Monthly Archives: June 2006

Bonus tank top

I love to wear tank tops around the house so I was thrilled to see that I had just enough of the Pucci-inspired fabric left over to squeeze out a Loes Hinse Tank. This tank top is really easy and fits nicely. I like the fact that my bra doesn’t show – even under the arm. To finish the edges I used some ruffled lingerie elastic. There isn’t much black in this print but, believe it or not, I didn’t have any brown or beige elastic in my stash that didn’t look like it belonged on a pair of panties. So, I made due with what I had on hand. I added the flat bow because it just looked like it needed *something*.


Filed under Fabric, Loes Hinse

Pucci print dress!

Many of you know about my cutting mishap with this Pucci-inspired fabric. Even decades of experience do not make one immune to silly mistakes! But, thanks to Sherry Doty, who so generously offered me her piece, the dress is now finished! I used the same vintage pattern, Simplicity 6672, that I used for my graduation dress back in May.

The dress will be making it’s debut this evening at my father-in-law’s birthday birthday bash.


Filed under Fabric, Patterns, vintage

Industrial Sewing Machines

Let’s talk about industrials for a moment. There seems to be a misconception among home sewers that “industrial” means heavy duty. Not so. There are industrial machines for all different types of work. An industrial dressmaking head will no more sew heavy materials and be able to handle heavy nylon thread than whatever home machine you are working on. Nor will a machine intended to handle heavy materials work well if you are making a dress.

Let’s compare:

This is an industrial zigzag – a Singer 20U-33. She used to be blue but she had a face lift last year. 🙂 I use her mainly for uniform work in my embroidery business (sewing on trims, tackle twill numbers, etc.). She also handles home dec projects very well (dust ruffles, draperies, pillows, etc.) and doesn’t mind lightweight garment leathers. However, she does not like heavy work, nor does she like heavy thread. Believe me, I tried it *very carefully* last year and ended up breaking the hook.

This is an industrial walking foot machine – a Consew 206RB. She LOVES heavy work! She will sew through bulky layers of leather or awning canvas like a hot knife through butter. Heavy thread? No problem! I use her mainly for sewing heavy leathers but she will handle anything and everything from canvas on up. My friend Sandy uses the same machine in her upholstery business and my friend Sharon uses a similar model (the 226) to make tapestry purses and pressing boards.

What really peeves me are unscrupulous Ebay sellers who list plain old domestic machines as “industrial”. Just because it looks like an iron horse doesn’t make it industrial and if it is industrial doesn’t mean it will handle heavy work. Do your homework – I cannot stress this enough! If you don’t know someone who is knowledgeable about the model you are considering, a wealth of information can be found right here on the internet.

Here’s a good one. This machine is being sold as an “industrial walking foot”. Check out the sticker! 😉 It even uses “industrial thread”! You mean, like cone thread? Wow.

And look! The seller has cleverly disguised the “industrial walking foot” as a plain old zigzag foot. Read further and you’ll find that the walking foot is “detachable” – a dead giveaway. Honestly, how do people keep a straight face when they are typing up these listings? Even worse, how do they sleep at night?

The seller says he has sold this machine for nearly $1000 new in the box but you, my dear Ebay buyer, can buy it for just over $100. My local dealer sells this budget-friendly home machine for $99.


Filed under Sewing Machines

Coverstitching over serged seams

Coverhemming over a bulky serged seam is easy! I’ve been using this method for years. Don’t be afraid to clip close to the seamline – I haven’t lost a seam yet. 🙂

Before turning up the hem, clip to the seamline at the foldline.

Then, turn the hem seam allowance in the opposite direction of the garment seam allowance before turning up the hem.

This will give you a nice smooth seam to stitch over.

Best of all, you won’t have all of those tiny, crooked stitches on either side of the seamline!


Filed under Tutorials

Simplicity 4237 Bubble Skirt

The bubble skirt is finished! See all of my pattern alterations The Sewing Divas blog!

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Filed under Kwik-Sew

Block fusing

I have been block fusing my interfacing for years – ever since I bought my first press about ten years ago. Six years ago, I purchased an industrial heat press for my business and became spoiled by it’s large 16×20 fusing area. You certainly don’t need a press for fusing but it does make the job easier and faster.

