Thursday, September 30, 2010

Silhouttes Pants - Belt Loops Added

The Silhouttes pants are finished.  I found making belt loops on the coverstitch to be much easier than on the sewing machine.  I no longer fear them.
The pants fit but I’m going to continue my quest for the perfect pattern.  I’ve taken apart an old pair of Gap pants.
Well, half of the pants – a front, a back and half of the waistband.  The other half I’m saving for reference.  I’m going to merge the Gap pieces with a yet to be determined pants pattern and hopefully come up something that will fit nicely.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Silhouettes Ralph's Pant, #3600

I have been working on the Silhouttes pants. From the hip down, the fit is fine. The waist, however, is too big (how can that be?). To make adjusting the center back and sides seams easier, I sewed the waistband pieces separately onto the pants pieces. I have discovered that this “not found in nature” fabric is slippery and wearing the pants with a belt will be necessary. The pants will need belt loops and that has provided the excuse to try out the belt loop folder that came with the coverstitch.
For the first attempt, I used the foot that the instructions recommend.  Yes, I read the instructions this time! And, to make it easier to analyze, I chose contrasting thread.  The results were less than wonderful so I thought I’d switch to the binder foot.
The binder foot has a guide along the edge that keeps the fabric aligned.  It didn’t make any difference.  Practicing did.
Now, I don’t know that you have to have one of these folders to make belt loops. You could pre-press the strip and then send it through the machine. The folder just makes it a little easier. I do like this attachment and I am looking forward to sewing another pair of jeans.
A few days ago, I went through some stored sewing patterns that I keep separate from my other patterns. In this group are patterns (mostly vintage) that, for one reason or another, I likely will not use but don’t want to get rid of. Anyway, this 1952 McCall’s dress pattern, a gift from my mother, was tucked in with the apron patterns. It is my size! Coming into Autumn, this dress may not be seasonable but I think it is next in line.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Can’t that woman sew anything besides t-shirts?

Well, yes. Yes, she can.  However, she finally read the instructions and got that machine going.  Give her a break, will ya?
It didn’t take long once I read the instructions.  To test the binder, I used Kwik Sew 3338 and the leftovers from a t-shirt I had made last winter.  The fabric is a heavy cotton jersey knit purchased from  There was barely enough and because of that, I wasn’t able to optimize the print placement.  But, I was able to squeeze the pattern pieces onto it - good enough for this round…
Before sewing this t-shirt, I had been experimenting with binding straight pieces of fabric.  I was concerned that the neckline curve would be problematic.  However, it fed through perfectly.
I used serger thread as I'm too lazy to wind bobbins.  Still, the stitching on my other t-shirts now looks sad in comparison. At 3 a.m., I found myself pulling them off their hangers. I stopped when I realized I would have nothing to wear if I tossed them. I went back to bed.

There has been other sewing related progress in addition to my coverstitch binder education. My sewing patterns are now organized. I scanned the envelopes (front and back) as two page PDF files, grouped them into folders by category, and then placed them into another folder (Tammy’s Pattern Catalog). Now, when I want to look through my patterns, I simply open a category folder and the thumbnails are there. Easy. I took inspiration from “The Big 4” pattern company websites. The patterns themselves are filed in a filing cabinet, alphabetized by pattern company and then by number.

Next up: the Silhouttes pants.

Monday, September 13, 2010

There is a reason they give you instructions…

I woke up this morning determined to get the binder attachment going. On my previous attempts, I had skimmed over the instructions, looking primarily at the diagrams. Today, I actually read the instructions and realized the binder needed to be moved over a bit.  Once it was in the correct position, I ran another fabric strip through and it worked! Using a more stable fabric (a heavy cotton jersey knit) combined with having the binder in the right spot made the difference.
Thanks to Debbie at Stitches & Seams and Belinda at Sew-4-Fun, I knew that I wasn’t limited to using the Brother ½” double fold binder. So, a few days after ordering the Brother, I had also ordered an “A” style industrial binder on eBay. The "A" binder produces a less bulky binding. After getting the double fold binder working, I tried the industrial “A” version and it performed well, too.
Granted, there is a lot of room for improvement. The position of the industrial binder has to be fine-tuned to get the rows of stitching where they should be.  And, this sample was sewn with serger thread that is at least twenty years old, the thread nets haven't been installed and the foot pressure should to be looked at. However, I am tickled! This is going to work!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kwik Sew 3338

Until a year ago, I hadn’t been doing much sewing even though I’d occasionally order a sewing pattern online or would pick up a few $.99 sale patterns from the local fabric store. Recently, it has been fun going through them and I have several that will work with the fabrics here.
I decided that one of the matchups, Kwik Sew 3338 and a stretch jersey ITY knit from, would test my newbie coverstitch skills. I traced size XL adding (in my typical belt and suspenders mentality) 1” to the hem and ½” to the side seams and the sleeve seam. The sleeve length was shortened for a ¾ sleeve. The extra width for the sleeve and the bust area wasn’t needed and was removed. The t-shirt fits well, but the neck opening is a bit wide at the shoulders. Not bad, but I’ll bring it in on the next version.
Sewing a hem on the coverstitch is as easy as sewing on a serger or a sewing machine. Now, the binder is another experience! Not only have I failed to conquer it, I ended up using the Bernina to attach the neckband to the t-shirt. Well, I don’t know how long it is going to take me to figure the binding thing out. This way the t-shirt is finished, on a hanger in the closet - waiting to be worn instead of waiting to be completed. Makes sense to me...

My next binder session will utilize straight, woven fabric. Perhaps that will be easier to handle.

Suggestions are encouraged.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brother 2340CV - Getting Acquainted

Just when I had gotten my sewing things settled, the coverstitch shows up. I've resorted to placing it on the top of the Singer 66 cabinet. Though the cabinet hasn’t been refinished (the various products require plenty of ventilation and it has just been too hot outside), it will do for now.

Needless to say - the pants remain unsewn.
I am thrilled with the hems this machine produces! However, I am expecting that it will do t-shirt bindings, too.   I got the first part of it (the binding strip) figured out.  The fabric I was using curled and didn’t want to fold evenly.  It worked much better after I fused knit interfacing to the wrong side. I made lovely bound strips of fabric but totally failed in getting fabric sandwiched and sewn in with the binding.
Repetition is the mother of perfection.
Yeah, that's my new mantra....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brother 2340CV

Why did I wait so long to get one of these machines? Tell me, why?

For months now, my frustrations with hemming knits (using the stretch stitches on my Bernina 930) have grown. Even though the stitches stretch, they do not stretch very much. And, to me, they don’t look like they belong on the outside of a garment. The last straw was not being able to produce a decent-looking hem on the Ottobre raglan t-shirt. I began shopping for a coverstitch machine soon after it was completed.

I have never sewn on a coverstitch machine before and will need to take some time to get acquainted with it. The most notable thing for me, so far, is the stretchiness of the stitching. I have stretched and stretched the coverstitch samples and haven’t been able to break the threads.
Now, before I tackle a t-shirt I need to have some experience binding edges. I tested the double binder last night. I was tired and the result wasn’t pretty. Maybe it will help if I read the instructions…

With this purchase, I feel as if I am leaving 1980’s sewing, even though my scissors still need to be replaced with a rotary cutter and a huge cutting mat. Hey, don’t laugh. It could happen…