Friday, March 17, 2017
A Stitch In Time Saves Nine!
I was very much a 'tomboy' growing up. My favorite sport in school was kick ball that helped ruin many hard to find shoes for my big feet as well as ripping out hems from my dresses. I was in school during the era that all girls wore dresses or skirts in elementary school and even physical education and recess were spent wearing dresses. I remember once doing the 600-yard dash wearing an A-line dress and good, what might be called now Sunday shoes. Believe it or not I beat all the girls as well as all but three boys. I wonder how I would have done if I had been wearing sneakers!
Anyhow, in the midst of me ripping out lots of hems, my mother, who made most of my clothes, hemmed my dresses by hand using two threads in the needle, and that is how she taught me to hem. So then comes Home economics in 8th grade. Unlike the dumb stuffed animals my boys had to make, I had to make a dress, including set in sleeves, back zipper, handstitched hem, etc. Well the zipper the teacher made me take out and put it back in several times which is why to this day every though they are easy to do, I shy away from putting zippers into anything. I can't even begin to zip up a back zipper anyhow as my hands don't even begin to touch in the back. When it came to setting in sleeves, on the first garment I made at home, my mom left the house and sink or swim I did it on my own.
The tricky thing for me was dealing with hemming my dresses that I made in class. I consistently put in 2threads and my teacher consistently marked me down for not doing it right. I knew if I only did the one thread hem I would rip it out in no time. So, on that my teacher and I agreed to disagree (More or less I can't remember the grade I got in class). I was one of the few then that came into class knowing anything about cooking and sewing back in 1967. I'm not too surprised that so many kids these days know nothing about cooking or sewing and anything I can do to encourage them, I will.
Well, I didn't stop ripping out hems in 8th grade. I still rip things out, so I have had to find my own solutions minus my teacher. One thing I have had a problem with is straight skirts with slits on the sides. With two artificial knees, I do not do graceful entrances and exits from cars and if I'm not careful, I can and will split those skirts right up the slit to rather risqué height! The skirt shown above really had a nasty tear but thankfully it was just the stitches that popped not the fabric. I don't know what I did when taking the photo, but that skirt is black moleskin so why it looks gray is beyond me. Going to need to ask hubby for some instructions. Anyhow this is what I do when making skirts such as this myself. After sewing the seams, you can put one of those satin stitched tacks that some sewing machines have, or I prefer to use one of the other decorative stitches that are on my machine - and boy to I have a lot now! You could also, embroider a small design at the end of slit as long as there are enough stitches in the design to make splitting the slit difficult.
On this skirt that I made several years ago, I missed a trick when doing this and you can see that there is about 1/4" of seam that could split at any moment and the seam is already shredding (the things a camera can see that you don't notice at the time!). Now what I do is sew the decorative stitch starting 1/2 -1" above the end of the slit and when you are at the end, if you have the ability, while it is still stitching press the lock stitch button and at the end stitch the machine will stop and lock the threads - and with my new machine the Janome Skyline S9, it will trim the threads the the presser foot will lift. Love it!
As I was photographing this skirt anyhow, I thought I would bare all and show you the mess I made while sewing a decorative line of stitches along the bottom of the skirt. If you look closely, you will see some of the stitches are spaced properly and others got all jammed up. I couldn't figure out what was happening until I realize that the skirt, as it was feeding through the machine (my 7700 at the time), was bumping into the wall behind the machine and not feeding smoothly. If you find you have stitches that are looking less than perfect, double check that nothing is hindering the flow of the fabric, and that you are stitching at a consistent speed as well.