Posts under ‘Techniques, tips’

Austin Carnaval costume

You may have seen from an earlier post on making the mohawk headpiece for my Austin Carnaval costume. I found this braided metallic mesh tubing at Jo-Ann Fabrics: …and decided to add fringes to the back of the mohawk: Beyond that, it was on to making the rest of my “Road Warrior in White” costume: […]

Clever way to correlate fabric to pattern

As you may know, I started using Dress Shop to generate patterns. Dress Shop generates a PDF file which is printed out on a normal printer on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. I would then tape the pages together to form the pattern. One artifact of printing patterns this way is that they are too sturdy […]

Austin Carnaval costume: “mohawk”

I made an all-white “road warrior” costume for the 2017 Austin Carnaval Brasileiro. I’ve been “incubating” the idea for several years, and this year I finally “pulled the trigger” on it. Since the costume is for the Carnaval, it needed to be super sexy! That means short skirt, bared midriff, spike heels, etc. However, one […]

A pressing matter

Pressing and steaming differentiate great garments from home-made looking ones probably more than anything else. Mismatched plaids and stripes, uneven hem, and wrinkly sleeve caps also say “home made” instead of “tailored”, but not to the same degree, as it takes a bit of scrutiny to see those things. Unpressed seams, however, says “done at […]

Pin sizes

I have written before about sewing over pins. There is always a “religious war” over whether or not to leave pins in place and sew over them or to remove them as one sews. I think at least some of those who are in the “remove pins” camp use pins that are sturdier but as […]

“Chatelaine”

A chatelaine is “a set of short chains attached to a woman’s belt, used for carrying keys or other items.” (It also means “a woman in charge of a large house”, presumably because she’d be carrying a large cluster of keys etc.) I saw “Dior And I” at the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival […]

Sewing machine presser foot as helping hand

A “helping hand” is not new in sewing, nor in many crafts, for that matter. For example, there exist antiques of the “bird’s beak” clamp. Similar devices exist in jewelry making, watchmaking and other tiny-scale crafts, such as fishing lure tying. I’m reasonably dextrous so I can manage manual tasks well. There are times though, […]

Pinning zippers?

When pinning zippers, do you pin parallel to the zipper tape, or at right angle to the zipper tape? Maybe it depends on your pinning habit. I always pin perpendicular to the stitching line and sew over the pins. (Cue rancorous sew-over-pins religious war here! 😆 ) I do that for several reasons. When several […]

Use shoe boxes to organize sewing notions

We all have different methods of storing our sewing stuff. Recently, a member of my local chapter of American Sewing Guild gave a presentation on how she organizes her sewing stuff. One approach that she and I share is storing items in boxes stacked on shelves. Her boxes are all uniform, labeled with their general […]

V-shaped hem slits

I’ve been asked to clarify/explain how I did the V-shaped slits in my Dress Shop shorts: The slit is basically a “lined” diamond shaped cut-out in the garment fabric. When folded in half along one of its axes, the diamond turns into a V shape. By locating the points of the diamond on the hem […]

Sewing and turning a spaghetti strap

There are a multitude of methods to make a spaghetti strap. One method calls for using needle and thread. I used to do this, but have never been happy with it because the thread has to be inserted near the end of the tube and the fabric tends to fray and the thread’s knot would […]

Where to position the needle when using invisible zipper foot?

Recently, I answered a question on patternreview.com about needle position when using an invisible zipper foot. I figure I would share my answer here as well. When using a zipper foot, the needle stays in the middle. You position one of the foot’s two grooves over the zipper teeth depending on which side of the […]

How to make a scrunchie

You may have seen that when I make a garment, I often use the remnants to make a matching scrunchie. It’s a great way to say “this garment is custom made” without having to actually tell people that. Making a scrunchie is relatively straightforward. Afterall, it’s just a tube enclosing a loop of elastic. The […]

Using safety pins to baste

I use safety pins to “baste” clothes during alterations because they approximate a sewn seam well enough for fitting purposes, and because using safety pins permits the wearer to try on the garment without getting stuck by sharp pins. It occurred to me that safety pins might be a great way to teach children to […]

Avoid large garment pieces cut on the bias

Continuing with the bias thing from last week, here’s another tip on working with bias: avoid wide pattern pieces with bias garments. Warp and weft yarns can differ in both count and tension such that they will stretch differently. A wide pattern piece, such as the front of a dress, can end up skewed because […]

Cutting sleeves on the bias.

This Threads article describes a great tip by Denise Severson, a seamstress, alterations expert, and Association of Sewing and Design Professionals member, to add sleeve fullness attractively: cut sleeves on the bias. Besides a more attractive fit, sleeves cut on the bias fit more comfortably and allow a wider range of movement because fabrics almost […]

First time using Dress Shop!

I recently bought Dress Shop, a Windows-based pattern drafting application, by Livingsoft NW. It took quite a big leap of faith since both the Web site and the application look like they were designed in the mid-90s. I will be writing a review of Dress Shop soon. I started by making a “pegged skirt” i.e. a pencil […]

Vogue 8900

I made Vogue 8900: I went with a black/white striped cotton sateen from Fabric Mart, an on-line fabrics house. I played with the stripes to create a silhouette that minimizes width up top and adds width on the bottom: a halter-like orientation up top and horizontal stripes on the bottom. Matching the stripes was challenging […]

More red stuff!

Austin is not Rio de Janeiro, but we do have a Carnaval! It’s a huge samba dance party in the style of Brazilian carnavals, right down to the semi-nekkid, and quite inebriated 🙂 , people. It’s always a ton of fun: lots of hot people, lots of booze, lots of driving samba, all night long. […]

Padding for ironing board

For the longest time, I marveled at the laundry shops’ ability to press shirts to a starched crisp glass-like finish, wishing I could do the same. It turns out that the reason I have failed to achieve the same wrinkle-free result was because my ironing board does not have sufficient padding. I don’t remember now […]