Willow Tank Dress

Willow Sew-Along: Day 05 Hemming

Today we’ll be hemming up our Willows…just in time for the hot weather approaching! I’ll be going through hemming the tank version first, then the dress.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Begin by folding up and pressing the 1/2″ seam allowance around the bottom hem edge of the tank.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Following the fold line marked on the pattern, fold the hem up and press it into place, pinning as you go. The hem edge is 2″ in case your markings have worn off by this point.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Stitch around the loose edge to secure the hem in place and give it a press. Your tank is done!


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

If you’re making the dress version hemming is even easier. Fold up and press 1/4″ around the hem edge. You can see here that I have a line of stitching around the hem at 1/4″ that I’m folding up along. That’s a little trick that can make it easier to turn fabric. This is a cotton/linen blend and it wants badly to fold along the grain. Since the hem is slightly curved, I placed a line of stitching along the fold line to force the fabric to do what I wanted.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Fold the edge up 1/4″ once more and press.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Stitch along the loose edge as close to the edge as you feel comfortable. Give it a press and your dress is completed!

Thanks for following along on this Willow journey…we’ll have a few more Willow related posts in the coming weeks, including a cropped tank I’m really excited to sew up!

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Willow Tank Dress

Willow Sew-Along: Day 04

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

In today’s installment of the Willow Sew-Along we’ll be binding our neckline and armhole edges. This is probably the most “difficult” part of the Willow, but if you take it one step at a time, it’s no trouble at all! I’ll be showing you how to bind the neckline in this post, but the armholes are done the exact same way.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Begin by taking your neckline binding piece and sewing the two shorter edges together, with right sides facing each other, to create a circle.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Press the seam allowance open.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Align the binding piece around the neckline and pin in place. I like to put the seam of the binding at the center back of the garment, but that’s just my personal preference.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Head over to your machine and stitch the neckline and binding together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Grade the seam by trimming the seam allowance of the binding in half all the way around the neckline. This will reduce bulk and create a better looking neckline.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

After grading, clip around the neckline through all layers of the seam allowance approximately every inch or so. This will allow the smaller cut edge to turn back smoothly onto the wider neckline.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Press the seam allowance and the binding up away from the garment.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Stitch around the neckline through the binding and seam allowance as close to the seam line as you feel comfortable. In this sample I’m at about 1/16″ but anywhere between there and 1/8″ works just fine. The point of this stitching line is that it will help to force the seam line to the wrong side of the garment so that you can’t see it from the right side.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Press the binding to the wrong side of the garment making sure the seam line just barely rolls to that side as well.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Now tuck the raw edge of the binding under to meet the fold line, then pin the binding in place. Continue this around the circumference of the neckline, pinning as you go.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Head over to your machine and stitch the neckline binding down. I again stitch about 1/16″ from the loose edge, but wherever you feel comfortable works just fine.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Give your neckline a good press and you’re done! Repeat these steps for the two armholes. All we have left is hemming…till next time!

11 Comments Posted in Willow Tank Dress
Journal Entry

January Prints Interview on Fabric Design & Sprout Patterns

Grainline Studio | Sprout Patterns

Hey! Did you see our posts about our presence on Sprout Patterns?! Sprout Patterns is an online service where you can have one of our sewing patterns printed directly onto Spoonflower fabric. We also have a Spoonflower shop!

Our shop is populated with surface designs from the very talented Michelle Vondiziano of January Prints. Michelle was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, but grew up in Michigan where she studied art history and painting. After a stint as a gallery assistant, Michelle found herself in the world of textiles at the Chicago-based company, Unison. It was here that her love and understanding of textile-design flourished. Since then she has moved with her family to Pennsylvania where she works independently on her designs while raising two children. We are so excited to be working with her! She is awesome and we wanted you to get a chance to learn more about her. Here is a conversation that we had with Michelle and wanted to share with you.

Sarah: Michelle, what is the kernel of your design aesthetic?

Michelle: The inspiration for my work comes from stamping, primitive designs, traditional batik, and my 5-year old daughter’s drawings. I have always been fascinated by the relationship of color and pattern established through repetition. It’s one thing to draw a design, but how does it look repeated over and over again? I love the negative space created by batik and other resist techniques as well as the simplicity of geometric shapes. Those things go a long way when incorporated into a simple repeat.

