Sewing expert Sandra Betzina has spent many years teaching and sewing with a passion. In this regular column, Sandra shares her tips for hassle-free sewing.
Even the most skilled seamstress can benefit from a good tip or shortcut. From fitting a sleeve to scheduling sewing time, these tips will help make your sewing easier and more rewarding.
If your arms are large in proportion to the rest of your body, try this nifty trick for fitting the sleeve into a smaller armhole.
Cut the sleeve a size larger than the rest of the garment. Instead of running an easeline between the front and back notches, run the easeline around the sleeve from underarm to underarm. A fuller arm can use ease all around the sleeve, rather than just in the cap.
Mark the dots, which align with the shoulder seam, on the sleeve-cap upper edge. Also mark the dot at the underarm of the sleeve to indicate the side seam location. Use the front and back notches only to help identify the sleeve front and back.
Match the dot at the sleeve upper edge with the shoulder seam on the garment. Match the side seam on the garment with either the dot at the bottom of a two-piece sleeve or the underarm seam of the sleeve. There's no need to match the notches or little dots in the sleeve cap.
Pin the sleeve into the armhole. If the sleeve is still too big for the armhole, run another easeline around the sleeve, right on top of the first easeline or right next to it. Sew the sleeve again.
Reining in Rayon
Rayons, while very drapey and abundant in the market place, can be difficult to cut out after preshrinking because they can easily stretch off grain in the washing machine. A front-load washing machine is kinder to these fabrics than a top load, but either can be used if the fabric is preshrunk in a machine in warm water. To allow the seams to relax as the fabric relaxes, sew vertical seams with a narrow zigzag stitch (0.5 mm wide, 2.5 mm long). After the garment is constructed, hand wash and air dry it.
When covering foam cushions, place the foam cushion inside a plastic dry-cleaning bag before inserting it into the cushion cover. The plastic will glide against the fabric and counteract the foam's tendency to stick. Remove the plastic before sewing the cushion cover closed.
If you look inside a Chanel jacket, you'll see G" brass chain attached between the lining hem and the jacket hem. Any long or short jacket in a mediumweight or heavier wool can be weighted. Weighting a swing coat helps it hang in soft folds. The weighted chain helps the jacket hang closer to the body and helps remove wrinkles after wearing. The chain cuts regular thread, so use dental floss or beading thread to attach the chain to the seamline of the lining and the hem, attaching the chain to the jacket at every other link.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
While you may think that vinyl will m...