There are times when my sewing machine seems like it's not sewing well. I check everything I can think of and it hits me - check the needle.
Did you know the needle can be so specific to the fabric and thread you are sewing that it needs to be the right one for the task? Not just close, but the right one.
Sometimes we get in a rush to mend or "put in a quick stitch" that we think it doesn't matter what needle is there and, well...you know the rest of the story. That quick stitch turns into a mess and time wasted. Stay with me and I'll help you sort out the confusion about sewing machine needles.
Tips to Remember
The packages pretty much give you the clue as to the type of fabric and thread you will use the needle for. Some companies stamp the size and type on the needle, such as color coding. . So what is the meaning of the numbers? What more do we know beyond a size?
Rule of thumb; The lighter the fabric, the lower the size of needle. Most packages print both US and EU sizes, reading as 16/100 and 11/75.. Remember to select thread that is the right weight for the fabric and needle size. A few examples are:
Very Fine Fabric = Polyester or Extra Fine Cotton
Light Fabric = Fine mercerized cotton, Cotton/Polyester, Silk
Medium Fabric - All Purpose Cotton or Polyester
Heavy Fabric - Heavy Duty All Purpose Cotton, Polyester or Silk ,
Have I lost you? In case I have, take a look at the line below.
11/75 ---> Light Weight Fabrics -----> Mercerized Cotton, Silk or Polyester Thread
I hope this short post has cleared up at least a bit of confusion when it comes to selecting the right needle for the job. Just remember: the lighter the fabric, the lower the number. With that, I will leave you to your happy place in all the glorious fabric you have!
Remember, I wish you success and inspiration, today and always!
Exactly. Not the business; Day Dreams is doing great and it feels just as great to know I'm providing a valued skill and service to my home town and surrounding communities.
In the past 5 years of business, I have had some orders that were an immediate, "no", a few that were, "you're kidding, right?", others that I thought, "I'll give it a shot." and yet more that left me wondering, "What did I get myself into?". One of those, OMG moments as you look down at the project and not sure what to do or where to start.
Let's have a little fun and re-visit some of the projects that gave me those OMG moments.
This is an image of a coat that was brought to me for repair. There was metal burned into the fabric, melted nylon and more. With a little imagination and skilled sewing, I managed to make the coat wearable again.
A customer ordered the Double Wedding Ring Quilt on the left. It turned out gorgeous, though it was a tremendous amount of work. I found a pattern in crochet for the same quilt and, you guessed it. I made that too. A living room full of stacks of arcs and yarn, and one year later I had a bedspread.
So, I made the decision to try Etsy for awhile. Personally, running an Etsy store takes more work and time than what I put into for running my tailor/seamstress shop. On top of the work put into an Etsy shop, there is the risk of having your items deleted because someone thinks they look too much like their items, or too much like the original merchant product. I left Etsy with the knowledge that apparently, every item made or manufactured is an "original idea" Ummmm, really?
It speaks for itself. Scary. Glad it was in a duck blind and daylight.
Yes, you are seeing right. Truly an OMG project. These sleeves came to me just as you see them. Stitched on the outside to raise them. I made an entire guide from this repair and alteration about how not to raise sleeves. I still shudder seeing this picture of all the horrific errors on this suit coat. I saved it and made a young man quite happy!
I'm sure my OMG moment projects are not finished yet, as I plan on another 5 or 10 years before I pack up my sewing machines. Be sure to check out the portfolio page for a view of many projects, as well as Day Dreams Sewing on Facebook.
What are some of your projects that caused you to wonder what you got into? Share with us in the comments section below. Until we chat again, I wish you success and inspiration, today and always.
Some things in sewing most people won't tackle - altering formal attire, replacing broken zippers and relining coats. These tasks don't need to be intimidating, as long as you keep a rule of thumb in mind: it goes back together the same way it came apart. Of course, like any good "back yard mechanic", you may have a spare part or two left after the job is finished :)
Mending and alterations can be similar to auto mechanics or construction. There is a guide for both and tips learned along the way from associates and friends. This tip sheet on relining coats will give you my best tips on relining coats in an effort to build up your confidence while you take on a fun task.
