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FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO SEW

techniques

43

o cto b e r/ n o v e m b e r

1996

n um b e r 67

Getting Better on the Bias Here's a great skirt to flatter your figure and improve your bias skills by ELISSA MEYRICH

on the cover:

50 Go stra i g h t

The Dream Machine

On p . 30 you'll find a g r e at way to m a ke a dent in your

Sewing-machine features to choose for the best sewing ever

fa b r ic stash and create

by JOHN GIORDANO

text u red fabric.

a n enti rely new, r i c h l y

to p . 3 8 t o f i n d out h o w to create

58

y o u r own

Sewing Leather Fearlessly Press it, fuse it, topstitch it-nonraveling, grainless leather

$300-a-yard

can be even easier to sew than fabric

l ac e .

by KATHRYN BRENNE

design

34

The Quilt Reinvented Slice, dice, then reattach blocks for remarkably original quilts by SHERRI WOOD

63

Updating the Cowboy Shirt Ridin' the range-or headin' for the office­ without invoking the Grand Ole Opry by DAVID PAGE COFFIN

details

46

The Shopper's Vest No pockets in sight, but plenty at hand for purse-free shopping or traveling by JO REIMER

54

Off the Rack and

Ready to Hemstitch

A

A b racadabra! A pur­ ch ased shi r t beco m es a one-of-a- k i nd garment. Turn to p. 54.

few machine-sewn details make a purchased shirt

one of a kind by CAROL LAFLIN AHLES

Take a fresh l o o k at the vene r a b l e cowboy shirt o n p . 63. Now you m i g h t want to wear one to the office.


If i mprov i sat i o nal q u i lting s o u n d s i ntrigu i n g but scary, l o o k t o p. 34. T h e r e b e g i n enti rely d o-able gui d e l i n e s for thi s approach to q u i I t i n g.

68

Who Can Resist Cut Velvet and Beads? Create a delicious velvet scarf or shawl with an easy, beaded fringe by JANE CONLON

fit & fabric

30

Stitch-and-Slash Fabric Layer, stitch, and cut for a terrific new fabric with a soft, lively texture by KATHLEEN DE NERIS

38

Re-embroider Lace Make your own $300-a-yard lace by couching ribbon or trim to plain lace by JOYCE GALE

departments 6

Letters Dyeing silk ribbon, shoulders and templates,

74

Questions Tricky zipper repair,

shopper's alert

78

fleece gloves

16 20 24

Tips Needle cushion, stitch

Quilt for a Cure, exhibits,

T-shirt pattern

12

Notes

Quick to Make Pillow and pyramid gift boxes

86

Calendar Exhibits, special

samples, marking with

events, tours,

safety pins

workshops

Basics Fastening threads

Fitting Tapering or

98 100

Closures Preserving the past

Back Cover

To improve your b i a s s k i lls

and

get a

great s k irt i n the barga i n , s e e p. 43.

Pleated silk ties

widening pants

Threads magazine

II

Threads

(ISSN 0882·7370) is published bimonthly. Feb/Mar.. Apr/May.June/July. Aug/SepL. OCl/Nov.. and Dec/Jan., by The Taunton Press, Inc, 63 S. Main SL, PO Box 5506,Newlown, CT 06470-5506. Tel. (203) 426-8171. Periodicals postage is paid at Newtown, CT 06470,and additional mailing offices. Canadian Goods and Service Tax paid, Registration 123210981. Copyright 1996 by The Taunton Press, Inc. No reproduction without permission of (he publisher. magazine� is a registered trademark of The Taunton Press, Inc. Title to the copyrights in the contributions in Threads magaZine remains in the authors, photographers, and artists, upless otherwise indicated. They have granted publication rights to Threads magazine. Subscription rates: .S. and possessions: $32,1 yr.; $54,2 $70,3 yr. Canada and other countries: $38, 1 $66, yr.; $88,3 dollars). Single copy, $6.00; outside and possessions, $7.00. Send to Subscription Dept, The Taunton Press, Inc., PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506. Address correspondence to appropriate department (Subscription, Editorial, Advertising), The Taunton Press, lnc., PO Box 5506,Newtown, CT 06470-5506. For orders or customer service, call (800) 888-8286. U.S. newsstand distribution by Curtis Circulation Co., 730 River Rd., New Milford, NJ 07646-3048 and Eastern News Distributors, Inc., One Media Way, 12406 Route 250, Milan, 44846·9705.

Postmaster:

U

yr.;

yr.; 2

yr. (U.s.

Send address changes to Threads Magazine, The Taunton Press, Inc., 63 S. Main St., PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506

U.s.

OH

Primed in the USA


Letters We welcome your

Ruffler relief

is very concentrated, it stiffens the

comments, criticisms,

Many thanks to Andrea Moore

ribbon slightly but doesn't affect

advice, and ideas.

for her article "The Ruffler: Not

its workability. Now I can make

Letters may be

for Ruffles Only" in Threads No.

ribbon in the exact color combi­

edited for brevity

6 6 , pp. 70-75. I've been sewing

nations I need for my projects.

and clarity.

for about 52 years and am delight­

Please write to:

ed that someone finally came up

63Threads5506, 06470·5506.

-Dianne Baier, Edmonton, AB, Canada

TH READS Editor

Christine Timmons

Art Director Catherine Cassidy

B.

Associate Editors

with directions for using a ruffler

Shoulders and templates

attachment that are easy to read

I'm writing in reference to Gail

PO Box

and understand. They're a welcome

Manning's tip on moving the shoul­

Elaine Garen

Newtown,CT

relief from the inscrutable instruc­

der seam for a smoother shoulder

Associate Art Director

tions that come printed on tissue

line (No. 63, p. 18). While it's true

Carla Ruzicka

paper in type so small you can't

that her technique would make the

Editorial Secretary

read them. Hooray!

garment look clean from the front,

Letters,

S. Main St.,

-Nannette Silvia, Gainesville, FL

it would tend to force the shoul­ ders into an erect position (which

Susan Allen. David Page Coffin. Karen Morris. Toni Toomey

Copy/Production Editor

Nancy Nelle Farmer

Contributing Editors Linda Lee. Mary Smith

Publisher

Silk-ribbon dyer

was the very purpose of this con­

I particularly enjoy the articles in

struction detail, way back when)

Threads about embroidery, like

in order to make the alteration

Annette Coan's "Impressionistic

comfortable. As our lifestyles have

Silk-Ribbon Embroidery" (No. 62,

changed over the last century, our

pp. 36-39). I do a lot of silk-ribbon

time spent at desks instead of in

Vivian Dorman

Sr. Advertising Coordinator

Suzanne La Rosa

Corporate Circulation Director Douglas Newton

Advertising Sales Manager Ellen Saracino

National Accounts Manager

embroidery and am always look­

the fields, we're becoming a round­

ing for new challenges. Working

shouldered society. Therefore, for

with variegated ribbon is more

all but the most erect-postured per­

interesting than working with reg­

son, the garment would feel as if

ular ribbon, and the results are

it were constantly falling to the

even prettier. So I decided to try

back. So, if comfort is a considera­

coloring my own ribbon with liq­

tion, an alternative is to choose

Jolynn Gower

uid watercolor for proj ects like

a man's shoulder pad (which is

Publishing Coordinator

making cards and pins that won't

wider, not thicker) and add a layer

Sarah Coe

be washed (I use Luma Brilliant

of buckram to it.

Concentrated Watercolors, which

I've sometimes made a pad as

It

Carol Gee

Marketing Secretary Larisa Greiner

Threads

Books & Videos:

Acquisitions Editor

How to contact

Threads:

Telephone:

are available in good art-supply

small as

stores). First, I cut a length of white

a curvy shoulderline. If you don't

ribbon, dip it in water, and pull it

want a pad, reinforce a double-ply

between my thumb and forefinger

seam by fusing a \5:-in. strip of bias

Customer Service:

to smooth it out. Then I lay the

interfacing equally along the cen­

Advertising Sales:

damp ribbon on plastic wrap and

ter of the seam, or

dab the paint on with a brush.

stitch a piece of

After the ribbon dries, I iron it flat to help set the color. If the paint

in. thick, just to correct

Nancy Clark

Advertising Sales Associate

Fax: Subscriptions: Orders:

((82003)) 428263--87125712 (203) 426-3434 ((8800 )) 478 78--88722876 (80 ) 283-7252 ext. 531 (80 ) 283-7252 ext. 265

Taunton Trade Company: Retail Sales:

Writing an article Threads

welcomes articles, proposals,

manuscripts, photographs, and ideas from our readers, amateur or profession­ al. We'll acknowledge all submissions, return those we can't use, and pay for articles we publish. For our

forThreads, Authors

at

PO

Information

brochure, call or write to us

06470-5506.

Box 5506, Newtown, CT


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Beads Business Resources Classes& Instruction Clubs, Guilds& Associations Leathers, Suedes& Furs Patterns Smocking& Heirloom SewingSupplies Softw are& Internet Addresses Travel/Tours& Getaways e an K�i�:i�;��;:I�!� ; ::d � a�y More!

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o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r

1996

7


interfacing in the ditch. And make

foot tensions, the fabric won't be

Sewing shows in bloom

sure that any back-shoulder dart

eased up and puckered by the trim.

is also pressed open for the first

This is a clean alternative to tear­

Fall and spring are high season for sewing and needlework

part of its length.

and wash-away stabilizers.

shows, which offer sewers a wonderful opportunity to learn

Also, in reference to Linda Lee's

new techniques, meet talented teachers, see what's new in

article "The Unsung Tools: Sewing

notions and fabrics, and revel in inspiration. The number of

Templates" (No. 64, pp. 4 3-45),

No green bananas

these shows has grown tremendously in the last year, and

I too find straight templates to be

I'm 82 and am subscribing to

Threads has accordingly increased its participation at them.

invaluable for staying a seamline

Threads for three years. How's that

In October and November we'll have booths at the shows

as I sew. For example, when sewing

for optimism? Every issue has such

listed below, and we're also planning a special event explor­

a bias dart, I copy the beginning

good ideas that I can't keep up with

-Kathy lilian, Littleton, CO

ing design for the Original Sewing and Craft Expo in Reston,

and end points from the pattern

them. I don't buy green bananas

VA, which will be presented on each of the show's three days.

and mark them in pencil on my

anymore, but I subscribe to my

you come to one of these shows, please stop by our booth

template. Then I set the template

favorite magazine for three years!

on my garment, line up the begin­

to say hello.

-Phalice Ayers, Spokane, WA

ning and end points of both dart

T-shirt pattern

American

Creative Sewing and

and marks, and sew with the tem­

Stitches Expo

N eedlework Festival

plate under my presser foot, next

Marcy Tilton's article "Not Your

4 3700 Expo Center Dr.

Automotive Building

to the needle. Voila! No more

Ordinary T-Shirt" (No. 65, pp. 62-

Suite 101

Exhibition Place

stretched darts.

67) inspired me to look for the

Novi, MI

Toronto, ON, Canada

800-594-9029

The same technique can be used

suggested patterns and make a

800-291-2030

on collars, shoulder seams, and so

T-shirt. But each of these patterns

Oct. 4-6

Nov. 1 -4

on. It's also a lifesaver when you

had some feature I didn't care far

need to stabilize fabric for machine­

(for example, one was too fitted for

Original Sewing

Interna tionaI

trim application, in which case I

my taste). So I looked around and

and Craft Expo

Quilt Festival

actually pin the template (some­

discovered McCall's p attern 8155,

Hyatt Regency Reston

George R. Brown

times it's my measuring tape) to

which has the minimal fitting that

Reston Town Center

Convention Center

the fabric, next to, but not neces­

my not-so-slender figure needs. I

1800 Presidents St.

1001 Avenida de

sarily under the presser foot. Hold­

made view D, carefully following

Reston, VA

las Americas

ing my fabric as taut as the tem­

the suggestions in the article, and

800-699-6309

Houston, TX

plate allows, I sew down the seam,

am very pleased with it. I thought

713-781-6864

moving the template as needed.

other readers might also want to

Nov. 7-10

This ensures that, as long as I've

consider this pattern.

Oct. H-1 3

adjusted my thread and presser-

Taunton

PUBLICATIONS forfellow enthusiasts

8

&:

-Marge Young, Lincoln, N E

Ann

The Taunton Press: Paul Roman, chairman; Peter Chidsey, preSident; Diane

Bonnie Beardsley, Margaret Fainer, Madelaine Frengs, Tracy LeBrun, Debra McCormack, Gina Pabis, Andrea

Patterson, secretary_ Corporate Editorial: John Lively, editor-in-chief

Shorrock. Distribution: Paul Seipold, manager; Loum BUll, Mary

vice

Costagliola, Deborah Greene, Linnea

president. BoollS: Carolyn Mandarano, managing editor; Ruth Dobsevage,

Ingram, Brian Leavitt, Aaron Lund, Frederick Monnes, Elsie Rodriguez, Alice Saxton, Eileen Sheehan.

PeteT Chapman, Thomas C. McKenna, Roben 0lah, Diane Sinitsky. New

Manufacturing: Kathleen Davis, director; Joanne Bisson. Prepress: Austin Starbird, manager; John Garofalo,

Products: Suzanne Roman, editor; jefferson Kolle, jennifer Renjilian, Marc

Stephen Roma, Patricia Sigeui, Deborah Cooper, William Bivona, David Blasko, Richard Booth,james Chappuis,

Vassallo. Personnel: Carol Maroui, manager; Linda Ballerini, Christine

Mark Coleman, Lisa DeFeo, Tina Foster, William Godfrey, Florence Nichols,joseph Petrahai, Linda Reddington,

Lincoln. Finance/ Accollnting:Janice A. Roman, chief financial officer; Wayne Reynolds, controller; Sarah Roman,

Martha Stammer, Chansam Thammavongsa, David Kenney, W. Kathy Martin, Monica Murphy. Prillt Production:

jennifer Glass, Carolyn Kovaleski. Accounting: Patrick Lamontagne, assL controller; Keith Chapman, Mary

Dee Flanagan, Lynda Morris, promotion; Thomas Greco, Deborah Baldwin, Michael Gyulay, books; Philip

Sullivan, Andrea Henchcliffe, Elizabeth Perugini, Carol Diehm, Margaret Bafundo, Dorothy Blasko, Susan Burke,

VanKirk, john Cavallaro, Trade Pavlik, magazines. Video: Craig Umanoff, Thomas Menard. Management

Lawrence Rice, Gayle Hammond, Karen Lewis, Lydia Krikorian, Elaine Yamin. Corporate Design: Susan

Information Systems: .Robert Peters, director; Brendan Bowe, Arthur Caron,james Courtright, Maurice Downey,

Edelman, director; Laura Bergeron. Booll Art:jodie Delohery, manager; Amy Bernard, Christopher Casey, Lynne

Gabriel Dunn,

Phillips, Henry Roth, Carol Singer, Rosalie Vaccaro. New Product Design: Mary Terrizzi, manager;jody Hankinson.

Barbara Daignault, Roben Nielsen. PC Systems: Margaret Archer, manager; Cristina DeLucia, Lisa Northrop.

J.

Larry Kinnear, Marjorie Omalyev, Roger Seliga. PC Applications: Heidi Waldkirch, manager;

&

Photography: Boyd Hagen, director; Anthony Phillips. Promotion: Philip Allard, manager; D. J. Arneson, Wendy

Operations: Purchasitlg

Bowes, julia Brine, Mary Beth Cleary, Francesca Arminio. Corporate Services: Thomas Luxeder, director; Jane

Michael Capalbo, jeannette Pascal, Beatrix Vangor, Charles Hollis, jeffrey Meslin, Aaron Nobel, Susan Nerich,

Facilities: William Schappert, manager; Christopher Myers, Lois Beck, Peter Bishop,

Torrence. Fulfillment: Client Services: Patricia Williamson, manager; Carolyn Arneth, Kathryn Dolson, Holly

Oscar Carranza, Alvinjack, Lincoln Peters. Ca clcria: Donna Freeman, manager; Geraldine Benno, Isabel Kaplan,

Obenhoff, Eileen SWirsky. Customer Support Services: John Comerford, manager; Nancy Brown, Barbara Lowe,

Norma:Jean Taylor. New Media: Roy Swanson, director. Taunton Direct: Claudia Allen, Pamela Dunaway, Brenda

J

Dawn Teixeira, Marylou Thompson. Customer Services: Patricia Malouff, manager; Donna Weinstein, Christi

Hamilton, Megan Sangster,jeanne Todaro. Taunton Trade Company: Dale Brown, preSident; Thomasjohnson,

Heuer, Penny Leffens, Jennifer Severino, Mary Ellen Silk, Barbara Smith. Data Entry: Carole Ando, manager;

sales manager; Frances Allen, John Bacigalupi, Peter Bill, Barbara Buckalew, Linda Yurchishin

THREADS


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Questions Have a question

A tricky zipper repair

each snap as closely as possible,

of general interest

I do alterations and repairs.

as shown below left. A small, sharp

about sewing, quilt­

What's the best way to replace

scissors is helpful here.

ing, embellishing, or

a jacket zipper that has snaps

a garment-related

installed through the zipper tape?

craft? Send it to:

63Threads5506, 06470-5506.

-Suzzy Thomas, Auburn, NE

The new zipper tape on this side won't be sandwiched between the lining and the outer fabric. Instead, pin these layers together and place

Questions,

Bjorg Frackelton replies: You're right

the new zipper on the lining side

PO Box

that j acket snaps often pierce the

(the zipper tape will show on the

Newtown, CT

zipper tape, especially in athletic­

inside of the j acket), extending the

S. Main St.,

zipper teeth

both a zipper and snaps as front

jacket edge. If the bottom snap is

closures. This can cause problems

located within 1 in. of the garment

for Polartec or

when it's time

hem, you'll need to move the lower

another polyester fleece and is

to

replace the zipper.

I've found that the pierced tape

end of the zipper up, to just above

soft, stretchy, and easy to fit. The

often occurs only on the underlap

the snap (be sure to make the same

pattern's warmer view B adds a

side of the j acket, since the overlap

adjustment on the overlap side).

woven, weather-resistant outer lay­

side may have a storm flap that

With the right side of the j acket

er, like nylon taffeta or Supplex.

contains the top half of the snaps,

faCing you, machine-stitch close to

Each view shows a stretch cuff of

out of the way of the zipper. In this

the edge of the fabric, which is eas­

spandex fleece or ribbing, plus elas­

case, you can replace the overlap

iest using a narrow, single-prong

tic at the back wrist.

side of the zipper in the regular

zipper foot. Stitch slowly as you

way, by ripping out the zipper

pass the snaps.

1;4

fit than mittens. This pattern is

A second row of topstitching

zipper tape between the outer fab­

in. away helps keep the zipper tape

in severe weather conditions, so it

ric/flap and lining, and topstitch­

flat. As you approach a snap, stitch

has more room built into the fin­ gers (to allow space for warm air)

designed for hiking and climbing

ing it in place, usually with two

as far as possible, then stop stitch­

rows of stitching. But I suggest

ing and securely tie off the thread

than you may need or want in a

replacing the underlap side first.

ends. Repeat for the length of the

fashion glove. To make a trimmer

garment, interrupting the stitching

"city" glove, cut the curved finger

where necessary to avoid a snap.

inserts narrower. You may need to

my solution is to first rip out the zipper stitching, and then careful­

This method lets you replace a

ly cut out the zipper tape around

broken zipper without disturbing the snaps at all. I hope you'll try it.

zipper

experiment in order to fine-tune the fit. Have fun with the many prints and solids available in bright or

New zipper

Fleece with fingers

quiet colors to sew the exact gloves

Two

I loved your article on Polarfleece

you want. The pattern, CE45, is

rows of

mittens (Threads No. 63, pp. 62-

available from Controlled Expo­

65), but I need Polarfleece gloves

sure (PO Box 2144, Corvallis, OR

topstitching

Cut around snap.

with fingers. Is there a decent

97339) for $4.50 plus S&H; pat­

pattern available?

tern and fabrics are available from

-Sarah Emerson, Chicago, I L

The Rain Shed (707 NW 1 1 th St., Corvallis, OR 97330; 541-753-

Rip old stitching.

"'-

12 TH R E A D S

Gloves can be a bit trickier to

stitching, sandwiching the new

For the pierced underlap side,

Old

%- to V4-in. beyond the

style and down jackets that have

----

Move zipper up above snap. Tie off threads.

Karen Morris replies: You're in luck. There's a new pattern for a one­ or two-layer glove that includes

8900; catalog, $ 1 ).

Bjorg Frackelton

i s an alterations

five adult sizes, from XS to XL.

expert in Grafton, WI;

The single-layer version is deSigned

is an associate editor of

Karen Morris Threads.


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Juki's Home Sergers set the standard for classic quality at an affordable price. If you are an expert sewer or a beginner just entering the exciting world of serging, there is a Pearl Line or Garnet Line model for you.

With features such as built-in rolled hemming, adjustable

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creating the latest apparel and home fashions has never been easier. The Juki Pearl and Garnet Lines consist of 2/3/4 thread converti ble overlocks, with or without differential feed, and a single-n e e d l e 2/3 thread unit.

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My local sewing store is Address Juki A merica, 14518 Best Avenue, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

Return this coupon for more details and Juki dealer information.

--------- - --CALIFORNIA DIVISION 14518 Best Avenue

Sales

&

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BETTY QUINELL

NELHoWARD Educational Consultant

Sales

Educational Consultant

OMEGA SEWMAC, I NC

.

3445 Park Avenue

Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

Home Serger Division

Home Serger Division

Montreal. Quebec H2X 2H6

(310) 483-5355

(815) 625-4469

(214) 370-3675

(514) 842-8691


T i Ps Share a tip, a

For needle-retentive types

useful trick, or

With the variety of machine nee­

When you finish sewing, put the needle cushion under the presser

Pin wall saves backaches

An

essential tool in my studio for

a great sewing

dles on the market today, it's a

foot and lower the foot for the

composing quilt deSigns is an 8-

or embellishing

challenge to keep them organized.

night, j ust like seWing-machine

ft.-square pin wall. Made from two

resource. Send

So I created a "needle cushion"

dealers do to prevent the feed

sheets of Armstrong 2000 board

details, sketches,

(illustrated below) , a simple-to­

dogs from nicking the bottom of

(a 4- by 8-ft. sheet available at most

photos, or samples

make item that not only stores and

the foot. When you next sew, the

lumberyards), the soft white sur­

(if you like) to:

classifies a growing collection of

type of needle on the machine

face accepts pins better than most

new and barely used needles, but

won't be a mystery.

boards. Cut around wall outlets

Threads5506, 06470-5506. Tips,

PO Box

also identifies the needle currently

Newtown,CT

installed on the machine. I keep

-Carol S, DeBaets, Charlotte, NC

childproof caps to avoid pinning

Be sure to include

for universal needles and the other

Sampling your machine's capabilities

a phone number

for specialty needles.

As a professional dressmaker, I

two of these holders handy, one

with a blade and cover them with in the wrong place. screws, adding a l I/2-in. washer at

Attach the boards to the wall with

To make a needle cushion, sand­

use a wide range of decorative

each to prevent buckling. Tighten

question. We'll

wich a layer of thin batting between

stitches and presser feet on my

the screws every year or so. To keep

pay for each item

two pieces of light-colored fabric

sewing machine and serger. But

your deSigns in line, draw in a 6-in.

we publish.

(I like unbleached muslin), both

who can keep up with the variety

grid with a pen.

in case we have a

cut to 6-in. squares. Stitch a series

of looks that can be created with

of straight vertical, horizontal, and

so many stitch and foot options?

diagonal lines that intersect neatly

Whether you're a home sewer or

in the center. I use the multimo­

make your living in this business,

Advice from John, ripper of seams

tion stitch, but any stitch will do.

you need a record of what your

It's my job to rip out any seams

machine can do.

that have been deemed unaccept­

H

your sewing machine has let­

tering capabilities, machine-stitch

So I make samples using most

each section with the names and

of the machines' bells and whis­

some sewing. Once the seam has

sizes of the needles you frequently

tles, showing, for instance, how the

been ripped, bits and pieces of the

use. ( A fabric marker does the j ob

various hemming feet or the bias­

cut thread remain, which must be

for sewers whose machines don't

tape foot works. I use both woven

removed before resewing.

and knit fabrics for the samples,

You can make those threads dis­

zigzag, or bind the

because each produces very differ­

appear quickly and efficiently by

outside edges. to

ent results. I also practice with var­

taking a loop of sticky (masking

e dl

ious types of needles, from wings to

or transparent) tape, fitting it over

th

two or three fingers, and rolling it

:�

doubles. On each sample I note the

through the appro-

stitch number, the tension combi­

along the old seam. When all

priate sections of

nations that produce the best stitch,

thread bits have been picked up,

the needle cush-

and possible applications.

discard the used tape.

