Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Online Sewing Class - What I Learned - Part IV - Final Part :-(

So here is a summary of what I learned on the message board part of the sewing class!  It's a lot because I ask a lot of questions.  I asked ALL my questions.  Again, I hope I didn't irritate my teacher and fellow students too much!
Here are my questions and summaries of the answers I got:
1. Bunching on the back of my foundation muslin (which repeats in the muslin of my lining (and dress muslin, I assume): Foundation Back Bunching. Is this happening because the circumference is a bit too small, the stitches too long, or because I need a "swayback" adjustment?

A: Take tucks out, there's too much length.  (I ended up taking a big dart out, tapering to within about 1.5 inches of the bust points, as that was where the wrinkles pointed once I pinned out most of the extra in the back)

2. Bunching on the side of the foundation muslin and not straight grain of fabric: Side Foundation Bunching. Together with my overly pointy bust profile, this makes me want to toss the whole thing and start over from a moulage draft (or break down and wear a separate foundation underneath the dress foundation--but that was what I was trying to avoid). What do you think? The boning on the side IS on the straight of grain, you can see how it is all goofy.

A: N/A.  (I'm still worried about the fact that my side seam is not straight.  I need to fix this.)

3. What fabrics work best for a dress foundation that needs to be really supportive?

A: N/A...answered later during a chat: use middle-weight cotton, two layers, and create boning channels by sewing parallel lines in the two layers.

4. Can we use tracing/carbon paper from the art store to mark our muslins?

A: N/A...answered later during a chat: maybe, try it!

5. Is it reasonable to hope to use disappearing ink tracing paper on my silks because I can't see white tracing lines on white fabric? Or, what can I do to see white tracing lines on white fabric...do I need different light in my apartment? :-)

A: Do not use disappearing ink tracing paper!  Use white!  Get a different light if needed.  Trace with faint pencil if absolutely necesssary.

6. My dress has a foundation (two layers of cotton lined with crepe de chine), lining (crepe de chine with tulle ruffles), dress (silk charmeuse underlined with organza), and over dress (organza with organza petal "appliques")--see my sketch below and in the class gallery if you want. I should also say the sketch below shows the tulle wrap I am making to go with the dress. I am suddenly worried that I can't underline charmeuse with organza. I'm going for the sheen of charmeuse and the body of organza (to match the overdress), but as lightweight as possible given a potentially humid wedding location. Is this okay??

A: organza underlining fine in this case, as it is under an organza overdress

7. To disguise the boning, should I also be putting a layer of flannel in the bodice somewhere? Currently, I am planning to use spiral steel boning with possibly rigelene in place of the usual twill tape.

A: Flannel not needed in this case. 

8. If my dress gets sweaty or I steam it, will spiral steel boning rust and make orange stains on my dress? How do I preserve it so that I can keep it after the wedding? If rusting is a concern, is there some way to make the boning removable? :-)

A: It won't rust, don't worry!

9. Is it a bad idea to use rigelene on the top front of the bodice? I've seen blogs online where folks with princess-seamed, no-waist-seam dresses end up with little points at the top because of the weight pulling the dress down. The rigelene would allow me to attach the top edges of the vertical boning channels just below the top edge of the dress without losing the support it gives. I was also planning to use some elastic on the back top edge of the dress. Not to hold up the dress, because that would be done by the waist stay and boning, but just to enhance the shaping/fit/look of the dress at the top.

A: Rigelene is probably overkill.

10. For the foundation, I've taken a big horizontal dart out of the back, extending towards the bust points, actually, as that was where the fabric was bunching. I pinned out the dart and then used the muslin to cut new muslin pieces. I am concerned about the x-shaped wrinkles in back. I do need to re-do the hook and eye tape because I managed to offset the waistline and bottom hem. Oh, and there's the extra fabric in front now, right under the bust, which I will take out (or should I put back some of what I took out of the back?). I have nightmares of taking darts out front and back until there's nothing left!

