Monday, February 27, 2012

Insider Secrets from the Garment Industry

In ready-to-wear manufacturing, no one uses pins or basting. And with good reason. It would take too long, and sewing with pins reduces accuracy.

Not exactly what they told you in home ec or even in all those books on sewing. Pins have their uses, but when it comes to sewing seams, most of the time you don't need them, and you don't want them.

That dreaded homemade look is why a lot of people give up sewing, especially garments. Or they go into quilting or home decor.

Sewing without pins or basting will speed up your sewing and the results are professional-looking. It takes a little practice but is easily mastered once you know how.

You have lots of opportunity to find out more about Islander Sewing Systems.

Or take a course with Janet in Oakville, ON May 29, 30 & 31, 2012.

You really will be amazed at the dramatic improvement in your sewing skills once you learn these skills.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Making a Basic Earring - a free beading lesson from Canadian Beading Mag...

Allie of Beady I (best bead store in Oakville, ON) and editor of Canadian Beading, taught me how to make a wrapped loop. This is the technique I used for the pearls attached to my Silk 'n Pearls fabric necklace. Here she shows you how to make an earring, but the loop and wrapping technique are very clearly explained. Canadian Beading has more tutorials on YouTube. They are well worth the watch.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sewing and Scrapbooking

My sewing group, Oakville Sewers Forum, is moving into its new home in the Fibre Arts Studio at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre this month. The grand opening for the centre (QEPCCC) is March 24. To commemorate the opening each of the member groups of QEPCCC were given a shadow box to fill that will be on display to the public in the facility.

One of our members found a wonderful scrapbooking sheet of vintage pattern paper with red glitter for the background. Members of our sewing group were asked to create items to place in the shadow box that are representative of what we do.

For my contribution, I used the MyStyle Greetings pattern for a card making. The dress is cut from a vintage print fabric cotton. The red glitter tulle under skirt goes with the red glitter of the background. And I embellished the dress with some ribbon and a bow. To make the the MyStyle dress form card more vintage, I rubbed it with an umber ink pad.

I used my photopaint program to draw a window over a copyright-free landscape scene. I aged the picture and printed in colour. This was trimmed and glued to a piece of card. I then rubbed with the same umber ink pad to age it further. The window curtain was created with a rectangle of vintage cotton with ecru lace sewed to the edge. My curtain rod is a red coffee stir stick.

Lastly the tiny wooden spools came from a scrapbook store. I applied some glue to the spools and wrapped them with coloured threads and glued down the ends (or at least tried to).

This is a fun mixed media project. I can't wait to see what the other members have to contribute.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Designer Shirt in a Day with Janet Pray

Janet Pray, celebrity sewing enthusiast and owner of Islander Sewing Systems, will be teaching this not-to-be-missed, one-day course in Oakville, ON on May 31, 2012.

Nothing looks, fits or feels better than a custom-made shirt. Learn the inside secrets found in those $200 ready-to-wear designer shirts as you sew along creating a Tommy Bahama style shirt with perfect topstitching. Discover the secrets to matching fronts and pockets seamlessly. Set perfect convertible shirt collars, pockets, sleeves & designer details, all without a single pin or basting!

Click here for details and to register online. Newsletter subscribers receive an early bird discount. Class size is limited.

The Perfect Pant with Janet Pray Returns

Janet Pray will be returning to Oakville, ON May 29 & 30, 2012 to teach this two-day course.

Altering a ready-made pant pattern is nearly impossible and more time consuming than drafting your own personalized pattern. Join Janet Pray, owner of Islander Sewing Systems, as she takes you step-by-step through the process of drafting your own pant pattern using the easy Islander method.

In this comprehensive two day course you will not only draft the pattern, you will also make the muslin to ensure you leave with the “perfect pant pattern” made just for you. It’s easy and works every time. Janet will show you how to make any style pant or skirt and you’ll never again worry if it will fit.

Click here for full details and to register. Newsletter subscribers receive an early bird discount. Class size is limited to 12 participants working in pairs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Silk 'n Pearls - Fabulous Fabric Necklace

Necklace Tied at Back

Recently I visited a high end gift shop in Kingston, ON and noticed a lovely fabric necklace with faux pearls attached. It inspired me to make my own creation using the serged edge technique. (BTW this is not an exact copy as the fabric, materials and techniques are all different.)

I used a solid black cotton/silk voile that is 56" wide. The right side has a subtle sheen and the wrong side is matte. Like the previous fabric scarves described in this blog, I cut 1-1/2" strips on the crossgrain. This allows you to make a lot of strips with about a 1/4 yard of fabric.

Serge one edge, right side up, using a rolled hem. I used regular black serger thread in the needle and lower looper and solid black rayon embroidery thread (40wt) in the upper looper. The rayon thread has a nice sheen. As you come to the end of one strip, overlap another strip about 1" and continue on. This is how you join the strips together end-to-end. Continue doing this until you have joined six strips.

Necklace Tied at Side

Then turn the strip around and ensuring you have the right side up, serge the other side, one presser foot width away. Pay special attention to where the strips join, so that they lie nice and flat as you serge them together.

Now take your very long strip and cut it into three 85" lengths. You can adjust the length as suits you if you wish.

Starting at the middle point of each fabric strip, sew faux pearls evenly on both sides of the middle. I used three different sizes of glass faux pearls and spaced them out according to their size.

My pearls had holes through the middle and would not look very good if I sewed them directly to the fabric. So I put them on gold plated head pins and made a loop. This is where a knowledge of beading comes in handy. If you don't know how to do this you can also make them into a dangle by sewing a thread through the pearl, add a seed bead and sew back up through the pearl and then back to the fabric strip.

Bow Close-up

The glass faux pearls are heavy and weigh the strips down. I think that plastic faux pearls would work nicely and not put as much strain on the strips.

Lastly, I arranged the strips on a mannequin and tied a bow at the back. The bow looks great because the serged edges give the strips some body and the ends curl nicely.

Cutting and serging the edges went very quickly. Preparing the pearls and sewing them on took several television episodes including The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, It's Sew Easy, Project Runway All Stars and Sewing with Nancy.

The possibilities are many: Rip strips of fabric and knot them together for a bohemian look; Sew on all different kinds of beads, buttons, coins, etc.; Try different types of fabrics or use ribbon; Even incorporate the necklace into your garment by tacking it down or weaving it through buttonholes.

I hope this has given you some food for thought and inspired you to give it a try.