Friday, August 20, 2010

Learning to Sew? My Must-Haves

addie sewing

If you walk into any fabric store, you can be completely overwhelmed by all the “stuff” you can use when you sew. But, I think you really only need a few important tools to get started:

  • A sewing machine with its manual. I’ve talked before about the importance of your manual. As for your machine--it doesn’t have to be fancy or computerized or even new, but it should be clean. If you have been gifted a machine, it’s probably worth your time to have it serviced. In Shreveport, I recommend Shreveport Sewing Center. (I don't get anything from mentioning them, I just think they are extremely helpful!)
  • Dressmakers’ Shears. You want shears as opposed to scissors. Shears have an angled blade that allow you to keep them close to the table as you cut. If you are left-handed, splurge on the left-handed shears. Trust me.
  • A Seam Ripper. Yes, you will make mistakes. We all do. Just embrace it and have fun.
  • Fabric Marking Tools. This includes chalks, tracing wheels and paper, and pencils.
  • Measuring Tape.
  • Ruler. I like my clear, plastic 18 x 2 ruler the best.
  • Iron and a good pressing surface.
  • Pins. I like the longer ones, but that’s just my opinion.
  • Needles, both for your machine and hand sewing.
  • Fabric and Thread. Personally, I’d recommend you start with a woven cotton, much like those sold in the quilting sections of fabric stores. I find these the easiest to work. You can get started with a good all-purpose thread.

There you go. Just a few notions to get you started.

Monday, August 16, 2010

1 Skirt Pattern, 6 Very Different Skirts


TNT:  A “Tried And True” Pattern

Muslin:  A trial garment, used to determine fit.


Meet. my TNT.  McCalls 3341.  This simple A-line skirt has become the basis for my skirt wardrobe.  And all for one simple reason—it fits me well!


I started by tracing the pattern from the tissue onto freezer paper.  (I like freezer paper for patterns because its cheap!, plentiful, and sturdy.)  Then I took my measurements.  I adjusted my paper pattern to match my measurements and made a muslin.  After I knew the pattern fit me perfectly, I began to play with design elements.  I made it more flared, straightened it to a pencil skirt, added a ruffle, switch to an elastic-waist skirt, added pleats, etc., all by redrawing my TNT.

Do you have a TNT skirt pattern?  If you are in the Shreveport area, check out this class at LSUS Continuing Ed:  1 Skirt, 3 Ways.

Friday, August 6, 2010

1 Skirt, 3 Ways; well 6 actually

I used McCalls 3341 and did this:



If you are in the Shreveport/Bossier Area, check out this class at LSUS to learn how to modify 1 pattern into many.