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I am a mother, a 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 book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Field work

I know a sewing machine guy who used to service large machines in factories. 

He told me that many thing we see in RTW are hard to replicate at home because we don't have the equipment. High powered straight-stitch machines for example and special attachments. He told me that the machine that puts in a welt-pocket in men's pants takes up a whole room.

This got me thinking about RTW shirt making. I was intrigued by Lisa's observation when she did her great collar making tutorial that the topstitching she saw on the collar bands stopped short of the seam allowance on the curved edge of the band.

I found that too in several shirts. Doing the same would make topstitching that tricky area really a lot easier. So does a straight stitch plate and foot I discovered. The wide hole in the plate of a zig zag machine just creates an area of instability when you are doing this careful stitching. I have had better results with the smaller, single needle hole in my speciality plate. 

There are a few other things I have noticed in my RTW shirts:

1. The collar band buttonhole is not cut open. Looks neater and if you aren't going to wear the shirt buttoned to the neck why not?

2. Buttons and buttonholes are completely missing on the band and collar above the point where you would be buttoning the last button. My Lands End shirts are all like this (too bad though they don't fit and have linoleum tiles used as interfacing). This actually makes for a neater look.

OK off to work.


a little sewing said...

excellent tips!
I wonder if I can discipline myself to change to the straight stitch plate (which I don't own)
It sure makes sense, though.

SewingLibrarian said...

@Robin, all you need is an old Singer threaded with white thread. Move to that machine when you need the straight stitch plate.

LisaB said...

You're right that a straight stitch plate and foot can be helpful. I'm fortunate to sew on an industrial straight stitch machine at home, so I don't have to remind myself to switch plates, etc.

I'm not sure why your sewing machine guy told you the welt pocket machine takes up a whole room. I saw one demonstrated at SPESA last May, and I can assure you, it did not take up that amount of space. Nowhere near to that. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the machine, though I still have the sample that was made while I watched. Regardless of the machine's size, it is absolutely fascinating and amazing to watch the machine make that pocket in a few seconds!