Results tagged “Notions” from Fabric.com Blog
A zipper is a zipper unless it is invisible. But that is no longer the case. In fact, I now find invisible zipper easier to insert than regular zippers due to this little tutorial I am going to share. Inserting an invisible zipper used to involve a separate plastic foot that allowed for the curling of the zipper tape and the close placement of the stitches. However, this can all be accomplished with a regular zipper foot and some careful prep work.
First, unpack and layout your invisible zipper on your ironing board and unzip. Place your zipper facedown and press your iron against the zipper teeth until they begin to curl toward the front. Continue to press until your zipper tape is flat with no more curl. Press your zipper tape flat all the way down the zipper to the zipper pull. Don't worry about not being able to press the tape that is blocked by the zipper pull, that is usually hidden by the garment. You can see the difference between the flat tape and the still curled tape in the photo. The tape is pressed flat on the left and untouched, un-pressed on the right.
Next (and this is the really easy part) line up and pin and sew your zipper just like a regular zipper. "What! It can't be that simple!" you might say. Oh but it is and you can see why it is actually easier than a regular zipper because you don't need to topstitch after applying the zipper to keep the fabric out of the teeth. The curl that you ironed out comes back when you zip up your zipper and this keeps the fabric away from the teeth. The only real difference between sewing a regular zipper and an invisible zipper is that you are encouraged , Nay- required, to sew as close to the zipper as possible with an invisible zipper. With a regular zipper you must be careful not to get too close (which will make zipping tricky) and not too far away (which will make the zipper too visible). An invisible zipper is also more forgiving should your stitch line not be perfect.
I recommend always sewing your invisible zipper from the top down. If you prefer to always have your fabric on the left of the needle like I do then you might discover extra fabric or zipper at the top or some other mismatch. If you start both sides of the zipper at the top, you are in a better position to match up at the bottom.
Invisible zippers are not only more hidden from the eye but also from the drape of the clothing and from the little rub when placed under the arm (if I wear a dress too long with a regular zipper placed on the side seam, I find a raw area rubbed away at night). I find there is none or less puckering with an invisible zipper in knitwear. I also much prefer the zipper pull; a small thing I know but details are what make me proud to wear my own handmade clothes.
I dislike pinning, sometimes. When it comes to stitching a long seam, I like the security of pinning (I don't yet have Holly's courage). But when it comes to laying out and cutting out my pattern pieces, I hate it! I always feel like pinning distorts my layout and skews my cutting line. Just that little bit of fabric puffed up by the pinning process and what fabric is used to hold the pin in place is just enough to throw off some of my seams, darts or hems. It may just be me, but ever since I tossed the pins (when cutting out pattern pieces, that is) and went with pattern weights, my sewing has reached a whole new level.
Being the industrious seamstress that I am, I began my adventure with pattern weights with whatever was to hand. But after a few weeks of serious devotion to PWs (my short term for Pattern Weights) I decided to make my own. I cut out several 5 in. squares of quilting cotton and interfacing of coordinating prints (the weight pictured is in a lovely Moda) and on one side I attached a piece of 5 in. ric rac. Wrong sides together, I stitched the 2 squares together leaving an opened to turn and fill. I clipped the corners and turned it right side out. Using a handmade funnel of printer paper, I filled my PW half way with dried beans and topped it off with poly fill so it can serve as a pin cushion as well. I hand stitched the opening closed.
Many years later, I have somewhat reverted back to my origins since my PWs are attractive to not only me but my wee child as well. Leaving me back to using whatever is to hand since she has not yet learned the value of returning object from whence they came. I follow rule after a few bad turns:
1) Don't use your coffee cup (especially when there is coffee in it)
2) Don't use anything bigger than your fist (if you start with small it you can use it for even the smallest bit of your pattern and won't have to keep searching your house for another PW)
3) Don't use toys. The owner will come looking and demanding the return of their property leaving your without a PW)
4) Don't use your cell phone. You will forget why it is holding your fabric in place when an important (or not so important) call comes in and either your fabric will fall off the table or your pattern piece will get caught in the breeze mid cut.
5) Don't use anything alive- they are just plain unreliable.
My favorites are an unused and tightly capped bottle of fabric dye, a previously used glass that held water and needs to make it down the kitchen but hasn't in some time, and my own hand made PW (when I can find it). There are plenty of other handy PWs hanging about your house but if your schedule allows make some of your own, they are ever so much fun!
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Many patterns call for interfacing but most also don't expand on which interfacing to use for that pattern. There are many different interfacings to choose from. I'm going to break it down for you to make it easier to pick the right interfacing for your finished project. Interfacings can be divided into weights and fusible/sew-in. Which one to choose depends on your fabric and your project. Some patterns will tell you whether or not to use fusible or sew-in but generally not which weight to use. Interfacing is a fabric that is applied to the wrongside of fabric to add stability, stiffen, strengthen, add body, or to help a fabric keep shape. When making pillows out of quilting cotton, I always add an interfacing to the back to help the fabric hold up and to keep a better shape. I also add interfacing when using Home Décor fabric to make a bag. It helps the fabric keep a structured shape and to also help it hold up to daily wear.
Weight: This is where there is the greatest choice among interfacings. There are 101 different weights (or so it seems). My rule of thumb is choose an interfacing that is directly proportional to your fabric. If you are using a lightweight fabric like quilting cotton, linen, or shirting, choose a light weight interfacing. Home décor projects are a heavier weight fabric and need a heavier weight interfacing. Interfacing Home Décor fabric ensures that window seat cushions last longer and look pretty and pillows keep their shape not matter how many times fluffed. The ultimate heavy weight interfacing is called Peltex. It is used in some of Amy Butler's luggage patterns and can also be used to make fabric storage. Peltex is really stiff and can stand on its own. It is great for adding a lot of body and structure.
Sew-in vs. fusible: Whether you use sew-in or fusible depends on the project and what you want to finished product to look like. Fusible will affect the drape and flow of the fabric. If you are adding pleats, tucks and folds, fusible is appealing since it will add structure to these details. If you are adding gathers or draping, sew-in adds the body and durability but does not affect the drape of the fabric as much as fusible. You can still play with the fabric and add less structured details.
Knits: Knits are such a wild creature that they have their own interfacing category. Knit interfacings are NON-WOVEN and somewhat elastic to mimic knits stretch. This allows the interfacing to add body and strength without distorting knits natural stretch and drape. Knit interfacing are typically around the neckline facings and other places that need some support like buttons holes and zippers.
Psst: The top picture if of Amy Butler's Modern Diaper Bag which used lightweight interfacing and Peltex for the bottom. The bottom picture is Peltex fused on to the back of quilting cotton and made into fabric magnets. Project found here!