Thursday, 29 October 2015

Beginner Sewing: Class 3!

Hello again!

This week we got to bring our sewing machines, and it was the best! I had an advantage because I am familiar with my sewing machine and can use it relatively well, although I learned some things about it that I didn't know before. For example, I have been letting the needle go up and down when winding the bobbin, but there is a wheel on the right hand side that prevents this. Oops. My sewing teacher took some time to check out my machine, although it was because she said she likes "vintage" machines. My sewing machine is a kenmore I bought for $80 off kijiji 3 years ago, and I think it is from the seventies. I didn't consider it vintage because my best friend has one from the fifties.

This class was about basting, pressing and darts. For darts, we learned how to mark them, how to sew them different ways and other such techniques. We learned what basting is and different methods, and I learned that pressing is important and different than ironing. Here are some things that I learned:

  1. Google defines basting as "to tack with long, loose stitches in preparation for sewing." There are 4 kinds of basting:
    • finger basting - this is when you just hold the pieces together with your fingers. Not recommended for anything really, but will do the trick in a pinch.
    • hand basting - hand stitch the basting to hold pieces together. This is very easy to pull out when you are done.
    • pin basting - very commonly used, pin fabric right side together, but make sure to remove the pin before sewing over it to protect your machine/needle.
    • machine basting - set your sewing machine to the longest stitch and sew, so it is easier to take out. This is best for sewing in zippers and checking the fit of a garment. Remove as soon as you are done with them. 
  2. Pressing involves pressing the iron into the material and over seams, as opposed to just rubbing the iron over cloth. Some fabrics become shiny when you press them, which is why it is recommended to have a pressing cloth. A pressing cloth is a piece of fabric that is treated in such a way that it becomes a barrier between the iron and the cloth. My mom uses a tea cloth.
  3. Selvedge shrinks over time, so if you end up with a piece that includes the selvedge edge, make regular snips along the selvedge edge so it doesn't pucker over time.
  4. When pressing darts in a garment, press the folded material towards your belly button when you're wearing the garment. 
  5. A seam roll is used to press darts, or anything that is not intended to lie flat (for example, darts in a pencil skirt are there to make the garment lie flat against your curves, not a flat surface). You can buy a seam roll, or you can roll up a magazine or newspaper and cover with a towel and use that. 
  6. When pressing, there are 3 ways you need to press: 
    • Right against where you just sewed (on top of the thread). This presses the thread into the material so it lies flat.
    • On the wrong side of the material, but with the seam open
    • On the right side of the material with the seam open, so everything that the world sees is nice and clean looking.

I'm really excited to put what I learned this week to good use. I found my camera and will try to remember to bring it to the next class. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Beginner Sewing: Class 2!

I am learning a lot more than I thought I would learn in this class. I also got tea and cookies. If you are near a little sewing shop that offers sewing class, go just for this amount of cuteness. This is my first ever time using a pattern, so I knew that I would learn a lot around that, but I am learning about fabrics, direction of the grain, little tips and tricks, and most importantly the steps that should be taken to create a good garment.
Generic tea and cookies picture
In this class we learned how to identify if a fabric is straight, how to figure out what pattern pieces you need, how to lay them out, how to pin them and cut out the fabric. I also learned how to alter the waistline so that the skirt will fit both my hips and my waist with a french curve, which I have a feeling I will need regularly for patterns. I have decided to line my skirt, but do not want to buy lining, so I'm using a crepe material that I have kicking around. Side note: If I ever mention that I have fabric kicking around, it's because I went shopping at a sale with big ideas and no plans. In this case I am using more of a fabric that I used for a maxi-skirt that I got at $3/metre. The fabric that I am using for the skirt is actually a wool fabric, which is awesome.

Here are the most useful things that I learned:
  1. Make sure that your fabric is not stretched. This is done by folding the fabric so that the selvedge edges are together, and make sure they line up nicely.
  2. If you are not comfortable with cutting your pattern paper, trace it onto something else first and use that to pin to the fabric. I figure if I change sizes much I can just add or subtract inches all the way around, I would likely change sizes proportionally.
  3. Make sure to pin inside of the lines that you are cutting so you keep the pattern pinned to the fabric and don't accidentally cut one in half and dull your scissors.
  4. Ensure that you cut along the grainline so your piece doesn't twist and pull in weird ways.
  5. Double check before you cut (measure twice, cut once).

