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MAINE fABRIC & fiBER ARTS fESTlVAl© IMY 17-19, 2002. PORTlAND, MAINf A diy-wide celebralion of Ihe region's h'nesf lexlile orlML. Marketplace, Exhibition Hall, Resource Center The Cumberland County Civic Center



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february march 2002 number 99 /


Clone a Favorite Bra Seamed or seamless, underwired or not, virtually any bra can be a pattern-and you don't even have to take it apart Online extra: Additional detail on bra construction BY BEVERLY JOH N S ON


Sewing Jackets from Knits A fitted jacket made in a knit fabric offers both style and comfort BY S ARAH VEBLEN



Tools for Tassel-Making Eight clever tools for making handsome fringe and stately cords let you turn out tassels at a fraction of their retail cost BY S ARAH OLI VER

Quilted beauty is just machine stitches away. Turn to p.



Make Custom Trim for Your Garments or Home Pair basic materials with simple sewing to create fringe and adornments BY LI N DA LEE



Practical and Creative Rescues for Sewing Emergencies Scorches, spills, and snags do happen. Here's how to make them go away. BY BARBARA DECKERT


Three Shortcut Jacket Linings Clever rethinking of a full lining saves time and keeps the finish smooth BY FRED BLOEBAUM

Customize a cutting table for workroom comfort. See p.



Design Your Own Cutting Table Your back will thank you for a tabletop set at a comfortable height BY JAN BONES

Master couturier Charles Kleibacker gives lessons for making perfect bias-cut garments. Turn to p.



On the cover: Two tassels made using some of the cool tassel-making tools on the market. See p.




The Exquisite Art of Quilting by Machine Perfect techniques produce work a hand-quilter would envy Online extra: Video of the author demonstrating how to stipple a quilt by machine Make a wild yarn boa to toss over your shoulders­ or edge a pillow. See p.




Charles Kleibacker: Brilliance on the Bias Celebrating an American couturier BY AN N E BISSONN ETTE


Hands-On with Kleibacker Lessons for working with bias BY DAVI D PAGE COFFI N


6 8 14

Contributors Letters Redefining heroism, serger information

Tips Turning stirrup pants into Capri pants





22 78

Adapt a pattern for bias

Choosing lining fabric

Fitting Adjusting for a pearshaped figure

Tools of the Trade Frontier serger, Brother PC2800, Husqvarna Viking Designer II, quilting books


Quick to Make Body wraps in a snap

88 Color and Design, Surface Design 92 Books

Celebrating Sewers Prizewinning teen Iia Erickson


Advertiser Indexj Web Directory




Back Cover

Get over that "don't tailor with knits" taboo. See p.


"To Rip or Not to Rip"

1940s silk dress and bolero


The InspirarTaunton ion for hands-Press on living'"

Contributors Anne Bissonnette ("Charles Kleibacker-Brilliance on the Bias") has been curator at the Kent State University Museum for six years, before which she taught fashion design in exotic locales such as Casablanca, Morocco, and Istanbul, and for her alma mater, LaSalle College, in Montreal, and at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. Between exhibitions (next up, a menswear exhibit, "Of Men and Their Elegance:'

TH READS Editor in Chier Kathleen Davis

Executive Editor

Art Director

Carol Spier

Karen Meyer

scheduled to open next summer) and Web site creations for Kent,

Senior Editor David Page Coffin

she's hard at work on a Ph.D. in early 19th-century costume. Anne calls herself a "ballroom-dancing fool, who listens to big band music 24/7."

Associate Editors Carol J. Fresia, Jennifer Sauer

Assistant Editor Judy Neukam

Copy/Production Editor

Jan Bones ("Design Your Own Cutting Table") has

Rita Scanlan

Diane Gaudynski ("The

taught pattern design, garment construction, tailoring,

Exquisite Art of Quilting by

draping, fitting, and color theory at the University of

Machine") of Waukesha,

Manitoba in Canada for the past 23 years. She is the

Wis., grew up sleeping

Associate Art Director Linda Boston

Imaging Specialist William M. Godfrey

Editorial Secretary

designer of the "Lingerie Secrets" pattern line and has

under her grandmother's

produced three instructional sewing videos. When not

scrap quilts and has been

sewing, she enjoys golf, swimming, and photography.

making her own quilts for

April Mohr

Contributing Editors Susan B. Allen, Linda Lee, Karen Morris, Mary Ray

23 years, machine-quilting

t .

.. ..:..--. ·.�l.' .� lii J .

�. .� .



Sarah Veblen ("Sewing Jackets

them for the past 13 years.

from Knits") of Sparks, Md.,

Her book on machine-quilting techniques is due

abandoned her graduate

to be published by American Quilters Society

training in German literature to

(AQS) in 2002.

Sarah Roman

Nancy Clark Diana Mackey

and has been designing for

Linda Lee ("Make Custom Trim for Your Garments

herself and clients for 17 years.

or Home") is a contributing editor to

A frequent contributor to

magazine and is the owner of The Sewing Workshop


Patterns. She also owns Threadwear fabric store

Association of Custom Clothiers, she offers intensive

in Topeka, Kan., where she lives with her

classes in fashion design.

husband and daughter.

Advertising Sales Manager Angelyn Termini

Account Managers Lori J. Galanis, Tracey Lenahan

Advertising Secretary Marjorie Brown


Sarah M.Oliver ("Tools for Tassel-Making") is a weaver

Fred Bloebaum ("Three

and fiber artist, whose original interest in fiber was

Shortcut Jacket Linings") is a

fueled by the piles of fine fabrics her mother collected

popular sewing instructor in the

for quilting. Sarah lives in the greater Kansas City area

San Francisco area. Her most

where she works for Cy Rudnick Fabrics. She also

recent adventure is the release

sews professionally for many local theaters, including

of her own line of patterns,

New Theater, Lyric Opera, and Shakespeare Festival,

Clothing Designs by La Fred.

and for private customers.

Jeanne Todaro

Circulation Planner Administrative Assistant

follow the lure of the dress form

and an active member of the Professional

Circulation Manager

She has a studio in Oakland, Calif., where she also lives with her husband and son.

Beverly Johnson ("Clone a Favorite Bra") started sewing at age lOon a treadle machine, and since then

David Coffin ("Hands-On with Kleibacker") still thinks he

has worked professionally in every area of sewing.

has the perfect job after nearly 15 years on the staff of

(ISSN: 0882-7370) is pub­ lished bimonthly by The Taunton Press, Inc., Newtown, CT 06470-5506. Telephone (203) 426-8171. Periodicals postage paid at Newtown, CT 06470 and at additional mailing offices. GST paid registration #123210981. U.S. distribution by Curtis Circulation Company, 730 River Road, New Milford, NJ 076463048 and Eastern News Distributors, Inc., One Media Way, 12406 Route 250, Milan, OH 44846-9705. Subscription Rates:

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Since 1999, she's been the National Educator for


Sulky in Canada and currently operates Bramaker's

talented, informative sewing enthusiasts. When not

Supply from her "sewing room with a house wrapped

searching for authors and editing, he's either flinging


around it:' near Toronto.

watercolors at paper or banging on an electric guitar.

Printed in the U.S.A.



After all, he gets to travel the land in search of

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Postmaster: Send address changes to Threads, The Taunton Press, Inc., 63 South Main St., P.O. Box 5506, Newtown, CT





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Copyright 2002 by The Taunton Press, Inc. No reproduction without permission of The Taunton Press, Inc.


The InspiratTaunton ion for hands-Press on living'·

We welcome your comments, criticisms, advice, and ideas. Letters may be edited


for brevity and clarity. Please write to: Threads Letters, 63 S. Main St., PO Box 5506, Newtown,



Founders, Paul and Jan R oman


or via e-mail:






Chief of Operations Finance Director Publisher, Magazines

tried it out!

Publisher, Magazines

I like your "Try it out" suggestions, and I

John Lively Thomas Luxeder Timothy Rahr Jon Miller

Sarah Roman

made one of my own. While I was making

Publisher, Books

James Childs

Editorial Director

Marc Vassallo

two large pillows for my mother's sofa, I

Creative Director

happened to read the article on

"5 95).


Human Resources Director Controller

Bound Buttonholes" (Threads, No.

Technology Services Director

The result was Unconventional Bound

Susan Edelman Carol Marotti Wayne Reynolds Edward Kingston

Promotion Director

Steve n Turk

Associate Ad Sales Director

Jeff Dwight

Buttonholes on pre-quilted fabric for the

Redef i n i n g heroism

backs of the pillows. I made the lip fabric

I couldn't help sending in my two cents

especially wide, so I could turn it under

about the editorial note in Letters (No. 98)

and stitch it down on the inside. The pil­

regarding the events of September 11th. I


lows turned out great, and the buttonholes

certainly don't argue with the important

Circulation Director, Ned Bixler

provided a good home for some hand­

work of police and firemen, doctors and

painted buttons.


President, Jan Roman


Director, Suzanne Roman

leaders. However, I'd hate to see my fellow

- Julia Jones, Sierra Vista, Ariz.

sewing enthusiasts regard their passion as "insignificant" in any way. There's plenty of outright heroism that goes unnoticed

THE TAUNTON STAFF Books: Marketing: Allison Hollen, Kathryn Dolson, Brandi Gabriele, El1en Williams. Editorial: Lori Runco, Helen

everyday: sewing for the sick, the grieving,

Alben, Peter Chapman, Carol Kasper, Carolyn Mandarano,

the disabled, the poor, and for churches,

Suzanne Noel, Jennifer Peters, Stephanie Ramp, Jennifer

community theater, and schools. And there's an even greater amount of subtle, yet equally powerful heroism. In the

Renjilian. Art: Paula Schlosser, Joanne Bisson, Nancy Boudreau, Wend; Mijal, Lynne Phillips, Carol Singer, Rosalind Wanke. Manufacturing: Thomas Greco, Michael Gyulay.

Business Office: Holly Smirh, Gayle Hammond. Legal:

sewing community, we take a nip here and

Carolyn Kovaleski. Magazine Print Production: Philip Van

a tuck there and send countless women to

iGrk, Nicole Anastas.


parties feeling happy and confident even though they're not a size

We celebrate cre­

Distribution: Paul Seipold, Aaron Lund, Mary Ann Costagliola, Leanne Dian, Deborah Greene, Linnea Ingram, Frederick Mannes, Raymond Passaro, Elsie Rodriguez,

ativity, individuality, and ingenuity. We em­

Alice Saxton, Rocco Toce.

Celebrati ng Sewers

body a tradition of hand-craftsmanship,

Finance!Accounting: Finance: Marcia Foster, Andrea

With this issue, Threads magazine

quality, and service, and feed souls just by

inaugurates Celebrating Sewers, a

passing the art and skill of sewing to an­

department that will appear from

other. It may not be dramatic enough [or

time to time, and, as its title suggests,

CNN, but it matters. It matters a lot.


celebrate individual sewers whose

- Dawn Jardine, Red Hook, N.Y.

work we find interesting and want to share with you. Turn to p.

to see

Henchcliffe, David Wasserman, Kathy Worth. Accounting: Patrick Lamontagne, John Vaccino, Irene Arfaras, Lydia Krikorian, Elaine Yamin, Carol Diehm, Margaret Bafundo, Dorothy Blasko, Susan Burke, James Post, Lorraine Parsons, Priscilla Wakeman.

Fulfillment: Patricia Williamson, Diane Goulart. Client Services: Jodi Klein, Nancy Knorr, Donna Capalbo, Renee Pagelson. Customer Service: Ellen Grassi, Carole Ando, Bonnie Beardsley, Katherine Clarke, Frances Denninger,

Serger i nfo, please

the work of a talented member of

I'm looking to buy my first serger within the

the next generation.

next 6 months and am looking at both Bern­ ina and Husqvarna Viking models. My phi-

Alfred Dreher, Monica Duhancik, Summerlily Gajdosik, Margaret Hicock, Barbara Lowe, Theresa Mazzacone, Eileen McNulty, Patricia Parks, Deana Parker, Patricia Pineau, Marylou Thompson. Data Entry: Anne Champlin, Madelaine Frengs, Debra Sennefelder, Andrea Sharrock, Betry Stepney.

Human Resources: Linda Ballerini, Christine Lincoln, Dawn Ussery.




Infonnation Technology Services: Applications Development:

Leslie Kern, Roger Seliga, Heidi Waldkirch, Gabriel Dunn, Kathy Martin. Robert Nielsen, Marjorie Omalyev. Linda Reddington, Lawrence Sullivan, Cynthia Zibelin. Desktop and

Network Support: Kenneth Jones, Michael Colonari, Michael Lewis, Jay Ligouti, Joseph Manganello, Jay Walker. Marketing: Renu Aldrich. Operations: Michael Capalbo, Lori Runco. Christopher

Moyet, Jeannette Pascal, Dorothy Simpson, Ward Willis.


Room: Michael Louchen. Geraldine Benno. Anna Pendergast. Norma-Jean Taylor. Maintenance: Susan Nerich, Alvin Jack. Lincoln Peters. Facilities: Mark Morehouse. Carlos Rosario. Promotion: Mary Beth Cleary, Stephanie Fagan. Maria

LaPiana. Promotion Print Production: Diane Flanagan. John Cavallaro. Taunton Creative and Editorial: Robert Goodfellow. Amy

Russo, Peter Lewis, Sarah Opdahl, Pamela Winn. Photography: Scott Phillips. Prepress: Deborah Cooper, Richard Booth, William Bivona. David Blasko, James Chappuis. Brian Leavitt. Chansam T hammavongsa. Advertising Production: Laura Bergeron. John Garofalo. Steven Molnar, Patricia Petro, Kathryn Simonds. Martha Stammer. Editorial: Steven Aitken. Taunton Direct: Nancy Clark. Deborah Johnston, David

Pond, Christine Rosato, Eileen Sheehan, Jeanne Todaro. Taunton New Media: Jodie Delohery, Philip Allard,

Christopher Casey, Mark Coleman, Ruth Dobsevage, Gary Junken. Timothy Murphy, Rita Scanlan. Karen Vias. Taunton Trade Company: Susan Shaw, Director; John

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Fabulous Fit® TheChanges PatentedShape Fittinasg System Often As YOU Do! S ao M o A L a5 L 3 T 649 o 4 P # L 2 1 U 2 S 3 4 S 33 ' I �e;�, 'Ii"j ! Z ,�, �/ o o E ��'"� a S ", j


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about their pursuits. Written by practicing experts in the field, Taunton Press magazines provide authentic, reliable information supported by instructive and


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Our books are filled with in-depth information and creative ideas from the finest authors in their fields. W hether you're practicing a craft or engaged in the


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SpecialDressmakers s for Stores, Artists, $40 - $20

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(co ntinued)

O n t h e road Threads will have a booth at the show

listed below. If you attend, please stop by to say hello. The Sewing and Stitchery Expo Sponsored by Washington State University. less scarf' in issue No. 97, and Bird Ross

Western Washington Fairgrounds


from the original edge of the garment 1 . 5 in.

(also a "petite" from Madison, Wisconsin! )

and then 1 . 375 in., fold twice, then topstitch

Puyallup, Wash.

talking about wearing a dress upside down

at 1 . 2 5 in. This will then maintain the mea­

Feb. 28, March 1-3

in Threads No. 94.

surements on the left front.

9th Ave. S.w.

I have long been trying to come up with a


The actual technique is very good, and I

losophy is to splurge on the best tools I can

submission for your Closures column about

enjoyed the whole article on tips.

afford so I can spend my time creatively us­

the ancient Singer pedal machine inherit­

whole magazine.) Can we have more tips

ing machines instead of fighting them in

ed from my grandmother but haven't been

articles please?


enjoy the

frustration. I'm sure I'm not the only reader

able to ship out from India yet. Someday

-Cynthia Read, Okehampton,

who would appreciate an article on serger

I'd also like to submit an article proposal to

Devon, England

basics (different ways they can be used,

you about the techniques of neighborhood

where to get special patterns if needed, es­

tailors in South Asia who churn out per­



Senior Editor David Co

n replies: Well, you're

sential features, etc.) and comparisons by

fectly fitted blouses, salwar-kamiz sets,

right about our instructions, and your cor­

brand/model. Please consider this topic for

etc. for ordinary people, every day.


rection for the right side of the placket seems

an upcoming issue.

planning to go to India in November and

accurate, too. I couldn't use your left hand

would have taken some preliminary pho­

suggestions, because I didn't know where

tos, but I am canceling my trip due to the

"the original edge of the garment" was, so I

international situation.)

came up with these measurements:

-Rebecca Deming Rumpf, Charlotte, N.C. Editor Carol Spier replies:

Anyway, I'm dashing this off before my

Many sewers, myself

sleeping toddler awakens. It's time I ac­ knowledged the years of inspiration, fun,

CF, then topstitch at 1 \4 in. from the edge.

and instruction you have provided. Thank

This puts the CF

Your suggestion for an

you and please keep it up!


"to-do" list.

-Sagaree Sengupta, Madison, Wis.

placket instructions on a shirt blouse

I hope you continue to enjoy Threads.


am just starting to make. Please see the instructions on p. 57 of Threads No. 97.

whelmingly my favorite magazine to buy

If you follow the instructions you can­

and read. It keeps me thinking about sewing

not maintain the original center front (CF)

when I don't have time to do it, and im­

and you lose some of the width of the front

proves my work when I do get to sit down at

on the garment. I have calculated that you

the machine. I love the nitty-gritty, such as

need to extend to the new CF 1 . 5 in. rather

details on the insides of garments.

than the .5 in. to maintain the original



feel that I am not alone in my wacky textile enthusiasms when I see things like the "end-


ry about our inaccuracies. We will definite­ ly have more tips articles in the future, and

I am planning on using the cool mock

have many interests (literature being my

in. from the edge.

Thanks for your e-mail, and I am very sor­

Mock placket correction

professional one), but Threads is over­


in. from

to be indispensable.

and we'll add it to our




included, find sergers

overview is a good one,

Pra ise for

Allow 3% in. from CF on the left side, then fold to the wrong side at 2 in. and

pattern dimensions. Also, for the left front you need to extend


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Ti P s Share a tip, a

Giddy up, sti rrup

useful trick, or

pa nts

When you remove the sam­


ple, the remaining chalk cir­

a great sewing or

Stirrup pants are out of


style, and waders and

resource. Send

Capri pants are in. So

details, sketches,

why not cut the stirrups

photos, or samples

off and renovate those

(if you like) to:

old stirrup pants into

-Dawn A. Jardine,

Threads Tips,

something chic? It's easy:

Red Hook, N.Y.

PO Box 5506,

Determine where you

cle is a perfect gUide for plac­ ing the hoop to begin your embroidery, ensuring that the design i s where you

1 . Cut off stirrup.

want it.

Newtown, CT

want the new hem to fall.

Pins a n d needles,


Most of the shorter pants

Part I

or via e-mail:

have IS-in. to 2 2-in. in­

I keep one of my favorite

seams-they are more flat­

scented candles (the soft type

Be sure to include

tering if they cover the

that comes in its own con­

a phone number

widest part of the calf. Yet

tainer) near my sewing ma­

in case we have a

they are not so long they

chine. I store my needles

question. We'll

look like pants that are

with their points down in

pay for each item

just too short.

we publish.

Trim your pants to be

2. Resew bottom 5 in. of side seams, narrowing seams by in. at hem foldline.

using them, which keeps them rust-free and lubricat­

desired length, and serge

ed. And my sewing room

the cut edge. Press under

smells great, too.

the I-in. hem. To shape

-Beverly Hilton,

the hem and help it lie flat,

Pembroke Pines, Fla.



1·in. hem

in. at the

Pins a nd needles,

foldline (see the drawings

Part II

at right).

I use a bar of soap to hold

-Evelyn L. Blake, Roanoke, Va.

and a method to place it on the

pins and needles. They glide right

garment: First, always stitch a test

through fabrics ( even canvas).

Don't em broider that

sample on the fashion fabric. Make

-Anna Victoria Reich,

desi g n , yet!

sure to use the identical stabiliz-

Albuquerque, N.M.

There are two mistakes that you

ers, tensions, threads, and so on

definitely want to avoid when do-

that you'll use in the final product.

No a lterations needed

ing machine embroidery. The first

Press thoroughly, using the same

As time passes, I find that some of

is not making a sample with your

settings and amount of steam. After

my favorite patterns have gotten a

actual fabric and threads, only to

stitching the design but before re-

little snug. I solve this problem by

learn later that everything shrinks

moving the sample from the hoop,

stitching with 'A-in. seam allow-

at a different rate when pressed,

use chalk to draw a line around

ances instead of the usual %-in. in-

leaving your garment puckered and

the inside wall of the hoop direct-

dicated on my pattern. I only do

unwearable. The second mistake

ly on the sample. Then remove the

this on the side seams, which is

is starting to machine-embroider

hoop, and cut out the sample along

usually enough to do the trick (re-

a deSign, only to realize that the

the chalk line.

member to use a \I;-in. seam on any

design is not placed exactly where you want it.


the candle wax when I'm not

I in. longer than the new

nip in the side seam ap-



Now position the sample on the

underarm sleeve seam, too). Now I

garment, and pin it in place. With

have the extra room I need without

Here's a way to accurately pre-

chalk, mark along the edge of the

making any pattern alterations.

diet how the embroidery will look

sample directly on the garment.

-Cynthia Dunn, Nederland, Colo.



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f e bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2

1 5

Questions Do you have a

Adapt a pattern for bias


q u estion of general

How do

interest a bout

for the straight grain offabriC so

sewing, q u i lting,

cut it on the bias? Which styles work

e m bell ishing, or a

well, and which should be avoided?

ga rment-rel a ted

change a pattern designed



-Beth Lewis, Kingston, N.l.