Sarah: How does your original idea or inspiration evolve into a complete design?

Michelle: I usually begin with a hand-drawn, hand-stamped or hand-painted design, then scan it into my computer to experiment with color. From there I have to determine the scale, keeping in mind what the design will be used for – apparel, wallpaper, home textiles etc. It’s easy to go too big or too small, so I have to be sensitive to the design’s application.

Sarah: As design is an amorphous process we are curious… how have your inspiration and methods changed over time?

Michelle: Living in a rural area for the first time in my life, I am inspired by the landscape, skyscape, and change of seasons. Feeling closely connected to the natural environment, I’m inspired to get more hands-on with my process, moving away from digital design, and pursuing hand-dying, hand-stamping and natural pigments. This past summer was the beginning of my indigo and resist tea-towels, which have set the stage for a new collection.

Sarah: When did you start sewing, and what is the first thing you sewed?

Michelle: I began sewing around age 7, but believe me, that does not make me a good sewer. I did not pursue it. My mother, on the other hand, was an amazing sewer, and I have vivid memories of her sewing up matching outfits for the two of us! She also made me tons of Barbie clothes. I think the first and most sophisticated thing I ever sewed (with her help), was a Barbie bra. 

Sarah: What is your favorite Grainline Studio pattern to sew? 

Michelle: I will be sewing my first Grainline pattern as we speak! I’ve chosen the Lark Tee with boat neck and long sleeves.

Sarah: What is the funniest thing you have made? 

Michelle: One of the funniest things I’ve made is a pair of DIY bell bottoms. You know the ones where you start off with a pair of grungy jeans and then add the triangle of fabric at the bottom? Yes, I sported those for a while in middle school. 

Sarah: Thank you for chatting with us Michelle!

Michelle: I’m so excited to work with Grainline Studio again. It’s come full circle from our first collaboration back when they were Hound. That was my first custom apparel project, thanks to Jen Beeman’s confidence in my work. Going forward with our current Sprout/Grainline Studio project, I can’t wait to see what fabric combinations people choose. What a beautiful way to work collaboratively across the board!”

10 Comments Posted in Journal Entry
Willow Tank Dress

Willow Sew-Along: Day 03

WillowDay03_11

Today we’ll be attaching the skirt to the bodice for the dress version of the Willow. If you’re making the tank, you can skip today!

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Begin by sewing the side seams of your skirt pieces. Finish the seam allowances as desired and press them to the back of the garment.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Now we’ll sew the first waistline seam, the one that attaches the bodice to the skirt. Place the bodice right side out inside of the skirt with the right side facing in. Pin the two pieces together.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Stitch around the seam line and finish the seam allowance as desired but DO NOT press the seam one way or the other!


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Now we’re going to create the waistline pleat. To start turn your dress inside out and place it around your ironing board.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Fold the seam line up over the bodice of the skirt. If you’ve marked your fold and stitching line you can match those and pin in place. If you haven’t you’ll need to make sure that the depth from the fold to the seam line of the waist seam is 2″.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Pin the seam in place and press, working around the circumference of the dress.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Move over to your sewing machine and begin stitching, following the stitching line marked on your pattern. This line is the same as the stitching line for the waistline seam, so I usually just follow that. We’ve found that stitching with the dress inside out is the easiest.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Give your pleat another press and you’re done with this step!

Up next, binding the neckline and armholes!

3 Comments Posted in Willow Tank Dress
Pattern Tutorials

Crew BBQ

Grainline Studio | Pattern

Hey guys! We had a really fun Grainline Studio backyard bbq in Chicago today! The weather was beautiful… feels good to finally say that! We ate some delicious watermelon, pie and sausages. To protect our awesome outfits we collaborated with fabric.com to make this apron. Here is a free pattern and instructions to make your own!

