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Thread: For the seamstresses out there...

  1. #81
    New In Town Mabel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    In a Lubitsch film
    Posts
    29
    *How long have you been sewing?
    I got a sewing machine for Christmas when I was 9.

    *How did you learn to sew?
    Years of 4-H classes, and my Grandmother. She was an accomplished seamstress who could make an entire mens lined suit by hand. NO pattern.

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    A simple shirt and skirt as a 4-H project.

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?

    Handbags. I love handbags, I have a collection of vintage handbag patterns and I make them to match every outfit. I also make belts to match.

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    The very end, when I can put all the pretty embellishments on.

    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Making the muslin, then having to take it all apart again.

    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    Most of my patterns are super old and from all sorts of now-defunct brands. For modern or houseware items I just draw the patterns pieces myself.

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    Thirties and forties day dresses.

    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    I do sometimes. I redraw the pattern pieces on cheap wrapping paper, because old patterns are usually very fragile. When I do this I can then alter them for my measurements.

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?

    I own a serger and I use it a lot. French seams also, for especially delicate fabrics.

    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    Mostly for myself now, but sometimes I will make something for a good friend. When I was young I made stuff for people all the time. I made my best friend's prom dress in high school.

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    I love sewing with linen. I have made myself several vintage linen outfits.

    *What are your favorite trims?
    I like to crochet delicate little collars and cuffs in thin white cotton for blouses. I also love edge bindings, especially if they are an unusual contrast to the fabric.

    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    No, I make muslins instead.

    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you recommend it to others?
    I have two New Home machines, one serger and one computerized embroidery machine. I also have a Singer from the thirties that I love sewing with, it's my main machine. I would recommend both brands, they are quality construction.

    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Get yourself some good reference books, they are indispensable. A few I recommend are:

    Sew What! Skirts: This is a great book for beginners, it has detailed instructions on how to make 16 different types of skirts, without having to buy expensive patterns.


    Fabric Savvy
    : a great reference book on various fabrics listed in alphabetical order; what tools to use with different fabrics, what problems you will encounter with each fabric, what the best finishing methods are, and more. I reference this book every single time I buy a new piece of fabric and start a project.

    Couture Sewing Techniques: This is a fantastic reference book for intermediate and advanced sewers. It teaches all the little tricks and secrets that are used in high quality couture garments to give them that extra polish that differentiates them from average pret-a-porter. These are the techniques you need to produce heirloom quality clothing.

    How To Make Sewing Patterns: This book is from the 70's, but it is absolutely the best book ever on how to design your own patterns from scratch. My Grandmother gave me a copy of it when I was a teenager and I learned more from it than from all the sewing lessons I had as a child. It is so fantastic it's still in print.
    Cultivate your curves - they may be dangerous but they won't be avoided. ---Mae West

    There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. ---Sir Francis Bacon

  2. #82
    New In Town geekgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    20
    *How long have you been sewing?
    Since I was a little kid, early 30 some years

    *How did you learn to sew?
    Sitting on my mothers lap before I was tall enough to reach the presser foot & then with her standing behind me, giving directions.

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    A dress & pinafore for my friends cabbage patch doll when I was in 1st grade

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?

    Anything historic or any of the costumes my daughter comes up with.

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    The end! Pulling something out of the closet years later, looking at it & thinking "dang, I did a good job on this!"

    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Hemming. It was my mom's least favorite job so she always made me do it & now I'm sick of it too.

    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    I rarely use patterns & when I do, I never follow the directions anyway.

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    18th Century & regency gowns are the most rewarding, but I sew 1940s dresses & skirts most often.

    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    I trace all my patterns onto tracing paper, whether they are vintage or modern.

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?

    seam allowances for 20th C things are zig-zagged or bound or flat felled, depending on the material. Historic stuff always gets flat felled or other appropriate historic treatment, which sometimes means doing nothing. Hems are usually hand sewn blind hem unless I'm in a rush, in which case I will machine the blind hem. On very fine fabric I will hand roll the hem but it takes forever!

    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    I sew for my daughter & my fiance. I also sew historic clothes for friends babies. Why? Because I like the challenge & there is only so much I can wear myself!

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    I only sew with natural materials, linen wool or silk. I'm a snob like that.

    *What are your favorite trims?
    I rarely use any special trim.

    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    Yes, I have a self made duct tape double.

    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you recommend it to others?
    I have 3 Singers & a Kenmore plus a Singer serger. I love the Singers most, especially my 2 old ones (1958 & 1963). Sturdy, simple, reliable.

    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Start small. Always sew with high quality materials & high quality thread. Don't be afraid to sew by hand. Keep trying, it gets easier.

    Chole

  3. #83
    One of the Regulars Tenuki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    201
    How long have you been sewing?
    Since 1976, 36 years. My most enduring craft.

    How did you learn to sew?
    While my mom sewed, she didn't teach me, as far as I remember. I took a 7th grade sewing class with Mrs. Agner, whom my West Point graduate father called a drill sargeant.

    What was the first project you made that you remember?
    I'm sure we had smaller projects to sew in that class, but I vaguely remember my final project. It was a dress with a yoke, made from oatmeal colored cotton fabric.

    Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    At the moment, I'd say dresses.

    What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    Pressing seams open. That probably sounds odd, but it signals to me that I'm making progress. Also, I find ironing soothing.

    What is your least favorite thing?
    At the moment, fitting. I'm struggling with it but improving so this step is becoming more enjoyable.

    Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    I've always liked Vogue Patterns, but I get the best fit for the least effort with Folkwear. Advance Patterns is rapidly becoming a favorite.

    What era do you like sewing best?
    I don't have a favorite, at least not yet. My wardrobe is ecclectic, temporily speaking, and I don't feel the need to restrict my vintage wardrobe to one era or continent.

    Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    I've done a little sewing with vintage patterns. Since I'm working on the fitting issue, I decided that for my next vintage pattern project, I would first trace the pattern and do the fitting stage on the traced pieces so I can preserve the original.

    How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    For unlined garments, I use French seams as much as possible. Flat-felled next. Pinked or zigzagged only if I really have to.

    Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    I have sewn for other people in the past, but stopped when a co-worker agreed to pay for the outfit she commissioned then failed to pay when I delivered, even though she was happy with the result. I occasionally sew for my spouse, when he requests something specific.

    What's your favorite type of fabric to sew? Rayon challis and wool crepe.

    What are your favorite trims? Buttons because I live near Nancy's Sewing Basket and their Wall of Buttons.

    Do you use a dress form? Which brand? Yes, the Uniquely You dress form.

    What brand is your sewing machine? Would you reccomend it to others? I use a Pfaff 1523. Yes, if you only need a basic sewing machine. It is non-computerized, has a minimum number of stitches, including a few decorative stitches and a nice buttonhole, but its the best feature is the Integrated Dual Feed. There is a foot behind the presser foot feeds the top and bottom layers together. Brilliant.

    And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Start with a simple project using easy to work with fabrics. I suggest a pillowcase or simple skirt in a woven fabric in a woven cotton or wool. Have fun. Learn hand sewing.
    "Kids today, with their crazy music and automatic weapons." - Dick Stein

    http://tenukihandcrafts.wordpress.com/

    tenukihandcrafts on Ravelry

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