Friday, July 29, 2011

tips and techniques

I'm sure most of you already know this stuff, but I'm gonna go basic on you for a minute.  Here are a few sewing tips that will take your projects to the next level.  I only learned the hard way, yeah, things I would never wear...

Grainline

After you've pre-treated your fabric, and before you have cut into it, you need to make sure your fabric is on the grainline. I could get all technical, but why rewrite the book...

This website is great and straight forward explaining what it is, here
And a great story of cutting off grain, here

Pattern pieces have an arrow showing which direction to lay them out. The arrow will go on the straight grain, parallel to the selvage.


selvage

Pressing

This is probably the most important aspect of sewing, that prevents your garment from looking home made.

Before you lay out your pattern pieces, make sure to iron.  If there are wrinkles you'll have wonky pieces cut out.
Then, after each seam you sew, press.  No, seriously, you need to press as you sew.  The stitches are kind of like 3D, when you press, you meld/blend/fuse the stitches into the fabric, making the seam smooth. Does that make sense?
It sounds like a lot, but the fact is you will spend as much time pressing as you do sewing.  It will make the biggest difference in the look of your finished piece.



This article highlights different types of pressing here
Great video on pressing here
And a favorite because of her tough love attitude on pressing, haha, here

Careful with delicate fabrics, use a pressing cloth or piece of scrap fabric not to damage.  Shininess can occur.

Darts

Not a huge fan of sewing darts.  Dunno why.  Maybe cause I usually mess them up?  Eh, I have found when I sew slower, I don't screw them up as much, go figure.  But they are a necessary part of making clothes fit to our curved shape.  They take away the extra fabric just where we need it.

Threads Magazine has a great video tutorial on how to sew them, here
And from the Colette blog that brings you the Sorbetto, just posted today, here




Bias binding

Bias refers to a diagonal direction between the lengthwise and crosswise grains.  True bias is 45 degrees.  If you didn't read the first article listed for grainline info above, it talks about bias as well. What I find immensely fun in a true nerd way, is the stretch you get of bias!  It's just kinda cool how fabric can do that.  
The stretch from bias tape can be easily applied to curved areas, not so much if it was on the straight grain.  That would not be a fun sewing adventure.


bias made from vintage scraps



and stretched-weeee!


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