Tuesday, January 18, 2011

French Seams Anyone?

For the little dress I decided on French seams.  When sewing by hand French seams have several advantages.  First, I never have to sew through more then two layers.  Second, the seam allowances are controlled without making tedious whip stitches.  So here's the process.

First, I sewed a seam with the wrong sides of the fabric held together.  That's right.  Unlike most seams, this starts with the wrong sides held together.  Since the pattern includes 3/8 inch seams allowances, I sewed a 1/8 inch seam.

I then turned the dress inside out and pressed the seam open.

Next, I folded the work on the seam line with right sides together. The seam allowances are sandwiched in between now.

Finally, I sewed a 1/4 inch seam, encasing the seam allowances.

I used two different stitches when sewing the seams.  Since the first seam is not the primary seam, I used a simple running stitch.  For the second seam I could have used a backstitch, but my running stitch is quite strong, so I compromised.  I took three running stitches on my needle at a time and alternated with a backstitch to reinforce the seam.  This is a technique that quilters often use.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Tiny Little Dress

A few weeks ago I bought the book Making Baby's Clothes, and yesterday I finally got started on a cute little dress for Alessia.  So how does this fit into the "Sewing Without Zippers" philosophy?  First, I'm removing the back zipper.  What baby wants to lie down to nap on a zipper?  And I'm replacing it with a ribbon tie.  Second, I'm sewing the dress by hand with French seams. Most days the only time I really have to sew is the hour or two after she goes to bed and before I conk out, and I'd rather spend that time in my pyjamas sitting in bed than sitting at my sewing table.  So hand sewing it is. Tomorrow I'll post photos of the French seams in progress and the modifications I'm making to the back seam.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another sewing blog?

This one is different, I promise. The three ideas behind this blog are:
Pre-zipper fashion techniques – sometimes really pre-zipper.  The Egyptians wrapped themselves in transparent linen. How fabulous is that? 

But not garb for reenacting – making clothes for today, but taking inspiration from period fashion. I love the layered look of early medieval clothing.  Now how do I recreate that without looking like I’m going to a Halloween party?

Pre-zipper fabrics – in other words, natural fabrics.  I understand that scientists are hard at work everyday creating undeniably gorgeous synthetic fabrics.  I’ll take old-fashioned linen, cotton, wool, and silk.

Now, I'm writing this with my 10-week-old daughter asleep on my stomach (the only place she is willing to sleep during the day), so I know I won't get to post here as much as I would like, but I figure I have to start somewhere.  So here we go......