Materials

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

1. Cut out pattern pieces, trace onto your fabric and then cut your fabric.

2. We are going to start the apron by sewing on the pocket!  Press 1/4 inch around the edges of your pocket piece. On all four sides. Fold over the top of your pocket piece 1 inch and press. Now sew as close to the bottom folded edge as possible.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

3. Pin your pocket fabric to your self fabric. Sew around the 2 side edges and the bottom edge as close to the outside of the pocket as you can.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

4. Hem the top of your apron, the sides and bottom.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

5. Fold over the ends of your curved facings 1/2 inch and press. Then fold over the outside edge of the curved facing 1/4 inch.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

6. Pin these pieces to the arm curves of the self fabric. Make sure the raw edges of the self fabric and the facings are the edges that are being pinned together. Now sew them!

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

7. Press the seam open. And turn the whole facing piece to the back of your apron and press.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

8. Sew along each edge of your curved facing. Making a channel.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

9. Now for your strap! Sew the three pieces together and press your seams to one side. Fold over the end pieces and all along the side edges of the strap 1/2 inch and press. Now fold the strap in half and press + pin as you go. Sew the strap closed as close to the edge as possible.

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

Grainline Studio | Tutorials

10. Thread each end of your strap through the arm channels of your apron making a loop at the top. Try it on.. tie a bow.. your done!

Grainline Studio | Tutorials Grainline Studio | Pattern Grainline Studio | Pattern

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Willow Tank Dress

Willow Sew-Along: Day 02

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Today we’ll be sewing our darts and the side seams for the bodice of the tank & dress. If you missed our previous post about fitting and cutting, you can find it here.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Make sure that you have your dart point marked and the dart legs notched.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Fold the top right sides together matching the two dart leg notches. The fold line should cut through the dart point.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Stitch from the dart leg notches to the dart point. You can either leave a thread tail at the dart point and tie off the dart, or what I usually do is back tack about 3 stitches.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Press the dart take-up (this is the wedge that you took out of the garment by sewing the dart) down towards the hem. I like to press my darts over a tailors ham to avoid any weird bubbling at the dart point.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Now with right sides together, align the side and shoulder seams of the front and back bodice. Sew them together along the 1/2″ seam allowance.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

I like to serge my seams before I press them, but if you don’t have a serger you can finish them by zig zag stitching over the edge on your machine or trimming the edges with pinking shears.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Once you have your seams finished as desired, press the seam allowances towards the back of the garment.

That’s it for today, up next will be attaching the skirt for the dress version. See you back here then!

7 Comments Posted in Willow Tank Dress
Journal Entry

Jen’s Me Made May Recap

Jen's Me Made May Recap | Grainline Studio
Willow Tank Dress | To be released Penny Raglan

Every year when Me Made May rolls around I get a little stressed out. I have no problem wearing handmade garments most days of the week, but the pressure to take a selfie every day is a little overwhelming for me. Those of you who’ve been around here for a long time know that ironically, for a business that started as a blog, I hate having my photo taken. This year I decided to relieve some of the pressure on myself and just take photos when I thought I had outfits worth snapping for one reason or another, whether they were me made or by one of the small designers I love, when I happened to remember. I documented my Me Made May over on my personal Instagram account so as not to clog up the Grainline account with a million selfies.

Jen's Me Made May Recap | Grainline Studio
Willow Tank, Driftless Cardigan, Skiff Hat | Personal Coat Pattern

I didn’t learn too much about my wardrobe over the last month, but it did reinforce something that I’ve already known to be true. My handmade wardrobe is shrinking! Unfortunately I don’t have a ton time outside of designing, drafting, testing, blogging, and everything else involved in running a business to sew anything for myself. Most of what I have at this point are garments from about 2 years ago or samples I stole from the testing phase of patterns.

Jen's Me Made May Recap | Grainline Studio
Linden Sweatshirt, Skiff Hat | Tamarack Jacket, Hemlock Tee

Probably the main reason though is that I haven’t had a sewing machine at home for the last two years. It’s not that I don’t want one here, quite the opposite, but I just don’t have room as Jon (my husband) and I have been living in a 500 sq foot apartment. That square footage includes the bathroom and closets! It’s been really frustrating and at times really depressing for me to not be able to have fun doing what was originally my favorite hobby, outside of work. Any time I would go in to work with the intentions of sewing for myself I would inevitably end up working as having a small business means that there is ALWAYS something you should be doing! I’ve gotten really good at leaving work at work these days for the health of my mind, body and relationships, but once I get back into work I’m unable to not work. Ha!

