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Batik Jacket - Sewing Part 1 - Vanity [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Batik Jacket - Sewing Part 1 [Jul. 23rd, 2009|08:33 pm]
Wow, so we've already done all this work and still haven't sewn anything. Isn't this about sewing?

It is, but there's a lot of prep work done before sewing (all that "Measure twice, cut once" stuff. Trust me, it is also "pin twice, sew once". It's a pain to undo stitches, even with a seam render.)

I'll divide this into two parts as I took a LOT of pictures. Nothing differentiates them other than that I didn't want to put too much on one page. So if interested in very basic sewing, read on!

Ideally, you should iron after every seam. I don't like ironing, so I do all "unconnected" seams first, then iron. I'm convinced this saves time. I doubt it saves much, but whatever. I usually start by sewing the "big" seams, in this case, the seams between the front and the back of the jacket. Pin the seams before you sew. Once you become an amazing tailor, you probably won't need to do this for EVERY seam (just tricky ones, like zippers and sleeves). But at first, you might as well pin every seam so that it holds almost as well as thread would. This both makes it easier to sew (as you're not fussing with where the cloth should hold together), and also presents the incredibly common mistake of sewing the inside to the outside. (I wish I had a dollar for every time I've done this...)

Along with the sides of the jacket, I also sewed the sleeves together. The basic form of the sleeves is usually pretty easy to piece together. Just sew along the one long seam down the "center" of the sleeves. You can see all the parts that I've done so far, waiting for a good ironing before I proceed.

A few notes about sewing. First is seam allowance. I usually fake this, which is probably a bad thing. Most patterns will give you a "seam allowance", which is how far from the edge of the fabric they want you to sew the seams. In most cases, this is about 1/4". Now I can't gage 1/4" perfectly in my head (although I'm getting better at it...). If you can't either, luckily sewing machines are there to help! Most have a cool metal plate by the needle that has different inch widths. If you line the fabric up by the width that is the same as your seam allowance, you get it perfect. Cool, huh?

Another interesting note. If you've ever checked out your sewing machine, you probably see a button with a "U" on it marked somewhere. This is a very important button. It allows you to sew backwards. Why do you care? Well, aside from manuverability, there's a VERY important reason. Whenever you start of end a seam, you should to backwards once, then forwards again. Why? If you don't, the seam won't hold in place and will unravel, leaving you in an embarassing position. I mention this mostly in that this "trick" is NEVER mentioned in patterns. It's like they expect you to know that if you don't back up over your seam and resew it a few times that it won't hold. Yet almost all beginning tailors I've worked with have not done this, which has led to weak seams. So there you have it. The secret as to why the other cosplayer's costumes hold up so much better than yours may be nothing more than this. Pretty easy, huh? (It is, takes maybe 2 seconds.)

I next hem all of the little inserts that go into the jackets. I try to hem as much as possible before putting it into place, as it's usually easier to work with small flat pieces than tiny rounded ones. I already know that the tops and sides of these pieces will need to be hemmed (as they will fit into the jacket so that when a bit of it turns out, you see good fabric rather than frays). So why not do it now when it's easy? Sometimes it's hard to gage what is "good" to hem ahead of time versus "bad". I would not hem the front and back before putting them together, as likely my cutting wasn't perfect, so the hem won't line up (and look off). Also, even when finished, this will be a big, easy to put in hem, so there's not much of a point of doing it ahead of time. On the other hand, these hems are fairly small and hard to do, and are also in an area that doesn't "connect" to anything else, so there's no harm in getting them before I get the rest of the garment. I guess this is really an experience thing. To me, it makes the garment a lot easier to manage, but this sort of thing never seems to be mentioned on patterns...

And then, as you can guess, I iron everything. (Fun!)

To complete the jacket form, I then pin the part of the jacket that goes over the shoulders together. This part tends to be recognizable on most tops as a long, flat, straight piece on each side that roughly matches up. If you're confused, try pinning parts together until they match. Once they do, you're golden!

I'm going to break here, mostly just to avoid overwhelming any possible readers. I'll resume right after this in sewing part 2.