Si p y

i

ion, as illustrated.

I store the samples inside my

To remind your-

sewing machines' owner's manu­

self which needle

als for easy reference. Now when

A sheer secret

IS curren tly on

designing a garment for a customer

Use tiny brass safety pins as tools

the machine (be-

interested in a certain stitch or fin­

for quickly transferring garment­

ish, I can show actual examples,

construction marks to delicate,

ring and take your mind off

which makes it easier to visualize

sheer fabrics like chiffon. The pins

the finished garment.

won't mar the fabric or fall out

such needle details), affix a straight

pin to the section that identifies

THREADS

-John J. Wordi n , Shel ley, I D

cause the telephone will

that needle.

16

able by my wife after she's done

read and write.) To complete, serge,

/ '" It,.. OO"Almf. ' -�9C1'O'1.. /,/ '\,��>'".J. .•f.)lJr,./ �l; \ �\ 75, . //�./' � T;� :� �: . ... c.m"l ," " . \ \" /' _-' )..I:3 � < " .. .." '1(\(\ \'.",._",V.. ___6-lr>��-f-"'-�:"- - --"//-""--" ;;f-;\;�/\ �:/-J,,�-":::w::> --___o0_0O'>__;!----��. o0;�� ""'- ;:.� cD0 /,/" \\ '" ,', 0. ,�f' ,' "l"" ,,- "'" . _ - - - - - - /'��//_k"'�/n� nl·rUl:J' �71.Y[•"VY'v', i\\! 06'IKY�"";;AY/ lJ'!) {f ·fffv..·. '. � // '\, aL . .... . // Sl- \,

,f/

-Stephanie Santmyers, Greensboro, NC

-Patricia Ann Van Maanen, Friday Harbor, WA

when you move it. -Claire Shaeffer, Palm Springs, CA


Push

Press

Hey, You Know How To Serge! ,l 10 lthough the new Baby Lock Eclipse is unique in many ways with its

1l

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The buttons activate the new LCD teaching screen with instructions that take the guesswork out of serging. The screen serves as a quick reference for all machine and tension settings. Completely progranmlable, it automatically remembers the suggested setting for YOllr sewing, home dec, hobby and crafting needs. The level' makes threading fast and easy with "Instant Jet-Ail' Threading". No other sergeI' has it. And because of its patent, no other sergeI' will. So, whether you're

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Fortunately, finding the new Eclipse is easy too. For the dealer nearest YOll, simply pick up your phone and push the

babv laEA It puts serging in a whole new light. o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

17


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Basics sewing techniques

FA S T E N I N G T H R EA D S

and terms that may

by Claire Shaeffer

sew in reverse for two or three

Knots are time-consuming to make,

stitches and continue stitching to

but they're soft, neat, and easy to

everyone. If you've

When you begin or end a row of

the raw edge.

remove; and seams secured with

ever been stumped

machine stitching, you must fas­

by a casual instruc­

ten the threads to prevent stitches

We've set aside this space to explain

not be familiar to

for two or three stitches. Sew for­

to secure threads at dart points,

ward to complete the stitching line,

tucks, and on lines of topstitching

stopping

that end in the middle of a seam.

1/2 in. from the end, then

knots lie flat when pressed open. Spottack-Shown at upper right, a

To secure threads with a tailor's knot, leave long thread tails at both

tion to "clean-finish

from unraveling. Here are some

spottack is used when stitching on

the edge" or "find

common methods and gUidelines

the garment's right side because

ends of the stitching line and tie

the true bias," this

for securing threads on a machine.

it's less conspicuous than a back­

them together as one strand, as

tack. More appropriate for casual­

shown at lower right. If the stitch­

Backtack-Also called a backstitch,

wear than for better garments, spot­

ing ends in the middle of a seam,

a backtack (shown at upper left in

tacks are used to begin and end

pull the needle thread to the gar­

the drawing below) is the most fre­

topstitching on patch pockets, col­

ment's wrong side, give both

quently used means of securing

lars, and cuffs.

threads a sharp tug to remove any

column should be a handy reference.

threads. Strong and qUick to do, it

To spottack, set the stitch length

slack in the last few stitches, tie

works well on medium- to heavy­

to 0 (or drop the feed dogs), take

them in a tailor's knot, and trim

weight fabrics to begin and end

two or three stitches in place, then

the thread tails to

most stitched lines, except for dart

adjust the stitch length for the seam

points (ways to fasten threads on

(or raise the feed dogs), complete

dart points are discussed below). A

the line of stitching, and spottack

points and tucks on very sheer

backtack is rarely used on soft or

at the end. When speed-sewing,

fabrics, bobbin stitching involves

lightweight fabrics, since it adds

hold the fabric firmly so it doesn't

using a continuous strand of thread

stiffness and can distort the fab­

feed under the needle for two or

in the needle and bobbin. This

ric. As well, seams in lightweight

three stitches.

method creates a soft, neat finish,

along the backtacked sections, and

Short stitches-Used to secure the

than those sewn with two strands

are sometimes difficult to remove

threads on fine garments and del­

of thread.

without damaging the fabric.

icate fabrics, short stitches (lower

Begin by threading the machine

left) aren't as stiff or as difficult to

as u sual, but leave the needle

unpick as a backtack, but they're

unthreaded. Pull out

also not as strong. Short stitches

bin thread, insert this thread into

are frequently used on edges that

the needle from the back, tie it to

To backtack, begin by sewing forward

Short stitches

Bobbin stitching-Ideal for dart

but produces a weaker fastening

fabrics don't lie completely flat

..... :::.""=-- --

Yl in.

5fs in., then stitch in reverse Spottack

�-- -----------------

15

in. of bob-

will be faced, crossed by a hem, or

the needle thread, then wind the

trimmed, and are useful when join-

needle thread around its spool,

ing bias strips.

pulling the bobbin thread up

To secure threads with short

through the machine. Continue

stitches, set the stitch length to 1

winding bobbin thread twice the

mm and sew forward

length of the line to be stitched

314

in. , then

reset the stitch for the seam and

onto the spool. Begin stitching ilt

sew to

the dart point, or tuck's end, and

314

in. from the end. Reset

the stitch length to 1 mm and con­

sew to the garment's edge.

tinue sewing to the edge. Claire Shaeffer, a writer and teacher

20

THREADS

CA.

Tailor's knot-The preferred

from Palm Springs.

method in haute couture, a tailor's

of

knot is also used in casualwear

(The Taunton Press. 1 993).

is the author

Couture Sewing Techniques

.jgc


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• • Think Textile o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

23


F i tti n g get some answers

Tapering or widening pants

to your fitting ques­

I need to taper the leg width of a

tions. If you have a

Here's the place to

parallel to the grainline. Correct

and hem widths before dividing

the grainline if it isn't.

by 4. Adding and subtracting 1

Unfold and cut both pieces hori­

in. ensures that the pattern fol­

pants pattern that fits well other­

zontally at the knee, as shown at

lows the usual ready-to-wear prac­

better solution than

wise. Is this more complicated than

left below. We'll alter the lower­

tice of making backs wider than

the one we've given

just trimming down the leg seams?

front pattern first. To make sure

fronts (which improves the hang

here, please write

Do I reduce front and back equally?

the hem allowance fits inside the

of the garment).

and tell us. Send

-J udi Davies, Elkford, BC Canada

your questions

tapered leg, fold the pattern on the

The only exception to this pro­

hemline before marking and trim­

cedure is if your figure is so flat in

(include photos, if

If you simply taper the seams on

ming. Refold the pattern piece on

front that you don't need a front

possible), comments,

an existing pants pattern, says fit­

the center line, measure the total

wai.stline dart. If this is the case,

and solutions to:

ting expert Karen Howland, or on

hem width you want, subtract 1

don't separate the front pant pat­

ready-to-wear pants, you'll typical­

in. , then divide the number by 4,

tern at the knee, just alter to the

PO Box

ly find that there's still more fabric

and mark along the hem from the

knee as described above, then true

Newtown, CT

below the seat and under the belly

fold toward the seams. For exam­

the inner and outer seamlines from

than you want. Here's how to take

ple, if you want a 17-in. opening,

the crotch level down to meet the

Threads5506, 06470-5506. Fit,

subtract 1 from 17 to get 16 in. ,

knee. Split the back at the knee

and inseams and part [rom within

then divide 1 6 by 4. D o the same

and alter as described below, check­

the pattern, in both front and back.

thing at the knee using the knee

ing the front crotch curve against

Start by noting the widths you

width you want (minus 1 in. ,

the altered back to see if i.t needs

want at hem and knee levels, then

then divided by 4), then connect

any additional truing.

measure the distance from hem to

the marks from hem to knee, add

Next, we'll reattach the upper pat­

knee line. Fold both front and back

seam allowances, and cut away the

terns to their respective lower parts,

patterns in half lengthwise, match­

excess, as shown at right below.

starting with the fronts. Align the

out part of the width from the side

creaselines of the upper and lower

ing the inseams and outseams. This

Now, repeat the entire process

establishes the creaseline and cen­

for the lower-back pattern piece,

sections, as shown at left on p. 26.

ter on each piece, which should be

this time adding 1 in. to the knee

The top will extend beyond the cor-

TA P E R I N G PA N T S

Fold inseams to match outseams to create center creaseline.

1. Divide front and back at knee � V

1).Ql'"RIQlL-S U

I

-1

?7 4I in.

Total knee width

-1

�I

Knee level

l'I

Back

to inside.

f---r1

Total hem width

-1

in.

74

Total hem width

-1 T H R EADS

in.

U

Front

24

74

I ? I

�tilRI QlL-

Cut. Fold hem allowance up before altering.

,\

r

2. Alter lower pieces Total knee width

in.

74

.jgc


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25


F i t t i n g (continued) ing the pants to angle inward from the belly to the ankle when viewed

TA P E R I N G PA N T S

(

c o n t i n u e d fro m p .

from the side. Trim away the other

24)

half of the excess at the outseam

3. Alter upper pieces

after truing that seamline from the hipline down to match the lower,

Front only is shown; alter back same way.

corrected outseam.

I I I I I �I �l ;1 V)E I

Dart widens.

Pivot outseam

Clip crotch

unshifted knee line to the crotch Front

Front

seam until the excess width at the inseam lines up with the corrected inseam below. Notice that this straightens out the crotch curve, which you'll want to clip opposite the slash to allow it to spread. This

I

is an inevitable result of tapering the legs using any method. For

Altered lower

piece

Now for the inseam. Slash (or fold a tuck) from the center of the

instance, if you had just tapered

Lift top halfso outseam stays same length.

knee level to crotch curve.

the entire inseam front and back, the crotch curve would need to be trued back to a smooth curve, as shown in the lower drawing at left,

Overlap difference.

which flattens it similarly. Repeat this process for the back pattern, which may require more or

4. True crotch curve

less tapering based on how much rear fullness is built into the pattern

Tapered seams create a bump in crotch curve, which needs to be trued.

already, or because of other alter­ ations. The widening that this Back

builds into the rear dart will help the pants to cup under the rear, redUCing fullness in proportion to

26

TH READS

the amount you taper the legs.

rected seamlines on both in- and

temporary alteration line, it doesn't

outseams, and we'll correct each

matter if it's not perfectly on grain.

To increase the width of the leg,

side separately, starting with the

Keeping the inseam/crotch side

do the same thing in the other

outseam. First, slash the upper pat­

of the pattern stationary to main­

direction, expanding the lower leg,

tern along the creaseline from the

tain the grainline, pivot the out­

then spreading the upper pieces

knee to just below the waistline

seam section so it overlaps the cen­

to match. This reduces the dart

dart, then cut through the center

ter line by half the excess width

widths and increases the crotch

of the dart to meet the creaseline

at the knee, then slide the top pat­

seam curve, appropriate for pants

slash, leaving a little uncut section

tern upward slightly so that the

with straighter, looser legs.

at the dart point to pivot with.

outseam stays the same length, as

If the front or back darts aren't

shown at center above. Notice that

Karen Howland

makes custom clothing

centered over the creaseline (the

pivoting opens the dart at the waist.

back darts probably won't be), just

This wider dart builds a portion

OH.

angle the slashline(s) from the knee

of the tapering into the actual

How to Make Clothes That Fit, available

level to the dart. Because this is a

shape of the pattern piece, caus-

from her at

and teaches from her studio in Loveland, She's the author of Cut to

513-683-2032.

the Fit:


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lthough sewers usually

bilities. Excitement and laughter

This fluid fabric has

spend a lot of time fin­

always accompany the opening of

a thick, cushy pile

ishing, covering, or oth­

the dryer door, since washer agita­

reminiscent of velvet,

erwise hiding raw edges,

tion and machine drying combine

my favorite fabric is a

to make the fabric layers "bloom"

riot of raw edges. I love

open, as you can see in the three

made by stitching parallel rows through several layers of fabric, slashing areas, then washing. The plush texture is perfect for Christine Bramhall's soft, comfortable jacket on the facing page, with bias strips of coordinating fabric highlighting its edges and design lines. (She used a pattern now out of print; see text on p. 32 for pattern suggestions). At left, detail photos show the "bloom" of various fabric combinations. At top and bottom are examples made of muslin layers (the bottom one was dyed­ see the sidebar on p. 3 3), and the center example combines raw silk and cotton in a five-layer fabric.

to create this exciting fabric using

detail photos at right.

an Italian Renaissance technique

The resulting fabric lends itself to

from the 16th and 17th centuries

warm, cushy jackets and coats that

that was revived some years ago

are remarkably fluid, since only

by the fiber artist Tim Harding in

the bottom layer remains uncut.

his beautiful coats. By quilting sev­

The other layers stand up like the

eral layers of fabric together in

pile on an incredibly thick velvet,

straight lines, cutting through all

retaining warm air in their little

but the bottom layer with scissors,

"pockets." I'll share with you the

and then machine-washing and

techniques that my students and I

-drying the fabric sandwich, you

use and the results of our many

get a striking fabric with lush tex­

experiments, so that you can suc­

ture. Part of the trick is to cut the

cessfully build this amazing fabric

fabric along the bias grain, so that

for yourself.

it doesn't ravel. The fabric's fiber content, the mixture of prints and

Tinker with the variables

solids, the stacking order, and the

Depending on the thickness of the

stitching pattern that you use to

fabrics you use, a sandwich of four

join the layers all help determine

to six layers works well for stitching

your results.

and slashing. You'll need to choose

My students and I have a won­

a strong fabric, like a sturdy cot­

derful time exploring these possi-

ton, for the bottom layer, since it

Layer, stitch, and cut for a terrific new fabric with a soft, lively texture b y Kathleen Deneris

holds together and supports all

Best fibers for a lush effect

the other layers and acts as the gar­

You can get great results by mixing

ment's lining.

different fibers in your fabric sand­

When planning the parallel rows

wich. I like cotton fabrics stacked

of quilting that hold the layers

with rayon challis, which makes a

together, you can vary the design

delightful, more interesting bloom

and width between the rows for

than an all-rayon or all-cotton stack.

different effects, but always place

Another favorite combination is

the stitching (and thus the cuts

raw silk and cotton. The weave and

between rows) on a 30- to 60-

beauty of the silk add a lustrous

degree angle to the fabric's grain, to

bloom to the fabric, as shown in

get the maximum bloom without

the center detail photo above. In

raveling. I generally prefer

your samples, experiment with the

V2 to 314 .

in. between rows of stitching for

order of fabrics in the stack, since

most fabrics, depending, of course,

altering their order can create dif­

on their thickness.

ferent effects.

Making a series of samples

Another beautiful fabric mixture

beforehand allows you to test all

is cotton muslin layered with the

the possible variables and learn

quilter's batting Warm & Natural,

which effects you like best. A 6- to

which is available at local quilt

9-in. square is large enough to serve

shops or by mail from Connecting

as a good sample. You'll find that

Threads (PO Box 8940, Vancou­

the results are always unexpected

ver, WA 9 8668-8940; 800-574-

and a lot of fun.

6454). This combination results

o c to b e r/ n ov e m b e r 1 9 9 6

31


SKETCH TO WORK OUT DESIGN LINES

S I M PLE S T E P S TO P I L E FA B R I C

2

1

Collar

Collar

For a four-layer fabric:

After stacking four layers of cut fabric, divide the top layer into sections with masking tape (1 ) and draw a stitching pattern, as shown in the drawings at right. Sew along these lines (2); scissor between them without cutting the bottom layer (3); and remove the tape. Machine-wash and -dry to produce the fab­ ric's "bloom." Before assembling the coat, add preshrunk trim or bias strips along the edges and lines left by the tape (4).

in a fabric reminiscent of cotton

also either be reversible or have

chenille, as shown in the jacket on

wrong and right sides whose colors

p . 3 0 . Warm

are close in value.

&.

Natural batting

works because it has a thin, net­ tinglike scrim on the back that

Simple patterns work best

holds the cotton fibers together,

For a successful jacket in stacked

enabling it to take the abuse of a

fabrics, start with a simple pattern

washer and dryer without pulling

that has few seams, like Butterick

apart. To determine the scrim side,

4098, McCall's 8528 (available

pull the cut edge gently-you'll see

10/ 1/96), or Great Copy 880 (PO

the scrim on one side.

Box 85329, Racine, WI 5 3 408-

I use a four-layer stack of fabrics,

5329; 414-63 2-2660). A dolman­

as shown in the photos above

sleeve style or one whose sleeve

(muslin; Warm

&.

Natural batting,

scrim-side down; then two more

is cut in one piece with the body works well.

layers of muslin). This stack can

In each fabric, cut out the pat­

be left in natural colors, like the

tern pieces, allowing an extra 1/2_

jacket shown, or dyed using the

in. seam allowance all around for

of your garment's front and back.

easy method described in "Dyeing

shrinkage, then stack the pieces in

Try out various ideas for design

the quick way" on the facing page.

the desired order. After the pieces

lines, always drawing them at an

My j acket at far right on the faCing

shrink in stitching, cutting, and

angle to the garment's straight

page was dyed after stitching and

laundering, you'll trim them to size.

grain, as shown in the drawings

What sort of grid to stitch ?

you like, redraw it to scale on the

above. When you have a design

slashing but before the garment was assembled. The fabrics you choose must be

32

TH READS

Experiment with simple sketches on graph paper to find a design you like for stitching the quilting lines. All lines should lie at an angle to the fabric's grain to eliminate raveling. The sketches above, similar to the garments shown on these pages, are based on Butterick 4098, which you can alter to add lapels or other details.

top layer of your fabric stack.

washable and colorfast, but don't

There are two methods I use to

Another way to create design

prewash them-a bit of shrinkage

dream up a design for the stitching

lines is to work directly on the top

after stitching enhances the fab­

lines. First, on a piece of graph

layer of fabric, using 1/2-in.-wide

ric's bloom. Your fabrics should

paper draw a small, simple sketch

masking tape to divide off areas of


the garment. Place the tape at an

There's no limit to the great

angle to the fabric's grain, as shown

jackets you can make with

in the top left photo on the facing

layered-and-slashed fabric. At

page. The masking tape defines

left, a silk/cotton combination by

design lines and functions as a

Nannette Holmberg, which you can

guide for the parallel rows of stitch­

see in the detail at center on p.

ing. Mark these rows with a water­

at right, a "car coat" by the author

31 ;

soluble marker, as I did in the same

made of a natural muslin stacked

photo, or follow the tape or previ­

fabric that's been dyed (see below).

ous line of stitching with your machine's quilting-guide foot. Lat­ er, when assembling the garment,

Before assembling the jacket, trim

you can add ribbon or bias-cut fab­

the pieces to size using the original

ric strips along the lines left by the

pattern. Place wrong sides together

masking tape to create accent lines

and sew with seams to the outside

on the garment, as on the coat on

(the seams then look like the rest of

p. 30 and in the bottom right pho­

the fabric). After trying the gar­

to on the facing page.

ment on to check the fit, trim the seam allowances to V4 in. You can

Stitch, cut, and finish

either leave them plain or cover

Now you're ready to sew the lines

them with preshrunk trim or rib­

that join the fabric layers together.

bon, stitching along both edges.

Adjust your sewing machine for

Once you've tried making this

a balanced stitch with about 10

delightful fabric, I bet you'll want to

sts/in., using all-purpose thread to

make more. In fact, every time my

match the top layer of fabric (or

students and I try a new fabric

an all-cotton thread if you'll be dye­

combination or stitching pattern,

ing the fabric), and stitch along the

we end up discovering an interest­

design lines.

ing new effect. I hope you enj oy

Carefully cut between the stitched rows with scissors, as shown in the

experimenting with this furry fab­ ric as much as I do.

bottom left photo on the faCing page, leaving the bottom layer of

Kathleen Deneris, oj Midvale, UI, is

fabric intact. And now for the fun

a Jiber artist who is currently teach­

part-machine-wash and -dry the

ing in the Universi ty oj Utah's Jiber

layered garment pieces.

arts department.

I�

.g"N 1::�

J1;-ea 1'" :c�0.." .x.0a>-. '"� .c0.Ba�.

Dyeing the q uick way If you're working with a fabric stack of natural muslin and want to

allowing the colors to mix on the fabric, which resulted in a rich,

add color, try my easy method. You can see the interesting results

variegated brown with navy. Be aware that the colors will appear

it gives i n the coat at right above. You're ready to dye after you've

darker while they're wet.

stitched, slashed, and washed the coat pieces but before you've assembled them.

After dyeing the pieces, cover them with a second piece of plastic (so that the fabric stays damp while the dyes react chemi­

While they're sti l l damp, place the coat sections on a large piece of plastic (a painter's dropcloth works well). Using procion cold­

cally), arranging the plastic so that the dye and water won't leak out at the corners and onto your floor. Let it all sit for 24 to 48

water dyes (avai lable at weaving-supply stores or by mail from

hours (or even longer) at a room temperature of at least 70

ProChemical

degrees. After thoroughly rinsing out the excess dye in your

&

Dye, PO Box

14,

Somerset, MA 02726; 508-676-

3 8 38), randomly pour or spray the dye over the pieces. I poured

washing machine and drying the sections, the coat is ready for

orange, turquoise, and navy bl ue, in that order, on the coat above,

assembly.-KD.

o cto b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

33


THE Slice, dice,

then reattach

blocks for

remarkably original quilts

by Sherri Wood

this is accomplished not by fol­

hen I first learned

to use a ruler and template, that's

to quilt, I followed

all I needed to hear! I immediately

lowing a predetermined pattern,

the traditional pro­

began to experiment and have

but by making a few decisions as

cess-piece the top,

since developed an improvisation­

the process unfolds. As you can

layer over a batting

al approach for constructing artis­

see in the photos on these two

and backing, and

tic display quilts that virtually

pages, each resulting quilt is quite

then stitch the "quilt sandwich"

rearranges the order in which a

different from the next.

together-and I was delighted with

quilt is made. This unusual con­

Who will enj oy making qUilts this

the results. But then a light bulb

struction technique transforms

way? People without a lot of time to

switched on in my head when I

everyone who's tried it into a cre­

quilt love this technique because

attended a workshop led by noted

ative problem solver, like our 18th­

major sections are quickly com­

quilt maker Nancy Crow. When

and 1 9th-century quilt-making

pleted. First-time quilters find this

she told us that we didn't have

ancestors were in their day. All

an ideal introduction, since there

co


are no precise patterns or pieced

guidelines below (marked in ital­

different fabrics, about 4 to 5 in.

