Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just thinking of things

As I was working on finishing my next Collette Sorbetto top, I started making mental lists. It's something I do too frequently without getting the thoughts on paper. So I figured I'd share with you too.

!. Probably most important: NOTE TO SELF ~
No matter how lazy you are feeling, or how much you'd like it to be true, adding extra inches at the sides of a garment do not and WILL NOT EVER substitute for a full bust adjustment. You know it, so just don't go there.

2. The Sorbetto top worked well with adding inches to the sides in a knit...DUH! but not so well in a woven. PERHAPS everyone who says you can wear a size smaller in a knit than a woven knows more than I do! I need to go back and do an FBA and get this pattern working right for the wovens. It is a perfect TNT summer shell for either wearing under a jacket for work or on its own for play. Once it actually fits correctly, I have a half dozen or so "design changes" in mind.

3. I reminded myself that I am not going to have any more UFOS if at all possible. Which means I finished that top mentioned above even though it may hang in my closet for a month or so while I continue to shrink.

4. Moving on... something you may not know that works super well. When making a top with a cowl, if you add a small pocket on the inside bottom of the facing with a snap closure and insert a coin... quarters work really well... it keeps the cowl facing inside where it belongs.

5. When starting and ending a seam, if you reduce the size of your stitches to 1.5 or so, it eliminates the need for backstitching, and eliminates bulk. Just remember to increase it again when you are past the crossover seam allowance, and reduce again towards the end of the seam. It is HARD to tear these out, which tells me it's good for keeping them in!

6. Pants. After trying every pants pattern known to man, I took a pants drafting class from Don McCunn of How to Make Sewing Patterns fame. It was the smartest thing I ever did. It takes me less than an hour to do a new draft. A few minutes longer if I'm doing quarter pockets. It will fit my body perfectly. Everyone else I know takes a pattern, redrafts it to what they think the alterations are supposed to be, does a muslin, figures out more changes, alters the pattern again, and so on for at least a few tries before they get an "acceptable" fit. I don't understand why everyone doesn't draft their own patterns! Once you have a perfectly fitting pants sloper, you can add design changes and make whatever you see!

7. When making pants, if you insert a piece of twill tape in the curve of the back crotch seam about 3 or so inches long, you won't tear out the seam even if try. Or at least I can't.

8. The video on You Tube by Sandra Betzina in how to install a fly front zipper should be watched by everyone who makes pants with a fly front. Since I watched that video, I haven't screwed a pair up and all my trousers have flawless fly fronts. Well, from the outside. I have put the fly cover piece on the wrong side a few times! But that's on the interior and no one knows except me. LOL

9.7. I have to find the time and SOON to perfect the bodice sloper. I signed up for Don's on-line class for that, he calls it the "upper torso" class because it has both men and women in it, but life got in the way and I didn't finish it. That is on my list for this year. I need to perfect my bodice sloper and also draft one for my hubby who is short and muscular from working construction, and has a hard time finding shirts to fit.

10. David Paige Coffin is a genius. I aspire to be as brilliant as he is. I took a class in men's shirt making and we used parts of his book as a textbook. If I had done the men's upper torso sloper mentioned in #9 first, and used the entire book as a textbook, the shirt would have been perfect. It was pretty good, but unfortunately, not knowing how to fit men's shirts made the result go to charity. If someone tells you the way to judge a man's neck is to pin your pattern together on the person, and cut until it fits around his neck, don't listen. It doesn't work and the shirt won't fit correctly.

10. David Paige Coffin's book on Trousers, is also brilliant. Anyone who sews trousers as much as I do needs to have this book. I absolutely LOVE his inseam pockets.

11. I learned to do neckline binding from a Stretch and Sew Pattern for "French Tees." It is easy and I used it on almost every shirt I make that doesn't have a collar whether it be woven or knit. The trick to getting it to be flat is to sew with the binding on the top, and stretch the binding until it slightly cups as you're sewing it to the neck edge. Don't stretch the neck edge. Works great.

12. I've been sewing for about 40 years and only learned how to do mitered corners when I learned how to do the neck bindings. Just sad, really. But that's what happens when you're a self taught sewer who won't admit she can't do something that "everyone" knows how to do.

13. Sewing machines should not be sold with a foot that has a "lip" at 5/8". (US) Also a 1/4" foot with the same lip, and a narrow edge foot with the lip down the middle for top stitching, etc. If I had those three feet when I learned to sew, all of my garments would have looked much more professional. The narrow edge foot with a machine where the needle will move sideways even will make perfect double rows of top stitching without using a double needle and having the zig zags on the bottom.

14. Buying serger thread with two regular and two wooly nylon cones (for a four thread serger) in all of the main colors you use for sewing is a bit pricey to start with but in the long run saves you time and effort. I have navy, black, white, ecru, and various blues. I use them frequently! And, yes, I do have a bit of perfectionism. But I love the insides of my garments to look as good as the outsides!

Enough. Back to my new navy pants. Even though I didn't technically finish the SWAP, I'm moving forward with my plans. I have another pair of navy trousers cut and started, a piece of the gray for the gray pants suit on the cutting board, jeans up next and more fabric ready to go for more pants and spring and summer tops. I need to do some power sewing over the next few months. I'd like at least four more pair of work pants and a half dozen or so woven blouses, plus the knits, oh, and a few more jackets, and some overblouses.

Hope you find something helpful in the above thoughts.
More later!

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