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Thread: For the seamstresses out there...

  1. #71
    "A List" Customer
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    Thank you both! I appreciate the info and advice very much!

    I'm continually disgruntled at how misleading pattern envelopes can be... it says on the back that pleats create the cowl neckline, yet lo and behold, get to step 8 in the instructions and you need these weights! I've found that the 'beginner' rating on vintage patterns is also a bit subjective... I wouldn't consider anything that involves weighting a neckline to be 'beginner' territory.

    Anyway, thanks so much for filling that gap in my sewing knowledge! Hopefully I'll go on with the blouse!

  2. #72
    New In Town Laura Hunt's Avatar
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    A bit late to the party, but here...

    *How long have you been sewing?
    Almost 8 years.

    *How did you learn to sew?
    I found a free, printable doll dress pattern on the internet and followed the instructions. Then I got a book about pattern drafting from the library and made doll clothes from that. It wasn't too difficult a step to human clothes.

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    the aforementioned doll dress (it looked hideous!)

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    I like doing dresses, pants can be fun and quick to sew up sometimes too.

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    Stitching and pressing, and I really like topstitching too.

    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Cutting, marking, and setting in sleeves!

    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    Not really. I like vintage mail-order patterns, and Hollywood patterns because the covers are pretty.

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    1950s. And 1860s.

    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    I try to be as gentle with them as I can. Reprints (as long as ease isn't added to them) are great though!

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    Mostly with self-bias binding; I leave a lot of seams raw though.

    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    I occasionally do some work for family, friends, or clients. I prefer sewing for myself.

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    Lightweight wools are wonderful!

    *What are your favorite trims?
    Rickrack is fun...I love doing any type of bias binding. I hate doing ruffles, they take so much time and effort.

    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    I have an el cheapo Dritz form from Joann's, but it does the job all right.

    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you reccomend it to others?
    I have a modern Brother and a modern Singer Simple. They're okay. The Singer Simple is supposed to be for beginners but I got it several years after I started sewing and didn't find it that simple to use.

    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Try not to lose your patience! Get it in your head right now that sewing involves LOTS of re-doing, ripping out, re-fitting, etc. It can be finicky and frustrating but the end product is worth it.

    Thanks for posting the questions, I loved answering them and reading the replies!
    Everything is subtle, but everything matters.

  3. #73
    Familiar Face
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    Montreal
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    *How long have you been sewing?
    I learned as a little girl, then promptly ignored it unless I had to hem or mend something. Hand sewing I have done for years in the form of doll-making, but I started to become more serious about sewing by machine when my daughter was born two years ago and I wanted to improve my skills in order to be able to make clothing for her and myself.
    *How did you learn to sew?
    My Nana taught me on her ancient White machine.
    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    1988 - my then 7 year old self made my Hallowe'en costume. I was a witch. It was a big t-shirt shaped thing with raggedy edges. I was tremendously proud of it.
    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    I still love hand sewing dolls. By machine I would say that nothing gives more satisfaction than sweet, old-fashioned clothes for my daughter.
    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    Embellishing.
    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Zippers. I hate putting in zippers!
    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    Simplicity for myself, Butterick for my daughter.
    *What era do you like sewing best?
    Late 40's through the 50's to early 60's.
    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    It depends on the condition of the pattern. If it has already been cut and has a million pin-holes then I just poke my pins through the old holes, otherwise I trace it and use the tracing.
    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    I fake an overlock with the zigzag stitch application on my machine.
    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    I'm not very good yet, so only for my daughter and myself. She's too young to protest yet, so I can dress her in whatever I want to(mwahahaha!).
    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    Cotton.
    *What are your favorite trims?
    Ribbon and rickrack.
    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    Ha! I wish! I can't afford one.
    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you reccomend it to others?
    I have two machines and I love them both. Both are Singer. My main machine is a Singer 5802c, which does a straight stitch and zigzag and has a drop off swing arm in front (love!). The other is a Singer 348 with all the cams which I use to do fancy stitches and embroidery, but I find too slow and finicky for plain sewing.
    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Pre-wash your fabric and press everything. Then press it again. And again. You will only get a nice, professional looking finish on really crisp, flat fabric.

