Tips and Techniques

Instuctions for Sewing Felt Undercollar

  1. Before you cut into the felt, suede, or ultrasuede trim away all the seam allowances  surrounding the undercollar pattern piece
  2. Cut out one whole undercollar on the fold
  3. Pin this undercollar to the interfaced uppercollar, which has the seam allowances turned under (miter the corners of the upper collar), and catch-stitch the undercollar to the interfacing at the upper and side edges about 1/2″ inside the seam lines
  4. Baste the lower edge of the undercollar to the neckline seam allowance, placing the cut edge of the under collar along the stitching line
  5. Baste the undercollar to the uppercollar about 1/4″ (6mm) from all edges, then trim a scant 1/8″ (3mm) from all the raw edges
  6. Using a small blanket stitch, sew the undercollar to the uppercollar and neckline seams. (See diagram below:)

How to Use a Narrow Hem Foot

I’ve had a wonderful top-of-the line Bernina for 15 years and I had never purchased a narrow hemming foot! The problem with narrow hemming the other way (turning and stitching, trimming and turning and stitching again) is that by the time you stitch around the hem twice on delicate fabric, it almost always starts to flutter.

Here is a narrow hem technique I saw on a very expensive designer silk skirt (Project MyWay #1):  The skirt front was narrow hemmed, the skirt back was narrow hemmed, then the side seams were sewn. If you’re careful to have the side seams of the fronts and backs end at exactly the same place, this gets around the fact that the first half inch in of a hem using a narrow hemming foot looks horrible, as it’s hidden in the side seam.

Here is the best tutorial I’ve found for narrow hemming from Jan Andrea, at Home on the Web., it has great pictures and instructions:

http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/hemming.html

Even with this great tutorial, I was still having trouble catching my stitching on the folded hem. Finally, I changed from my single hole sole plate (which I always use on fine fabrics–keeps the fabric from getting shoved down into the throat plate) to the zig-zag throat plate and set my needle position to the right. This worked pretty well for light weight fabric.

How to Insert an Invisible Zipper

I don’t think I’ve ever installed a “perfect” invisible zipper. My Achilles tendon is the bubble that wants to form at the bottom of the zipper, I think  because the fabric stretches in one direction when you sew the first side of the zipper and then stretches in the other direction when you sew the second side.

That said, my invisible zippers look pretty damn good and by far better than lapped or centered zippers.

Here is the best tutorial I’ve ever seen on inserting an invisible zipper. It has clear pictures and instructions.

One thing I can add, if you can’t find the perfect color zipper, the zipper stop (the only part that shows on the right side) can be painted with model car paint available at hobby and toy stores. This gives many more options to match the color of the zipper stop to your garment.

Here’s the article:

http://sewiknit.blogspot.com/2006/03/invisible-zipper-tutorial.html

How to Sew Facings with Understitching Tutorial

Here is a detailed tutorial on constructing facings and understitching them. It has great line drawings that are easy to understand.

Understitching is a technique you can use on any faced opening, i.e. neckline, sleeveless armhole opening, waistband. It causes the facing to curl to the inside of the garment and gives a nice stable edge on which to press the seam to the inside. Understitching is a technique that gives a very professional looking finish.

Check it out:

http://www.diceyhome.free-online.co.uk/KatePages/Learning/Understitching/understitching_lesson.htm

Sleevless Scoopneck Facing Instructions

I used this finish on the hundreds of jumpers I constructed when I owned and operated a maternity wear design and manufacturing company in the early 80’s.

This is a copy of page 73 and 74 of Sew Smart, by Judy Lawrence and Clotilde Yurick: (more…)