Every quilt is a one­

points that must meet exactly in

ics), rearrange and reattach the

long (fabric motifs); and (3) ten

of-a-kind surprise with

the center. Even traditional quil­

building blocks into an interesting

strips from different fabrics, five

this improvisational

ters who have mastered most pat­

wall quilt. Let's dive in.

light and five dark, each varying

process. The author's q uilts "Leaf M ulch" (1996, 80 by 65 in.), on the facing page, and "Green Lights" ( 1 9 9 5 , 3 9 i n . square), below, illustrate how her incremental style produces very d ifferent results from project to project.

in width from 2 to 4 in., and about

terns can have fun while learning to creatively stretch the rules. And

Choose a theme, any theme­

25 in. long (striped fabric).

those who love to make quilt tops

I chose leaves as the theme for

but never get around to actually

the quilt shown on the facing page,

finishing the quilt, will find that

but any simple motif or shape­

surface, stack a 6-in. square o f

much of the technique is done in

for example, a circle, square, or

backing fabric face down, a square

one stitching step (I call it "dimen­

uncomplicated flower-will work.

of batting, a square of face fabric

sional construction"), so the quilt

To get ideas, study photographs,

right side up, and one fabric motif.

is finished before you know it.

illustrations, greeting cards, maga­

Set the stack aside and repeat the

zines, catalogs, or newspapers. And

process, making as many stacks as

To make the squares-On a flat

look around outside for images

you can from the fabrics you cut. If

from nature or architecture.

you have pieces left over, that's fine.

Grab a few favorite fabrics­

motifs from one stack to another,

Select six or more contrasting fab­

plaCing bright motifs on contrast­

rics for the face of the quilt. Check

ing face fabrics and dramatic motifs

Now study the stacks and trade

your fabric stash for pieces ranging

on quieter, striped face fabrics.

from 6-in. squares to I-yd. cuts.

metric print for contrast. And use

Guideline: Play with the combina­ tions until they please your eye, and remember: There's no wrong way to combine these fabrics.

any woven fabric for the backing

Next, choose the orientation for

Look for boldly patterned cotton fabric and throw in a stripe or geo­

(I use cotton plaids).

"30 Qlc"" � �

..�� (5L"" u".�cm lu '0�c0 S-5vE g-g'" ,!:l"cv 0;0""0 1;-.c·0""

"" "-

�m

Following specific guidelines (but

not a pattern), the quilt

placing the motifs-horizontal, ver­

You'll also need cotton batting

tical, or diagonal-by trying them

(I like Fairfield needle-punched cot­

out to see which you like better.

ton batting because it's thin, yet

Guideline: Once you decide on the

has a nice loft). I use cotton or ray­ on embroidery thread with clear,

maker determines the final shape

superfine nylon monofilament in

and dimensions. " Leaf Mulch,"

the bobbin, which eliminates the

shown at left and in detail above, was constructed in fou r sections for installation over a staircase.

need to change bobbin thread each time you change the top color. You'll also need a rotary cutter and mat and a sewing machine that permits free-motion stitching (see

Close that pattern book!

the sidebar on p. 36).

Intrigued? Here's the process in a nutshell: Instead of using a pat-

Building blocks: two kinds

tern, this construction technique

This construction technique is

builds on a simple visual theme or

based on creating a pair of building

motif that's repeated throughout

blocks: a square featuring your

the quilt. You'll cut several fabrics

theme or motif, and one-of-a-kind

into shapes around a chosen theme

striped fabric. To create these build­

and then applique them to other

ing blocks, first cut the follOwing

fabrics. With this appliqued fab-

prescribed shapes: ( I ) ten 6-in .

ric, you'll create a series of bUilding

squares from four to six different

blocks that you'll slice apart with a

fabrics (I call these face fabrics);

rotary cutter. Then, following the

(2) twelve motifs from four to six

o c t o b e r/n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

35


arrangement, turn all the motifs in the same direction. When you're pleased with your choices, pin each stack together and set it aside. To create a striped fabric-You'll

eventually "frame" the 6-in. squares with strips of original, one-of-a­ kind striped fabrics that you'll cre­ ate. It's an easy process: Working with the ten narrow strips you cut, pin the long sides of the strips right sides together, alternating dark and light fabrics. U sing a straight stitch, sew the seams, then press them to one side. layer this striped fabric over a piece of batting and backing of the same size, pin this stack together,

Make-then remake-the basic building-block square: Squares built on

and set it aside.

visual motifs (here, leaves) are created, then cut up and rearranged to form the basis of the quilt (top left and right). Frame the squares (bottom) with a striped fabric you created, using free-motion stitching.

Ladies and gents, start your sewing machines Before you start stitching on the

For my leaf motif, I sewed around

real McCoy, review the sidebar

the edges (as shown in the detail

move around on the sewing-machine platform. When you've finished one

below on free-motion machine

photo on p. 35), then stitched into

square, start another, changing the

stitching and practice first on

the leaf to create the "veins." In

thread color often.

scrap fabric and batting. Then

this one step, you're appliqueing,

After embellishing the squares,

choose a pinned 6-in. square and

quilting the layers, and embellish­

start on the striped fabric. First,

stitch around and into the motif

ing with stitches simultaneously.

free-motion-stitch a straight line

to applique it to the square. Guide­

Guideline: Add lots of stitching detail at this early stage, while the quilted components are small and easy to

across one end of the stripes, then

line: Use a colorful thread that con­ trasts with the face fabrics.

sew lines that are roughly parallel every 2 or 3 in., but turn the fabric in an unexpected direction every now and then (see the drawing

Free-motion stitching

button that drops the feed dogs, while others

at top right on the facing page).

Simply put, free-motion sewing i nvolves adjust­

supply a snap-on feed-dog cover.

ing you r machine to lower or cover the feed

darning presser foot i s req u i red with most

dogs (which move fabric under the needle) and

machines (check notions catalogs if this wasn't

manually moving the fabric in any direction and

included with your machine).

Guideline: The finished quilt will be more appealing if these stitches aren't perfectly aligned, so allow the rows to lean and intersect in unusual ways.

at the speed you choose. When you control

A special

The most typical mistake i n free-motion

You can also try switching to a

the movement, the stitches aren't straight,

sewing is to forget to lower the presser foot,

zigzag stitch or the built-in deco­

u niform, or evenly spaced; you set these

which engages the tension mechanism. If you

rative stitches on your machine.

parameters as you m ove the fabric. Thi n k of

forget, you'll get big loops and tangled threads.

Experiment with a range of stitch

your needle and thread as a pencil, and draw

Ideally, a tiny pindot of spool-thread color

lengths and widths, and try moving

l i ne s of thread at will on the fabric. The results .

i s all that shows o n the back. Practice on

the fabric in various directions to

are fascinating-but it takes practice to get the

scraps before you start stitching a q uilt. (For

get varied effects.

hang of it. Here are the essentials:

more information o n free-motion stitching,

Check your i nstruction manual (or with your dealer) for how to set u p your machine for free-motion stitching. Some machines have a

EmbroidTheery Compl and AppleWtieqBook ue ofMachine consult

by Robbie Fanning

(Chilton, 1 986)).-5.

Now slice right through it! Take a deep breath, try one step at a time, and trust your eye. Here's what to do: Rotary-cut the squares

36

T H R EADS


Trim the panels with rattail-

Satin cord, which is also called rattail trim, is my favorite finish for the outside edges of the pan­ els. As you can see in the bottom photo at left, I select a color that contrasts with the edges of the fabric. Hold the cord close to the fabric edge and use free-motion the building blocks

into large panels (above), then bind the panels with satin rattail cording attached with more free-motion stitching (left).

sewing from side to side to secure the cord. Alternatively, you can use ribbon, organza, leather, or fabric strips to trim the panel edges.

Guideline: There's no rule requiring you to turn under or even finish the edges. Raw edges add texture to a finished quilt panel.

FREE MOTION, FREE FORM

\' - .,..- - --- - ..-,1,- - --... ---- ---_ ,.,. :... _ --_...-.... ......_--_. ..-. ... -..\. ...�\ ------------_ \..... ... --.

..,

- - -,

.

- ---

. - - -.,..-

--

... ..

... ...

..

.,'

... ... ..

'

, -

--

- ... .,.. ... ... - -

... :

- - - -..

... ... ,

.. .. ..

.

"

Quilt the striped fabric in random lines, stitched across the stripes.

To group or not to group? in half diagonally, vertically, or hor­

the strip that extends beyond the

Once you've attached several

izontally, as shown in the two top

square edge and frame the other

framed panels to each other and

photos on p. 36. To determine the

three edges the same way. Guide­

applied the edge trim, you're just

angle of the cut, fold squares at various angles, hold the folded

line: Resist the urge to match stripes. Random is the rule.

only decide on the final arrange­

pieces together, study the effect,

Frame the other squares using

ment of the panels. Depending

about finished. Now you need

and select the angle that appeals to

the same process. If you run out of

on the arrangement you select,

you. Guideline: The squares look best

3-in. striped strips, create more,

you'll end up with a quilt about

when cut at the same angle through­ out the entire quilt project.

using the same fabrics you did the

3-ft. square up to 4 by 5 ft. Or you

first time, or two new fabrics.

can use the panels in separate

Cut, then abut-You'll reattach

the squares after cutting them, but

So many squares, and it takes so little time

hand with a strong thread. Here's

first mix and match the half­

When most of the squares are

one additional option for ambi­

squares, creating new, artistically

framed into 1 2-in. panels, pin the

tious improvisers: Stitch the panels

mismatched, whole motifs from

panels on the wall or arrange them

by hand to a background of quilted

two unlike halves, as you see in the

on a flat surface, and study the

fabric, batting, or tulle.

top right photo on the facing page.

effect. Select two and stitch them

Guideline: The colors of the halves shouldn't match. Sew the halves

together as before. Repeat with two

incremental technique, you can

more squares.

also "improvise" using traditional

groups, as I did with "Leaf Mulch" on p. 34. Stitch the final joins by

H

you enjoy the freedom of this

together, using a zigzag stitch (feed

Continue to abut the framed

patterns as your guide. I've had

dogs down) to make a strong joint.

squares in any arrangement that

success with Log Cabin, Drunk­

Prepare to frame the squares with

pleases you, securing each j oin

ard's Path, Ohio Star, and several

strips of the striped fabric. Guide­

with several rows of free-motion

others. In fact, when you work

line: Rotary-cut the striped sheet into 3-in.-wide strips across the stripes. Butt one fabric strip against

stitching. As you can see in the top

incrementally, you're free to change

photo above, several panels can be

your mind at each step. Guideline:

attached with success. When the

one edge of a square. Without a

framed panels become too large to

lot of study, adjoin the two sides by

maneuver at the sewing machine,

If you don't like a section, cut it out and use it elsewhere, or eliminate it. Last. . . disregard the guidelines!

sewing the connection tightly two

stop. After trimming the edges,

or three times with a free-motion

you'll have an opportunity to com­

Shari Wood is a full-time artist;quilt

zigzag stitch, continuing around

bine several large pieces, if you

maker who lives, works, and teaches

the entire piece. Trim off the part of

choose, sewing them by hand.

in Carrboro, NC.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

37


Re-embroider Make your own $ 3 00-a-yard lace by couching ribbon or trim to plain lace by Joyce Gale


ou've seen those exqui­

in the finished garment, you don't

site bridal gowns in run­

have to worry about sturdy stitch­

way shots from couture

ing. And when you embroider your

shows, with mountains

own lace, you'll not only save mon­

of "plain" lace delicately

ey and enjoy the pleasure of creat­

re-embroidered with rib­

ing it yourself, you'll also be able

bon or other trim to make it even

to place the embroidery precisely

more heavenly. You've probably

where you want it on the garment

also noticed ads in fashion maga-

without wasting fabric. And, more

zines for evening- and even day-

important, your design won't be

wear featuring this frothy confec-

interrupted by any darts or seams.

LAC E S K E TC H B O O K Below are some ideas, both casual and dressy, to get you started using re-embroidered lace.

tion. In fact, nowadays, just about tion includes a re-embroidered lace

Base lace and trim: what kind?

creation-some as casual as the

You can start with almost any type

cropped vest worn over a long silk

of lace as a base for a trim design.

shirt on the facing page.

Choices range from widely spaced

every major ready-to-wear collec­

Want to add such a versatile, eye­

to closely grouped lace patterns,

catching piece to your wardrobe?

and from spider-web laces to those

Or just trim the collar and cuffs of

made of weighty cotton yarns.

a silk organza blouse or the bodice

In terms of trims to decorate the

of a slip dress? Well, it's easy-and

lace, your choices are even greater,

you needn't carry smelling salts

including all types of ribbon and

to shop for imported, ready-made

braid. For ribbons, think of satin;

re-embroi.dered lace that can run a

grosgrain; solid, plaid, or floral

staggering $250 to $350 per yard.

taffeta; plain-weave silk; picot­

For a fraction of the cost, you can

edged; and gossamer sheer. Braids

re-embroider your own lace to em­

range from metallic, soutache, spa­

bellish a garment you sew or buy.

ghetti, and satin or "rattail" cord

Although the i.mported laces are

to rayon seam binding. Additional

embroidered on special machines,

options include lace hem tape, lace

I find it easier to apply trims by

trims, strips of bias-cut organza or

hand using simple stitches like

the base lace fabric, yarn, strands

the running stitch and backstitch.

of sequins, and cording you make

Since there's little stress on the trim

from any fabric.

Create an exquisite fabric from ribbon and lace. The embrOidery on Karen Morris's spider-web-Iace vest on the facing page includes Vintage grosgrain and plain silk ribbon, accented with a few beads. The vest is l ined with tul le to preserve the lace's sheer effect. A closer look (left) reveals swirls and tendrils of ribbon gathered on one edge. The centers are tightly gathered "worms" of ribbon, and the copper knots are tied from bits of leather cord.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

39


A gallery of re-embroidered lace designs made from plain lace

and purchased trim offers easy-to-try ideas. Clockwise from top left: soutache braid makes easy chrysanthemums (see the drawing on the facing page) connected with wavy lines; lace hem tape creates a simple zigzag design and shaped edges; a metallic-edged organdy ribbon meanders across a pale-pink lace; satin ribbon couched with black thread forms easy roses; soutache leaves echo the lace's design, with gold squiggles pro­ viding a touch of whimsy; and two shades of satin rattail cord plus pearls form curves on creamy lace with a cafe-Iatte lining.

Make the most of scallops-If

you find a lace with a scalloped edge, think about incorporating it into your design. Since lace has no

To complement your trim design,

Lace: a lot or a little?-C onsider

straight or bias grain, you can place

consider adding accents of beads,

whether you want an entire gar­

pattern pieces on it in any direc-

pearls, purchased small motifs, or

ment made of re-embroidered lace,

tion, which means you can locate

colored threads. These additions

or to use the lace just in certain

the scallops wherever you want

can add depth to a design.

areas. You have lots of options to

them on the garment.

choose from. Starting with a basic

Scallops look wonderful at a

dress design, for example, I've

neckline edge, a placement that's

Because there are so many possible

illustrated (on p . 42) five ideas

easiest to work with when the gar-

fabric and trim combinations, let's

for placing the lace.

ment's neckline is straight. If you

Design around the lace

discuss ways to make your deci­

You can get a fairly good idea of

want scallops on a curved neck-

sions easier. First, consider the style

the cost and time involved by mak­

line, you can cut the scalloped edge

of the garment. Keep it as simple as

ing a small sample. If, for exam­

from the lace, lap it over the neck-

possible and plan the embroidery

ple, you want to embroider a floral

line edge, and attach it by hand.

around darts and seams so they

design in braid, start by making

won't interrupt the design. See the

just one flower. Then multiply the

Striking color combinations-

time it took by the number of flow­

Most traditional re-embroidered

one way to create an uninterrupted

ers you need (remember that you'll

laces match the trim color to the

design over a dart. Another method

gain speed with practice), and mul­

lace. But many of the latest designs

often used on couture garments is

tiply the yardage used for one

use contrasting colors with beau-

to stitch darts and seams first, then

flower by the total number of flow­

tiful results, as shown in the photos

embroider smoothly over the area.

ers you plan for the garment.

above and on the facing page, and

drawing on the facing page for

40

TH READS

if.xl'"E-�� ri.

.]t� �

£I"�� '0;E E-.li§} ..,.c.�E� �J!l c1'Et �1:0


unhappy with an area. But you'll have the advantage of seeing right away how the design looks in the actual materials. Before starting to sew, mark the stitching lines for seams and darts by thread-tracing with a contrasting color. Then proceed to "Put needle to lace" below.

PLACING A LACE MOTI F OVER A DART So that a motif will match over a dart after sewing. place half a motif on each side of the dart. Or you can stitch the dart first. then embroider the motif over it. Unsewn

Design on paper first-To plan

your design on paper, draw the outline of the pattern pieces on tracing paper or a photocopy of the lace, which allows you to design

'j-

around the lace pattern. Tracing paper makes it easy to repeat suc­ The real McCoy: I mported French

cessful parts of your design by trac­

re-embroidered laces offer striking design ideas. including (clockwise from top left) serpentine swirls of ungathered ribbon frosting lace for a rich effect; a fuzzy chenille yarn outlining a leafy lace motif; strands of seqUins and ribbon flowers embellishing an open lace.

ing the section you like and copy­

R i ght

Wrong

Sewn

,.

ing it in other areas. The drawback of this method is that you have to

imagine how the design will look in

i

the actual lace and trim. Hold the paper design up to your body in front of a mirror or pin it

Right

Wrong

on a dress form to make sure it's flattering. This gives you a chance

even combine several trims to form

a heavy ribbon may overpower a

the design, as on the vest on p. 38.

delicate lace. There are no set rules,

Also, any lining you use under

however, and experimenting is the

the lace forms a menage Ii trois with

way to find the look you like best.

the lace and trim. Audition differ­

co J

to make changes before you sew. Transfer the design to lace­

If you're working on paper, the next step is to transfer the design

ent lining colors to see which one

Let the design evolve

best accents your lace, and don't

When planning a design for your

the lace sections and thread-trace

be afraid to combine colors.

garment pieces, think in terms of

maj or seamlines and darts, then

curves and swirls, which work well

pin each lace piece over the paper

A thick trim can add bulk-Next,

with most lace patterns and trims.

deSign. You can transfer the design

consider the type of surface you

You can approach designing in one

to the lace by tracing with a water­

prefer. Depending on the trim and

of two ways: Either plan the design

proof felt-tip pen, but test first since

the way you apply it, the result can

on paper first, or simply place the

pen marks may show under a nar­

be densely textured or have just a

embroidery as you sew.

row braid. Or you can thread-trace

slight surface interest. If you're con­

w '

to the lace itself. To do this, cut out

the deSign, which takes more time

cerned about looking heavier, try

Design as you se -Let s look at

but works for all laces, and is easy

a thin braid or satin cord for the

the second method first, which I

to pull out.

embroidery and space the deSigns

used for the sample at top right on

farther apart, or use the embel­

the faCing page. You'll lay out the

Put needle to lace

lished lace only in the sleeves or on

design right on the lace garment

Whichever method you use to

a fuller-style skirt.

pieces, which you've cut out leaving

design your lace, the most satisfy­

As a general rule, it's best not to

a 1- to 2-in. margin all around, and

ing part is seeing the embroidery

sew a fine, thin braid on a heavy

then sew as you go along. The

take shape in your hands. I find it

lace, since your embroidery will

drawback of this method is that it

easiest to sew from the wrong side

tend to disappear. And, conversely,

may require some ripping if you're

of the lace, catching the bottom of

CREATE A BRAID C H RYSANTH E M U M

To create a flower like that in the top left sample on p. 40. make a series ofbraid loops and sew at center. leaving a 1- to 2-in. length at the beginning for a flower center. Wind the short end into a spiral and sew at center. Tack ends of flower loops to the lace. leaving the other end to connect to the next flower.

o c t o b e r/n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

41


OPTIONS FOR PLAC I N G LACE

the trim, which I pin just a few inches or so ahead of the needle so the pins don't fall out. You can use a simple running stitch to attach

Starting with a simple dress style. you have many options for using re-embroidered lace in varying amounts.

satin cord, braid, and flat ribbon like that in some of the samples on p. 40. For ruffled ribbon or trim, I prefer a backstitch. The best way to finish the cut ends of the trim depends on the type of lace and trim you're using. Since some trims ravel easily, use a dab of Fray Check, No-Fray, or

Z\: �

clear nail polish on cut ends, if

needed. On an open lace, finish ends by poking them through the

'

-

lace and anchoring them at the back. For a neat finish on wider trims, fold the corner of the

(f f: J �"/ To I_�_"'" �

cut end down and stitch it

to the lace. gather trims-To coax

a flat ribbon into smooth

�,," you'll probably want to curves,

gather it. The quickest way to gath­ er lots of trim is with a ruffler attachment, which keeps the gath­ ers stationary and creates a uni­ form look. For more information on the ruffler, see Threads No. 66,

Dress up a simple design with

pp. 70-75. !f you want some areas

re-embroidered lace. Although this

of the ribbon to be more tightly

i s a ready-to-wear garment made

gathered than others, as on the vest

from imported French lace. you can

on p. 38, you may prefer to gather

create a similar effect with your

with a line of machine stitching

own ribbon and lace.

that you can adjust as you sew. Either way, you can gather the rib­ bon in the middle or at one edge.

For this article, I've focused on

Try both approaches to see which

applying trims to lace fabric. But

one you prefer.

think about it-you can use the

o

same idea on practically any type

If the fabric needs supp rt-For

of fabric. And by adding trim,

more support when sewing trims

you can transform many a fabric's

onto soft lace, you can make a sim­

ho-hum surface to a richly textured

ple cardboard frame. Cut an 8- by

Byzantine creation.

1 2-in. opening in a piece of sturdy cardboard, leaving a I-in. rim, then

Joyce Gale teaches design, draping,

tape the lace to the frame. This set­ up provides a satisfactory alterna­

and pattern making at Los Angeles

tive to an embroidery hoop, which

completed

might distort or tear the lace.

tion of Camelot.

Trade-Technical College and has just

75

costumes for a produc­


ost sewers know that clothes cut on the bias drape and flow beautifully. But aren't they also hard to handle, tricky to sew, and so form-fitting that they reveal all? Not necessarily. By mere­ ly shifting the grain to the bias on a simple two-piece skirt pattern like the one I used at left, you can not only transform an ordinary gar­ ment into a knockout, but also simplify the fitting process, while maintaining complete control over the degree of looseness or body­ hugging shaping. I'll also show you how to handle the fabric easily as you cut and sew it, and how to fin­ ish the skirt like a pro.

Simple patterns for slinky fabrics The softer and drapier the fabric, the more flexible it will be when cut on the bias. The fabrics I like best for slim bias skirts include silk charmeuse, silk faille, crepe-back satin, washed silk, very lightweight wools, and rayon/wool blends. Also consider any of the newer syn­ thetics that behave and feel like these all-natural fabrics. The ideal bias-skirt pattern is a simple two-seam skirt with one front and one back paneL Butterick 3402, 4308, and 4555, SimpliCity 9363, Style 2327, and Vogue 9175 are good current choices, and sev­ eral already include a bias grain­ line. Buy the pattern to fit your hip measurement, adjust the waistline if needed, and fine-tune the fit after cutting out, as I'll describe below.

Effortless elegance: A bias-cut slip skirt (like this Vogue 9175) can be surprisingly easy to make and fit. And it's not just for the pencil-thin figure!


You can easily change straight­ grain patterns to bias by drawing a new grainline at a 45-degree angle to the existing one, which should be parallel to the center front and back. First, since bias pieces need to be cut out one layer at a time for accuracy and better control, convert half-patterns (designed to be cut on a fold) to full patterns with a whole front and back. To convert, simply lay the center front and center back of the half-skirt patterns on the fold of a piece of tis­

To avoid rippled seams, let the fabric bubble up a litde in front of the presser foot as you sew

found it unnecessary. When the pieces are cut out, staystitch the waistline

1/2

in. from the edge, and

machine-baste (but don't press) the side seams, leaving one open where the zipper will go, in preparation for the try-on.

Stitch to control stretch To avoid rippled seams, which result from stretching the fabric as it goes under the presser foot, hold the fabric as shown at top left, allowing a little extra material to

sue paper and cut around them.