I got to use my fancy new tracing paper and wheel to cut the lining of the skirt, I think I might use that method a lot going forward - it is fun! Also, there are instructions and glossaries on the pattern (inside the envelope), so keep an eye out for those and keep them on hand. My sewing teacher gave us a copy of a generic one, which I am sure I will put to good use.

I know I said I would have pictures, but I lost my camera and just plain forgot to take phone pictures. Hopefully next time!

This week we get to bring our sewing machines, which I am very excited about. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sewing Class for Beginners: Class 1!

I think I am really going to enjoy this class. I am participating with my best friend, Ally, and we arrived barely on time with chips and beef jerky in hand that we had just bought at the convenience store because we did not have time to stop for supper. There are 3 other fun women in the class, and the teacher has been sewing for decades.

Over the course of the 6-week class, we are learning to sew a pencil skirt from a pattern. This will be good for me because there is a 13-inch difference between my hips and my waist, so many off the shelf pencil skirts are not only too short, but they don't fit well in the waist or don't go over my hips. I have also never sewn something from a pattern before. The skirt pattern we need to choose should have a back zipper, no slit, no belt loops or yokes and not too many pattern pieces. This actually rules out a lot of patterns, so I might not listen to all the rules. It was also recommended that we don't use a knit fabric.

The biggest things that I learned in week 1 is the following:
  1. When choosing a pattern, make sure to know you measurements and choose based on them, not the size that you think you are. In store, I am generally a size 10 or 12. In sewing patterns, I range from size 18-22. There are some patterns that I cannot buy because my hips are larger than the biggest size. 
  2. If there is no exact colour matching thread for your fabric, it's better to go a shade darker. 
  3. If you need to do pattern matching, make sure to buy extra fabric. 
  4. When buying a zipper, purchase one that is 2 inches longer than the pattern calls for. 
  5. When you buy a pattern, highlight your size and the design that you will be sewing so that it's easier to read. 
I also learned that there is a long list of things that are needed to get started with sewing in general, as well as with patterns. I still need to pick up tailor's chalk, a tracing wheel, dressmaking tracer paper and Wonder tape. I also would really like to add a rotary mat and cutter to my collection of sewing implements, but I might need to wait until Christmas or my birthday for that.

I decided to go with the pattern 7010 from Burda style in the plus size. The skirt fits the requirements well enough, and I get patterns for pants and a blazer to try one day. With 47 inch hips, I'm almost off the charts for sewing sizes. I have a navy blue suit fabric that I will be using that is 60 inches wide, and I have a 20cm invisible zipper.

Stay tuned for lesson 2! There will be pictures eventually, I promise.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


Hi Everyone!

Welcome to my blog! I'm going to start by giving you some details about myself and why I started this blog.

This is me on my wedding day
I do not consider myself a creative person by nature. I like math and logic and organizing, but ask me for ideas, to draw something or anything else that requires thinking outside the box and I struggle. Despite this, I've always like doing crafts. I like sewing, knitting, making home decor things (I think, I haven't done much of that yet). My ultimate goal is to be able to knit while reading a book like my Oma does. I like Pinterest ideas and copying things that I see on other blogs, but it would be nice to one day be able to come up with ideas on my own to do. 

My inspiration for most projects
To kick off this blog, I'm going to talk about the sewing class that I am starting this evening at a small sewing shop around the corner from my apartment that specializes in quilting. The class is just a beginner sewing class where we learn to sew a skirt. I am going to choose a pattern for a pencil skirt that I can hopefully wear to the office. Some of the things that I will be learning will be using a pattern, choosing material, using darts, zippers, lining and I'm sure other useful things. 
This is a bit what I had in mind
I would love for you to follow along on my adventures as I learn to sew, as well as tackle other projects and discuss the going-ons in my life.