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Sewing Do It Yourself

Viscount IslandsViscount Islands [INSERT SoKo HERE]Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys my sister is interested in learning to sew. Do you have any suggestions for books or websites for Do-It-Yourself sewing?

Viscount Islands on
I want to do with you
What spring does with the cherry trees.

Posts

  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited May 2011
    What kind of sewing? Clothes, things like needlepoint or cross-stitch, or quilting?

    I think cross-stitch is the easiest of those, although it can be a bit tedious. The advantage is that you can go to a craft store and pick up a kit for a pretty picture, pre-assembled, often for less than $10.

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  • Viscount IslandsViscount Islands [INSERT SoKo HERE] Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Well she said clothes sewing, definitely not quilting. I'm not really sure which 'technique' though.

    I want to do with you
    What spring does with the cherry trees.
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited May 2011
    I'd be surprised if Jo Anne's didn't offer some sort of class or meeting

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited May 2011
    Many fabric stores, if they don't host lessons, will have brochures and such for places that do.

    I don't know too much about making clothing, as I haven't been interested in doing that since I was a kid, but there are definitely different styles and techniques to be learned and these days most of them involve a sewing machine. I'm not sure about online or book resources, but she really will be best off finding a class where she can actually see and do things and get help from a live person who can see her work.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    edited May 2011
    A good place to start, once she knows how to sew, is resizing t-shirts. Take a shirt that fits perfectly and lay it out over a shit that doesn't. Trace, sew, voila. Perfect fitting shirt.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • LiiyaLiiya Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    This may be a daft idea, VI, but has she considered asking older relatives who have the skills? Or is she wanting to be more independent and do it herself?

    I may be wrong, but are the no sewing lessons on your island? If not, she may be best to order some books off the internet on the basics, and a few basic patterns. Perhaps she could sign up to a forum (http://www.thesewingforum.co.uk/) and ask people their for advice on where to start? Although that is a UK site. I think someone mentioned she'd need a sewing machine, unless she has a lot of patience to sew by hand!

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    Sticks wrote: »
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  • Menolly07Menolly07 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    If classes aren't a viable choice, or she's more of a 'book' person, I cannot recommend enough books from the Sew What! series. I have the Sew What! Skirts book, and it's great. I've made loads of skirts using it. It deals with vocabulary, technique, construction etc. It has a basic skills section that is helpful for first time sewers. It explains the math of patterns rather then giving you patterns, so you can fit to your own measurements. The book also helps with giving you 'shopping' lists and suggested fabric for each skirt.

    Also, the Sew What! Sew Everything Workshop has a better mixture of different sewing projects. Like the Skirts book, this one also has a section devoted to basic skills. I don't own it yet, but it's on my list to buy.

    I'm in the US, so the links are for my version of Amazon. If that version of Amazon isn't helpful to you (I think that it changes from country to country) because of your location then take note of the ISBNs, that's the International Standard Book Number. They are unique to every book. You should be able to take that number and find the book through other means.

    When it gets down to it, constructing a garment is actually VERY basic. It's a matter of sewing seams to shape fabric. Once she has the basic idea down-pat she'll be surprised how much more sense basic clothing construction will make to her.

    Sewing classes are always good. A lot will take you through the construction of a garment.

    The tracing a t-shirt is a very good idea except you cannot trace it exactly. You need a little allowance around it for the seams. If the shirt fits you perfectly, you trace it exactly and cut it out on those lines then construction will take about a quarter to half inch +/- from each seam. That means that you can lose an inch (or more) around the middle. That's something that, ahem, a lot of people don't take into consideration the first time they try to make a piece of clothing.

    I don't like to talk about my 'sausage incident' when I was a mite of but 13, but..... Let's just say... I looked like a stuffed sausage. I was in tears because I thought I must have gained a massive amount of weight. The skirt was an inch to small. I didn't add in seam allowance. The End.

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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2011
    Couldn't you just turn it inside out and trace the seam thingamabobs?

    Anyway, most of my technique knowledge comes from watching a bespoke tailor making a dress and waistcoat. He was really cool about letting me sit in.

  • Menolly07Menolly07 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Couldn't you just turn it inside out and trace the seam thingamabobs?

    Anyway, most of my technique knowledge comes from watching a bespoke tailor making a dress and waistcoat. He was really cool about letting me sit in.

