Friday, January 31, 2014

In Response to your Questions...

There have been a few questions about procedures and things that I've previously blogged I'm going to put all the links in this post.  I will also link this to my "Popular Posts" tab for future reference.

First up ~ I've written a pretty involved post on how to prep wool crepe in this post, "Prepping Wool Crepe."  However, Pam Erny, who authors the blog, Off The Cuff, wrote a blog post on pre-treating wool crepe in the dryer called, "Pre-Treat Wool Fast and Easy at Home."  This is the method I use now for pre-treating my wools.

Here are a couple of pants blog posts that I've written about how I make and/or remake pants

Lauren - this wide view shot is for you!

Remaking A Pair of Pants
This post shows how I take the lining out of a pair of pants and how I underlined them, as well as adding in the waistband elastic.

Sunday Afternoon Ramblings
from December 2010 has an entire how-to on how I apply the waistband elastic. However, this is important to know...this elastic is no longer manufactured. At the time a source was located at Create for Less, they are no longer carrying the elastic after they sold out of their stock. I've tried to locate it by contacting Wrights but no luck. So soon, well as soon as my stock is depleted, I will be trying out new alternatives.

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LauraSJ asked on the "Pinstripe Magic ~ Dress & Skirt" post:
"Do you have any special tips for laying out the pattern pieces and cutting to get the most from your fabric? Do you use a single layer cutout? I've heard this is more economical, but I don't really understand why. Thanks!" 

Laura ~ I answered part of your question in the comments but realized that I needed to give this question a little more space.  First it's important to realize that the reason I was able to lay these pieces side by side is because the fabrics were 62" and 64" wide. It was definitely one of the reasons that I purchased this piece.

Next ~ I always use a with nap layout when placing pattern pieces on fabric. Simply stated, "with nap" means that all of the tops of the pattern pieces face one direction. The reason for this is if you're using a fabric with a specific pattern or color shading, it allows all of the cut pieces to look the same or the pattern to work well across all of the pieces.

The Vogue/Butterick Step by Step Guide to Sewing Techniques defines it this way...

"Layout used for cutting fabrics that have brushed surfaces (fleece), pile (velvet), woven or printed one-way designs, and texture (satin, brocade).  All tops of pattern pieces and all grainline arrows should point in one direction. For richer color on velvets and velveteen, place pieces so nap runs up. Otherwise, place pattern pieces so nap runs down."
The Editors of Vogue and Butterick Patterns

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There were several comments about the "seated hip measurements" and even some comments about my use of TNT patterns. I want to say here that I have very few original sewing ideas. I have though spent many years learning and studying my craft. I first heard about fat spreading from Colleen Jones, an amazing sewing teacher that really elevated my sewing to another level. However, Barbara Deckert also talks about it in her book, Sewing for Plus Sizes, Creating Clothes that Fit and Flatter.

Also, I was communicating with another sewist and she asked a question about how I came up with the idea of TNT patterns. Again, I learned this from Shirley Adams. She hosted a sewing show on PBS called The Sewing Connection that I watched religiously every Saturday afternoon.  There are a few episodes on YouTube now.

A shout out also to Nancy Zieman who had and still has a show on PBS called, Sewing with Nancy and Sandra Betzina who had a show on HGTV in its early days called, Sew Perfect. Although she has an amazing site complete with videos called, Power Sewing.

I'm referencing these because so many sewists search the internet for sewing knowledge these days.  However, I learned through books and sewing shows on TV...sort of like Craftsy now.  Anyway, I encourage everyone to not only look at the newer sewing players on the scene but to look at some of the sewing teachers that have been in the game for awhile.  There is so much knowledge there to be accessed.
...stepping off soap box now...

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Jolsen asked, "How do you launder your wools, do you dry clean them?"
Yes, I do dry clean my wools.  But as someone else noted, I have a large wardrobe. Unless something is really a favorite a garment usually only gets one or two wears a season. So it takes a minute for something to need to be dry cleaned. I'm a huge proponent of hanging items to air out before putting them back into the closet. I do this in my laundry room. I believe this also helps with not having to dry clean a garment so often.

