Hopefully you had time over the weekend to spiff up your sewing room. My Craftsy class “Sew Confident: Essential Techniques for Beginners” has officially launched and we are already just shy of 500 students. Very Exciting!
First things first, congratulations to Tracey McKoy from Baltimore, Maryland. Tracey was last weeks lucky winner and has already joined us in the Craftsy classroom. Guess what else I found out? She enjoys fishing! Good thing Craftsy drew her name or you might think I was swayed 🙂
Let’s Giveaway Another Class!
There was such a HUGE response to the class giveaway, I am going to giveaway another Sew Confident Craftsy class! To enter this time, simply leave a comment below telling me why you would love to win this class, joining students from all over the world – 1 random winner will be drawn Friday at midnight, EST … Good Luck! 🙂
Wondering what’s covered in the class? Here is a link to the trailer video and as promised a SPECIAL 50% DISCOUNT if you would like to join us today.
Beginners Guide to Fashion Sewing
Let’s get started! In case you missed last week’s message, the series for beginner sewing starts now.
Part 1. Choosing a Pattern
What’s the big deal about finding a pattern anyway? Scan the pattern books, find a cute cover photos, and you are ready for sewing success, right?
If only we can all be so fortunate, but in most cases the scenario pans out a little differently. I recall sewing my first pair of pants. The pattern cover showed a tall, elegant model (more…)
A little creative serging! I wanted to share a quick serging stitch that you might find useful for restyling or adding embellishment to one of your outfits.
This is a 3-thread flatlock stitch with a decorative crochet thread in the upper looper. The left needle and lower looper have a similar color polyester thread. The photo above shows the front of the flatlock stitch and the backside. The backside looks like a ladder stitch. (the peach thread is just the serged edge of the seam).
I started with a basic gored skirt. The front has 2 seams and after I finished flatlocking those two seams I decided to add embellishment to the center front. So the center front really does not have a seam. Instead I drew a line with tailors chalk down the center front, folded the fabric in half along the chalk line, and ran through the serger. What a great way to create unique fabric!
Here is the back view. Again there are 2 seams on each side back and this time there is a seam down the center back with a hidden zip. In order for this stitching to look even (with the zipper), I stitched the flat-felled embellishment down the edge of each center back seam, then added the zipper and closed the seam. That part got a little tricky and you can see the stitches are not perfectly even. I haven’t decided if I am going to rip it out and start again or hope nobody is looking at my tush that closely to notice 🙂
Setting up the Serger:
- Set your serger up for a 3-thread overlock: I am using a serger from Brother and the standard setting for the needle and looper tensions are 4. When I give you new tension numbers you can compare this with your serger, if your serger has manual tension dials. If you are serging with an air-threading serger, like this Babylock, set up your serger for the 2-thread flatlock – wide.
- Thread the upper looper (or the only looper for the 2-thread flatlock) with a decorative thread. Use standard poly serging thread in the needle and lower looper.
Decorative Thread Ideas:
Get the idea – be creative!
Next, there are a few changes to the serger settings:
Stitch Width: 5mm
Stitch Length: 2-4mm
Needle Tension: Decrease to 0 -3 (remember my standard setting is 4 so adjust for your serger)
Upper Looper Tension: Decrease to 2 – 3
Lower Looper Tension: Increase to 6 – 9
Disengage the knife
These setting serve as a guide. It will depend on the fabric and thread you end up serging with.
See if you have a Blind Hem Foot, if not you can use a standard foot.
There is a setting on the foot that moves to the right and left, allowing the needle to pierce more or less of the fabric. Test the stitch on your fabric to determine the setting.
Fold the fabric in half or if you are embellishing a seam, fold along the seam line. Align the fabric along the shield on the blind hem foot (if using a standard foot, mark a spot to align with).
The idea is for the needle to pierce the fabric – half the stitch is on the fabric and half is off the fabric. In fact the stitches look really messy coming out of the serger!