If you want to download the entire tip sheet, follow this link to your free copy!
Your first step will be removing the old liner. Hint: You may want to take a few pics of how the liner is placed in the coat before removal for reference as you restitch the new liner. Take your time with removal - these pieces will be your pattern. Use a seam ripper or razor (experienced only) to take apart the liner. It's a good idea to mark the pieces with standard pattern markings for reference and accurate fit. One other tip: you only need one of each of the pieces of the old liner. Choose the pieces that are in the best shape and press each flat before moving to the next steps.
Take note of the original seam allowance. This is important to do, as it will assure an accurate fit of the new liner. Hint: Remember, the new liner piece will already have the seam allowance included, so there is no need to cut the new piece larger.
Still with marking in mind, mark dots or clips at previous center points. This is especially important for the sleeves.
One very important tip to keep in mind is to mark lines where the original liner piece may be missing part of the fabric. Some old liners may fray or disintegrate while you are removing it. This is natural and no need to worry - just mark a line where you see it's missing.
Keep your seams lined while pinning and as you sew. Seam alignment not only makes the new liner fit well, but will present that professional quality you desire.
That's it! Pretty simple really, once you think about it. I hope these tips help you with your relining project. Be sure to visit the Tips & Guides page on my website for help in other topics of sewing, crochet and knitting.
Best of sewing to you in your project, and know that I wish you success and inspiration, today and always in all you do!
Patches are commonplace on jeans and play wear, but on suits? You bet!
They are functional , fashionable and easy to apply. Many fabrics will do well with a simple bonding material to hold the patch in place; however, the best method to assure they are secure is to sew them on. This is where your hand sewing skills become quite handy.
Gather a few supplies, and follow a few easy steps below (captioned pictures) to save your favorite sweaters, suit jackets, shirts and coats.
Do you have tips on application of elbow patches? What's your favorite stitch to hold them? Whatever threads you are saving with patches, I wish your project to be successful and filled with inspiration, today and always!
Part of frugal living is using what you have until it can't be used anymore. That's a lot of use! Furniture seems to always become boring, worn, outdated or broken - then we spend precious dollars to purchase the replacement. One way to save those dollars is to use throws or slipcovers. Today I am sharing with you a standard method for making slipcovers. If you can sew a straight line, measure and/or cut a pattern, you're in great company for making your own covers!
Let's get with it.
First thing is to gather your supplies and fabric. Download the PDF of the entire pattern here for the materials needed and special notes.
One suggestion for you is consider the type and weight of fabric you will select. Is it washable? Will it hold up to frequent use?
Your chair will need to be measured for length and width in the following areas: Top Front/Back; Seat; All Bottom Sides.
Now that you have recorded the measurements, transfer those numbers to pattern papers or to the wrong side of the fabric. Cut the pieces (total of 7). Mark the wrong side of each piece with it's place (i.e., Back, Seat, etc.). Prepare the piping (optional) and baste to the right side of the top fabric (one piece only). Stitch Back and Front right sides together, sandwiching the piping between the two pieces. Turn right side out, smooth piping and press lightly.
In the order listed below, stitch the bottom side panels to the seat edge:
1) Front panel 2) Back panel 3) Both side panels.
Once this is complete, stitch the side seams to the panels closed. Smooth all of the cover after sliding it over the chair. If it's bulky, turn inside out and trim seams, corners. Hem to the desired length.
That's pretty much all it takes. I know, it's easier to write it out than it is to actually sew it. I think you will find the pattern easy to follow. Sew :) when you have the time, break out that fabric you adore and start planning the frugal uplift to your home furnishings.
With that, I'll sign off and know that I wish you success and inspiration in your projects, today and always!
