Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to Finish Facings

A friend and I are sewing today-- Saturday is such a nice day to sew!-- and I am "on call" to help out with any glitches. We live states apart so I will be posting some little tutorials on sewing techniques as we go along!

First, here is a way to finish curved facings, such as neck facings and armhole facings for sleeveless dresses, on a conventional sewing machine:
 After sewing the shoulder seams together (or the armhole facings as the case may be), iron open those seams and lay the facing flat, wrong side up.
 Fold over the curved edge about 1/4 inch and press.
 I have to keep my finger just ahead of the iron to get that edge folded over-- it is a curve so you have to inch it along. You will have a few wrinkles because that is just the way it is; just make sure they are little ones and not big one-- they should be more like puckers. Iron them down nice and flat as you go.
I have to start sewing a little ways further in than the end of my facing, as you see above I put the fabric under the presser foot a bit past the needle. My machine tends to "bunch up" the material if I don't!

I am using one hand here  because the other hand is on the camera, but this photo shows that you have to have your hand or hands on the material before and behind the presser foot, in order to feed the curved edge into the sewing area. Keep it nice and flat and manipulate the curve consistantly. I zig-zag over the raw edges -- not over the folded edge, but a ways in. 

You can see what I mean in this photo. Clip all those thread tails off of course:)

For a straight or slightly straight facing edge, this is a cleaner finish called a narrow hem:

Fold your edge over about 1/4 inch. Press. 

Then fold the edge over again, using that last edge as a guide for folding. . 

Press. You don't have to have your fingers so close to the iron with this one:)

Use a regular straight stitch on this one.
This is what it will look like.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Scrappy Bag

2012 Sew Scraps Along

By The Pleasant Times' Sewing Editor, Miss Thread
I was inspired by seeing some of the "Sew Scraps Along" posts on the Pleasant Home, and decided that maybe I should get some of my stash of scraps out and make a little project.
I just happened to need an extra bag to hold another project I am working on, so that is what I chose to do. I have a LOT of scraps, and thought this was a good, small start to reducing them-- this would only take an evening, surely!

I took a few scraps, maybe about a fist-full's worth, in various colors, but mainly aqua blues. I wanted this to be fun and not stressful, so I did not plan an intricate design or count how many squares of each color I'd need, etc. My only "rules" were that no two of the same print should touch, and that I would try to get it as "random" and scrappy as I could! 

It was rather a relief to just cut squares and not worry about trying to squeeze so much out of so little fabric-- if I had an odd 1/2 inch left, I could throw it away and not try to scoot things around so that I would have exactly 20 of blue, 20 of pink, and the like.

Several hours later, that small bit of fabric turned into a LOT of squares and little triangles. I was starting to wear out! I quit about 11 o'clock-- so much for a one-evening project. It took one more evening to sew it all together. 
This is the "fabric" I ended up with. I folded it up and made a bag, with a pieced-muslin lining from bigger scraps. I didn't use a pattern or anything for the bag, but there is a very easy tutorial here for anyone who is interested in making their own.

My new bag is cheery and houses my project just right, and I get to enjoy all the fabric prints again, in one place!

And now a bit about how I organize my scraps-- they really are organized, I tell you! They just get a little jumbled and rumpled now and then. 

I love the big, clear zippered bags that bedspreads and comforters come in, They have handles and usually a pocket on the front for a label to slip in. One bag holds all the little scraps (less than 8" square) and the other one holds long, wide scraps. Since I sew clothing, I usually do not end up with nice big squarish-pieces as scraps, but just some odd pieces from the side of a skirt, or pieces with funny curves from cutting out sleeves, etc. Any other leftover yardage gets folded up and put in boxes. 
If you don't think that looks like a lot of scraps, remember they are compressed in those bags-- when I put new scraps in I make sure there is little air space in there! I estimate that if I went at the "handful" rate and just made something like my scrappy bag project every few days, I'd have over 100 bags! I know, I know, I should just make a quilt.

For the smaller scraps, I took some time last year to try and get them organized by color. I got a box of cheap zipper-top bags from the dollar store, and pressed and sorted the scraps by colors or coordinating prints and colors. Yellows, reds, hot pinks, dark pinks, light pinks, medium blues, light blues, and the like. So far, these little bags have stayed pretty well organized. It is time to add some more to them, as I have yet another bag (not pictured) of scraps that hasn't been sorted yet.

I am contemplating a scrappy sewing machine cover next, but it may have to wait for a while, as I have other pending projects. I have a feeling these scraps will be with me a long time yet:)
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Lady Sits at Her Desk Writing with a Quill Pen

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Happy New Year from The Pleasant Times! Some members of our staff have written resolutions for the New Year that they fully intend to keep. It is so much better to make a resolution that you can keep, is it not? Better for self-esteem, self-image, self-awareness, self-respect, self-worth, self-confidence, self-motivation, and self-congratulation. So without further ado, here are the resolutions:

The Editor, Elizabeth H.:
I resolve this year to gain at least 20 pounds. Also to take more naps. I will use Incandescent light bulbs and enjoy every minute basking in their warm glow. 

Food Editor Bessie Baker Cook:
I resolve to eat chocolate. 

Sewing Editor Miss Thread:
I resolve to buy more fabric, to keep all colors of thread in stock, and to only organize the sewing room when I need to make space for the aforementioned more fabric. Furthermore, I resolve to start some projects that will sit in the closet for ten years waiting to be finished.

Garden Editor Miss Annabelle:
I resolve not to make any resolutions or lists.

Etiquette Lady Miss Rose:
What are my resolutions? I do not usually participate in surveys or such questionnaires, as I find them highly annoying in their nosiness. In my opinion, personal New Years Resolutions (such as anything to do with weight or shocking eating habits) should be kept to oneself, and not published abroad for everyone to hear. Telling people publicly on social networking sites or blogs that you resolve to quit some bad habit, such as sleeping in until noon, or quit being late to appointments, however much these may be evils you wish to change, may come back to bite you as future employers will not want to hire such an unreliable person. Making difficult resolutions such as "I will get up at dawn and walk a mile every single day without fail" are soon a source of embarrassing reminders by those who heard about it. Better to keep resolutions confined to one's bed-side paper diary.