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The sewing thread

edited 9 December 2016 at 10:17PM in Old Style MoneySaving
1.2K replies 132.6K views
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  • WraithladyWraithlady Forumite
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    Charity shops are a good source of patterns, but sizes and styles are obviously random.
  • Laura_ElsewhereLaura_Elsewhere Forumite
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    Hopefuljoy wrote: »
    Hello I have just de lurked to say how much I love this thread. I've been reading it for the last couple of days and yesterday went a bit bonkers, plundered my savings and bought a Jamone from JL. I did do lots of research which was part of the fun and it was within budget at £169 but has lots of the things everyone says are important. I'm now scared of it a bit!!!!!! I have not sewed since 1979 when I was in my first year of secondary school and was legendary for my ability to sew for 30 seconds and unpick for the rest of the lesson. However, I did produce a wearable school blouse which was too small by the time I finished it.

    Apart from the initial cost of the machine, which I need to give a name to, I am on a budget for patterns etc. Do you have any ideas for cost effective places to get thread, scissors, patterns, material etc as this is a brave new world for me!

    Thank you for this thread. It's one of the loveliest on MAE. x

    How lovely! :)

    Patterns - well, actually, you don't need to buy them... since you're being brave already, keep on being brave and have a look at the simpler draft-it-yourself patterns freely available online. I know a quick glance looks like O-Level Maths but have another look and maybe sketch it out a bit, and you'll see that the camisole is really only a couple of bits which are cut so the grain of the fabric is diagonal aka "on the bias", making the fabric drape gorgeously like those 1930s starlets' undies...
    Maybe worth trying the simple reversible wrap-skirt first, as you can use any fabric for this - I often buy brightly-coloured sheets or duvet-covers and cut them up for fabric - machine-washable, tumble-dry, minimal ironing and designed not to fade!

    https://wkdesigner.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/bias-cut-camisole/

    https://wkdesigner.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/reversible-wrap-skirt/

    Thread - well, one thing I find is that using Guterman, or similarly top-quality, thread is a LOT less effort than using cheaper thread which snaps and snarls and generally doesn't run as smoothly. I would economise on patterns and get clever with fabric-sourcing but keep using good thread.
    Scissors - I do have proper shears but I managed fine for about twenty years with an old pair of kitchen scissors... ;) If you're doing precision stuff like detailed patchwork quilting then yes, you need very sharp scissors to cut fabric with, or if you're using delicate fabric like bridal silks that will snag unless sliced cleanly... but for most purposes, you just need scissors that are sharp enough to cut well. I do have a pair of small scissors I keep ONLY for snipping thread so I have a clean end for threading through needles, though!

    Material - as I said, bedlinen is an excellent source of cheap, reasonable quality cotton and polycotton! It has the advantage of letting you experiment and make mistakes, and mistakes are the best bit because they're how you learn. Make one of those wrap skirts in two different bedsheets, £6 a double sheet from Asda or Wilko, and you can mess it up as much as you want, because it won't matter. At the end, recycle the lot into cheerful kitchen cloths or eco-sound baby-wipes or something :) And then make another skirt only this time you can use beautiful pure linen or a cotton-silk blend of something utterly lovely, because you'll know what you're doing and have confidence... as you will once you're wearing something you made and someone asks where you bought it, and you say you made it and they get all admiring and ask what pattern it was and you say, well, actually I drafted the pattern myself...

    Welcome.

    You can give it up any time you please.

    Honst.

    :)
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  • MademoiselleMademoiselle Forumite
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    I have just set myself up a sewing area in our library. Old kitchen table by the window so plenty of light. I would like to make a tshirt quilt for my girls with all there old school and sports t shirts so have started collecting them together and working out block sizes. I also have some cotton I picked up when local shop was having a clear out and a free pattern came with a magazine so I might try and make myself a simple top if there's enough fabric.
    I think I had better try machine with an old duvet cover or sheet to try and get the hang of it.

