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Sunday, February 15, 2015

That 70s Look! Sewing Retro Tube Fashions And Garments Using A Serger

We live in wonderful time where we can wear whatever era and type of fashion we would like to! We can even mix different types of fashions and make a one of a kind fashion statement of our own. That is the beauty of sewing, we can make anything we want to the way we want it. My observations are that past eras such as the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s clothing fashions are making a comeback with a different flare that is more suitable to the present time.

One of the fashions I still love today are "Tube Fashions." Tube Fashions are straight skirts, tube tops, straight jumpsuits, or straight dresses without a flared skirt.  They are simple, fast, and easy to sew and to wear! Most of these garments do not require fasteners such as zippers, buttons, or snaps. Some straight skirts on the other hand may require a zipper and button fastener depending on how it is made.

I like the Retro Tube Fashion Jumpsuits! They are made from cotton types, challis, jersey, silk types, polyester types, or linen types.  I wore them alot in the 70s as a teen. They are so comfortable and can be sewn with any print of fabric of your choice. I liked going to parties wearing a long Tube Jumpsuit. It can look like a long dress, but is actually a pant legged jumpsuit. The Tube Jumpsuit can be worn with a tied sash or a belt around the waist. I am presently sewing myself a long and short Tube Jumpsuit for the summer season. My notions are thread, fabric, and elastic for the waist and that's it! I am sewing Simplicity Pattern 1355 which you can purchase here. This pattern comes in multiple sizes so you can fit your jumpsuit any way you want to.  I used stretch cotton and light weight jersey for the jumpsuits for the summer season.

They are sewing up fast since I have an industrial sewing machine and a serger. The serger cuts and sews the seams at the same time which gives the inside of my garments a store bought appearance with it's finished seams. Finished seams are seams that have been cut and sewn with a stitch to keep the raw edges of the seam from raveling.

 Sergers are much easier to come by than they used to be, and are reasonable in price than they were thirty years ago. Sergers are a common household piece of sewing equipment for the home seamstress during this time. Not only do they finish raw seams as they are sewn, but if you are sewing stretch knits, it will sew the stretch knit with a stretch stitch. Sergers sew at an accelerated speed than a conventional sewing machine enabling you to complete your garments in a matter of 1 to 4 hours depending on what type of garment you are sewing. The serger is excellent for stretch knits with it's stretch stitch and so convenient to use without much of an adjustment to use the stretch stitch. A serger enables you to sew a rolled hem for your garments which is a plus in saving you time in your sewing. You can find a quality serger here.

For my Tube Jumpsuits I finished the raw edge of my interfacings with the serger and all of my seams are finished seams from using the serger.  A serger is the perfect machine to use with my Tube Jumpsuits! When I wash my Tube Jumpsuits the seams will not fray, ravel, or become ragged since they are finished seams. French seams also prevent seams from raveling as well, but require more in sewing time if someone would like to use a french seam. French seams are a neat and very professional finish to sewing seams of any garment. A French Seam is most commonly used with formals and wedding dresses.

If a serger is not available, then a simple zig-zag stitch to finish the raw edge of the seams can be used too.  I used a zig-zag stitch for my seams many years before I had a serger. It is true no one will see the inside of our garments, but knowing our garment was made with perfection both on the inside and the outside is a feeling of great satisfaction as well as quality to our garments. How will you be sewing the seams on your jumpsuit/s?

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Wonder Of Clover Wonder Clips - Clip And Sew Where You Need It!

There are times when sewing that anyone will feel like they need more than two hands to maneuver and hold their fabric or sewing project as it is being sewn through the machine. I have certainly felt that way a number of times! I am happy that there are wonder clips when straight needles will not suffice!  Wonder Clips are curved on the top and flat on the bottom for easy feeding by the presser foot. That is one of the reasons they are called "Wonder Clips." Straight pins can offset the timing of your sewing machine if the sewing machine needle hits the straight pin holding the fabric in place. If you do not know how to set the timing on your sewing machine, then you would have to pay a visit to your local sewing machine dealer to reset the timing on your machine which does incur a cost for setting the timing on your sewing machine.

