TIPS ON HOW TO SEW FAUX LEATHER!

TIPS ON HOW TO SEW FAUX LEATHER!

leather fall 2014

Leather is a major trend this season and continues on into the spring, yes leather for spring and summer!  Here are a few tips to get you started:

TIP 1. FABRIC

Check the fabric for flaws, especially in faux leather you might find scratches or cuts that you will need to work around when cutting out the pattern pieces.

ANGELA WOLF HOW TO SEW WITH LEATHER2

Consider the weight and feel of the fabric for the design.  For example a biker jacket will need a thicker fabric than say a peplum style jacket.  Also, squeeze the fabric in your hand and if it has deep creases or wrinkles, that is how it will look after wearing it (better to know now :))

ANGELA WOLF SEWING LEATHER TIPS2ANGELA WOLF SEWING LEATHER TIPS1TIP 2. NEEDLES

Use a Leather Needle in the sewing machine.  Start with a size 12 or 14 for light to medium weight fabric.

Go up to a 16 or 18 for heavier fabric, but be sure to CHECK your sewing machine as to what is the largest size needle it will accommodate.  One of my older machines will only allow up to a size 14.

For sewing faux leather I prefer using a Jean Needle size 14.    If you are having a problem with skipped stitches try this needle.

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When it comes to hand-stitching, standard needles have a difficult time piercing the fabric.  Instead use a Leather Hand Needle, this needle has a triangular point that pierces the fabric.  Just be careful, the tip is REALLY sharp!

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TIP 3: NO PINS

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Just as difficult as it is to pierce leather / faux leather, once you do pierce the fabric the hole is there forever!  Use clips to hold the fabric instead of pins.  They are lightweight and don’t damage the fabric.

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I got these getta grip sewing clips from my friend Paul Gallo.  I met Paul at Craftsy while we were both shooting classes.  He showed me these clips that he designed and I have been a fan ever since.  Awesome guy!  Have you ever met Paul or taken any of his classes?

paul gallo draping 1

FASHION DRAPING: DRESSMAKING BASICS with PAUL GALLO ON CRAFTSY!

 

paul gallo draping 2

FASHION DRAPING: BIAS DESIGN with PAUL GALLO ONLINE CLASS ON CRAFTSY!

TIP 4: TAPING SEAM ALLOWANCES

ANGELA WOLF HOW TO SEW WITH LEATHER9When sewing garments, pressing the seam allowances open with a Tailor’s Clapper is the best option.  Unfortunately with leather, faux leather, vinyl, and suede, even if you safely press the fabric with an iron shoe, the seam allowance will not stay open.  The best solution for securing seam allowances and hemming is either topstitching or leather tape (a special double-sided tape).

ANGELA WOLF HOW TO SEW WITH LEATHER10

This is how easy it works:

1. Place a strip of LEATHER TAPE in the seam allowance with the sticky side down.

2. Remove paper backing, revealing the other side of the tape.

3. Fold back the seam allowance or hem allowance.

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ANGELA WOLF HOW TO SEW WITH LEATHER15

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I use the 1/4″ wide tape for seam allowances and 1/2″ wide tape for hems.  I purchase the tape from WAWAK SEWING and the rolls come 60 yards.  Don’t be caught off guard by the quantity because you will use more than you think and the price is incredible!  Well, this should get you started – next in line is quilting and embroidering faux leather.

Cheers,

Angela Wolf

 

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Compare: Rolled Hem Foot, Ball Hemmer Foot, and Spring Hemmer Foot on an Industrial Sewing Machine

Compare: Rolled Hem Foot, Ball Hemmer Foot, and Spring Hemmer Foot on an Industrial Sewing Machine

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY26There are so many sewing machine feet to choose from, it can get overwhelming deciding which foot is best for the job.  Why bother, right?  If using a specific foot for a specific job could drastically cut the sewing time down and offer professional looking results, wouldn’t you want to try?  I sure would.

Home sewing machines usually come with a fabulous manual explaining what each foot is for and a tutorial explaining how to use it.  Industrial machines don’t always offer such advice, at least mine didn’t.  With a 5 page manual, written in a language I don’t speak, I am surprised I got the thing put together in the first place!  I don’t use this machine as frequently as all the others, mainly because it’s loud, doesn’t have a thread cutting feature and I don’t have any accessories for it.  I bought it for speed and that it has.

Scanning the list of additional feet for industrial machines, I found the feet to be are very inexpensive, but again I ran into the issue of which foot is the right foot for the job.  I thought I would start testing some of these feet and share with you my findings.

