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The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: MaryW
Date: 06-30-2005, 10:10 AM (1 of 16)
Please post your answers to this question here, thanks. Kathleen posted this on her site.

I could write a book for homesewers on these topics if I knew what they consider their problems to be. Maybe I should rephrase my question to: If you could buy a sewing book that gave you what you really wanted to know, what information would it contain?
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: MaryW
Date: 06-30-2005, 10:44 AM (2 of 16)
I would want to know different options to facings and closures.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: esrun3
Date: 06-30-2005, 08:39 PM (3 of 16)
easiest way to sew with knits, when is it ok to change a neckline with a facing to a neckline with ribbing or seam binding, what if I dont' want to use a zipper-how do I convert - especially if there aren't any darts (ie: in skirt or pants). Also little things that you tend to forget unless you do them all the time (how to do a blind hem, standards for elastic & ribbing ie: waist measurement plus 1 inch for elastic), which kind of buttonhole when?
User: esrun3
Member since: 12-02-2004
Total posts: 2345
From: Dede
Date: 07-01-2005, 07:55 AM (4 of 16)
Finishing touches, different techniques for putting in zippers, facings, pattern alterations and fitting and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

If the book is aimed at beginners, intermediate or advanced sewers, I would guess the needs and wants would differ quite a bit.
User: Dede
Member since: 03-23-2001
Total posts: 469
From: Zabelle
Date: 07-01-2005, 08:21 AM (5 of 16)
Lots of info on fabrics. Their composition, how they hang, what kind of garment they would suit best, if they will shrink a lot, how to wash and iron them. Especially that - the laundry part. Unfortunately the fabric we buy in stores does not come with a label as for clothes. I'm often at a loss as to how preshrink, laundry and iron it. :nc:

And maybe also, cheaper substitutes : substitutes for what the pattern may ask for (i. e., a certain kind of fabric, or notions) ; and substitutes for sewing tools. You sometimes mention them in your sewing tips and I love those them.
English sewing journal: Kitty Couture
In French: Journal d'une cousette
User: Zabelle
Member since: 02-25-2004
Total posts: 98
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 07-01-2005, 11:31 AM (6 of 16)
I don't know about your fabrics, but here the fabric shops have the care guide for every bolt of fabric. (required by law, I guess) They will give you a physical record if you ASK for it.. You have to ask, though, in most stores..I just usually check the bolt as I am choosing my purchases.. I do not buy 'hand wash' or 'dry clean only'. If I do buy a piece once in a while, I will test it in the washer on delicate cycle before I sew it.. I do not want to hand wash anything ever again.. My hands are pushed enough with my sewing and crafting.. I can always find something I like that is machine washable.. :bg: :bg:
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: Zabelle
Date: 07-01-2005, 11:58 AM (7 of 16)
Thank you for the info Libby! :bluesmile
Unfortunately in France, things tend to be less regulated - I'm almost sure there isn't any law about fabric specification in stores. Nothing like your Joanns! :bluewink: You often buy fabric on the local markets, or in very small shops... Even in the biggest stores of Paris, I'm not sure they will tell me such details - they will much rather tell me they're too busy to help! :re: (which is often true...)

I'm especially curious about how much a fabric will shrink. I had a bad experience once... It was some kind of terry cloth and although I had preshrunk it, it shrank more when I washed the finished item (tablemats) :cry: I wish I'd known better!
English sewing journal: Kitty Couture
In French: Journal d'une cousette
User: Zabelle
Member since: 02-25-2004
Total posts: 98
From: AndreaSews
Date: 07-01-2005, 08:25 PM (8 of 16)
I second the comments about fabric types. A whole chapter on this! I'd like an up-close shot showing the fabric grain paired with a shot showing it used on a garment. For ex, the lady at the fabric store described Challis for me whenI asked b/c my pattern called for it. But since she couldn't find me a bolt of it, I still have no idea how to recognize it if I see it!
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: mommydionne
Date: 07-02-2005, 09:34 AM (9 of 16)
factory techniques for me... zippers, facings, how to turn a jacket lining with the tacks in place, pattern drafting from a manufacturing point of view (ie streamlined no "extra pieces" just to slow you down (you would not believe how many pattern pieces I will toss now b/c they are just not needed), how to judge a pattern (is it worth spending my small amount of leisure time on?),

When is it worth trying a factory technique on a home machine and how to substitue techniques with different feet etc. I personally like the fastest streamlined method (except for heirloom that just takes time and patience),
You should see me whip up kids pjs and t's :bg: speed sewing on the serger!!