C H A N G E S T R AI G H T O F G R A I N TO BIAS Here 's an easy way to re-mark the grainline on a pattern piece. The diagonal fold becomes the new straight grainline.

craft? Send it to: Threads Questions,

Marcy Tilton replies: Cutting a gar­

63 S. M a in St.,

ment on the bias takes more fabric

PO Box 5506,

and requires more ease than a

Newtown, CT

straight-of-grain layout, but the fluid,


elegant results are worth it. Good

or v i a e - m a i l

styles to adapt for the bias include


A-line skirts, tank or shell tops, and simple flared tank or shift dress­ es. Don't try cutting a straight skirt or dress on the bias; the fabric will flare naturally at the hem, so you'll

1. Draw line perpendicular to lengthwise straight grainline. 2. Fold tissue so two lines align. 3. Mark along diagonal fold for new straight grainline. Draw second line perpendicular to new straight grainline.

lose the garment's straight lines. A secret to making bias garments is to allow plenty of ease, more than

seam allowances. I use 1 �-in. seam

the pattern recommends. Since bias

allowances on the center front and

of a sleeve to balance the bias and

stretches on the body, a bias cut

back and 2 to 3 in. on the sides be­

prevent twisting and stretching.

tends to reveal curves and bulges.

cause once cut, the fabric will stretch

On a collar or yoke, a center seam

Especially when cutting an entire

in length and narrow in width.

is optional.

garment on the bias, build in extra ease so it won't be too revealing. Eliminate center folds by adding

S A M P L E L AYO U T FO R B I A S Cut out a bias garment o n a single layer o f fabric; slant pattern pieces at right angles to each other.


If a skirt or dress is cut on the

You'll need to mark a new straight

bias without a center seam, the gar­

grainline on the pattern so that

ment can stretch and twist, growing

when you cut, the original straight

longer on one side at the hem be­

grain falls on the fabric's bias. The

cause the crossgrain dominates on

Simplest way is to use a right-angle,

one side and the lengthwise grain

45-degree triangle, aligning one

on the other. A center seam bal­

short edge with the original grain­

ances the bias so the grain is the

line and drawing in a new grainline

same on both sides, and the gar­

on the long edge of the triangle.

ment hangs evenly (you can get

Or follow the directions in the top

away without it on a small top).

drawing to establish the new grain­

Make full copies of your pattern

line by folding the tissue. To bal­

to preserve the original, and build

ance the grain, the pattern layout is

wider allowances into the bias ver­

important. Cut the fabric with pat­

sion. If cutting the front and back

tern pieces at right angles to each

with a center seam, make separate

other in a mirror image going

left and right pattern pieces. For a

around the body. Whenever pos­

front and back without a center

sible, cut bias garments with all

seam, make full pattern pieces (no

lower edges toward the same end of

fold). Eliminate faCings and use bias

the fabric.

binding at neck and armholes. Consider cutting collars, yokes, pockets and sleeves on the bias,



too. Add a seam at the center length

Marcy Tilton's article "Bias 1 0 1 " ap­ peared in


No. 76, pp. 34-39.

B as i cs We've set aside this


s pace to explain


sewing techni q u es and terms that m a y

by Lucky Weddigen

not b e f a m i l i a r to everyone. If you've

Adding a lining to a garment is a

ever been stu m p e d

step worth taking. It will not only

b y an instruction

reduce any transparency of your

to "clean-finish the

fashion fabric, but it can increase

edge" or "find

the life of your garment, help main-

A contrasting lining on the inside of a jacket creates a little surprise.

the true b ias;' this

tain its shape, protect it from per-

The author used dotted silk charmeuse to l i ne a wool-satin, striped jacket

col u mn should b e

spiration and soil, make it more

but used a less expensive lining in the sleeves, si nce it won't show a nyway.

a handy reference.

comfortable and easier to wear, and provide an elegant inside finish.

there are other fabrics a s well that

such as the skirt of a wedding dress.

There are lots of choices available

you can choose to use inside a gar­

Acetate fabrics can also crock, or

in lining fabrics nowadays, and for

ment. Let's look at the options,

transfer dye when rubbed, so be

the best results, choose one that's

keeping in mind that a lining

careful of using dark colors next

compatible with your fashion fab­

should be slippery, flexible, color­

to light colors or next to fair skin.

ric and with the type of garment

fast, durable, wrinkle-resistant, and

Polyester linings are washable

you're making. There are several

comfortable to wear. Also, the care

and available in various weights

requirements for a lining should

and weaves. Unlike acetates, they

be the same as for the outer fabric.

take stress very well. Some are rec­

fabrics deSignated for linings, and



ognizable by brand name, for ex­ m i g ht find

ample, Hang Loose (taffeta) and

i n the l i n i n g department

Hang Free (satin finish), which are

Most traditional lining fabrics are

the only polyester linings I know of

either crisp taffeta or a softer

that have a permanent anti-static

sheath lining in acetate, polyester,

property that will not wash away.

rayon, or silk (see the photo at left).

Rayon is a great fiber for linings

Natural fibers, like silk, and those

because it's breathable and wears

made with a natural base, like ray­

very well. My favorite is called Am­

on or acetate, will breathe more

biance, made of Bemberg rayon,

easily but tend to wrinkle, while

which is lightweight, soft as silk,

synthetics wrinkle less but may feel

firmly woven, strong, washable,

clammy when worn.

easy to press, and cool to wear. It's

Acetate linings are common in

a little more costly than acetate and

ready-to-wear and are also available

poly linings, at around $ 7/yd., but

to the home sewer. They press very

it pairs beautifully with any type

flat and are inexpensive, but they

of fabric in most garments.

must be dry-cleaned. Acetate has a

The most common silk lining is

tendency to water-spot and discol­

China silk. It's very lightweight

or from perspiration, and an ac­

with no bulk, has a slightly crisp

Traditional lining fabrics are generally acetate, polyester,

etate lining may shred in areas that

hand yet drapes well, and is cool to

rayon, silk taffeta, or sheath lining. M ost are available

receive continuous abrasion, like

wear. It's a little fragile, however, so

generically, but some are identified by brand name: (1) acetate

pocket and sleeve hem edges, inner

it's not recommended for garments

taffeta, (2) Hang Loose poly taffeta, (3) H a ng Free poly

legs, and the seat of a coat. So it's

that receive a lot of wear. Habutai,

sheath l in i ng, (4) Ambiance rayon sheath l i n ing, and (5) China

best to use acetate linings in gar­

which is similar to China silk but

silk sheath lining.

ments that will have limited wear,

softer, can also be used as a lining.



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My main interest is (check one box only) but am free to choose from any category: Sewing ( 1 1 Cross titch Quilting (21 Natu recraft Decorative Woodcrafts n tting NeedlecraftslStitchery (6) t her (81

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fe bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2



(coo l ; o " , d )

L i n i ng s b y m a i l

Other fabrics that make

sweater knits and closely fitted gar­

flannel makes a warm lining in a

Felsen Fabrics

g reat l i n i ngs

264 W. 40th St. New York, NY 1 00 1 8 800-335-7367 www.

ments in stretchy woven fabric.

roomy garment like a barn j acket,

Linings don't have to be made from

The color selection may be limited

for example, too. It's soft, but a lit­

Fishman's Fabrics

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1 17 Fourth St. Royal Oak, M I 48067 248-5 4 1 -00 1 0 www. haberman fabrics. com

official lining fabric. Charmeuse,

in tricot, so i[ matching colors

tle stiffer than challis and always

j acquard, dress-weight crepe de

closely is important, try using a

needs pre shrinking.

Chine, washed silk twill, or broad­

rayon, silk, or poly lining that's cut

cloth can be j ust as suitable for

on the bias for stretch. Hang loose

L i n i n g tra nspa rent fabric

beautiful linings. Try a print or con­

is available in a stretch version but

Since the lining for a sheer or lacy

trasting color in one of these fabrics

has a limited color selection. And

fabric will show through the fabric,

to add a little pizzazz to your gar­

for lining lightweight knits, there's

the lining's color is an important

ment, as I did in the jacket on p. 18.

stretch illusion, which is very trans­

consideration. A skin-toned chif­

Cotton batiste or lawn can also be

parent and soft, and can be cut clean

fon, organza, or stretch illusion will

without finishing the raw edges.

give lace a transparent look. And

used [or lining some garments. Cot­ ton is cool, absorbent, and soft,

for a patterned sheer fabric, a

but it's not slippery, so it's most

L i n i n g for warmth

matching color of lining can sub­

suitable for lining fitted bodices

Flannel-backed satin linings, like

due a deSign, whereas a contrasting color can enhance it.


and other areas of a garment that

Kasha and Sunback, offer added

1 032 Sixth Line Oakville, O N, Canada L6H 1 W5 800-7 7 1 -7599 www.

don't need to slide to put them on.

insulation. They're heavier but have

Remember when you're lining a

When using cotton, always re­

good drape and are suitable for all

garment to consider the choice of

member to preshrink the fabric.

types of outerwear. Cuddleskin, a

lining fabric carefully. It can have a

Waechter's Silk Shop

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lightweight, soft, washable, brushed­

big e ffect on how your garment

L i n i n g knits

back poly charmeuse used for lin­

looks [rom the outside and cer­

a n d stretch fabrics

gerie, also makes a great lining for

tainly how it feels on the inside.

Knits and stretch wovens, when

dressier garments like evening

lined, need a lining fabric that has

wraps (see the bottom right photo).

Lucky Weddigen, of Detroit, Mich., is

stretch as well (see the bottom left

Other options for a cozy, warm

the assistant store manager at Haber­

photo). Stretchy tricot, used main­

lining in loose-fitting garments are

man Fabrics in Royal Oak, where she

ly for lingerie, is a good choice [or

rayon, silk, or wool challis. Cotton

also teaches.

Stretchy fabrics need stretchy linings. Choose soft

For added warmth, flannel-backed fabrics, such as

knit fabriCS, like tricot (top) and stretch illusion

Kasha (top), and brushed-back fabriCS, such as

(bottom), when lining stretch wovens as well as knits.

Cuddleskin (bottom), are great lining choices.

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f e b r u a ry/marc h 2 0 0 2


F itting H e re's the p l ace to

several variations that have worked

get some answers

for me. For the sake of brevity, on­

to your fitting q uestions. If you have a better


solution than the



one we've given

am two sizes larger below the waist than above.

here, p lease write

have tried using a multisized pattern and blending

want to make a straight, sheath-style dress, but

and tell us. Send

the sizes, but the end result is less than

your q u estions


(incl u d e photos,

is there a way to make this work?



ly the back pattern is illustrated, but I find that I only need to make adjustments in the back. If neces­ sary, simply repeat the process in front, too. I find it easiest to use a fitted


sloper (otherwise known as a ba­

trying to put the wrong style on my body or

sic fitting shell) to gUide the re­ drafting process. In short, you'll

-Liz Gri ng, Warrenton, Va.

if poss i b l e),

combine the style of the purchased

comments, and

pattern with the fit of your shell,

sol u tions to:

or sloper. Purchase your fashion

Threads Fitting,


long as the adjustment between

ditional width at the sides. Thi.s

PO Box 5506,

top and bottom is evenly distrib­

excess will shift toward the center,

surements. The better the fit in

Newtown, CT

uted around the waistline and not

distorting the grainline with diag­

the shoulder, neckline, chest, and


added just at the side seams, says

onal wrinkles. To achieve a smooth

armhole, the fewer changes will

or v i a e-m a i l

fitting expert

Karen Howland

fit, you'll probably need to make

be needed in that area. The draw­

(th@ta u

(who's similarly-shaped), a fitted

minor changes in the design, such

ing at left below shows two typical

or semifitted sheath can definitely

as merging darts and/ or adding

sheath back patterns, one of which

work on your figure type. Since the

seams in the top portion of your de­

incorporates part of the waist dart

lower half is larger than the upper,

sign, so the process I'll describe is

in the center-back seam. To re­

more fabric width is clearly needed,

more of a redraft of the pattern

draft, redraw the center back so

but adding the extra width only at

than a simple adjustment.

it's straight. If you want to return

the side seams puts too much ad-

In the drawings on p. 24, I'll show

pattern by your upper-body mea­

to a shaped back seam after the

C O M PA RI N G S LO P E R TO S H E AT H PATT E R N Only the pattern back is shown since often adjustment to back is all that's needed. Sheath patterns With straight CB



Ali g n sloper to pattern With shaped CB

Choose pattern by upper­ body measurements, then Pattern align sloper top and bottom to center Align - back (CB) and waists neckline of pattern, at side. with waistlines aligned at side.



Match seams at CB and neck.

Bodice­ back sloper


Skirt­ back sloper



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F itt i n g


redraft, trace the shaped seam

Your bodice sloper won't be as wide

per over the pattern/ sloper combi­

back onto your new outline, mea­

as the skirt, even though the waist­

nation, and blend the seamlines as

sure the amount of change at the

lines of the bodice and skirt slopers

shown in the examples.

waist, and reduce your new dart

are equal. Blending the side seam

After altering your pattern to fit

shapes by this amount.

from the larger hips to the smaller

smoothly, you might also consider

Position a copy of your fitted

top at this point would be the same

adding some visual "weight" to the

bodice-back sloper over the pattern,

as blending between sizes on a mul­

upper half of your figure when you

matching the stitching lines at cen­

tisized pattern. Instead, slash and

wear your sheath, perhaps with a

ter back and shoulders at the neck

spread the bodice sloper in one of

collar or a scarf at the neck. A

edge. Next add the skirt-back slop­

the illustrated locations, and move

short, boxy jacket would also be

er, again matching center backs and

the side-bodice section so that the

an attractive addition to your outfit.

arranging the bodice and skirt

top and bottom side seams flow in


waistlines so they're level at the side

a continuous line. To draw your

Karen Howland

seams, as shown at right on p. 22.

new pattern, position tracing pa-

in Chillicothe, III.

R E D R A FT S H E AT H TO FIT S LO P E R In each variation below, the sloper is shown in a solid tint and the new pattern in outline form. Add wearing ease sloper-top side seam, as shown. Start with adjustment to back, and repeat on front if needed. Variation


Darts become princess seams ending in armholes.

Va riation


Darts become princess seams ending at shoulders.



in. or more) to each


Variation 3

Variatio n

Armhole princess seam ex­ tends to hem, incorporating part of waist dart control.

Darts and seams left unstitched for loose-fitting style. Add additional wearing ease at sides.

Close shoulder dart if desired.

Wea ring ease


writes and teaches

Cut seamline to hem.


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A whole-cloth vest provides a small surface on which to practice machine-quilting. A

simple pattern shows off a n elaborate design.

by Diane Gaudynski

achine-quilting dates back to the days of the treadle sewing machine but, until recently, traditional hand-quilting has al足 ways been the more honored and accepted method. But with updat足 ed stitching techniques, modern machines, and improved sewing accessories, today's machine-quil足 ters produce impressive results and have elevated machine-quilting to a new status. And why not use the sewing machine? It makes a nearly perfect, durable stitch and enables you to create more quilts in the same time it takes to produce one by hand. I'll show you how to hone Set aside your hoop and thimble for free-motion machine quilting. Free-motion work

your machine-quilting skills to cre足

ta kes a little practice and requires some d ifferent preparation than hand quilting, but the

ate beautiful quilts and garments

results are spectacular.




QU I LTI N G BY MACH I N E Perfect tech n iq ues prod uce work

a han d - q u i lter wou l d e nvy

filled with lots of wonderful stitch-

at right). Free-motion quilting takes

ing designs, and introduce you to

a little practice, but you'll be prac-

the tools and supplies that will

ticing as you quilt, since most pro-

make the process much easier.

jects repeat a design or quilting pattern several times, and repeti-

Free-motion q u i lting puts

l15� t:-08gr .l'0.���� � 15if2

tion builds skill. Because you may

the same hole, but so small they're

you in the driver's seat

not want to dive into a large piece

only about a needle's thickness

mimics traditional

Straight-stitching by machine with

right away, I've included a series of

apart. Then increase the stitch

quilt designs, like

Free-motion quilting

a walking foot (which allows the

warm-up exercises on pp. 32-33

length. I generally like to use a

feathers, echo

layers of the quilt to feed evenly as

that you can do on a smaller scale.

stitch length of about 2mm. But

quilting, and stippling,

they're sewn) works fine for quilt-

They should help you coordinate

keep these rules of proportion in

because you can move

ing simple overall grid patterns or

the speed of your sewing machine

mind: The finer the thread (and

the q u i lt back and forth

rows of straight lines. But in order

with the movement and speed of

I'll talk about thread choices in a

and up and down freely

to mimic the intricate traditional

your hands to produce nice, even

moment), the smaller the stitch

under the presser foot.

quilt designs that I love (see the

stitches. Work through the entire

length; the heavier the thread, the

garment and quilts on the facing

series, and, as you stitch, try to fo-

bigger the stitches can be.

page), I lower the feed dogs on my

cus on where you're heading in the

As you free-motion-quilt, your

machine (those tooth-like bars un-

design, rather than on the needle.

hands act as a hoop to keep the

der the needle plate that grip the

Also, learn to vary the speed of the

fabric taut under the needle so

fabric and move it along as it's

machine with each exercise.

pleats and puckers don't form. But

sewn) to do free-motion quilting,

Practice starting and stopping

avoid using your hands to press

moving the quilt fabric around un-

with the feed dogs lowered, as well.

down on the quilt or to push or

der the needle with my hands.

Begin with the needle inserted in

pull it as you go. 1 use my fingers,

Whether I'm completing a gar-

the quilt and the presser foot down,

not my flat hands, to control the

ment or a large quilt, free-motion

take one stitch, give the top thread

quilt. I grip a fold of the quilt with my hands, and use my two oppos-

quilting allows me to add surface

a gentle tug, and pull the bobbin

texture with curved feather shapes

thread to the top of the quilt. Hold

ing index fingers and thumbs to

and loops as well as straight lines

the two threads gently with a bit of

put tension on the quilt. I can lift

and grids, or to cover an area with

tension so a loop doesn't form on

and move the quilt with my fin-

echo quilting, stippling, or mean-

the back of the quilt. Take about six

gertips, which have more dexterity

dering stitches (see the photo

or seven very small stitches, not in

than my whole hand, and I get

THREADS O N L I N E VIsit www.Threads to see a video of Diane Gaudynskl creating her tiny, preCise, machlne­ quilted stipple stitch.

fe bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2


The choice of batting determines the

Safety· pin basting works perfectly for

quilt's look. For the flattest quilts, choose

machine quilting. Pin every


in. to 5 in.

Set the sewing machine bed flush with a tabletop or cabinet

a batt like Fairfield's Cotton Classic; for

apart in areas where there are no quilting

top for easier quilting. The

thin, soft quilts with less shrinkage, choose

l ines, and remove pins as you quilt. Pin

author places a table leaf to the

Qui lter's Dream Cotton ; and for more loft,

carefully around designs, or the quilt top

left and back of the machine to

try Hobbs' Heirloom wool.

will shift and stretch with quilting.

support the quilt.

greater control without putting a lot

sure the needle is down in the fab­

portant as well when making

of tension on my wrists and hands.

ric and your foot is completely off

quilts. Whenever possible, I cut

Of course, there are times when I

the gas when you stop to avoid

pieces and borders on the length­

may need to use my hands to press

irregular stitches.

wise grain to avoid stretching.

but I use my fingers as much as

Prepa ring the q u i lt

ing fabrics in hot, soapy water,

possible, gripping and lightly lifting

There's more to successful quilt­

dry them, then spray them with

the quilt at the same time so it

ing than stitching. Careful sewing

starch or fabric sizing, and press before cutting so the fabrics are

I prewash my quilt-top and lin­

down on the quilt to move it along,

moves smoothly. Don't be afraid

of the quilt top and proper stacking

to change the position of your

of the quilt layers are essential for

crisp and stable and the colors

hands to find what works best. But

good results. It's standard practice

won't bleed in the finished quilt.

when you do change position, or

to follow fabric grainlines in gar­

After stitching, I also press the

stop to take a short break, make

ment sewing, but grainline is im-

seams of the garment or quilt top

WA R M - U P E X E R C I S ES FO R M A C H I N E Q U I LT I N G Practice these exercises on a sample sandwich {about 1 5 in. by 1 8 in.} of the fabrics-top, bat­ ting, and backing-used in your project so you can work on stitching maneuvers and check tension, needle, and thread choices. A void turning the sample­ even though you can­ to get used to the fact that you won 't be able to turn a larger piece as you stitch it. Instead, mark north, south, east, and west compass points on the sample, and keep those points square as you stitch.



Exercise l in es


Loops a n d

Small, curvy shapes are the easiest type of free-motion quilting. Stitch some loops in all directions (right, left, up, and down), connecting them with curvy lines. On larger shapes, speed up the machine to keep pace with your hand movements. Also practice stitching straight lines, which are the most difficult to quilt evenly. Stitch up, down, and side­ ways without turning the quilt.

Exercise s h a pes


Fam il i a r

Without marking them first, quilt some simple shapes and designs that you 're familiar with and that you can draw-like stars, clouds, animals, and trees. Finally, write your name. You'll find your quilted signature looks much like your own handwriting.

Exercise 3. Shrubbery Stitch rows of shrubbery to practice double stitching, or back-tracking, over a line of stitches to get to an­ other area. Stitch up each branch then down on the same line of stitching. Sew faster on the first pass and slower on the second as you strive to make your double stitching almost undetectable. Use a small stitch length, from 1 % in. to 2 in.