Wonder Clips are a great alternative to pins, especially when working with heavy weight fabrics, piles, and vinyls. The clips can hold layered sections of sewing projects such as handle connectors to handbags and piping without distortion. Wonder Clips can also hold quilt binding while sewing. These clips have a wide opening for holding multiple layers of fabric. They won't damage or distort the fabric.

The clip base is flat for easy feeding to presser foot with 1/4" and 1/2" seam allowance markings on the base. I like to use Wonder Clips for holding pleats on skirts, curtains, and the sleeves on men's shirts. Wonder Clips have a firm grip on the fabric and they are excellent when used on quilting projects. Wonder clips do not damage or distort the fabric. They should be a necessary tool of anyone's sewing room. I use Wonder Clips frequently when I sew formal dresses so that the formal stays perfect without any flaws on it from sewing the formal.

Wonder clips come in different sizes and  quantities in a package. It depends on your sewing project on what size of wonder clip you will need. A heavier fabric or multiple layers of fabric will need a larger wonder clip while a less thicker fabric will require a smaller wonder clip. The smaller wonder clips are handy in holding small bows in place while you are hand sewing them in place or gluing them into place. I use them for holding trim such as lace in place while I sew. They are good for holding craft projects in place after gluing until the glue is dried. You can find some Clover Wonder Clips here for your sewing needs. They are for everything from sewing to arts to crafts!

Clover Wonder Clips Source -

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Easy Sew And Wear Knit Garments - Simple Knits For A Simple Lifestyle!

Sewing Your Knit Clothing:

I like to wear garments that are easy to wear and easy to take care of.  In a busy lifestyle I want clothing that I can slip on without a zipper to zip or buttons to button. Since I have traveled in my work, it is a plus not to have to worry with a broken zipper or lost button to replace in my travels. When I have traveled with knit clothing, I rolled my garments and placed them in my suitcase so that they did not wrinkle. I had ample room in my suitcase to pack everything I needed with knit clothing. I simply unrolled them and hung them on the hanger in my room. Knit clothing is easy to take from the washer to the dryer to the hanger without any wrinkles. Knits are soft and comfortable against the skin and fashionable. Tops, blouses, dresses, t-shirts, children's clothing, hoodies, slacks, sleepwear, light jackets and more are made from knits.

There are different types of knits to use for garments. You can find knit fabrics here.  My favorite knit fabric is jersey knit. It has give and stretch to it of the right amount. It is a common knit to sew and wear. I enjoy many tops, blouses, dresses, and slacks made from jersey knit. I use the stretch stitch on my sewing machine with jersey knit so that my garment gives with me as I move. The stretch knit is a very small looking zig-zag stitch on your machine. You can check your sewing machine manual to see which stitch is the stretch stitch on your sewing machine. You can use the stretch stitch with sewing a stretch knit by slightly stretching the knit as you are sewing the seam through the machine. If you have a serger, you can also slightly stretch the knit as you are sewing the seam through the serger.  You will want  stretch in the arm hole seam, the side seams, the sleeve seams if there are sleeves in the garment, and in the garment hem. Your garment will give as you put it on with a seam that stretches. If your seams do not stretch and give then the seams will break as you are stretching the garment to put it on.

 You will not want any stretch in your shoulder seams so you will  place a one half inch seam tape on the stitching line of the shoulder seam so that there is no stretch in the shoulder seam. This stabilizes your shoulder seam. A shoulder seam with stretch would cause the garment to droop over the shoulders. There isn't any bulk in the shoulder seam by sewing it with seam tape in the stitching.

You will use a sewing machine needle specifically for stretch knits.  The package for the needle will state stretch needle or jersey needle on the package. A jersey needle is for light weight loosely woven knits.  You can find a jersey needle here.  A stretch needle is used for more closely woven knits such as jersey knits or stable knits. You can find a stretch needle here.  I change my sewing machine needle for every 8 hours of sewing I do on my machine so that my needle is always sharp and a good needle never effects the timing of my sewing machine. A sharp needle while you  sew on your sewing machine will help prevent any snagging on my garment as well.

You will want to use a sewing pattern specifically for sewing knits. The sewing pattern will state what types of fabric to use for the garment you may be admiring to sew. If the sewing pattern states fabrics such as a woven  cotton, challis, or some other stable cotton type of fabric then that is not the sewing pattern to use for your desired knit garment. Your knit sewing pattern will state stable knits, jersey knits, polyester knits, etc.

