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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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Friday, July 1, 2016

Handy sewing hint of the day #20 and a sort of pattern review

It has been non stop around here but I finally found time for a photo shoot of sorts and can catch up on some blog posts.

Today I want to talk about a concept I would call matching your technique to the fabric. I can give you an example with a UFO I had the great character to finally finish this week.

By matching your technique to the fabric I mean, continuing on the theme of following pattern instruction sheets with discretion and your own bright ideas, use light techniques with light fabric and heavier with heavy.

Not at all clear is it?

Examples help.

If I am sewing a military type fabric like wool gabardine I would go for military, ship shape type treatments. Hard presses with a pressing cloth and clapper, visible in fact articulated with top-stitching thread as opposed to sewing thread top-stitching, crisp edges with the top-stitching close to the edge ( the thinner the fabric the closer to the edge the top-stitching should be, the thicker the fabric the further away). It is a compatibility and matching thing:

A corduroy jacket top-stitching - some dimension to the fabric

Edge-stitching on a gab coat- notice how much closer to the edge the top-stitching is on the thinner fabric

I thought of all of this when I made this coat, an OOP Vogue in a wool mohair.

Aren't the flip flops perfect? I apologize for lack of styling but I wanted to get blogging and it's hot outside, what can I say? This is me.

The pattern number isn't really relevant is I am not entirely impressed with this pattern. 

Like many Big Four patterns it was unlined (makes no sense to me, coat fabrics need to be lined to go on and off easily and to cover the possible roughness, not to mention you are wearing a coat because you want to be warmer) and I went ahead and made my own lining.

However when I tried it on during construction I realized the sleeves were very narrow, almost blouse narrow and a lining would constrict them even further. Good thing I have skinny arms is all I can say.

So I threw out the lining, across the room actually, and ended up Hong Kong finishing all the seams instead in some silk I had left over from when I thought a grey and black blouse would suit me. I also hand stitched a patch of that fabric to cover the darts on the inside, not exactly sure why, must have been something on Netflix and I was sitting down anyway.

Now faced with a light feeling fluffy coat, sort of an upscale polar fleece, I decided to keep it as light as I could in construction. 

This meant no top stitching, no back neck facing (written about this before) and light aluminum snaps instead of buttons and buttonholes that I felt might themselves distort the fabric hand.

I also hand stitched on the patch pockets, super easy to do if you are watching the Mindy Project - slip stitched as invisibly as you can from the right side and then backstitched firmly catching the seam the pocket edges from the wrong side. In a fabric with this much texture you can't see the stitching:

Back neck seam finished with hand stitched flexible velour braid left over from when I had Chanel jacket illusions:

Those nice, almost weightless snaps from Botani in New York:

While I am not as crazy about the grey and black as I was when I bought this fabric - now my hair is grey I don't like to look monochromatic, but really this is a nice little coat for going to the mailbox or those days when you really want to face the world in your bathrobe.

Bonus shot of Miss Daisy next to a treadle sewing machine our neighbour painted for me when I was 16. It is a Challenge X farm edition and now well over 120 years old, although I see a handle is missing.

Miss Daisy has put her long back out again and is off to the playpen while I clean up the sewing room but in this picture she doesn't know that.