A Narrow Rolled Hem

I sew a lot of garments with sheer fabrics (especially this months wardrobe challenge;  Dress the Part) and my go-to stitch is usually a narrow rolled hem on the serger – its super fast and looks professional.  But sometimes a rolled hem on the sewing machine would be more appropriate. I found 3 different feet for the industrial machine:

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY49

From left to right: Rolled Hem Foot, Ball Hemmer Foot, Double Fold Spring Hemmer Foot

Rolled Hem Foot

You have probably seen the Rolled Hem Foot, as it comes with most home sewing machines.  This is the only foot I had ever seen used for the job.  It does make a rolled hem easy, but has its challenges as well.  Getting over thick seams can be interesting and sometimes the fabric doesn’t feed evenly.  Of course there are tricks:How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY35

  • Hold the fabric to the left side of the foot as it feeds into the machine and trimming seam allowances for less bulk.

 

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY28

Results:  A nice rolled hem, I had to use the tweezers to get the fabric started and the rolled hem is a little uneven.  With practice this foot will work.

If you have an industrial machine, you have more options and each offers different results:

Ball Hemmer Foot

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY5

This foot has a plate that covers the front feed dogs allowing the fabric to feed perfectly.  You can see the ball at the tip of the foot, the fabric will roll over that ball as it double folds into a narrow hem.  I must say, I love this foot!  This is how it works:

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY6

  • Feed the fabric into the foot, above the plate.  Notice how the place covers the front feed dogs. Insert the fabric the same way you would for the rolled hem foot.

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  • The fabric folds over the ball.

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  • Hold the fabric a little to the left side of the foot as the fabric feeds into the foot (as shown above).  Stitch.

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  •  Results:  A perfect narrow hem!  This foot offers the easiest rolled hem I have ever tried!  I hardly had to do anything with the fabric except guide it into the foot.  I even sewed at a high-speed and the rolled hem is perfectly even.  A definite A+++++

Double Fold Spring Hemmer Foot

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY13

The “spring” part is what intrigued me about this foot.  You can see the foot looks very similar to the Ball Hemmer Foot, yet there is not a ball.  Instead, there is a movable area that the fabric will go through. Look closely, this is the back of the foot:

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY100

Looking at the left photo first: see the corner touching my finger tip.  When I do nothing with that corner, the opening on the foot remains unchanged (see opening at yellow arrow).

Take a look at the right photo:  Here I have pushed that corner in and the opening gets larger (see yellow arrow).

Now we know what the “spring” means.  This opening adjusts for the thickness of fabric as the fabric flows through.

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  • There is a plate protecting the fabric from the front feed dogs, just like the ball hemmer.  Slide the fabric on the top of the plate.

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY16

  • Again, feed the fabric into the foot and stitch.

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Results:  Another perfect rolled hem!  Just as easy as the ball hemmer foot.

My favorite foot for the rolled hem on silk charmeuse is the Ball Hemmer Foot. The rolled hem was a little thicker than the other two and perfect!

How to sew a double fold narrow hem DIY5

What about crossing seams and thicker fabrics?  I will test these and more, and let you know the results.  So far both feet are winners!

I also have to check to see if these feet will work on my Brother PQ1500.  The PQ1500 straight stitch machine is just like an industrial machine with speed and ease of use, plus it’s not attached to a large table and easy to move around.  Fingers crosses on that one!  Otherwise, I have my eye on the Brother Industrial Machine used on Project Runway.  Do you have an industrial machine? Have you tried these rolled hem feet?

Cheers!

Angela Wolf

 

 

 

Creative Serging with Crochet Thread – Flatlock Stitching!

Creative Serging with Crochet Thread – Flatlock Stitching!

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.

How to sew with creative serging - Angela Wolf

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).

How to sew with creative serging - Angela Wolf

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!

How to sew a creative serged seam with Angela Wolf

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.

 

crochet thread wawalDecorative 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.

Blind Hem Stitch Foot

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).

Flat lock stitching with Angela Wolf

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!

flat lock stitching with angela wolf

Stretch out the folded fabric to lie flat and press.

flat lock stitching with Angela Wolf

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.

Looking for more creative serging ideas? Join my on Craftsy with 50% OFF today!

Looking for more creative serging ideas and easy projects? Join my online class Creative Serging – Beyond the Basics or Sew With Your Serger: Quick & Easy Projects. Click the links for 50% OFF today!

xoxo

Angela Wolf

 

 

craftsy serging

creative serging angela wolf

 

Time-saving Sewing Tip!  Pre-cut interfacing with Olfa in minutes!

Time-saving Sewing Tip! Pre-cut interfacing with Olfa in minutes!

