Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Random Threads # 32: after the fact fixes, pocket placement and the old Singer Buttonhole attachment

Time for another Random Threads as my notebook page has quite a few topics jotted down, and for once I can read all my scribblings. Actually after the last few times when I looked at my notebook and realized I had absolutely no idea what I wrote down I've tried to be more careful. After all, a brilliant revelation or hilarious sewing observation could have been lost due to my less than perfect penmanship. Why is my writing so bad? Not sure as I am so fussy in many other things. But it has been this way since I first picked up a crayon and probably not going to change now. (And all of you with lovely handwriting have my admiration:)

First up, Do you do after-the-fact fixes? By that I mean adjust or alter a garment that you have sewn, and likely worn, after it is completed. I do this all the time. Well, not all the time but often. Here are some things I have done: changed sleeve length, changed hem length (those are probably common). Adjusted the center back zipper - even to taking it out and altering fit there and then sewing it back in. Changed a facing to bias binding. Changing armhole shape. Narrowing shoulders. Adjusting sleeve width. Changing the buttons (rarely - as I hate sewing on buttons). Changing the neckline. Adding a drawstring or changing the elastic. Even adding more interfacing if it was possible and I thought the item needed it. All in all, I figure if I liked it enough to finish it and wear it, then a small issue that bugs me can be fixed, and I will like it even more.
My most recent fix is this knit dress. It had an elastic waist and then a tie sash, which didn't seem to add anything. Also I made the elastic too short so it was fine when standing but when I sat down it wanted to roll upwards.

drawstring on knit dress I I took out the elastic, added two buttonholes at the center front, made the elastic about 3/4 of my waist measurement and then made a couple of 1/2" ties which I attached to the ends of the elastic. So now it is a drawstring, with elastic, which is a really nice way to do a drawstring, super comfortable and you never need to adjust it as you wear it. So a tiny refashion and now this dress is 100% satisfactory.

Pocket placement: Do you have an ideal pocket placement idea? I mean the patch pockets on the backside of jeans. When I look at pattern details I feel like Goldilocks - pockets too high, pockets too low, and then just right. Of course just right is in the eye of the beholder. And this beholder likes them right in the middle of the bum, above the crease formed where your cheek meets the top of the thigh. This is for women's jeans, men's are a whole different category. Just personal preference, to me the pockets look out of proportion or misplaced when they are partly on the back thigh. Where they end up has a lot to do with a person's body shape, and length of rise, and if the jeans are high waisted or low rise. You see this more often on guys, I think because on most men their jeans are not held up by the hips as women's usually are, so they tend to migrate downwards, even if they are not intending that look. Sometimes I see a guy with his jeans pockets somewhere south of what looks comfortable (or safe) and you can see the outline of phone and wallet. That's when I think isn't that uncomfortable and or possibly hazardous to your phone screen to sit on it all the time? As a relatively short person 5'3" with a long rise I have been making pants and jeans and thus scrutinizing my backside pockets. Not the most fun in the sewing room but worthwhile to get a fit I like.

News stories about the business of fashion: I love to read business stories that cover fashion and the apparel industry. Inside scoop on a Paris fashion house or behind the scenes peeks at a major magazine or line, yes please! I recently read this one on Bloomberg Business News about LuLaRoe Leggings and the problems with that firm including the speculation that it is a multi-level-marketing scam in addition to a clothing company. Also inter-family drama. Also my opinion - they look like toddler clothes for grown women - which should be the real scandal.

Custom fabric to the extreme: did I show this link before? let's turn to something that made me laugh out loud. And actually show it to a family friend who I thought might want one of these pillows. Result: she did not.

Vintage Singer Buttonhole Attachment: I love my older Singer sewing machines and think that they make the best buttonholes. Plus they do the Keyhole buttonhole which looks so professional on a jacket.  Recently Morgan (@crabandbee) posted a pic of a recently inherited sewing machine which is the same model as one I have. She asked about some of the accessories so I figured I would sift through my photo file and find the slightly blurry video I made a while ago of the buttonholer in action.

buttonhole attachmt SaveSave

Here's a link to a post I did in 2011 (!) with lots of info, photos of the various parts that are needed for the buttonhole attachment and how they work on the sewing machine. And the video. I just tried to upload it here and it is taking forever, but if you click over to the 2011 post you can see it there.

Topstitching - what is it about this that people love? I like the look of it but I can take it or leave it. Some things look nice with it and I do it but it's far from my favorite component of a project. Some stitchers go into raptures over topstitching...maybe people who love order and tidiness and get a thrill out of those perfectly uniform stitches marching across fabric.

Pattern Review website - do you use? I think a lot of people would agree that it would be great to have a website that incorporates the fun and friendliness of Instagram with the usefulness of Pattern Review. And had a better visual appeal (with no brown  - websites with brown graphics are sort of sad looking). I use PR for pattern evaluation, it's really useful to see the combo of photos of a pattern sewn up, the fabric choice, how it looks on different body types and then read a few paragraphs on the pluses and minus of the design, construction and what the individual person might have done to change up the pattern or make it easier to sew. I also look on Instagram but the specific search result on PR is quite handy. I post reviews because I figure if I am going to use it (for free) I should contribute in the same way. Instagram is a more fun interaction but I am always wanting more info and details than the snippets people post. Picky picky, right?

What makes a well drafted pattern? I see this phrase used often and sometimes I wonder what the person meant by it. It can mean that it sewed up correctly? That the pattern pieces fit together easily? It could mean that it fit well for the size that they chose. It could mean that the designer took into consideration the drape of the fabric and thus it resulted in a nice garment. Maybe just that it was really on trend and so gave the stitcher the item they wanted for right now. Sometimes I see this phrase used and I think the pattern they are referencing might have sewing together with no problems but the torturing of that fabric has turned out an awful result. Interestingly I don't think you can apply this designation to any particular pattern company, each one has some things that go together well and others that look like they were trouble from the get-go. I just sewed up two different wrap dress patterns from the same pattern company, one was great and one was a problem child so I might have more to say on this topic soon.