<'3rfcill, '0.o� '"

c (ij


Try it o u t ! Why not make a small doll or

percent poly batts tend to do, and

cradle q u ilt with free-motion

as flat as possible so the fabric

they shrink from 1 to 5 percent

stitching? Rule off a reg ular

around the seams won't pleat up

when the quilt is washed, which

border, and compose a sweet

and pucker during the qUilting

gives it a nice texture and antique

motif for the center.

process. I want the entire top lay­

look. This overall textured effect

er of my quilt or garment to be as

also tends to forgive any areas that

with spray starch to make them

crisp and flat as it can before it's

may have puckered as well. But if

layered with batting and backing.

you want a flatter, smoother look to

Choosing a batting is also im­

your quilts or garments, preshrink

new basting sprays on the market

portant for successful quilting. Not

the batting before you start to quilt.

work well, too. Be sure to carefully

only does it affect the final look of

To layer a quilt for stitching, work

follow the instructions on the can.

the quilt, it also makes a huge dif­

on a large table, if possible. First

ference in how easily the quilt will

spray the backing fabric with a lit­

Setting up

handle in the machine. I like cot­

tle starch (this makes the fabric

the sewi ng m ach i n e

ton, cotton/poly-blend, and wool

slide more easily as you stitch),

The proper sewing-machine set-up

M a ch i ne-qu i lt i n g

batts (see the photo at left on the

then press it. Secure the backing

will save you a lot of back and neck

su ppl ies b y m a i l

faCing page). They each produce

fabric to the table with tape or

pain as you quilt, and help give su­

Pinetree Quiltworks

distinct looks and behave differ­

clips, being careful not to stretch or

perior quilting results. I recom­

ently in the machine. The cotton

distort the grain. Smooth the bat­

mend setting your machine down

and blended batts are thin, so the

ting delicately over the backing,

in a cabinet or table so the sewing

qUilt can be rolled or gently fan­

add the top, and secure the layers

surface is about 30 in. from the

folded to fit in the arm of a ma­

together. I use safety pins and pin

floor and extending the surface

chine. These batts won't slip and

every 4 in. to 5 in. (see the center

area around the machine as well

slide between the fabric like 100-

photo on the facing page), but the

to support the quilt. A table leaf to

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Echo q u i lt i n g

Ouilt around a shape; then outline the shape with continuous rows of quilting that are evenly spaced about in. apart. Practice keeping your eyes on the previous row as you stitch the next one.



Exercise Stippl i n g a n d meandering These irregular patterns are used as fill. Rows closer than in. are called stippling. Rows further apart are con­ sidered meandering. Practice draw­ ing these before you try to quilt them. Then stitch a few lines, echo them, add some bumps, and echo them. Add more bumps, echo, and continue until the space is filled. Work away from yourself, so you can see to gauge the spacing for the next line.





Traditional quilting designs, like feathers, require various stitching speeds to produce nicely rounded shapes and smooth double stitching. Stitch the feather's "spine" down the center of the design first, then the feathers on each side. Ouilt the be­ ginning of each feather quickly; slow down and back-track over it to begin the next feather.

fe bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2


the left and one at the back works

ances and other bulky areas. I pre-


well, or place a small table or iron-

fer the open-toe free-motion foot,


ing board next to your machine

because it allows more visibility

table ( see the photo at right on

as you stitch.

Stitches that are properly balanced should look the same on the right and wrong sides of the quilt.

right height, you can comfortably

your machine for burrs or nicks; if

rest your arms on the quilt or table

you find any, replace the plate or

and have greater control while ma­

have it filed down by a sewing-ma­

U pper tension too tight

nipulating the quilt with your fin­

chine repair shop. Preferably, use a

Various free'motion feet

gertips. Keep the bed of the ma­

straight-stitch throat plate with a

available from machine


p. 3 2 ) . When the table is at the

Check the throat plate opening of


single small hole, because it han­

dealers make quilting easier.

smooth and slippery so the quilt

dles the bobbin thread better than

They a l low the quilt to move

will slide easily as you sew. To do

a zigzag plate to maintain the stitch

freely under the foot and let you

this, clean the sewing surfaces with

quality on the back of the quilt.

see what you're quilting.



warm, soapy water or white vine­ Correct tension

gar. You can also rub the sewing

Bala nce the tension for

thread, and use a large needle, like

surface with a drop of sewing ma­

evenly formed stitches

a No. 80 universal or quilting nee­

chine oil, rubbing it in well to make

Properly balanced machine tension

dle. The eye on this size needle is

it smooth and slippery.

produces stitches that look the

large enough for the thread to fit

same on both sides of the quilt. I

through, but not so large that the

Mach i n e featu res that

believe the most common problem

thread will fray. However, if you're doing close, traditional-style quilt­

making q u i lting easier

that machine quilters experience

Start with a good, tuned-up sewing

in free-motion quilting is an upper

ing, as I do in my quilts, choose a

machine. It doesn't have to be new,

thread tension that's too tight (see

very fine thread, like monofilament

but I've found newer machines have

the drawing at left). If the bobbin

nylon thread or No. 100 silk thread,

some features that make machine­

thread appears on the top, and the

and a No. 60 or 70 sharp needle.

quilting easier. The most important

line of stitches looks stretched and

Be careful with small needles, how­

thing your machine should have is

tight, try lowering the upper ten­

ever, because they break easily. If

excellent speed control, so you can

sion one stop at a time. I usually

you break one needle after the oth­

adj ust and change speeds easily

have my machine's upper tension

er, no matter what the size, you

with the foot pedal. It shouldn't

set on five, but when I'm doing

may be moving the quilt too fast for

race into fast speed, but should al­

free-motion quilting, I lower it to

the speed of the machine, so try

Iow a smooth progression. You

three. With different threads, this

speeding up the machine and slow­

should also be able to control the

adj ustment will vary: Usually with

ing down your hands.

tension on your machine, which I'll

cotton thread, I lower the tension

I use No. 60 two-ply cotton em­

talk about in a moment.

one stop, but with nylon monofil­

broidery thread in my bobbin. It

And you can't live without a free­

ament thread, I may lower it two or

prevents knots on the back and

There are lots of

motion presser foot that provides

three stops to get a nice line of

works beautifully with most top

options for thread

good visibility as you stitch and

stitching. A metal cone-thread hold­

threads. And the thread is espe­

and needles. Choose

doesn't clamp down on the throat

er (inexpensive and available at

Cially fine for double stitching (see

a thread that fits the

plate when lowered. Most ma­

most machine dealers, or see the

Exercise 3 on p. 32).

style of q u i lting, then

chines come with a darning foot

sources on p. 33) also helps control

There's one more thing that can

match the needle to

that's designed to be used with the

thread tension by letting the thread

make your free-motion machine

the thread. For

feed dogs lowered, and it can be

fall easily off the spool.

quilting more enjoyable and suc­

heavier cotton thread

used for quilting as well. But there

cessful. Learn to relax and have

and a casual look,

are several versions of a free-motion

Needles and thread

fun as you sew. You'll be surprised

use a large (size 80)

foot, available from various ma­

Choose the thread for the look you

at how your stitches respond.

needle; for fine

chine manufacturers (see the top

want and the style of quilting you're

monofilament and

photo), that work even better and

doing, then match the needle to

silk thread, choose a

leave a large space between foot

the thread (see the bottom photo).

Wis., and lectures and teaches work­

60 or 70 needle with

and needle plate so the quilt can be

If you're quilting on flannel, for ex­

shops around the coun oy. Visit her Web

a sharp pOint.

easily moved, even at seam allow--

ample, choose 40- or 50-wt. cotton

site at



Diane Gaudynski quilts in Peewaukee,



Sco rches, spi l ls, and snags d o happen . Here 's how t o make them go away. by Barbara Deckert

a spot cleaner, which will bleach

Sco rches

Let's face it: Irons can malfunction, we get distracted, and if we don't burn or melt holes in our garments, we some­ times manage to scorch them. When

woolens without yellowing. Alternate applications of detergent and water and then diluted hydrogen peroxide worked


for my husband's suit. Keep your iro n ' s soleplate

meticulou sly clean. A buildup of fibers,

scorches are superficial, we offer the

resins from f u si b le interfacings, and


starch and laundry-detergent resid ues

following first aid suggestions.

on your soleplate can actually cause spots on your garments. Sometimes it's all the gunk that sco rches, not the

La u nder or d ry-cl e a n t h e g a rment

fabric. U se an iron cleaner, available

As appropriate for the color and fiber

catalogs, i n a well-ventilated area





noti o n s

content of the garment, use liquid chlo­

regularly, at least once a m onth if you

rine bleach or dry bleach in the wash.

sew often. R u n the iron over a terry

If you take the garment to a dry clean­

towel, and pum p a blast of steam

er, be sure to point out the scorched

through the vents before you press a

spot and ask the clerk to be sure it will

garment since the steam vents can

be pretreated.

clog with i ron cleaner, which could cause spotting.

S pot-cle a n with detergent or spot remover

S a n d it

Follow the instructions under "Oil

thick and fuzzy woolen, you can some­

spills" for treating oil spots. For

times use fine sandpaper to lightly and

woolens, you can also try a solution of

carefully abrade the upper layers of

one-half hydrogen peroxide and one­

scorched fibers to reveal undamaged

Sandpaper helps remove scorched

half water on the scorch as you would

fabric underneath.


Use fine sandpaper. If a scorch i s o n a

as zigzag, blind stitch, and scallops or rows of simple embroidered motifs

Fusible i nterfacing bu bbles

such as arrowheads are attractive in contrasting thread. Plain stitches can be applied in rows, like trapunto, or in grids of either squares, rectangles, or diamonds. With a darning foot, you could also stitch freehand swirls and

Sometimes even when we carefully pre­

whirls. If you have an embroidery

shrink both fabric and interfacing and

machine, you could scatter small

fuse according to directions, interfacing

motifs evenly over the bubbled area.


can bubble with subsequent cleanings


as the fabric shrinks progressively.

can be tedious to sew with. Even if you use the special needles designed for

this use, these threads can shred or


Pull bubbled i nterfacing away from fashion fabric.

Beautiful topstitching threads

break frequently. To avoid this problem,

Particularly if you have a press or if

wind the bobbin of your machine with

you simply use lots of s�eam and

the decorative thread, and use regular

elbow grease, a good press will often


remove the bubbles, at least until you

interfacing side of the garment piece

clean the garment again.

with your stitching design; then stitch


the needle.

Mark the

with the interfacing up and the right

Qu i lting or topstitch i n g

will be perfect, with no marks to

Quilt o r topstitch the area to disguise

remove from the right side.

side of the fabric down. Your stitching

the bubbles. There are so many beau­ tiful, decorative topstitching threads

Pu l l the layers a p a rt

available (metallics, shiny rayons, and

Press the area to soften the fusible's

variegated threads) that you may end

resin; then carefully pull the layers of

up thinking that bubbled interfacing

face fabric and fusible apart. Allow

is a blessing and an opportunity to be

the area to cool and dry, and do not

creative. Even if you have a simple

re-press. The interfacing will now

machine, rows of utility stitches such

behave like a sew-in one.

Avo i d i n g b u bb led i nterfaci ng

• •

Preshrink both your garment fabric and

use steam only from your iron to further

the interfacing.

shrink the interfacing. You should be able

Allow your iron to heat up thoroughly.

to see the interfacing shrivel up as you

Many models take 10 m i n utes or more.

steam it. If necessary, lift the interfacing

For most fusibles, the instructions for

and reposition it to keep it flat.

fusing state that your iron needs to be set to "wool" or higher so it will produce steam. If the fabric you wish to fuse must be pressed at a lower temperature, such

• •

Use a press cloth when you fuse. This keeps resins off your soleplate, and it

• • •






pressing motion, instead of a back-and­ forth ironing motion as if you were getting out wrinkles. Allow the fused fabrics to cool thoroughly before handling. If possible, launder better garments in

slightly insulates the interfacing from the


intense heat of the iron.

Laundering in cool water and air-drying





Use a plain cotton ironing board cover.


Avoid the metallic or Teflon kinds because

shrinkage, which can cause bubbling as a





i m mediately



interfacing in position over the fabric, and






interfacing, which might cause bubbling.




Press the area of the garment to be

as nylon, use a sew-in i nterfacing instead.







interfacing shrink at different rates.


Use water i n a uti l ity sprayer


S m ashed pile

Using water in a utility sprayer, damp­ en the area, gently massage it with your fingers, and lightly re-press. Always test for water spotting on dry-clean­

If you don't press pile fabrics over a velvet or needle board or over a towel,


you're likely to crush the nap.


only fabrics. Try using steam and using water

i n a utility sprayer to remove crease

lines where fabric was folded onto a bolt. Or



crease with a

Wash o r steam

solution of one-half white vinegar and

For washable fabrics, simply wash and

o ne-half water (test o n a scrap first)

machine-dry the garment to fluff up

and press. You can also s pray starch,

the pile. For dry-clean-only garments,

which seems to beef up the worn fi bers

use steam only from your iron or a

alo n g the crease. Its sheen d i s tracts

steamer. Steam will make the pile

from the visibility of the crease.

"bloom" before your very eyes; you can use a stiff-bristled clothes brush to help matters along.


O i l spi l l s

Press marks

Overly enthusiastic pressing will leave

sewing area clean or how judiciously you clean and lubricate your machine, there will always be those times when an oily wad of fuzz comes unexpect­

and fibers, and other unwanted creas­

edly flying out from inside the machine


just pretreat and launder many gar­

Use ste a m

garment to the dry cleaner, here are

Use steam only, and brush the area


and lands on your garment. You can't ments that are afflicted with the heart­ break of oil stains. Before you take the

with your fingers or a clothes brush. The steam will fluff up the area and


usually eliminate the marks.

some methods to try.

Powdered cha l k Remember to let your iron d o

You may have a supply of white, pow­

the work whe n you are pressing. Don't

dered chalk handy in your little chalk

put too much elbow grease into the job

marker, the kind that uses a serrated

or you will get press marks. I ndustrial

wheel to leave a narrow trail of chalk on

irons are much heavier than home

fabric to mark it. If you have a chalk­

irons. They make your arm tired by the

type hem marker or a refill for one, use

e n d of a d ay of pre s s i n g , but the

some of that. Just sprinkle the chalk

weight exerted by the iron in use is

over the oil spot, allow it to sit a while,


and brush away the chalk. This method

erratically strenuous exercise o n the

seems to work best on light-colored

part of the operator.

fabrics with light-colored oil spots.

eve n ,




No matter how carefully you keep your

ridge lines, smashed-looking threads es and marks on garments.

Often a q u ick spray makes imprints go



Oil spots happen.

Dish detergent

chalk type, some are sprayed on, and

Even when the fabric i s dry-clean-only,

some are dabbed on. I like the kind

I have had excellent results by using a

that contains dry-cleaning fluid. You

dishwashing detergent that is adver­

must use these with adequate ventila­

tised to "break up grease on contact."

tion, and always test them on a scrap.

This is always safe to use on polys and nylons, but even on acetate and silk duchesse satin, I have not had any problems with water spotting or rings. Nevertheless, always do a test sample on a scrap. To spot-clean, lay the oil-stained area

Fine fabrics snag easily.

Pu l ls an d snags

over a clean, light-colored towel. Cover

Pulls on woven fabrics occur when one

your index finger with another towel,

thread gets caught on something and

run the tip under the faucet to moisten,

forms what looks like a line across the

and dab it on the typically soapy spout

fabric. You can often stroke them out

of the detergent bottle. The idea here is

with a fingernail. Snags on knits need

to use just a little water and a tiny dab

to be pulled inside of the garment to

of detergent. Gently scrub the stain,

avoid unraveling. Do not clip them, or

keeping the water and detergent mix­

you may end up with holes.

ture as isolated from the rest of the garment as possible. When the stain lifts, use a clean area of the towel, wet


it, and use your fingertip to "rinse" out

The "knit picker"

the detergent. Finally, blot the area be­

A knit picker is an itty-bitty latch hook

tween two layers of clean towels, and al­

available from sewing-supply stores

low the area to dry.

and notions catalogs. To use one, in­


sert the hook from the wrong side of When you clean and lube your


(which you


the garment, hook the snag, close the


latch, and gently pull the snag to

rig ht?), take care to use a b rush to

the wrong side of the garment. Rub

remove lint and fuzz from aro u n d all of

the right side of the area with your

the thread guides and moving parts,

fingernail to smooth.

even if your machi ne is electronic and doesn't routinely require lubri cation.

Need le a n d thread

The wads of fuzz that collect with dirt

Insert the threaded, eye end of a needle

and dust plus l u bricant residues are

from the wrong side of the garment

what cause black oil stains.

through the base of the snag. Manipu­

Spot removers

late the snag into the loop formed by the eye end of the needle and the

There are a number of good spot re­

thread, then grasp both the needle and

movers that are available from notions

thread underneath, and pull the snag to

catalogs, dry-cleaning-supply catalogs,

the wrong side.

and your local grocery store. Some are

Adapted from Sewing


Practical and Creative Rescues for Sewing Emergencies by Barbara Deckert

Published in 2001 by The Taunton Press, 63 South Main St, Newtown, CT 06470; www.; 800·888-8286 $24.95, hardcover with enclosed spiral, 1 60 pages, with color photos and drawings


S eamed o r sea m l ess, u n d e rw i red o r n ot, v i rt ual ly any bra can be a patternand you d o n 't eve n h ave to take it apart by Beverly J o h n son

oesn't it seem that every time you find the perfect bra, it's discontinued be­ fore you have a chance to stock up? Or perhaps you want to copy a comfort­ able bra in different materials. Whatever your reasons for wanting to make a pattern from an existing bra, the method I'll show you is quick, easy, and accurate. In most cases, you won't need to take the original bra apart-although, if it has underwires, you'll need to tem­ porarily slip these out so the cups can be laid flat. I 'll take you through my process step by step, covering both seamed and seam­ less cups. In "Bra-making supplies by mail" on p. 43, you'll find a list of suppliers with the bra-making materials you'll need, and in Threads No. 71 (pp. 36-40, or on­

line at www. you'll find more details on bra con­ struction. Let's start with basic bra anatomy, and find out whether your bra is worth copying. I'll also offer a few tips on tweaking the fit after your pattern is ready. Bra basics

All bras have some parts in com­ mon, and each of these parts plays

fe bruary/m a r c h 2 0 0 2


C l o n e b ra - patte r n s h a p e s by p i n n i n g t h e m flat

port of every other part. The band

On a paper-covered foam-core board or other flat, pinnable surface, pin each bra pattern section into

is the part of the bra that fastens

its full, original, flat shape, stretching any elasticized edges as necessary to allow the section to lie

around the rib cage. It may or may

flat. Only one-half of the bra needs to be copied, so be sure to work consistently from the same side.

an integral role in the fit and sup­

not have a center connector, or bridge, that holds the cups togeth­ er in the front. The band does 80 percent of the work in support­ ing the weight of the breasts (the straps only hold the upper half of the bra in place), and it's often be­ cause the elastic in the band dies that a bra is discarded. The cups hold the breasts i n

You can start with any secti on; these photos show the band.

Place pins at each end of the

stretch-direction marks to transfer these, and pin-mark the shape of the hook and eye panel at the

place, separated b y the bridge, al­ though sometimes there is no vis­

same time. Elastics are typically folded under along their seamlines, so the pins marking elasticized

ible bridge, because it's built into

edges are placed along the perimeter, not at the i n ner edge of the elastic.

the shape of the cups. Each cup may be a single piece of elastic fab­ ric, or it may be seamed from two or more pieces. You can copy either type of cup, but to duplicate a seamless bra cup, you'll need to add a seam to your copy.



There are two basic styles of bras: full-band or partial-band. In the full­ band bra, the band runs all around using a small ruler, and

the body, including under the cups,

label them so you'll be sure what gets attached

and the bridge is part of the band. In

no jagged or wobbly edges on any bra pieces,

to what. Note which edges are seams and which

the partial-band bra, the side bands

so smooth your l i ne around any mis placed or

have elastic applied, and mark where seams

end at the cups, and the bridge is a

moved holes.

intersect. For example, if a two-piece lower cup

After removing the pins, connect the pin holes

to outline the pattern s h ape. There are

Add seam al lowances

joins a one-piece u pper cup, add a dot to mark where the j u n ction should be positioned on the upper-cup seam line.

separate piece between them. If the cups d o n ' t fit, ch o ose another b r a t o c l o n e

I s your bra really worth copying? Many people I've talked to admit that even their most comfortable bras have fitting problems. Some of these problems can be easily ad­ justed for during the reconstruc­ tion, but not all. Look critically at the fit of the cups. The breast mass


Differentiate seam al lowances:

to-fabric seam allowances, and

should be fully contained within i n . for fabric-

in. for seams

with underwire channeling sewn to it. Allowances for elastic equal the width of the elastic being used. You can change elastic widths later, but it's less confusing if you dupl icate everything first.

Repeat the process for the cup

and all the

other parts of h alf of the original bra, being

the cups, with no bulges over the top, the sides, or underneath. The

careful to pin exactly at the seam l ines, and not

underwire at the cup's perimeter, if

at topstitching li nes.

there is one, should run around the outside of the breast, neither pushing into breast tissue, nor sit­ ting away from the breast toward the underarm. Ideally, the strap



l' I�c. iii'"a; £ci

a ifa00

should run in a more or less

nonstretch fabric; this area needs to

straight line from the bust point to

be rigid for correct support.

the shoulder; however, this can be

Pi n p i eces i n sect i o n s if t h ey w o n 't e a s i ly l i e f l a t

changed to a more appropriate lo­

Foam core m akes the bes t

Sometimes a piece on the origi nal bra (such as the upper

cation after the cloning is done, if

clon ing su rface

The primary tool for cloning your

cup i n this case) can't be flattened to the board because of

necessary. The band should b e snug around the body but not tight.

bra is a firm, flat, pinnable surface

If the fit of the cups is right and the

you can attach the bra to and pin

band is snug enough, the band will

into as you trace its outlines with

not ride up in the back. The bridge

pin pricks. I've tried many surfaces,

should fit flat against the chest

and there's one clear winner: foam

wall-this is a common area for a

core board, available from most

poor fit in a bra. For the bridge to

arts-and-crafts stores and office

lie flat against the chest wall, the

suppliers. The advantage of foam

cup volume must be adequate and

core is its stiffness; it holds pins

the bridge must be the correct

firmly, and each pin leaves a clear,

width for the span between the

easy-to-see hole. I prefer the � -in.-

breasts. Happily, adjustments can

thick foam core, but the �-in. board

be made to the bridge later. The

will do in a pinch. One standard­

cups are the most important ele­

sized, 20-in. by 30-in. sheet will ac­

ment of the whole bra, and while

commodate the largest bras.

minor changes can be made to the

You'll also need thin, see-through

fit of the cups, cloning a bra that

drafting paper; I use doctor's ex­

doesn't fit in the cups is useless.

other pieces connected to it.

