• Other stuff

    Tips for working with Slippery Fabrics!

    If you’ve stuck around here long enough, you’ll have noticed I have a real affection for slinky fabrics.

    With the completion of my Satin pyjamas I thought it was about time I share some of my personal survival tactics with Satin.

    BUT most of these also apply to Silks, Viscose, Chiffon, Crepe or Georgette.

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    1. Storage
    I’ve always heard it’s best to store Satin rolled up to avoid getting creases that need to be ironed out later. I’ve stored it both rolled up and loosely folded and I have to say I didn’t have much problem either way. That being said, best not to put a ton of Corduroy and Denim on top of your Satin if you’re not sewing it up straight away.

    2. Can’t stand the heat!
    Satin has a special kind of weave that creates a glossy right-side to the fabric and a dull wrong-side. This lustre can be damaged by the high heat and steam of an iron or even accidentally picking an overaggressive spin-cycle on your washing machine.

    Wash at 30 degrees and turn your iron to its coolest setting. Always press on the wrong side of the fabric or if you must press the right side then use a pressing cloth. The weight of your iron, more than the heat will help you achieve neatly pressed edges.

    3. Lay it down.

    Don’t be fooled, slippery fabric wants to escape your cutting table as soon as your back is turned! So unless you can fit all the fabric on the table without gravity coming into play I’d suggest cutting out on the floor (not the carpet). Basting will also be your new best friend – pin or stitch the folded fabric together to increase stability.

    Best to also clear a good space around your machine, as again, you’ll be sewing along and suddenly your fabric will fling itself off the table like it has decided to end it all!

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    4. Nap.
    It’s not as obvious as the pile of velvet but there is a subtly different sheen when you view Satin one way rather than the other. Remember to lay all your pieces out in one direction even if your print is multi-directional… if you care about things like that.

    5. To the point
    First off, I hope you don’t have a tin full of dented blunt pins. That’s going to end in disaster.

    Use the finest machine needle you can get hold of. Nice and sharp. I always use polyester thread. Use a small stitch length and try not to rip out stitches.

    If you need to unpick, hey it happens, break the threads at regular intervals and then carefully unpick the shorter lengths to save trauma to the fabric.

    6. Grain
    I’m going to say the words people aren’t supposed to say. Deep breath… don’t beat yourself up about the grain. HEY I didn’t say ignore it completely! If you end up slightly off-grain because of the slippery nature of the fabric, you’ll be okay.

    I generally find drapey fabrics far more forgiving in this regard and they very rarely warp over time. A significant amount of ready to wear clothing is produced off-grain and it’s never done us that much harm. But it’s not like it takes long to do so make the effort to line things up as best as you can.

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    7. Finishing
    Before you end up in a sea of Satin-fluff you might want to think about how to finish your seams. I definitely recommend French seams. I used them for 90% of the pyjamas except for the crotch seam on the pj bottoms and around the armholes in the pj top; there I used my serger to neaten things off.

    French seams are so good because they’re secure, look pretty awesome and are really easy to sew when you’ve thought through the logistics! You can even use them on curved seams, even though I didn’t as I was honed in on the finish line – aka lazy. I did take the time to encase the exposed edge of my shirt facing with Satin bias binding as I was feeling classy for about 5 mins. .

    Other options still apply — zig zag the raw edges, use pinking shears or bias/seam binding, or maybe you’ve prefer to fold under and top stitch your seam allowances out of sight.

    Final thoughts

    • You can use a gelatin bath or similar on your fabric to give it temporary body – this washes out easily enough but I don’t like how slimy it makes the fabric and my machine bed.
    • If you want more tips for silk check out Jen’s awesome tutorial which covers helpful cutting techniques using paper. This is a very common method for a good reason.
    • Familiar with the tissue paper technique? This is for sewing (rather than cutting) and I’ve found it very handy in the past.
  • Other stuff

    Sewing with Minerva Fabrics – New Look 6069

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    Recently Minerva Fabrics asked if I’d like to review some items from their site and I figured why the heck not.

    I have used the site before with good results but bad experiences elsewhere put me off Internet fabric shopping for a while.