Cut bias on paper

through the paper too, but I 've

The paper protects the fabric from

bubble up in front of the foot so

distortion, even if the fabric isn't

you're certain there's no stretch­ ing. Sew a little slower for control

Here's a trick they use in New

pinned to it. Any oversized paper

York's garment district to keep slip­

will do, including gridded pattern

and consider using a seam guide,

pery fabric from shifting off grain

paper, examining-table paper from

as I'm doing in the photo, so you

as they cut: Layer a piece of wide

hospital- and physician-supply

can concentrate on the bubble, not

paper underneath the fabric and

stores, and banquet-table paper

the edges. Professional sample

cut through both fabric and paper.

from party suppliers. You can even

makers I've observed always use

use sheets of newspaper in a pinch.

guides on their machines, and I

First, make sure your fabric is

never sew without one. They're one

laid out on grain. You can check

of the easiest and most accurate

this with a tailor's L-square, laying

ways to get even seam allowances.

the fabric so that the crossgrain

Screw-on seam guides work very

runs parallel to one side of the

well, and magnetic seam gUides

square and the lengthwise grain is

that can be used on most machines

parallel to the other side, or simply

are Widely available. Check with

by pulling the crossgrain of the fab­

your dealer to be sure they're safe if

ric to be sure it lies perpendicular

you have a computerized machine.

to the selvages.

As you staystitch the waist, it's a

Either way, since you've changed

good idea to stitch a little ease into

your pattern's grainline to be 45

the seam (this is true for all skirts,

degrees to the center front and cen­

not just bias-cut styles). As you

ter back (if it wasn't already), all

stitch, hold a finger on the seam

you have to do is align that grain­

behind the presser foot (bottom

line parallel to a selvage, and the

left). This causes the fabric to build

pattern piece itself will be on the

up slightly as it's stitched, creating

bias. Pin the pattern to the fabric,

ease. About every 3 to 4 in., release

then cut through the fabric and the

the buildup and start over, until

paper underneath. You can pin

the entire seam is staystitched.

If you push the fabric, you can't stretch it. Hold a little hump in front of the presser foot as you gUide the fabric (top left). to be sure your bias seams will be ripple-free. A seam gUide. visible to the right of the fabric. makes straight stitching easy and accurate. To add ease at the same time. hold your finger behind the foot (bottom). allowing a few inches of fabric to build up. then release and hold again.

44

THREADS


Mark your waist with elastic (left), then pin the waistline seam to the elastic. Pin the excess out toward each side seam. Shape the side seams to follow your hips (below), balancing the excess on each side. You control where the vertical folds start by how snugly you pin across your figure. Bias binding makes a good waistband finish.

Tuck the ends in before you stitch the waist seam, then whip the ends closed by hand. Finally, add a hook and thread-loop closure (not shown here).

Pin-fit to suit yourself Pin an elastic strip snugly around your actual waistline, then try on your basted skirt, pinning it to the elastic. Because bias-cut fabric tends to stretch, it's likely that the waistline will grow slightly after cutting, so distribute the excess toward the side seams, keeping the

match the center of the band with

centers in place as shown in the

the right side of the finished side

photo above. Now you're ready to pinch out and pin the side seams starting at the waist, over your hips, and down

seam, then pin it toward the zipper

Zipper, waist, and hem: minimal

An

opening in each direction, stretch­ ing it to fit the waistline seam and

invisible zipper is a good choice

allowing V2-in. seam allowances at

to the hem for the desired fit, snug

for such a sleek garment. I use the

each end. After stitching, fold the

and figure-hugging or loose and

instructions and presser foot typi­

waistband to the inside of the skirt,

skimming. You'll notice in the pho­

cally included with the zipper, add­

basting it smoothly over the seam­

to just mentioned that vertical folds

ing these refinements: Align the

line to avoid rippling, and tucking

rising from the hem indicate full­

ends of the zipper tape with the

in the ends as shown above. Then

ness. As you pull in the width, the

edge of the waistline seam allow­

stitch in the ditch from the right

tops of these folds move down your

ance, so the zipper stops before the

side to secure it.

figure just ahead of the area you've

waistline binding described below,

pinned smooth. You decide exact­

and, before inserting, fuse a

1/2-

bias skirt hang from the waist

ly where you want to position these

in.-wide strip of lightweight tricot

overnight to allow it to stretch.

Before marking the hem, let your

"break points" where the fit goes

interfacing into the seam allow­

When you're ready to stitch, use

from snug to loose. In the photo at

ances where the zipper will go. The

the rolled hemstitch of your serger

center above, I've positioned them

interfacing, which should extend

or a two-thread overcast stitch for a

at the widest point on the hips, but

over the seamlines about

they can also be left higher up on

reduce rippling.

lis

in., will

fast and beautiful hem finish, or use a rolled-hem foot on a regular

the figure. Keep the excess evenly

Self-fabric bias binding, as seen

machine. I think you get the best­

balanced on both sides as you pin.

on some slim designer skirts and

looking rolled hem when you use

Continue pinning down to the

slacks, makes an easy, attractive

woolly nylon thread in the serger.

hem, then remove the skirt and

waistband finish for a bias skirt.

Finish off the waistband by sewing

mark the new seams. I do this by

For a Sis-in. finished band, cut a 3-

on a hook and crocheting a thread­

rubbing chalk against each pin,

in. bias strip 1 in. shorter than the

loop eye above the zipper, and your

catching both sides, before remov­

finished length of the waistline

bias skirt is complete.

ing it. Naturally, fitting is easiest if

seam. Press the band in half length­

you have a helper, but I've suc­

wise, right sides together, then

cessfully fit myself in a bias skirt

mark the center. With the raw

techniques in her New York City shop

with a mirror and some patience.

edges of band and skirt aligned,

Sew Fast, Sew Easy.

Elissa Meyrich teaches industry sewing

o c t o b e r/n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

45


EX1-YtL cre.d i1-­ ct( yd s

The

er's No pockets in sight, but plenty at hand for purse-free

shopping or traveling by Jo Reimer

f I told you that pockets could simplify your life in a dozen ways, would you be curious? Well, it's true. By adding a variety of pockets to the garments you sew (or buy), you can leave your handbag at home. That means no more purse strap slipping off your tired shoulder, no pocketbook handle digging into your forearm, and nothing for a purse snatcher to covet. With a short or long vest like the one shown at left and on the faCing page, which features a surprising total of 1 5 invisible pockets, you'll feel better organized,

ExfYL Ct1.�11 tU1e1. frcj. veley5 Ch�ch;

safer, and more comfortable when shopping or traveling. I discovered this while leading fashion shopping trips to Hong Kong several years ago. Most of my globe-trotters were married women

�:c Jl"

Cl.Ii '0��"�%0 -5<i.0::� f2::J s� i�"" UIi."-� �E ]

�! Ii��"�I:0


traveling without their husbands,

Surprise! Fifteen

who qUickly realized that they'd

concealed pockets

always relied on their spouses'

are tucked inside this

pockets for carting hotel keys, cash,

unassuming garment

and valuables. As I watched them

(the author's Shopper's Vest, pattern 9500, listed in " Pocket resources" on p. 49), but as few as three or four pockets turn any vest into a shopper's vest. so you can leave your purse at home. As you can see in the photo on the facing page, we maximized the pocket possibilities with bright, contrasting fabrics. Of course, quiet, neutral tones work beautifully, too.

rummage through their heavy handbags, it dawned on me that they needed specialized pockets in their garments, both inside and out. My resulting design is a shop­ per's vest (featured here in its long version, but any loose-fitting vest pattern can easily be adapted), which frees your hands to explore fabric in a shop, hold onto your honey, or snap photos. And since you don't have to carry a purse, there's no way to leave it behind. You'll see how easy it is to create a shopper's vest (or convert a vest you already own into one) and to add pockets to other garments in your closet, from jackets, shirts, and sweaters, to slacks and skirts. And, believe me, having a few extra pockets at hand will indeed sim­ plify your life.

Pockets from dawn to dusk

another pocket, and in the front

The first step in making a pocketed

lining at the chest, waist, or hip.

garment is to analyze when and

Do you want the pockets to be

How

many

pockets?-As a gen­

eral rule, pockets for a shopper's vest or similar pocketed garment

where you transport lots of loot.

prominently featured, or hidden to

should be sewn in convenient

Ask yourself what items you usu­

provide added security? Depend­

places, and be plentiful enough to

ally carry around: money, check­

ing on the garment's style, you can

carry all of your necessities and

book, keys, credit cards, pen,

camouflage pockets within the

wide and deep enough to secure

lipstick, comb, tissues, or maybe

design of a busy printed fabric or

these items. Most vests or j ackets

a to-do list? When working or

totally conceal a pocket opening

should have at least four pockets

attending meetings outside the

inside a fold, pleat, or flange.

in various sizes to accommodate

office, you probably have a note­

Speaking of style, the intended

possessions. Even a fitted suit jack­ et can have a couple of small, hand­

book, pen, and business cards. If

function of the pocket dictates the

you're traveling, you might add a

type that will work best: a patch,

sewn patch pockets in the lining

plane ticket, boarding pass, maps,

welt, zippered, bellows, cargo, but­

to securely carry a license, key,

or passport to the list.

toned (with or without a flap), or

credit card or two, and folded mon­

Next, think about where you can

inseam pocket. Common sense

ey. I also recommend that skirts

place pockets for these items. In

tells you that irreplaceable docu­

and slacks have two pockets deep

addition to the usual locations on

ments, keys, money, and credit

enough for your hand to fit into

the front of a vest or j acket, I've

cards ought to be stored in secure,

up to your watchband and roomy

successfully added pockets, as

closable, perhaps even zippered

enough for your fingers to wriggle

you can see in the photo at left, at

pockets (see the art box on p. 49),

around loosely. (For information

the small of the back, in a front or

while combs, pens, tissues, and

on enlarging side-seam pockets,

back bottom band, under the arm,

other incidentals can be left in

refer to the sidebar at the bottom

in side seams, within or behind

outside patch pockets.

of p. 48.)

o c to b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

47


HIDDEN POCKETS

But here's a word o f advice

lection, in pattern books, or in

(revised and updated edition,

before you start making a shop-

books about pockets (See "Pocket

1995). To sew special hidden pock-

per's garment: Don't include more

resources"). When you find a great

ets in odd places, refer to the tips

pockets than you really need.

welt pocket on a blazer pattern, a

described below in "Pockets for

When it's time to grab what you

side-seam pocket on a skirt' pat­

purchased garments."

need qUickly, you don't want to

tern, or practically any patch pock­

hold up the folks in line behind

et that you like, adopt it for the

Favorite

you while you frantically search

shopper's vest and alter it, if nec­

Choose any fabric that's appro­

through 22 pockets.

essary, to do a particular job.

priate for your pattern. I've had

fabric

selections­

success with wool, interesting

Side-seam pocket in lining In a matching fabric, cut two pocket bags large enough to hold a credit card. Open side seam of lining about 6 in. and sew, RSs together, one bag to each side. Fold both bags inside to the front, press, and stitch around the bags.

Removable, pin-in-a­ waistband pocket Cut two pieces of lining fabric: A (6 by 1 0 in.) and B (6 by 8 in.). Machine-hem one short side of each piece, join the two pieces along the three remaining edges (WSs together), and finish them with serging, zigzagging, or a tiny hem. Using two large safety pins, pin the long flap ofA upside down inside your garment's waistband so it flips over, securely closing the pocket.

Vest and pocket patterns

Get out your tape measure-For

cottons, and rayons (to which I

The ideal shopper's vest or j acket

a shopper's vest or j acket to func­

[use a thin interfacing). My favorite

is loosely shaped and therefore

tion properly, your items must fit

vests, like the one on pp. 46 and

has more room for pockets than

securely into its pockets. So before

47, feature ethnic fabrics such as

does a close-fitting garment. But,

you cut any fabric, make sure the

kimono yardage, handwovens, ikat,

that said, as you study the array

pockets are the right size. Measure

and cotton batiks. Ultrasuede and

of pockets illustrated throughout

each item that will go in a pocket,

Ultrasuede Light also make attrac­

this article, you'll realize that you

then check the pattern to deter­

tive, hard-wearing vests, as does microfiber.

can include extra pockets on vir­

mine whether it allows for a I-in.

tually any garment. From casual

clearance in both width and length,

Above all, have fun when select­

weekend wear to the finest formal

in addition to the seam allowance.

ing the color, but keep in mind

attire, almost any pattern with a

For example, a 4- by 7-in. wallet

that muted, somber tones, even in

little ease or drape works fine. Spe­

should have a 5- by 8-in. finished­

prints, are worn in much of the

cific patterns with pocket poten­

pocket space.

world. So if this is going to be a

tial (in addition to the Shopper's

Can a pocket be too big? Things

Vest pattern, which is listed in

will rattle around in an oversized

"Pocket resources" on the faCing

pocket, but they probably won't

vest for international travel, go for the neutrals.

page) include Burda 3883, McCall's

fall out. If the pocket is very wide,

8 1 1 0 , and Simplicity 9741 and

just sew a vertical row of stitches

Pockets for purchased garments

9 8 1 9 . (The pattern companies'

to divide it into two pockets.

Once you get used to all these extra

designs are unlined, so you'd need

For instructions on applying the

pockets in the clothing you sew,

pockets, consult the pattern sheet

you'll want them in the ready-to­

For help in selecting a pattern

for the pocket you borrowed or a

wear items in your wardrobe, too.

for the pockets, review the pocket

good sewing book like the Read­ er's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing

The techniques for adding pock­

to fabricate your own lining.)

styles in your current pattern col-

ets to ready-to-wear are slightly

Smarter side-seam pockets

For deeper sewn pockets:

To ensure that side-seam pockets in vests, jackets, slacks, or skirts are large enough to hold items securely, lay your hand on the pattern piece as if it were in the pocket, with fingers extended and sl ightly open, as shown at left. Can you " reach" into the pocket up to your watchband, with space left for your fingers to wriggle? If not, splice the pattern and increase its size accord i ngly.

To enlarge ready-to-wear pockets: If the pockets in your ready-to-wear garments are too shal low, cut off the pocket bottom at the widest part. Using the cut section as a pattern, cut four enlarged, longer, wider pocket bottom s in lin ing fabric. Seam the new pocket bottoms i n place, trim the excess, and serge or zigzag-stitch the edges together to close your enlarged pocket bag.

48

TH READS

oJc


different from those for construct­

Pocket resources

ing a garment from scratch, but the results are exactly the same: comfort and convenience. Here's how to add pockets to your ready­

Books:

P O C K ET S E C U R I TY

Sew Any Patch Pocket

by Claire Shaeffer. Menlo Park. CA: Open Chain, 1 992.

Zippered patch pockets

made clothing. It's impossible to match the fash­ ion fabric of a purchased garment, so most added pockets need to be patch pockets sewn to the lining

Sew Any Set-in Pocket

[

by Claire Shaeffer. Radnor. PA: Chilton. 1 994.

RS

or concealed, inseam pockets. First,

Patterns:

determine the pockets you need,

Just Pockets (pattern 3 1 1 ), $12 ppd. DeSign and Sew Patterns c/o Lois Ericson PO Box 5222 Salem. OR 97304

estimate yardage, and select lining

WS

fabric that matches the garment or lining as closely as possible. A slightly darker color is preferable to a lighter color. Add a patch pocket-Patch pock­

ets of all sizes are easily sewn to the lining by hand, or the lining can be opened at the side seam or hem so

Using any patch pocket pattern that fits your garment, cut out pocket without top hem, but add eqUivalent of three extra zipper allowances. Split pocket in. below top edge, as shown at left. Insert zipper between two pieces by pressing under two seam allowances and edgestitching two pocket parts to zipper tape. Press under seam allowances around pocket and Zipper-tape ends, and edgestitch pocket to garment lining.

2

Bottom-band pocket

you can machine-stitch the pocket

&.1$ �

in place. Add a buttonhole to the

,

top of the pocket and a button to the garment body for added secu­ rity. A business-card pocket and a pencil pocket can piggyback on the patch pocket, as shown on p. 46, or be placed directly on the lining.

Shopper's Vest (pattern 9500). $ 1 3 ppd. Saf-T-Pockets 822 N.W. Murray Blvd. Box 1 6 3 Portland, O R 97229

This pocket requires faced band at bottom. Cut facing, hem 's length plus 1 !/.i in. for seam allowances; then cut it into three sections so center section equals zipper's length plus 1 !/.i in. Install zipper as above, complete and attach band, and stitch through all layers at each pocket end (length of zipper equals pocket length).

'-.. --j

"'-'==='" """="-=:.0l� �.7 .

Conceal a p ocket in a lined

roomy (see the sidebar at the bot­

may feel awkward-even Queen

j acket- Inseam pockets can be

tom of the faCing page).

Elizabeth would need to practice

added to the lining side seams of

going purseless-but there's one

most garments (see the illustration

Insert a welt pocket-Welt pock­

main gUideline: Always put the

on the facing page). Carefully open

ets are easy to insert in lined j ack­

same items in the same place. For

the lining side seam 5 % to 6 in.,

ets and coats. First, mark the loca­

example, keep small change in your

starting 1 to 2 in. below the arm­

tion lines for the pocket. To gain

left pants or skirt pocket, folded

scye. Cut two pocket bags and sew

access into the garment, remove

money in the upper-left lining

the top of each bag to the lining

the stitches at the bottom of the

pocket, or lipstick in the lower­

side seam, right sides together.

front lining or along the underarm

right lining pocket. Set up a sys­

Then sew around the pocket bags

seam. Cut the pocket bag and welt,

tem you're comfortable with and

to join them, and close the garment

sew the pocket to the garment,

stick with it.

seam up to the pocket opening.

then close the lining seam (see

You're sure to feel comfortable,

Presto! A hiding place for valuables.

"The Almost-Reversible Welt Pock­

secure, and attractive in your pock­

et" in Threads No. 66, pp. 50-53,

eted garment, whether it's a shop­

Add inseam pockets to unlined

for more-detailed information on

per's vest or a jacket for traveling

p ants-Follow the steps as above

sewing one kind of welt pocket).

for adding a concealed pocket to a

on business. Just think of it as pocket science.

lining, this time working in the side

Now use those pockets!

seams of the garment itself. Be sure

Eliminating your handbag for

Jo Reimer deSigns and sews in Port­

to make the pocket bags sufficiently

the first time in favor of pockets

land, OR.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

49


Sewing­ machine features to choose for the best seWlng ever

ac Ine 1

right, I admit it: I suf­

all these features on any one

fer from sewing-machine

machine, you might use this list as

gluttony. Every time I

a gUide in deciding which machine

read one of those deli­

best meets your current needs. In

cious ads that promises

the end, you may just have to settle

me more stitches, bigger

for a machine that has some irre­

motifs, sideways sewing, perfect

sistible features and live with the

buttonholes, tension-free tension,

imperfections. That, my dear fel­

child's-play controls, and "much,

low sewer, is what we in the busi­

much more," I can't help myself.

ness call "brand loyalty."

Well, don't they get

by John Giordano

you

thinking

Though some hardware features

that maybe you do need another

are available in similar form on

machine? Of course, you can't give

several different machines, I've

up the one you're currently using­

mentioned the ones I consider out­

after all, it makes the best button­

standing, that function best for me.

holes on earth. And that machine

Spend time testing the machines­

Aunt Molly gave you does have the

in light of your sewing habits and

perfect straight stitch. Then there's

experiences, you may come to a

the first sewing machine you ever

different conclusion.

owned, which you just have to

Software features are a little trick­

thread up from time to time . . .it

ier to pin down because they're not

brings a tear to your eye. I know­

as visible. My maj or areas of con­

I own 13 machines.

cern for software include the stitch

Wouldn't sewing life be great if

patterns, the functions that tell the

you could get all the great features

machine how to sew them, and the

on one machine? Well, your dream

memory to let you repeat them.

is about to become a reality-at least on these pages. (Pay atten­ tion, manufacturers: Here's what we want, and we want it all!)

50

TH READS

On the inside: stitch selection and display In the old days, a sewer had only

This dream machine has two

one machine-stitch choice: straight.

qualities indispensable to any

Twenty years ago you could select

excellent modern appliance: a great

from dozens of decorative and util­

body (hardware) and a great brain

ity stitches by pushing or turning

(software). On these two pages I've

a mechanical dial or button, or

listed fabulous hardware features

inserting a cam. Today, modern

that you can find on machines cur­

machines can store hundreds of

rently for sale. Since you can't find

stitches on tiny computer chips.

OnBelowtheareoutside: hardware what I consider the best ofthey avaihardware features currentl l a bl e . Woul d onethat they coul d al l be f o und on machine,machilikenthee atimriagight.n-aryJ.G. dream Handsome body:

It's more fun to sew on a beautiful machine. The Pfaff7570 Is handsome and compact, a pleasing color, nice lines, and well-p controls.

with laced

peed control:peed

S

tasks XL-100.

Many sewing need reduced s for control and accu racy. For total control, Singer places a sliding s control above the nee;lle on the Quantum

peed

Reverse button:

It should be where your fingers ve the needle­ large and easy push, like the button on the computerized 8emlnas.

are-abo to


Lighting: Uneven lighting is a headache. For 15 years, Viking has put two lights on its machines: one on each side of the needle. A bright idea. Sewing table: The sewing surface on most portables is small. E1na gives you a huge sewing surface that's easy to remove for free-arm sewing. Foot-pressure control: The foot pushes the fabric down on the feed "teeth " to move it forward, back, and sideways. Different fabrics need different pressures, but on many machines it isn 't adjustable. Viking # 1 + has an easy-to-read, easy-to­ change control. Feed dogs: These are the teeth that move the fabric for sewing. You want them to pull heavy- or light­ weight fabric evenly. E1na Diva 's "microetched" teeth do a greatjob without harming fabric.

Walking foot: Those feed teeth tend to pull the bottom layer ahead of the upper one. A walking foot feeds the top layer. Many Pfaff models have one built in. No fiddling with gadgets or screws.

Bobbins: They have to be small for technical reasons, but some are so dinky you have to fill them too often! All Berninas but the 1 630 still use metal bobbins that hold twice as much thread as the plastic ones.

Sewing feet: The right foo t helps you place stitches accurately. With one hand you can change the precision­ steel, Bernina clip-on feet-a cut above other snap-on feet.

"Bobbin empty" warning: Let the machine tell you when the bobbin thread is running out. The latest Pfaffs have a red light above the needle­ oops, only a few yards left!

Needle threader: Want to thread the needle but can 't see it? Pfaff machines have a built-in threader that really works.

Hook: It carries the top thread around the bobbin to make stitches, and most problems occur in this area. Viking says its no-oil hook is jam-proof on all models. It is.

Automatic thread cutter: What a great idea: Push a button and cut the upper and lower threads automatically to remove your work. The Brother Pacesetter has it, and it really works.

Foot lifter: Just when the project's placed perfectly under the needle, you have to let go to lower the foot. Many Berninas have a knee bar to lower the foot and raise the feed dogs. It's like having a third hand­ great for quilters and others.

Tension: Some stitches require different thread tensions. But will you remember to change the setting? Viking # 1 + changes the tension automatically when you select the stitch. Tension headache, begone. Pedal: It starts and stops the machine and controls speed, and should be responsive, large, nonslippery, and heavy enough to stay under foot. The ultimate feature: Tap your heel and the needle changes position up or down; press your toes and the machine sews. Better Berninas have it. Bobbin winder: A poorly wound bobbin causes problems. Viking # 1 + 's bobbin winder disengages the needle, fills evenly, and stops when full-and you can fill it directly from the needle thread.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

51


Since the size o f the sewing

nothing on the menu is worth

machine has remained virtually

ordering. No use having a machine

Designer, which lets you develop

unchanged over the years, how do

with a million bunny motifs if it

your own 9-mm stitches.

manufacturers display all these

can't sew a good straight stitch.

stitch choices, and how, ultimately,

The one on the new Viking Husq­

do sewers call up their selections?

varna # 1

Here are the best solutions I've

+ is a beauty. c

s

able with the Pfaff is the Creative

Stitch-choice mechanism-When

you have 500 stitches to choose from, how do you pick one? Obvi­

found for these interface issues.