Why block fuse? I think it’s easier, faster and more accurate. No more fiddling with wiggly facing pieces and comparing them to the pattern to make sure they haven’t been stretched or distorted. I also always hate cutting out the interfacing pieces, blech. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about whether the interfacing shrunk during the fusing process.

To begin, I lay a Teflon sheet over my pressing surface. If my interfacing is a little larger than my fabric I don’t have to worry about getting the glue on my silicone pad.

Next, I lay the fabric face down on the Teflon sheet making sure the fabric is on grain. The rectangular surface helps me line everything up. I then lay the interfacing glue side down onto the fabric and mist the interfacing lightly with water.

Lastly, I cover the interfacing with another Teflon sheet and close the press for 10 seconds. Once the fabric has cooled, I turn the fabric over and repeat this process.

Then, I am ready to cut!


Filed under Tutorials

Hmmm. Bubble skirt?

I’ve never been a big fan of the bubble, or pouf, skirt. Maybe it brings back memories of bad ’80s fashion for me. But then, I saw this dress on The Sartorialist.

I never would have thought to make a jersey bubble skirt. I like it! I’m not sure if it will like me but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. I bought this Simplicity pattern and pulled some rayon jersey out of my stash. I’ll let you know how it goes!


Filed under Simplicity

UFO Central

If you dare tempt the Sewing Fates (as I did yesterday) by beginning a new project while piles of UFOs await completion you will be punished. You will make a big cutting error and the adorable Pucci-print dress you envisioned wearing all summer will never become a reality. Trust me. After said mistake, I had two choices 1) shut off the iron and take a nap or 2) get right back on the horse and finish one of those UFOs. I bravely chose option #2. I had known what this beautiful rayon/lycra knit from Textile Studios would become from the moment it arrived: a wrap top (Onion 5032) to wear with jeans. Why it took me so long to finish, I have no idea but here it is – finally. One to-do crossed off the list!

Maybe the Fates will feel that I have sufficiently redeemed myself and will allow some more of that brown Pucciesque rayon/lycra to appear.


Filed under Onion Patterns

Another New Dress – Final

I had the house to myself today so I was finally able to finish up this dress! First, here is a close-up of the button and loop detail I added at the center front. The buttons are vintage mother-of-pearl. I think they are going to want to face whichever direction suits them so I’ll just have to deal with that. I originally wanted to use covered buttons (covered in the main fabric) but I couldn’t find any small enough.

I decided to extend the front band around to the back on this version since I was using contrasting fabrics. I think it was worth the extra effort.

As you can see, I decided to use the main fabric for the hem band and use more uncorded piping to accent the seam. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I didn’t need that horizontal cut at the hemline. I’m short enough as it is. 🙂

Here’s a closeup of the bodice. I’m a little annoyed with myself. I ended up having to let out the bodice 3/8″ for extra length over the bust (different fabric, different fit) and didn’t think about the fact that I’d need to add an extra button and loop. By the time I noticed my mistake it would have required many hours of reverse sewing to correct so I decided to leave it as it is. Hopefully, no one will notice.


Filed under Fabric, McCall's, Notions

Another New Dress – Part 2

As you can see, work on the dress hasn’t come very far. I’ve had a busy work week with very little time to sew. I didn’t make much progress on Memorial Day either! However, I am determined to finish it up this weekend as I’m feeling guilty about the many UFOs in my sewing room. Yet, I just keep starting new projects because that’s more fun than trying to remember where I was on a project I stopped 6 months ago, sigh. Must. Get. Organized!

Anyway, I wanted to take advantage of the coordinating fabrics I chose for the project. Yet, I didn’t want to give the dress too much of a bohemian look with lots of pattern blocking. Instead of using the contrast for the midriff inset I decided to use 1/8″ uncorded piping in the seam instead. I think it’s a very nice, subtle detail, don’t you? I’m still on the fence about the hem bands. I have cut them out of the main fabric with the intention of simply piping the seam but now I’m wondering if I should use the contrast fabric instead? Decisions, decisions. I might have to try both before I make a commitment.

In this second photo you can just barely see the buttonloops I added at the center front. I have some lovely vintage pearl buttons that will be added shortly.


Filed under Alterations, Fabric, McCall's