How to create garments without a pattern, draping fascinates me but I have never tried.

and as always FIT FIT FIT

lots of request eh? :Canada:
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: mamahoogie
Date: 07-02-2005, 10:50 AM (10 of 16)
I agree with so many of these suggestions...especially how to draft your own pattern or how to change it they way it would suit you better.
Fabric quality is another thing. The companies that produce the fabric go by the specifications of who is buying it. The same pattern that is so much cheaper at the big "W" and other discount fabric places then at the quilt shops is because of how it is made - quality of fabric to begin with and the processing/finishing. You get what you pay for is what I've learned.

I love to change patterns/pockets/collars etc. I would love a book on that.
I've decided to live forever - so far, so good.
User: mamahoogie
Member since: 12-25-2002
Total posts: 461
From: UndercoverC
Date: 07-03-2005, 11:38 AM (11 of 16)
I just finished college a little while back, and the books we used for my fashion design classes were really helpful. Draping is alot of fun but takes some practice and a dressform (which I don't have) or else a patient friend that doesn't mind being poked (alot) with pins. Our books were Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong and The Art of Fashion Draping by Connie Amaden-Crawford. I also have another book by a few of the professors at FIT in NYC that I can't find to tell you the name of. It is also a few years old and I think our of print. These books are fairly pricey but include pretty much everything you'll need to know to make the pattern for most garments. That said, I didn't learn enough about sewing or designing with knits and about designing/making undergarments and foundation garments.
User: UndercoverC
Member since: 07-01-2005
Total posts: 3
From: paroper
Date: 07-03-2005, 01:14 PM (12 of 16)
If I were to write a book I'd start with the basics: How to measure and what measurments are needed for a good fit; How to choose a pattern that is best for my figure. They need to know where to look for the measurments on a patternor pattern book. What are easements and how those translate to tight, loose, bulky fit and the difference between the needed ease in a light weight garment as opposed to a heavy bulky garment, from a blouse to a jacket. Where the "extra ease" is needed in a jacket. How to decide if the pattern's measurments are right for the fabric I'll be using and how to choose fabric that is correct. Also include a little information on how to do basic alterations on a pattern and how to use the 3-size pattern cutting lines to your advantage.

Include a small discussion on scissors and how to choose good scissors for cutting, clipping, etc and scissors that fit your hand and "handidness". How important it is to lay the garment flat when it is cut out and the advantages, disadvantages, and safety considerations when using a rotary cutter.

It so important to know that the look of the final product is often decided with the first pin when it is layed out. I am amazed at how many people don't know how to determine if the fabric is on the straight and what the cross grain and straight of grain means. It is also important for them to know how to measure and lay the pattern on the grainline. Along with that, a little information about laying and matching plaids along with cautions about one way designs, plaids, stripes, etc. A little information about how to properly pin the garment at right angles to each edge, pinning from the inside toward the edges so that the pattern does not shift when it is pinned.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: mommydionne
Date: 07-03-2005, 04:34 PM (13 of 16)
I have the Armstrong book (have an older edition, have had mine for 10+ yrs) but may look into getting the draping one, very interesting!!
User: mommydionne
Member since: 01-08-2004
Total posts: 838
From: mamagoose
Date: 07-05-2005, 04:53 PM (14 of 16)
I agree with the facings and fabrics suggestions.

How to avoid having your garment scream homemade: such as 5/8" seams showing through to the outside either from lack of grading or trimming down. Using 1/4 - 1/2" seams where need be (which would mean adjusting the pattern for most companies), but it is especially evident on front plackets, etc.; clipping curves alternately; pressing as you go!!! especially use of a clapper, seam stick and press cloth; knowing when to understitch even if the directions don't call for it; directional sewing w/bad examples showing why you need to.

Fabric combining: including leather trims, hand crocheted and knitted trims and collars; knits w/woven (satin) trims, etc.; (because most of us don't dress up to go dancing) - dressing up casual patterns using elegant fabric; dressing down elegant fabrics with casual patterns.

Maybe include some classic pattern pieces to practice with for techniques offered in the book? I really think a bad example paired with a good example of techniques would be helpful. After working with many beginners, it would be nice if they could see what is unacceptable and maybe then be able to distinguish the difference in their own work.
User: mamagoose
Member since: 01-26-2002
Total posts: 168
Date: 07-05-2005, 10:05 PM (15 of 16)
What wonderful ideas you all have! I would just add some "order of work" articles. Say one each for different dresses, skirts, shirts, pants. I have a few great books on "how to" do each individual item, but I woud love to be able to confidently know where to start, literally, when it comes to the order of sewing. It is not always that obvious to a semi-newbie like myself.

Member since: 07-05-2005
Total posts: 1
From: MaryW
Date: 07-06-2005, 08:43 AM (16 of 16), hi and welcome to Sew Whats New. :bluesmile
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
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