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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: sewing maven
Date: 04-07-2006, 01:11 PM (1 of 7)
I have an unfinished project that is really a thorn in my side. I designed a dress for ME for my 50th birthday (last Nov.). It is a corset type bodice with a layered flounced skirt. The under structure of the bodice made out of a lightweight duck, came out perfect, fit right, and provided support. I covered the duck with silk charmuse. Then I started to cut the silk burnout velvet, that to complicate matters worse is hand beaded. This was a very expensive fabric - I bought it in the garment district and still paid $35. a yard.

No matter what I have tried I can't sew the bodice! I use an industrial Juki straight stitch machine although I also have a small home machine that I also can use. I have tried more tension, less tension, a variety of presser feet (I do not have a walking foot yet), silk thread, ball needles, extra name it. The fabric shifts so badly that it is impossible even with careful basting to sew a straight seam. On top of which, everywhere there is a bead, the beads catch in the feed dog. I finally stitched the bodice panels (all 7) together by hand. Then I removed the beads from the seam allowance at the top and machined it to the understructure.

Honestly, it looks horrid. Now I understand why couture gowns are so expensive. The bodice hangs correctly, but although the hand stiches are very fine and close together (I used a 1/2 back stitch) they look like a 6 year old sewed them!

I am now ready to tackle this project again, in hopes that I can finish it by my 51st birthday! Any hints or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks, Lisa
User: sewing maven
Member since: 04-02-2006
Total posts: 11
From: paroper
Date: 04-07-2006, 03:20 PM (2 of 7)
Well, first of all, as you figured out, anytime you sew pre-beaded fabric, you remove ALL beads from about 3/4 of an inch to the edge of the fabric. You also need to carefully tie off all those strings so that the rest of the beads don't come off. You are also supposed to do this with sequins. After the seams have been completed, you are supposed to rebead all the beads that would show back into place. I did a beaded raw silk coat for a customer and ended up with a whole pill box of beads. She had paid $85 a yard for that.

There is a clear seam tape that I would try on those seams. I would attach it from the needle side, not the bobbin side of the garment. It is often used to reinforce the seams. Just sew it on as you go. As a matter of fact, you may be able to feed it though the zig zag opening of your machine foot and let it feed itself straight onto the much easier. I'd just buy a roll or two of this and try it on a scrap before I did anything with it. I think that it will help a lot.

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: Carol in ME
Date: 05-14-2006, 02:58 PM (3 of 7)
You can cheat a little on the beads. You may carefully crush them with needle-nose pliers. Be careful that you don't damage the material while crunching the beads. (I once got the idea to crush several with one squeeze of the pliers, gripping fabric and beads between the two surfaces. I ended up with tiny cuts in the fabric.) Shake out the bead dust over a trash can, and stitch. The advantage to this is there are fewer threads to tie off.
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
From: bunzino
Date: 05-15-2006, 05:25 PM (4 of 7)
Velvet is squiggly and will move on you. I baste by hand w silk thread. This is about the only time I do baste, but it's worth it. By the time you take care of the beads and baste, you should be able to seam w no problem.

If the fabric is shifting forward, use a walking foot. You might also try a roller foot. Both are often recommended for velvet.

User: bunzino
Member since: 08-16-2002
Total posts: 119
From: westozmum
Date: 05-16-2006, 02:09 AM (5 of 7)
Hi Lisa

If anything your fabric sounds wonderful......would love to see some photos.

I totally agree with the tip on removing the beads in the you figured this out.

I would also suggest a walking foot for this type of fabric, you have also found out it is notorious for shifting while sewing. I recently bought a walking foot for my machine and it has been one of my better investments!

Look forward to some photos!
Westozmum aka Laura from the Land Down Under
User: westozmum
Member since: 02-16-2006
Total posts: 41
From: MaryW
Date: 05-16-2006, 08:49 AM (6 of 7)
I had a problem velvet for my daughter's dress. I basted and it didn't help. Then someone told me to baste with a wide zig zag hand stitch. This helped quite a bit. I would also love to see the finished dress, it sounds beautiful.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: stitchmaniac
Date: 05-30-2006, 12:32 AM (7 of 7)
Hope your project turned out. Just a thought, I put a tear-a-way or a water soluable stabalizer under difficult fabric. Depending on the material. It should help with the sliding around.
User: stitchmaniac
Member since: 11-05-2002
Total posts: 43
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