Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pride in Your Work

While I was in Portland (yes, you are going to hear about this way too much), we spent some time in thrift shops and found a few interesting items like books on gardening, napkin folding, and sewing. I tried on several items of clothing and came home with a new-to-me shirt and a pair of wool pants. The pants fit great but were too long but what was on the bottom of the pants?

So this is tailoring?
Tape? Yes, big pieces of tape that even the shop didn't remove. I know this is how some people perform clothing repair and even had a niece who joked about it while toasting her sister, the bride. I looked at this nice pair of wool pants and thought "This is great because I know how to hem pants the right way!" They came home in my suitcase and I vowed to wear them to work today because I was teaching a class and wanted to look professional in these good wool pants. It was so easy to mark the hem with pins, lay them out on the ironing board, re-pin so each leg is the same, cut off the excess so I will only have a hem of about an inch. Now comes the interesting part of using the blind hem stitch on a sewing machine. It's not difficult to do but does take some practice. If you mark, pin, press, and then sew it goes better. Here's a photo of the hem as it is in position for the stitch:
Straight stitch on the hem side
The basic idea is to have a straight line of stitches, maybe a half inch, on the hem side and then one zigzag stitch that catches just a thread in the garment before it goes back to the straight stitch.
Look carefully to see the needle enter a fold of the garment for the one thread it catches

On the outside of the garment you should only see the one thread that got the tip of the zigzag stitch. When all is finished and pressed from the inside and outside it looks very professional. This works best when there is no curve or flare to bring extra fabric into the hem. So here I am after class in my new-to-me pants:
Look, no tape!

The blind hem stitch was an early zigzag addition to some vintage sewing machines and even one of the templates in a Singer zigzag attachment. Imagine the sales pitch when you no longer had to hem by hand but could simply use your sewing machine blind hem stitch! Practice will keep you from making the set of straight stitches and the zigzag on the garment but even small mistakes can be pressed out.

There's no emergency taping of items at my house but with so many sewing machines set up at any given time I really don't have any excuse. Now let's talk about staples...

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