THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

December 7, 2009

Sew your own ribbing fabric

For a lot of patterns you need a knit fabric, like a jersey or wool plus some ribbing to finish the sleeves or sew a neckband.

I know it can be difficult to find a matching ribbing for the knit fabric you want to use. I have bought cotton and acrylic ribbing in bright colors when I was making sweaters for my kids but I never found a wool ribbing.

If you can’t find the right matching ribbing you can make your own faux ribbing, using the same  knit fabric, and a twin needle.

I learned that technique from a Threads magazine article “RIBBING” FOR ANY KNIT FABRIC”
by Dorothy Amo back in 1996 April/May issue 64.

Years ago I made a wool jersey sweater and made the ribbing from the same fabric using a twin needle size 4.0×75

I made the neckband from a folded pin tucked piece of the wool.

After the pintucks were sewn I measured the needed wide and sewed the band together with a regular stitch and finished the outer edge and attached the band around the neckline with a 3 thread serger/overlocker.

I topstitched the band seam allowances around the neckline again with a twin needle.

For the sleeve cuffs I sewed pintucks for a length of 20 cm and finished both edges with a 3 thread serger and traced the part of the sleeves which I wanted in pintucks , sewed the ends together , attached to the sleeves and used 4 cm for the hem wide and hand stitched the hem since I did not want to use a visible line of stitching.

As you can see the sweater is old but it is only to show what is possible if you make the matching ribbing your self.

I made a new sample from a purple knit

I marked the knit fabric on 10 cm and starting to sew pin tucks, the wide between the pin tucks is 4 mm and I have 13 pin tucks for the 10 cm wide fabric which leaves me with 8 cm wide faux ribbing.

The size of the stitch length I used was 2,5 and the tension on high at 8. I used my normal sewing feet and set the needle on 4 towards the right.

I used my sewing foot as a guide for the previous sewn pin tuck.

wrong side

I used the sample to make a cuff for the sleeve .

The amount of stretch depends on the stretch factor and stretch recovery of the fabric plus the amount of pin tucks. In this case the cuff 10 cm wide and it can stretch towards 14,5 cm.

It is best to make a sample first.

but did not finished the edges as you can see inside the sleeve.

If you want to explore more about this sewing technique try to find a copy of Threads magazine issue 64 which shows detailed pictures and a lot more information.

   or find a copy of the “Book Sewing with Knits” by Connie Long , she also covers this type of sewing ribbing in her book.

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November 16, 2009

Dressmaking class in Mago Kenya

Filed under: Dressmaking,Els,Machines,sewing,sewing notions — Els @ 11:22 am
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Last month my HB and I were traveling in Kenya for 3 weeks and I was lucky to visit a dressmaker’s class in Mago, a small village in Western Kenya.

The Dressmaking/Tailoring class  is a department of a Polytechnic school that was built and financed in 2005 by some Dutch people.

We stayed for 6 days in the guesthouse http://www.magoguesthouse.com/

The stay in the guesthouse  guesthouse provide the needed income for the school. Our oldest son is doing an internship for 6 month there together with his girlfriend Linda, as part of their final year of study of Tourism and Management. They will do the marketing and manage the guesthouse .

The Catering & Hospitality students provide services at the guesthouse .

Our son went to South Africa last April to do some shorter studies and internships at a school in Port Alfred for his  Tourism and Management major.  He bought a Toyota Hilux 4×4 and has driven the old jeep through Swaziland, Tanzania, Lesotho, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zanzibar to Kenya where he started his internship late August and we have missed him terribly.  It was a joy to see him again and to see where he is working now.

The polytechnic school has several departments for students (age 18-28) to get an education for 2 years in  Motor Vehicle Mechanics, Carpentry & Joinery, Building & Construction , and Tailoring & Dress making.

Motor Vehicle MechanicsCarpentry class

Building and Construction classsewing classroom

dressmaking students at work

I knew beforehand that the school had a dressmaking/tailoring class so I stuffed some possible hard to get fabrics like stretch lace, sewing notions, books: Fit for real people , Sew Any Patch PocketSew Any Set-In Pocket and some  pattern magazines like Burda, Knip and Diana in my suitcase.

I had the pleasure to see the students at work and was welcomed by the teacher and students as a colleague dressmaker.

There are 36 students in the dressmaking class and they learn  pattern drafting and sewing.

The students learn to sew and make samples not using muslin  fabric but they draft a pattern on brown craft paper and learn to sew that paper garment made on ½ scale and this way they learn to know which steps are going to be sewed first.