  4. #74
    Practically Family Lorena B's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    London, UK
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    567
    *How long have you been sewing?
    Used to customize my own clothes back when i was 15-16 but i started making clothes 4 years ago.
    *How did you learn to sew?
    Watching Youtube videos and with the classic try and error.
    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    A wrap around leopard skirt when i was 16.
    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    Dresses
    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    sewing together the different parts of fabric in order to create something out of it
    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Ironing and darts
    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    No, never paid attention to the brands, just the style of the outfit i want to buy
    *What era do you like sewing best?
    40s/50s
    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    Yes i do used them, i trace them onto tracing paper before using them, a bit of a pain but respects the patterns.
    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    Zigzag stich as i dont have a serger machine
    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    Yes, its a little extra for saving of for when i dont have a job
    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    Cotton, wool.. i dont like stretchy or flimsy fabrics, even if i use them sometime to time
    *What are your favorite trims?
    Love trims.. i love to add them to the trousers, tops...
    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    Yes, its an expanding one. doesnt say the brand but is old.
    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you reccomend it to others?
    off all my machines ( i have 7, dont ask... ) i use my Singer and my Janome
    both are really good to me and i have had no issues with them
    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Patience, iron as you go, do not use expensive fabrics in the beginning, and always check the way the print goes. X
    Last edited by Lorena B; 09-27-2012 at 10:31 AM.

  5. #75
    Call Me a Cab Amy Jeanne's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    2,810
    *How long have you been sewing?
    I learned in 2008.

    *How did you learn to sew?
    A professional seamstress friend showed me the basics, but I ended up figuring most stuff out on my own. I would literally stare at patterns and fabrics until it finally "clicked." I don't even need instructions most of the time now

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    A high-waisted 1940s suspender skirt.

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    30s and 40s cotton day dresses.

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    Picking out the fabrics

    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Laying the pieces out and marking the fabric (gets boring!)

    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    Hollywood!!

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    1937-1941

    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    Vintage, vintage reprints, and modern. I prefer real vintage. I use the actual pattern unless it is super fragile or I plan on making more than one -- then I will make a copy and use that.

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    Hand

    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    Just myself. I'm not really that great at it I just do it for enjoyment and most people are none-the-wiser to any flaws!

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    Novelty cotton

    *What are your favorite trims?
    Bias tape

    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    Yes -- cheap one from JoAnn

    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you reccomend it to others?
    Brother. Yea, it's ok. It still works fine after all these years!

    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Don't give up, make mistakes, and stare at your patterns and read the instructions over and over if you don't "get" it at first.

  6. #76
    One of the Regulars renaissancemedici's Avatar
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    This is in fact a great thread.

    *How long have you been sewing?
    Not very long. I haven't completed anything yet (on my own), plus I've been on a diet and I keep changing sizes lately. I have been an apprentice to my mom forever though. So in theory I know exactly what to do...

    *How did you learn to sew?
    Mom

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    I participated more than usual, in a pink burda shirtdress.

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    Dresses of course!

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    Wearing it!


    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Draw the pattern on the fabric.


    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    Burda and frankenpatterns! I'm good with patterns.

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    1940s or modern


    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    Only from vintage drafting books. But aren't they trully vintage? No market for vintage patterns in Greece.

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    By hand. My mother is pretty firm on that one. She has made me very spoiled in terms of how a good piece of clothing should be.


    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    Never for others. They might never even wear it!

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    Wool, crepe, cotton, linen.

    *What are your favorite trims?
    Self fabric stuff. Very chic. Oh, unusual buttons as well.


    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    No.

    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you reccomend it to others?
    Singer from the 60s (mom), Viking Hyuskvarna for me. The Singer is divine, as tough as a war veteran!