Fretting over the formal event you'll be attending soon? Take away a little of that worry with Day Dreams Sewing top ten formal fitting tips.
10. If you want the scraps from the alterations saved, let the seamstress know at your first fitting.
9. Before handing over the garment to the tailor or seamstress, check it over for stains or tears, noting them on both copies of the service ticket.
8. Don't leave without reviewing (or having received) a service ticket!
3. With regard to hems, ladies think about not wearing high heels in your gown. Will you be standing all through the event? Dancing? Chances are you will be on your feet much of the event and you will appreciate a lower heel. That being said, think of having your dress hem line set to flats. If you bought high heels for your wedding dress, they will show as you're walking down the aisle to the altar; isn't that why you bought them in the first place, for others to ooh and aah over? Consider the tip - it's valid.
2. Buy good undergarments that support, are comfortable and fit. It's terribly difficult to make adjustments to a garment that is not paired with the right undergarments.
1. Buy a size that is closest to your size. Sale prices are great on formal attire, however, add in the cost of alterations of 2 sizes, and you have overshot your budget. While garments may be adjusted an inch or more, it's frugal and smart to invest in a garment that requires only a few alterations.
That wraps this up for today's post. I hope you found at least a few good tips that will help you before or during your formal fitting. For more tips on personal fittings, read the post on preparing for a formal fitting here.
Wishing you a successful and inspirational day, today and always!
We buy new items and want them to look distressed, antique or old. This goes for fabrics as well. Sometimes, it's not a matter of wanting a specialty fabric to look vintage, but rather a desire for the specific shade of beige or off white. It's a color that's not ivory, but a little darker - what do you call tea dyed?
I've had my share of fails with tea dyeing, or color dyeing - period. With a little time, practice and patience, you can approach dyeing specialty fabrics with more confidence if you understand what fabrics absorb tea dye and which ones not to bother with. Before I cover the fabrics that accept tea dye well, let's see how tea dyeing works on the fabrics listed below.
I've set out several common fabric swatches for specialty fabrics (excluding the crochet flower).
An important tip: Use black tea, not flavored teas. Tea bags are preferred, as loose tea will work its way into the fabric you are dyeing. Flavored teas will turn the color of the dye anywhere from a light pink to a dull orange.
See the difference? These pieces were with one tea bag for 30 minutes. I chose to leave it longer because I knew I was working with synthetic fabrics. Synthetics will always take longer to dye because of the plastics in the fabric makeup.
Synthetics are capable of accepting color only if they are a blend: Poly/Cotton, Rayon/Poly/Cotton, etc. The pieces that are synthetic blends (above) are Organza and Stretch Lace. Most lace, tulle, chiffon and organza accept tea dye well.
Sateen (Satin is the name of the weave, not the fabric) is a poly/cotton blend and accepts tea dye well. Sateen also accepts chemical color dye that is used in dyeing shoes and bags.
Silk is a natural fiber and readily accepts color, even when it's blended with other fibers, natural or not. The sample (feather) above is darker than I was going for - understandably so (after leaving all pieces in for 30 minutes).
The two pieces that are cotton in content - I had no doubt they would color, as cotton is highly absorbent.
Yay you! I see you found the pattern you wanted and it's time to shop for the fabric. Let's review the back of the pattern for what you will need.
Wait, what? What's "medium weight woven" mean? What kind of Crepe or Satin? Stay with me and I'll point out which fabrics have similar qualities, such as the "hand", weight and blends. These days, so many fabrics are blends of natural and synthetic fibers - it can be quite confusing!
Sorting Out the Confusion
First, sort out what fabric construction is required -Knit, Woven, Non-Woven?
Fibers are natural source and foundation of fabric. Yarn is made from fibers, then either knit or woven into cloth (fabric).
Drape is how the fabric lays - stiff or soft? Think of curtains, this helps.
Hand is how the fabric feels on the skin - soft, smooth, rough, slippery, etc.
