Thursday, May 31, 2007

Second Sewing Project; Self-teaching Technique

For my second sewing project, I chose drawstring jammie pants - Simplicity pattern 4429

I did the trial version in muslin and made some changes to the pattern.  I took 3 inches off the rise so that it sits at my hips instead of my waist, and used different stitches than what the pattern instructions called for.  I also sewed the casing with the drawstring inside instead of threading it through at the end (much more efficient), and made two pockets instead of one.  The final version was made from 100% cotton flannel, an exclusive JoAnn's print.

The pattern called for all straight stitches, which didn't have a finished look when you were done.  So I examined some of the store-bought clothes I have and used the opportunity to try out different stitches on my machine.  I learned more of the technical aspects of my machine, and how to use the different foot attachments (in this project I used three.)  And now I'm nuts over feet (foot's?)  I'm planning to add more to my inventory!

Things I learned how to do:

  • Buttonholes
  • Overcast stitch hem
  • Blind stitch hem
  • Bar Tack Stitch

Here are the pics -

 Side view

 Closeup of buttonholes and drawstring

 Closeup of overcast stitching

 Back of blind stitch hem

 Front of blind stitch hem (can't see it?  That's the point! ;-) )

 Bar tack stitches - reinforces the corners of the pockets

  Two views of me wearing them.  The pockets are huge, but that's what I intended.  I like big cargo-y pockets!


My Self-Teaching Technique

In case you want to teach yourself how to sew, here are some tips on how I am going about it. 

  • pick up a good book that covers all the basics of sewing, preferably one that has step-by-step photographs of techniques - I got The New Sewing Essentials . 
  • Read your sewing machine manual at least one time through.  I actually refer back to the manual a lot - it has a lot of info about what stitches to use with certain fabric types and such
  • Start with a simple pattern.  Make something you'd be motivated to finish, like something you'd wear yourself.  My cousin started on baby outfits because they didn't use up as much fabric. 
  • Read your pattern instructions all the way through before starting. If you do not understand a terminology, look it up in the glossary of your book.  Make sure you understand what they want you to do.  The glossary is your friend - use it often
  • If you have a newer machine, it might have an easy way of doing something built in.  Always check your manual just in case. 
  • Sometimes the patterns want you to take short cuts, or they simplify things too much.  Always ask yourself, "how can I make it better?"  Look at the construction of the clothes that are in your closet for ideas..  This is a good chance to try out different features of your sewing machine. 
  • Set goals for yourself - for each project, make a point to learn something new - it could be a stitch type, or a technique like "easing", or even how to sew around a curve.


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