Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

Stitching and Sewing

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I am going to be adding some pictures of the current work in progress today. This is what I am working on and it’s very sexy! Even for an old bat who by the way, doesn’t wear tennis shoes or things that don’t match —–

Gorgeous Silk Blouse  McCall 6605 Version B

Gorgeous Silk Blouse
McCall 6605 Version B

This was a super easy cut out. For all of us who sew, I think cutting something out is the hardest part. If you’re like me, you have to cut fabric on a flat surface that is NOT the floor. I clean off my sewing table which is 36″ x 80″. It is too low. Its former incarnation was as an old kitchen table. It has a “wood” grain formica top. This is great because I don’t care if I mess it up. Also I can paint, etc. on it and not worry about damaging wood. I have hungered for an adjustable height table but the cost is around $2,000 so that will not be coming to my house unless I win the Powerball.

I am doing a muslin of sorts for this shirt. I’m using old sari silk I purchased for $8 and there was quite a lot of it. It is magenta and gold with a border typical of this kind of fabric. I wasn’t able to include the decorative border in the shirt. At first I thought I could use it for the tie but it isn’t wide enough.

This fabric ravels something awful. I have to put in the gathers on the front and back yoke and a french seam wouldn’t work there. I have wrapped seam binding around the raw edges before I gathered them. This is a Hong Kong seam. It will keep the fabric from raveling and looking nasty. I overlocked the other edges with the #31 stitch on the Bernina 440 QE.

A word about sewing machines – a serger would be a wonderful thing to have. I don’t have one as I spent my allotted machine money on a Bernina – which I got really cheap at the time. Oil was $4.00 a gallon and no one in Maine was spending any money. The machine dealer had a special to get business in the door and I got my life-long dream of a Bernina.

If you have a serger you are familiar with how to use it. You also know you need a sewing machine too. I can sew clothing with just the machine but I do have to take extra steps. I think a serger is great for knits. For a fine woven like this I would also stay with the sewing machine.

I read a post where a sewist was having trouble with puckered seams on silk. There is a fantastic trick to sewing with silk or other slippery fabrics that tend to pucker after sewing. Take some tracing paper or other thin paper and cut strips – these can be an inch or just a bit more. Put the layers down paper first then the two fabric layers. Stitch. Then carefully rip off the paper which will have been perforated with your stitching. This will stabilize your fabric and it won’t pucker.

I purchased some great buttons from Waechter’s Fine Fabrics in Asheville. Also a great source of fabrics and you can find them at http://www.fabricsandbuttons.com – check out the cool silks! These are the buttons for this shirt

Pink Shell Button Waechter's Fine Fabrics

Pink Shell Button
Waechter’s Fine Fabrics

Once I sit down and start putting this together it should only take a couple of hours. Basically because I sew slow making sure I get all the finishes right. Then sewing on the buttons and pressing and I’m done.

On pressing – read the blog at Gorgeous Fabrics. Ann is a pressinatrix of the first order. It is important that you press as you go – not just at the end of the construction. I press each seam after I sew it to set the stitching into the cloth. Then I press it open or not depending on how the seam will be finished. I’m doing french seams in this shirt so I will press the first 1/4″ seam then trim it and then do the seam on the wrong side and press it. Every step I sew will be pressed. This keeps the shirt from looking ah sloppy. It is an absolute necessity.

Pictures today of the actual fabric and seams …………. stay tuned!

or Hong Kong finish, a seam-binding technique

or Hong Kong finish, a seam-binding technique (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

French seam

French seam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Author: Jennifer

I came from a family who made things. My father was a carpenter with a passion for making furniture. My mother sewed, crocheted, cooked and made a home on a shoestring. My grandmothers both quilted. As a teenager, I found batik through a wonderful art teacher who allowed me the freedom to batik yards of fabric. I then cut them up into a pattern and wore the item I made. I was ecstatic. I painted in my teens and twenties and my parents gracefully supplied me with oil paints and turpentine. When I needed an easel, my father took me to the shop where he worked and made me one. When he found unused and unwanted canvas, he brought it home and stretched it for me with wood from his shop at home. I was indulged at every step of the way. I wasn't ever told that I could not do something or that I should not do something. I was given freedom to chose my path in life. A blessed life I have lived, for sure.

One thought on “Stitching and Sewing

  1. Pingback: Bike Meets Sewing Machine |

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