Jen's Me Made May Recap | Grainline Studio
Hemlock Tee | To be released Penny Raglan

Jen's Me Made May Recap | Grainline Studio
Lucinda Sweater | Stone Lake Sweater

While I haven’t had any sewing time, I have been buying fabric to replace the garments I love that have worn out over the past few years which means I’ve accumulated a mini-personal stash. I’ll be moving soon and will once again be able to have a dedicated home sewing space and I’m so unbelievably happy about that fact! Can you even believe I’ve gone so long without a home sewing setup of any kind?! I really can’t!

Jen's Me Made May Recap | Grainline Studio
Penny Raglan Again | Unblogged Alder & Archer Mash-up

One of my personal goals coming out of Me Made May for this summer (and beyond!) is to really start working through my stash, both fabric and yarn. Neither are huge but I’d love to get through the bulk of it since they’re all lovely fabric and yarns I bought for a purpose. It’s kind of sad when things with a purpose don’t get to live that out isn’t it?

Jen's Me Made May Recap | Grainline Studio
Personal Coat Pattern, Elizabeth Suzann Top | Lauren Winter Dress

I’ve already started with my yarn and have been posting my progress on my personal Instagram account (@jen_beeman) with the hashtag #summerstashproject. If anyone else is working through their stash this summer, yarn or fabric, feel free to jump in on that tag! I’d love to see what you’re doing with what you have and see some of these stash goodies make it free from bags and bins under our beds and in the backs of our closets!

9 Comments Posted in Journal Entry
Willow Tank Dress

Willow Sew-Along: Day 01 Common Pattern Adjustments & Cutting

Willow Sew Along: Day 01 | Grainline Studio

Today we’re finally starting the Willow Sew-Along! This pattern is rated Beginner so you more advanced sewers might not need this information, but I wanted to make sure that it’s readily available for anyone new to sewing who might need an extra hand.

To begin you’ll want to gather your supplies. I mentioned this in the Willow Sew-Along announcement post but if you missed that, for this pattern you’ll need the following:

  1. I’ll be using this Grid Linen from Purl Soho and Carolyn Friedlander’s Euclid Cotton/Linen for the sew along garments. You’ll find the yardage you need for your garment on the back of your pattern envelope.
  2. Pins. I like these super sharp Dritz glass head pins but grab whatever you’re used to using that’s appropriate for your fabric.
  3. Thread in a color that matches your fabric.
  4. I use my machine’s 1/4″ foot for the entire pattern.
  5. You’ll need the Willow pattern of course!
  6. Scissors. I use Gingher dressmakers shears as well as a thread snip kept by my machine.
  7. Measuring tape or ruler for laying out your pattern and to assist with the pleat if you’re making the dress version

Once you’ve gathered your supplies you’re going to need to find your pattern pieces. If you’re making the tank you’ll need pieces 1, 2, 5 & 6. For the dress you’ll need pieces 1-6. Below you’ll find diagrams on making some common pattern adjustments.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

First up is lengthening and shortening the Willow. I’ll be showing the tank here, but the same method applies to any piece in the pattern.

1. Start by locating the pattern piece you need to adjust. Depending on what piece you’re altering there may or may not be lines to denote where you should lengthen & shorten between. If there are no lines, you can draw in your own.

2. Cut between the lines. With a piece of paper underneath the pattern, spread the two sections the amount you need to lengthen your piece making sure to keep the grain line of the two pieces aligned.

3. Trace your piece off onto the paper and re-blend any jagged edges along the side seam and repeat the adjustment to any affected pieces.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

If you find that the torso is the correct length but you need to move the dart here are some easy steps to do so. We’re going to be moving the dart up in this tutorial but if you need to lower it you can do the opposite.

1. Draw a line through the bust point parallel to the CF/grain line. Place a mark along that line at the point where you need to lower the dart. If you need to raise the dart 1″ you would place the mark 1″ above the existing bust point.