Knits come in varied solid colors and prints. Some knits have luxurious colors and print patterns to them. Knits are in various weights such as light weight, medium weight, or heavy weight knits depending on the season you may be sewing your garment for. Polyester thread is a good choice for sewing a jersey knit garment with. Some knits require interfacing with them, so you will want to choose an interfacing that is designed specifically for knits. The interfacing for knits will feel like a light weight stretchy type of interfacing much like the knit you are sewing. Interfacing for knits is called Tricot. You can find Tricot interfacing here. You will want to use interfacing that match the colors of your knit fabric, such as a dark color knit will require a black Tricot interfacing and a light color knit will require a white or ecru color Tricot interfacing.

If you are a beginner of sewing knits, you can begin with a simple knit project to sew and gradually move on to other more detailed knit projects until you are familiar with sewing knits. There are many easy knit sewing patterns to choose from that make very fashionable tops and garments with. Children's t-shirts are easy beginner project for sewing knits. Once you have the hang of sewing knits for children's t-shirts you can sew many of them in day! You can find knit sewing patterns here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

How Do I Love Thread? Let Me Count The Ways!

I keep all kinds of sewing thread on hand. I live in a rural area so I cannot drive down the street to purchase some thread when I run out, so I keep sewing thread in abundance at my home. I like to have the various kinds of sewing thread and all the colors I can imagine on hand. I almost have my own thread and fabric store in my home with what I have on hand at all times. I have different kinds of thread for the various fabrics I have. I have a preference for certain kinds of sewing thread for certain sewing projects. I use spool sewing thread for my sewing machine, and I use cone sewing thread for my serger.

Cotton thread is a strong thread. It will not break easily on a garment or a sewing project. Most quilters use cotton thread on their quilts for the strength and durability of their finished quilted project. Cotton thread when held up in the light will have fuzz on the thread. If you are in doubt of what type of thread you have, you can hold the thread up to the light to see the fuzz to verify it is cotton. There is an exception to this rule, some cotton thread is coated or glazed. It will be thick and wirey when it is a coated cotton thread. Coated or glazed thread will also gum up your sewing machine. I do not use it. This type of cotton thread is for hand sewing on quilts than for machine sewing. I use cotton thread when I sew denim, welding hats, cotton fabrics for decoration purposes, or cotton sewing projects as examples. If I want my sewing project to last long I use one hundred percent cotton. The fuzz on the cotton thread will produce lint in my sewing machine bed case, but I clean it out with a brush or small vacuum attachment specifically for my sewing machines. Cotton thread will shrink like cotton fabric and will fade like cotton fabric, that is why I like to match cotton fabric with cotton thread.

Polyester thread is another strong thread. It does not have fuzz on the thread strand when held up in the light. Polyester thread is made from polymer resins. It either looks like cotton or has a high sheen like silk. Polyester thread does not fade or shrink like 100% cotton does. Polyester thread is suitable for any type of sewing project. It is also becoming one of the most popular embroidery threads for embroidery machines. I use polyester for sewing polyester fabrics, stretch knits, and stretch fabrics that require neat and uniform top stitching that will last a long time.

Rayon thread is one of the popular embroidery threads for embroidery machines. I have use both polyester and rayon threads in my embroidery machines. Rayon has a smooth finish to it's embroidery design, but unfortunately does not last as long as polyester embroidery thread.  Rayon needs to be maintained with care in washing your garment or project. It usually best to hang dry sewn projects with rayon so that it will last longer.

Nylon thread is a synthetically produced thread. It looks and feels plastic to the touch. It does have it's use in sewing projects, however, over time it will yellow and become brittle from repeated washing and drying. Washing and drying nylon thread dries nylon thread out. Nylon thread is used for invisible stitches on a garment or project.

Metallic or plastic thread isn't actually thread.   It is made from thermoplastic with an aluminum coating which is then cut into thin strips with a laser and wound. It must be completely unwound to be used and must be sewn with a metallic needle. I seldom if ever use metallic or plastic thread in my sewing projects.