Simply pin as much as you can flat. . .

amination-table paper, available at medical-supply houses. Don't both­

N o te and m ark the d i rection

er with freezer paper or brown kraft

of greatest s t re tch

paper, which aren't see-through, or

If you're satisfied with the fit of the

a synthetiC paper like Do-sew,

bra you want to copy, test each part

which won't show the pin-holes.

of the bra that stretches for give,

You'll also need glass- or plastic­

and draw an arrow on each piece

headed pins, a sharp pencil, and a

with a water-soluble marker to in­

small, transparent ruler. When

dicate the direction of greatest

you're ready to start, cover the

stretch, as I've done on the bra in

foam-core board with paper and

leaving in the most recently set pins to keep the piece from

the top photos on the facing page.

pin it in place.

sh ifting as you continue pinning the rest of the outline.

. . . then u n pin the beg i n n i n g t o free that end

o f t h e fabric,

The cups can be made of stretch or nonstretch fabric, depending on

F i rst, remove the u n derwire

the style and support level of the

To prepare the bra, you'll need to

original. If your cups are non­

remove the underwire, if there is

stretch, you'll still need to mark the

one, from one side of the bra. The

direction of the greatest give on

wire is easiest to remove and re­

these pieces so that, no matter what

turn to its original state if you un­

fabrics you use, you can match the

pick a few stitches at the center­

stretch on your bra to the original.

front end of the channel that holds

You'll also need to mark the

the wire and slip it out; it will go

center front with a ruler, from top

neatly back in place with a couple

to bottom, at the bridge, if there is

of rows of machine stitches when

one. If your cups are seamless, also

you're done. Be sure to make a trac­

Move across the enti re piece this way,

mark the bust apex on one cup

ing of the original wire, and send

fin ished section as necessary until the piece is finished.

with a dot. The bridge is always

the drawing of it to your bra-supply

nonstretch, whether made from in­

source, where it can be matched

terfaced fabric or two layers of a

up for wires in the same size.

releasing the

Ad d a sea m if you wa nt to c l o n e a s e a m l ess c u p Seam less cups are heat­ formed by the man ufacturer, a process that can't be duplicated at home. So to clone seamless cu ps, it's



FO R B RA C U P S As long as the seam passes through the bust point, bra cups can have seams oriented in any direction, whether diagonally, horizontally, or vertically.

necessary to add a seam, which m ust pass through

A diagonal seam runs from higher on the side to lower a t the front, starting anywhere in the armhole curve. This is the most common and flattering placement, both to the shape of the bust and for the look of the bra itself.

the bust point. Horizontal


A horizontal seam runs side to side, starting anywhere in the wire line or band area below the armhole. A seam in this position allows the lower cup maximum curve, but is not considered the most flattering seam orientation.

A vertical seam runs up and down, starting anywhere from the strap to the CF. A seam in this position flattens the cup below the point, creating a push-out effect to anything above it. The vertical seam offers the greatest support.

<"'ďż˝ Mark the bust point on the c u p.

Fold the cup to position a seamline where you want it,

making sure it

passes through the marked poi nt.

Mark the folded edge

soluble m arker.



with a water­

Pin one side of the cup

with the other

side folded under it, keeping the marker

If the fold does not pass through the bust point,

you won't be able to s mooth

the cup flat.

U n pin and trace the outline on paper.

Then flip the cup over, position it

line right at the fold and pinning right

elsewhere on the paper, and pin and

through the layers u nderneath.

trace the other side.

Clon i n g basics

As you can see in the photos, you'll copy your bra by systematically pulling each of its sections to its original flat-fabric size, stretching any attached elastic at the edges to allow the section to lie flat, un­




magazine. com for Cynthia Elam's artide ''The Bra Dilemma-Solved!" from Threads No. 71 .

cups from spandex, because they

Bra - m a k i n g

won't fit the same way. likewise, if

sou rces b y m a i l

the band is made from power net, you'll want to look for a fabric that offers the same firm stretch char­ acteristics. Your bra supplier should be able to help you with these choices.

stretched, just as it would have been

Once you make a trial bra, you

cut from yardage. You'll know you've stretched the attached elastic

Cloning a sea m l ess cup

may wish to fine-tune some of the

enough when all the wrinkles are

Seamless cups are shaped in the

fitting areas. Common areas for fit

gone from the fabric, but the fabric

factory by heat-setting the fabric

adjustments include the strap po­

itself is not stretched. You'll pin the

over a hot, breast-shaped mold. You

sition and the bridge width. You

fabric down that way, at its edges

can duplicate these molded cup

can easily move the strap position

along every seamline, and your pins

shapes simply by adding a seam, as

closer to the center front if the

will trace the outline of the piece

shown in the photos on the facing

straps are inclined to fall off the

with pin-pricks through the paper

page. First, put the bra on, adjust it

shoulder. The back strap position

underneath. Copy only one side of

to fit properly, and mark the bust

can be moved closer to the hook

the bra; you can use either side,

point. Next, choose a seamline di­

and eye, too.

but be sure to stay with it through­

rection for your clone, as shown

A telltale sign of needed bridge al­

out the cloning. Keep the top edge

in the drawings on the facing page.

teration occurs when the bridge

of the bra facing up when pinning

Whatever direction you choose, the

sits against the chest wall at the

and mark each piece as to its verti­

seam must pass through the bust

bottom, but proj ects at an angle

cal orientation, because the pieces

point. This is true for any cup

away from the body at the top edge.

are easily turned upside down and

seams on any bra. Once you've de­

This means the bridge needs to be

confused during construction.

cided on a direction, fold the bra

made wider at the bottom. There

Don't get seam lines confused

where you want the seam to be,

may even be horizontal stress

with topstitching, which is found

making sure it runs through the

marks on the bridge. To widen the

on every bra, and be observant

bust point. You'll know the fold is

base of the bridge, simply slash the

about possible seamline locations;

placed properly when the cup fab­

pattern piece from the bottom up

for example, often there's a short

ric lies as flat as possible. On an

to, but not through, the top edge

seamline on the band under the

older, stretched-out bra, the fabric

and spread the necessary amount,

cup area. Stick the pins fairly deep

might not lie as flat as on a new

then redraw the bottom edge.

into the fabric and foam core, about

one, but it will always lie flattest

I've found that the wider the bot­

Z\ in. apart and even as close to­

when the fold runs through the

tom-band elastic, the greater the

gether as

bust point.


in. in really complex

support and comfort level-no doubt because the band elastic pro­

areas. When the pinning is com­ Construction a n d fitting tips

vides most of the support in a bra.

connect the pinholes with a pencil

Once your pattern is made and cut

Most commercial bras use a stan­

to create a solid outline on the pa­

out, with all seam allowances

dard 3,t-in. elastic for all parts of the

per. These outlines, plus seam al­

added, check it for accuracy by

band, top and bottom. More ex­

lowances, will be the pattern pieces

abutting the pattern pieces at the

pensive, high-quality bras may use

for your new bra.

seamlines and "walking" one piece

Z\-in. elastic for the bottom band.

plete, you'll remove the pins and

You only need to pin-trace one­

around the adjoining piece. This

Except for very small cup sizes, I al­

half of the bridge, even if there's

ensures that all j oining seamlines

ways use Z\-in. or even t;-in. plush­

no center-front seam, in which case

are the same length, making ad­

back elastics for the bottom edge.

you'll cut the pattern (but not the

j ustments if necessary.

Now that you can make your own, why not go for the best?

fabric) on the fold. Be accurate

Make the cloned bra from fab­

about the center front and draw

rics that are as similar as possible

the center-front line with a ruler,

to the original. For example, if the

Beverly Johnson writes and teaches in

since this is an area where a little

original cups were Antron tricot,

Brampton, Ont., Canada. Visit her Web

misjudgment can spell disaster.

there's no point in making the new

s ite,

Bra-makers Su pply

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fe b r u a ry/m a r c h 2 0 0 2


Sewing Jackets F RO M its

A fitted jacket mad e i n a k n i t fabric offers both style and comfort by Sarah Veblen

A More adjusta b l e Side-seam o r princess­ line dart shaping offers maximum shaping and adjustability at the bust and armhole. Less adjusta b l e


used to think of using knit fab­

on how stretchy your fabric is, so if

mi-structured projects. (For more information on chOOSing and

rics only for unstructured, pull­

you want to use a pattern that's not

on garments such as T-shirts,

designed for knits, it's necessary

sewing knit fabrics, see my article

elastic-waist shorts, summer

to assess the amount of stretch in

in Threads No. 97, pp. 59-63.) Ide­

shifts, and other soft, sporty

any given knit fabric before you

ally, you'll want to position any knit

clothing. But with some experi-

choose or cut out the pattern.

fabric's crossgrain going horizon­

mentation, I've found that you can al­

To test a knit fabric for its degree

so get great-looking, supremely com­

of stretch, grasp a 4-in. length of the

To test a fabric for drape (or

fortable results using knits for more

knit, folded on the crossgrain (the

structure) appropriate for a jacket,

tally around the figure.

tailored or structured garments, es­

direction of greatest stretch), and

I suspend a small piece of it over

pecially jackets. In this article, I'll

stretch it over a ruler, as shown in

my closed fist, as I'm doing in the

share my experiences with blending

the photo below. A 4-in. length of a

top left photo on p. 46, in which

tailoring and sewing with knits

typical jersey will usually stretch

I'm comparing a double-knit with

techniques, as outlined in the photos


in. A general rule for

a very soft j ersey. The distinct, stiff

on pp. 46-47. I'll offer tips on choos­

me is to go down one pattern size

folds you can see forming on the

ing suitable patterns, fabrics, and

if the pattern is deSigned

interfacings, when to use a serger or

for wovens and you've

a regular sewing machine, and walk

selected a knit with this


in. to



you through the choices I made for

degree of stretch. Dou­

the garment on the faCing page.

ble-knits will usually stretch less than


Test the fabric's stretch

requiring little or no

and drape before cutting

change in the pattern,

All knits have a little give, which is

and sweater-knits, rib­

what makes them so comfortable to

knits, and most loosely

wear and so easy to fit, but many

knit fabrics will stretch

knits actually stretch, which is why

more than 1 in. I usual-

To test for stretch, stretch a 4-in.,

patterns for knits usually need to

ly avoid these very stretchy fabrics

crosswise length of knit over a

be cut smaller than patterns for wo­

and any very bulky knits for j ackets

ruler. Easy-to-use knits for jacket­

vens. How much smaller depends

or other similarly structured or se-

making will stretch less than 1 in.

Yo u d o n 't h ave to u s e k n i t s -o n l y j acket p atte r n s w i t h m any k n it f a b r i cs With a l ittle testing, and a few construction tricks, most jacket patterns

Soft, comfortable knit jackets can

can be adapted for stable k nits, yielding soft yet

h ave trad itionally tailored details,

structured resu lts (Vogue 1 643).

l i ke notched collars and

Even if the j acket is not i nterfaced and is lined only in the sleeves, it can have clean, smooth Properly reinforced,

added shoulders.

machine-made b utton holes can look great on a knit Figure-flatteri ng bust shaping is easy to ach ieve if you choose patterns with princess seams or side-bust darts.

Patch pockets are sim ply a design option ; welt pockets will work well with a knit fabric.

tan double-knit reveal plenty o f

cuss interfacing choices in more

lengthwise and crosswise direc­

structure, while t h e blue jersey is

detail in a moment.

tions) to the knit fashion fabric.

too relaxed for j acket-making. Ide­

These tests are goo d starting

ally, I try to use a fabric as is, with­

points, but often some pattern al­

out changing its inherent structure

terations will also be needed when

with bust shaping

with overall interfacing, but if I'm

adapting a woven pattern to a knit

Although we are accustomed to see­

Choose a style

especially attracted to a soft fab­

fabric. I always test any new pattern

ing knit garments with little or no

ric, I'll definitely test a few inter­

or pattern/fabric combination by

shaping in ready-to-wear clothing,

facings to see whether I can get a

making a mock-up out of an inex­

I've found that using j acket pat­

happy blend of softness and struc­

pensive fabric that has similar qual­

terns with some bust shaping gives

ture, without sacrificing the cross­

ities to my fashion fabric. In the case

the best-looking results. Bust shap­

wise stretch, as I was able to

of a knit, this means using a knit­

ing is included (and can be easily

achieve with the samples in the

fabric "muslin," making sure that it

adj usted) if your pattern has a

bottom left photo on p. 46. I'll dis-

stretches Similarly (in both the

princess seamline or a side-bust

fe b r u a r y/ma r c h 2 0 0 2


To test for structure, drape a

notch-collar j acket can b e made

small piece of knit fabric over your

successfully in a knit.

Shoulqer pads and sleeve heads

balled fist. Usable knits will fall into a few more-or-Iess stiff folds that

Don't l i n e soft jackets

don't follow the shape of your hand

Whether or not to line a knit gar­

(as does the tan double-knit below),

ment is an important decision to

To look tailored, all patterns need shoulder pads and

while knits that are too soft, such

make early in your planning, be­

sleeve heads. Use soft, small pads covered i n lining fabric.

as the blue jersey, will colla pse

cause it will affect the construc­

Make soft sleeve heads from 5-in.-wide bias l i n i n g

completely around your hand.

tion techniques you'll use, as well

strips i nterfaced with knit fusible, s u c h a s SofKn it.

as how the finished garment will

Fold in half, serge-finish raw edge, then hand-sew

look and feel. As with most knit­

to sleeve/armhole seam al lowance along sleeve

tailoring options, there's no right

stitching l i ne, pressing all seam allowances and

or wrong choice; it's simply a cre­

head layers toward sleeve.

ative decision. Here's how



si.dered the question for the project shown on p.45:

Armholes and sleeve lining

If lining sleeve, slip lining i nto sleeve, baste caps

Because I'd chosen a wool dou­

together, then set sleeve i nto jacket, treating sleeve

ble-knit, a stable (nonstretchy) knit

and lining as one. Or add l i ning after sleeve has been

fabric, I could use classic tailoring

set in, and use armscye of l i ning to finish armhole.

techniques, including stabilizing

Serge-finish all armhole seam allowances together

and supporting the fabric with an

(jacket, sleeve, and lining) without cutting off seam

underlining or interfacing and us­

allowances, then press toward sleeve to f i l l cap.

ing a firm shoulder pad and sleeve

Tape underarm to reduce stretching, applying tape

head to get a crisp-looking shoulder

with hand stitches for soft effect.

area. If I chose this approach, I'd need to fully line the garment, both

Front facin s

for wearing comfort and to cover the interior construction. These choices would produce a struc­ I nterface the entire knit yardage

tured garment that would look and

to improve its structure. Both of

feel like any well-made blazer or

the samples above show a structure

classic tailored j acket.

similar to the tan double-knit at top after being fused to different knit interfacings.

But I didn't want a structured­ looking blazer. I wanted this project

I nterface to provide structure and support.

to look like a j acket, but feel more

Machine-sew nonsticky side of fusible interfacing

like a sweater. Since I didn't have to

to right side of facing with %-in. seam allowance,

dart, not just a waist dart. These de­

stabilize my fabric with underlining

press seam allowance toward interfacing (protect ironing

tails will help you keep the under­

or interfacing, I could leave the

board from fusible glue with aluminum foil), then turn

arm and side of the garment looking

body of the jacket unlined, to help

interfacing and fuse to wrong side of facing, slightly

trim and clean, by creating a more

keep it feeling sweater-like. This

rolling edge to wrong side as shown above; catch stitch to facing garment if n eeded.

flattering fit through the bustline.

meant that I'd need to keep the

The drawings on p. 44 show various


pattern styles organized by their

the j acket clean, since the inside


adjustability at the bust.

of the garment would show. But I

Line garments with welt pockets to protect wrong side of welt from wear and to clean-finish.

of the body of

I avoid patterns with many com­

could choose to line only the

plicated style lines or details, be­

sleeves, which would provide wear­

I nterface patch pockets with lightweight fusible;

cause the stretch factor in knits will

ing comfort, possibly cover a sleeve

then l i ne completely using silk l i n i ng . Apply patch

make joining seams with different

head (which always improves the

by hand, using invisible s l ipstitch.

grain orientations diffi.cult. But this

fall of a sleeve, in my experience),

doesn't mean you must choose a

and allow my arms to slip in and

style with a plain neckline; as you

out easily. Also, a small, covered

can see in the j acket on p. 45, a

shoulder pad would be no prob-






r seams

C o n st r u cti o n t i p s fo r k n i t-fa b r i c j ac kets



Back of neck may need more i nterfacing than rest of

To reduce stretching, tape


shoulder seam with 'I.-in. cotton twil l tape applied along seam allowance of back garment



piece; steam-shrink seam


collar to stand up. On u n lined jacket, bind raw collar edges in back, or turn them into collar, sli p-stitching opening by hand to reduce stretch ing.


to match tape.

Press seam allowances to right side over wooden point presser, and then shape carefully to position seam out of sight. Buttonholes

-Test buttonhole on mock facing. To eliminate stretching, slip single layer of silk organza between garment and interfaced facing.

Bottom and sleeve hems

I nterface to keep from rolling or collapsing. I nterface entire hem o r just the fold and hem allowance, depending on degree of structure you're trying to ach i eve. Serge-finish raw edge of hem (un less sleeve is l i ned) for a clean appearance. Use catchstitch to secure hem.

febru ary/m arc h 2 0 0 2


While other suitable interfacings exist, these have been tested extensively by the author. Listed in order of i ncreasing structure, each interfacing is soft, will preserve the fashion fabric's texture, and could be used for any interfacing function, from partial to allover su pport, if you l i ke the effect after testing.







Weft Insertion



All d i rections

Crosswise and bias only

Bias only


Most versatile; subtle support for all fabrics. Useful for reinforcing all knits without changing stretch. Good for hems, pockets.

Ideal for spongy, lofty fabrics, such as pile and raschel knits. Arrange so that crosswise stretch of fabric is preserved. Good for hems, pockets.

I deal for col lars and lapels. Cut on bias for undercollars and sleeve heads.

lem to include in an unlined jacket.

HTC sells a number of fusible in­

beautiful seam it produces is elas­

In short, I prefer to leave the body

terfacings that work well with knits,

tic, but it doesn't stretch the knit

of a soft knit jacket unlined, so I

both partially and overall; I often

fabric much, and there are no un­

don't have to struggle with a non­

use SofKnit, Textured Weft, or

finished seam allowances. The dis­

stretch shell inside a stretchy gar­

Satin Weave, which each have dis­

advantage is that, depending on

ment, but I can go either way with

tinct properties, as described in

the knit, the serged layers may yield a fairly bulky seam allowance.

a more stable fabric. Whenever I

the chart above. Test fuse several in­

line a knit garment, either fully or

terfacings to make sure you get the

Generally, I construct the sleeve

partially, I use silk crepe de chine or

type of structure you want. (Call

sections and the princess and side

charmeuse. It seems almost im­

HTC at 888-618-25 5 5 , or 604-873-

seams on the serger. I first serge­

possible to find a lightweight knit

4641 in Canada, for sources.)

construct (using a four-thread set­

that works as a lining. Choose i nterfa cings

I often use two or three different

up) the shoulder seams, and then

interfacings in the same garment to

go back and straight-stitch in place

achieve the structure and effect I

the carefully measured stay-tape,

with ca reful testi n g

want. Make sure in your test sam­

after steaming the seam to shrink it

Whether I want a soft o r a struc­

ples that none of the interfacings

to match the tape. In any area

tured garment, I'll need to interface

you're using change the look of the

where a great deal of precision and

parts of it for the same reasons and

fabric. Also, don't overlook the pos­

control is needed at the seamline­

in the same areas that I would in­

Sibility of adding an extra layer of

such as when constructing the col­

terface a woven jacket: to preserve

interfacing in any section of a gar­

lar and setting in the sleeves-I

the shape, protect critical seams,

ment that isn't suffiCiently sup­

much prefer my straight-stitch ma­

and support the details in selected

ported by a single layer. Sometimes

chine, and use good-quality ball­

areas. I can also use an interfacing

two layers of the same interfacing

point needles (I like Schmetz). If

to alter the stretch, feel, and drape

work well, and sometimes a lighter

you can reduce the pressure on the

of the entire fashion fabric. I'll need

extra layer is enough.

presser foot of your regular ma­

to be sensitive to how much struc­



chine, you'll usually get better re­

ture I put into the garment, and

Serge for a clean fin ish,

sults. But don't worry if this isn't an

how much softness I try to preserve,

stra ig ht-stitch for control

option on your machine or if you

and if I've decided not to line it, I'll

In the photos on pp. 46-47, I've not­

don't have a serger, just take it

have to keep in mind that the in­

ed when I use my regular machine

slow, make lots of tests, and trust

side of the j acket body will show.

vs. when I use my serger, either in

your instincts. This is uncharted

Therefore, I'll want to use con­

a four-thread construction config­

territory, so have fun.

struction techniques that look fin­

uration or a three-thread finishing

ished and are wear-resistant, since

configuration. The advantage of con­

Sarah Veb len wri tes and designs i n

nothing will cover or protect them.

structing on the serger is that the

Sparks, Md.

