Alright we are nearly to the end. While I intended this to be the last post I didn’t have the cuff post ready yet so that will be tomorrow and we will do this one today. If you are serious about sewing even if you are just starting. There are some simple things you can do to greatly improve the look of whatever it is you are making. I think the general goal when you are sewing is to make it look as if a professional made it, and less like a 5th grade home-ec project gone wrong, am I right? So the first thing that I think makes a pretty big difference is top stitching. I talk about it a lot. I do it even more, but if you are unclear as to what I am talking about I thought I would walk you through it. So you start with a seam. Anytime you sew anything you will have a seam.
Press the seam flat. Meaning the flaps lay over on the side they match.
Then sewing on the right (or wrong) side of the fabric I use my foot as a guide and sew a straight line following the seam. A few tips here. I use a longer stitch length when I am top stitching than when I sew the seam. I use a 2.5 when I stitch a seam and a 3.5 when I top stitch. It just tends to look more decorative. You can top stitch one side of the seam.
Or both. It depends on what you like. Now while top stitching adds a detail that looks nice it also helps secure the seam flat which I find helps the garment lay better. There are times however that you wouldn’t want to see a top stitch, so you decide if you want to or not.
There are also times where you can not only top stitch the seams but you can add top stitching like you would in quilting to add detail to a garment. Like I did in a little sneak peak of Jude’s fall jacket.
Another must is ironing. Make friends with your iron. Name your iron if it helps you become better acquainted. Along with your iron I would say spray starch is a great companion since sometimes fabric has a crease or fold that will not come out just with an iron. Or my new best friend steam. I used to be afraid of steam, it ruined a shirt once, and I was afraid to try again. However if you are careful with your heat and don’t steam sensitive fabrics (like polyester) steam will almost always get that perma-crease out. Just never under estimate the power of a pressed seam. It is the difference between a nice looking garment and a home-ec fail.
Lastly measure measure measure. Like my dad always says if you don’t measure twice to cut once you will measure once and cut twice. I am totally guilty of this. I sew a lot while my kids are napping, or sleeping at night and I often think I can guess pretty well. Then I had a pile of clothes that I had just made that either didn’t fit (especially over the head) or were too short, or too tight. So now I keep a record of their measurements and update it ever so often. Then whether you are drafting your own pattern or using a purchased pattern you can compare measurements with the pattern to ensure a good fit.
In case you are wondering the measurements I keep on file are of the following:
*add 1 inch to each measurement for ease*
Neck (all the way around)
Shoulder to shoulder (across the back)
Chest measurement (measure the widest part)
Waist measurement (measure the widest part)
Shoulder to waist
Shoulder to wrist (with a slight bend in the elbow)
Waist to ankle
Inseam (crotch to ankle)
I just label them with their name and the date that they were taken.
We will see you back here tomorrow with the last lesson of the series!