Fostering good sewing habits

Hands up who tends to be a slapdash sewist? I certainly am. Cutting corners is my thing, don’t you know.

But for 2013, I’ve decided my sewing needs to mature a little. Here’s some bad sewing habits I need to grow out of:

1) Skimming instructions

instructions.jpg

There’s just something about instructions that makes them so… skimmable. It’s as though as soon as you introduce some sort of numbered list, I switch off. Equally,  sometimes I just can’t or won’t make the effort to get my head around what exactly a pattern is asking me to do.

If text turns you off, then there are a wealth of visual and video tutorials available online. Or, better yet, many independent pattern companies are providing in-detail drawings with simple instructions – perfect for more visual learners like me. (I used a pic of Gertie’s instructions above – but what it doesn’t show is the great little illustrative instructions featured over the page) If you really don’t understand something, Google is just a click away.

2) Leaving threads unsnipped and seams unironed…

It can seem such a pain to get up from your sewing machine to head for the ironing board or reach for the scissors – particularly if you have a lack of space. In my case, the ironing board and iron are in another room completely. Ironing seams helps everything look much more professional in the long run. As for snipping threads – it’s such a relief not to have to deal with a load of strays all over your garment right at the very end if you’ve done it the whole way through.

Gertie took a look into the whys and hows of ironing – specifically, whether it’s really necessary to iron your seams flat and then open. Over at the Coletterie, August’s good habit of the month was clipping those threads!

3) Never making a muslin

I’ve mused about my love-hate relationship with muslins before. To the slapdash and money-conscious sewist in me, muslins are time-consuming and a waste of otherwise perfectly good fabric. But after a number of fitting disasters, I’ve changed my tune a little – I even made a muslin of my most recent pencil skirt project.

pencilskirtmuslin.jpg

The fact is, if you’re making significant alterations, then a muslin is probably sensible. In my brief foray into the world of muslin-making, I’ve found a stable cotton to work well in a light colour you can easily draw on. Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch did a great pencil skirt sewalong a couple of years back which included how to tackle fitting the perfect muslin. Not sure if you need to make a muslin? Check out Sewaholic’s post here for musings on when a practice garment is necessary.

4) Claiming there’s just no time to sew

Sometimes, sewing can seem like just too much effort, particularly when I’ve had a long day at the office. More often than not, it’s not the actual sewing which makes me reluctant – it’s trying to muster up the enthusiasm to get started.

One great way to tackle this is to adopt Tilly’s 15-minute rule. Setting 15 minutes aside every day really helps me to get my sewing mojo back. Sometimes it turns into a little longer, other times I stick to the 15 minutes and just trace out a pattern or something. Bitesize chunks take the pressure off immensely – and it definitely stops me feeling guilty for being a bit lazy with the sewing machine!

Those are just some of the bad sewing habits I’m tackling right now. How about you? Are you a sewist who sticks to the straight and narrow, or do you often find yourself developing bad habits?

Inspiring Makes on Pinterest

The social media aficonados among you are sure to be avid fans of image-based site Pinterest already.

For those of you who aren’t pinning like there’s no tomorrow, it’s basically an online inspiration board, akin to a scrapbook or a mood board. It’s a nice way to bookmark your favourite tutorials on a visual basis, for example.

Eagle-eyed readers and those of you who follow me on Pinterest already will notice my first board is dedicated to inspiring makes, where I’ve started collating some of my favourite sewing makes from the big talents on the sewing blogosphere. Sometimes, the best way to improve your stitching is by taking inspiration from other stitchers.

Source: sewithought.com via Elena on Pinterest

Take Angela from Sew I Thought, for example. After a bit of a blogging hiatus, she’s back with some blooming beautiful creations, including this bowtastic blouse made from Simplicity 2154, a reissue of a 1960s pattern. It’s very Mad Men, don’t you think?

 

Continuing with the vintage theme, how fantastic is Erika’s blue rose party dress? She’s really made the most of the panelled fabric and the little ric-rac details add a real professional touch.

If you want to see more Inspiring Makes, check out my board on Pinterest and get following if you have an account. Would you guys be interested in regular updates on the blog about inspiring projects I’ve been pinning?

The Weekend Reading List

My week has been full of everything but sewing! I’ve still been keeping tabs on my favourite blogs – here are some posts which may tickle your fancies too!

Tilly popped up a tutorial for puff sleeves yesterday, the same as those featured on her latest button back blouse. I love a good tutorial, and Tilly’s are always very helpful.

It’s not about sewing per se, but Miss Katie wrote an excellent post this week, hitting back at women looking down on those who enjoy past-times traditionally associated with females. She says it a lot better than I do, go read!

This post from Tasia at Sewaholic earlier in the week caught my eye. She asks: “How does your partner feel about your love of sewing?” It’s worth delving into the comments as well as reading the post itself, maybe even share your own experiences!

Speaking of reading comments – have a look at those on my last post about getting rid of old clothes, it’s been great to read people’s experiences with textile recycling. On a similar, sustainable, note, Zoe has a great post about commercial consumption which is, as always, very thought-provoking.

Happy reading!

Sewing around the blogosphere

I’m currently working on some interview material which will be posted in due course, so I thought I’d pop up a quick post of my blog reading from the past few weeks! As you know, I love me some sewing blogs, and there’s been some lovely stuff going on around the blogosphere!

Coletterie, the blog for Colette Patterns blew my mind this week with some handy tips on gathering stitches. Small things eh… In all seriousness,  it’s a blog worth following for little tips like this.

Tilly and the Buttons has been busy, making a beautiful leaf patterned pencil skirt and also featuring the lovely Gertie of Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing, who has written a Day in the Life guest blog! Both these ladies are amazing, so do check both blogs out.

Ali over at The Wardrobe Reimagined successfully reverse-engineered a ready-to-wear garment, re-creating a blazer. You can read about her methods here, and about the finished garment here! Ali’s also touched upon the Occupy movement in her area in the second post, and how current events can link in with our wardrobe and the memories clothes bring to us. Worth a read and a comment, even if you don’t sew!

Last but not least is a lady you’ll be spotting on the blog pretty soon – Zoe made an amazing Nautical Diner Dress and posted about it this week. Lovely stuff, especially if you’re a fan of vintage patterns!