Variety of stit he -You want

ously, you can't have 500 buttons

But beware: One person's decora­

plenty of utility stitches, like a mul­

on the front of the machine. I like

tive stitch is another person's use­

tiple zigzag, picot, and blind-hem

the Pfaff 7550's solution best: The

less bunny motif, and while I prefer

stitch; stitches for special fabrics,

menu of numbered stitches is pic­

pushing buttons, you may prefer

like a mock overlock and tricot

tured on the flip-up lid on top of

a touch-the-screen display. (All

patching stitch for knits; handsome

the machine, and the 10 most fre­

the more reason to shop around

decorative stitches that look good

quently used utility stitches appear

before buying a machine.) Use the

in combinations; and, of course,

on the display screen when you

following categories as a checklist:

fabulous buttonholes. It's difficult

turn it on. To get each stitch, you

Stitch

qu ty ali

-

to choose a machine with the best

push the button beneath it or "dial"

Here you'll apply

stitches of all, since I have favorite

the stitch on the numbered keys. You can also scroll through menus

Giordano's Italian-restaurant rule

stitches on each one, but the best

to your sewing machine: If they

overall built-in menu comes on

of different stitch categories (cross­

can't serve the pasta al dente, then

the Pfaff 7550 and 7570. Also avail-

stitch, large motifs, edging stitches)

Oldies with goodies

Not al l the desirable sewing-machine features are to be found on brand-new machines. There are some oldies with features that are still

innovative and uniq ue. Here are a few of my favorites (you can pick u p some of these models i n secondhand stores for a few dollars).

because it loops

Decorative stitches

ic series. The pedal featured

around to form a

Long before the current wave

on these machines is a brilliant

complete stitch,

of embroidery machines

concept that I still love: a flat,

like a crochet

came along, Necchi, an

round disk with a black rubber

chain. You get

Italian company, produced a

bubble in the middle that,

three i m m ediate

computerized machine called

when pressed, sends a surge

advantages: You

the Suprema IV (shown at left)

of air up through a thin tube

can sew almost

with a menu of a hundred

to the machine to make it go

forever without

8-mm-wide decorative stitches

fast or slow.

stopping (great for

that can still knock your socks

Chain-stitching

curtains), t h e seam h a s built-in

off. The buttonholes are some

Automatic basting

There's one sure way to never

stretch, and you can pull out

of the finest I've seen, and they

Would you l i ke to have a

run out of bobbin thread:

the chain i n a flash if needed

can be stored i n memory for

sewing machine that makes

Never use a bobbin! Yes, this

(so it's a great basting stitch!).

repetition. In addition, the

an automatic basting stitch u p

i nnovative slanted bobbin

to 1 in. long? The computer-

many regular Singer machines

Portability

produces a beautiful straight

ized Bernina 1 2 3 0 can do it,

from the '50s, '60s, and '70s

The Lotus SP-the best and

stitch. All this was introduced

but so can the purely mechani-

for chain-stitching (look i n the

l ittlest sewing machine i n the

more than ten years ago.

cal Singer Futura 900 that was

accessory box for the three

world-it weighs only 1 5 Ibs.-

conversion parts and i n the

was made i n Switzerland by

Air foot control

years ago. If you're l i ke me,

owner's manual for how to

Elna i n 1 969. It's well made

During the '70s, Elna produced

you'll want to pick one up

use them). You need only a

and has four useful stitches.

a n umber of sewing-machine

for a song and dedicate it

top thread to m ake the chai n ,

If you find o n e , s n a p it up.

models called the Air Electron-

to basting.-J.G.

is possible w h e n you prepare

52

T H R EADS

manufactured more than 20

�a:��0� 0�� .c�!"-8 al>.. ::lE-1? .jge


to find what you want. In every on the screen and changes shape as

I n my futuristic d reams

you modify it.

I n my wackier dreams, I see myself using laser

case, the stitch you choose appears

the 8- by 1 0-in. screen, you see an image of the

beams to join fabric, without a needle or

recommended sewing foot. Displayed vertically

Function selection and display

thread i n sight. (Of course, you can almost do

or horizontally-just the way the stitches are

this now with fabric glue, but that's another

going to come out of the machine-the screen

Sewing-machine computerization

story.) So what are the machines of tomorrow

shows your stitch selection (now those darned

has given us more information and

going to look like? I have no inside i nformation

mirror-image and flip-pattern buttons really

control over the sewing process.

from the man ufacturers, but, if they're listen­

make sense!).

With the touch of a function but­

ing, here's my wish list.

From the machine's lower-right side comes...

ton, you can stop sewing with the

the mouse. It's used for selecting and designing

needle in or out of the fabric; dou­

stitches, but most functions, like speed reduc­

ble the size of a stitch without

tion, reverse, and one pattern, are on buttons

changing its density; cut threads automatically; start and stop with­ out using the pedal (as on the New Home 9000); start at the beginning

1

above the needle. The screen is so fine that when you sew large embroidery designs, what you .

of a design or stop at the end of

see is what you get on your fabric-in color, of course. You ' re able to design

one; set the machine for a double needle; add locking stitches; slow sewing speed; and do all kinds of things with the machine's perma­

menu of bui lt-in and original stitches

nent and temporary memories.

..Ii' • at-

Unlike choosing a unique stitch

(,

design, a function is something you should be able to apply easily to

)

jo/

and designs, but only the ones you click will appear on the

screen's menu when you turn

on your machine.

any stitch. Often, these functions

'. '" .

J

..�

are ones you choose while running the machine, which means they should be well marked and easy to activate while you sew. Remember

My imaginary Etch-a-Sketch ' n Stitch

that if you have to scroll through

combines a great computerized sewing

screens or push too many buttons

machine with a flip-up top that looks like the

to activate a function, you'll have to

famous drawing toy. In the upper-left corner of

I don't think I'm asking too much. Manufacturers are already l i n king their top-of-the-line machines to personal computers. The next step is to combine the best of both in one fabulous appliance. I'm ready for the future-how about you?-}.G.

stop sewing to use them.

ss

-The Viking # 1 +

you return to that stitch, especially

tonholes) Singly or in groups at

puts most of the functions you'll

annoying when switching back and

the push of a button is one of the

need just above the needle area,

forth between two stitches. Com­

most important functions of com­

with a well-marked button for each.

puterized Berninas remember your

puterized machines. I like the way

The function's status is shown on

changes until you turn the machine

the memory in the Pfaff 7550 and

the screen above the buttons. And

off, a feature I consider a must.

Function acce

the machine beeps if you're about

7570 works: There are lots of "mail­ boxes" to store the memories; you

to do something silly, like trying

Permanent

to sew with the presser foot up.

spend your sewing time assembling

a third; they're easy to call up and

embroidery sentences like "I'd

use; and you get to see the contents

rather be sewing," perhaps you'd

of the memory on the screen.

Temporary memory Wh en you

-

memory-If you

can combine two memories into

make changes to a stitch-say you

like to save your work. You can

set the length at 2.5 instead of the

with a permanent (until you erase

When not sewing, John Giordano teach­

default 2.0-you don't want to have

it) memory. This ability to store

es international business at the Uni­

to repeat the change each time

and retrieve stitches (including but-

versity oj St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

53


ith so many beau­

To reduce puckering

you can also get a beautiful hem­

tiful,

well-made,

There are times when the spray

stitched effect on a basic machine

and affordable lin­

starch and stiffeners I mention at

with a double wing needle (with

en shirts available

right aren't enough. You may need

one wing and one universal) and

these days, it hardly

to add a lightweight tear-away sta­

two adj o ining rows of straight

makes sense to sew

bilizer, like Sulky's Tear Easy or

stitching. With either method, you

one from scratch if (like me) you

HTC's Armo Tear Away, at the start­

can further enhance hemstitching

have limited time for sewing.

ing edge or under the entire line of

by withdrawing threads from the

Except that all these shirts look

stitching when doing the follow­

fabric, as described at bottom on p.

pretty much the same-handsome

ing types of sewing:

lines, but plain, plain, plain.

stitching a long length on the

56, whether just a few threads to

make the holes more visible or

open holes. These details aren't dif­

• • ••

stitching on sharp curves, cor­

The two-row manual method­

ficult to sew, and I quickly have an

ners, or multiple layers (as where

You'll use a double wing needle

off-the-rack shirt that's unlike any

cuffs, bands, or collars attach).

to hemstitch on a basic machine,

My solution is to customize a purchased shirt by adding my own machine-sewn hemstitching details, which form an elegant design of

lengthwise grain; using complex hemstitches (with

many steps in the pattern);

more to create a hand-hemstitched look, as I did on the shirt pocket on the facing page.

stitching multiple rows; and

There are other ways besides sta­

so first check that the machine is

bilizing to reduce the puckering

capable of sewing with twin nee­

inherent in using the large needles

dles. You can hemstitch on a single

needed for hemstitching. These

or double layer, such as through

The first task i s t o select a shirt to

include holding the fabric taut as

both the garment fabric and a fac­

embellish with hemstitching, fol­

you sew; loosening the upper ten­

ing or on a Single-fold hem, later

lOwing the gUidelines at far right.

sion; shortening the stitch length;

trimming the excess fabric on the

On a purchased shirt or blouse,

decreasing the stitch width; using

underside next to the stitching.

you can add hemstitching at the

a metal presser foot that holds the

collar, pocket, cuff, placket, hem,

fabric more securely than a light­

with a foot that provides visibility,

folded tucks, neckline, or any com­

weight plastiC foot; and using a

like an open-toe satin-stitch foot or

bination of these areas.

smaller needle.

one with a transparent plastic front.

other, as you see on the facing page and on p. 57.

Where to hemstitch?

In "Hemstitching a garment" on

As

shown below, it's easier to sew

A simple straight stitch, 2- to 2.5mm long, gives excellent results.

work best in each area, since the

Two methods: manual and built-in hemstitching

thickness of the layers affects the

The easiest way to sew a variety of

taut and straight-stitch the desired

stitching. Test the stitch on an area

hemstitches is with a machine that

distance. Then, with the needles

that won't show, like an inside

has these stitches (illustrated on

and presser foot up, turn the fabric

seam allowance or the lower part of

p. 56) built in, as do well over 30

180 degrees and lower the needles

a blouse to be worn tucked in.

new or recent machine models. But

into the fabric so the wing needle

p. 57, I'll discuss which stitches

To hemstitch, first hold the fabric

Hemstitching basics When hemstitching on the sewing machine, the right fabric, thread, and needles help produce great results. Fabrics: Woven linens and cottons with little or no polyester work best.

• •

Thread: Use fine machine-embroidery cotton, like Madeira 80/2, Zwicky 70/2, Mettler 60/2, or DMC 50/2, or a rayon or silk fine decorative thread. It's safest to match the thread to the fabric, but a contrast thread can be beautiful.

Needles: Wing, double wing, or large universal needles help create the openings in the fabric. If you hear clicking, the needle may be hitting something; either narrow the Width, use a smaller needle, or check with your dealer.

Upper tension:

Normal tension usually works well; it may need tightening on heavy fabrics to open the holes, or loosening on light fabrics to prevent puckering. Stabilize: To reduce puckering, spray-starch and press the fabric several times until it's stiff. Or try a spray-on or paint-on stiffener.

-c.L.A.

Whether you have a manual machine or built-in hemstitches, it's easy to customize a purchased shirt with the Parisian hemstitch, sewn on the collar, cuffs, and pock­ et (where threads were withdrawn) of the shirt at left. For hemstitching on a manual machine using double wing needles (right), stitch the sec­ ond pass in the opposite direction from the first, with the wing needle h itting exactly in the first holes. See the finished effect at far right.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

55


Built-in hemstitches Parisian

LI" I"C I

Venetian

falls precisely in the last hole it

Folded tucks look beautiful

made (the other needle wi.ll enter

when accented with Parisian

the un stitched fabric). Lower the

hemstitching. You can sew the

presser foot and stitch the second

hemstitching right over the original

row slowly, making sure the wing

line of straight stitching that

needle continues to hit the holes it

anchors the tuck on a purchased

made on the first row, as shown in

shirt or blouse, as described for

the photo at left on p. 55. Sew with

a double-fold hem on p.

57.

one hand on the fabric behind the needle and one in front, pulling slightly to the back or front to make adjustments when necessary.

resembles the honeycomb stitch. Other stitches that can produce a

Turkish

Four-sided

Rhodes

/,//,/,/, ,//'//'A,/,

V'

Picot

Built-in stitches-To find out if

hemstitched look with a wing nee­

your sewing machine has built-in

dle include the picot (like the

hemstitches, consult your own­

Parisian hemstitch, but no part of

er's manual, which usually groups

the stitch repeats); daisy; and a

these stitches together. Even if the

simple cross-stitch, which resem­

and a width and length of 2.5 to 3

manual doesn't specify hemstitch-

bles the Venetian hemstitch if the

mm for the Turkish.

es, look for and try stitches with

needle goes into rather than across

forward and reverse as well as side­

the center intersection. To sew built-in hemstitches on

tiful hemstitching, the needle must

that stitch in and out of the same

most linens, use a wing or 1 20/ 19

hit precisely in the same holes as it

holes repeatedly. The most com­

universal needle. Try a smaller size

repeats parts of the stitch pattern.

mon built-in hemstitches, shown

( 1 10/ 18, 100/ 16, etc. ) for more­

If not, the holes will be indistinct.

at left, are the Parisian (also called

delicate fabrics. The ideal stitch

If this happens on your test sample,

a pin stitch or point de Paris),

width and length vary from stitch

check your machine manual for

whose stitch pattern resembles a

to stitch, but on most machines the

information on "balancing" or "fine

capital L; Venetian, which traces a

automatic settings are too wide and

adj ustment" to correct the stitch

diamond shape; Turkish, which

long. Try a 2-mm width and 2- to

alignment. On machines without

resembles the double overlock;

2 . 5-mm length for the Parisian

this feature, adding more stabilizer

four-sided, which creates a square

hemstitch, a 3- to 4-mm width and

or adjusting the stitch length slight­

or rectangle; and Rhodes, which

2 . 5-mm length for the Venetian,

ly may correct the problem.

I

Daisy

* * *

D rawn-th read work Try pulling threads from the fabric before or after hemstitching to increase the openwork effect. This produces exq u isite results, but requires on-grain

Cross-stitch

xX XX

hemstitchi ng-no curves or angles-and extra time. By withdrawing a

'1.- 'l'... to

i n .-wide area of threads,

you can hemstitch along each side of the open area,

second side are directly opposite those on the first,

as I did on the shirt pocket on p.

you ' l l create paral lel bars of threads, as I did; offset­

54.

You can attrac­

tively group the threads left in the open area either

ting the stitches on the second side creates zigzag

with m achine stitching or by hand. Parisian hem­

bars of thread.

stitching works well for grouping threads if you sew

56

Balancing the stitch-For beau­

ways stitching in their patterns and

TH READS

Another way to combine drawn threads with

the forward and reverse stitches at the edge of the

hemstitching is to hemstitch two rows on grain ,

open area and the stitch to the side in the fabric, as

spaced a s desired, a n d withdraw t h e parallel threads

shown i n the detail photo at right. Experi ment with

between them. Then group the remain i ng threads by

the second row of stitchi ng: If the stitches on the

hand with a needle and thread.-C. L.A.


Hemstitching a garment When embellishing a purchased shirt, you'll sew over existing hems and fabric layers. Deciding which hemstitch to use in a given area generally depends on the location and layers of fabric involved. On a single-fold hem-You can

use almost any hemstitch to sew on a single or double layer of fab­

cuff. If there are seam allowances

ric. For a double layer of fabric or

lurking inside, the extra thickness

single-fold hem, hemstitch from

may cause your last stitches to mis­

the right side so the stitching is at

align. Stopping a scant

least

the edge usually does the trick.

� in. from the raw edge of the

� in. from

layer underneath, then trim the bottom layer near the stitching.

Facings and plackets-One prac­

tical and decorative use for hem­ On a double-fold hem or folded

stitching is to embellish a garment

e d ge- For uneven layers, like a

and finish its facings at the same

folded edge or a double-fold hem,

time, for example, around a jewel­

the Parisian hemstitch usually gives

neck opening or on a placket. For

the best results. The forward and

an unfinished facing, stitch from

reverse stitches fall on the single

the right side through both layers,

layer of fabric next to the fold, and

as described for a single-fold hem

the stitch to the side goes just onto

above, then trim the facing.

the fold.

An

adjustable blind-hem

If the outer edge of the facing

foot will help with guiding, or you

has been turned under, or a sepa­

can use a basic zigzag foot, gUiding

rate band sewn on around the

the fold just to the left of center on

neck, use the Parisian hemstitch

most machines. Either hemming

or picot stitch next to the facing or

method works well to hide a crease

band, as described above. Since

line if you're letting a hem down.

the Parisian hemstitch often looks

been, I wouldn't have wanted to

adds an elegant,

the same from either side, you can

pull any threads). It was very close,

Topstitching-If you stabilize thor­

usually stitch from the right or

so I ripped out the top pocket hem,

oughly, you can use most of the

wrong side, whichever is easier.

tailored finish to the collar. cuffs. and pocket flaps of a classic linen shirt. Sew the details with a wing needle to enlarge the holes and a paint-on stabilizer to prevent puckering.

stitches for decorative topstitch­

The Turkish hemstitch

withdrew about

'% in. of threads,

then refolded and pressed the hem.

ing, the way I sewed the Turkish

Tips for pockets-If you want to

After sewing the Parisian hemstitch

hemstitch on the collar, cuffs, and

hemstitch across the top of a pock­

at the top and bottom, as described

pocket flaps of the shirt at right.

et flap, as I did for the shirt above,

at bottom on p. 56, I restitched the

Because these areas contained mul­

you can usually sew right over the

hem with another row of Parisian

tiple layers of fabric, I applied a

original line of stitching. But for

hemstitches and sewed the sides

paint-on stabilizer, used a wing nee­

the shirt pocket on p.

of the pockets to the shirt.

dle to create larger holes, and hem­

to remove p art of the pocket to

Of course, you can also hemstitch

stitched a bit further

stitch on it. To avoid having to wor­

on many other purchased items.

from the edge i n order to clear the

ry about the pocket placement, I

Try it on dresses, skirts, and pants,

seam allowances.

just ripped out the top 2'h in. of

or even on table or bed linens, to

stitching, enough to work on the

add an elegant, classic touch.

(� to '% in. )

Here's another tip for clean hem­ stitching on the edges of a shirt.

54,

I needed

pocket top.

Don't try to bring the stitching all

Before withdrawing the threads,

the way to the finished edge, for

I checked the pocket to make sure

newly published book Fine Machine

example, at the edge of a collar or

it was cut on grain (if it hadn't

Sewing (The Taunton Press).

Carol Laflin Ahles is the author of the

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

57


othing quite compares

both limitations, as I'll describe.

pants. Try to choose a pattern with

Leather lingo

with the unique textures,

You'll also see that while fusible

simply shaped pieces that can be

rich colors, subtle shad­

inter facings can work well with

easily and attractively divided.

Grain: Markings on the

ings, durability, and even

leather, traditional tailoring tech­

ChoOSing jacket styles that fea­

the smell of real leather.

niques such as pad stitching and

ture extended or dropped shoul­

Still, few sewers are will­

steam shaping aren't possible. But

ders, or kimono or raglan sleeves is

ing to take the plunge into garment

you'll find that leather garments

the easiest way to avoid easing

making with the real thing, per­

will shape themselves to your body

sleeves. Leather will ease slightly,

haps put off by the cost, the strange

as you wear them. That's one of

so if you want set-in sleeves, you

terminology, or the suspicion that

the virtues of the real thing.

can o ften get good results by

there are arcane skills involved. Since leather doesn't come by the

Apart from these restrictions,

reducing the amount of ease in

don't assume that you must look

the sleeve cap. A one-piece jacket

yard, it's true that there are new

for simple, shapeless garments with

sleeve can be seamed down the

terms to learn (see "Leather lingo"

few seams or details. Smaller pieces

center or converted to a two-piece

surface of leather; not to be confused with woven grain in fabric. Hide: Generally comes from cows, but also comes from horses or buffaloes. Nubuck: A buffed­ finished top grain that appears smoother than suede. Pelt: Hide or skin with the hair intact.

at right). But with patience, a few

are easier to lay out, and make bet­

sleeve to make the pieces smaller.

samples, and a well-chosen pat­

ter use of the skin than large, sim­

Add seams to jackets by creating a

Pigskin: Derived from

tern, you can make a leather gar­

ple patterns. Details such as cuffs,

yoke or a center-back seam, or look

ment like my j acket on the facing

pocket welts, flaps, tabs, and epau­

for patterns with side panels and princess seamlines.

the skin of a pig; identifiable by small pores left by the bristles.

page for a fraction of the cost of a

lets add interest and give your gar­

designer original or ready-to-wear,

ment a professional look, while

After designing your garment,

using almost the same techniques

making good use of the skin's less

add seam allowances to all new

you would to make the garment in

durable, stretchier sections.

seamlines. Make a muslin in a

fabric. When the techniques do

Any type of

corresponding

differ, you'll probably be surprised

pocket is fine

fabric weight to

to learn that handling leather is

for leather and

often easier than fussing with rav­

can often be

elly, grain-dependent fabric. See p .

used to hide a

62 for a list of mail-order suppliers

small mark on

of garment leathers, most of which

a larger section

also have the specialized leather

of the skin. As

notions I'll refer to below.

you can see in the detail pho­

Avoid long pattern pieces and seams that need easing

I top stitch al­

Jackets, pants, skirts, and vests are

most all seams

tos on p . 60,

Small pattern

pIeCeS are eaSIer

.

.

to lay out, and

make better use of the skin than large

test the fit and make sure the new seamlines will flatter your

Shearling: Sheepskin pelt with the hair intact. Skin: Leather from

lambs, goats, or pigs. Split: Newly created

(and usually weaker), suede-finish layer derived from splitting a thick hide.

figure. Prepare

Suede: Leather with a

the pattern by

soft, velvetlike nap finish that's been buffed on the underside.

transferring all pattern pieces to heavy craft paper, includ­

Top grain (also called full grain): The outer layer of

well, and long pattern pieces such

on both sides of the seam to

means each piece of left and right

leather from which the hair has been removed; it's the strongest and best-quality layer. Also means that there's been no manipulation of the surface markings or appearance.

as legs and skirt panels may be

secure the seam and highlight

pairs, and both sides of pieces

-Diana Carswell

hard to cut out in one piece from

the details.

intended to be cut on the fold-

suitable, easy garments to make

and edges on

from leather. The chief limitations

my leather gar­

that leather places on pattern selec­

ments, stitch­

tion are that leather doesn't ease

ing

short skins. You can work around If you can make it in fabric,

lh6

pattern pieces

in. away

Leather tends to stretch, so it's

ing all notches, markings, and grainlines. Cut a pattern for each piece-this

which makes it easier to carefully

best to avoid tight-fitting garments.

plan the layout on skins that have

Loose-fitting pants and skirts with

both good and less-useful sections.

you can make it in leather, too.

soft pleats or elastic waistbands

Plunder a few pieces of Persian lamb from a worn-out coat, as the author did to trim her green cowhide jacket, and you'" discover that even fur sews remarkably like fabric-see p. 62 for details.

work well. To adapt any pattern pieces that are too long to fit on

Think square feet, not yards

an individual skin, break them up

The two most popular leathers for

by adding seams. The drawings at

garments are lambskin and cow­

right on p. 61 show a few common

hide, and either would be a good

ways to add seams to skirts and

choice for your first effort. Lamb-

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

59


skin is very soft and drapes well

L E AT H E R D E TA I L S

but is slightly more expensive

Basic, dartless cowhide skirt-The hem and vent finishes at right are

than cowhide, and comes in much

simply pressed-over and glued-down raw edges, topstitched at the vent and unstitched at the hem. For an elastic waist/full lining in one (below), attach the lining to the completed skirt's fold-over waistband facing and topstitch (leaving an opening near a side seam) to create the channel for the elastic. M ark the centered channel topstitching line, insert the elastic, join the ends, stretch the band, and topstitch. Finish by completing the channel topstitching.

smaller pieces, averaging 6 to 7 sq. ft. Cowhides don't stretch as much as lambskin and are a bit more durable, and thus more suitable for pants, skirts, and menswear. Cowhide skins are usually sides (half-skins divided along the center back) rather than full skins, and range from 20 to 37 sq.

ft.

for a

side. Both kinds of skins are avail­ able in a beautiful array of colors. Consider a darker color for a first project-it will hide imperfections in stitching better than light shades. If possible, take your pattern with you when shopping for skins so you can do a quick, on-the-spot lay­ out to determine the number of skins and square footage you need. Examine the skins closely for holes, scratches, tears, and thin spots, as well as for uniform color and tex­ ture. Skins don't have a definite grainline; the grain falls more or less down the center of the skin from head to tail, but it's not criti­ cal to align pieces parallel to one another. Place areas that will wear or be stressed-center fronts and backs, knees, shoulders, and outer sleeves-in the middle of the skin,

jac ket-Details come from the skin's stretchier, more textured parts. The button coverings, epaulets, collar, side panels, raglan sleeves, and assorted bands above were cut from the skin's rougher edge sections and scraps. The front and back seams at right were flattened to one side, then topstitched to secure them. 60

TH READS

Hip-length lambskin coat­

and use the stretchier edges for

The front pocket above is a turned patch lined with a dark-gray cotton/poly pocketing. To conceal the pocketing that peeks out at the edges, the author colored its edges green with a permanent marker before glue-basting and topstitching the patches to the jacket.

smaller pieces and protected areas such as sides and underarms. Try to cut large pieces to be seamed together-such as two backs or a sleeve front and back-from the same skin if it's large enough. If you have to mail-order your skins, multiply the 45-in. fabric yardage from the pattern envelope by 1 1.25 and add 1 5 percent for waste to calculate your square­ footage requirements. For exam­ ple, if your jacket calls for 3% yd. of 45-in. fabric, convert

}I!4 to 3.25,

multiply by 1 1.25 (36.56), then add 1 5 percent of that figure (5 .48) to come up with 42.05 sq. ft. The


skins you're considering probably

Interfacing-Leather stretches and

it. If you're getting a lot of skipped

won't add up to the exact footage

needs to be interfaced in the same

stitches, use a larger needle.

needed, so always round your fig­

areas you would interface fabric.