    Minerva sent me a pattern (New Look 6069), the required fabric of my choice (a lovely multi coloured spot viscose) and a 22 inch black JTL invisible zipper.

    First let’s take a look at the pattern.

    I kind of love New Look patterns because I very rarely have to make adjustments.

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    This dress really spoke to me as view C looks like one of my favourite dresses. Please look past the horrible sample fabrics in use here and see the lovely dresses underneath.

    Let me just say for the record, those longer length puff sleeves look horrific on the model and line drawings. I cannot imagine anyone suiting those. If you’ve made this dress and LOVE those sleeves, please get in touch to see if you can prove me wrong or if you need medical attention because the heat has clearly gotten to you.

    I found this on the Minerva site after a bit of trial and error. There’s no way to filter for different pattern companies. You can only jump straight to the sale (hey that’s not that much of a problem, am I right?). As they stock loads of patterns I just did a search across the whole site for new look dress patterns and combed through the results.

    Onto the Viscose!

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    I chose this print from the clearance section. It is so cute with all those different coloured oddly shaped spots. There are plenty of other lovely viscose prints I could have chosen, like 1, 2, or 3.

    I wanted to use viscose so the dress could transition from day to night. I’ll probably make it up in an evening fabric at some point too.

    The viscose I chose is lovely and cool to the touch. It’s a medium weight and very drapey. It washed very well with no colour fading and minimal wrinkling!

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    I decided to line the skirt to avoid any sticking to tights so I supplied some black peachskin to this make. I also wanted to get hold of the fabric before picking my interfacing. I had some Vilene “softline” black lightweight interfacing that turns out to be the bees knees. Oh and that invisible zipper? Went in like a flipping charm.

    Right let’s get down to a wrap up of my thoughts!

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    Pattern Adjustments? I cut a 12 but then shortened the bodice by 2cm. I also cut the bodice on the fold as I don’t like needless centre front seams. I also added a skirt lining. That’s it!

    Things I’d change in the future? Use a lighter coloured fabric to show off the lovely details a bit better. The yoke gathers and waist band are much clearer in person, but not very photographic. I would also add the sleeves; I have cut and prepped the sleeves for this dress and may add them now the weather is taking a turn for the worse.

    Thoughts about Minerva Crafts? Love em! Why did I stop shopping online?! I do wish there was some filtering of the patterns available but the the fabric is well photographed and the colours were spot on when I received it. Plus after a horrible incident with some viscose from the market that ended up full of holes after its pre-wash, I was very pleased to be working with a reliable company stocking good quality fabric.

  • Other stuff

    Spy my sewing space

    Today I wanted to share my sewing space with everyone.

    see through sewing space

    I wish I was posting my Sassy Librarian Blouse but fate has conspired against a photo shoot. It shouldn’t be much longer.

    It can be a little addictive to look at people’s sewing rooms online. An entire room to put their hobby in!

    It’s something I dream of having when we move and is a big factor for me in selecting a new house.

    When I start drooling I try to stop and think:

    “Is something frustrating me about my sewing space which I could easily fix?”

    This weekend was a day to get things in order.

    A quick ikea trip and some ruthless stash sorting has made a wealth of difference.

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    It’s not the most spacious and glamorous area but it works for me in my teeny flat.

    I’ve got some space on my bookshelf for sewing books, magazines and pattern books.

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    My mannequin Beryl fits behind the sofa ready and waiting for fitting tasks.

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    I use a drop leaf dining table as my sewing table which has its flaws but helpfully it can hold my cantilever sewing box, machine, serger and spool holder.

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    I have an ikea storage unit with big teal boxes for all my fabric; I have winter weight fabric in one, summer weights and what-not in a second, ufos and re-fashions in a third, and scraps in the fourth. My vogue calendar hangs from the side keeping me inspired.

    My patterns sit in two expanding box files just out of sight but always in reach, along with my rulers, cutting mat, and new tailor’s aubergine!

    So there you have it, a look into how I’ve squeezed a sewing area into my living room.

    Today has also been about  pre-washing fabric.

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    The fantastic folk at Minerva Crafts have sent me this luscious viscose and New Look pattern 6069.

    But more about that later…