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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, February 16, 2009

Underlining technique

Made some careful progress on my two-tone black and white (please see picture on the pattern envelope- I am so creative) linen retro A line summer dress today. Tested top-stitching for the seams down the front- used white buttonhole twist in the top of the machine and the same thread in black in the bottom, loosened my bobbin tension a lot and tightened the top tension which means that some of the bobbin thread shows between the stitches on top so it sort of looks like a hand saddle stitch. Felt clever. 

Then I tried really hard to find a way to underline the white linen bodice so there would not be a lot of show through from the darts etc. (if you make this dress the darts are deep and short and the only way to get them to press properly is to slice them open almost to the point). The interesting thing about white fabric I found out is that you can line it with 75 layers and you will still get show through. Finally I tried fusing a tricot knit interfacing to the piece I was going to cut out the bodice from and that worked very well. The tricot is dense and it does the trick, plus it is laminated on. It will also help the linen bodice with those assertive darts hold its shape, and as this is only one small part of the dress it will still be able to breathe, something I like to do myself in the summer heat of the city.

Which is why I love linen. Nothing to my mind is as cool and it is lovely to sew and press. But there is that wrinkly thing. The only way around it I decided was to wash the fabric once, which I did, and to underline each pattern piece, in addition to the tricot I put into the bodice. I have some Bemberg rayon in black and some nice China silk in white. It is actually amazing what my supply shelves are capable of spitting out, and I am trying to work with what I have.

Now the only problem was that  I hate working with lining, lightweight fabrics, China silk in particular. I once made a silk chiffon blouse and it was undoubtedly the worst experience of my life. And that includes child birth. To my mind it is like cutting and sewing dust and about as controllable. And I have no intention of emerging from my staycation down to my last nerve. Also underlining is tricky stuff. No matter how carefully you cut both the fashion fabric and the underlining it seems that in these hands at least, the two are never quite the same size, they slide away from each other when you try to pin, baste, serge them together and the end result is often a little buckled.

Plus I hate cutting out floaty fabric. I believe I have mentioned this.

However I had a brain wave this morning (I really needed this time off) and this is what I did and it worked.

Here we go:

1. Cut out the fashion fabric pieces.
2. Lay these fabric pieces opened out and single layer on top of a single layer of the lining/underlining fabric.
3. Pin the fabric pieces to the lining/underlining. Use a lot of pins.
4. Quickly baste close to the edge of all garment pieces through all layers.
5. Then, and only then, cut out the lining/underlining carefully around each garment piece.
6. Remove pins.
7. Repin pattern where necessary and add markings to underlining side.

Each garment piece will be then be underlined, to size and without any wrinkles or buckling. I then treated each laminated piece as one and serged all edges that would be exposed in seams, the necklines and armholes were already attached with the basting.

Really easy.

Tomorrow on to sewing this dress up.


Nancy (nanflan) said...

Your underlining technique sounds like it would work very well. You could even leave the fashion fabric pieces pinned to the tissues if it was wiggly.

I have to try this.

Barbara said...

That is an even better idea and what I will do next. Thanks for the idea.