Three Shortcut Jacket Li n i ngs


A creative technique that provides complete coverage

Clever ret h i n ki ng of a fu l l l i n i ng saves

t i me and keeps the fi n ish s m ooth b y Fred Bloebaum D O U B LE FRONT

A simple solution for problematic sheers

othing distinguishes a

To l i n e or not to l i n e ?

well-made j acket like a

Before looking at each specific lin­

beautiful lining. It cov­

ing alternative, I want to discuss

ers seam allowances,

when a lining of some sort is nec­

makes the jacket easy to

essary and when a garment can do

slip on and off, provides

without one. Among the situations

added insulation, prevents wear on

dictating a lining, certain light­

the fashion fabric, and generally

weight fabrics cannot withstand

lends a professional finish to the

the wear and tear that occurs in an

garment. Nevertheless, there are

unlined j acket. A lining can also

times when inserting a separate,

stabilize a loose weave and prevent

free-hanging lining can be time­

unwanted stretch. It can, as well,

consuming and difficult-and may

provide extra body for a lightweight

not be needed.

fabric, like silk dupioni, and pre­

If the thought of sewing a full lin­

vent it from clinging to the wearer.


ing can sometimes stall your entire

If the fabric is white, pastel, or an­

An easy way to rei nforce an unl ined jacket

sewing project, you'd probably wel­

other light color, it may be too

come a few creative alternatives.

sheer on its own, and a lining will

Here are three I particularly like,

provide opacity.

which will still give your jacket a fin­

Heavier fabrics, especially wools,

ished look but allow quicker and

don't need the extra body that a

easier construction than a full lining.

lining provides but may require

february/ma r c h 2 0 0 2


A H O N G KO N G LI NI N G Cut j acket a nd l i n i n g Cut jacket pieces from fashion fabric. Cut lining, adding in. to side seams, shoulder, and any princess seams. Don 't add to CF, and don't shorten hems.



For two-piece sleeve

Eliminate vent and extend cutting line to bottom of sleeve. Then add in. to vertical seams of lining.




Add in. to vertical

A Hong Kong lining gently breaks from tradition. Unlike a

full l i n i ng, each jacket

Yo in.

piece is underlined individually with l in i ng fabric; then the two

Side front


fabrics of each section

Princess front

Under sleeve

U pper sleeve

are sewn as one (jacket,


Vogue 1 543).


Sew j acket 1. For each section, place fabric and lining RSs to­ gether with raw edges aligned. Using scant '/.,-in. s.a., stitch all vertical seams except CF; also stitch shoulders. Reach through hem or neckline, and turn RS out.


2. Lining fabric will wrap around raw edges of each section. To hold lining flat, stitch-in-the­ ditch (through all lay­ ers) of each seam.

� CB






3. Sew garment body to­ gether as if unlined, treat­ ing fabric and lining as one. At neck, CF, and hem, align raw edges of lining and fashion fabric; then machine­ baste together.



4. Set sleeve into armscye, catching all four layers of fabric in seam. Grade inner layers, and then bind raw edges of seam with bias strip of lining.


1 '-.., I 1 1 I


5. Turn under raw edge of hems '/., in., and slipstitch in place. Or bind with strip of bias lining, using Hong Kong finish (see top drawing on facing page). Slipstitch folded, bound edge to lining only for invisible finish.

one to protect against skin irrita­ TRADIT I O N A L H O N G

tion. Similarly, fabrics that tend to


"shed" fibers or bleed color need to

1 . Sew seam as usual. 2. Align 1 -in. -wide strip of bias to raw edge of s.a., RSs together. Sew with '/.,-in. s.a.; then trim to in.

be lined to protect the skin, un­


dergarments, and coordinates. If the fabric you're working with presents none of the above chal­ lenges, you can consider an un­


lined garment. Three of my favorite

1 -in.-wid bias

Yo in.

finishing choices include an easy method to enhance an unlined j acket with the support of a gor­



geous lining version of a Hong

Anchor shoulder pads in a Hong Kong lining with an

Kong seam finish, a simple double

easy technique that lets you detach the pads for

front, and an extra-wide facing.

cleaning: Cover each shoulder pad with lining fabric.

Let's start with the creative Hong

Press strip of %-in. rayon seam binding in half, and hand­

Kong lining.

stitch to center of shoulder seam. Attach another binding

3. Fold and press bias to WS. Stitch-in-the-ditch to anchor.

strip to shoulder pad; then sew two snaps (ball side) on

Hong Kong l i n i ng

pad and corresponding socket snaps on shoulder seam.

The traditional Hong Kong finish is a beautiful way to bind the raw





edges of seams. In the classic

layers as one during construction.

method, a strip of bias fabric is

I often use this method when

sewn to each seam allowance,

working with lightweight fabric

wrapped around the raw edge, and

that needs extra body or that would

anchored by stitching-in-the-ditch

cling if unlined. I've used this tech­

(see the drawing at left).

nique for jackets with set-in sleeves

In this variation of that technique,

and for pants. However, I avoid the

I underline each section of the gar­

Hong Kong lining for a jacket with

ment separately, turning it through

a kimono, dolman, or another all­

to bind the edges in one step,

in-one sleeve because it is too cum­

and then handle the two fabric

bersome to turn through. For a Hong Kong lining, purchase the same amount of lining fabric as required by the pattern for a tradi­


tional lining. Some of my favorite lining fabrics include Bemberg ray­

Instead of lining each sleeve piece as described on the facing page, you can sew sleeve and lining separately, and then "bag " lining at hem. 1. Sew cap of fashion fabric only into armscye, trim seam at under­ arm, and press toward sleeve. Press sleeve hem in place, and then turn sleeve WS out. 2. Press under raw edge of lining sleeve cap at seamline. Stitch lining to sleeve at bottom hem with '/.,-in. s.a. Turn lining back over sleeve, pin pressed edge in place over armscye seam, and slipstitch lining cap to garment, just cover­ ing machine stitching.


Sleeve, WS


'\ \I

lining, WS


-� .�

on, silk organza, silk crepe, and silk charmeuse. Recently, I've found that some fabric stores sell rayon/ silk jacquard from Vietnam, which makes an elegant lining as well. Since the inside of the finished gar­ ment will be just as beautiful as the outside, experiment with strik­ ing and unusual lining fabrics. You can find detailed instruc­ tions for altering the pattern and sewing a Hong Kong lining in the drawings on the facing page. Once the pieces have been lined, com­ plete the garment as usual, sewing

fe bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2


any facings to the outer edges of


the garment through both fashion fabric and lining. Construction cou l d n 't be eas i er The double-front solution

1. Construct front and back pieces as instructed, and attach at shoulders. Press s.a.s toward front. Grade seams.

When I sew with light-colored or very sheer fabrics, I often get frus­ trated because all the inner con­

2. Hem jacket back. An effortless double front on a sheer or delicate garment hides unappealing interior seams and

other construction

3. Assemble collar and baste to neck edge (it will later be sand­ wiched between body and fac­ ings). Sew side seams, press s.a.s toward front, and grade if needed. (Note: Front hem allowance extends below hemmed back.)


details best left

struction details show through to the right side. To counteract this problem, I construct the j acket with a double front. Doubling the front gives the garment more opacity and also more body. I've found that this technique works well with shirt­ style j ackets, as well as blouses and

unseen (j acket,

three-quarter-length coats made of

Neue Mode 22548).

lightweight fabrics. The front pan­ els need to be simple, with few

4. Interface back neck facing; then sew to second set of fronts at shoulder seams. Press remainder of front shoulder seam under on seamline. Also press under s.a.s on side seams.

seamlines and darts. Avoid this lining when working with very thick or heavy fabrics, because the front panels would be too bulky. Also be careful with a sheer print, stripe, or plaid, unless you purposely want to layer for interesting effect. You'll need to make very few al­


Align raw edges of jacket and double-front facing unit, RSs together. Starting at CB neck, sew to front corner, pivot, and sew down CF edge; pivot at corner and stitch across front at hemline, ending at side-seam hem. Flip jacket over, start at CB neck again and repeat. Trim corners, clip curves in neck, and grade s.a.s. 6. Press s.a.s open; then turn facings to inside. Press turned edges. Slipstitch front facing at shoulder seams and side seams. Machine-baste front facing to front at armscye.


Construct sleeves as instructed in pattern, binding raw edges or sewing French seams for a clean finish.

terations to the existing pattern. Simply eliminate the front facing, and cut four fronts; the second set of fronts acts as facing and lining. A double front works with a pattern that includes a back neck facing or one in which the neck is simply finished by turning under the seam allowance on the inner collar and slipstitching it over the seam. Believe it or not, the construction of a double-front j acket is easier than making an unlined j acket, sim­ ply because there are fewer pieces (see the drawings at left). You'll def­ initely be pleased with the smooth, uncluttered results of this approach to "lining" the j acket.

Ti p for button holes To reinforce buttonholes, fuse narrow strip of interfacing to WS of second set of fronts before a ttaching them to garment. If interfacing shows through, instead place tear-away stabilizer under fabric when sewing buttonholes.

U n l i ned with extra-wide faci ngs

If your fabric has enough body of its own, is opaque enough to con­ ceal the interior construction, and



doesn't cling or irritate your skin, it


might not need to be lined, saving you considerable construction time. However, to give the jacket more support in the shoulder area


and provide coverage for the shoul­

Exten d t h e pattern

Back facing

der pads, you may want to consider

Back facing

(Cut one on fold.)

extra-wide facings. With very thick fabrics, such as

Place paper over back pat­ tern. Trace neck, shoulder, CB seam or foldline, armscye down to notch. From notch, extend line to intersect CB at right angle. Trace grainline and other markings.

wool, be sure to check the fit of the j a cket with the new facings pinned in place. The extra coverage in the shoulders may add un­


wanted bulk. Also avoid using this

Extended fac:ings on an unlined jac:ket eliminate "fly-away" fac:ings and offer

added support because

technique with sheer fabrics, be­

they are sewn to the

cause the facings would be obtru­

armscye between front

sive and influence the overall

and back notches

shape of the garment.

(jacket, Burda 881 2).

Adjust your existing facing pat­ tern according to the drawing shown at right. Finish the curved inside edge of the front facings and

Front facing

the bottom edge of the back fac­

(Cut two.)

ing. Next stitch the shoulders of the facings and of the j acket. As­ semble the collar and sandwich be­ tween the garment and facing unit. Then sew the side seams and set in the sleeves. Inserting the shoulder pads is al­ so very simple if you follow the

Front facing

Place paper over front pat­ tern, and trace 5\1, in. across bottom edge plus front edge, neck, shoulder, and armscye down to notch. Using curved ruler, connect armscye notch to in. point at bottom edge. Transfer grainline, notches, and other markings.



steps I've shown at right. Once they are in, complete the buttonholes, hems, and any other finishing de­

� 5'h in' -1

tails called for in the pattern. The best thing about each of these lining alternatives is that, not only can you create well-made, pro­ fessionally finished garments with­ out the fuss of sewing a complete lining, you'll also free up your time for fun details that make a garment unique and special. And remem­

Shoulder pad

Machine­ stitch.

I nsert shoulder pads

"'­ \.

\\ \�

ber, with each of these lining choic­


es, there's no excuse to hide your


lining anymore. Unbutton your j acket and show it off!


Extrawide facing

After constructing jacket, try on jacket and pin pads be­ tween jacket and facing unit. Hand-sew pads to jacket shoulder seam. At shoulder­ pad area, hand-stitch edge of facing to pad only, using run­ ning stitch or backstitch. Pin loose edges of facing to armscye s.a., and machine­ or hand-sew edges together, keeping stitching inside seamline.

Fred Bloebaum designs the Clothing Designs by La Fred p a t tern line


www and teaches sewing

workshops nationwide.

fe b r u a r y/ma r c h 2 0 0 2


Design Your Own


You r back w i l l thank you for a tabletop set at a comfortable h e i g ht

by Jan Bones

f you lay out and cut your fab­

any sewer's work space. Not only

ric on the kitchen table, or

will a good cutting table spare your

worse yet, the floor, you know

back, but it can also make your

how tedious a chore this

sewing space neater and more ef­

sewing step can be. That's why

ficient. Better still, you'll find that

a well-designed cutting sur-

it will increase the accuracy

face is an essential part of

Author Jan Bones finds that a table a few inches lower than waist­ height is perfect for cutting comfortably. At 6 ft. ta ll, she

l i kes her table to be 37 in. high.

of your cutting, and, in turn, ac­

handy (or have someone nearby

in "Cutting-table components" on

curately cut fabric pieces result in

who is), you might want to build a

p. 56. Select any flat surface whose

a superior garment.

table similar to those used in cos­

dimensions will work for your space

tume shops. Take a look at "A cut­

and cutting needs.

Several ready-made tables are available to home sewers, some

ting table inspired by the pros" on

including features such as folding

p. 5 7 for details.

leaves and casters. These folding

Cutting-table considerations

Will a permanent table

fit in your sewing area,

Proper height

or will you need a

is the key to comfort

collapsible or fold-down

tables can be ideal for many

Starting at the top

While the surface area of your cut­

sewing spaces, since they are

The actual cutting table surface is

ting table needs to suit your sewing


Where will the table be

placed? Will you need to

quick to set up or fold down, and

the place to begin the design

needs, an even more important

take up little space when col­

process. The dimensions of the

measurement to consider i s its

lapsed. However, it's also easy and

table should reflect your typical

height. A table that's too low or

do you need? How wide

move it often? How large a surface

economical to construct a table of

cutting proj ects. When deciding

high for you when you're standing

is your fabric, and what

your own that will suit all your

on the tabletop'S size, I like to think

is likely

cause back strain as you

are the longest pattern

sewing needs and space require­

in terms of fabric width. Sixty inch­

lean over or stretch to cut. Re­

ments. In this article, I will show

es is a common width, and since

member, your new cutting table

you how to design a cutting table

fabrics are often cut double layer, a

is intended

using materials that are readily

table that's at least 30 in. wide will

as convenience.

available in building-supply and

comfortably accommodate fabrics

home-improvement stores. You

up to this width.



pieces you use?

What is the ideal

height for you? Do you

offer comfort as well

usually sit or stand? •

I've found that for a person of

Do you need storage

space in your table's

average height (around 5 ft. 4 in. to

base components? What

may even have items loitering at

For the lengthwise dimension of

5 ft. 5 in.), a surface that's 33 in.

home that can be recycled to create

the surface, consider the size of pat­

to 35 in. high works well. If you're

a perfect cutting surface.

tern pieces you'll lay out: a ladies'

on the petite side (under 5 ft. 4 in.),

do you prefer? Slippery?

Pinnable? Textured?

B efore you begin imagining the

pant pattern is about 45 in. long, a

30 in. might suit you better. At 6 ft.

table of your dreams, you'll need

floor-length dress may be 55 in. long,

tall, I like a cutting surface that's

to evaluate the space available in

while a tank top may be only 24 in.

about 37 in. high. You can make a

your sewing area. Do you have

If you are also a qUilter, the cutting

reasonable estimate of the height

room for a permanent cutting sur­

surface may double as a place to lay

you need by measuring from your

face, or will you have to take the

out blocks and plan a deSign; in this

elbow to the floor, and subtracting

table down when not in use?

case, the largest surface area possible

a few inches. This should allow

Could this cutting space double

might be needed. I've listed some

your cutting arm full mobility and

for another purpose? Do you want

easy-to-obtain options for tabletops

not require too much leaning over.

items will be stored? What kind of surface

to make an area for storage under the cutting surface? You'll also want to decide on the final placement of the table in your


workroom. The orientation of the

For sit-down work, try

cutting table may maximize the

a 24-in.- to 26-in.-high table,

space in your sewing room and

about 30 in. for sewers under 5 ft. 4 in., 33 in. to 35 in. for those 5 ft. 5 in. and above, and up to 37 in. or more for taller people. Try a height slightly lower than your waistline; experiment by boosting a card table with books.

If standing to cut, you 'll need extra height:

such as a folding card table.

may also offer easy access to several sides of the table [or convenient layout and cutting. Your available space may allow you to achieve both benefits. I like to place one short end of the table against the wall, so I can move to either side of

34 in. 24 in.-26 in.

38 in.

30 in.

it; this allows for a somewhat wider table. If you want to put the long side against the wall, check to see that the surface's width is a com­ fortable reach for you. Finally, if you have room and are

6 ft.



5 in.

5 ft.

f e b r u a ry/ma r c h 2 0 0 2


Cutt i n g -ta b l e com po n e n ts Mix and match from the components suggested below to put together a cutting table that will be just right for your needs. offer visible storage for notions and tools.

Tabletop options

•• • • ••

Ready-made doors. %-in.-thick plywood.

• • • •

Adjust height with risers or casters that

have brakes.

Recycled kitchen countertops or tabletops.

Standard kitchen cabinet units are about

33 in. to 35 in. high. Choose from cupboards,

drawers, or shelving. Filing cabinets.

To attach vinyl and fabric covers, lay cover

and staple gun or tack to underside of table.

Upholstery vinyl is smooth and easy to

clean and almost self-healing if you slide pins in at an angle. Store rolled. Fabric covers provide traction. 1 -in.

gingham works as a built-in ruler.

Bookcases come in a range of sizes and

• • • •

over top surface, wrap tautly around edges,

Surface treatments

Base options

or thin polyester batting under the cover.

For a padded surface, lay a sheet of felt


Purchased, self-healing cutting mats in

large sizes are ideal if you frequently use a rotary cutter. Kitchen countertop materials can be cut

to size and glued to plywood or a door. Cork can be purchased in rolls and glued

to wood or a door.

It's a good idea to experiment

to the wall will allow you to fold

Ta b l etop with base com p o n ents

with surfaces of different heights to

your surface down when not in use

Set base components back from edge of table about 6 in. to 1 2 in. to allow toe and knee room.

find out which is most comfortable

(see the drawings at bottom left).

for you. Put stacks of books or met­

Build wooden frame on un­ derside of surface to fit base unit's top. Removable top:

Use L-brackets a ttached to base and underside of

Permanent top:

U nderside of table

al cans of various sizes under the

Options for coveri ng

legs of a kitchen or folding table to

the tabletop

temporarily elevate them to vari­

Once your table is assembled, it's

ous heights, and try working at

time to choose a surface covering.

each new set-up. You will b e

Depending on your needs, you can

amazed at the difference a couple

create a surface that's smooth and

of inches make.

slippery, nonskid, rigid, padded, pinnable, or a combination of the

Size frame to fit cabinet top.

Ca binet

Wal l- m o u nted ta bles Anchor brackets at wall studs, and screw to tabletop 's underside. Permanent mount:

r .� �


L-bracket anchored at wall stud

1 I

Anchor %-in. - to '/:,-in. -thick wood block to studs, and a ttach hinges to wood and tabletop. Collapsible table:


'h-in. board anchored at studs

Purchased table leg

Unscrew legs to fold.


above. I've listed a variety of surface


should be function a l

choices above. One of my favorite

You can be very imaginative about

cutting-table surfaces is cork. In

creating the height most suitable

my dad made me my first

for your table. One solution I like is

Support front edge of table with table legs purchased from hardware or lumber store. Legs are a vailable in heights from 26 in. to 36 in. and come with hardware to attach to table.


Su pporting elements

sewing work surface, a door cov­

to use storage units as supports for

ered with cork. I still enjoy using it

the tabletop. Sturdy cabinets and

every day in my work space. I can

storage shelves are available in a

pin into it to hold patterns, fabric

wide range of shapes and sizes (see

layouts, or various piles of quilt

"Cutting-table components" for a

squares in preparation for sewing.

list of base options). You can fur­

Throughout my years of sewing

ther customize these components

and teaching, I've worked with

by increasing or decreasing the ris­

many combinations of tabletops,

er on which the cabinet sits. The

surface coverings and base units.

drawings at top left show how to

I've found that, whatever your lim­

attach the tabletop to the base.

itations in work space, time, or fi­

You may have decided to position

nances, you can create a cutting

your table with one side against a

surface that will greatly enhance

wall. If so, you can mount one side

your sewing. A terrific-looking gar­

permanently on the wall and add

ment that results from careful, pre­

legs to the outer side. Including

cise layout and cutting is only one

hinges where the table is attached

of the benefits. You'll also have

more fun and find your creativity sparking when you're not distract­ ed by an aching back. I think you'll be delighted with the rewards of working with a cutting table that's perfect for you.

• A pair of filing cabinets topped with a cork-covered

Jan Bones of Winnipeg, Man., Canada,

tabletop make a good sewing and sit-down cutting

teaches pattern drafting and design gar-

surface; 24 to 26 in. is an appropriate height for seated work.

ment construction. Visi t her Web s i te at

Thi s tabletop, made for the author by her father 32 years ago,


. .

sewinglingerie co m

still serves her well for sewi ng.

A cutt i n g ta b l e i ns p i red by the pros Threads editor Carol Spier got the idea for

of the fiberboard that's her cutti ng surface.

can also use a rotary cutter safely even

her cutting table at home when she worked

With a height of 37% in., her table offers

without a mat, and if the fiberboard

for several years in professional costume

plenty of storage space on the shelf

eventually gets worn, you can simply flip it

shops. Based on the dimensions of tables

underneath the tabletop and in the built-in

over and use the other side. The mitered

she used at work, she and her husband

bookcase at the end. Note that, at 5 ft. 5 in.

corners on the tabletop frame are true right

designed and constructed a similar

tall, Carol prefers a relatively high table to

ang les, so she has a built-in square handy

table, using standard building materials,

work on; she finds it causes less back strain

at all times.

such as plywood, 2x4s, and fiberboard

than a lower surface.

(such as Homosote).

With a little woodworking expertise, you

She points out that the fiberboard top is

can build a table like this one for your sewing

Carol's table measures a very sizable 4 ft.

pinnable and an ideal surface for using a

area. Use the drawing below as a guide to

by a ft.-the dimensions of a standard sheet

needle wheel while making patterns. You

dimensions and construction techniques.

4-ft. x a-ft. sheet of fiberboard

1 -in. x 2-in. frame

2-in. x 4-in. frame


2 -in. x 4-in. frame

e:;.-L-.-X -:>.L----

2-in. x 4-in. legs

Bookshelf at end

,"-,!�!><- �-::>..L-___---'L-__ �--

3-ft. a-ft. sheet of %-in. plywood

2-in. x 4-in. crosspieces with 2-ft. centers, on underside of tabletop and lower shelf


Recess legs by in. o n long sides of table to provide toe room.

fe bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2


TOOLS FOR ] SSEI:MAKING H a n g cord A loop or rope that suspends or connects the tassel's components.



