I love to use Pinterest as my virtual bulletin board. As you might guess many of my pins are sewing related. Click here to see what fun stuff I've found and pinned to different sewing boards.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ench By Sew-019 Boning Up on Bustiers: Part 2

I'm looking forward to airing a photo
of my actual denim bustier here!
Though I've enjoyed wearing it in public,
I haven't
gotten any cute photographs yet.
Bet you know how that is...
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!
Two Ways to Listen
Option I)You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 

OR ~
Option ii)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me EnchantedBySewing AT gmail DOT com
~ ~ ~
A bustier is an alluring garment, one many women would like to wear - if they dare. When I began to notice that women of all shapes, sizes and ages sewed and wore their bustiers with pleasure and pride, I decided to take a chance and learn to sew this very structured garment, that can be designed to flatter a wide variety of figure types.

- In last month show, I talked about what a buster is - a strapless garment that conforms to our figure, is  supported from the waistline , and can be worn by women of many figure types. 
- I also said that a bustier is not a corset, because a corset imposes a shape on our figure.  You can follow links in last months’ show notes to other related garments like corsolette, torsolette or basque.   
-       Last month I talked about Cut and Cloth
-       This month I focus on Construction

- FIRST  Pensamientos Primero A brief review of what I talked about last month to put this show into perspective,
- ENTONCES (THEN)  Constructing my Bustier. 
- Stepping through the process of creating my bustier from beginning to end, touching on   important techniques and other sewing stuff that I figured out along the way .
- FINALLY Pensimentos Finales:  Going Beyond this project 

Errata: I actually use ChacoPy marking paper. I said it wrong in the podcast 
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Part 1: Boning Up on Bustiers http://enchantedbysewing.blogspot.com/2014/03/ench-by-sew-018-boning-up-on-bustiers.html

The Bustier Sewing Class I talked about is from Lynda Maynard, an instructor at Cañada College, San Francisco City College and also an instructor at Craftsy.

Lynda Maynard's “Fit” Class on Craftsy, which I plan to take.

Bustier Technicos - Dem Bones Gonna Walk Around
Sewing Boning Channels and Inserting the Bones

Seams to Fit Part 1 - A Little Less Laxity - Learning Precision

Seams to Fit Part 2 - 
Figuring out how to eliminate using a tracing wheel, has me making a stronger mark that is also less likely to damage my pattern or fabric.

Seams to Fit Part 3: More Power to Interlining- Using  stitching marks on my interlining pieces to define the stitching lines on the fashion fabric it's backing. 

Seams to Fit Part4: - Neat as a Pin - Using pin techniques to join sections of my bustier precisely.

Seams to Fit Part5:  - Staying - When a Seam Knows it's Place 

I did a lot of hand sewing towards the end of this project. Beeswax is my thread texturizer of choice, and it's a Green option too!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Minding My Own Beeswax (Hand Sewing, Green Sewing)

You can buy beeswax with other sewing notions
But I like to use up the old ends from beeswax candles I buy at the Farmer's Market
In the final steps of finishing off my bustier project, I'm doing lots of hand sewing. I took this photo will waiting in the car, pick stitching away on the zipper, listening to NPR on the radio, and waiting for a family member who needed to be picked up after a medical procedure. (No, I was not driving!)

There's a traditional German saying "Langes Fädchen, faules Mädchen". That is about the extent of my knowledge in German. Anyway I disagree. A long thread may indeed make for a foolish girl (Girl? Are adult women and men never fools?) if she doesn't know enough to add some texturizer. I like a long thread that doesn't knot up as much as anybody. So I keep the old ends of my beeswax candles for just that purpose, running the thread through the stubs just after I rethread my needle, and also every so often while using the thread. 

Some people say you need to iron the thread once it's beeswaxed. But I never do. Also I imagine you might have some problem with beeswax piling up at the stitch entrance in glam fabric. But it works fine with denim, cotton, and linen for me.

You can, of course, buy hunks of beeswax for this purpose. You can also buy thread texturizer. I don't know what name that's sold under, as my old candle stubs work just fine. 

I love the smell and style of beeswax candles on the supper tableand I love to use the remains up to the last waxy morsel in my sewing.