    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Be inventive rather than follow instructions blindly. Just enjoy sewing, put on some music. Be proud of the results. By all means, be a perfectionist. You'll thank yourself later.

  7. #77
    New In Town Dawna's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
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    Sweden
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    25
    *How long have you been sewing?
    Since I was about 14. Before that I think I fooled around sewing stuff by hand, but nothing serious until I got my first machine.

    *How did you learn to sew?
    As a wee one my grandma taught me to knit, but never to sew, although I would sit around watching her and looking at her patterns. Finally I got a machine and a pattern and I just started doing it.

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    A dress made out of some yellow fabric I found at a flea market or something. It had a cool print but was very stiff, coated (i.e. rainproof) fabric, definitely not meant for a dress. I learned a lot about drape with that project.

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    Hmm... I've been sitting here for a few minutes trying to decide! I have to say, everything!

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    Sewing long, straight seams at high speeds!

    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Setting in sleeves, the bane of my existence.

    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    I notice that I have a load of Simplicity patterns, so maybe I'm drawn to them. I also like McCalls and Butterick.

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    1950s, some '60s and '40s. I like to use unprinted patterns (i.e. pre-late '40s-ish), even though there's nothing really different about them. It just feels like a kind of cool code that only initiated sewers know about . But I love the silhouette of the '50s best and keep coming back to it.

    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    I use almost only vintage, although I do have a load of new Burda pattern magazines that are great for basics. When I use vintage I just press the pieces with a very low iron and then use them, unless I need to make alterations, in which case I trace it first. If I have a particularly delicate piece I might trace it, too, but that's never really been a problem before. I find that pattern tissue is a lot sturdier than it seems!

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    I usually make french seams unless it's a thick fabric or a set-in sleeve. Then I might flat-fell them (depending on the style) or finish them by hand, or just leave them be. Skirt and dress hems I tend to finish by hand but there's a great trick for making a narrow hem using a strip of ban-rol and I like to use that wherever I can get away with it since it's so quick and gives very neat results.

    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    I sew a lot for myself and I've sewn my boyfriend a bunch of shirts, shorts, and handkerchiefs. It's nicest to sew for myself since I love clothes and I won't feel too bad if I don't like the outcome, but I love sewing mens' clothing, too - so many nice, crisp lines and elegant shapes. I recently sewed an outfit for my nephew's second birthday but I don't think my sister has managed to get it on him yet. Sigh. Sewing for others has that element of uncertainty - will they wear it? I sewed a blouse for my aunt recently, too, and when I altered the pattern I somehow neglected to take her narrow shoulders into account - whoops - but she was happy with it anyway, so sometimes you get lucky!

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    Anything with body and a bit of sturdiness. I love the results of sewing with really drape-y fabrics like crepe but I find that because they are so slithery and tend to slide around under their own weight, they can be a bit of a pain to work with.

    *What are your favorite trims?
    I like to add those little strips of lace. Does hand-finishing count as a trim? I love working buttonholes!

    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    For a while I was using a borrowed one, one of those maroon ones with the adjusting knobs, but I had to give it back.

    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you recommend it to others?
    I have a Euro-pro from Costco, which I assumed would be kind of a terrible machine (being from Costco and all), but it's really sturdy and reliable. I haven't had any problems with it and have had it for about 10 years already. I love it!

    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Press for success! You wouldn't believe what a difference it makes to press every seam as you go. Love your iron and don't worry about mistakes - no matter how much you sew, you'll always make them. The nice thing about sewing is that most mistakes are reversible!
    Last edited by Dawna; 10-18-2012 at 02:34 AM. Reason: verbosity

  8. #78
    One Too Many vintageTink's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Location
    An Okie in SoCal
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    1,322
    *How long have you been sewing?
    Learned when I was 14, seriously started sewing 2-3 years ago. I'm 32 now.

    *How did you learn to sew?
    YouTube, vintage fashion blogs, and my vintage sewing books.

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    When 14 it was a bear for Home Ec. When i started a few years ago, Butterick 4790!