    With a fabric that has no give, maybe, but a t-shirt is made of a cotton based knit. Some even have nylon. Their fitted nature comes from the ability of the material to give/stretch. There's no way to measure how much give equates to inches of fabric. Basically, if a t-shirt is "well fitted" it's probably caused by the stretch the fabric allows. Now, if the goal is for a not well fitted/tailored to the body garment a baggy T would do the trick.

    Also, most Ts have seams finished with a special type of sewing machine called a serger or overlock machine (same thing, different names). They're designed to feed the fabric and "overlock" the seams. That is to say the threads (with at least three spools of thread typically fed into the machine) cast over the VERY edge of the seam, covering it. That's why inside seams of Ts don't roll. The overlock finishing keeps the seam flat. You end up with an unusually thin/finished seam.

    Keep in mind that quarter-half inch is the MINIMUM required. That doesn't even allow for if you want to finish the fabric edge left at the seam. Most tailors/seamstresses do, both to prevent fraying and give a cleaner finished look.

    I finish all my garments, both extant style period garments and regular wear clothing, with french seams. That is to say you sew the seam together with the WRONG sides facing in, pine, sew close to the edge, use pinking shears (the ones with the jagged edge, though regular scissors are all right) to cut close to the sewn seam (there's your first quarter inch). Then you open it up, press the edge flat (so that it's not wrinkly inside the next part) and turn the seam to the opposite side so that the just made seam is going to be pinned INSIDE a new seam.

    Now your wrong sides are facing out. Pin and sew another seam. Open up, press flat. Presto! French Seam!

    All your unfinished edges will be hidden, and you won't have to worry about the fabric unraveling.

    Keep in mind, too, that generally speaking, clothing is very different in terms of tailoring for women vs men. I'm kind of surprised he was making a dress. Typically, bespoke tailors are specifically specialized to men's clothing and don't ever use patterns like Made-to-Measure tailors do. But my point, women have shorter torsos, longer legs, longer rises, less broad shoulders etc, etc. Lady's tailoring (done by a Dressmaker with a pattern and made-to-measure, or as haute couture: the equivalent to a Bespoke tailor but for women) is different, also, in that it will involve more curves: darts, gussetting etc. T shirts tend to be rectangular and more representative of the rectangular body shape. "Women's style" t shirts are based almost primarily on stretch for fit.

    Hope that helps.

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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2011
    Huh, I figured that the thickness of the pencil would make up for the seams having been trimmed (if you can't tell, I have no concept of what a unit of length looks like). Tell me, do you use normal, drafting, mechanical, or carpenter pencils?

    He was the community tailor in the town I was studying abroad in. He obviously knew men's stuff, as he did my waistcoat and pants (although he flubbed the coat because his English was limited and I wanted something very unusual), and carried as many mens' fabrics as womens'. He also sketched out and drafted everything itself (he had a little book filled with all his designs and measurements open next to him at all times). I remember being surprised at how he constructed the dart seam things, although I can't remember what he did (I've been trying to stay fresh in my school fashion design club, but it's six of us on one machine).

    Anyway, observation is a really big help, although the depth you went into about how to do seams makes me think it would also be a useful to see if there are enough sewing enthusiasts to start a thread to talk shop. That way, Viscount and I could lurk and ask the occasional question.

  • Menolly07Menolly07 Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I <3 darts. They can take the most unattractive box and turn it into a tailored piece of art.

    Are you talking about pencil for tracing a shirt for a pattern? If I trace directly to fabric I use a piece of tailor's chalk. It's like a hunk sort of sharpened to a point. You can shave it back to a point as it wears down.

    If I'm tracing an actual pattern I actually use clear, plastic, throw away painter's tarps. They're in hardware stores in big rolls. I trace the measurements I want to use with a permanent marker. The clear tarp lets me see the pattern, and using it means I don't have to CUT the pattern and can re-use it easily. I mark down the name of the pattern and date I fitted it after I've "doctored it." Because it's almost fabric-like in its flexibility you can almost fit it. If I use a piece of existing clothing to make a pattern I'll use the same method, tracing the fabric of the existing clothing onto the plastic. It's a really neat method because then you can reuse it over and over again. Takes up less space then the actual clothing.

    I loves me some sewing.

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