With the scent of honey of honey in the air, as I pick stitch away on my bustier zipper, I'm  just that much more....

Enchanted by Sewing!

* * *
If English isn't your first language....
"Mind your own beeswax" , also abbreviated as MYOB, is an old idiomatic phrase used by children to indicate that someone should not be listening in on a private conversation, or asking questions that are not their own business. It's a joking reference to the similarly somewhat rude phrase, "Mind your own business".

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Seams To Fit Part 5: Staying - When a Seam Knows it's Place

Good Weft, Stay!
I stayed each section of my bustier by stitching
thin strips of silk organza just over the stay sticking lines. 
In the most recent Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast, Boning up on Bustiers Part 1, I chatted about warp and weft. I reminded fellow sewists that weft or horizontal threads are naturally a little stretchier than waft threads.

This knowledge is particularly important when draping and fitting patterns in muslin. If we want our garments to fit well, we need to make sure that fabric doesn't pull out of place once we've decided on what that place should be. 

A good seam needs to know it's place and stay there.

One way of keeping the weft threads stable is to stay stitch them, by stitching over, or just at tiny bit into the seam allowance from the stitching lines. I stay stitched every single top and bottom of the garment stitching lines in my bustier. Those included 16 pieces cut in 4 fabrics! 

I also stayed each section of my bustier at the top, where the garment would need to stay firmly in place and not display portions of my anatomy unexpectedly. Staying is an extra strengthening step for portions of garments that need to work really hard to keep the body in place. Waistbands are another place I might stay. The spiral steel bones I inserted into my inner shell to provide stand up support are also called stays.

I stayed the bustier sections using strips of silk organza cut 1.5 inch wide then folded lengthwise. Yes, real silk organza has different characteristics than polyester organza. It's strong, stable and adds very minimal bulk. People also stay with twill tape. 

I have also stayed the shoulder seams on tee shirts by sewing down my seam allowances on either side of the already sewn seam. That results in a very stable decoratively stitched look that discourages the front and back pieces from sliding down over the shoulder. You could also stitch in the ditch of a tee shirt shoulder seam using a strip of silk organza, twill tape or other very stable fabric.

Understanding how fabrics work in a garment, and working to increase the stability of my seams - really teaching them to know their place - is another thing that keeps me...
Enchanted by Sewing.
~ ~ ~ 
Web Resources

Straight of Grain  - http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2013/10/patterns-haiku-straight-of-grain-runs.html

Enchanted By Sewing Audio Podcast: Bustiers Part 1

Stay Stitching - http://sewing.about.com/od/sewingglossarypt/g/staystitching.htm

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seams to Fit Part 4: Neat as a Pin (Technicos)

Using pin techniques to join sections of my bustier precisely.

The outer shell of my Bustier is coming along
Too bad I can't just pin it to myself and head out the door

Seams To Fit Part 1: A Little Less Laxity 
Seams To Fit Part 2: Making My Mark 
Seams To Fit Part 3: More Power to Interlining!

Pinning seams becomes extra important when working on sewing narrow, curved, very fitted pieces together. I wanted a stitching line that runs precisely along the stitching line I created when fitting the test garment and creating the pattern. It went a bit against my casual, arty bent to be concerned with being as neat as a pin. It just wasn't a natural skill for me, and I had to think carefully about the process.

In my last "Seams To Fit" posting, I described how I used stitching marks on my interlining pieces to define the stitching lines on the fashion fabric it's backing. In both part 2 and part 3, I described how I made sure the fashion fabric was matched up properly.

Now that I was getting ready to sew each bodice piece together, I began to think of each piece as more of a section. That section is composed of one appropriately shaped piece of fashion fabric (the denim that shows on the outside of the bustier in my case) backed by an equivalently shaped interlining (a blue plaid cotton flannel). When it's prepped, one section is like one pattern piece.

At this point in the process, I needed a way to join the stitching lines of each section precisely to it's neighboring section. When working on doing the same operation on the inner fitting shell of the bustier (then I was joining the cutil/lining pieces together) I'd found this to be rather challenging. I was constantly turning the sections over and finding that the pins weren't going through into the stitching lines.