2. Move the legs the same amount up from where they connect at the side seams. Reconnect the dart legs to the dart point.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

3. You’re going to now need to fold the dart, since you’ve moved it the dart take-up is now in the wrong place at the side seam. Fold the dart so that the dart excess points down towards the waist and re-blend the side seam. Trim off the extra.

4. This is your new pattern.


Now lets talk Full Bust Adjustments. The Willow is drafted for a B cup (like all our patterns) so if you’re a C you may be able to get away without a FBA. The illustrations are cropped for better detail but any vertical lines should extend to the bottom of the pattern piece. If you’d like to do a small bust adjustment you would do the opposite of what I’m showing here. If you’re making the dress, don’t forget to make your adjustments to the skirt as well or the waistlines won’t sew together.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

The first thing you need to do before you start your full bust adjustment is to figure out how much of an adjustment you’ll need. To begin you’ll need your upper bust measurement and your full bust measurement. Once you have those you’ll subtract your upper bust from your full bust. If the number you get when you subtract your upper bust from your full bust (the total adjustment) is over 2″ (B cup) you may need a full bust adjustment, whereas if the number you get is 2″ or under you’re either fine to use the pattern as is or you might consider a small bust adjustment. So if your full bust was 40″ and your upper bust was 36″ you’d subtract 40-36 to get 4″ which would require an adjustment.

Now you can take this new number and do one of two things with it. It seems to be the most common to just divide this number in half and apply that amount to each side of the adjustment shown below, so you would be moving the pattern 2″ in Step 3.

Your other option is to take your new number, in our case 4″, and subtract 2″ from it to get the full amount of your bust adjustment. Subtracting the 2″ comes from the fact that the pattern is drafted for a B cup which is a 2″ difference. Since this amount is already drafted into the pattern you are just adding the additional amount on top of what exists. You would then divide the full amount of the adjustment in half so you would be doing a 1″ adjustment on each side of the pattern.

1. Select your size based on your upper bust & waist measurements. Cut size.

2. Locate the apex of your bust and mark. Draw a line from the apex out to the side seam. Next you’re going to draw a vertical line from the apex down to the hemline of the pattern piece making sure to keep the line parallel to the CF / grain line. From there draw a line connecting the apex to the approximate center of the armscye. These are the lines that will form the full bust adjustment. Additionally you’re going to need a line across the torso, perpendicular to the CF / grain line in order to line the hem up in a future step. I made this one dotted so that it doesn’t get confused with the adjustment lines.

3. Slash through the waistline to the bust and up to the armscye taking care to cut to, but not through, the pattern at that point. You want to make sure that the two pieces are hinged together. Then slice through the line connecting the side seam to the apex, taking care to not cut through the apex point, you want the pieces hinged. You’ll then open the vertical slit the amount of your full bust adjustment making sure that the two edges of the opening are parallel.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

4. You’ll notice that when you move the side out for the adjustment the side panel became longer than the piece you moved. Cut along the line you drew in step 2 and align the newly freed piece so that it’s even with both the center front and the dotted line on the side piece.

5. This method of adjustment will result in a larger dart being formed. To aide in creating expanded dart find the center of the dart legs and mark a line through the center of the dart (dotted line above). This will help you when folding the dart in the next step.

Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

6. Fold the dart legs together with the takeup pointing towards the bottom of the garment and re-blend the side seam. I like to score the bottom dart leg and center line lightly with an awl to help the pattern fold right where you want it to on the first try. You can either cut across the side seam / dart or mark it with a pattern tracing wheel and cut when the dart is open.

7. Unfold the dart and cut out your new piece.


Willow Sew-Along | Grainline Studio

Now lay your pattern pieces out on your fabric according to the cutting layouts in your instruction booklets. Be sure to snip all your notches and mark your dart points. I also like to notch center front and center back to help with alignment later on.

That’s it for today, next up we’ll be sewing our darts and assembling our bodices!