I use a good-quality polyester

ure a little higher. Store your skins

Use fusible-weft insertion to rein­

thread for all stitching, including

rolled on a tube to prevent creasing.

force facings, collars, waistbands,

topstitching, and set my stitch

cuffs, pockets, and buttonholes,

length to 8 or 10 sts/in. It's very

Techniques for leather

and leave the seam allowance on

important to use a Teflon-covered

Generally, there's not much differ­

the interfacing pieces so you catch

or roller foot (available from your

ence between sewing leather and

them in the seam. When pressing

machine dealer, or by mail from

sewing fabric; you do most things

leather, use medium heat, a press

Clotilde, 800-772-2891) to help the

the same way. But there are a few

cloth or brown paper, and no

leather feed evenly.

points that require revised tech­

steam, which can shrink skins. Try

You can use quilter'S pins (they're

niques. The photos on the facing

fusing interfacing on scraps first;

heavier than regular pins) in the

page show how I've applied these

don't apply as much pressure or

seam allowances to hold layers

techniques to a variety of details

fuse as long as for fabric, so as not

together; otherwise use paper clips

in the leather garments I've made.

to damage the skins.

or small bulldog clips. I also hold

Cutting and marking-Don't use

Stitch guidelines-Before starting

front of and behind the presser foot

pins; they'll leave holes in the

your garment, sew several samples

as they feed. Don't backstitch; it

leather. Instead, tape all pattern

from scraps in various thicknesses

weakens the leather. Instead, tie

pieces in place on the skins with

to test your machine and perfect

knots and pull both the knot and

%-in. masking tape. I use a rotary

your topstitching. Keep in mind

the ends through to the inside and

cutter and a mat to cut out pieces a

that you can't rip and restitch on

secure in the seam allowance. A

Single layer at a time, but sharp

leather, because the needle holes

thimble and sharp needle will

scissors will do. Make notches with

will still be there. Start out with a

come in handy, and light pliers

small clips. Transfer markings with

size 90 universal needle. I prefer

help to pull the needle through.

wax chalk (test it to be sure it rubs

this to a leather needle, which cuts

Trim seam allowances to

off) or a flat tracing wheel.

the skin and leaves a bigger hole in

grade thick areas by angling your

Options for added seams Pants are usually seamed at the knee with a straight, V, or angled seam. Angled seams look best higher on the side seam and pointing down toward the inseam. A seam at the knee will help prevent baggy knees. Full skirts can be seamed with Vs in the lower portion of the gores or panels. Long. straight skirts can be seamed horizontally.

the layers firmly together both in

1/4 in., and

scissors as you trim. Cut notches out of corners to reduce bulk.

EASY B O U N D B U TTO N H O L E S 1.

1. Mark buttonhole opening accurately on garment's RS.

2. 2.

3.

Cut window down center and clip into corners.

.jgc

anyway. Afterwards, I go back and finish the stitching by hand, work­ ing backstitches into the holes my machine has already made. The

3. Glue flaps to WS, ensuring that rectangular opening is right size and corners are square.

feed dogs may occasionally mark

4.

slightly in thick areas. To hide any

4. Make welts from 1-in.-wide leather strips glued WSs together. Cut welts to needed length, with extra in. on each end of 5. opening.

5.

You're bound to skip stitches in thick areas, but I continue to sew

Glue welts in place on WS of window, then trim and round corners. Position facing and secure with glue at edge of welts.

6. From RS, topstitch through all layers close to folded edges of window. Knot and secure ends of thread between layers, then trim facing close to stitching.

the underside of the topstitching marks or scratches, rub in a bit of matching shoe polish Securing seams and hems­

Because leather doesn't ravel, you never need to finish a raw edge or fold it more than once to the wrong side. Instead of pressing seams and

6.

darts (which can be slashed open nearly to the tip), flatten them after opening by tapping them with a rubber mallet or a clapper. I posi­

,--,-,I

tion the area I'm flattening over a

o c to b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

61


at bottom left on p. 61 shows the

Fur is just another "fabric." The author cut Persian lamb facings and a collar from an old coat. She folded under and glued the inner edges of the facing's L-shaped leather trim (right), clipped short the wool in the area to be trimmed, spread glue thinly over it, and finger-pressed and edgestitched the trim in place. She joined the facing to the jacket front, rolling the seam to get the facing out of sight, then topstitched through all layers. The pelt edges were reinforced with twill tape (below) to reduce stretching before attaching the Thinsulate-underlined lining.

entire process. Attach buttons with topstitching thread and leave a shank for clearance. Always use small buttons on the underside as a reinforcement to prevent the leather from tearing.

Leather care Leather garments are easy to main­ tain. Surface dirt can be removed with a damp cloth or a leather cleaner, tested first on a scrap. Avoid having leather dry-cleaned,

I

as the results are unpredictable. Shoe polish can be used to make scratches less noticeable. Grease stains are absorbed into the skin over time and will tend to fade. If the garment gets wet, wipe it off with a towel and hang it to dry away from direct heat. Tears can

Leather shopping Berman Leathercraft

25 Melcher St. Boston. MA 0221 0 617-426-0870 Catalog. $3 refundable; swatches available; $ 1 5 minimum order. The Hide and Leather House

595 Monroe St. Napa, CA 94559 800-45 3-2847 Free catalog; garment leather swatch set. $ 1 0. Perfect Leathers

1 92 Spadina Ave. Toronto, ON M 5T 2C2 Canada 41 6-703-421 5 Lots of garment leathers; swatches available. Tandy Leather Co.

PO Box 791 Dept. T1096 Fort Worth, TX 761 01 817-551 -9600 Leather supplies. some garment leathers. Call or fax (817-551 -5763) for catalog ($3 refundable) and nearest store. or check Yellow Pages.

smooth wooden surface covered

lining that will last. For jackets,

be repaired with interfacing and a

with a smooth fabric.

it's a good idea to reinforce the

little glue on the back of the skin.

Secure seams and hems by brush­

lining with a triangular insert in

Add hanger loops to skirts and

ing ordinary rubber cement on

the underarm area, one of the first

pants to hang them for storage.

their undersides. Be sparing, as too

places lining wears. For skirts

Use padded coat hangers for jack­

much cement will soak through

and pants, be sure to leave the lin­

ets, but add a loop at the back neck

and stain the leather. Cover the

ing loose enough

seam allowance and the area it will

to compensate for

cover when flattened, let the glue

any stretching o f

dry for a few minutes, then finger­

the leather. Waist-

press the glued areas together;

bands can be faced

they'll stick on contact, so posi­

with a layer of lin-

tion them carefully. When rolling

ing to reduce bulk.

turned seams (such as on collars)

Linings for outer­

between your fingers to position

wear j ackets can

the underlayer out of sight, do so

be interlined with

THREADS

Handling leather

ers aren't available. Don't fold leather

is often easier

garments for stor­

grain-dependent

your garments can

age, as creases may

than fussing with

become permanent

fabric

rather than plastic

over time. And, so breathe, use cloth bags to cover them.

before the glue inside dries, so you

a layer of lamb's

can still manipulate the edge. If the

wool or quilted

glued areas dry in the wrong posi­

with fleece (Thin-

tion, pull the layers apart and start

sulate works well) to give an extra

ing a leather garment will reward

over. After seams and hems are

layer of warmth.

you with many years of service

The time and cost you invest in creat­

and satisfaction. Prepare to aston­

glued, they may need to be flat­ tened a bit more with the mallet.

Buttonholes

b uttons­

ish people when you reply to their

When topstitching glued seams,

Bound buttonholes in leather are

compliments, "Thank you, I made

you'll occasionally have to remove

possibly the easiest you'll ever

it myself!"

bUilt-up glue from your needle.

make. Try a sample first to test for

Interlinings and linings-Leather

garments won't wear out, but their linings will, so use a good-quality

62

for use when hang­

and

size. Measure accurately and mark

Kathryn Brenne is a custom clothier

a rectangle for each buttonhole

and teacher living in North Bay, ON.

on the garment front. A width of

3/s in. usually works. The drawing

Diana Carswell writes about fashion and sewingfrom McLean, VA.


by David Page Coffin book recently came my way that really started me dreaming up new sewing projects. Called

100

of

Years Western . Wear (see "Resources" on p. 67), it overflowed with the most astounding and delightful clothes I've seen in one place in years. Eye­ popping outfits, almost all custom made, spilled from page after page. Most were worn by the heroes and heroines of country music and those sagebrush shoot-'em-ups that, in the early years of TV and the movies, required a Singing Cowboy (or -girl), like the King and Queen at right. All the trappings of this uniquely American style are there, but it was the shirts that especially caught my eye. I resolved to make one at once. I must confess that I balked a bit at the unrestrained flash of the real thing. I also wasn't too keen on the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans look great in their cowboy shirts, but what would they wear to the office? Western details can be

easily adapted to a wide variety of more versatile garments. like this kimono-fabric overshirt (see p. for a full view of the shirt).

4


traditional glove-tight fit. As I

one garment piece (this establish­

planned my variation-on-a-western­

es the shape of the detail you're

theme shirt, I tried to imagine what

piping), then you attach the sec­

a kimono maker or designer Claude

ond piece, stitching just inside the

Montana might do with western

first seamline so that the piping,

details. As I warmed to the idea, I

when it's turned out, is the same

decided to ask some designers I

width all along.

know to play with it. You can see a collection of their ideas on p. 67,

Use templates and glue stick

and what I came up with on p. 63.

for accuracy-In

Here's how I explained my idea

order to posi­

tion the piping exactly (and repeat­

A ski-shaped zipper

to the designers: It's not the often

ably) for the first stitching along

foot is arguably the

delightful embroidery or applique

any kind of curved piece, I make a

best tool for stitching

that appeals to me on a cowboy

poster-board template which I cut

piping (above). It also

shirt. I 'm excited by the

to match the seamline. After trim­

sets the spacing for perfect piped pocket welts. G lue stick and a template (top right) add precision to piping placement. Cut poster board to the shape you want to pipe, dab the glue stick sparingly along its edge, then finger-press the piping along the same edge. Glue-stick the second layer as well, then press close to the cord to hold and make stitching close easier.

sewn

details, in p articular, the shaped

ming the entire piping seam allow­

yokes, the curvy pockets (with or

ance to

without the arrowhead ends), what

ble, I finger-press the corded edge

1, in. to make it more flexi­

I call the cowboy cuff (which you

against the template, holding the

see on Dale and Roy), and button­

piping in place with small dabs of

on bibs. And, of course, the pip­

glue stick on the garment seam

ing everywhere. But my consultants

allowance, so there are no pins to

didn't have to borrow the whole

pull out. I run the glue stick along

style; they could use whatever they

the template, as shown in the top

liked. While you're mulling this

right photo at left, then press the

over, let's look at the construction

seam allowances to dry the glue

issues involved with each detail.

(the glue washes away easily with water afterward).

Piping pointers

When positioning the second

Piping is stitched into seams in

layer over the attached piping, a

two steps. First, you stitch the pip­

little glue stick placed in the seam

ing exactly along the seamline on

allowances keeps this layer secure

" S M I L E " POC K ET This classic western pocket is made essentially the same way as a normal double-welt pocket (see

44-47

1. Prepare two piping strips at least 2 in. longer than pocket opening Opening using !-(-in. rattail filler. Mark opening and ends on garment's · · Mark !-( in. away. RS, then mark positioning line in. below opening. 2. Interface WS of opening with organza or lightweight fusible (fuse lightly, then pull away fusible after stitching piping) with grain parallel to opening. 3. Position corded edge of piping against mark (use template and glue stick), then stitch from end to end, shortening stitch length at ends to reinforce. 4. Trim piping seam allowance to !-( in. 5. Shift foot to opposite side, trim second piping strip seam allowances to !-( in., then stitch as in step 3, using width of foot to gUide position, ifyou want parallel piping. 6. Remove rattail from ends of piping, to about in. from pocket ends.

A

!,{

"'

� ��.'-- -+-

-

!1,

64

Threads

No.

62,

pp.

for more on welt pockets and drawing curves). The following directions show how to substitute piping for the welts.

THREADS

7.

Position outer pocket piece over piping on RS, then stitch from WS, with zipper foot between piping strips for gUidance as before, using short stitches. 8. Slash garment and pocketing separately, without cutting piping, then pull piping covers toward slashes between stitching lines at pocket ends. Turn pocket to WS, square ends, press, then stitch across triangular ends from inside to secure piping. 9. To secure pocket lips, stitch in ditch of piping seams or parallel to lips for decorative stitching. Stitch lower edge before attaching second pocket piece, upper edge after, through all layers.


C O W B OY C U F F

Attaching the cuff

Making the pattern Copy

2

I:'\

1. Extend sleeve pattern to include desired cuff, and trim, pleat, or gather end width to match cuff length (or do during step 4). A ttach partial placket to sleeve; then slash and turn. A ttach sleeve to shirt and close underarm seam.

2. � �

U nderlap

Cut

Overlap

1. Make two copies ofnormal shirt-placket pattern. With copy 1, cut both under- and overlap sections along their center foldlines, remove overlap extension, then add 'A-in. seam allowances. This is "partial placket. " 3. With copy cut pattern apart along slash line, then tape each half to separate sheet of paper.

2.

3. A ttach piping to RS of cuff.

2,

Cut

I.

L.

I

I

Cut

Overlap

-, ,I

Underlap

L--__--'---..J J

ws

4. Draw new over- and underlap shapes, then cut out, cutting along same foldlines as on copy 1.

i,

4. With sleeve RS out, attach cuff to partial placket and sleeve hem, RSs together, starting with overlaps. Stitch across sleeve hem and up underlap. True

5. ·j8c

- .: ._

__ L-�-

Join under- and overlap pieces at slight angle, so that edge-to-edge length equals desired cuff length plus 1-in. overlap. Test by shaping over your wrist, then true, trace, and add 'A-in. seam allowances all around. This is "cuff. "

5.

' ·0

Turn cuff RS out and arrange underlap to cover opening, then overlap to cover underlap. 6. Stitch in ditch of piping to attach cuff to sleeve, reinforcing at opening. Stitch from armhole end at top of overlap if you can 't reach it from cuff end. Attach snaps or buttons.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

65


TRADITIONAL COWBOY DETAILS A N D VARIATIONS Bibs

.· .. .. . .. O·

M · . .' . {2J � . ,'. �

Yokes

end with large, matching, embroi­

without using pins as well, as

the cord more sharply against the

shown in the photo at top right

toe each time. I tried a bit of both,

dered or appliqued triangles, so

keeping my eye on the seamline as

that they look like double-headed

I stitched.

arrows. In addition to immediately

on p. 64. Choose a basic zipper foot­

• Never stitch across or onto the

invoking cowboy fashions, the little

cord. Always pull back the bind­

arrowheads add a powerful focus

neth King and Linda Wakefield

ing and cut away the cord inside to

and directionality to any design

(her piping technique is described

thin the piping where it crosses or

lines, especially piping. Kenneth

in detail in Threads No. 56, pp. 40-

ends in a seam or at the ends of a

King supplied the virtually fool­

43), I confirmed that the foot of

pocket, pinning the cord to the

proof pocket-piping technique I've

choice for applying piping is a stan­

binding nearby so it doesn't slip

adapted in the directions on p. 64,

dard adjustable zipper foot, like

out completely

which he uses without arrows for a

Checking with piping experts Ken­

the one at far left on p. 64. This

• Convert sharp points (like those

completely unwestern effect. You

on collars) to tiny, stitchable curves

can arrange the pocket lips per­

and maneuverability as you nego­

to reduce the need to ease the pip­

fectly parallel or spread them slight­

tiate curves and corners, and the

ing at an abrupt change in direc­

ly into a smile (use different curves

most control as you position the

tion as you stitch it down. To ease

top and bottom), revealing the fac­

all-important final seam as close

at corners, stitch the piping to

ing inside. Even if parallel, the lips

as possible to the filler cord. Center

the point, pivot, then push a little

tend to gap, so consider a contrast

the foot over one of the longer feed

excess piping into the corner with

pocketing or facing as welL

foot provides the most visibility

dogs for maximum grip on your fabric layers. I also found the zip­ per foot ideal for edgestitching, espeCially around curves. In addi­ tion to the increased visibility, con­ tacting the fabric with only a single

The foot of choice for applying piping is a standard adjustable zipper foot

feed dog makes it easier to steer along a curved edge.

an awl or blunt scissors tip as you

reshape the back edge of an ordi­ nary shirt yoke, redraw the edge

Smooth fillers work best-King

around just the corners (inside the

fills his piping with 'Ai-in. rattail

first stitching) to improve the shape

on the pattern and make a com­

cord (see photos at bottom left on

if the first seamline wobbles.

plete shoulder-to-shoulder template for the new shape, but cut the

pp. 37 and 40), available at most craft stores and larger fabric stores,

The cowperson's details

shape on the outer yoke layer only

which is ideal for the narrow, cow­

You can, of course, reshape all the

The inner layer, which you seam

boylike piped pockets described

details shown and described here

to the back first, remains straight.

below. It's slippery enough to pull

without changing the basic direc­

Applique the shaped edge to the

out easily (see below) and firm

tions. See the design sketches at

shirtback over the inner-yoke/back

enough to sew close to without

left and right as well as the books

seam after you've pressed its curves

catching in the stitches.

and catalogs listed in "Resources"

around the template to form them.

for both authentic and unortho­

Shaped front yokes aren't really

dox shaping ideas. To ensure sym­

yokes, they're appliques that are

metry, I always use a dressmaker's

applied flat to the fronts and then

bias binding around your piping

or draftsman's curved ruler to de­

caught in any seams they extend to.

cord in order to avoid a stiffening

sign, mark, and make patterns and

Piping (use the yoke template to

Piping tips-

• Use 5 or 6 sts/in. to stitch the • Each successive seam needs to

templates for any curved details,

position it) actually simplifies the

whether piped or not.

edge-shaping process, giving you

with the last one hard against it.

"Arrowhead" pockets-Curving

King shifts his needle position

or not, pockets on classic western

seam slightly open and machine­

slightly each time so the seams shift

shirts are narrowly piped in con­

stitch in the ditch if you want to

closer, while Wakefield just angles

trasting colors and finished at each

conceal the applique stitching.

thread buildup.

a clear edge to fold under before

be slightly closer to the filler cord,

66

TH READS

Shaped yokes and bibs-To

stitch up the other side. Restitch

appliqueing. Pull the yoke/piping


A button- or snap-on bib is an appealing alternative to front yokes.

DES I G N E RS LO O K W E S T

H's just a faced shape (see top three drawings on p . 66) with piped edges (if you like) that partially

Here are some ideas for adapting cowboy-shirt details to original garments-mix and mingle to taste. Other useful approaches for generating new garment ideas include mentally combining existing styles with unlikely fabrics-for instance, a classic cowboy shirt in cashmere knit or wool sUiting-and moving details from one part of the garment to another-for instance, using the cowboy cuff as a collar, or the smile pocket as a sleeve finish.

covers the shirtfront, usually con­ cealing a short, simple tunic open­ ing and extending upward slightly beneath the collar points. The cowboy cuff-All the best

western shirts have an interesting combined-cuff-and-shaped-placket that I've never found a pattern for,

Resources Books and catalogs for design inspiration:

1 00 Years of Western Wear by Tyler Beard.

Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publishers, 1 993 (801 -543-0295). Cattle Kate PO Box 572 Wilson, 8 3014 800-3 32-5283 New western wear; catalog, $3 refundable.

WY

Billy Martin's

or seen applied to any other gar­

East Coast:

ment. The method I came up with

8 1 0 Madison Ave. New York, NY 1 0021 212-861-3100

is a modification of the way I insert a conventional sleeve placket, and it works well, but there are certain to be more authentic, and no doubt better, methods. One obvious vari­ ation is to divide the cuff in two so that it can be attached entirely while the sleeve is flat, creating a

West Coast:

8 605 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90069 3 1 0-289-5000 Top-quality western wear; beautiful book­ style catalog, $20 refundable.

seam across the cuff at the under­

Sewing supplies:

arm; many fine vintage shirts are

Birch Street Clothing PO Box 6901 San Mateo, CA 94403 800-73 6-0854 Variety of snaps, setting kits, application gUides.

made this way. The cuff portion is actually a facing, because the inner layer is just the sleeve, extended to the lower seam of the finished "cuff." The cowboy cuff tradition­ ally fits snugly around the forearm, and the sleeve it's attached to is quite narrow. But you can pleat or gather a wider sleeve to fit beneath the "cuff' portion and, of course, shape the "cuff' to fit less snugly if you prefer.

Happy trails There's a world of interesting sew­ ing skills and techniques, as well as endless embellishment inspiration,

The Sewing Emporium 1 079 Third Ave., Suite B Chula Vista, CA 91910 619-420-3490 Presser feet for all machines; their narrow zipper feet work with the pocket described here. The Snap Source PO Box 997 3 3 Troy, M1 48099-973 3 800-72 5-4600 Snaps and a clever snap-attaching device.

waiting to be explored in the west­ ern clothing tradition. I hope you'll share with us any discoveries you make or leads you may have. Head

'em up. . . .

(

)

Designs clockwise from top by Connie Long, Marcy Tilton, Diane Ericson, David Page Coffin, and Connie Long.

David Page CoJJin is an associate editor oj Threads. Thanks to Dusty Rogers Jor the great photo oj Roy and Dale.

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

67


eads are to velvet what cream is to strawberries, a natural complement that makes what's good seem even better-in fact, irre­ sistible! So when I recent­ ly purchased some cut velvet for a scarf, it was the vision of beading a lush and weighty fringe that com­ pelled me. How could I resist? As you can see, the visual results are stunning, but you'll discover the best treat of all when you wrap the completed scarf or shawl over your

Create a delicious velvet scarf or shawl with an easy, beaded fringe by Jane Conlon

shoulder and discover its perfect weight, drape, and dazzle. To help you get started, I've out­ lined the steps for making a simple rectangular scarf, tips and tech­ niques for sewing with velvet, and instructions for beading a netted fringe. Contrary to what you may

You'll be surprised at how quickly a scarf or shawl works up in this

dazzling combination of rich, cut velvet with a weighty, beaded fringe.


MANAG I N G VELVET I'll take 2 yd. of each"). Since velvets are currently all the rage in ready-to-wear, you'll find them in many fabric stores (see also the mail-order

Use one or both of the hand-basting methods below to prevent slippage before machine sewing, and then understitch by hand to stabilize the lining before beading.