Silk threads are used in many kinds of embroidery. A good example will be the Victorian crazy quilts. Silk threads absorb dye extremely well and it sews smoothly without breaking. It has the strength of polyester and stability of cotton. It also has a distinct sheen due to which it is costlier than the other varieties. Silk thread is wonderful to use, however, it is more costly. When choosing silk thread for my sewing projects I sew formals and bridal gowns with silk thread to suit the occasion of the formal dresses I sew.

Wool thread is an animal fiber which has a soft look when stitched, and does not reflect a lot of light. It has a soft texture. It is used for a ‘homespun’ effect. I have used wool thread for wool shirts or skirts.

It is essential to know and understand your threads for your sewing projects so they match the durability of the fabric and the thread. My customers love me for my clothing and hats because they last so long. My garments and projects last so long because I carefully plan each sewing project with the appropriate thread and fabrics for their garment/s.

Sources for Sewing Threads:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Why Do I Like Vintage Fabrics And Vintage Sewing Patterns?

 I not only like Vintage Look Fabrics and Vintage Sewing Patterns, I love them! There is nostalgia to anything Vintage. I also love Vintage cars and trucks. It is not necessarily that anything Vintage is more simpler, because it certainly is not always the case, but it is the class and character of anything Vintage that I like. I collect antiques that I fill my home with, and so it goes with Vintage Fabrics and clothing I sew from Vintage fabrics. I like to step out of the present into something past to make a statement of my own style that is in the present. It is like reinventing the past, adding a dose of present, and creating a new style all of it's own. Such is the beauty of creating and being an artist of the needle!

I have been busy sewing Vintage wedding dresses from Vintage Look Fabrics and Vintage Sewing Patterns. I like to take from one pattern and add that pattern to another pattern to make an original style that I like. Any bride would like to have an original bridal gown. Designing in this way saves me time in sewing  instead of making my patterns from scratch all the time. I love the 1930s and 1940s era of clothing along with hair styles that leaves a lot to the imagination and hints of romance that flirts with the mind.

I used to shop a website that was dedicated to Vintage sewing patterns. The website is no longer available because it sold it's inventory of vintage sewing patterns. Vintage sewing patterns are not easily found, but when they are found online, in garage sales, estate sales, and antique shops it is smart to buy them. I have purchased vintage sewing patterns for adult clothes, children's clothes, and doll clothes. I still keep a look out for vintage sewing patterns on many online sources such as Amazon, eBay, and small business online websites.

Vintage look fabrics can be found on many online stores and websites. Many fabric manufacturers and textiles have been re-creating vintage fabrics due to demand for them. I like to combined vintage fabrics with modern fabrics to have a complete original design. This combination of vintage fabric combined with modern fabric makes a one of kind garment for women, children's, and doll's clothing. Some of the vintage fabric is used for costumes for plays and theatrical entertainment to make the costume more genuine for the part of the play or theatrical part. Halloween costumes are made from vintage fabrics if the garment was made for the Roaring Twenties or the Renaissance period. A log cabin home can be decorated in vintage look fabrics for the curtains, table tops, bathroom decor, and accent pieces of the cabin home. Home Decorators use Vintage fabrics for decorating homes when vintage decoration is requested. I love to sew Aprons made from vintage fabrics! You can sew tote bags, throw pillows, and quilts from Vintage fabrics too.  There are many reasons for having vintage fabrics besides the nostalgia and memories they may have for someone's childhood or of their Grandmother.

Vintage look fabrics and vintage sewing patterns have been so much in demand that I have seen pattern companies such as Simplicity, McCalls, and Butterick bringing back patterns from the 1920s
and forward. Their replicas of these vintage fabrics and vintage sewing patterns do not cost as much as the true original vintage fabrics and sewing patterns. I especially enjoy the vintage sewing fabrics and vintage sewing patterns for doll clothing. There are many doll collectors looking for original doll clothing for their dolls in their coll collection. Doll collectors have restored their vintage dolls and would like a more vintage garment for their doll to wear for display. Vintage doll clothing is a sought after talent for a doll collector from a Sewing Seamstress.   

Vintage fabrics and vintage sewing patterns can take a person any where in their mind of creativity. Anything vintage can be reinvented to create something authentic and original. There are as many possible ways of creating with vintage fabrics and vintage sewing patterns as there are stars in the sky! What will you be creating with a Vintage Flare?

Source for Vintage Look Fabrics -
Source for Vintage Sewing Patterns -