What’s Your Sewing Identity?

Sew, here’s a simple question for you in preparation for the new sewing year for the Guild (or your own efforts).

If you had to describe your sewing in a minute long elevator ride, how would you do it? The minute long “elevator pitch” is a common summary style concept used in everything from sales to business to military briefings, among other situations. It can be prepared, but really, to be true to stepping into an elevator for a short ride and having someone ask you about it, give an off the cuff answer.

Then, after you answer that, ask yourself so will you be changing up anything this year?

I guess if I’m going to be asking that of you, I should provide an answer myself.

I sew a wide variety of garments for men and women that are eye catching from across the street or further away, for reasons of style, design, colours, symbolism and/or other features. I prefer solids and high contrast, three colour combinations over prints and patterns, though I am fond of jacquard and textured fabrics when I can find the right features on them. I serge just about everything for durability and quality, and have as much practicality in my designs as flash. If I’m wearing something I made, or showing off something I made for someone else, doesn’t make me feel proud, I either don’t start it or donate it rather than keep it.

I wouldn’t change anything, only expand my portfolio and repertoire.

And you?

Please leave your answers in a comment, or at least think about the question for your sewing this year. It’s good to just stop and get a self-analytical overview from time to time.

Can Dark Denim Be Coupled with Light Fabric in a Garment?

I got some ridiculously cheap stretch denim today. It’s the usual dark navy colour that will run more than some formerly great rivers are today. But like those rivers, it won’t run forever, though it may take a rather long time before it runs only to a negligible amount.

I’ve been told I can wash it to death in hot water, then soak in cold with vinegar, and also with salt, to help set in the remaining colours after that.

But would it ever be set enough that I can sew it with a white denim in a garment?

What about other light fabrics that might resist the denim’s colour running? There must be some that isn’t the waterproof rainwear stuff. Even if it’s a heavy polyester.

And what about white embroidery on denim? Would those threads get stained?

I basically don’t want a dark denim garment, and want to contrast it with something light. What are my options?

Which Threads Get Used Most and Least on a Serger?

I use a serger on which I switch threads, usually for colour, far more often than I like. I’ve never kept track of which spool I put where but have finally noticed some are thinner than others on how much thread remains on them. I mostly do just the general 4 thread serging with upper and lower loopers, then left and right needles.

I don’t think the threads feed through at the same rate, seeing how some threads criss-cross on a serged seam, and some just go straight. Can someone please tell me which threads get used the most, down to which the least, on a serger? I’m going to start rotating thick and thin spools every time I need to change threads so I can go through spools more evenly.

Thank you.

Where Can One Buy Good Personal Umbrella Fabrics?

Does anyone know where I can find some good fabric for umbrellas?

No, I’m not planning to make an umbrella to chase after Mary Poppins. I hear she’s no longer eligible. My Matrix rain coat isn’t appropriate for all occasions. I just thought umbrella fabrics, the kind for personal use rather than patio, would be light, fairly waterproof, with some having beautiful designs on them. Those umbrella makers must get their fabrics from somewhere. But where is a reliable source?

An Internet search shows various “umbrella fabrics” sites, but those are just company names. I would also have no idea if they were reliable. I see Alibaba.com has a ton of such fabrics, but they tend to want at least 1000 meters minimum per order. I wonder how they came to think everybody lived in Vancouver?

Maybe there’s an umbrella shop in the Halifax area that can provide hints? We get our fair share of rain, though umbrellas are a bad investment with the wind here! It’s great for Matrix coats, though! 🙂

If anyone has any suggestions where I can get a handful of metres of umbrella fabrics, please let me know. Thanks!

Is There Any Real Value to Cutting Ties Cross Grain?

I have a tie pattern which requires that I cut those long narrow pieces cross grain. That is, to cut the thing 45 degrees to the selvage and leave a lot of fabric to either side not efficiently usable for other items. This is especially true given I would make ties out of the more expensive fabrics I have in my store. Yes, it’s getting to the point where I’m feeling I have a store. 🙂

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a little trouble listening to patterns. They need to talk a little louder or something, I guess. So I want to know from you if there were any real value to cutting ties cross grain?

I’ve done some research, not being lazy and with access to Google, but I haven’t come up with anything satisfactory. Burda says cutting cross grain will allow the skirt, draped top or tie to fall more fluidly. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but if a tie falls down straight when I first tie it, that’s pretty good to me. I don’t particularly care if it falls more fluidly or just falls. I’m not giving points and neither is anybody else about how it falls. I can’t imagine cutting the tie on the bias would prevent it from falling and hanging down straight. Hanging fabric with the bias vertical looks pretty straight to me.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had a different answer. Funny where you can find information, eh? They said ties are cut diagonally across the fabric grain so they will stay tied better, Stay tied better? From what do they make their ties? Or how are they tying their ties? If you tie a tie well, it’s a little hard to slip or come loose, from my experience. So I’m not buying that, either.

A history of neck ties said that in the 1940s, ties were expertly cut, and lined, to ensure a satisfactory fit and appearance. That sounds like a craftsmanship issue to me, not a practical issue or requirement. The history also said this “was the apparent increase in uniformity”, which would definitely not be what I’m after if you could see some of the fabric I have set aside possibly for making ties.

So has any one here sewn ties, or had training in them, or know enough about this issue to tell me whether cutting ties cross grain is really necessary in order to get a decent functioning tie? Please tell me why if so. I haven’t been convinced so far, but that may just be a matter of presentation.

And if you don’t care for making ties and such, hopefully, you’ll just enjoy the history of ties. I love what you can find online! Thank you!