"Sources" on p. 7 1 ). For the green and black scarves at left, I used rayon/silk cut velvet for the scarf and lining. I love the way ished dimension of 12 by 60 in. ,

these velvets drape, as well as the

which yields enough length to

play of light between the cut-pile

throw over the shoulder or wrap around the neck. You'll need 1

'h

design and the sheer background.

think, the beading works up quick­

You can also use uncut velvets in

ly, and the results are so exciting

yd. of fabric for the scarf length,

pure silk and rayon/silk blends

that you won't want to stop.

plus seam allowances, so this is

(like the teal scarf on p. 71); they're

Large, small, or in between

a more expensive project. But,

more expensive than all-rayon vel­

depending on the fabric's width

vet but have a beautiful drape and

and lining (you can self-line your

shorter pile, making them good

An easy-to-sew rectangular scarf

scarf or line it with silk chiffon or

candidates for a scarf or shawl. If

works beautifully with a beaded

georgette), you may have enough

you choose a high-pile rayon velvet,

fringe added to the narrow ends.

fabric to make two or even three

line the scarf with a lightweight

And you can adjust the length and

scarves from this length. One of

silk to reduce bulk and improve

width to make a scarf that suits

these scarves makes a terrific gift­

the scarfs drape. The lining can

your style and the amount of time

if you can bear to give it away!

either match or contrast with the

and money you want to spend on fabric and beads.

lO-

But if you long for the ultimate

For

sew small horizontal stitches about in. apart.

accessory that makes a splash wherever it's worn, then nothing

Success with velvet

1 2-in. wide and 45- to 50-in. long

but an opera scarf like the green

Velvet is notoriously difficult to

(including 1 to 2 in. of fringe on

one above will do. This dramatic

sew, but a scarf makes a perfect

each end) can be worn open, knot­

scarf is wider and 10nger-20 by 74

small proj ect. Proper hand bast­

ted, or tucked into a coat, but isn't

in.-and is a graceful blend of scarf

ing and attention to a few basic

long enough to wrap around your

and shawl. It does require a larger

machine-sewing tips will gUide you

neck gracefully. But the advantage

investment of time and money­

to first-time success.

of the short scarf is that you can cut

you'll need 2 yd. of fabric you love

� �

it on the crosswise grain of 45-in.­

and beads you can't resist-but even

Baste to prevent "creep"-Since

wide fabric, so you'll need to buy

if you never wear your scarf to the

velvet has a deep, slippery pile,

only enough for the width of the

opera, it's an accessory you'll trea­

machine sewing tends to produce

scarf and lining, plus seam allow­

sure for years to come.

puckering and fabric creep, with

I rresistible fabrics

lower layer. Without basting, it's

like the one worn by the model on

If you're like me, you'll find shop­

practically impossible to align the

the facing page, work with a fin-

ping for velvets sweet torture ("Yes,

cut edges. While hand basting may

ances (allow

bastdiinag,gonal %

scarfs color.

to

A short, casual scarf that's

double basting,

For sew a row of even, 'A-in.-Iong basting stitches, then sew second row between stitches of first row.

t.; in. all around).

To make a more elegant scarf,

understitching

by hand, use evenly spaced For

pickstitches (short backstitches) to sew around turned scarfon lining side, catching seam allowance inside, but not outer layer.

the top layer extending beyond the

o c t o b e r/ n o v e m b e r 1 9 9 6

69


seem arduous, this relatively sim-

B EA D A LU S H , N E TT E D F R I N G E Beaded fringe has two parts: from one to ten rows of closely netted border, and loosely netted fringe of varying length and width.

�P' UP

embroidery thread in a matching

pIe step saves both time and frus­

color. Wax the cotton thread for

tration in the long run.

smoother stitching.

For the best results, cut the scarf

Understitching is generally sewn

and lining on grain to preCisely the

on the lining side, but it can be

same measurements, and carefully

sewn on both sides, if needed,

pin right sides together to reduce

before the beads are added. Fortu­

shifting. I suggest basting with silk

nately, it works up quickly, and the

thread, which is less likely to mar

results are well worth the addi­

the velvet and easy to remove. As

tional time and effort.

well, try using a high-contrast col­

Close border:

Y

Work from left to right with end of scarf away from you. Take stitch in fabric from back to front; secure with backstitch. To begin first row. pick up one bead only. take stitch from back to front. and insert needle through bead. Subsequently. pick up two beads. take stitch from back to front. then insert needle through last bead. Repeat to end of row.

For additional rows. turn scarf over and work same way from left to right. sewing into horizontal bead as shown. then back through last bead. Repeat for desired number of rows. tying on new thread as needed.

or to minimize eyestrain. Depending on the fabrics you

tricky, but it really isn't. I composed

one or two lines of hand basting

my beaded scarf fringe from two

before you machine-stitch, using

basic elements: a closely netted bor­

double and/or diagonal basting,

der, and a loose, netted fringe that

as shown on p. 69. For lightweight

dangles from the border at regular

velvets, a single line of double bast­

intervals.

you see on my scarves,

ing may be sufficient. On heavier

the length of the border can vary, and so can the length and width of

in the seam allowance increases

the fringe, depending on the scarfs

stability; you can machine-stitch

size and how much time you want

between the two lines of basting.

to spend beading.

A scarf like

With the scarf ready to sew, slight­ ly loosen the tension and lengthen

this makes

the machine stitch to reduce puck­ ering. Using a walking or even-feed foot, if you have one, sew with the

a terrific gift­

velvet on top, holding the fabric

if you can

taut in front and back of the needle. Stitch around the scarf, leaving a

bear to give

4- to 5-in. opening for turning, then press the seams open on a

it away !

velvet board or plush towel to avoid crushing them. After you trim the corners and grade the seam allow­ ances, turn the scarf right side out

When back a t top. pass needle through 3rd or 4th bead in last row of close border (or space as desired). and begin new row of fringe. Alternating dangle designs add interest.

As

velvets, adding diagonal basting

Now, machine sewing is easy­

Work from left to right. with end of scarf toward you. Begin through first bead in last row of border. Pick up number of beads for first sequence (five to eight work well). then a contrasting bead. then next sequence. Repeat for desired length of fringe. using odd number of sequences. At end add dangle as shown. or create your own. Work back through dangle. then repeat sequences. passing needle through contrasting beads of first row as shown. to join net.

TH READS

The delicate beaded fringe looks

choose, you'll need to sew either

��ilYl����AJo!;:A���

Open fringe:

70

An easy, beaded fringe

Wh

ich beads, where?-I suggest

using seed beads for the border

through the opening, slipstitch it

and fringe, with contrasting beads,

closed, and press again.

larger beads, crystals, or pearls added at points where the open

Understitch a smooth finish­

net intersects and at the bottom

Once you've pressed the scarf,

of the fringe. The fringe can be

determine whether you need to

worked in one or many colors.

understitch by hand, as shown on

I've had excellent results with

11

p . 69, to keep the lining in place.

size 13 charlotte beads and size

On a large scarf or one made of a

tricut beads, both o f which catch

heavy velvet with a lighter lining,

the light and add sparkle. But there

you'll probably need to understitch,

are many other beautiful beads to

using a lightweight silk or cotton

try. Japanese delica beads, used in

c

J


I

wiry or stiff. Work with slightly

Sou rces B & J Fabrics

W.

263 40th St. New York, NY 1 0018 212-3 54-8 1 50 Velvets; free swatches on specific requests

less than an arm's length of a sin­ gle knotted strand, and try using it Dawn's Hide & Bead Away

203 N. Linn St. Iowa City, IA 52245 3 1 9-3 3 8-1 566 Beads and supplies; catalog, $1

Banksville Designer Fabrics

Shipwreck Beads

1 1 5 New Canaan Ave. (Rt. 123) Norwalk, CT 06850 203-846-1 3 3 3 Velvets; $ 1 0 (refundable) for 3 6 swatches

2727 Westmoor Ct. SW Olympia, WA 98502 3 60-754-2323 Beads and supplies; catalog, $4

Spiller Dyeworks

2524 Pine Bluff Rd. Colorado Springs, CO 80909 71 9-471 -7161 Velvets; custom-dyes small amounts; color card/samples, $5 Treadle Yard Goods

1 3 3 8 Grand Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105 612-698-9690 Velvets; up to five swatches free

both waxed and unwaxed to see which way you prefer. The beading goes quickly-The

step-by-step directions on the fac­ ing page show how to bead both the border and the fringe. I like to work at a wooden table, carefully spilling out a portion of each type of bead and picking them up with the tip of my needle, though many beaders prefer to use a bead tray. Keep in mind that the open net­

size 13 on the teal scarf at right,

charlottes (or about 4,500 beads),

ted fringe works up much more

have a matte luster and come in

several strands of gold tricuts for

qUickly than the foundation rows.

many gorgeous colors. Because of

the intersecting points of the fringe

One way to save time is to

their smooth shape, delicas mix

(about 330 beads), and 40 Austri­

bead fewer border rows

well with other beads. If your pri­

an crystals for the fringe ends. For

mary bead is faceted, like a tricut,

the green shawl, I used 6% hanks

on a spectacular beaded

alternating with delicas at regular

of size 1 1 tricut beads ( 1 2,000

fringe. But beware­

intervals will result in a straighter

beads), one hank of a matte bead

this simple project

fringe than you'll get using the

for contrast ( 1 ,300 beads), and 80

can very quickly lead

tricuts alone.

crystals on the fringe. The quantity of beads you need

Beads, math, and miscellany­

for your scarf will depend on the

to a serious bead­ ing obsession.

Calculating the number of beads

length and width of the netted bor­

Jane Conlon teaches

needed for your scarf or shawl is

der, the length and width of the

sewing and embellish-

not an exact science. The easiest

fringe, and the size of the beads

way to estimate amounts is to bead

you choose. I recommend buying

Street Fabrics i n Eugene, OR.

a 1- or 2-in.-wide test sample of

extra beads, or at least checking to

fringe, then multiply the number of

be sure that additional quantities

beads used by the width of the fin­

are available, if needed.

ished fringe you need. While you're

Besides beads, you'll need bead­

at it, try out various color and pat­

ing thread and a package of bead­

tern combinations to decide on a

ing needles. For the beads I used,

design you like. I'll give you an idea of the num­

a size 12 or 13 needle works well. I prefer Nymo bead­

ber of beads used in my scarves.

ing thread, a single-ply

For the 1 2-in.-wide black scarf, I

nylon thread that's

used three hanks of size 13 black

strong without being

Just try putting down your needle! You may find these

little beads irresistible as you progress through a gorgeous beaded fringe like that on the ribbed rayon/silk velvet scarf at right, surrounded by other cut velvets waiting to become scarves.


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N a tes Here's the place to share news about

Q U I LT I N G

interesting people

Quilt for a Cure

and places, special

You can now contribute to the

products, confer­

search for a breast cancer cure with

ences, organizations,

every purchase of an heirloom­

and important

quality fabric from the new Plan­

developments in the

tation collection of quilting cottons

world of sewing and

(shown below), designed by Bon­

j

needlework-or u st

nie Benn Stratton and produced

to sound off. Write

by Northcott-Monarch. The "Quilt

63 Threads5506, 06470-5506.

to:

Notes,

S. Main St.,

for a Cure" symbol on each bolt signifies that a portion of the pur-

PO Box

chase price will be donated to The

Newtown, CT

Breast Cancer Research Foundation in New York, which funds breast cancer research at centers

kets by Pueblo, Navajo, and His-

throughout the U . S . Contact a

panic textile artists. The works rep­

RES

0 U RC E S

local quilt shop for fabric by the

resent the interaction and borrow­

Shoppers' alert

yard, or order swatches from the

ing of techniques and designs

There's a wonderful new resource

collection, as well as "Quilt for a

among these three major weaving

for everything related to fashion,

Cure" T-shirts and tote bags, from

cultures, which converged in the

fabrics, and costuming called Shop­

Merryvale, Ltd . , 1 1416 Vale Rd. ,

American Southwest a century

ping LA ($40 plus $3 S&H; Shop­

Oakton, VA 22124; 703-264-8959.

ago. A full-color, 80-page catalog

ping LA, 3727

For more information, con-

( $ 19.95 plus $ 1 . 7 5 S&H; San

#266, Burbank, CA 91510; 818-762-

tact Northcott-Monarch,

Diego Museum of Man Museum

9544; ShoppingLA@aol.com). The

2 2 9 W. 36th S t . ,

Store, 1350 EI Prado, Balboa Park,

554-page, spiral-bound tome, sub­

New York, NY

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titled "The Insiders' Sourcebook

2001) accompanies the exhibit.

for Film & Fashion," was compiled

10018; 800-

EXH I B ITS

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by three Hollywood costume de­

223-6337 or 2 12-563-0450.

W.

Liturgical attire Vestments from the Permanent Col­ lection, on exhibit at The Art Insti­

Inglehart, and Pamela Shaw. The

tute of Chicago through January

the U . S . and a few from Europe and Canada, for sewing and cos­

signers, Marcy Froehlich, Barbara book includes 5,000 sources from

Southwest textiles

12, displays religiOUS ceremonial

On exhibit at the San Diego

attire dating from the 14th through

tuming tools and materials from

Museum of Man in California

20th centuries. A number of the

the ordinary to the truly unusual.

through February 24, Southwest Weaving: A Continuum showcases

ornately embellished silk and vel­

Arranged in well-organized, alpha­

vet garments, most of which are

betical lists, the topics range from

more than 100 contemporary and

from England, France, and Italy,

adhesives and armor to weaving

rare, historic garments and blan-

are featured in a l SO-page, full­

and western apparel. An index of

color book on the masterpieces

shopping malls throughout the

i n the museum's textile collec­

greater Los Angeles area with fash­

A sampling of quilting cottons from the

tion, Textiles in The Art Institute of

ion-, sewing-, and costume-related

Plantation collection, each bolt identified

Chicago ($24.50 plus $4.95 S&H,

stores is also included.

with a "Quilt for a Cure" logo. A portion of the purchase price of this fabric goes to breast cancer research.

Museum Shop Mail Order Dept., 1 224 W. Van Buren, Chicago, IL 60607; 312-563-51 5 1 ) .

Toni Toomey of

Threads.

is an associate editor


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Q u i c k to M a k e If you're busy and have only limited time to sew, try these quick-to­ make ideas.

P I L LOW A N D PY RA M I D G I FT B OX E S

by Jane Conlon The best presents come in beautiful little boxes-or so the saying goes. The pillow and pyramid boxes shown on this page-the perfect wrapping for small gifts-can be made from paper or fabric, and either left plain or embellished with ribbons, buttons, beads, or baubles. You can make boxes that are simple or fancy, silly or sophisticated-what­ ever fits the occasion and the gift. And most of the materials you'll

./

are ideal for both plain and fabric-covered

boxes and hold their shape

need may already be lurking in

well. As well, consider using high­

your collection of sewing and craft

ly textured papers with a hand­

supplies, although you may want

made look, some of which have

the whole box. You can make pil­

to purchase some special papers

the added beauty of embedded

low and pyramid boxes in any size,

for these boxes.

flowers and leaves.

provided the paper you use is

Sticky stuff and paper

laminate light- to medium-weight

shape. Glue the template copies to

This project requires three kinds

woven fabrics, including quilting

thin poster board with glue stick

of adhesive: glue stick to make the

cottons, novelty prints, rayons, or

and cut them out along the out­

To make fabric-covered boxes,

heavy enough to maintain the box's

box templates, fusible web (see

silk, to printmaking paper (about

side lines (but don't cut the scoring

Paper and fabric­

"Sources" on p . 80 for this and

the thickness of a greeting card or

lines). For accurate, sharp inside

covered boxes make

other supplies mentioned here)

file folder ) . You can use any of

angles, cut from the box's out­

the perfect wrapping

to laminate the fabric to paper,

the fusible webs available to bond

side edges in toward the angle's

for little gifts like sewing notions, jewelry, and gift certificates.

and quick-drying Designer Tacky

the fabric and paper. Following

point. By accurately measuring and

Glue to finish the boxes. Among

the directions that come with the

cutting your templates, you can

the beautiful papers available,

fusible web, iron it to your fabric's

ensure that each box will fold into

printmaking papers des­

wrong side first, then fuse the fab­

a perfect shape.

ignated 90- to 140-

ric to the paper.

lb.-weight

78

THREADS

Easier than falling off a log­

One size fits almost all

Once your templates are prepared,

For small to medium pyramid box-

you'll be able to complete a box in

es, you need only draw one tem-

five or ten minutes. With a well-

plate for each type of box

sharpened pencil or extra-fine-

(you can photocopy the pat-

point marking pen, trace the pat-

terns on p. 80), then enlarge

tern's cutting lines (but not the

each template on a photocop­

foldlines) onto the paper's "wrong

ier to a variety of sizes. To make

side" (whichever side you want to

large boxes, elongate a medium­

be inside the box) , then cut the

large box rather than enlarging

box out along the drawn lines


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- MINNEAPOLIS BLOOMINGTON, M N - DOUBLETREE GRAND HOTEL AT MALL OF AMERICA 494 Frwy. . (6 1 2) 854-2244 - Exit 2A-24th Ave. Or 77 Frwy. Exit Cedar then 8 l st.

Sat, Sept.

NEWARK NJ AREA SECAUCUS, NJ - THE MEADOWLANDS HILTON HOTEL

Sun, Sept.

NEW YORK CITY AREA RAMADA PLAZA HOTEL AT NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Off 1-95 at Exit 16 or 3 blks from Metro North

2 Harmon Plaza, Secaucus - (201 ) 348-6900 . Get to Route 3

An Intei-natlonaC jufled exhibition of contemporary quilts.

Nov. 2, 1996thru )a.1. 26, 1997 MuseumSanof SanDiego,DieCAgo History WorkShops/Juror's Tours: Will Chandler Ginny Eckley Dorle Benesh Refling David Walker . . Judi Warren

Special Awards by: .

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Full . (olor Exhlbltlon Catalog Available November,

1996

For information, send HASETto: Quilt San Diego-Dept. Buslnen Park Ave. San Diego,

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#228 CA 92131-1651

Sat, Sept.

Sun, Sept

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Sun, Oct.

then Exit Meadowland Pkwy

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Sat, Oct.

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Sat, Oct.

Sun, Oct.

- SAN ANTONIO, TX - HOLIDAY INN HOTEL-NORTHWEST LOOP 3233 Northwest Loop 4 1 0 - ( 2 1 0) 377·3900 Northwest Loop 4 1 0, Vance Jackson Exit to Holiday Inn Hotel

- HOUSTON, TX - MARRIOTT HOTEL WEST LOOP BY GALLERIA (This is not the J.w. Marriott Hotel)

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Q u i c k t o M a k e (continued) Sources

(don't cut the slits for the tabs in

Fusible web. Designer Tacky Glue. and Hera markers are available in the U.S. and Canada from:

the pyramid box just yet).

Nancy's Notions

PO Box 683 Beaver Dam. WI 5 3 9 1 6 800-83 3-0690 A Great Notion Sewing Supply

1 01 -5630 Landmark Way Surrey. BC V3S 7 H 1 Canada 800-309-2829 Papers ideal for gift boxes include 90- to 140-lb. watercolor paper; and. for fabric­ covered boxes. 75- to 80-lb. Canson colored drawing paper or white. two-ply Bristol paper. All are available from: Dick Blick

PO Box 1267 Galesburg. IL 61402 800-447-81 92 E-mail: info@dickblick.com Catalog. $5

Using a Hera fabric marker or a letter opener, and the edge of a ruler as your guide, score the fold­ lines. Consult your template to

G I F T- B OX T E M P L AT E S Trace or photocopy tem plates below, then enlarge to desired sizes. Glue copies to lightweight poster board. and cut out to make permanent templates.

determine their placement, and press firmly as you draw. Use the pillow-box template illustrated at right to make scoring the curved lines a painless operation.

Pyramid box Score and fold along dotted lines.

C

,,

Fold all scored lines (on both types each foldline individually. When all the lines are firmly set, fold the

... ... ... ... II

box into its final shape. Pillow box pops into shape­

Tab B

its center line, fold the tab inward,

\\ \

and apply a thin coat of quick­ drying glue to the tab's right side to

C

glue the box's sides together. Lay

\ ,,

Ties or tabs close the pyramid

...

...

Tab A

D

Score against template's curved edge.

Spread glue on RS.

oughly dried. Turn in the box's

its sides, and it will pop into shape.

...

I

Pillow box

heavy book until the glue has thor­

while gently squeezing the box on

I

Fold, then glue to inside or cut away.

paper and weigh it down with a

ends along the curved foldlines

Fold, then glue to inside or cut away.

For ties, attach ribbon or string to WS before folding flaps C and D.

of box) toward the inside, creasing

the box between two sheets of wax

D

- - - - ------+' ..---

Fold, seal, and deliver

Fold the pillow box in half along

,

,I

I I \\ \

II \

Box. WS

-------_ -:\.- ---\I\,, Center

Score and fold along dotted lines.

box-With all four sides folded

up to form the pyramid shape,

II\

check the positions of the tabs and marked slots. Redraw the slots if needed to prop-

80

TH READS

erly align them with

glue string or ribbon in place under

Once you've made just a few of

tabs A and B, then

the flaps on sides C and D. To close

these beautiful boxes, you'll begin

cut the slots with

the box, fold sides A and B to the

to create the boxes first, and then

an Exacto knife.

inside, slip the tabs into their slots,

look for items to fill them. Just be

Fold flaps C

then tie the remaining sides. Or,

careful that the box doesn't out­

and D to the inside, and

to close the box using the tabs

shine the gift!

glue them in place (or cut them off

only, fold sides C and D to the

on very thick papers, if desired).

inside first, then slip the tabs

Jane Conlon sews and teaches in

For a pyramid box that ties closed,

into their slots.

Eugene. OR.


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Colorful Knitwear Design This collection of articles from magazine is a treasure trove of ideas and techniques. You'll discover innovative designs, color blending suggestions, finishing touches like perfect ribbing and brightly colored hems and pockets.

Threads

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Designing Knitwear

Here's all the inspiration and solid technical advice you'll need to design beautiful knitwear. You'll find complete instructions for breathtaking garments, plus dozens of partial schematic patterns to develop into one-of-a-kind knitwear.

16

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Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore

Learn to create true Fair Isle patterns and discover the secrets of working with color. You'll find different patterns for sweaters, hats, mittens and vests.

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Knitting Lace by Susanna Lewis

Using patterns she's deciphered from an antique sampler, Susanna Lewis reintroduces exquisite designs and makes them accessible to knitters of all skill levels. You get over charts plus close-up photos for patterns and complete instructions for four garment projects.

91100

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Knitting Counterpanes by Mary Walker Phillips

46

Learn how to use counterpane patterns and lace edgings and borders to create heirloom treasures. Close-up photos and detailed written instructions show you how.

32

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Knits,

by Deborah Newton

27

Great Knits: Texture and Color Techniques Expand your knitting skills with this collection of articles from Double­ knit a reversible sweater; weave color into your knitting; knit and fit a sweater, piece by piece; knit sideways; add color; work with special yarns and much more. In you'll find ideas and encouragement to create cozy, eye-catching sweaters that look and feel great.

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EXH IBITS

stitute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 82nd St.

California Beads beads

&& &

Threads from Italy. Decorative textiles, till Oct. 27. San Fran­

have international,

cisco Craft

national, or multi­

mark Bldg. A, Fort Mason Ctr., S.F.

state appeal, as well

New Quilts of Northern California.

as dates, deadlines, full addresses, and

Folk Art Museum, Land­

Nov. 12-Jan. 5. Amer. Mus. of Quilts Textiles, 60 S. Market St., San Jose.

&

&

Loftus, Fiber Artisans' Co-op, PO Box 714, Bisbee,

Fifth Ave., NYC.

AZ

85603; 520-432- 1524.

Fall Colors ... Fashion, Fiber, Fabric

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Nort h Carolina

Fun. Seminars, demos, etc. San Rafael,

International Beadwork. Oct. 5-Jan. 5.

CA, Oct. 19-20. QuiliCi/Fay Produc­

Folk Art Ctr., Blue Ridge Pkwy. (mile­

tions, 85 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 104,

post 382), Asheville.