I marked the stitching lines all the way around each section
with pins, using the stitching lines marked on the interlining
I figured out the best way for me to get the sections joined together precisely, the second time around. In part 3, I describe how I'd marked each section (equivalent of one pattern piece) marked all the way around with pins. The pin heads show on the interlining side. Now, I could line up each section (one fashion fabric/interlining section for each pattern piece) with it's corresponding section. 
Working pins through from the stitching lines on one section
to find the stitching lines on the other side.
Here you can see a couple of pins I've already pinned through from the other side.
These are ever so slightly off!
When I laid, for example, piece 1a next to 1b, putting the fashion fabric (right sides) together, I now had pins on either seam line. I moved down the marked/pinned stitching lines pinning in the direction of the seam. As I moved, I worked another pin from one side of the stitching lines into the set on the other section. My fingers could feel that the pins were marrying up. I could, and did, still flip the sections back and forth, but it went a lot more easily than it had in the inner shell.

The only Photoshopping I did was to
change the fabric of my dress form, and
swap the real background for my little
gingham and scissors creation:-)
When I went to do the actual sewing, things just sewed up better. I only had to stop and unstitch a very short distance once. 

The proof is in the denim pudding. My bustier's outer shell is coming along and fitting snug and right.

The fitting shell that goes below will provide the support the garment needs to allow the garment to leave my dress form and head out into the world.

Figuring out techniques for sewing seams precisely is one of those thing that keeps me...
Enchanted by Sewing! 
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Boning Up On Bustiers: http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/ench-by-sew-018-boning-up-on-bustiers.html

My Pinterest  Bustiers Board 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Seams to Fit Part 3: More Power to Interlining! (Technicos)

Using  stitching marks on my interlining pieces to define the stitching lines on the fashion fabric it's backing.              

Seams To Fit Part 1: A Little Less Laxity 

Seams To Fit Part 2: Making My Mark 

I figured out how to take advantage of my interlining, to help match the seams on my bustier project.

What is interlining?
Interlining is like a piece of backing for a garment's fashion fabric. In this bustier project, my fashion fabric is denim. My interlining is a piece of plaid 100% cotton flannel. You will never see the interlining once the garment is done, even on the inside. That's because this garment will have a second shell that includes lining. The interlining will be sandwiched in between the lining and the garment fabric.

I cut the interlining just like I cut the fashion fabric.

The interlining is just sewn on underneath the piece it backs.  I treat the two pieces of material as though they are just one piece of fabric. The back/wrong side of the interlining is sewn to the back of the fashion fabric.

Why did I used interlining in this garment?
Typically interlining is used to make a fashion fabric more stable and give a little less. For example you might use interlining with linen to make it crisper. (In which case you might cut the interlining just a little more narrow - a good trick, eh?)

In this case, I used interlining as a layer of extra protection because of the bones/stays that are in the next layer below it. It helps avoid the chance that these bones will slip out and poke into the outer/fashion fabric layer.

How I took advantage of my interlining, to help match the seams on my bustier project.

Because this bustier has really small pieces, and is really fitted, I marked, then sewed through, the stitching lines all the way around on my interlining pieces. I just sewed through that one layer, to make the seam/stitching lines really clear. 

I also marked all the stitching lines on the inside of my fashion fabric. I could have basted those lines, then matched up the stitched lines to ensure that my seams are precise.

But I really don't like having to take all those basting threads out of the fashion fabric. Also, sometimes they're hard to remove, especially if I sew over them.

Since I have the stitched lines on the interlining and the marked lines on the fashion fabric, I was able to slip pins through from the interlining into the marked line and pin the interlining layer to the fashion fabric layer all the way around the piece. I could easily check on the fashion fabric layer to see that the stitched line above was marrying up right with the marks all the way around.

I repeated this process with the adjoining piece - both on the fashion fabric and the interlining fabric - then joined the seams of the two pieces together, slipping the pins from one seam line marking into the one below. I was able to constantly check my pinned stitching lines, to make sure that the seam line below was matching up properly with the seam line on the top.

Figuring out how to sew narrow garment pieces together precisely, and save time removing basting stitches later on, is the kind of technique that keeps me....
Enchanted by Sewing.