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Lastly I'd like to give a wearability update on a couple of pieces I've recently worn. First, the faded plaid pants are pillers - yeap, where the legs rub together the fabric is/was pilling.  I did remove the pilling when I got home but it will make me choose these pants last when needing a pair to wear. There was no way to tell during the purchase, construction or finishing of these pants that they would be pillers because the fabric had smooth fibers. But they pill so some of the shine is off them.

The four gore flare skirt was easy to wear...however...that polyester lining can be a little clingy. Okay who am I fooling ALOT clingy.  So the antic static spray got a workout that day but otherwise the skirt was great and the outfit garnered a few compliments.

Thanks to everyone who've left a comment on the garments that I've highlighted this week. A very special thanks to everyone who commented on the photographs. I still see some areas where I can improve but I have learned that having some fun is the way to go with the picture taking. always more later!


  1. I don't know if the sew through sport elastic is the same but I get that in rolls from Newark Dressmaker catalog. I have been thinking about trying some on pants as I like putting it in the boxers I sew. Love the blue pants and cardi.

  2. CAROLYN I LOVE YOUR HOUSE! Thanks for indulging my lurk with that wide view shot :)

  3. Awesome Carolyn thanks so much for sharing with us.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. Also thanks for talking about wardrobe basics, as I was feeling the need to keep up with others and make fancy complicated items, when what I need at the moment is just something to wear!

  5. Thanks for this great recap and to the person who asked about dry cleaning. Here is another tip for static cling - rub lotion on your tights or hose or socks. It really works and doesn't gunk up the legwear at all.

  6. Thanks for the reminder about "old" sewing shows. I taped lots of them back when I had a new baby (20 years ago) and have them in a closet somewhere! I might have to pull those out and watch them again!!

  7. Cool, thanks Carolyn, for all the links and info!

  8. Carolyn, you are so generous with your knowledge--thank you! I agree with all you said about seeking out sewing lessons from experienced experts. Because I learned to sew from my mother, I tend to give the side eye to teachers under a certain age. I know that's irrational, but it's true! :) LOL!!

  9. I had some fun today with my daughter taking some photos of some recent garments. I did a "Carolyn" and danced about (without music). They came out pretty good. Must do a blog post tomorrow. Shame about those pants pilling.

  10. Thank you for taking time to address readers' questions. I will absolutely be using the pre-treating method you linked to when I get around to working with wool. I have just loved the career-wear pieces you've posted lately; they're so well-made and flattering!

  11. Thank you for responding to comments. I enjoy your blog and always look forward to your posts.

  12. Any one have a good suggestion for the least static cling-y lining? I know, no accounting for humidity or lack of same, but all good ideas welcome (and I live in Seattle, which is humid enough all the time).

  13. I too taped those old shows, and the Shirley Adams ones were AWESOME!!! I also have all of her books--they are well worth searching out.

  14. Love the wide view shot! Carolyn, why have you not made the tablecloth skirt? I know you could make it yours.

  15. Carolyn,
    there is a way to test whether a fabric will pill before it is made up into a garment. One of my grandmothers taught me to rub the fabric against itself briskly for more than a minute. Do this near a corner or the selvage and if it does pill you can always use the yardage for a garment that won't rub against itself as much as pants or a jacket.
    You can also test fabrics for how easily they wrinkle by grasping a corner and crushing it fiercely in your hand for more than a minute. (You are applying heat and force at the same time.)
    Happy sewing. Melissa Brown

    1. Melissa - thanks for that! I knew about the wrinkle test but not about the pill test. Thanks for sharing that!!!

  16. Just a bit of info to add here... You can still download Shirley Adams' archived PBS programs at It's a very informative resource for anyone who likes to sew.


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