Eig ht clever tools for maki ng handsome fri nge and stately cords let you turn out tassels


The top section of the tassel between the hang cord and neck. It can be delineated by tying the tassel's neck, or if a tassel form is used, by the base of the form.


at a fraction of their retai l cost


by Sarah Oliver

Section between head and skirt some­ times formed by bundling the fringe.

The fringe below the neck that establishes the tassel's proportion and character.

aking show-stopping

ing at these tools, let me mention

tassels doesn't re­

the simplest and cheapest tassel

quire a Ph.D. In fact,

tool of all: a piece of cardboard.

you can easily make

Remember winding tassels on card­


board in Girl Scouts or 4-H? The

designer-style tassels

steps in "Tassel-making 1 0 1 " on

at home and still cap­

the faCing page remind us how we

ture the allure and sophistication



made those wound tassels.

of an expensive commercial tas­

Often we used uninspired acrylic

sel. At the noted interior-fabrics

yarn for these simple tassels, which

house o f Scalamandre, for exam­

didn't even begin to suggest the

ple, a tassel tieback can cost $450

glamour and excitement possible

to $ 1,500, and it's 40 percent more

with today's spectacular threads

if it's customized. And the tassels

and yarns. These new materi�ls pro­

that London artisan Wendy Cush­

duce tassels that can resemble their

ing makes for the queen of Eng­

centuries-old, pedigreed cousins or

land command several thousand

be redefined into 2 1 st-century op­

dollars each.

ulence. So, with the straightforward

I'm going to share with you eight

tools and exciting materials avail­

simple tools that make great-look­

able nowadays for making tassels,

ing fringe and cord, the basic com­

the only ingredient you need to add

ponents of a tassel. But before look-

is a spirit of adventure.



1 01

The procedure requires yarn, scissors and a rectangle of cardboard 1 in. longer than the desired length of your finished tassel.

Leonardo Rope Maker With Leonardo da Vinci credited as its original inventor, the Leonardo Rope Maker ($20 plus

1 . Cut two lengths of yarn: one for hang cord and one for neck. Lay hang-cord yarn horizontally across edge of cardboard, and wrap cardboard vertically with skirt yarn until skirt reaches desired density.

S&H, from Lacis) is a curious­ looking contraption composed of two blocks of wood joined by five curved hooks. To use the de­

2. Tie hang cord around top edge of wrapped yarn, and cut skirt yarn at bottom edge, as shown above. 3. Wrap neck yarn tightly around skirt to establish head and form neck. Trim skirt evenly with scissors.

vice, place a strand of yarn into each hook, and manually crank the mechanism to produce a five­ strand rope. Alternatively, attach the center hook, which extends below the bottom block, to a hand-drill to powerfully crank out yard after yard of rope. You can also double, triple, and quadruple the yarn on each of the hooks to alter the rope's di­ mension, or set five finished ropes in the hooks and ply them

Tassel Winders

together to make truly hefty cord­

This straightforward

ing for, say, a dramatic curtain

set of plastic cards,

tieback. An instruction sheet

called Tassel Winders

comes with this device to get you

( $ 3 . 9 5 plus S&H,

started, and your imagination

from Extra SpeCial Product


keep you going. I love this tool!

Corp.), is the modern-day equivalent of the old-fashioned piece of cardboard used for tassel-making. Tassel Winders help you make I-in. to 5-in. tassels, which slide more easily off the plastic form than a cardboard form. The directions for using these cards are similar to those shown in "TasselMaking 101," which is to say, these cards make basic, tight tassels rather than anything fancy. However, they're perfect for creating mini-tassels to add to the skirt of a large tassel.


The Spinster ($ 10.95 plus S&H, from On the Surface) is a dependable little tool for making cord or rope. This lightweight, maintenance-free tool looks like an egg­ beater with a hook on the end. After cutting lengths of yarn or thread, attach one end of the yarn to the Spinster's hook, and anchor the other end to a stationary doorknob. Turn the Spinster's handle-the yarns will twist and, in seconds, double back on themselves to make attractive, multi-ply rope. To keep the rope from unraveling until you use it in a proj ect, temporarily secure the ends with tape or knots. The Spinster comes ready to use and includes a good instruction pamphlet.

fe bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2


.� , U MAK( " I'OM po,. ;"�. � :.�'.":'� .:�

Tasse l - m a k i n g


resou rces b y m a i l Extra Special Prod ucts Corp.

PO Box 777 G reenville, OH 45331 800·648-5945 www.extraspecia/.com/ tasse/.htm/



I ng e n u ity U n li m ited

Starline Tassel Tool

1 8 1 5 N. Bronson Ave. Suite 1 0 Los Angeles, CA 90028 323-87 1 -2707 www. tasse/magic. com

This tool ($3.95 plus S&:"H, [rom Nordic Needles) makes an easy, basic tassel. The wing­ shaped sheet of plastic has stair-stepped 6-in.- to l l-in.-wide sections for creating tassels in various sizes. FollOwing the directions printed on the tool, just wind yarn on the sec­ tion corresponding to the desired length of your finished tassel. When the tassel is full enough to suit you, tie it off, and slide the wound yarn off the pliable plastic. Then se­ cure the neck, and trim the fringe. Also provided are instructions for making pom-poms at the tool's small center "neck."


3 1 63 Adeline St. Berkeley, CA 94703 5 1 0-843-7 1 78 www./ N ordic Needles

1 3 1 4 Gateway Dr., S.w. Fargo, ND 5 8 1 03 800-433-4 3 2 1

Tassel Loom The Tassel Loom, near left (4-in. to

On t h e S u rface

6-in. tassels $ 14.95 plus S&:"H, from

PO Box 8026 Wilmette, IL 600 9 1 847-675-2520

On the Surface), is a clever alter­ native to the standard tassel card. Each side of this metal frame has an

Thea I m p o rts

adj ustable turnbuckle used to

Box 1 5 6 Winnipeg Beach, M B V6M 3W4 Canada

change the length of the tassel. You can also make a pair of shorter, 2-in. to 8-in. tassels at one time by cut­ ting the skirt across the center of the frame. Also available [rom On the Surface are the Mini Tassel Loom, far left ( 2 �-in. to 4-in. tas­ sels $ 12.95 with 16-page instruc­ tion book), and an extension leg to make tassels from 6 in. to 8 in. long. This elegant little beaded tassel and the ones above were made o n a M i n i Tassel Loom.



Fringe Maker The Fringe Maker ($40 plus S&'H, from Lacis) is a wooden tool that turns like a rotating spit to wind yarn around its two adjustable bars to make fringe or tassels. With the device, you can tie off fringe without bunching the strands together and getting a bulky head. You can also take the yarn-wrapped spin­ ner section off the tool, place it under the presser foot of your sewing machine, and stitch the top of your fringe together, eliminating the need for any other tie-off method. The tool works simply and quickly, and enables you to easily space your fringe by turning the handle until it's as dense as you want. And, since the bars determining fringe length are adj ustable, you can make a nice, full fringe that's j ust the length you need. Making


a tassel with the fringe is easy: Use a tassel form (see "Tassel forms" at bottom) as a head, secure the head cord, and glue the fringe inside the form. The Fringe Maker requires some assembly, but the directions are clearly �p��� � ilie �str U Cti o " n S heeL


������������������� ������������ �� ���� � � � �� ��

Tassel Magic The Tassel Magic kit ($24.95 plus S&'H, [rom Ingenuity Un­ limited) is a wonderful tool for making profeSSional-looking tassels. It consists of grooved, connecting plastiC decks with slide-in combs that establish both fringe and tassel skirt lengths. Unlike the other tassel tools that involve winding yarn, this tool requires weaving yarn through combs. Also, a tassel form is needed to complete a Tassel Magic tassel. Kits include everything you need to make handsome tassels but the yarn. An instruction video ( $ 12 .95), which will inspire you to get start­

Tassel forms

ed, also explains how to make bullion and beaded fringe, use

To give a tassel archi-

tassel forms, and make your own tassel forms from

tectural presence, like the

found objects. This is a wonderful tool

ones on p. 58, drape the fringe

for making fringe and very

over or through a tassel form. Forms like those below (from $.50 to $ 10 plus S&'H, from Lacis) come in a variety of sizes and

dressy tassels. shapes, which might b e finished o r unfinished, simple or elaborately worked, or molded or hand-carved. A tassel form can be used with a

thread, yarn, or cord, or you can

Tassel books

cover it with polymer clay.

The Art of Tassel Making by Susan Dickens (Australia: Allen U nwin, 1 996)


basic wound tassel as the support for the head, or the form itself can

Even if you've never made a tassel


serve as the head by concealing

before, you could make one in

both the ends of the hang cord

10 minutes (see "Tassel-making

and the top of the fringe.

on p. 59). And, [rom there,

You can also make your

you can quickly advance to more

own forms by recycling lids

elaborate tassel-making using the

from cosmetic containers:

tools described here. With some

Drill a hole though the top

practice, you, too, could bedeck

to accommodate the hang

royal bell pulls with tassels.

cord, and then paint, bead, or decoupage the for m .

Sarah Oliver is an artist-weaver who


makes tassels in Merriam, Kan.




& &

Tassels by Susan Dickens (Australia: Allen Unwin, 2000) Tassel Making by Anna Crutchley (New York, NY : Annes Publishing, 200 1 ) Tassels: The Fanciful Embellishment by Nancy Welch (Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 1 992)

fe bru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2




Pai r bas i c materials with si m ple sew i n g to create fri n g e and ad o rn m e nts

by Linda Lee

LO O P Y S E A M -TA P E F R I N G E This trim mimics one seen in San Francisco that sold for $250/yd. The rayon seam tape used to create that fringe was not the acetate tape sold in small packages in notions departments, but rather, inexpensive rayon tape packaged on rolls, sold by the yard and in colors to coordinate with any project (1 00 colors, $.20/yd. available by mail from Oregon Tailor Supply, 800-678245 7 ; Anchor the fringe on a base of 1 -in.-wide grosgrain ribbon, which will serve as a flange when folded in half and can be sewn into a seam. This fringe works well as a pillow edging or to enhance the border of a throw. 1. Cut 1 -in. -wide grosgrain ribbon long enough to go around edge of project. Cut 1 yd. of rayon seam tape for every 2 in. of finished fringe needed (9'h-in. square pillow shown required 19 yds. of seam tape). 2. Center grosgrain ribbon under sewing machine 's presser foot. 3. Lay rayon seam tape from side to side, crossing, twisting, fold­ ing, and stacking as you stitch it to grosgrain, as shown at right (uniform loops, twists, and folds are unneces­ sary). Amount of over­ lapping dictates density of fringe.

II •• •

4. Fold grosgrain in half on the stitching line to create flange and double fringe, as shown at right. Sew into seam.

11 P

5. Align grosgrain edges to project's raw edge and stitch-in-the-ditch between grosgrain and fringe.

If the seam tape begins to look tired over time, use a heated c u rling iron to press loops back to life. Alternatively, give the fringe an allover crinkled look that won't require refreshing­ just spritz with water, and crush with your fingers.

nterior-design showrooms to­

there's also a revival of interest in

propriate colors and at a suitable

day display accessories richly

distinctive flat-braid trims.

price. However, using basic mate­

embellished with decorative

Professional interior designers

rials, simple sewing steps, and a

trims, fringes, and braids. The

have access to all manner of these

sewing machine, it's surprisingly

new trims are thick, exagger­

trims in countless varieties and col­

easy to mimic some of these de­

ated, and posh-among them,

ors-and usually at high prices. But

signer trims for use in your home

for example, are cropped, dense

these resources are not generally

and wardrobe. The trim I'm mak­

moss fringe and loopy boa-like edg­

available to home sewers who, as a

ing on the faCing p age is a case in

ings of rayon seam binding. In ad­

result, often have difficulty finding

point: While perusing a decora­

dition to the novelty fringe trims,

the right trim for their project in ap-

tor's showroom in San Francisco, I

B EA D E D TW I L L TA P E This is a variation on a wonderful trim that I saw in the Scalamandre fabric showroom in New York City. It had a serpentine stitch sewn down the center of Yo-in. twill tape, with beaded fringe dangling from one edge. Use small glass beads in sparkling colors for a dressy edge or large round wooden beads for a country-casual look. Apply this trim to the surface of a project. Or omit the decorative stitching, and insert the ribbon in a seam. 1. Follow steps 1 -5 for "Dressed-up ribbon trim " on p. 64 to sew decorative stitch down center of twill tape or ribbon.



2. Gather beads, beading needle, and beading thread ightest weight possible . Work with slightly less than arm 's length of single knotted strand of either waxed or unwaxed thread, whichever you prefer. 3. Working left to right with edge to be beaded away from you, anchor stitch in twill tape from back to front, securing with backstitch. Pick up enough beads on needle to make o/.,-in. -long dangle for first drop, pull needle through, then insert needle at second bead from end and through beads to emerge at twill tape. 4. Tack stitch from back to front on twill tape. Then take another stitch in tape next to first dangle and pick up beads to make a dangle in. longer than first.


5. "Back-track" needle through beads, and secure to tape as before. 6. Repeat first dangle to complete three-dangle combination. Then pick up enough beads to make a gentle swag no more than 1 in. wide. Take stitch to secure.



Repeat three-dangle/loop combination for length of trim.

It helps when sewing fringe onto a fabric edge to move the needle position to the left one click; this flattens soft fringe and sews closer to beaded fringe so stitching doesn't show.

fe b r u ary/ma r c h 2 0 0 2


stumbled upon some of the most

ones that are equally dramatic.

speCial detail that makes your pro­

beautiful pillows I've ever seen. For

I'll show you how to make four

j ect look more profeSSional and

the handsome price of $ 1,000 each,

different trims to get you started,

your rooms and garments more in­

they were framed by an incredibly

and offer up ideas for using them

teresting. Only you will know they're made at home.

luscious, loopy-fringed trim, which

for home-decorating accessories

itself sold for $250 a yard. Yet the

and garments. Once you know the

trim's loops were made of ordinary

basics of making these trims, ex­

Linda Lee, a con tributing editor to

rayon seam tape, and I realized

plore your own material combina­

Threads, owns The Sewing Wo rkshop

anyone could easily reproduce this

tions to discover other variations.

trim for pennies, or invent similar

The right trim prOvides an extra

Pattern Collection and is an in terior deSigner in Topeka, Kan.

D R ESS E D - U P R I B B O N TR I M The look of this trim, whether formal or casual, depends on the base ribbon you choose. Grosgrain ribbon, satin ribbons in silk or polyester, cotton or rayon twill tape, and even metallic ribbons are all good choices, but avoid plastic or paper-like ribbons. You can choose ribbon whose edges are plain, wired (just carefully remove the wire), picot, or ruffled. The important thing is that the cen­ ter of the ribbon is wide enough to accommodate the design you want to em­ broider. Apply this trim as a decorative border or edging on curtains, draperies, shades, tablecloths, napkins, bed linens, pillows, and cushions. 1 . Fuse stabilizer to back of ribbon (either Sulky's Totally Stable Iron-On Tear Away Stabilizer or Sulky's Heat-Away Brush Off Stabilizer, available from notions suppliers, such as Clotilde,; 800-772-2891). 2. Choose a decorative stitch pattern from those available on your machine (satin-stitched areas are most beauti­ ful and stand out from a distance, but even basic stitches, such as feather­ stitches or elastic/serpentine stitches, add interest). 3. Choose thread: Rayon or polyester machine-embroidery threads, even 1 DO-percent silk thread, add luster to stitched designs. You can use contrasting or tone-on-tone thread, or try ombre threads for a colorful look. 4. Stitch design along length of trim. 5. Remove stabilizer and press ribbon, if needed. 6. Miter flat braids at corners for con­ tinuous trim (see "Mitered Corners, Maximum Elegance " in Threads No. 95, pp. 50-54).


Be sure to test your iron on a sample of ribbon first. Some ribbons will shrivel or melt with heat.

W I L D YA R N T R I M A fringed trim in the right combination of colors and textures for your project or decor is sometimes impossible to find ready-made. But this clever technique created by Mary Libby Neiman, designer and owner of On the Surface in Wilmette, III., changes all that, since she combines any number of yarns and novelty threads for custom trim to match her decor or project perfectly. 1 . To make primitive loom for wrapping yarn, cut 8-in. -long, V-shaped end of wire coat hanger, shape into U-curve, and smooth cut ends with sandpaper. Width of U establishes finished width of fringe, which equals half of distance between wires. 2. Cut length of Seams Great (sheer material used to bind seams; a vailable at notions counters) long enough to trim edge. 3. Wind collection of yarns, threads, and mini ribbons around loom from open to closed end, leav­ ing yarns uncut when loom is full. 4. Center yarn-wrapped loom over Seams Great, under your machin e 's presser foot, and stitch through yarns and Seams Great to join them.


At end of wound yarn, pull wire toward you to free up some space on loom, wrap it again with combined yarns and threads, and con­ tinue stitching, pulling, and winding to end of Seams Great. 6. A fter stitching and removing wire, fold Seams Great in half lengthwise to create flange and double fringe.


Pin strip to raw edge of project.


8. Use zipper (or edgestitch) foot to stitch close to fringe.

Y, 2

Cut a strip of thin tissue paper (1 in. to in. wide) long enough to cover the threads when stitching and keep them from being caught in the toes of the presser foot. Mark the paper's center to keep your sewing centered.

M a ke a yarn boa using a hanger loom. Follow steps 1 ·5 of "Wild yarn trim" above, then turn the strip over, and make a second pass with the wound yarn to conceal the bare side of the Seams Great.

fe b r u ary/marc h 2 0 0 2



bri l l ia nce Ce l e b rat i n g a n American co u t u ri e r by Anne Bissonnette

harles Kleibacker is one of the few American de­ signers to have made a name for himself by cre­ ating hand-constructed garments in the couture tradition. He has also distinguished himself as a mentor and gUide to countless students of fashion de­ sign and aficionados of couture construction through his work as a visiting teacher, workshop leader, designer-in-residence, and costume curator for numerous institutions. Most recently, I curated an exhibi­ tion celebrating his career at the From the Kleibacker

Kent State University Museum in

archives come these

Kent, Ohio. When handling his el­

fashion shots of

egant creations, I was struck by the

garments from his New

contrast between their complex

York studio: a 1 970s

construction and their simple and

narrow silhouette skirt

minimalist aesthetic.

with matching cape of



In this article, I will provide an

satin striped silk

overview of his accomplishments

chiffon (from top), a

and a close look at several of his

1 960s black silk gazar

most instructive and characteris­

mini, and a 1 980s

tic creations. In "Hands-On with

coin-dotted silk taffeta

Kleibacker" on pp. 70-73, we'll let

bandeau and skirt.

the master speak for himself, as he


o n the bias demonstrates specific techniques

he specialized in hand-sewn as­

and strategies developed during

sembly techniques that enabled

his 25-year tenure as head of one of

him to produce remarkable de­

New York's most exclusive and

signs, many with highly complex,

In brown and Ivory

technically demanding workrooms.

bias-cut construction, in which the

four-ply .IIk crepe,

A passion d iscovered

pattern pieces are laid out and cut

this 1 971 evening dress

diagonally on the cloth.

blends many Klel backer

Brought up in his family's depart­

Although at odds with his 1960s

trademarks: bias draping,

ment store in Cullman, Ala., Charles

contemporaries, Kleibacker's vi­

bias strings (or spaghetti

Kleibacker went on to receive a jour­

sion of soft, bias-cut clothes that

straps), and finely sha ped

nalism degree from the University

followed body contours without

seaming. Gathers

of Notre Dame. Upon his arrival in

constricting returned to the fore­

controlled with bias-string

New York City in 1944, he was em­

front of fashion in the 1 970s.

ties in front a l low the

ployed as an advertising copywriter

Painstakingly engineered and of­

wearer to define or con­

and subsequently landed a job

ten individually fitted to the wear­

ceal the bust and tum my.

working for the singer Hildegarde,

er's body, his designs were created

through whom he caught a glimpse

mostly in neutral colors and high­

of the world of Parisian haute cou­

quality fabrics. They sold for $500

ture. From that moment, a passion

to $3,500 in stores such as Hattie

a sculpted fit only at the

for design revealed itself, launching

Carnegie, Bergdorf-Goodman, Bon­

bust and lower back,

Kleibacker on a journey of discovery.

wit Teller, Henri Bendel, Martha,

this pale-green, sil k-crepe dress from 1 979 skims the

Providing definition and

After three years learning the trade

Nan Duskin, and Neiman-Marcus.

as an assistant designer to Antonio

Kleibacker's celebrity clientele

body everywhere else,

Castillo in the house of Lanvin in


creating an

Paris, Kleibacker returned to New

Lady Iris Mountbatten, Diahann

i l l usion of

York in 1958, where he designed

Carroll, Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller,

cling while

for Nettie Rosenstein before open­

Mrs. Richard Nixon, during her

ing his own studio in 1 960. For

days as first lady, Hildegarde, Mary

the next 25 years, he devoted him­

Travers, Alicia Markova, and Mrs.

self to the creation of fluid garments

Irving Berlin.



with a distinctive couture character. A career i n the classroom A career on the bias

Over the years, Kleibacker has

Kleibacker created limited collec­

shared his knowledge with multi­

tions of extremely well-crafted gar­

tudes of students in colleges, class­

ments that accented body shape

rooms, and workshops through­

and enhanced wearing comfort.

out the United States, and he

Finding industrial construction

continues to do so to this day. In

methods inadequate to his needs,

September 1984, he accepted a po-



sition as designer-in-residence at

threads, and the warp and weft tend

the Department of Consumer and

to contract and expand in an elastic

Textile Sciences of Ohio State Uni­

diamond pattern as the garment is

versity, where he acted as director

worn. This always-shifting bias cut

and curator of the historic costume

The prototype for

allows better fit and greater ease.

collection until October 1995. As

countless variations,

It also demands superior skills from

designer, collector, and curator,

this production muslin

the deSigner and the sewer, since

Charles Kleibacker has contributed

from Klei backer's

the structure of cloth cut on the

to several exhibitions at the Kent

workroom showcases

bias changes with gravity over time

State museum. Adj unct faculty

more trademark

and certain seams must be basted

member at the Shannon Rodgers

techniques: pai nstaking

and stretched before stitching to

and Jerry Silverman School of Fash­

easing of the bias-cut

allow for this growth.

ion Design and Merchandising at

neckline to control

Kent, h e continues to empower

gaping, and shifting

why production of such garments

students by sharing his technical

of maximum

is limited and is best achieved in a

skills and by encouraging their

fullness i n the

couture setting. Few manufactur­

quest for individuality.

draped skirt toward

ers in the fast-paced garment in­

the front to allow

dustry can afford the time required

Why are Kleibacker's skills still in

These design difficulties explain

great demand? The answer is, in

more comfort when

to produce these pieces or find

part, that there are a dWindling

seated, while

workers with the necessary expe­

number of technicians of his cal­

offering a slimming

rience to handle the fabric. The

iber who have dealt with bias tech­

line to a very loose

movement of the warp-weft grid

niques for so many years. More im­


provides flUidity and sculptability,

portant, his garments have aged

but it also poses serious technical

gracefully and are still very current

problems for both deSigners and

in their minimalism. The very pos­

sewers. Kleibacker's bias-cut tech­

itive response to the exhibition of

Based on the muslin

niques result from years of research

his work at the Kent State museum

above, this caped

into effective solutions to all the

could also be due to the current

variation is in black

challenges of bias, unencumbered

state of the retail industry: As the

four-ply silk crepe. The

by any interest in quick fixes or

quality of garments plunges down­

attached cape is black silk

short cuts. You'll learn more about

ward, the public is fascinated by

chiffon edged i n black

these techniques in the article on

the contrast provided by his grace­

organza, over a skin-toned

pp. 70-73.

ful yet intricate garments.

shell that extends from

A cha l lenge to master

A great admirer of Madeleine Vion­

above the bust to the high

A g atheri ng of masterpieces

back waist.