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    Vintage repro.

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    Sewing and pressing. I do a five step pressing process and it makes my seams practically disappear.

    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Basting and cutting! I can never remember to put the tension back to normal after basting so I purchased a vintage White 656 pink lady on Craigslist just for basting. I never got to use it because it has timing issues.
    Cutting is just time consuming, tedious, and the patterns always seem to shift.

    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    I have a lot of simplicity and butterick repros. I also have some mccalls and my next purchase will be evadress 3322.

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    I'd have to say 1940's-1950's.

    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    I don't use vintage, I can never find them in my preferred decades! I always trace out my patterns.

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    For sheer fabric I use French seams. For others I serge. I'd never considered serging the two sides of the seam seperately or serging before construction until one of you lovely ladies mentioned it!

    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    I happily sew for family members. I will sew for others if they purchase the materials.

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    My least favorite is anything slippery.

    *What are your favorite trims?
    Hm. I don't really have a favorite, I don't think.

    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    I have an old dritz my double deluxe that my husband's aunt gave him in exchange for some yard work. I padded it out to look like me. Kind of. Lol

    *What brand is your sewing machine?
    I have a Singer Futura CE-250, a Singer serger, and a White 656 pink lady.
    Would you reccomend it to others? Absolutely yes, yes, and I don't know. The white I've never used as it has timing issues. I'm considering selling it.

    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Do not sew when tired! And double check the sleeves and pant seams.

  9. #79
    Familiar Face mrtman's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    Arkansas USA
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    My wife is awesome at sewing night gowns...told her she needs to show her work online...for some reason she thinks that her work is poor and that nobody would be interestd in seeing them....just saying.

  10. #80
    New In Town Kathleen'sMeg43's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Posts
    33
    *How long have you been sewing?
    Nearly as long as I can remember. But If I had to give an age, maybe 7...

    *How did you learn to sew?
    My Mom taught me the basics. Since then I've learned on my own. Trial and error, and You tube!

    *What was the first project you made that you remember?
    Other than doll quilts? A Horrible "patchwork" "Civil War" dress, in the seventh grade.. Bleh!

    *Do you have a favorite thing to sew?
    Baby dresses. All the beauty, half the time and material and effort.

    *What is your favorite step in the sewing process?
    The very beginning (Putting the first few seams together) and the very end, (Hemming and trims, Ect.)

    *What is your least favorite thing?
    Sleeves... And gatheres waistbands...

    *Do you have a favorite brand of patterns?
    Erm... Probably "Past Patterns" They may be a bit pricey, but they're worth it I think.

    *What era do you like sewing best?
    1910's I guess, but only because it's what I've done most of

    *Do you use vintage patterns? How do you prepare/use them?
    I've only done it a few times. Just because of availability...

    *How do you finish your hems/seam allowances?
    Depends on the project, and how much time I have. Sometimes I'll zig-zag them, others, a french seam. Most of the time, I just fold my hems twice and straight stich.

    *Do you sew for other people or just yourself? Why?
    Mostly myself. I dunno really. Just the way the cookie crumbles. It may change as word get out that I do sew.

    *What's your favorite type of fabric to sew?
    100% cotton. Though I did get my hands on some wool Gabardine recently that was to die for!

    *What are your favorite trims?
    Eyelet lace, Ric rac, among others (And not necessarely on the same garment! !)

    *Do you use a dress form? Which brand?
    Yes, It really does come in handy. Not sure... whatever JoAnn's sells. :/ (It was a gift...)

    *What brand is your sewing machine? Would you reccomend it to others?
    I have a brother from Wal- Mart. No. I'm saving up for a new one... When it gives me too many fits, I switch to my Mason Rotary Treadle Machine.

    *And words of wisdom to share with those starting out?
    Never give up, and trust in your ability to learn. I can't count the amount of times I've heard, "I'd love to, but I'd never be able to" or "I wouldn't have the patients" Once you get that first step

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