Monday, February 4, 2013

Thought clippings and some progress

I can't believe it's February 4 already. I had a busy January which is usually the only time of the year I get some down time. So who knows what this year will bring.

Last weekend was my birthday weekend, so my hubby and I, my daughter, and two Grands met up in Berkeley for a little fun. We got there early so had time to go to Stone Mountain and Daughter which is my all time favorite fabric store. I got several pieces that called to me, and you'll see many of them over the course of the next few months. Then we had lunch at a Brazilian place, never had Brazilian food before, but we'll be going back. It was yummy. Then over to Laci's textile museum. They are the most fascinating place, and I'd wanted to go for years and never got there before. The exhibit was exquisite hand made laces from as early as the 1600s. We got a history lesson along with the docent led tour. My husband wasn't too thrilled when I first talked to him about it, but loved it as much as we did. They even had one piece made of human hair in the 1500s I think!

My second pair of brown pants are complete except for the waistband hook and eye. They look good, and did require a bit of alterations. I'm not sure why, but my standard pattern draft had got off somewhere along the line. These are a charcoal and bittersweet chocolate pinstripe that I actually cut cross grain because I don't want stripes going around these hips! LOL Pictures will follow.

After taking Don McCunn's pants class multiple years and about 50 pounds ago, I have drafted all of my own pants patterns and at this point don't have any RTW pants in my closet. But I get lazy, and as you make multiple copies, the darts start to fall apart, as does the front markings for the fly. So instead of doing a new draft, I copy, and then recopy, and then change for whatever design feature I want, and so on and so forth. Well, after the brown wool fiasco, I bit the bullet and redrafted the pants pattern once again true to my current measurements, so I should be ready to go.

I'm going to do what I call instant gratification sewing for a week or so, and then back to pants. I have several tees in the works that will go along with my SWAP, and not look like plain tee shirts, but a little dressier and/or interesting. I love, love, love, stripes, but again, at this size, don't want stripes running around my body. I found this wonderful cotton/lycra knit at Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley, and couldn't pass it up. It's the stripes I love, good colors, and fits perfectly in with my SWAP.

I sure hope you guys like my ideaas much as I think I will. That's on the cutting board right now, but it is taking a while as I want the stripes matched perfectly.

As I've been driving, sewing, and my various other tasks, I've been thinking about all things sewing, and thought I'd share. If you know everything, then skip this part.

Pins, scissors, and pointy things. We all know to get our scissors sharpened because they do get dull, even if you're careful to only use them on fabric. A gentleman who used to come around showed me how to tell when you're due. If your fabric is kind of bunching up as you cut, it's time. Along those lines, I just had the most amazing thought pop up a few months ago. I am good about having my scissors sharpened, but was using a seam ripper that was probably 25 years old. They, too, need to be replaced. And what a difference it makes! :P}}

Pins... I have multiple types of pins. For me, ruining a fabric that I purchased and loved because I had a pin not sharp enough that pulled the threads is so frustrating! And it has happened rather frequently with knits before I started replacing all of my pins every 3 to 6 months, depending upon how much I use them. Having a run up the front or back of a beautiful knit fabric because your pin had a burr is nightmarish! I have separate pin cushions, and/or magnetic pin cushions for my various types. I use ball point for knits; round head pins for wovens, sometimes the flower head pins for wovens, as they have long, narrow shafts that work well on thick fabrics, and I have dedicated silk pins for fine fabrics. It just makes my life easier.

Thoughts on pockets... use twill tape along the pocket edge seam line, about 1/4" shorter than the seam, and stretch to fit as you're sewing. It will keep your pants pockets from gapping. Also, I use twill tape along the back crotch line seam. If you've ever had a back seam pop, you'll know much more security with that little piece of twill tape to reinforce your stitching!

When I'm making pants pockets, after stitching the underside to the outside, I pink the seams at different widths. Then press open on a Tailor's Board, and press together over a ham using lots of steam to get it nice and flat. Once you have it flat, do your topstitching, and again, press over the ham, using lots of steam and a clapper. Your pockets will look super professional.

Along those lines, I do use my ham more than any other tool in my sewing room except my machines. Whenever you are pressing a part of a garment that goes over curves, the ham is your best friend. I use it to press darts, pin my pocket bags together, be sure my waistbands are pinned well, and so many other areas where one side is being drawn in to a smaller side. Try it. You may find your garments coming together just a bit nicer!

Well, it's Monday morning, and my week needs to get moving. Hope yours is fantastic!

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