Monday, July 5, 2010

Hemstitching and Some Q & A

Thank you, everyone for the lovely comments on the green dress. I have been thinking a featherwale corduroy would be nice for fall in this pattern. Hmmmm,,,,, I really would like to have a repertoire of TNT patterns like Carolyn and Sherrill do. I think that is something to really aspire to and plan to work at it.

I did have a few questions and comments I would like to respond to regarding the dress. Lena wrote, "... after reading all the alterations you do to the muslins, may I ask how long does it take you to make a garment? And wouldn't it be easier to draft a perfect pattern from scratch instead?"

 I really believe in muslins. The more muslins I make the more convinced I am of their value. They have taught me the alterations I need to do for my body. First I flat pattern measure to know if the pattern is a go or not. Then I make my "usual" alterations to the pattern. I "petite" the pattern as you see in this tutorial. Next is usually an FBA and then a swayback adjustment. At  this point, I cut out the muslin from the pattern. The muslin often does not have sleeves. It has no facings, and generally no details. I only do details to pin down placement and that is only once in a while. The neckline seams get cut off. Once the muslin is made I take pics and reassess. This may all sound like a lot, but I have done these same adjustments so many times that they go very very fast. I can make and judge and readjust a muslin usually within a couple of hours, sometimes less, sometimes more. I don't particularly like drafting from scratch and have yet to see how one sloper can give me all the variety I need in my sewing. I didn't always make muslins. Those were the wadder days. I promise your wadder count will decrease with the use of muslins. Oh, I don't tissue fit either. The paper tears and does not drape. Period.

As far as how long it takes to make a garment, that varies, of course, but making a muslin does not double the time.

An anonymous commentor had several questions. She/he asked if I would explain more about the roll-up sleeve construction. I have decided to do a tute on that and will have that coming as soon as I get a day off, maybe Friday. As far as the underlining, this is when you treat the lining fabric and fashion fabric as one. Both fabrics were placed wrong sides together and  serged all around to keep them together and finish the seams. Then you just proceed with construction as if you were using one layer of fashion fabric. I usually get my anti-static lining from Joanns when on sale and stock up. I just bought the lining for my linen jacket from Sawyer Brook, a Bemberg lining. Hope this helps you, Anonymous.

Above you can see some samples I did of the hemstitching on this heavier linen. I tried it with pulling out one to three threads or none at all. On the bottom left you can see a hem folded to a line of one pulled thread. That was my final decision and I came up with this sample below as my preference.

I pulled one thread and folded the hem up to it. You can tell that I used Stitch #96, width 2.0, length 3.0, wing needle, regular thread, and one thread pulled out. This sample will now go into my collection. It's pretty amazing how often I dig thru those sample for either inspiration or just technique.....Bunny


  1. Your hemstitching sample looks great. Amazing the difference needle size and thread can make, isn't it?

    I totally agree with you about the importance of making a muslin. What a waste of time, I used to think! Ha. The more I sew, the slower I get! But that is a good thing. Thanks for encouraging us to take all of these preliminary steps.

  2. You know I bet you have a lot more TNT patterns than you think. I bet if you sat and thought about it, you have a lot of goodies.

  3. I agree with you on the "tissue fit vs. muslin" issue. I never tissue fit because and aside from how annoying I'd find it to pin the pattern tissue together I can get the same results by making a traditional muslin

  4. What machine are you using? What does stitch 96 look like? I have a hemstitching machine but broke the rear piercer and have not had luck replacing it so I'm trying to find an alternative with my regular sewing machine. For some reason every time I play with it I forget to use a finer thread. Ugh! That would probably help!!

  5. I have a ten year old Pfaff, top of the line in it's day. While the stitches aren't labeled with names, just numbers, this is what I would call a pinstitch. I do think for a traditional hemstitched look the fine weight thread is critical. However, I have on occasion used a heavier "regular" thread for a different look, one that emphasizes the texture and not the holes. My green linen blouse is an example of this.

    It sounds like you have one of those special antique hemstitching machines. Hope you find the part you need as those are pretty special.


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