Thursday, July 14, 2011

A few sewing tips...

Let me start this post with a disclaimer...these are things I do to make constructing a garment go smoothly for me.  I feel that there is more than "one way to skin a cat" so if it differs from another method that you've read about or used, please feel free to ignore my techniques.

One - sewing with busy prints:
A main thing that I try to avoid when using a busy print, is the bullseye effect.  You know when some part of the print (especially circles) land right on your bust points.  To counteract this effect, I trace an entire dress or top front.  Then I lay the pattern pieces down on a single layer of fabric.  After making the front pattern piece, I then place it on top of me and stand in the mirror to mark my bust points with x's.  That way when I lay the pattern piece on top of the fabric, I can move it around (making sure that grainlines are kept intact) until I find a spot where the pattern/bust points/fabric design work best.  Yes, this requires a little extra fabric but you will eliminate the bullseye effect.


marking the bust points on a pattern piece

bustline on the dress front


Two - sewing with border prints:
Lately I've made quite a few garments with border prints.  They are fun to use and create a wonderful effect on a finished garment.  So here is my main tip on working with border prints.  Trace off right and left sides of a top, dress or skirt pattern and lay them out singly on the fabric.  I usually start with the center front piece of a dress/top/skirt, then lay each side piece beside it,  then the back pieces.  I try to leave small spaces between the pattern pieces so that the border print flows seamlessly.   I also double check several times before cutting out.



Now these are my tips, but to me the best tutorials on how to work with border prints and print fabrics have been written by Gigi of Gigi Sews.

Three - sewing with knits:
I don't sew with knits as much as many others do since I prefer woven fabrics.  However, when I do, to me what can make or break a knit garment is cutting it out.  So I pin the selvedges together the entire length of the piece several inches apart.  Once the fabric is pinned, it tends to behave better (well  at least for me!  *LOL*).  Then after it's lain on the cutting table, I smooth it out working from the pinned selvedge to the fold, this insures a perfectly smooth surface to lay the pattern pieces on...and this works for me every time!




Finally, a couple of brief things:

a.  Keep a supply of interfacings on hand.  You never know when a fabric will buck against a favorite and prefer something different.

b.  Keep a small supply of silk organza on hand.  It's a great substitute for interfacing in some woven garments as well as the scraps make great pressing cloths.

c.  Develop a source of online internet suppliers for things like zippers, bias binding and even sewing machine and serger needles.  Ordering in bulk can cut down your costs and many times these items are always in stock, versus the trip to the local craft store or Hancocks where you can return home empty handed.  Several of my favorites are Atlanta Thread, Newark Dressmakers Supply, Home Sew and Nancy's Notions.  It's nice to have everything on hand when you start a project.

d.  Have several different types of pins.  I know this might seem like a silly one but do you really want to leave holes in a silk garment because you had the wrong type of pin?

e.  Finally, here is a link to my piping tutorial.  HTH!

Okay, I hope I answered a few questions that have been left here on the blog and sent to my personal email account.  If not, or if you have more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

...as always, more later!

25 comments:

  1. It's so cool to read your techniques. Especially the non-headlight technique. :)

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  2. Thanks for this handy "go to" post Carolyn.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your tips; especially the one on knits. AS you know, I'm trying to get over my dislike of sewing knit fabrics.

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  4. I'm just getting back into sewing after a long time. Your blog will be read over and over.

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  5. This is probably a fabric no-no to some, but I've found cutting out fiddly pieces of knit is much easier if you iron a piece of freezer paper to the back first (peeling it off before sewing). I'll have to try your pinning technique next time. Thanks!

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  6. Yes the pins, such a good but often overlooked point! So important - I've learned that the hard way. Pins that are too thick on delicate fabrics leaving big holes, and long thin pins bending on thick fabrics.

    I must say that your post on how you pretreat wool fabrics is my go to post whenever I use wool fabrics - your tips are always so useful

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  7. Thanks Carolyn! Excellent information!

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  8. These are great tips. Thanks, Carolinbe.

    I totally agree on the pins. I have 4 cups with 4 different pin types on my sewing counter. I use them all for various projects. Its a small thing but wonderful to have the right pin for your project.

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  9. Pearls of wisdom from the master. Thank you!

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  10. Love your tips C! I'm still trying to get the hang of knits (ARGHH)!

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  11. Thanks so much for the tips. I'm bookmarking this post.

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  12. Love the tip for the knits. I swear I spend half my time wrangling crazy fabric than I do actually sewing.

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  13. Great tips!!! Thanks for sharing.....especially sewing with busy prints. I have a print that I will be working with soon and being reminded about the bullseye effect (lol) came right on time. Thanks again.

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  14. Thank you for the link to "piping". I've been wanting to do a pair of piped silk pajamas and have never done piping. I'm hinking it's time to get a piping foot.

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  15. Love these tips! Thank you! Sorry I don't comment more often, but I do admire your sewing very much.

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  16. Great thoughts, great tips. I so, so (or should I say I sew, sew) agree about the interfacings. I had an interfacing emergency a few weeks ago because you didn't publish this till now : ). Thanks again for writing and especially this posting.

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  17. Tips a, b c, and d - Glad to know I'm at least doing a few things right!! :P

    Thanks for the tips on border prints. I recently bought a few border print fabrics and have had anxiety about cutting into them.

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  18. Thanks for sharing Carolyn. The links too because I just tried to remember the names to tell my daughter. I always enjoy reading about what you do.

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  19. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  20. Great tips, I couldn't agree more!

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  21. Carolyn, thanks for the tips, they will come in handy. You are so good at sharing.

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  22. Carolyn, as always, great tips! Thank you. Can you point me to Gigi's tutorial on border prints? I clicked on the link, but did not find the specific post. Her archives are huge and I don't know where to look.
    I love the bubbles dress. You look wonderful in it.

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  23. Thanks for you tips on knits! You are so gererous with your knowledge! Would you mind posting your tips on lining knits? When to line or not, what linings for what knits, how do you treat different necklines such as the Vogue 1250? Love, love your blog, its my favorite!

    Judyp

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  24. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us - am bookmarking this post so I can come back to it. Had always wondered how you made all those great border print dresses. You rock!!

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  25. Thank you for this!I tried your tip for knits and it made layout out and cutting so much easier.

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