I am thrilled to see all of the excitement for my 2014 Wardrobe Challenge! The month of January is so full of new years resolutions, crazy weather and catching up from the holidays, I wanted to make this month’s challenge simple and fun.  All you have to do is create a Pinterest board “wardrobe challenge 2014” and pin photos that inspire you. This is not a trick, just post anything that inspires you to design and sew, this can be absolutely anything.  Ideas: colors, animals, architecture, food (that is the downfall of pinterest, everyone posts such fabulous looking food, I swear I can smell it through the computer screen!)  Pin something from each sponsor – that can be a repin from their pinterest board or pin something from their website and leave a comment here or on my pinterest board with a link to your new board.  In case you need the links to the sponsors here they are again:  Brother, Threads and Sew Stylish Magazines, WAWAK sewing, It’s Sew Easy, Angela Wolf Patterns, and some of you couldn’t find my pinterest page.  Again, if you need an invitation to pinterest email me info@angelawolf.com.  For more details on January’s Challenge, there is still a week to enter, then we move on to February’s challenge!  Good Luck 🙂

angela wolf olfa rotary cutter sewing1

Olfa 60mm Rotary Jumbo Cutter, Replacement Blade, and Cutting Mat from WAWAKsewing.com

Now, onto a quick time-saving tip.  When I sit down to sew, there are a few items that I quite often need and I find it faster to prepare these in advance.  One example is fusible interfacing: hemming jacket sleeves, plackets, zipper placement, bound button holes, these are just the first few areas I need the interfacing and to get up, unfold the interfacing and cut 1 strip is a total “time sucker”, my new word for the year!  For jacket hem’s I typically use 3″ to 4″ wide strips of interfacing and for the zipper placement 1″ to 1-1/2″ strips.

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This is light-weight fusible interfacing (HTC fusi-knit) and with two layers you can still see through the interfacing to line up the 1″ grid on the Olfa cutting mat.

Keeping the grainlines and stretch of the interfacing in mind:

  • cut strips parallel to the selvage 28″ long by 1 1/2″ wide.  The most common use for these strips is to support the center back seams on a dress when inserting a hidden zipper (I am hooked on sewing dresses lately!) and it is rare that I would need longer than 28″ for a zipper.

angela wolf olfa rotary cutter sewing6

  • cut strips perpendicular to the selvage 4″ long by the width of the interfacing (in this case 22″ wide).  These strips are perfect for re-hemming jackets and sleeve hems.  If you do alterations, this is really a bonus to have these cut strips on hand.

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Store these strips in a photo box next to your sewing station and you are all set!

A few tips on the rotary blade:

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Always clear your cutting area from pins!  It always amazes me how one little dent in the blade can ruin the cutting, but it is true.  Maybe it’s not quite as noticeable when cutting thick fabric, but try cutting bias strips of silk chiffon.  If the blade is damaged, even in the slightest bit, the cutting is fragmented and you end up cutting the strips over with scissors.  Pain in the tush 🙂   I used to try to sharpen the blades, but seriously I am trying to save time not cause more work.  The blades are not that expensive, especially this month they are 25% off at WAWAK sewing, time to stock up for a few months!  The replacement blades come in a nice plastic container.  As I am always fearful of throwing a blade in the trash, I use one of the containers to store bad blades.   See the blue dot in the photo above, that dot tells me this package is bad blades.  When its full, snap the container closed, add a piece of tape for extra security,  and toss with no worries.

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Lastly, take extra precaution and close the blade cover when not in use.  It makes me crazy when anyone in my studio leaves the blade exposed when they are not using it!  I have a pretty long cutting table and I am often grabbing bolts of fabric and sliding patterns around, one slip could end up being a bloody mess.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened, but I have heard a few horror stories 🙁

My question to you – Have you ever tried sharpening your old blades and did you have any luck or do you prefer stocking up on replacement blades when a great sale hits?

Have fun filling your pinterest board, remember to add #wardrobechallenge when sharing your experience!

cheers 🙂

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How to Prepare & Sew a Jacket Lapel (another giveaway)

How to Prepare & Sew a Jacket Lapel (another giveaway)

Angela Wolf patterns 2013 -2311

When I asked what part of sewing jackets you find the most intimidating to sew, many of you left a comment about the collar and lapel.  I must have had a premonition, as this week’s episode of It’s Sew Easy gives you a few tips for success.  You are right, the collar and lapel is what really makes your jacket stand out … and the good news …  it’s easier to sew than you think.  In fact, sewing is only a minute part involved in tailoring a collar.  The most time-consuming part involves preparing the center front jacket, upper collar, and under collar pattern pieces with interfacing and twill tape, not to mention pad stitching if you are going the traditional tailoring route.  The weight of the interfacing will determine the thickness and stability of your lapel and collar, so be sure to test a sample first.  My two favorites for jackets are armo-weft fusible interfacing (shown here) and horse hair canvas (perfect if you plan on pad stitching – which I will show in a later blog post).  Fusible interfacing can be added in layers if you need more structure at the end of the lapel, keep that in mind if you interfacing supply is limited.

