Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Some pictures from our sewing classes...

Your Sewing Workspace

If you are going to do a lot of sewing or crafting it is a wise decision to get yourself sorted, organize a work space that is only for the purpose you need, which is yours alone. It makes a lot of difference if you don’t have to put everything away, every time you need to leave in the middle of your creativity.
Below I have listed some essentials to getting started.

There are the top essentials you should have to get the best final result from your workroom.

  1. A good quality sewing machine with some basic presser feet (Straight stitch, zipper, button hole and button attachment foot). 
  2. An adjustable chair with wheels and sewing table for machine
  3. A good steam iron and an adjustable iron board. (Always press as you sew)
  4. A comfortable table or bench (set at the about 34” up from the floor) for your cutting needs is a must. 
  5. A Serger / Overlocker machine for a professional finish to those projects (not an essential), but well worth having if you plan on doing a lot of sewing.
  6. Great lighting 
  7. Storage for all your goodies and fabrics

Above is all the larger expense you will have, you can then start to build your cutting equipment.
  1. Dressmakers Shears are essential for cutting out fabric and should only be used for this purpose.
  2. Sewing / Embroidery scissors are needed for trimming threads.
  3. A seam ripper is needed for unpicking sewing mistakes and opening buttonholes.
Other basic equipment needed:
  1. Pins & pin cushion
  2. A Magnet to pick up fallen pins and needles
  3. Needles (both for hand sewing and machine sewing)
  4. A thimble for hand sewing
  5. Tape measure
  6. Tailor’s chalk or other water-or-air soluble marking pens
  7. Needle Threaders
  8. Hot-iron cleaner
There are lots of special tools for special functions to make sewing more enjoyable,  so add these as and when you can afford them.

Do remember though, as you add to your equipment, fabrics and accessories, everything will need to be cleaned and cared for.

Good luck setting up you space!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Preshrink before use!

If you plan on washing or laundering your project you should always preshrink the fabric before using it, this will avoid any issues with fit later on.

It is important to know how much the fabric will shrink (if it does). There is nothing worse than buying the recommended amount of fabric for a project and then to find you don’t have enough.

The best way to tell how much a fabric will shrink is to test it first.

  • Start by cutting out a 4” square from the fabric at one corner (do not include the selvage)
  • Mark an arrow pointing down the lengthwise grain with a permanent pen. This will allow you to gage which way the fabric is shrinking more, if it is the length or the width. (Fabric usually shrinks more on the length that the width)
  • Really wet the square and then iron it until it is fully dry.
  • Now remeasure the square of fabric to see if there has been any shrinkage on either the length or the width.
  • If the 4” length has shrunk by quarter of an inch, then the yard of fabric will shrink by two and a quarter inches.
  • You will need to buy extra fabric to allow for this.....  

There are a few points to remember when preshrinking fabric!

  1. If the project is to be laundered after you have finished, you must launder the fabric in the same manner before cutting out. Use detergent and fabric softeners normal.
  2. Be careful to watch for colour run and dye bleeds as this could stain under and over garments later. So wash the fabric and check for colourfastness. If the colour bleeds, you may want to wash the fabric a second time.
  3. Do not over-crowd the washing machine and remove the fabric after the wash to avoid wrinkling and fabric wear (pilling)
  4. Serge the edges of woven fabrics to prevent them from raveling in the wash.
  5. If the fabric is dry-clean only, you can steam-shrink it with a very good steam iron. Just use steam and don’t touch the fabric with the iron surface. Hold the iron about 1” above until fabric becomes damp. Let the fabric dry naturally.
  6. Home furnishing fabrics usually have a stain-repellent finish on them and cannot be washed. You can steam-press to get the shrinkage.
  7. Pre-shrink all the components of your project (just in case)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Alterations & Repairs

A lot of people don’t know the difference between altering an item or repairing it. Today I will explain the difference between the two.

To alter a ready made garment means to change it in some way and make it fit or look better or more up to date.

Alterations are normally done with a sewing machine.

The garment will look as if it was made to fit you!

Example of alterations range from taking in the side seams of a skirt or trouser, shortening a pair of jeans to shortening the shoulder of a lined jacket to make it more flattering.

To repair something means fixing what has been torn or ripped.

Repairs can either be done by hand or by a sewing machine.

Example of repairs range from replacing a broken zip, button that have come loose to patching the knee of your favourite jeans.

Altering or repairing you garments is a great way to save money and the satisfaction of a job well done.

So get out the sewing machine or needle and thread and start saving money NOW....

Monday, 11 March 2013


One of my students asked me the other day what was the difference between fusing and interfacing?

Answer:  Fusing and interfacing is the same thing.

We use interfacings to stabilize, add shape and give structure to a sewing project.
Interfacings come in different fabric types, such as knit, woven and non-woven.

The difference is that one is fusible, this means that there is glue spread over one side and when heated with an iron, it sticks directly to the wrong side of the fabric and is permanently bonded.

You then have what is know as sew-in, this one is basted to the project edge on the inside before you start to make it.

Where to use interfacing: It can be used anywhere to add body, shape and firmness.
For example: necklines, front & back openings, waistbands, collars, cuffs, tabs, welts, flaps, pockets and some button-holes. You could also use it to add weight and support in the hemlines of jackets and coats.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Serger Sewing

This is the course to take if you are venturing into this very different realm of sewing. We will hold your hand as you learn about the machine and the basics of Serging.
We want everyone to get their sergers out and learn to use it.  Using a serger is fun, fast and easy to use.  Different machine can use between 2 to 5 threads at any one time to sew. 
A Serger creates the stitch found on the inside of ready to wear clothes where the thread wraps around the edges of the fabric (called a seam finish). It also cuts away the excess fabric of the seam allowance as it sews.
A serger/overlocker can be used for many aspects of sewing.  You will learn to use it for decorative stitching that shows on the outside of clothing, as well as making a full garment. 
The serger/overlocker does not replace your normal sewing machine, but it is a great companion to one and can save a lot of time when sewing


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