Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sewing Over Pins *Again!*

I hate when someone says "DON'T SEW OVER PINS" because I do it. They act like the machine will self distruct or something.

In the recent June/July 2007 Sew News magazine, however, is the most rational explaination of why you shouldn't sew over pins I have ever read. On page 18 is a column by Sandra Betzina, Sewing Solutions, and she writes "Don't sew over pins except when cross pinning to avoid shifting joints. Sewing over pins can cause a drag on the bobbin, which weakens the seam. Sewing over pins can also dull or bend the needle".

I always do the cross pinning and sewing over and I believe it causes undue frustration to worry so much about pulling them out just in the nick of time. But she also points out, without all the doom and gloom, that it can bend or break the needle as well as drag on the bobbin.

I almost didn't finish reading the column when I read the "don't sew over pins" part, but I'm glad I did. I appreciate a rational approach to a familiar subject.

I actually met Sandra Betzina once, sort of. I was working in Christine's booth at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI. She came to the booth looking for Christine and found only me, since Christine was off somewhere schmoosing or lunching. Sandra is an extremely charismatic person. I'm a little socially inept anyway, but she rushed in and shook my hand, said some nice things about Christine, and buzzed off leaving me a little spellbound.

I doubt I'll ever register in her memory, but I'll never forget that moment.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pattern Drafting

I am not a traditional Pattern Maker. I have drafted patterns and I can draft patterns, but I've only taken one course through an adult education program.

I'm more likely to knock off a favorite garment or manipulate an existing pattern. Lucky for me a former employer/current friend has an Independant Pattern Company, Christine Jonson Patterns , and I can use the patterns to my hearts content. I am particulary fond of her patterns because they have comfortable armholes and tried and true fit from her days as a retail seller of clothing. They were mostly drafted for cotton-lycra fabrics, but I don't let that little detail bother me!

I use patternmaking books like "Patternmaking for Fashion Design" by Helen Joseph Armstrong for guidence and inspiration. And I also like the Built by Wendy book "Sew U", by Wendy Mullen, in spite of the sewing imperatives (my pet peeves- see earlier posts) because it encourages experimentation and creativity.

My approach to drafting is also not traditional, I'm inclined to leave the ruler on the table and redraw a line by hand to get the fit I'm looking for. Rules be damned! As far as I'm concerned the style and fit of a garment is limited to the width of the paper (there's always tape!)or ones imagination and not some set of rules established- how long ago?

Production sewing has also been helpful because I've learned what the pieces are supposed to look like. Tracing out the patterns before you make them is also particularly helpful because it makes you look at the pieces several times before you make the garment.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Industrial Machines

I have an industrial Pfaff straight stitch and a semi-industrial Bernina. I still use my home Pfaff for making button holes because it is easier than switching to the Bernina (different bobbin). I should use my Bernina more often, since it can also do a buttonhole, but I prefer the Pfaff for sewing silk and this is my only contract sewing at this time.

I bought the Bernina 950 several years ago because I was doing a false flat felled seam on wool, with a zig zag on the outside, for a designer in Michigan. This designer is no longer doing clothing for many reasons and I just haven't used the machine much recently. But- it was one of the best purchases I have ever made. The first time I used it, I was amazed at how fast I got my work done. I finished the work about 3 days early and just sat in my chair, a little dazed at the technology.

I love industrial machines, but I'm not sure everyone is ready for one. I waited too long, I probally could have used it earlier than I did. But I know people who have them and don't use them because they don't get the control they want. My repetitious sewing gave me the opportunity to gain a lot of control and I was ready to use the speed when it became available. I can't imagine sewing all the time now without them, some machines seem so slow they make me want to drool. Another bonus with industrial machines is the sturdy table, I find myself balancing with my elbows, and I could never get that much leverage with a home machine.

So how do you know when you are ready? I'd say if you can regularly sew with the pedal to the metal, even on curves, then you are ready. There are some places that will let you test drive, M.J. Foley here in Michigan has always offered when I talked to them on the phone. I've never tried it though, I made the decision to buy the Bernina 950 and they didn't carry it. And I purchased my Pfaff secondhand about 10 yrs ago, long before I was ready for it. It was just too good a deal to pass up for someone who had made up their mind to sew for a living!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

First Sale on Etsy!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm so excited! I made my first sale on Etsy! I have sold my totes in other venues before, but it feels great to make my first sale here. It also inspires me to try to get some other things going.

I've been working hard for Barb, she has been taking care of some wholesale orders and has a show coming up in a couple weeks. That should be busy!

New Blog<=

This is my new and improved blog spot. Previous Blog entries can be found at http://journals.aol.com/dianesladeinc06/thoughts-from-a-seamstress-/ . While there is much that I like about my previous blog, I would like to have more control over the html on the page. I believe this new venue will allow me much more.