The students are working in two classrooms, one is for the theory and the other classroom has 24 beautiful Singer treadle machines.

singer treadle machines

Sewing sample

I spend a day at the Dressmaking/tailoring School and shared some sewing techniques, for example I made a sample of a bound buttonhole on a treadle machine that was for me a new experience, since I am used to an electric sewing machine.

I have some vague remembrance of sewing once on a treadle machine in grammar school but since that did happen a long way ago I felt such a beginner sewing on such a machine.

The Singer machines they use are beautiful and well-maintained.

All the dressmakers/tailor shops I saw when we drove through the villages in Kenya are using treadle machines since only a few people are lucky to have access to electricity.

The Dressmaking/Tailoring School is well equipped by Kenyan standards but they could use some better scissors and from my point of view more notions as I happened to find out when I needed to use scissors for cutting some fabric.

As a dressmaker I know that good tools are such a pleasure to work with and will make the sewing part so much more enjoyable.

I tried to find a notion/sewing store in the big cities like Nairobi and Mombasa but I could not find even one.

So once we were home again after our fantastic 3 week vacation traveling in Kenya, I was planning to do some serious shopping for the dressmaking/tailoring class.

I told my parents and sister about my shopping plan and they spontaneously donated money too, so I could buy 36 scissors, thread nippers and seam rippers, plus a large dressmakers shear and pinking shear, plus some other notions which I thought they could use.

notions A

I had some red upholstery leather in my stash from an old leather couch once owned by my sister so I made sheets to protect the scissor blades and made an extra pocket so the seam ripper and thread nipper were all in one place.

sheath36 hoesjes klaar a

It was a lot of work but fun to make since I knew beforehand that those notions would be for a good cause.

Since it is very expensive to ship the 5-kilo scissors to Kenya I was very lucky to find out from one of the Dutch founding member of the board (who started and finance the school)that friends of him would travel to Kenya and could pack the scissors in their suitcases.

So the 165 km drive to another town to hand out the scissors was well spent and was cheaper than shipping with no worry that the scissors could get lost during shipping. The scissors were accepted with great appreciation and will help the students to accomplish their work to become a dressmaker/tailor and start a dressmaking business to earn a living.

The other notions, dressmakers ham and pattern book  Modelling and Flat Cutting for Fashion by Helen Stanley are traveling with the parents of my son’s girlfriend Linda who are leaving tomorrow for their Kenya vacation.

I wish I had the opportunity to do some volunteer work at the Dressmaking/Tailoring school but since that will not be possible I was happy that our family could donate some needed tools to make sewing much more enjoyable and pleasant.

August 25, 2009

Lead weight hem

Filed under: Els,sewing,sewing notions,Tutorials — Els @ 7:05 pm
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Wearing a linen blouse in summer is very weather friendly if you can stand the wrinkles, which of course are a characteristic of wearing linen fabric.

I love to wear linen blouses but I do not like the wrinkles and pleats of the back hem. I wear a long blouse so it creases a lot at the back hem due to sitting.  I wondered if there was a cure to prevent any more bunching up the hem.

So after some brainstorming I came up with the idea to use a lead tape inside the hem, to keep the hem hang straight even after sitting.

Lead tape is mostly used in curtain hems but I did use the lead tape inside my blouse hem and it works like a charm.

I bought some lead tape the lightest weight the store had was 35 grams per meter , but that was a bit too heavy to use in a blouse hem. Unfortunately the store did not have the lightest weight tape which is 15 grams per meter. The 35 gram tape was not the right weight to use in my blouse hem, it was too heavy and it showed a ridge in my hem seam allowance, due to the larger diameter.

detailed view of the lead weight tape, partly uncovered to show the lead weights:

lead tape 35 grams per meter

Lead tape is available per meter here in The Netherlands in different weights and I needed a lightweight lead tape 15 gram per meter which is the lightest weight.

See the difference in size and diameter for 35 grams at the top and 15 grams at the bottom. I removed some of the cover so you can see a detailed view what is inside the tape.

lead tape difference

So I remembered that I had some polyester organza curtains in my stash , which were a big mistake, color was wrong, but I could re-use the lead tape. One hour later I had ripped the lightweight lead tape 15 grams per meter and used that tape to stabilize my linen blouse hem.

I wore my blouse for a day and the hem is still looking good and no bunching up hem.

blouse back

blouse front

Eureka that was the best solution to keep my linen blouse hem stay put.