~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Boning Up On Bustiers: http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/ench-by-sew-018-boning-up-on-bustiers.html

My Pinterest  Bustiers Board 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seams To Fit Part 2: Making My Mark (Technicos)

Figuring out how to eliminate using a tracing wheel, has me making a stronger mark that is also less likely to damage my pattern or fabric.

How I'm Marking My Bustier Seams

• I do not include seam allowances on the pattern piece

• I watch the straight of grain (SOG) carefully.  SOG is an issue with the narrow curved pieces in this garment. I need to be sure that seam lines are drawn correctly, relative to the SOG.

•  I carefully mark the seam allowances in, around the pattern piece.  on one side of the double layer of fabric. I was originally using a toothed marking wheel to do this, but I realized there is a better way, for me, that creates a more visible mark on the other side.

On the top, right along the edge of my no-seam-allowance pattern, I make a dashed marking all the way around with a colored pencil. Underneath, I've placed Chacopy marking paper.

•  Then I draw on the seam allowances. I'm using a 1" seam allowance. I could use a double Clover wheel to get a precise 1" added on, but in fact if my seam line is just right I can be somewhat  general about a more-or-less 1" seam. Because I won't be positioning my needle relative to the cut edge, as I typically do.  I will be positioning my needle over the actual seam line.

Marking technique

- Can use Clover double wheel to mark at seam line and at desired width out. I have done several 1" seam allowances, and can mark those with Clover. Can also do them smaller
- Because my marking wheels are spoked type, they impact my pattern (when I have patterns with seam allowances) and they also can put holes in the fabric I may not want
- Marking seam lines with colored pencil and waxy Chacopy paper underneath gives me a stronger mark than running the wheel along the seam line. This also avoids fabric or tissue damage or holes.
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Sewing My Bustier - Enchanted By Sewing Audio Podcast 18: http://meencantacoser.blogspot.com/2014/03/ench-by-sew-018-boning-up-on-bustiers.html

Chacopy Marking Paper (the waxy kind) http://www.amazon.com/Clover-Tracing-Paper-Chacopy-ea/dp/B001DZUW2C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1399433920&sr=8-3&keywords=clover+tracing

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Seams To Fit Part 1: A Little Less Laxity - Learning Precision

I'm improving a lot of sewing skills while working on my bustier project. For one thing I'm doing more pattern work, which is not only helping me to practice creating a physical pattern (I began with a commercial pattern and altered it - a lot). Also I'm learning to use the actual resulting pattern in new ways. 

I've changed my concept of when to create a seam allowances, at least for this very fitted garment
Creating a pattern with no seam allowance, is starting to be useful
Typically, when working with a woven fabric, I've used the standard 5/8" seam allowance that comes on a commercial pattern, or else added that same measurement to my own pattern. I knew that traditional patterns are often created with no seam allowances (Burda Magazine patterns are an example), but I didn't understand why that was done. Now I have a reason to leave that allowance off the pattern.

It has to do with fit.

I don't usually make fitted garments. If the seams I sew in, say, a loose shirt project aren't absolutely, precisely the same as the original pattern it's probably not a big deal. I sew the back to the front at more or less 5/8" away from the cut edge. A little extra or less between a couple of friends, and you're not going to notice the lack of precision in the finished project. 

 A bustier, however, is an ultra-fitted garment. In addition it covers much less body area than that loose shirt. Oh, and by the way, instead of that loose shirt's one back and one front piece - the back of my bustier is three pieces. The front is five pieces - several of which are extremly narrow. And those eight pattern pieces cover less surface area than the loose shirt's two.

If I'm at all casual about the seams whose positions I've carefully detailed while fitting this pattern, the garment is in danger of being too tight to fit. Or it may simply fall off!

I need to know, when I sew, that the seams I planned to sew during the fitting stage, are the ones I actually do sew. The first important thing I do to achieve that goal, is by marking my seams accurately. My goal is to get the seams within 1/8" of what I've decided is correct. I may still loose a little one way or another. My final back and front seams will make up any final corrections, but if it's very much off it will be noticeable. I want to avoid that.

Next Posting - Seams To Fit: Making My Mark