Sausalito, CA 94965; 415-331-5324. Fall Quilting Retreat. Boone, NC, Oct.

Pennsylvania

1 1 - 1 3 . Appalachian State Univ. , Office

Adorning India: Textiles for Court, Vil­

of Conferences/Institutes, Univ. Hall,

& &

Boone, NC 28608; 704-262-3045.

phone numbers.

Northwest Quilts Moving South. Port­

lage,

land, OR, quilters, Oct. 5-29. New

Art Mus., Fifth

Deadline for the

Pieces, 1 5 97 Solano Ave. , Berkeley.

Feb./March issue

Southwest Weaving: A Continuum. San

Texas

P. Mancuso, PO Box 667, New Hope,

is Oct.

Diego Mus. of Man. See Notes, p. 74.

Machine-Stitched Images. Nov. 5-Dec.

PA 18938; 2 15-862-5828.

31.

Trade. Oct. 6:Jan. 5 . Allentown Court, Allentown.

Quilter'S Escape. Salt Lake City, Feb. 6-

Pieces of Eight. Multimedia fiber show,

9 . Moorestown Area Quilters. SASE to

Oct. 1 2-Nov. 9. NationsBank Ctr., 700

K. Lukasko, 517 Hartford Dr., Cin­

Louisiana, Houston.

naminson, NJ 08077; 609-786-8762.

Vision/Revision. Fiber art, Oct. i-Jan.

Virginia

ford,

31. Loveland Museum, Fifth

Fiberworks. Fiber

Plain

&

Fancy: Appliqued Quilts. Nov.

5:Jan. 4. Rocky Mountain Quilt Mu­ seum, 1 1 1 1 Washington Ave. , Golden.

coln, Loveland.

&

Lin­

Quilters' Gathering. Conference. West­

&

mixed media, till

MA,

Nov. 7-10. 78¢ SASE to Quil­

ters' Gathering, EQA, PO Box 7 1 1 ,

MA

Nov. 3. Holiday exhibit, Nov. 4-Dec. 3l.

Westford,

Fiberworks Gallery, 105 N. Union St.,

TO U R S

Illinois

Alexandria.

Vestments from the Permanent Collec­

Needlework. Oct. 18-27. Loudoun Mu­

tion. Art Institute of Chicago. See

seum, 14-16 Loudoun SW, Leesburg.

Notes, p. 74.

01886; 508-256-2672.

Hong Kong Shopping Extravaganza.

Nov. 7-14. Deadline Oct. 1. Sew Many

Washington Kentucky

The Elements: Earth, Wind, Fire,

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Options Tours, 1 5 942 SE Brooklyn, Portland, OR 97236; 503-761-6460.

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Beadwork: Beyond Boundaries. Oct. 1-

Chocolate. Quilts, till Oct. 3 1 . Stage

Sewing Concepts

Nov. 16. Contemporary Artifacts Gal­

Door Gallery, 210 N.

Couture Sewing Tour of Paris. Jan. 15-

lery, 128 N. Broadway, Berea.

I

St., Tacoma.

Kenneth D. King

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San Antonio, Suite 1 1 , Los Altos, CA

Massachusetts

The Embroideries ofAnna Torma. Till

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Art to Wear. Till Oct. 3 1 . Cambridge

Oct. 27. John Michael Kohler Arts Ctr.,

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608 New York Ave. , Sheboygan.

Minnesota

S P ECIAL EVE NTS

WO R KS H O P S

Small Delights:

The

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City

&

Guilds EmbrOidery Course.

W/Gail Harker. Nov. 9-14 or 20-2 5 .

case. Oct. 14:Jan. 19. Beautiful Beads,

American Quilt Study Group Seminar.

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College of the Desert, Applied Science

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New Jersey

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Shades of Nature. Embroidery, Oct.

Couture Hand-Finishing Techniques.

Day with a Designing Woman. Semi­

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nar w/Claire Shaeffer. Oct. 25-26.

24-25 . Professional Association of Cus­

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tom Clothiers. SASE to T. Gallant,

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T H R EADS

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6. Univ. Gallery, Baylor Univ., Waco.

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86

Pacific International Quilt Festival. Palm Springs, CA, Oct. 10- 1 3 . D.

W.

44890; 419-935-1064.

New York

17531

Designingfrom the Heart: A Fiber Con­

303-388-5346. Designing with Symmetry and A Tex­

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Arnold Scaasi. 30 years of evening­

ference. Seminars, workshops w/Jean

wear, Oct. l:Jan. 1 1 . Fashion Institute

Cacicedo, Diane Ericson, others. Mon­

tured Applique Album Block. Oct. 3-5.

of Technology, 7th Ave.

27 St., NYC.

terey, NM, Nov. 9-12. LSASE to Textu­

Museum of the American Quilter'S

@

KY

Quilts=Art=Quilts. Nov. 9-Jan. 5 .

ra Gallery/SFWG, 1 24}2 Galisteo, San­

Society, PO Box 1 540, Paducah,

Schweinfurth Memorial Art Ctr., 205

ta Fe, NM 8750 1 ; 505-982-1737.

42002; 502-442-8856.

Genesee St., Auburn.

An Exploration of Embellishment. Fiber

Two by Two. History of fashion, 1700-

Machine Embroidery. Nov. 15-16. M. R.

arts: demos, workshops w/Anita Lu­

Smith, Baylor Univ. Art Dept., PO Box

present, till Nov. 17. The Costume In-

vera Mayer. Bisbee,

97263, Waco, TX 76798; 817-755-1867.

AZ,

Nov. 5 - 1 1 . B.


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GENERAL LABEL MFG. 1·800·944·4696 Ask about Mul t i p l e Name Savi n gs 1 125 150 200 $5.75 $8.26 $6.54 SILK FABRICS • P. O . Box 640371 FL 33164 DUPIONI SHANnJNG CHINA SILKON CREPE-DE-CHlNE SILKCBlFF � SILK CREPE 4 Om 4 ml P1 y SILK ORGANZA SILK CHA1lMEUSE DUCHESS SATIN S29900 BRA VY CHA1lMEUSE 30rnm SILKLlNEN I n t r o duct o r y Pr i c e SANDWASHED CHA1lMEUSE SILK NOlL SILKMETALUC PLAIN SILK TAFFET A SILKMETALUC CR1NICLE SILKTUSSAH Quality Sewing TelSAMPlE : (80DEPOSIT 0)432-7SUPER 455$IPER(212)lYPESI9L21K•-REFUNDABlE 8211 712 East 25t h · Kear n ey, NE 68847 ( 3 08) 234· 4 304 265NEWWESTYORK,40THNYST.1, 00Dept18 T2 BUDS & fiNDINGS 14K & SILK PAINT, BATIK & BERNINA®� $2.50 ANTITY UNf FabriWINcs-Yam-MA& SupplIllNEies MARBLING SUPPLIfS $10 SOH02 0 5 - 7 3 9 - 6 1 1 4 lEI II 24Acme Country Fabrics 07440 SOUTH 1324 • • 35056 Labels

PER NAME

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This handy lightweight machine is designed to give you the traditional virtues of a classic machine: sewing patterned aher the Classic Singer Featherweight, only all-metal pounds; construction; steel gears for reliable long life; simple to thread and use; and a foldup flap to fit into its compact wooden carrying case. It comes complete with a strong, fast motor, foot cont�I;: ��ctri light. i

IN NYC

Large Selection of Czech Glass Beads . Sterling,

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NorthJersey's largest fabric/quilt shop. SE

G

C

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Needles, Cords and Books

GREAT PRICES with

QU

DISCO

80·jllSl offRt. 23.

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S

for Catalog (Refundable) Or

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� Custom Tailored Garments/Rentals

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"? � s�. &44If 1)� ' � ,Park Bench Pattern Company,.

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ideal for designers, homesewers, and the

P.O.

NG AT THE SOURCE!!

Workshop Schedule: ENGL

IREL

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Hand-crafted in the

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Fits securely on top of your ironing

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Maryland residents, please add

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a

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iska s

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FREE ILLUSTRATED CATALOG OF OVER 300

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CUSTOM-COVERED BUTTONS-BELTS-BUCK­

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L

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japanese. Size 6/0 thru 15/0. Bugle beads size 2B, 3B, 5B, xIong. Delicas­ over 200 colors!. Sample card $ 10.00 Austrian crys­ tals in all colors. NO MINIMU MS! V/MC/AMX-Cata­ log $ 1.00. BEYOND BEADERY, Dept. T, 54 Tinker, Woodstock, NY 1 2498.

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BOOKS/VIDEOS/SOFTWARE

"SEW UP A STORM: ALL THE WAY TO THE

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lists over 275 programs for knitting, needlework, weaving, sewing and quilting. Demo disks available $30 +$7 shipping. StudioWord, 5 010-50 Avenue, Camrose AB HV OS5 CANADA. (403) 672-5887. UPHOLSTERY! Do it yourself-on video by German

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UNIT PRICING FOR DRESSMAKING. "This book

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EAR

N TO BE A CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL Teacher at Gooseberry Hills Creative Institute. Teach ribbon embellishment, doll and bear making at shops in your local area. Learn from Designer Kathy Pace. Phone 801-336-2 1 16.

GET PAID FOR READING BOOKS! $ 100 each. Send

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simple craft products at home. Program Guaranteedl 1 -800-377-6000. ex. 7360.

EARN $393.25 WEEKLY SEWING BABY BIBS! For information send self-addressed stamped envelope to: Stuff-4-Kids, P.O. Box 1060, El Toro, CA 92630

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Small investment returns an excellent income. FAX 801-628-7985.

CATALOGSRAM

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MAK

ING BOOK" $7.95, "The Little Bodice Book" $6.95, "The Little Corset Con­ struction Book" $ 7.95, "The Costume Workshop" 30 minute VHS on Victorian Hat Making" $29.95. $3.00 shipping and handling. Bonnie Holt-Ambrose, 417 Reinicke, Houston, TX 77007. ( 7 1 3 ) 864-3969.

"THE LITTLE HAT

9 6 THREADS

THE FABRIC CLOSET offering quality fabrics by

mail. Polartec Fleece, Ultrex, Cotton club knits, Ten­ cel, supplex, rayons and a variety of other knit and woven fabrics. Visa and Mastercard accepted. For flier and swatches send $2.00 to: P.O. Box 434 Kalama, WA 986 2 5 . ULTRASUEDE SCRAPS 1 pound assortment in­ cludes many bright colors: $ 19.95 plus $4.50 ship­ ping. 1 -800-225-1887. ULTRAMOUSE, 3433 Ben­ nington Ct., Bloomfield, MI 48301. PURE SILKS-dyed/woven to order and airmailed

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Successful How-To-video reveals sewing opportuni­ ties. Paid weekly. FREE information. Sewing/Cash, Box 333, Arlington, K S 67514. 1-316-538-2985.

OVER 700 PRACTICAL SEWING/NEEDLEWORK

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ULTIMATE IN ACTl AR FABRICS ! ! ! Largest selection of cotton and nylon, lycra, stretch velvet, glissenettes, supplex, etc. Swatch club membership. $ 1 2.7 5/yr. LGF, 3 5 2 1 Fairview Industrial Dr. S.E. Salem, OR 97302. 1 -800-LGF-9060

EARN MONEY AT HOME SEWING. Now you can.

short cuts, professional methods for beginners and old timers. Free brochure. Call 1 -800-326-9 2 2 1 or write Lifetime Career Schools, Dept. TI03Y2, 101 Har­ rison Street, Archibald, PA 18403.

WEA

QUALITY DISCOUNT velveteens. 100% cotton, New York manufacturer. No minimums on 21 colors. Oth­ er colors available, 1 5 yard minimums. Swatch cards available $ 10.00 (refundable) with first order of 5 yards or more. MC/VISA The Binding Stitch, 8 Taunton Avenue, Dennis, MA 02638. (508) 3852444.

LET THE GOVERNMENT FINANCE your small business. Grants/loans to $800,000. Free recorded message: (707) 449-8600. (LB9).

EASY WORK! EXCELLENT PAY! Assemble Products AT Home. Call Toll Free. 1 -800-467-5 566. EXT 4046.

Needlearts, costume, fashion. Catalogues from judith Mansfield, Claremont South, Todmorden OLl4 5LH, ENGLAND. FAX +44- 1706-816487.

BASKET

LINEN. Swatch set $20. Fine Linen Fabrics, Box 360099, Decatur, GA 30036. Phone 404-288-9660.

worldwide. Ideal for weddings, specials etc! Write/phone/fax us for swatches containing over 160 silk costing just $9 airmailed by return Angus International (TM), 6 Fok Loh Tsun Road, Kowloon City, HONG KONG. Tel 0 1 1 -8 5 2-27 18-2748. Fax 0 1 1 -852-2718-4565. We accept all major credit cards/personal checks etc. Personal callers welcomel

OUT OF PRINT BOOKS FROM ENGLAND.

tips; 100+ illustrations; indexed. $8.50 postpaid. And Sew On, Box 7 l , Martinsville, Nj 08836.

AFRICAN PRINTS . . . NO DYE COTTONS .. FlNE

Slide Method of pattern fitting as seen on "America Sews", Sept. 27-29th, Oct. 25-27th, place Chicago. Send self-addressed stamped envelope to Sew/Fit Co , 5 3 10 W. 66th St., #A Bedford Park, I L 60638. For Nov. 1 2 near Philadelphia send self-ad­ dressed stamped envelope to M. Clark, Strobel's Viking Sewing Center, 890 E. Lincoln Ave. , Myer­ stown, PA 17067.

&:

FABRIC

OUTDOOR FABRICS-PATTERNS, Fasteners, Zip­

pers. Free catalog. (941 ) 378-1620. Quest Outfitters, 2590 17th, Sarasota, FL 34234.

I

washed, $8.50 yd. Samples $2.00. Stillwater designs, P.O. Box 206, Vaughn, WA 98394. ULTRASUEDE®-$33. 77-39.95 YD. 7 5 Swatches

$ 10.00. Field's Fabrics, 1695 44th SE, Grand Rapids, M I 49508-5001. 1 -800-67ULTRA CANADIANS! Ultrasuede yardage, squares, scraps.

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transfer it to fabric. 8- 1 / 2 x 1 1-in., $8.00, 1 1 x 14-in., $ 1 2.00, including the fabric. Money back, if not satis­ fied. For information call 1 -800-339-8273. WHOLESALE SOURCE DIRECTORY OVER 1000

WHOLESALE COMPANIES/500,OOO PRODUCTS listed. Fabrics, sewing supplies and more. Directory $ 1 5 .00 CjM Publishing, 870 Hidden Pond Court, #7, Lafayette, CA 94549. Details 5 10-229-5 8 5 5 . CIGARETTE SILKS FOR YOUR VICTORIAN em­ broidery and quilting. Also authentic printed feed sacks, sewing collectibles, Featherweight manuals. Send for list, $3.00, refundable with $ 2 5 . Purchase, to Homegroan, Dept. T, 334 Bridge Way, Nevada Ciy, CA 95959. QUALITY DEER AND ELK BUCKSKIN. Send $ 2 for

sample packet. Bitterroot Leather Company, 1010 N. 1 st, Hamilton, MT 59840.

VINTAGE ]APANESE KIMONO FABRIC send large

self-addressed stamped envelope for catalog to AH ! KIMONO, 4 9 1 3 1 8 1 st Place SW, Lynnwood, WA 98037. CANADA ONLY: MAIL ORDER 100% cotton knits,

more. Send business size self-addressed stamped en­ velope: Flex Fabrics, Box 6 1 2C, Mount Albert, On­ tario LOG I MO.


C l a ssifie d G&:S DYES; NATURAL FABRICS AND TEXTILE

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FABRICS FROM AFRICA, NEPAL, INDONESIA,

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PATTERNS

LOO

CHRISTMAS PATTERNS discontinued from major

companies. For list send $ and large self-ad­ dressed stamped envelope to: EZ Patterns, l l8 Flo­ rence, Evanston, IL 60202-3728.

APRONS! For Gifts! For You! For Children!

Brochure-self-addressed stamped envelope. G.B. Creations, P.O. Box 7672, Eugene , OR 97401-0203.

HORSE SHOW APPAREL-BROCHURE $ l .OO. Jean

Hardy Patterns, 2 1 5 1 La Cuesta Dr., Santa Ana, CA 92705. ( 7 14 ) 544-1608.

TERNET! Available but not featured: machine wash­ able silk bengaline (will sample).Web site: http://no­ vatech.on.ca/perfect_perfect stitch or 1-800-207-5417.

Descriptive lists $2.00 per brand. Neubert, 729 Wall, N. Mankato, M N 56003

U N USUAL FABRICS-Camou age fabriCS, Po­

BURDA, FAMOUS FOR FASHION AND FIT. Pub­

fl

lartek™, 100% cotton knits and denims. $2.00 and large self-addressed stamped envelope for samples. JOYCE'S, Box :l81-T, Morrisville, NY 1 3408.

FOR SALE WN O

ER OF 25 YEAR ESTABLISHED BUSINESS

has 400 original needlepoint designs and the exclu­ sive right to copy these designs to hand painted can­ vases for sale. For more information write to: Suite 103, 24 East Avenue, New Canaan, CT 06840.

INVENTIONS NVE KNITTING

NTIONS, IDEAS, NEW PRODUCTS! Presen­ tation to industry/exhibition at national innovation exposition. Patent services. 1 -800-288-lDEA. I

CASHMERE FlBER AND YARN. Send self-addressed

stamped envelope to Hunt Valley Cashmere, 6747 White Stone Rd., Baltimore, MD 2 1 207.

NEEDLEWORK

IRISH WAXED LINEN THREAD: 30 colors. 4 sizes.

Large variety BASKETWEAVlNG SUPPLIES. RetaiL Wholesale. Catalog $2.00. Royalwood Ltd., 5 17-TH Woodville Road, Mansfield, OH 44907. 1-800-5261630. Fax: 419-526-1618.

NEWSLETTERS/PERIODICALS

SEWING NEWSLETTTER Designer secrets, tricks,

trends, techniques, to die for ideas! $ 18/Yr. Sew n' Sew, Box 98472, Lubbock, TX 79499.

WN

ERS! Use your machine to the fullest. Three-great original projects in color each issue. Send $4.00 and large self-ad­ dressed stamped envelope to: Creative News, Dept. T, 225 Fairhill Road, Morton, PA 19070 or call 610544-28 2 1 . Specify 9000 or 8000.

NEW HOME 8000 AND 9000 O

NOTIONS

ZIPPERS, ZIPPERS, ZIPPERS! Discounts up to 40%.

Hard to find lengths/styles. No minimum order. Free catalog when mentioning THREADS. jacquart Fabric Products, 1238 Wall Street, Ironwood, MI 49938. (906) 932-1339. C

HAN

EL-CHAIN-$8./YD ( $3';Shipping). Free Direc­

tions. Claire Shaeffer, Box 1 5 7, Palm Springs, CA 92263.

ZIPPERS, THREADS, BUTTONS, NOTIONS, SCIS­

SORS, IRONS AND MOREl Free large catalog. Solo Sewing Supplies, P.O. Box 378T8, Foxboro, MA 02035. MACHINE EMBROIDERY THREAD! ! Over 220 Col­

&:

orsl Including .... metallics . . . . 1000/yd. and 5000/yd. Spools! Free color card-Beacon Fabric Notions, Phone: (800) 7 1 3-8157, FAX (813) 347-1424.

HAVE DISCONTINUED PATTERNS. 1930's-1990's.

lished monthly. All styles in five sizes. Includes: new user friendly pattern sheets: pink shaded patterns you can locate at a glance; snip n' sew patterns; easy patterns for beginners. American and European measurements. Send $ 1 5 for 3 issue trial subscrip­ tion to GLP International, P.O. Box 9868, Engle­ wood, Nj 07631-6868 or call ( 2 0 1 ) 8 7 1- 1010. http://glpnews.com/Crafts.html. SCARLETT O'HARA'S BARBECUE PARTY DRESS,

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97


C l o s u re s about sewing or

P R E S E RV I N G T H E PA S T

needlework? A

by T. R. Kelley

Have comments you want to share

funny or interesting

I limited

machines

my collec­

are slowly

2!!!3I1' accumulat­

tion to Sing­

ing again. I

er machines

recently spent $ 10 for a

from 1900 to

Singer 306W from the late 1950s,

In 1986 I was a professional musi­

1960, and my garage filled with

embellishing o r

cian who needed a day job, so I

various models: the 101, 201, 221,

one of the company's first zigzag

q uilting adventures?

went to work selling Singer sewing

301, 401A, 500, 15-91, and others.

machines and a commercial flop. It

A page from your

machines in a chain fabric store.

I learned to take them apart and to

came complete with case, owner's manual, attachments . . . everything

story about your

sketchbook we ought

Though I had only intermediate

rebuild them. And as if the store's

to see? Send it to:

sewing skills, my innate mechani­

supply of machines wasn't enough,

but its special 206

Closures,

cal aptitude and brash, outgoing

I began to haunt thrift-store appli­

With the right needle and a good

63Threads5506, 06470-5506.

X

13 needles.

personality got me the job. I quick­

ance sections on my days o ff. I

cleaning and oiling, it sews beau­

PO Box

ly became fascinated with sewing

found stacks of old, rusty, battered

tifully, and my children love to

Newtown, CT

machines and began to read all I

machines for $5 to $ 10 apiece. One

watch the bizarre external zigzag

could about them.

magical week I found two Feather­

mechanism in action.

S. Main St.,

The best part of the job was deal­

weights at Goodwill for $ 15 each.

For most of my own sewing, I

ing with the trade-in machines,

They needed repair, rewiring, and

rely on a Pfaff 1222 and a Singer

often nonoperational, poorly cared

new handles for the cases, but this

14U52 serger. But I make it a point

for, or just plain old and outmoded.

was a labor of fanatical love. I had

to sew frequently on my collection

We could refurbish and sell the

no idea of the Featherweight fren­

of pre-1960 machines, and I still

machines as long as they brought

zy then sweeping the country until

scour second-hand shops and yard

in a profit, but the unsalable ones

a quilter friend begged me to sell

sales for repairable Singers. While

went into the dumpster. I couldn't

her one of these machines.

others may collect genuine antique

When I entered a phase in my

machines, the rare Civil War-era

obsolete machinery treated like

life that included marriage, babies,

patent models and slender, elegant

that, so I began buying them for a

and two moves, I found homes for

machines of the 1870s, I can't

dollar over what we'd paid for

the bulk of my collection. I sold

afford that kind of hobby any more

them, to keep things aboveboard.

machines to folks who couldn't

than I can afford a brand-new,

afford a quality new model or who

$3,000, computerized machine.

bear to see p erfectly good but

just needed something simple and

I fix up my machines, teach on

reliable. I managed to hold onto

and about them, and locate parts

a 1906 hand-cranked

for people who don't want to give

"Red-Head" Singer 66-

up their 500A Slant-o-matics. I

1, a 1935 Singer 1 5-

sometimes weaken and begin to

88 treadle, a couple

fantasize about one-step comput­

of pre-World War I

er buttonholes, but the clackety­ clack of the Greist template but­ tonholer and the soft, whirring, minor-key whine of the 201's motor enthrall me all over again. Pass the oil and the motor lubricant!

�- -

------ --­

T.R. Kelley

is still a professional

musician, as well as a stay-at-homE;! mom. She's happy to help collectors locate Singer machines or parts; contact her by e-mail at trkelley@efn.org.

98

TH READS

.jgc


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IN D E TAl L A necktie

of woven

fabric is traditionally cut on the bias to wrap around the curve of the neck and tie into a graceful knot. Designers often turn to rich, distinctive fabrics for ties, and might occasionally add an embroidered motif to further embellish this accessory. But pleats? Not like­ ly-that is, until Seattle dentist Perry Jones put down his drill long enough to concentrate on his sewing machine. Inspired by a decades-old, pleated tie that his mother had sewn by hand for his father, the accessory designer spent a year devising a closely guarded technique to control the bias as it's pleated and curb its tendency to stretch and dis­ tort. Using rich, Italian silks, J ones pleats a variety of neckties, bow ties, and cummerbunds that look equally distinctive on men and women.

Photo by Scott Phil ips

Threads magazine 67 november 1996  
Threads magazine 67 november 1996  
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