Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Unfoxed: a dressmaking tip


I've been meaning to share a solution for something that has previously foxed me, and finally rememembered to take photograph it yesterday.

So often, when I've been working with a fabric that must be gathered to a particular length (such as the cap of a sleeve, or a section of a blouse), I've sewn two rows of large basting stitches, drawn them up to just the right length, but when I've come to sewing these gathered stitches in place on the machine, it has gently pulled at them, meaning the gathered section invariably ends up longer than intended or unevenly gathered. This can partly be worked around by sewing the basted gathers directly to the main garment to stabilise them, but I worry over this method as I prefer to check that the gathers are completely even before committing to this step.

I finally discovered that by pinning my basted gathers to a thin piece of paper (here I've used pattern drafting paper), I could sew them in place easily. The paper means that the material glides through the machine and the gathers remain undistorted. If you set a small stitch length for this then the paper also pulls away easily without effort or leaving papery deposits in amongst the stitches.

You can find two more dressmaking-related tips from last summer here. I'd love to hear if you have any of your own - it's always lovely to discover new ways to make things easier.

Florence x

10 comments:

  1. Or you divide the sections of fabric equally along the section of fabric that gathers are to be sewn to. Mark with pins. You then attach the first one quarter or sixth of the gathering fabric, to the first one quarter or sixth section of the non gathered fabric. You can choose whatever looks a reasonable manageable amount to divide the sections into - the wider the flat joining section, the more sections to use. If only small, like a baby dress then thirds will do it. You match up the two pins for each section, secure both pieces of fabric together and pull up the gathers to fit. Pin in place as you go along. Move on to the next section. So at the end you have one section each left of corresponding length to both gather and have gathers attached to - no more and no less than you need to give a balanced and equal appearance of gathers. Then baste together. This gives you equal gathers in every section. It is very quick, very easy - even if I haven't made it seem so!

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  2. Great tip Florence!!! Thanks so much!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I'll have to try this the next time I work with some "slippy" material.

    Coincidentally, I just made a video tutorial a few weeks ago using the method "anonymous" described above. You might want to check it out...

    http://sugartartcrafts.blogspot.com/2011/07/gathering-with-baste-stitch.html

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  4. Thank you Florence, I always like to read about your dress making experiences.

    Claudia x

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  5. Very clever tip! Thank you for sharing it!

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  6. Thanks for the advice - that will prove helpful :)

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  7. That's brilliant Florence! I have sewn gathers countless times and always heaved a sigh of relief if they haven't shifted. This is a great idea, particularly as your posts have inspired me to start making a few things again for the autumn - so many gorgeous russet colours out there! x

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  8. You explained this tip so well! I've shared it with my readers on my blog post about a dress I made which required quite a bit of gathering.
    http://www.sewinlove.com.au/2011/08/07/japanese-pattern-book-smock-dress-shoes/

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  9. Wonderful idea. It would be very beneficial to everyone who would like to learn more about dressmaking. Thank you very much for the information.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x