A: The boning should fix the x-shaped wrinkles in back.  Looks good, put the boning in.

11. The question is related to some beaded trim that I am doing for a friend's wedding (the friend who is switching from heels to flats for dancing). I'm deathly afraid that when I take the tape off the end of the trim, the beads will start falling off, making a mess everywhere and creating a whole new order of magnitude of work for me. Do you know how to prevent this or have tips on where I might go to find a tutorial or other reference material/guidance? The internet is not serving me well in this instance.

A: Handstitch through all the end beads, that should do it.  It's easier than it looks.

12. My question about the bustle is about the attachment. I am thinking of having two ribbons on the inside center back seam of the over dress. One at mid-thigh level, and one about knee level or just below. What would happen during bustling is that the ribbons would go through little gaps in the dress center back seam and tie together to create the bustle. My question is whether it might be more obvious to bustle each section separately or if there is a more functional way to do the ties.

A: Looks fine with the layers together, make sure it is not dragging on the floor.

13. Currently, there are a lot of closures. My question is, do you think I can get rid of any of them? Currently, I have my foundation (hook/eye with underlap), the dress foundation (hook/eye, abutted, no underlap), the lining (zipper), the dress (zipper), and the overdress (currently a zipper, meant to be buttons on the final). I am afraid I will look like I am about to sprout a fin or something. I can't combine the foundation and lining because of the lack of a waistline seam. I don't think I can combine the dress and overdress because they are not meant to be attached. I might be able to get away with combining the lining and dress because they are both form-fitted. I could--though I would prefer not to--switch out my body-foundation for one with front hook/eye closure if necessary. What do you think?

A: Keep the foundation hook/eye closure and do the rest with one buttoned closure.

14. What kind of seam to do you recommend for the sheer overdress princess seams? I am thinking French for all the straight bits, but will it look good to do the curved bits with French seams as well? Is it better to machine or hand-stitch these seams? I was thinking a small, neat, enclosed seam might look the best, as they'll almost be a featured detail on the gown. I can't remember the name of the seam with different length seam allowances where you fold the longer over the shorter and then stitch it into place? Would that be a better type of seam for the curved bits?

A: The enclosed seam sounds good, it will probably work better than French seams over the curved portions.
15. For the top edge of the dress, twill tape: I have some cotton twill tape, but when I laundered it, it got awfully flimsy. Is this okay to use? I got it at G Street, so I wasn't expecting it to be low quality, though I don't really know if it is low quality. I also have some poly twill tape, it held up very well in the wash. What is the best sort of twill tape to use?

A: Use organza selvedge, you don't need heavy duty here.

16. Any tips on how to get better at and practice how to sew perfect princess seams? I haven't been nearly careful enough. Maybe the toughest fabric to sew a good princess seam in? The sort where one might say, "if you can sew a nice princess seam in [type of fabric], you can sew a nice princess seam in anything!

A: on the inward curve, sew staystitching on the seamline.  Clip seam allowances to staystitching, and bend seamline to match outward curve.  Sew carefully and you should be pucker-free.
17. I was reading some sewing machine reviews on PR and on Consumer Reports. One of them mentioned a machine's ability to produce non-puckered stitches. I would presume that producing non-puckered stitches is largely a matter of skill and patience, rather than of the machine, but I am wondering how much the machine has to do with it. What do you think? I have a basic model White 2037 sewing machine. It is a mechanical one. The reviews I find at various places online are generally terrible, but I think mostly because people are unwilling or unable to take good care of their machines or fix minor issues themselves. The only thing I really don't care for on the machine is the inability of the foot pedal to produce any speed other than off or fast. I often sew tricky bits by turning the handwheel myself. At what point do I invest in a better machine? i.e., now before I cut into my silk bridal fabrics or at some point in the future? Are you aware of good dealers in the DC area? Or the NYC area, for that matter?

A: You don't need a fancy machine, older Berninas are great.
So that's it!  You can see I asked a ton of questions.  :-)  That's just the kind of (online) student I am, I guess.

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