15 Comments Posted in Willow Tank Dress
Journal Entry

The Hemlock Tee | Free Pattern

Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee Pattern [it's free]

Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee Pattern [it's free]

Hey guys! I am reposting this treat for you! It’s a free pattern for all Grainline Studio Newsletter Subscribers! We all know I’m obsessed with boxy tops and from what I’ve seen on my Instagram, you guys are too, so now we have the Hemlock Tee!

Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee Pattern [it's free]

Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee Pattern [it's free]

This tee is a little bit different than the regular patterns you can purchase in my shop. It’s a one size pattern, meaning it’s not graded. The pattern includes illustrated instructions, and both a Print at Home and US / A0 copy shop pattern page. We also have a step-by-step photo tutorial here for those who prefer photos.

Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee Pattern [it's free]

A few pattern details for you –
Finished Measurements are Bust – 44.5″ // Hip – 46.5″
The pattern is drafted for use with a serger meaning that all seam allowances are 1/4″
My measurements (for comparison) Bust – 32″ // Hip – 37″ // 5’6″ tall

The beautiful Japanese tissue knits I used here were provided to me by Britex.
You can find them here: stripe // neon // charcoal

Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee Pattern [it's free]

If you’d like to make one of your own, you can join our email newsletter below or via the link in our sidebar. It will be sent to you in a welcome email once you’ve confirmed your subscription via a link sent to your inbox after you sign up below. We send monthly updates and new pattern alerts and your information is always kept strictly confidential (aka we never share or sell any of it, of course)!

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4 Comments Posted in Journal Entry
Journal Entry

Sometimes The Best Tip is Practice

Sometimes the Best Tip is Practice

I get questions almost every day in regards to tips. What are my best tips for sewing silk? What feet do I recommend for the straightest topstitching? How do I think people should cut slippery fabrics? What’s the best way to plaid match? How do I get such nice looking rolled hems?

Some of these things I learned in school or at work and took little to no effort to introduce into my sewing practice, like cutting silk through paper, but most of these things I learned via trial and error over many years. I always try to respond to these questions with some sort of answer, but in reality, the best tip I can give, that is always applicable to the situation, is practice.

The first garments I made as a pre-teen were pretty raw. Then years later when I thought I was getting pretty good, I went back to school for fashion and realized, nope, you’re still pretty sloppy. Especially when thrown onto an industrial for the first time! I remember stitching threadless on a piece of paper, trying to turn curves on an industrial machine the first night of my first garment construction class and just feeling totally and completely defeated that my stitching wasn’t perfect. Honestly I could barely follow the lines, my foot control was SO not used to the speed and quickness that those machines start up with.

Tools can be helpful but are not a magic pill to a perfect garment. Occasionally I find them to be overrated and expensive, but time spent honing your skills is always well spent. I sewed a LOT of really ugly rolled hems, mostly on industrial machines, before I became proficient. I don’t use a rolled hem foot, I find it’s easier and faster to just do it with my trusty 1/4″ foot, the same way Jurata, one of the incredibly skilled seamstresses at my old job, taught me. This is not to say that tools aren’t helpful, they are of course indispensable in many situations.

There can be a lot of pressure in the sewing community, especially with social media, to produce perfectly sewn garments. Sometimes I worry that it’s taken away our feeling that it’s okay to mess up. It’s okay to make garments that aren’t “perfect” and it’s actually really important that we do so. For every successful garment I’ve made there are hundreds and hundreds of garments, muslins, scraps, test pieces, horrific looking doll clothes, etc. that went into the making of it.

All of this is to say, don’t be afraid to try a new fabric that scares you or a new technique that seems way too hard. That’s the way you’ll really learn what works, just by trial and error, messing up, figuring out what went wrong, and correcting it the next time. Honestly one of the best ways to really figure out what fabrics will work well in different garment situations is to make something in a fabric that totally fails. I actually have found that more helpful over the years, assessing why something didn’t work, than when fabric choices go smoothly. In the end you’ll be so proud of what you’ve accomplished when you think back on the long sewing journey you’ve made to get where you are, as well as how much there still is to learn. I learn something every time I pick up a new fabric or sit down at my machine even still.

And yes, I still make weird ugly things from time to time, it happens to all of us! I’m still here for you with tips from my journey so far though, don’t worry.

38 Comments Posted in Journal Entry