Woven fabrics are tight and form a strong cloth. They are interlaced by crossing yarns over one another. There are several types of weaves - I'll save those for another time.
Knits bring hundreds of yarns together either by twisting or looping together resulting in a loose, soft cloth with a generous stretch (some 4 way stretch). Again, there are several types of knit of which most will be covered in a different post.
Newer fabrics are non-woven. These have been made by bonding or felting fibers together. Examples of non-woven are surgical masks, gowns and gloves, sport wear, faux fabrics, packing materials, industrial fabrics and more.
Fabrics & Characteristics
Satin is a primary fabric used in wedding or other formal attire. Satin is named for the type of weave, not actually the name of the fabric. Satin is made from wool, polyester, cotton and silk. Not all satin has a shiny surface - it's common to confuse "Sateen" with Satin - Sateen is the result of weaving cotton to a dull sheen. There are several fabrics made in a satin weave: Charmeuse, Double Faced, Slipper, Sultan, Polyester, and more.
"Crepe" , commonly misused as the name for one type of fabric, correctly describes many kinds of fabrics-cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics and blends-that have a crinkle, crimped or grained surface. For example, Crepe de chine has a slightly crinkly surface created with highly twisted fibers. It comes in three weights: 2 ply: appropriate for blouses and lingerie; 3 ply: appropriate for fuller pants and dresses; and 4 ply: the highest quality and best for dress pants and jackets. Crepe back Satin is another that is suitable for blouses, dresses and curtains. This fabric has a matte shine on one side and rough, slub like on the other.
Tulle is confused with Netting. They are different, but not by much. Tulle is a hexagon shaped mesh, generally soft (unless starched). Tulle is used for bridal veils, overlays and inserts. Net is square, open mesh with a larger pattern. It is also known as "bobbinet" and ranges from sheer to heavy in weight. Net is used for millinery, petticoats, underlinings, costumes and more. *Images below are credited to Harrington Fabric & Lace Co, UK* http://www.harrington-fabric-and-lace.co.uk/prod/lace-net/plain-net-tulle.html
Three other fabrics confused with one another are Voile, Organdy and Organza. Each are a thin, lightweight plain weave fabric, made from cotton, silk, nylon and polyester (blends). Voile has a soft hand and is commonly used in curtains but used for apparel as well. Organdy and Organza are similar, however, they are stiff in hand and present a sheer appearance.
Bamboo, Hemp and Linen are mistakenly identified between each other. Each fabric is made from natural fibers, and create a strong, sustainable cloth. Hemp can be spun and woven to appear like Linen. Bamboo and Hemp have high wicking properties and are popular for use in cloth diapering.
Muslin and Gauze are frequently mistaken in name. Muslin is a medium weight, plain weave, opaque fabric, and Gauze is a sheer open weave. Both are woven from cotton and suitable for apparel.
Comfortable, stretch, breathes well, dressy and casual, wrinkle resistant - all describe knit fabrics. The favorite t-shirts we wear to the most comfortable of undergarments, knit fabrics are a giant in the fabric industry.
A slim few of the most commonly confused knits (the term knit is mistakenly used to describe all knits) are presented here. Of course, a knit fabric can be easy to identify, but knowing which type it is and the weight will save your dollars and stress level for ordering online. There are three types of knits most commonly used:
" Non-woven fabric is a fabric-like material made from long fibers, bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment. The term is used in the textile manufacturing industry to denote fabrics, such as felt, which are neither woven nor knitted."
Nylon, first produced in 1938, the first completely synthetic fiber developed. Known for its high strength and excellent resilience, nylon has superior abrasion resistance and high flexibility.
Polyester is a manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, and is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength (although somewhat lower than nylon), excellent resiliency, and high abrasion resistance. Low absorbency allows the fiber to dry quickly.
Spandex (now called Lycra or Lycra Spandex) was introduced in 1958. Spandex is a synthetic fiber made of at least 85% polymer polyurethane. Spandex is made from several chemicals that are known sensitizers.