I secured the lead tape at the inside of the mitered corners of the blouse hem at center front and side slits with some hand stitching.

The tape is laying loose in the hem allowance and should withstand washing. I am going to hang dry my blouse so the covered lead tape will not harm my linen fabric.

I made  a sample for pressing/ ironing and noticed that if I move the tape a bit upward I can press the hem fold without showing a small ridge, due to the tape which is inside the hem allowance.

So there is no need to press the hem touching the tape because it can move due to the hem allowance ( 1,5 inch) I used for this blouse.

Since I had no information if this tape was available in the US I asked fellow diva MaryBeth and she directed me to a US source for this tape  amazon.

If you love to wear linen and want to prevent any bunching up of the hem, this is a way to keep the hem hanging straight.

July 4, 2008

Fine Men’s Tailoring: Pants Hemming

 Do you recognise a European tailor made or High End RTW men’s pants or trousers by the way it is hemmed?

 

 

 Since I never found any information about this way of hemming outside Europe I thought it would be interesting to show you.

 

 The hem has a tape sewed on at the hem allowance partly covering the hem fold by 1 mm or 1/24 inch to protect the hem from wearing out, and for reinforcement.

 

 Grey pants example detail  : which shows the 1 mm ridge which is peeking out but is hardly noticeable by others , or you must be lying on the ground so your eyes are on the same level as the pants hem. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Detail outside view black pants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Inside view black pants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This tape is sewn by 2 stitching lines after the hem fold is steam pressed and the ridge should peep out  for 1 mm ( 1/24 inch) 

 I used a non matching thread for better view.

 

 

 

 

 This polyester or cotton tape is 15,5 mm wide (5/8 inch) and has a small ridge at one long end.

 

 The tape which is called “Stootband” in Dutch, “Trouser Kick Tape” in English, “Hosenstossband” in German,  “Talonnette” in French, “Slidbånd” in Denmark, “Cinta Talonera” in Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visible ridge 1 mm, 1/28 inch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This way of protecting a hem from wearing out is mainly used in men’s pants/trousers but I also heard that in theater clothing it is used for floor-length gowns or skirts to protect the hem from wearing out.

 

 I have sewn this tape too in a pair of wide legged pants for myself.

 

 This tape is available in several colors like dark blue, black, beige, grey and brown and can be purchased at European well stocked notion stores, it is sold per meter or at prepacked cards which consist of 2 meters (2.18 yards)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 I bought a few cards from a store who was selling out their inventory

(1 grey, 2 1 beige, 5 3 black and 5 3 dark blue) which I can part off if anybody wants to try them out.

 

 The price per card is Euro €1,25 plus shipping.

 If you are interested in a card contact me at diva-els  hotmail dot com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 18, 2007

Sewing a French dart

Filed under: Els,sewing,sewing notions,Tutorials — Els @ 8:05 pm

A French dart is a bust dart coming from the side seam pointing upwards, it is not a straight dart but it is shaped one.

This is an example of a French dart sewn in a linen blouse.( you see the inside of course)

French dart in linen blouse

Sewing a French dart is not difficult but needs a bit of extra care due to the way the dart is placed because the dart is not on the straight of grain lengthwise or crosswise, it can stretch during sewing and handling like pressing. The dart needs a reinforcing to stay in shape.

A way to prevent stretching this French dart out of shape is to add a lightweight piece of stay-tape to the stitch line.

 If you do not have the light weight polyester stay-tape you can also use a piece of lining cut at the cross or lengthwise grain or cut a bias cut piece of lining which you steam press and stretch during the pressing so it will not grow anymore.The advantage of using a bias cut lining it will not fray, like a crosswise or straight of grain will do.

Place the tape for reinforcing the dart at one of the dart stitching lines and sew the dart from the widest point (side seam) towards the end.I did placed the stay tape at the seam allowance which is the one heading towards the center front.

The next step is pressing the dart open till about ½ inch (1 cm) from the top, the point can be pressed open by using a toothpick which you can insert at the point, press the last ½ inch with the toothpick inside the point over a pressing ham or the end of the ironing board.

 It will depend if the garment will be lined or not and what kind of fabric you use to decide how the seams are going to be finished.

For example if your garment is a blouse or dress and will be unlined and your fabric is a light to medium weight you can finish the seams by serging both seam allowances together.Press the dart downwards.

If your garment will be lined no finishing is needed, or if your fabric does fray easy using your pinking shears to stop the fraying.

               

  

 

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