Thursday, June 06, 2013

Red Details

When I was sewing with my friend/houseguest, we discussed equipment and tools. My recommendation to a beginning hobbyist is to buy a good quality sewing machine first. You can sew almost anything you desire on it, as long as you know a few techniques.

 Save the money you would have spent on both a mediocre sewing machine and a serger and put that into a good sewing machine.  Then save up for a good serger.  I didn't buy a serger until after I had been sewing seriously for nearly a decade.

For example, when I made my refashioned red shirt, I didn't feel like changing the thread in the serger so I made the shirt entirely with my sewing machine.
The red tab detail was worth the extra effort.  I made the tabs with fabric from one sleeve.

The armhole seam was sewn in the round.  Then the shirt body seam allowance (SA) was trimmed and the sleeve SA folded over and sewn in a flat-fell seam.  See how clean it looks on the underside?

You can see that I sewed the side seams with a narrow zig-zag (0.5 mm), pressed them open, and then used a wide (5.0 mm) zig-zag to hold them open.  I used French seams for the sleeve seams in the light-weight woven cotton.
Hems were turned under and stitched with a twin needle and the needle thread tension loosened two settings from normal (from 4 to 2 on my machine).  Loosen your top needle tension, lengthen the stitch to 2.8-3.0 mm, and you should have no trouble with the dreaded "tunneling" on firm knits.

For softer knits, you may need to loosen the top thread further, use a narrower twin needle spacing, or resort to a strip of light fusible tricot or tearaway/dissovable stabilizer.  Test on a scrap until you are happy with the results.

I use and reuse basics such as Kwik Sew 2555, often.  This time, I cut a size small instead of the medium in Fashion Fail.  Small gives a more fashionable and closer fit, but I think I will grade between the small and medium sizes because I am more comfortable with a looser fit.  The medium looked just plain sloppy and awful.

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