Acetate a manufactured fiber formed by compound of cellulose, refined from cotton linters and/or wood pulp, and acetic acid that has been extruded through a spinneret and then hardened.
Whew! That was alot of info in a short space, right? What fabrics confuse you in name or characteristics? What's your favorite to sew with? Whatever fabrics your projects bring you to, I wish you success and inspiration with them, and all you do - today and always!
To a seamstress or tailor, a helper is invaluable. Reaching, handing, holding, supporting are all the actions a helper can provide. What do you do if you don't have a shop helper? If you're into gadgets, it's fun to geek out with all the sewing gadgets that give you a third hand.
The grabber (reacher) is perfect for cleaning up pins and needles when dropped. It is strong enough to pick up scissors, and refined enough to grab beads out of the carpet. Sold at most online stores.
Load several spools of thread of the same color and drop into the Bob 'n Serge. Saves money on thread, blends threads easily, or stores extra bobbins for large projects. Available at most online stores.
Third Hand Sewing Clamp
The picture alone gives away how well this works as a third hand in sewing. Grab, pinch, hold while you work as though you are being assisted. These and vintage models are sold at most online stores.
A dress form is a valuable third hand. Use them for pattern making, shaping, fitting, and of course, draping when you need to accurately place hand sewn items.
One more invaluable gadget is a madnifier - light. One that clips on is handy, but the style you choose ultimately depends on your sewing set up
Other handy helpers include:
I could write and post so much more, but you get the idea by now. Look for helpers in the notions and gadgets to fit your sewing needs. Sewing is a pleasure; keep it that way with a few gadgets.
What gadgets or helpers do you have in your tool box? What ever you have or use, I wish you success and inspiration with all your creative projects - today and always.
Some argue clothing size doesn't matter. Personally, I agree with the doesn't matter side. However, it matters a great deal when measuring a body for custom sewing. If you choose a pattern based on your ready to wear (RTW) size, you will end up wth a garment of no use to you. Custom sewing demands that size matters.
There is a particularly sensitive issue that presents itself when I am measuring a person for custom sewing: How to address the large gap in numbers (sizes) between what size they are in RTW and pattern sizes? Some customers are aware of the difference, but others are genuinely dismayed that in RTW they are a size 6 - patterns say they are a size 12. Ouch!!
How to Find Your Pattern Size
Size It Up
Now that you have your basic measurements you can select the pattern in your size. Today, patterns are multi-sized (this has several advantages; more on that later) so your pattern will most likely have a range of three to four sizes.
Look to the left of the numbers. Do you see the short column that reads SIZES? There is where you will begin and follow the row across to the number that best represents your measurement. For example: Bust measured at 35, so you would select the next size up which is 36. That places you in the size 14 row. Chances are your waist will not be 28" as shown in that column, but it can be adjusted. Tip: If your hip measurement is larger than your bust measurement, go with the size of your hips. Why? It's easier and less expensive to have a garment taken in.
A few more tips on measurements and sizing:
Special Note: Patterns are now printed in several languages and are made in multi-sizing. The benefits are you only need one pattern for a variety of sizes; it's easy to adjust sizing; it saves on paper and keeps costs down. Patterns are expensive, so I find it a good thing I have a range of sizes in one pattern when working with making dresses for a group of ladies.
Are you shocked at the dramatic increase of your size of clothing? It's not only the pattern industry. Manufacturers nationwide size their clothing according to their measurements. This explains the phenomenon of the same maker, but different jeans you buy and they are different in size. As for patterns, if you buy a 12 in the pattern but you need a 20 or 22, prepare for immediate disappointment!
The charts below will help illustrate the gap in sizing, emphasizing the need of knowing your measurements before you purchase a pattern.
What have you noticed in the difference in sizes? Have you noticed a difference between pattern makers as well?
Whatever pattern(s) you choose for your custom sewing project, I wish for you success and inspiration in all you do, today and always!