Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adding a pocket in Elastic Waist Pants

I have a favorite pants pattern. It is an elastic waist pull-on pant that makes up beautifully in linen. The only problem: they have not pocket. So, I added one!

I traced my hand so I would know about how wide I needed it to be.

I drew a slanted tear drop around my hand.

I added 5/8 inch seam allowances around it.

I taped the pocket to my pattern tissue, matching the side seam lines and cut out my pants. (You should note that this took about an extra 1/2 yard and had much wasted fabric.)

I stitched a piece of ribbon along the seam allowances on the front of each pocket for support. (At this point I referred to a handy sewing guide. Look for a review of the Reader's Digest New Complete Guide to Sewing coming soon.)

I basted the pocket opening closed along the seam allowance.

I stitched the pants leg together from the hem up to the waist, following the curve of the pocket.

I clipped the corners at the pockets and finished the raw edges. I removed the basting and "bingo!" I've got pockets!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sewing with Fleece

Well, it's time to get my Christmas sewing underway. This year, that means lots and lots of fleece!

Since I really don't want to waste fabric (and $$$) on bum projects, I have been researching fleece tips. Here's what I've learned.

1. Spend money on good fleece. Splurge on anti-pill. (Note: the pilling doesn't damage the fabric, but it certainly isn't attractive.)

2. Most fleece can be used on either side. If you really want to know, you can determine the right side by pulling along the selvage. The fabric curls toward the right side. (According to one website, you can also find the right side by sprinkling water on 2 different areas on either side of the fabric. The side that wicks the water the fastest is the right side. )

3. Once you know the right side, MARK IT!!!

4. Fleece has a nap! Follow the layout on that pattern guideline.

5. Use a zig-zag stitch or a serger.

6. Use a size 14 needle.

7. If pressing is necessary, use a cool iron and a pressing cloth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Book Review: 10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew

10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew by Nancy Zieman Published in 1992 ISBN: 0-8487-1118-1
Some Chapter Headings: Minutes to Organize Fast Fashion Elements Serging, the Ultimate Time Saver Super-Quick Knits Elastics--Fast and Fun to Sew Needle Know-How and Feet Smarts Begin to Sew

I liked:

  • The idea that I don't have to spend a whole day to do some worthwhile sewing.
  • The tip about using a recipe card file to keep track of alterations for yourself and others you sew for.
  • That she writes out this tip (I knew this, but I'm not sure how I knew it, so seeing it in writing was reassuring that I was doing it correctly): "When you are sewing together 2 fabric pieces of different lengths, stitch with the longer layer down (next to the feed dogs of the sewing machine) and the shorter layer up (next to the presser foot). The feed dogs will gently and evenly ease the longer layer to meet the shorter layer." (page 25)
  • The great introduction to a serger.
  • The "Seams Great Elastic Casing" ( I wish I'd used this on this dress.)
  • Her "Favorite Gathering Method" (page 133) that uses a zig-zag stitch rather than 2 rows of basting stitches.
My dislikes:
  • Some of the fashion ideas are a little dated.
  • Her centered zipper instructions (pages 35-36) didn't work for me.
Conclusion: This book works to dispel the notion that "I have no time to sew". As she points out in her introduction, so much of sewing is the prep and the pressing, rather then the actual time stitching a seam. With that in mind, it becomes easy to take a project and break down into smaller steps that fit much better into a crazy, busy lifestyle. On a side note, McCalls patterns are now offering some "10,20,30 to Sew" patterns that are supposed to have Zieman's tips include in the instructions. I haven't looked at them, but I'd be interested in knowing if they break the project down into smaller steps like the book suggests. Would I buy it for myself? I probably would have never chosen it for myself, simply because the book screams 1990! However, I grabbed it off Mom's shelf on a lazy weekend at her house and discovered the tips. I still haven't returned it. Oops! Would I buy the book for a beginner? I think a beginner could benefit from this book, particularly if she is having trouble finding the time to start and finish her new projects. Plus, the elastics and serger chapters are great for trying new techniques.