B eyond the technical mastery evi­ dent (at least to other sewers) in

net's 1930s construction tech­


Kleibacker's work, there are many

niques, Kleibacker explored ways

other more easily appreciated

use the full potential of his medi­

virtues. For me, his key accom­

um-cloth-by laying out pattern

plishment is his fluid minimalism,

pieces in several orientations to

always linked to a comfortable

take advantage of the effect of dif­

practicality. As apparently form­

ferent grainlines on fit. When gar­

fitting and revealing as many of his

ment pieces are arranged parallel to

garments are, Kleibacker continu­

the fabric's selvage, as is usually

ally reminds his students how flat­

the case in the industry, the length­

tering these careful constructions

wise warp threads provide strength,

are for women of every age and

as will (to a lesser degree) the

body shape. Certainly, his clients

widthwise weft threads. Pieces set

were not all young, perfectly formed

diagonally have no direct support

models. His expertise lies in know-



ing where his bias cuts should cling

Another variation,

fortable. Finally, his signature bias

and where they should fall more

this time in light gray

spaghetti straps are inventively

loosely across the figure.

Qlana nylon jersey,

placed to provide crisscrossing an­

adds shou lder-width

choring points and suspend the

garments is an ankle-length, sleeve­

enhancement with

dress securely but delicately.

less evening dress from 197 1

cut-on cap sleeves and

In many cases, Kleibacker spent

(shown at top on p. 67). Three sets

shows off the elegant,

countless hours p erfecting a gar­

of bias-string ties pull the garment

smooth sides, free

ment, and then, to maximize his

together at the center front

of seams below the

investment, he often used similar

high waist.

details on a variety of garments.

One of my favorite Kleibacker



ever extent desired, while gussets on the upper bodice and the cut of

For example, the muslin shown at

the skirt provide carefully sculpted

top on the facing page is the skele­

fit. Unlike many bias-cut garments,

ton upon which he built both the

which display every anatomical

caped evening dress from 1973

component, the placement of these

(shown at bottom on the faCing

front folds conceals the contours of

page) and the high-necked evening

the tummy and bust, while accen­

dress from 1 9 7 1 (shown at left).

tuating the waist/hip silhouette.

In each case, once again, intricate

The change of fabric from bodice

bustline piecing ensures a perfect,

to skirt is, as in other Kleibacker

gap-free fit, while bias draping al­

pieces, respectful of the structure of

lows the waist and hips to move

the cloth and is thus placed on the

easily underneath, without def­

straight grain of both pieces at the

inition-except in back, where a

side seam to provide a perfect seam

double set of bias-string ties allows

in an often problematic area. But

the wearer to adj ust the precise

this same seam is then curved

degree of fit.

sharply down toward the center­

The original dress had such suc­

back seam to provide an elegant,

cess with his customers that

figure-lengthening line, which gives

Kleibacker modified it in countless

the loosely clad figure all the con­

ways. Although the fit was similar,

temporary sportswear grace of a

the garments displayed different

beauty in a swimsuit.

fabrics, necklines, lengths, and

Kleibacker's selective minimal­

sleeves, as can be seen on the

ism is again apparent in his long,

Kent State University Museum's

backless evening dress [rom 1979,

Web site at www.

shown at bottom on p. 67. Small

In a section titled "The Making

gathers allow for great fit at the

of a Collection," this original

small of the back. At the bust, his

muslin prototype is linked to five

intricate cutting and piecing of the

different garments.

fabric (and masterful assembly

The Web site is also linked to an

techniques) create a garment that

elaborate, free, online course on

contours p erfectly to the body

Kleibacker couture techniques de­

without gaping.

veloped by Dr. Elizabeth Rhodes,

With more subtlety, the waist,

the director of the Shannon Rodgers

buttocks, hips, and lower part of

and Jerry Silverman School of Fash­

the garment keep their secrets;

ion Design and Merchandising at

nothing is revealed by clinging fab­

Kent State University, and a long­

ric, nowhere is movement restrict­

time friend of Kleibacker.

ed. Like the empire-styled dresses of the early 1800s, Kleibacker's

Anne Bissonnette is curator of the Kent

dress is both slimming and com-

State University Museum, in Kent, Ohio.

HAN DS- ON W ITH Lessons fo r

KLEI BACKER A musl i n square pinned

worki ng with

to show the drape of true bias

b ias b y David Page Coff i n

A center·front seam on bias a l lows identical drape

ast summer I spent a fasci­ nating weekend in Colum­ bus, Ohio, visiting designer, educator, and costume col­ lector Charles Kleibacker. On the second floor of his garment- and memorabilia-packed town house, we cleared a small space in which to work, and I set­ tled in behind the camera to record an extraordinary and all-too-fleet­ ing demonstration: the distillation of more than 30 years of profes­ sional experience in the creation of couture-quality, bias-cut gar­ ments. Drawing from an appar­ ently endless series of overstuffed garment racks, Charles led m e through the discoveries and tech­ niques that formed the corner­ stones of his technical career, en­ compassing both the behavior of fabric cut on the bias and the core procedures that he and his work­ room staff employed to control and exploit it to such expressive and practical ends. In the following

.. Z o en en w ...

Fabric cut on the bias is not symmetrical.

N o matter how balanced o r similar the vertical and horizontal threads look on any fabric, they always d rape differently because they were each subjected to different tensions during the weaving process. To demonstrate the effect of this difference on bias draping,


pins a single piece of muslin on true bias (the 45-degree diagonal) to the center front of a dress form. As a result, one side hangs from the lengthwise grain, and the other fal ls from the crosswise g rain, as shown above. Notice how the folds on either side of center front fall differently. For Kleibacker, if the a center-front

pages of photos and commentary,

object is symmetrical bias draping,

I'll share with you what I learned,

seam is needed to create identical d raped folds on

and in "Charles Kleibacker: Bril­

both halves, as shown at right. (Charles omits a center­

lance on the Bias" on pp. 66-69,

front seam only if he wants to create an asymmetrical

you can see more of his garments

bias garment.) The process starts with d raping in

and learn more about this "national treasure" for sewers.

David Page Coffin is senior editor at



muslin on one side of the form only, up to the central seam. This half-m uslin is traced and d u plicated to create a wearable muslin for fine-tuning on a live model before creating a pattern. The pattern is then laid o ut and marked on two layers of fashion fabric, pinned face to face, and thus m irrored for perfect symmetry.

Charles Kleibacker starts every design with tactile exploration of the fabric

N Garment pinned from the right side

z o en en w ...

Pin and sli p-baste from the garme nt's right side.


side pinning ensu res absolute accu racy, as all seams are prepared and can hang j ust as they will when worn, as shown at top left. Careful p i n n i n g distri butes ease and allows precise match ing of design l i nes. Once p i n ned, seams are s l ip-basted by hand, as shown in the drawings on p. 73, then permanently mach ine stitched from the wrong side. Slip bastings m ust be removed before pressing the seam.

I n the sleeveless muslin prototype for this g a rment,

shown at

left center, you can clearly see the pai nstaki ng ly pin ned easing typical in a d raped, bias-cut Kleibacker garment, both beneath the

Typical easing on a Klei backer

bustl ine seam and at the neckli n e, wh ich has been simply pinched

neckl ine

on the right-hand side to show the exact amount of excess length. The eased fabric is not steamed flat in the muslin, but will be carefully steamed and pressed to lie perfectly smooth i n the fashion fabric, as you can see i n the top photo. Charles is particularly fastidious a b out easing away any h i nt

Gaping on

of g a p i n g

a n uneased

in a neckline. He recommends that this be done to

improve patterns that don't include it, as demonstrated on this


1 970s designer pattern for a wrapped d ress at left: He's added both a seam and easing to the left-hand bodice to remove the gaping obvious in the u naltered right-hand neckl ine.

P) Z o en en w ...

Fabrics cut on the bias have either "drag" or "l ift."


such as crepe, jersey or charmeuse (far left) are among the fabrics that can be said to "drag" or "drip" on the bias. Fabrics such as taffeta, chiffon, broadcloth, or organza (near left) float or "lift" on the bias. Either type can be adapted to create a beautiful garment, but drag is better su ited to revealing the form underneath and l ift to conceal ing it.

(a bove) drape quite differently

febru ary/marc h 2 0 0 2


Ease a neckl ine by pinning it to a length of seam tape.

z o en en w ...

The neckl ine is eased to

No matter how plunging the

n ecklines o n his dresses, Charles always wanted to be sure the wearer would be comfortable in the d ress without the neckl ine gaping. The technique for easing away a gaping neckl ine is ted ious but not especially challenging. It requi res the seam allowance of the neckline to be used as a hand­


overcast self-facing (so the neckl ine edge i s a fold, not

seam tape

a seam) with the fabric eased onto thin, stable rayon seam tape. To determine the length of the tape, pinch the excess fabric at the neckl ine into a small fold, measu re the adjusted neckline, and then mark this measurement on the tape. Pin the tape at each end of the neckl ine

(see photo 1 at left), and ease the fabric

to the tape with closely spaced pins (photo 2). Next excess agai nst the seam tape by pinning

make a row of tiny, permanent running stitches


to the inside of the neckl ine fold, using a very short needle and a single strand of size-A matching silk thread (photo 3). Carefully press from t h e inside of the garment

Then use a short needle to sew the excess to the seam tape

to render the easing invisible (photo 4

and 5). In the Kleibacker studio, a l l neckline (and top back edges of many designs) were eased

to seam

tape to rei nforce them and prevent any possibility of stretching, as shown below. For the muslin shown on p.


the seam line at the bust was eased differently. Here,

a tiny hand-sewn running stitch was m ade both at the Press from the

seamline and just above it in the seam allowance. These

wrong side for

two threads were pulled to the desired measurement, the

a smooth

fabric was carefully pressed on the wrong side, and then


p i n ned to the corresponding seamline for sli p-basting, as shown i n the d rawings on the facing page.

Properly pressed ease

Seam tape also prevents stretch ing





II) Show short overlapping lengths of basting stitches before stretching fabric

Z o U) U) W ...

Baste some bias seams before cutti ng, a n d stretch them while machine足 stitching.

After transferri ng the seamlines from the pattern to the layers of right足

s ides-together fabric as descri bed in lesson


the bias seams, such as the center足

front seam below the bust on the navy crepe d ress shown on p. 7 1 , were always hand-basted while still flat on the cutti ng table, before the pieces were cut, because of the tendency for bias edges to stretch once cut. Certain bias seams, typically symmetrical center-front or center-back seams, edges of sashes and bands, and the narrow cording com m o n ly called spaghetti straps were also stretched d u ring the m achine-stitch ing process, ensuring the seams would never break. (Bias seams joining non symmetrical pieces were usually not stretched.) To a l low for this intense stretching, such seams must fi rst be hand-basted with

s hort, overlapping running-stitches. To do this, start at the seam end with a knot, baste about 6 in., and cut the thread. Then, without knotting the end, baste another 6 i n., overlapping the last few stitches of the preced i n g basting. Repeat about every 6 in., tig htly securing the basting at the very end. To make spaghetti straps,

cut true bias strips


in. wide, fold in half lengthwise, hand-baste with

overlapping ru n n i ng stitches as shown at left, then stretch as strongly as possible while machine-stitching along the center of the strip. Tu rn without tri m m ing the seam allowances, all owing them to f i l l the turned tube. For max i m u m s k i n n i ness, stretch the straps on the ironing board, p i n n i n g the ends. Steam heavily by holding the i ron closely above them, re-stretch, and let d ry.

Charles Stretch strap while machine-stitch ing

Kleibacker stretches a bias band after it has

TO S L I P - BAST E A R I G H T- S I D E P I N N E D S EA M After carefully pinning any seam from the R S to establish its position or to arrange an eased seam, slip-baste by working a short needle through the bottom layer, coming up into the edge-fold of the top layer, using running stitches.

When ready to sew, turn garment inside out and unfold seam allowance. Then machine-stitch on top of the slip-basting. Slip-bastings must be removed before pressing seams.

Ga rment,


been machine足 stitched to make sure it shows no signs of broken thread.

Eucalan® Woolwash and our new product Eucalan ® Lavender, contain natural lanolin


eucalyptus or

lavender, which conditions the fibers while protecting against moths. Woolwash


Lavender are ideal for

.I & •'i' & micaI Xj§l Superb cleaning



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Wholesaling Fabrics to the Public READER SERVICE NO. 6 1

Many Choices. Orie Name. & 185 &

Whenever a needle is threaded or a finishing touch

added, Coats for over

Clark should be there. That's because

years, Coats

Clark has offered the world's

most complete and highest quality line of threads and other fine sewing products.



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Tool s of th e Tra de Here's a look a t some of the sewing, q u i lting, and e m b e l l ishing


products now

If a serger is on your wish list but not in your

on the m a rket.

budget, Simplicity's Frontier serger could be your answer. Simplicity Sewing Machines is a di­ vision of Tacony Corporation, which also brings us Baby Lock and Hna. This straightforward



serger uses standard threading and tension steps for overcasting with two to four threads. It comes with a video demonstration, a "Let's Get Started" guide, which charts threading for a speedy start­ up, and a comprehensive instruction manual.

thousands of beginning, intermediate, and sea­

The basic sew and trim functions of a serger

soned sewers and crafters, Simplicity's line of

save time, and this serger offers a fine, narrow

machines was conceived in conjunction with

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sewers in order to target and respond to specific

embellishment. Simplicity also provides a toll­

needs and expectations. The result is solid, no­

free help line.

nonsense machines with metal construction and

This free-arm, solid machine hums through

a 2 5-year limited warranty. To top it all off, the

knits, wovens, tricot, Lycra, sheers, and denim

company packs the box with a coupon for three

with ease, trimming and overcasting the edge as

free Simplicity patterns. The Simplicity Serger

you sew. The machine includes an elastic appli­

sells for $ 3 9 9 . Call 800-33 5-00 2 5 or visit

cation foot, blind-hem foot, and differential feed.

www. simplic for a local dealer.

The product of surveys and discussions with

-J u d y Neu kam

B ROTH E R PC2800 Brother's new PC2800 is a good, solid,

choice for the entry-level sewer. For ex­

presser feet. One foot I particularly like is

smooth-running, basic machine, with

ample, the adjustable speed control has a

an overcasting foot that makes several at­

several features that make it a fine

slow speed that would be manageable for

tractive edge finishes. I would also buy a

even a very young sewer regardless of

side cutter, which attaches to the machine

how hard the foot pedal is pressed. Ad­ ditionally, easy threading and auto­ matic tension control almost ensures your first stitch will be perfect.



This machine has two of my favorite fea­ tures, which make sewing easier: the au­

Forty versatile, yet handsome,

tomatic buttonhole sizing and not having

stitches for utility and decorative

to pull the bobbin thread up from the bot­

sewing are a push-button away. And

tom before you sew. I can see a lifetime of

stitch-length and stitch-width adjust­

satisfied sewing coming from this ma­

ments are controlled by a simple slide­

chine. The Brother PC2800 sells for $799.

knob. This computerized machine is

Call 800-422-7684 or visit

as easy to run as a mechanical machine.

for a local dealer.

The machine includes six snap-in


for cutting and stitching in one operation with two-thread overlocking action.


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- J u d y Neu kam

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When you order from Alto's mention code ''TM202'' and receive a 5% discount. READER SERVICE NO. 1 0

f e b r u a ry/marc h 2 0 0 2


Too l s

of th e

Tra d e( c ocuc",dl

H U S Q VA R N A V I K I N G DES IG N E R I I Remember the add-a-pearl necklace? Husq­

screen, the inter­

and kit, you re­

varna Viking's new Designer

is an add­

active Sewing Ad­

ceive the em­

a-feature sewing machine. The Designer 11

visor sets stitch

broidery unit,

is not an upgraded Designer 1. It, instead,


carrying case,



uses all of the Designer I sensor features in

length and width,

a pared down machine, which can be mod­

presser-foot pressure,

cessories, and deSigns. EmbrOidery soft­

ified by adding features at any time.

and thread tension for the type and weight

ware programs can also be added to

assorted hoops, embroidery ac­

The Sen sor System performs many

of fabric and for the task at hand. Beyond

expand creative opportunities with

sewing-machine related tasks automati­

these, you can customize the machine by

customizing and digitizing.

cally. For example, it senses the thick­

purchasing theme packages that supply ad­

For the Quilt theme, the d-Card includes

ness of fabric underneath the presser foot,

ditional stitches, buttonhole styles, alpha­

15 mm-wide stippling, hand quilting, and

raises and lowers the presser foot auto­

bets, scallops, and more.

matically, raises the foot to the exact piv­

�-in. piecing stitches. The kit includes a

Husqvarna V iking offers fou r theme

slide-on quilter'S table with a variety of

ot height needed, and automatically cuts

packages to enhance the Designer II: Em­

and pulls threads to the fabric's wrong

broidery, Heirloom, Home Dec, and Quilt.

However you configure the Designer II,

side then raises the presser foot.

Each theme includes Stitch-d-Cards de­

you will appreciate its smooth running

Stitch d-Cards are inserted into the ma­

Signed for its particular subject, a full-col­

ease of operation. The Designer II sells for

chine to provide the brainpower to direct its

or inspiration booklet with projects specific

$ 2 ,999. Call Husqvarna Viking at 440-

capabilities. Three cards come with the De­

to the stitch and theme functions, and a kit

808-6564, or visit them on the Web at


providing utility stitches, decora­

that corresponds to the theme. If, for ex­

www. for a local dealer.

tive stitches, and a block alphabet. On the

ample you purchase the embroidery theme

-Judy Neukam


quilting feet and gUides.

Q U I LT I N G If you're new to hand-quilting or imagine that se­

ing chOOSing batting, thread, and needles; hooping

Products are worth getting

the project; and stacking stitches. The author ex­

to know. At a recent quilt

plains and advises on both techniques and tools.

show, I found myself mesmerized by the



video, because every question I ever asked about hand-quilt­ ing was answered, including

testing and research is R

ox nne s Thimble, a



oped to satisfy every requirement of fit, shape, dimple depth, and ultimate needle control to help you produce a perfect quilt stitch.

naming and ranking products.

The Perfect Stitch video ( $ 27. 95), Perfect Stitch book ( $ 24.95), and Roxanne's Thimble ($40 to

ter Dierdra McElroy continues the

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with full-color photography, gUides the reader


One tool that took an extraordinary amount of

In this two-hour class, noted quil­

secrets of fine hand-quilting.


through quilting decisions and processes, includ­

rious quilting could be in your future, Roxanne

Judy Neukam is assistant editor at Threads.

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A Weekend with Sandra Betzina at Baer Fabrics

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MARCH 9-10, 2002 Host of HGTV's Sew Perfect Syndicated Columnist

Author of the ever-popular Power Sewing Books Videos

p atchwo rkmou n ta i n. co m

Designer of TODAY'S FIT Patterns


Spend a weekend with Sandra Betzina at Baer Fabrics - one of the area's largest and most unique fabric stores with

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Enjoy two days of new, information packed seminars, personalized shopping assistance with Sandra and catered meals. Dinner and a fashion show hosted by Sandra will be provided Saturday evening.





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FAX: 516-887-3974 READER

1 32


fe bru a ry/marc h 2 0 0 2


Quic k t o M a ke If you're busy a n d h av e o n l y l i m ited time to sew, try t h ese q u i ck-to­

BODY WRAPS I N A S NA P by S u z a n n e M e l i l l o

m a ke ideas.