Stretch out the folded fabric to lie flat and press.
Pretty simple, but so fun! Have you ever tried this before? I would love some more ideas for decorative threads or yarns to use with this stitch.
There is only one reason I have not moved South in order to enjoy beautiful sunny weather all year round … jackets and boots! This is the time of year I rearrange my wardrobe, bringing out all the cute jackets I finished last March and never had a chance to wear (remember in the fashion industry we are always designing a season ahead). Of course while I am pulling out the fall wardrobe, out come the fabulous boots. I LOVE shoes! I sew all my own clothes, I have to find something to shop for besides fabric 🙂
Speaking of sewing all my own clothes, about 15 years ago I set a goal of only wearing clothes I had sewn myself. It was a great idea, but hardly possible. I spent all my time sewing custom garments for clients and I could never find time to sew for myself. You know, like the shoemaker that wears worn-out shoes. Those of you that are in the sewing business know exactly what I am talking about.
Once I started designing a ready-to-wear line and a pattern collection for the home sewer, I found a perfect reason to sew for myself. Someone has to test the fit, right 🙂 Over the last few years I have been adding my label to the closet with jeans, tops, jackets, dresses, skirts, slacks, … In fact last night after admiring my organized closet (now is the time to admire, it never seems to stay that way very long), I realized I finally accomplished my goal! Every garment carried the Angela Wolf label. I could hardly believe it! In fact, once you get going on sewing for yourself, the outfits flow in much faster than you think. Have you ever had the desire to sew all your own clothes? I challenge you to try. I am going to celebrate this accomplishment and try to focus on doing the same for the spring wardrobe swap. I feel a 2014 wardrobe sew along coming on … what do you think?
In the last post, I mentioned how thankful I am to all of you readers and a special thanks to those that voted my blog into the finals for the category sewing – best instructor blog for the 2013 Craftsy Blogging Awards. Voting in the final round is still going on, so make sure to vote for your favorites again (hint, hint). I couldn’t think of a better way to thank you than give away a few online classes, which I will do over the next few weeks.
Not everyone can win, so I asked my friend Deepika – founder of PatternReview.com – to place all my online classes on sale for the rest of the month. In case you haven’t visited the site, PatternReview.com is a great website for learning and connecting with other garment sewer’s. I offer quite a few classes there, including sewing jackets. No, my jacket patterns are not ready to launch yet, so this is the next best thing. The next few giveaways will be for my online classes. The first one is Create a Jacket Muslin on PatternReview. Creating a perfect fitting muslin is the most important part of sewing a jacket. If you would like a chance to join my class on sewing a muslin where I offer fitting tips, solutions, and you can even upload photos of your muslin for personal fitting advice, simply share a comment about your experience in fitting jackets. Never sewn a jacket, even better reason to start with the muslin class (a random winner will be chosen and announced next Friday). Speaking of jackets, have you been watching season 5 on It’s Sew Easy and following along as I sew a jacket? If your PBS doesn’t carry It’s Sew Easy, you can catch a new episode every week on their website.
Good Luck 😉
I am having so much fun finding ways to use my serger, more than simply finishing the edges in my garments! With over 5,000 students in the Craftsy class Creative Serging – Beyond the Basics , many of you are already expanding your serger use. I was thrilled to see Craftsy posted a few of my videos on YouTube … below you will see how to add pintucking. A great embellishment on home dec and apparel. The video shows you how to change the settings on the Brother Project Runway Serger 5234PRW (although it doesn’t show you how to remove the stitch finger, so check your manual and don’t forget that part!) In fact, no matter what serger you use, pull out the manual and set the serger to a rolled or narrow hem. I am showing you how to do the pintucking using a blindhem foot. If you don’t have that foot, a standard foot works fine. Just serge straight 🙂
Speaking of manuals, lets take a vote … how many of you have read through your entire serger manual? I must confess, until last year I only scanned the pages referring to threading 🙂 Enjoy xoxo Angela
Ruching with Elastic Thread on a Serger / Coverstitch Machine
Loose flowing tops are right on trend right now, here is a quick way to add a little flair and fit with one of my favorite serging techniques; ruching with elastic thread. Add the ruching to the sleeve edge, hem or neckline. This is so cute and really easy! This ruching can be done on a sewing machine by winding the elastic thread in the bobbin, threading the machine with any silk, cotton, or polyester thread, and stitch with a narrow zigzag. What about serging with the chainstitch? The chainstitch is found on coverstitch machines or sergers with the added coverstitch function.