What is with the terrible darts on the red carpet? I think the most famous offender is Prada and this dress might be from the same design house. I saw this during the coverage of the Cannes film festival and that satin fabric is not helping the matter. But eek, that is not the way I would want a dress to look when being photographed a zillion times. Although the jewels are quite something.

darts not sewn well

My diagnosis from afar - doesn't it look like there is a structured corset on the inside of the dress and the outer bodice fabric is too long, it should be more taut above the dart ends to avoid that ripple. Who knows and I'm sure these dresses get shipped around the world to wear for just a few hours without the proper fitting they would do if you were a customer. Not that I would buy that dress - the worst color! (although I know some of you love the neutrals!)

Up next, some blog posts on sewing that's not blue - I've been on a blue streak lately but it's time for a different color.  Sneak peek here for an upcoming Wrap Dress Class (Sat. Aug. 4 - choose any wrap dress pattern, or wrap top and we will cover some of the tricks to a good wrap dress fit)

red wrap dress bodice

At Hello Stitch Studio: still some spots in my Pattern Reading class this Thursday night 6/14, and then my Skirt class on Saturday 6/16. The studio is closed during the week of July 4. In July we have a Pants Fitting class (limited to 4 people) and also a Button front Shirt class (Tues. 7/17 in the evening) plus another Bondi dress on Aug 12. Everyone is making such cute Bondi dresses - it is the ideal summer dress.

Pattern fitting and adjustment classes include the Pants class mentioned above, as well as another Adjust the Bust pattern fitting (7/15) another Garment Copy (7/22) and a Pattern Hacks class (7/28).  All garment classes are here. 

So plenty to do this summer, and the weather is heating up, which means I can wear my summer dresses, yay! And a sewing meet up with friends later this week that I am really looking forward to.

Happy Summer Sewing,

today's garden photo, there are so many foxgloves blooming, in shades of white, pink and purple. They even seem to self sow, which I hope means more blooms from the smaller volunteer plants later this summer.




  1. Yes, I often make changes to my garments after the fact although Ive never removed a zipper like your did.

  2. I laughed out loud reading this - LuLaRoe products look like toddler clothes for grown women! I've had exactly the same thoughts. Someone would rave about them, I'd take a look and couldn't imagine myself wearing them, but then thought maybe that is just my age talking (53). And... sigh... I would love to attend one of your classes, but I can't convince hubby that I should journey to another state for a sewing class LOL!

  3. What we want from Pattern Review is for it to be a but more like Ravelry is for knitters and less like a website from 2002.

    1. Yes! I have thought this many times. If nothing else, PR is overdue for a makeover appearance wise. That said, I love it anyway and use it a LOT.

  4. Darts - good reason for a muslin! PR - I quit posting when they wouldn't allow discussion of Melania Trump's dress. Horrible website colors!! but I still check patterns and so on. Fixes - all the time, if I like the garment and want to keep it. Sometimes I just change something to make it different, add a ruffle, shorten, add elastic or sleeves. Flowers - beautiful!

  5. I make a few changes after completing a garment. But not often. Mainly adjusting bust dart length and skirt/dress lengths.

  6. Another great post with sew much to think about. I have love/hate relationship with topstitching . I see it very often , but sometimes I think it makes my garments look more “homemade “? Wish I lived closer I’d love to conquer the wrap dress/top

  7. I have a pile of nice garments I need to do small alterations on. I resist so much! I really don't understand why once the item is finished, it's so hard to make a simple fix that would get me wearing it more often. Lovely foxgloves! My potted foxglove is about to bloom too. Just a couple months ago I thought it was on its way out, but a bigger pot seemed to do the trick!

  8. I find PR useful, and it costs me nothing. I won't complain about the outdated color scheme and the sometimes tricky search functions. I built and maintain a few websites. Changes that seem easy to others can be extremely time consuming. My guess is that PR is built on an old website design and to make the 'corrections' would require wholesale scrapping. Consider that there is a large database behind it that would need to be migrated somehow. I wouldn't want to do it, and that's a lot for one person, or even a few people, to handle. PR is mostly free and useful, and that's enough for me. I try to remember this whenever I get frustrated on how to enter Burda patterns in the search feature.

    On topstitching. I consider it to be a casual detail. For more dressy clothes (or work clothes) I tend to do (invisible) hand stitching instead. As one of those people that lines of things on tabletops, I can see the attraction though!

  9. Re the pink/beige dress, not only are the darts funky (and incorrectly placed) but the top edge is all wobbly. Can you imagine how much this cost?

  10. I sometimes (No-often) make a few changes to my garments. I am a little short, and usually rise a waist line and bust dart. Thank you for sharing great post Beth.

  11. That lulu story is fascinating! Never heard of them before being from Australia. Thankyou for sharing the singer buttonholed details, I have one and have been too scared to give it a go. My whinge on Pr is that the photos are tiny, garbage quality and often turned sideways...

  12. I try not to fix my handsewn garments after I have already worn them. I have done it a couple of times and actually it was worth it, though!
    About Pattern Review, I find it very useful but not friendly to navigate. However, I try to contribute to return the information I get.
    BTW, I do love topstitching, I find it adds a refined finish to a garment with very little effort, as long as it its properly sewn!

  13. I would have loved to follow your blog on how to make wrap dresses. Such a great help. Thanks for sharing your sewing patterns ideas!


Related Posts with Thumbnails