After waitressing for over 1 5 years, Dress up a basic

my body has suffered more than

rectangular wrap with

its share of aches and pains. The

The five-channel heating pad wrap is ideal for lower back pain. Its

a cover made of a fancy

mental and physical stress of the

cover is essentially a flat pouch tied closed with ri bbons.

fabric, in this case

job eventually sent me into physical

checked dupioni.

therapy, where I learned to use heat

Matching straps are

and cold to relax muscles and re-

and herbs such as lavender. When

attached to the ends of

duce inflammation. But I wanted

warmed in a microwave oven, the

While you can make a wrap out

to find a way to con­

rice retains heat, and alternatively,

of any tightly woven, natural-fiber

tinue these soothing,

with a couple of hours in the freez­

fabric and use it alone, I often make

spa-like treatments at

er, the wrap works as an ice pack.

a removable cover to put over a ba­

home. That's when I

I like to add lavender to my wraps

sic muslin wrap (see the photo at

started making what

for its relaxing, aromatherapeutic

left), which can be removed for

I call body wraps.

properties, but you might prefer

laundering. This also makes it pos­

other herbs (see "Herbs by mail" at

sible to use fabrics and notions

fabric bags, con­

bottom left for sources of dried

that might not b e microwave-safe,

toured and articu­

lavender). You should test your

such as synthetics and closures like

lated to conform

herbs in the microwave before

zippers or buttons with metal parts.



putting them in a wrap to be sure

I've provided instructions below

which are filled

you like the fragrance when heated.

for a basic five-channel wrap, a

with uncooked,

I've found that one cup of dried

horseshoe-shaped neck wrap, and

long-grain rice

lavender to three or four cups of

a long, rectangular wrap that's per-

the inner wrap.

B o dy wraps are


rice is aromatic and long-lasting.

T H E B O DY W RA P S The five-ch a n ne l wrap musl i n

H erbs by m a i l A phrodisia

264 Bleeker St. New York, NY 1 00 1 4 2 1 2-989-6440 www. aphrodisia products. com Judy's O rg a nic Herbs

PO Box 258 Woodlawn, O N , Canada K O A 3MO 6 1 3-832-824 1

M aterials

Sew m usl i n i n n er wrap

1 OO-percent cotton muslin for wrap (200count m uslin works best) Cotton thread Fabric for cover Ribbon for optional ties or other closures Long-grain rice (do not use instant varieties) Dried lavender or other herbs Large funnel for filling wraps

With WSs together, stitch twice around edges of wrap with '/:,-in. seam allowance, leaving one edge open. Turn RS out, and mark and stitch dimples or channels at 3- to 6-in. intervals. Fill wrap with rice and herb mix­ ture (wraps should be full, but flexible). Sew opening closed.

• •• • • • •


Stitch at in. and 1 '/:, in. from end. Catch strap ends in while sewing end closed. For straps:

The recta n g u l a r w r a p m uslin


feet for lying flat over the shoul­ ders or wrapping a sore knee. See the chart at right for fabric and fill­ ing gUidelines. A large wrap is great for prewarming a bed; a small wrap

Wrap styl e

Muslin wrap

Fashi o n-fabric cover

Rice m i xture

Rectangu lar

28 in. by (cut one)


in. by 12 in. (cut one)

4 cups

Five-channel heating pad

1 8Yo i n. by (cut two)

20 in. by 14 in. (cut two)

7-8 cups

Horseshoe neck wrap

En large pattern shown below u ntil CB equals 5% in. (cut two on fold)

Yo i n . - 1 i n . larger than wrap pattern (cut two on fold)

5-6 cups

in the shape of an eye mask, gently



warmed or chilled, works well when you have a headache. Body wraps make great gifts, too. They don't require fitting, and you can find fabric for a cover to suit practically anyone's taste. You



might want to add a little glamour by covering a neck wrap in silk du­ pioni, as I've done in the examples

ties, beads and buttons, or piping.

M aking th e wrap

shown on these pages, and play

But be prepared: As soon as you

Refer to the chart and diagrams to

with inventively chosen closures

start giving away these wraps, there

cut and sew the basic wrap of your


and embellishments, like ribbon

will be a flood of requests for more.

choice. Then choose a cover fabric

body wra ps

that will feel good against your skin. Also decide how the cover will open to permit insertion of the

Ti ps fo r

Rice filling

Fresher lavender will have a stronger scent,

wrap (at one end or with

but you can perk up the

This horseshoe wrap is

an overlapped placket)

aroma of older lavender

designed to encircle the neck.

and what sort of closing

by adding a couple of

Insert the wrap into its cover

device you'd like-ribbon

drops of lavender

through an overlapped opening

or self-fabric ties, draw­

essential oil to the mix.

at center back.

strings, buttons, zippers, or hook-and-Ioop tape are only a few possibilities.

V, 1

Cut out the cover, plan­

The h o rseshoe w r a p m u s l i n



(enlarge pattern shown 400 percent)

Heatin g body wraps

Microwave times will vary from model to model and with the size

ning the finished dimen-

of the wrap. For a wrap

sions to be

with three or more cups

in. to

in. larg­

er in all directions than the wrap

of rice, begin with two

itself. Depending on the closure,

minutes at high power;

add extensions for overlaps, hems,

if this is not hot enough,

or casings. Apply interfacing i f

i ncrease the time by

necessary t o stabilize t h e fabric for fasteners. Sew the cover, WSs together, fin­ ishing the opening edges with a double-turned hem and attaching

30-second intervals. Children under 1 2 years of age should not use heated or chilled wraps without adult supervision.

any necessary closures. Add pip­ ing or embellishment, if desired. Suzanne Melillo teaches sewing

in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. Find out more about her wraps at www.makin buttons. com.

fe bruary/ma r c h 2 0 0 2


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Simply phone/

Nancy Zieman Sewing with Nancy®, New Garden Friends

mail or Email us!

The Angus International l/E Agency (Established 1 978)

1 8/F 8 Soares Avenue, Kowloon, HONG KONG Tel: 852 2718 2748

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Host of public televisions also a designer for the Amazing Designer Series.

E-mail:!biz2/angussilkshongkong \Ve accept all major Personalcredcalitlcearrsdswe/p!CerOl1zsonale! cheques etc.

Memory Card from Amazing Designs


Nancy Zieman's Garden Friends memory collection has


beautiful designs

created by Nancy to inspire every gardener. This is Nancy's fifth memory card in the Amazing Designer Series.

\'id,'os -l'alt"I'ns -S,'minal's

To purchase your card today, call


to locate

an Amazing Designs Dealer, or visit our website at


Pre-Order the book,


beginning Feb 28, 2002. Upcoming Seminars February 8 & February 10} 2002


February 9} 2002 AZ AFMaroulenaddegir,naretgIsalauntdhIoesrriltySacnderhoon l'ToofdFaays'shiSonewAringts" February 28 -March 3} 2002 Leandro Fabrics, Tucson,

Joyce Drexler New Four Seasons Ultra Twist Pack

American Sewing Guild, Tucson,

Co-Author of Concepts in Sulky® book series, nationally known sewing instructor, designer for Amazing Designer Series.

Sewing and Stitchery Expo, Puyallup, WA

Disk pack from Amazing Designs

Joyce Drexler's newest disk pack includes



made for all year long. Four Seasons' was created to work specifically with the Sulky


The USA'S Larg est Selection of Knitted Deep Pile Fur Fabrics

everyone. Call

Polyester stuffing: four types Styles include: basic plush, shag, shearling, seal,

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��""","", i."' �-

design come to life with the combination of thread colors. Just like Joyce's first disk pack, Inspirational Concepts,

Four Seasons will spur creative whimsy in

· 25 Styles with over 90 colors - sold in 15 yard rolls

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For a F R E E design visit: 1 02wsvm 1 6. html READER SERVICE NO. 1 67

B o o ks Here's our choice of the best of the l atest books for sewers


rious Insp irations:


Sources from Art

image in this treasure-trove of imagery, but

and Nature for

and e m bel l ishers. Check with your loca l

Kaffe Fassett's

Inno vat ive

38710016; 800-367-92000; 692; $19.95; 192 pp.

these are tucked

bookstore or, if you

Glorious Inspiration


want, order d i rectly

by Kaffe Fassett. Sterling

D esigns.

from the p u bl isher or

Publishing Co.,

even if you never expect to

Park A ve.

try needlepoint or knitting,

antly displayed delights of what must surely be Fassett's own

pub. com;

this book. It's an ultimate pat­

source files. It's hard to imag­


tern- and color-reference source,

ine a more intoxicating entice­

absolutely guaranteed to get your

ment to be more colorful in

pulse pounding if you love all

one's own work, no matter

about a decade ago, and for near­

things colorful, decorative, and

whether it's quilting, garment­

ly twice the price, color magician

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making, or any other sort of de­

Kaffe Fassett's oversized collec­

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tion of beautifully reproduced

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with n o reduction i n size or

decorative art from all eras and

own justly celebrated needle­

quality from the original), this

places was originally called G lo-

crafts, each a response to some

book is a bargain.

www. sterling

a d d ress is provided.

First published in hardcover


S U R FA C E D E S I G N The Fa bric H a n d book

Ya rn Dyer's


387 800-367-9692; 10016; 160 2001; $27.95;

beautifully deSigned and encyclopedic

offerings) , tools, work-area planning,

overview puts answers to all these ques-

and makes some suggestions for using

tions into a Single, easily accessed volume,

repeat patterns.

along with plenty of inspiration, a by-prod­

Next up is a generic description of dye

uct of the wide range of options she con­

and paint applications, including tie­

distributed in North America by Sterling

siders. Even if you're not completely new to

dying, stenCiling, and screen printing,

Publishing Co.,

dying and fabric painting, it's unlikely

along with a discussion of yarn handling.

you'll have already considered, or even

The preliminaries over, Kendall finally

by Tracy Kendall. Collins

Brown L td.,

Park A ve. S.,

New York, NY,; hardcover;


The power to permanently change the color

heard of, all of the synthetic and nat-

turns to her rich collection of recipes:

ural dye sources she covers. Appli­

nearly 100 pages, each featuring a differ­

cation techniques, from the basics,

ent dye source or application and pre­

like vat dying and batik, to more

sented as a step-by-step process, with a col­

exotic ideas, like monoprinting

orful example and a list of ingredients

and devore are clearly ex­

and supplies needed, all divided into three categories: vat dying, painting, and print­

and/ or pattern of

plained. The highly graphiC

your fabric is a se­

contents begin with guide­

ing. There's also a short glossary and a

ductive pOSSibility,

lines and tests for identify­

good list of suppliers in both North Amer­

but the prospect can

ing fabrics and yarns; all

ica and the United Kingdom. If you want

certainly raise many

the subsequent recipes

to get into action quickly, with a good

questions. What's an

are color-coded to show

sense of the territory, and a minimum of

appropriate dye or col­

applicable fibers. The

confusion, this attractive, spiral-bound

orant for any given fabric?

author then covers

book provides an excellent launching pad.

What equipment do you re­

the basics of dye

ally need? How safe is the process?


tween the end­ less and exuber­

you're likely to go bananas over

S., New York, N Y

d i stributor, whose

in sparsely b e­


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paint types (with

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David Coffin is senior editor at Threads


WÂŁere :Jo :Planl Your glowers 7ÂŁ1S c5eason.

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f e b r u a ry/ma r c h 2 0 0 2


C e l e b ra ti n g S ewe rs From time to time,


Threads will honor individ u a l sewers

by Chris Timmons

whose work is especi a l l y remark­

Ila Erickson of Park City, Mont., is

a ble-whether for its

an intriguing sewer. The Threads


technical panache,

editors first encountered her work

Far left, lIa in

unique design,

when she entered The RS/WS

wearing the navy silk

aesthetic sens i b i l ity,

Wool Challenge last year, which

ensemble she made

or evidence of a

the magazine co-sponsored with

for her 8th-grade

persona l cha l l enge

the Professional Association of Cus­


well met.

tom Clothiers (PACC) and whose


winners were featured in Explor­ ing Design in No.

pp. 34-42. Ila

Near left, lIa models her award-winning

made a delightful, beautifully con­

outfit: the Audi ence

structed ensemble, shown at right,

Choice Honorable

which garnered her the Audience

Mention Award i n the

Choice Honorable Mention Award

2001 Threads' RS/WS

at the PACC convention fashion

Wool Chal lenge and the

show. Only during the fashion

Montana "Make It

show did I realize that the young

Yourself with Wool"

girl modeling the outfit was actu-

junior-division title in 2000.

Ila likes to try out a new technique in each outfit she makes

ally its maker-and that she was only 14 years old! Ila (pronounced Eye-la) started sewing at age nine because she want­ ed to enter a 4-H sewing contest. For the first three years, her mother was her sewing teacher; then she moved on to take lessons from someone else. And in the past few years, she has 92


Singer® is a registered trademark of the Singer Company limited.


( e I e b ra ti n g S ewers


read and studied on her own to

her brother and a friend to sew.

continue improving her already

Down the road, she hopes to study

considerable skills.

apparel design in college and even-

Her favorite fabric nowadays is

tually do custom fashion design.

wool, and in 2000, she won the

And when she's not sewing, she

Montana "Make It Yourself with

likes to compete in horse shows

Wool" junior-division title (see

with her quarter horse. These pho-

the photos at right on p. 92).

tos show some of Ila's remarkable

She likes to try out a new tech-

sewing projects.

�.Q'c� jJ0;.9 �a.a.�'"0 ]a."c. � a�� g� �� � 15if.0

nique in each outfit she sews and has earmarked machine embroidery to tackle next. What's ahead for Ila? In the near future, she plans to teach

C h ris Timmons, former editor of

Threads magazine, is a freelance editor, writer, and designer living in Norwalk, Conn.

l I a and two o f h e r sewing projects from t h e past few years. From

left: with a quilt made as a 4·H project; in 2001 , with a tweed cape that reverses to Austrian mohair.

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pages 1 04·1 05 f r reader service numbers.



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1 03

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8117862 21931 11206738 121567974 06 422178241 151838122211306445 2-1730976 61492 12028 2-i-13169 32196 11829603 If 741183072 41360 I

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Advertiser I ndex/Web Directory

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Advertiser Husqvarna/Viking International Fabric Collection Islander Sewing Systems Islander Sewing Systems Italy Fabrics Janome America Jenny's Sewing Studio Judith M. Design TheJUNK]EANS People Karen's Kreations Katie's Vint aE>e Kimono Keepsake Quilting Supplies Kiyo Design, Inc. L J Designs L a Fred Leandro Fabrics Leesburg Looms &: Supply Les Fabriques Loes Hinse Design Logan Kits LumenlighLcom Madame Dandelion's Malden Mills Martha Pullen Martha Pullen Mary Wales Loomis Material Things

Meleo Industries, Inc. Merv's Upholstery Monterey Mills My Twin Dress Forms Name Maker, Inc. Nancy's Notions Newark Dressmaker Supply Nonh Bay Button Company Olympic Peninsula Alpacas On The Surface Oriental Silk Company Original Sewing &: Craft

25710 6214057 3711827 12124758 11897 7921306019 8916986 120401 2132043613 118068 82358 I 12173690 890 -l51490 21385 12 039 t:214: 41

Readerce Web Address Servi No.


Page# Advertiser p. 2

92839 =16193156 8 0 6 _____ -I_1__1 573681 6123439 I 1 38 17785 110653 11 170428 21138593 962479 452176192 ---- 74 1I 62005249 117483-I 359

Readerce Web Address Servi

Page #


p. 1 1

The Rainshed, Inc.

Reprodepot Fabrics

p. 101

p. 101

Roberts Manufacturing

1'. 100

p. 81

Robison-Anton Textile Co.

p. 107

p. 86

Royalwood, Ltd.

p 96

S.N. Designs

p. 96

p. 95



p. 97

Sandra Betzina

p. 101

Sawyer Brook Fabrics

p. 102

Seattle Fabrics


p. 98

Sew Nouveau

p. 102

p. 100

p 28

Sew True '---Sew Vac Direct

p. 1 1



p. 97 p. 1 1


p. 83 21

www, ----I__

p. 99 �


p. 76

p. 25

Sew/Fit Company

p. 102

p. 28

The Sewing Place

p. 102

p. 1 1

Sewing &: Stitchery Expo

p. 76

p. 81

Sewing Studio

p. 102

Sewing Supplies Warehouse

p. 103

p. 25


p. 102

SewPro Workshop

p. 102

P I'


p 91


Sew-Rite Corp.

p. 97

Shipwreck Beads

p 96

Shoppers Rule, Inc.


1'. 100

Sievers School of Fiber Ans

1'. 1 1


p 21

p. 101


p. 79

p. 101 97

p. 25 p. 96


p. 93

Small Office Solutions


1'. 12

Smoke &: Fire Co.

1'. 100

South Beach Trimmings

p. 101

I' materiaUhings.htm

p. 25

Southwest Decoratives

p. 74

Spandex House

p. 100

p. 97

Specialty Lace

p. 28

1'. 86

SLTheresa Textile Trove

1'. 96

p 97

Sterling Name Tape Co.

p. 1 1

Stretch &: Sew Fabrics

1'. 79

Sue's Sparklers

1'. 98

p. 75

Super Silk

p. 98

p. 99

Taumon Plus

1'. 103

p. 75

Tex·Styles Fabrics


1'. 98

p. 99

Textile fabric Store

p. 25

Textile Studio Patterns




p 97

p. 98 1'. 100

Textile Workshop

p 99

Thai Silks

p 9

p 82

Origins Embroidery Software

p. 29



p. 96


p. 96

Threads at Gingerbread Hill

p. 7


p 97

Total Embellishment News http://totalembellishmentnews.

p. 100

Tread leAn

p. 96

p. 98

p 83

Ultra Style Designs

p. 103

p. 100

The Unique Spool

p 96

Utica Thread

p. 83

Velvet Fabric

I' I'

Victoria Louise Mercers

p. 103

Virginia Mani fabrics

p. 28

Wheeler Ans

p. 101

p. 3

Wild Ginger Software, Inc.

p. 98

Wildly Wonderful Wearables

p. 9

You Can Make It, Inc.

p 96

p. 99

Zeeman Corporation

1'. 102

p. 97

Zipper Source

r· 3

p 15

Zoe Lee's

p. 102


Palmer/PIetsch Associates Pantograms The Paris Connection Patchwork Mountain Panern Studio Pavelka Design Studio Paw Prints Pattern Co. Pegee of Williamsburg Petite Plus Panerns Pfaff The Pillow Lady Plum Blossom Kimono Poli Fabrics Ponland's Downtown DisL

p. 2 6

p. 101

Ponsmouth Fabric Company


QUiltCharms QuiltFestjacksonvillc, Inc. Ram City Publishing

ilL p. 97


p. 102 99

p. 96

p. 83

p P

p. 96 1'. 102



p. 21


f e b r u a r y/ m a r c h 2 0 0 2

1'. 1 01

1 05

C l o s u res H a ve comments


you want to share


relished. I also saw no reason to

shirts with matching corduroy

pull out the pins before they went

trousers. I was on a roll.

a bout sewing or

beneath the needle-so what if they

I think part of why I was enjoying

needlework? A

came out a little bent? I felt a need

myself so much was that there was

for speed.

no one making me rip (sorry,

funny or interesting

by J o a n H u stace Wal k e r

story a bout you r

Growing up, I viewed sewing as a

Suffice it to say that when my

e m bell ishing or

chore best avoided. My mother, an

mother agreed to help me with my

however, if something was truly

q u i lting adventu res?

extremely talented and patient

seventh-grade sewing proj ect, I

wrong, redid it.

A page from your

woman, was also a dress designer

nearly wound up with a 15-year­

sketchbook w e ought

with a B.FA in dress design and an

old Pfaff wrapped around my skin­

some mistakes

to see? Send it to:

MA in teaching from Washington

ny neck. You see, after having

These were mistakes with finality.

Mom). I didn't seek perfection;


I soon discovered that there were



couldn't rip out.

Threads Closu res,

University-St. Louis. She believed

ripped out the skirt's only seam

Or so thought until I applied a lit­

63 S. Main St.,

in ripping any seam that was less

five times, I was starting to get a

tle ingenuity and creativity to the

PO Box 5506,

than perfect. And that's where we

little testy.

Newtown, CT 06470-

immediately butted heads.


task at hand. After cutting out the

So my mother walked out of the

fabric for a simple pullover top,


I felt, as an impatient, know-it-all

sewing room, and I sewed the seam

for example, discovered I had cut

teenager enrolled in my first home

my way. I turned the project in to

it too short. For extra length, I

economics class, that if a person

my teacher the next day, received a

added cuffs and a wide band at

could sew from one end of the

"pass," and moved on to bigger and

the bottom in a contrasting color.

pinned fabric to the other-well,

better things in home economics­

Instant hit.

that was a seam and that was good

like dumping a potful of corn

There was also the time I pre­

chowder down a drain that didn't

washed two yards of 100-percent

have a garbage disposal.

cotton in the hottest water possible

enough. Basting wasn't a concept I

Strange as it may seem, exactly

and shrank the fabric so small that

20 years later, I actually wanted to

even the sleeve of a shirt pattern

get a sewing machine and try my

wouldn't fit. Adding to the prob­

hand again. When I broke the news

lem was the fact that the fabric had

to my mother, she skeptically

been in my stash so long that the

agreed to go in with my husband,

store no longer carried it-but they

Randy, and purchase a nice new

did have some great contrasting

Pfaff machine for me.

fabric and matching buttons.

The pressure was on to j ustify


Another masterpiece.

this rather pricey expenditure.

So my advice to sewers who get

Randy said I could j ustify it imme­

bent out of shape when something

diately by hemming all his pants.


goes awry, don't rip unless you

said no. Hemming-like pulling out

have to. Instead, expand your hori­

pins-was far too mundane for me.

zons. Think of a creative solution to

For my first proj ect, I chose a

the problem, and the project will

pair of paj amas for my then three­

come out better than you had orig­


year-old son, Eric. I had to rip. And

inally planned. Oh, yes, and I do

rip. And rip. Not because wanted

hem my husband's pants now-but

to, but because

he had to buy me a serger first.


had to (I didn't

think it would have been fair to

1 06


ask my preschooler to walk around

Joan H ustace Walker is a freelance

in paj amas with the legs sewn to­

writer based in Chesapeake, Va., who

gether). Finally, a few days later,

enjoys the creativity of sewing for her

Eric had his dinosaur j ammies,

husband and two children, but rarely

and I branched out into flannel

admits to ripping.


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NO. 89


Threads magazine 99 march 2002  
Threads magazine 99 march 2002