SET UP THE SERGER / COVERSTITCH MACHINE For this sample I am using my Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger with Easy Lay In Threading with Differential Feed
. Thread the machine like you would for a chainstitch: use thread in the needle and elastic thread in the looper. Be patient with the elastic thread, but it will go through the machine just fine 🙂
Adjust the tension:
- Loosen the needle tension (loosen by 2 notches)
- Tighten the looper tension (start by tightening 1 notch)
When adjusting the tensions, my coverstitch has a standard setting at 4 – so adjust the tension on your machine accordingly. Then simply run the edge of the fabric through the serger. The photo’s below show you the front and back side of the first row of stitching.
Put the fabric back in the machine, line up the previous row of stitching with the edge of the presser foot and stitch.
That it! I usually ruch 2 – 6 rows depending on the design. Another idea is to ruch the waist on a skirt – the elastic ruching makes a great waistband and then you wear the waist high or low. I will dig up a photo of my silk bathing suit cover up that is sewn like this.
FREE SERGING CLASS GIVEAWAY!
Speaking of using a coverstitch and overlock machine – I have a class on Craftsy called Creative Serging – Beyond the basics. I am giving away a FREE CLASS to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me why you would like to take the free class. Click over and “‘like” my facebook page and you will get 2 entries. If you leave a comment on the facebook page you get an extra entry as well (that’s 3 entries total :)). One name will be drawn randomly on August 1st. I know many of you are already in my class as we are just under 5,000 students, awesome! For those of you that are already enjoying the class, leave a comment as to what you like most about the class and I will include you in the next giveaway (trust me, it will be good :))
If you don’t want to wait for the drawing, here is a coupon for big savings on the class. Good luck!!!!!! Cheers 🙂 Angela
A well-made jacket can show off an outfit to its best. Join me on PatternReview for the fundamentals and fine points of creating a contemporary couture jacket (hint: my version of the traditional Chanel jacket).
You’ll love the comfort and style of this jacket… it feels more like a sweater! It’s the perfect topper for jeans or more formal dress. This couture jacket is a must-have for the modern lifestyle!
The class offers 12 videos with 2 hours and 45 minutes of HD video. There is also a 164 page PDF file with photos and close up details of every step.
- Selecting fabric and lining.
- Creating a 3-piece sleeve, laying out the pattern, and cutting the fashion fabric.
- Attaching fusible interfacing, finishing the edges, and cutting the lining.
- Using a couture technique to quilt the lining.
- Sewing a jacket with a plaid.
- Preparing and hand-stitching the lining.
- Sewing the sleeve vent and attaching sleeves.
- Covering shoulder pads.
- Trim ideas, including a tutorial on how to crochet your own trim!
- Closure options including custom covered buttons.
- Pockets with a couture touch.
- And last but not least, adding the prestigious weighted chain.
Join me 🙂
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/68063903 w=500&h=281]
Thinking you don’t have time for a few hours of hand-stitching a couture jacket? Why not bring the jacket with you! Seriously, I hand-stitched the lining on this jacket while fishing (see the finished jacket below). The lining is hand-dyed (and not with fish blood and guts :)) Fishing and sewing might be an odd combo, but it worked. How about you, any fun sewing stories that can beat fishing? Now be nice 🙂 Cheers xoxo Angela