes cross; I'll pick out topstitching that goes wonky, but give me a teeny-tiny sharp pair of scissors and tell me to clip exactly into that corner and I start to hyperventilate.

    Most techniques you can rip out and start over when you go wrong. With welts, there's no turning back. That's my biggest issue.

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  51. I found a web page http://sewing.flyingember.com/sewing.html

    she give a great how to on welt pockets.

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  52. I find great ideas at fashion-incubator.com, lots of tutorials from the clothing manufacturer side. Here is the tutorial for welt pockets:
    http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/how-to-sew-a-single-welt-pocket/

    Me I get scared of expensive fabric!

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  53. I guess I am afraid of welt pockets and anytype of buttonhole.

    I love shirtdress but have attempted to make 3 and each time I start making button holes and then I get freaked out and put in a zipper instead.

    I really need to conquer that.

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  54. My biggest fear, which I am slowly trying to overcome, is dealing with my fitting issues. I think it comes from not wanting to admit how much my body has changed over the last five years. LOL! Techniques don't scare me. I have no problem practicing things (like welts) that I am not good at in order to get better, so why not apply the same reasoning to fitting. That's what I told myself at the beginning of the year and it seems to be working. In fits and starts, but for the most part, it's working. And as I am losing weight and losing inches, it is giving me even more practice :)

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  55. Too many to count! Ha! I'm slowly working through them though. Pattern matching use to make me shiver, but I've gotten pretty decent at it over several projects, so at least that one is off the list. ;)

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  56. I'm scared of fitting issues (new sewer), but I'm taking a class at G Steet starting this weekend where we'll be making a sloper, so hopefully I'll have the info I need to start fitting patterns to my tall, plus-size body. I'm excited!!!!

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  57. Ah, a long list for me - not exactly fears, but stuff I tend to avoid...

    - Lined jackets.
    - Welt pockets.
    - Fly front pants.
    - Shirts with collars.

    Basically, I'm not really stretching myself much in my sewing, I've got to the point where I'm reasonably comfortable making a dress and a skirt, and am just making the same things over and over.

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  58. I am afraid of making buttonholes. I have had trouble using my sewing machine to make them and I'm also concerned about the placement of the buttonholes since I'm large chested. It has prevented me from sewing certain things, so it is definitely something I need to get over

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  59. I wouldn't say I'm scared of welt pockets and bound buttonholes-- I've just never really made anything that has them. Regular buttonholes are annoying me right now, but that's because the foot fell and broke and the only one I can find on ebay for my older model machine costs over $100. :P

    What does scare me is fitting adjustments--they never seem to work!

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