Thursday, February 6, 2020

Sample Making

While I don't have a lot to show for what I did yesterday, I did make great leaps and bounds in getting stuff done. A new pattern is written, the assembly diagram was created and now I just have to proofread the pattern this morning before it goes out the door.

There never seems to be any lack of computer work that needs to be done. Whether it's a quilt to be designed, a pattern to write, and now that I've added all this design work in PREMIER+ ECQ that I could potentially embroider - well, there's loads to be done on the computer.

But that's OK - I love the creative process which doesn't always mean making something with my hands. Designing is also a very creative process that I've now expanded beyond quilts. I want to try my hand at embroidery designs. Those will mostly be experiments.

I'm miles ahead on both of my virtual challenges so I slacked off this morning and didn't go to the gym. I can afford the day off and I was tired due to my sewing class which ends at 9:30 PM and then a 45-minute drive home. We had to compare the actual pattern measurements to our body measurements to see if any adjustments needed to be made.

This is the absolute worst part of garment making. And that's probably why people don't make as many clothes as they used to. Remember when we opened up the pattern, cut and sewed the garment together and prayed that it wasn't going to be too big or too small? OK - the Home Ec teachers out there probably never did that, but I did!

And it's a bit of a shock when you look at the pattern sizes. I had looked at the measurements and the sizes and I did buy the smaller of the two multi-sized patterns. Turns out, I'm at the top of the smaller multi-size and the bottom of the larger multi-size. As a result, I had to enlarge my pattern a wee bit. And what's with the sizes? I wear a fairly small size in ready wear clothing and yet, in the pattern making world, I'm a giant. Those clothing manufacturers are just trying to make us feel good that we can fit into a small size.

Messing with the pattern

Then I shortened the skirt - that was the easy part. Then I measured and remeasured and my brain had about stopped functioning at that point. I had to leave early (only 45 minutes). I'm going to measure it again today. Can anyone tell me why the front of the skirt is slightly larger than the back? Especially around the hips? I would have thought the back (to accommodate our butts) would be slightly larger than the front. Perhaps a fresh set of eyes this morning will discover what the heck is going on.

I'll recheck the measurements once again and then I'm making a muslin. Some of the girls were cutting away last night and I'm sure they are now ready to sew. I'm not and I'm OK with that. It'll never be perfect but I at least want the skirt to fit. And I wasn't as prepared as I should have been last night as I didn't have my shears to cut the fabric even if I would have wanted to. I have to say that the younger ones in the class are outshining the older ones so far. Well - of course - they are. They are likely night owls where the older crowd is fading by the time 8 PM rolls around.

I'm sure the teacher thinks I'm a loser. I don't think I've stayed until the end of any of the classes and I didn't have all my homework done. But I did get some of the samples made yesterday.

The samples were for seam finishes. Yikes - I haven't done this in years. I took my little pieces of fabric and sewed them together with contrasting thread and a 5/8" seam allowance.

Making the samples for the seam allowance finishes

Then I pressed those seams wide open. ACK! Open seams! But that's how it's done on garments unless you're serging.

Seams are being pressed open

Let's not forget all that backstitching at the beginning and the end of the seams. OK - how does the reverse work on the sewing machine?  The first one was a pinked edge. Holy - I had to dig out the pinking shears but I knew exactly where they were. That truly warmed my heart that I dug those out with no hunting. The beauty of an organized space. If only EVERYTHING was super organized like that.

A pinked seam finish

The next one was using the zigzag stitch. Hmm - I did my zigzag right on the edge of the fabric rather than just inside the raw edge. I wonder if that's OK? It does the job. Yikes - those ends are a wee bit messy. Do we get points off for that?

Zigzag edge seam finish

Next up was a turned under edge which we would probably never use as it adds bulk and I'm sure it would show on the right side of the garment after a good pressing. But good to know. The raw edges of the seam allowance were turned under ¼" and then stitched in place with a straight stitch.

Edges of the seam allowances turned under and secured

Then we used something that I've never used before. This is seam binding. I had no idea how to use it, but it's super easy. Just sew the binding to the edge of the seam - ¼" in from the edge. That's easy enough to do. For some reason, I have loads of it - no idea why. It was probably on sale somewhere.

Seam binding as the finish for the seam allowance

The last one was using a product called Seams Soft. It's a narrow very lightweight product like interfacing. You sew it around the edge of the seam allowance. I rather liked this one and I think it's quite neat, easy to use and stops all fraying as the edge is totally enclosed. Doesn't add any bulk as it's whisper-thin.

Seams Soft finish for the seam allowance

I still have my darts and pleats to do which I MUST get done for the next class. I'm going to be a superstar next class and have all my work done. Next week, we focus on inserting a zipper. I think I might take my own machine. I can't bear to work on the machines there. OK - so I'm a sewing machine snob. Obviously, I won't take the big one but I have a small one perfect for workshops.

I had something I wanted to share with you today, but I'm out of time. I'll share it tomorrow. It's all about habits and is quite interesting. Your homework for today - is to think of a habit that you want to change or a new habit you want to create. Don't forget!!!!

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!



  1. You are taking me back in time... way back to 1970. all those samples. The only thing I would have you do as a student was to match the type of seam finish to the fabrics you are using. Pinking works great on fabrics that don't ravel a lot. Is the garment going to be washed or dry cleaned (do we use dry cleaners anymore?). A worsted wool is different that a closely woven cotton, and then there is linen! I am enjoying your sample making but glad it isn't me!

    1. YES -- exactly right - match the sample to the fabric. In this case, we got off easy - just make the seam finish samples. I think I'll be using my serger for most of the stuff, but this is a good refresher and I did learn a thing or two so that was good!!!