Despite adding interfacing, extra measures need to be taken to prevent the neckline and center front of the jacket from stretching out.  Twill tape is the perfect solution!  Look closely and you can see hand stitching attaching the 1/4″ wide cotton twill tape to the front edge of the jacket.  As I am hand stitching, I am holding the twill tape tight and allowing the jacket fabric to ease in.  Not too much easing though!  Make sure the jacket doesn’t change shape or become skewed.

IMG_1911

What about that perfect roll on the lapel?  Again, twill tape is hand stitched to the roll line (the roll line should be printed on your jacket pattern)

angela wolf jacket lapel

When hand stitching the twill tape to the roll line, keep the twill tape tight (tighter than when we added twill tape to the center front and neckline).  Again, easing in the fashion fabric.  I use a pin to hold one end of the twill tape and start stitching from the other end.  You can see below how much I am easing!

tailoring jackets angela wolf

Here I started hand stitching the twill tape in place, the main part of the stitch is on the twill tape and I am just picking a short fiber in the fashion fabric, then back through the twill tape.  You can barely see the stitching from the right side of the fabric.  When you are finished steam press the lapel roll using a seam roll.  Again, for more details see this weeks episode of It’s Sew Easy, scroll to the bottom of their page and click on the video.

angela wolf tailoring jacket

Another Giveaway, this one is for my online class:  Sewing a Designer Unlined Jacket on PatternReveiw.com.  Does your favorite jacket style close in the center front or asymmetrically?  Just tell us your preference to enter the jacket class giveaway.  (A random winner will be drawn next Monday)   Congratulations to last weeks winner JRP53 who will be joining me in the  Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Jackets on PatternReview!   Good luck on your jackets!

Cheers 🙂

Angela Wolf

How to Prepare & Sew a Jacket Lapel (another giveaway)

How to Prepare & Sew a Jacket Lapel (another giveaway)

Angela Wolf patterns 2013 -2311

When I asked what part of sewing jackets you find the most intimidating to sew, many of you left a comment about the collar and lapel.  I must have had a premonition, as this week’s episode of It’s Sew Easy gives you a few tips for success.  You are right, the collar and lapel is what really makes your jacket stand out … and the good news …  it’s easier to sew than you think.  In fact, sewing is only a minute part involved in tailoring a collar.  The most time-consuming part involves preparing the center front jacket, upper collar, and under collar pattern pieces with interfacing and twill tape, not to mention pad stitching if you are going the traditional tailoring route.  The weight of the interfacing will determine the thickness and stability of your lapel and collar, so be sure to test a sample first.  My two favorites for jackets are armo-weft fusible interfacing (shown here) and horse hair canvas (perfect if you plan on pad stitching – which I will show in a later blog post).  Fusible interfacing can be added in layers if you need more structure at the end of the lapel, keep that in mind if you interfacing supply is limited.

Despite adding interfacing, extra measures need to be taken to prevent the neckline and center front of the jacket from stretching out.  Twill tape is the perfect solution!  Look closely and you can see hand stitching attaching the 1/4″ wide cotton twill tape to the front edge of the jacket.  As I am hand stitching, I am holding the twill tape tight and allowing the jacket fabric to ease in.  Not too much easing though!  Make sure the jacket doesn’t change shape or become skewed.

IMG_1911

What about that perfect roll on the lapel?  Again, twill tape is hand stitched to the roll line (the roll line should be printed on your jacket pattern)

angela wolf jacket lapel

When hand stitching the twill tape to the roll line, keep the twill tape tight (tighter than when we added twill tape to the center front and neckline).  Again, easing in the fashion fabric.  I use a pin to hold one end of the twill tape and start stitching from the other end.  You can see below how much I am easing!

tailoring jackets angela wolf

Here I started hand stitching the twill tape in place, the main part of the stitch is on the twill tape and I am just picking a short fiber in the fashion fabric, then back through the twill tape.  You can barely see the stitching from the right side of the fabric.  When you are finished steam press the lapel roll using a seam roll.  Again, for more details see this weeks episode of It’s Sew Easy, scroll to the bottom of their page and click on the video.

angela wolf tailoring jacket

Another Giveaway, this one is for my online class:  Sewing a Designer Unlined Jacket on PatternReveiw.com.  Does your favorite jacket style close in the center front or asymmetrically?  Just tell us your preference to enter the jacket class giveaway.  (A random winner will be drawn next Monday)   Congratulations to last weeks winner JRP53 who will be joining me in the  Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Jackets on PatternReview!   Good luck on your jackets!

Cheers 🙂

Angela Wolf

angela wolf entrepreneur

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