    Any of you have any experience with tshirt quilts?
  • MademoiselleMademoiselle Forumite
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    So I haven't played with the machine yet but have ironed and put interfacing on some tshirts and cut out 32cm squares. I haven't done all of them yet. I have some excess cut off bits which I'm going to practice with to be sure I know what I'm doing with this machine.
  • silvasavasilvasava Forumite
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    Good idea Mademoiselle - you can make sure your tension and stitch length is correct. I often use a small zigzag when working with stretch fabrics as it seems to work well. Not too acute or close together just a slight 'wiggle' if that makes sense lol.
    I'm afraid I am procrasinating - I've got some seat covers to do for DS1 and the pile of mending/alteration keeps looking at me but with the fine weather the garden is more enticing ;)
    Small victories - sometimes they are all you can hope for but sometimes they are all you need - be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle
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  • MademoiselleMademoiselle Forumite
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    All pieces pressed and interfacing attached. Layout sorted so now ready to sew them together. I pinned some together last night and then whilst laying in bed had a sudden thought about tacking. I remember we pinned then tacked everything before sewing when I was at school (yes a very long time ago) but when I've watched youtube or sewing bee folks don't seem to bother for straight seams anymore.

    I'll be trying on my spare pieces with just pins and see how I get on.

    What are you're thoughts?
  • PollyWollyDoodlePollyWollyDoodle Forumite
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    Depends - on how important it is, how difficult the fabric is to work with, how confident you are, how good you are at keeping a straight line ... and how impatient you are, in my case! I probably wouldn't bother with straight seams, but if the fabric is slippy or inclined to move about then it's worth it.

    I might tack garment pieces, just to make sure that I've got them right side out but if it's something simple I've made before I'll just use pins. I'd definitely tack collars or curved pieces. Conversely, I am making new covers for the sofa cushions and although they are all straight seams I am so nervous about it that I am tacking them roughly together first! I don't mind tacking, I like hand sewing and it's something you can do while watching tv.
    Life is mainly froth and bubble: two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble, courage in your own.
  • Laura_ElsewhereLaura_Elsewhere Forumite
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    I'd try some practice bits first - stretch fabrics can be quite tiresome if not tacked.

    Mostly, I don't tack, and often I don't even pin. then again I use a 1902 Singer for everything so it's much more responsive and sensitive, ime, than modern electric machines - although I also have a 1920s electric Singer and that is also more responsive and sensitive - I've used a range of modern electric machines and they are definitely more clumsy to use, imo, even if they have a thousand added features!

    It comes down to your own abilities and experience and how you feel, really. If you think tacking might be better, then the extra half-hour whilst listening to a good audiobook or enjoying some music or chatting with friends is not exactly time wasted :) But if you reckon you'll be fine without tacking, then give it a go and see how you find the results.
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  • MademoiselleMademoiselle Forumite
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    Thanks for all your comments.

    I tried just pinning together and it worked fine, I'd stabilised all the pieces so behaved more like a woven cotton than a jersey fabric. A couple of the corners don't line up perfectly but we are talking 1 or 2 mm so I'm not worried. It is only meant to be a fun throw to use my DD2's sports club tshirts. All sewn up and pressed so after lunch I'm going to pop out and try and get some fleece fabric to back it with.

    Now that will be another challenge, never sewn fleece before.

    But I must add that I have really enjoyed my morning sewing, I'd forgotten how much fun it is.
  • MademoiselleMademoiselle Forumite
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    Feeling very pleased with myself. A wonderful day doing something for me and a great result. My blanket is finished and I think it looks great.

    Thanks for all your advice about trying and practice. I did several test bits and found that a zig zag worked very well to quilt shirts to the backing. Then trimmed fleece backing to 2 cm bigger all the way round and turned it over onto the front to make a nice border and stitched down with more zig zag.

    Very pleased with how well it turned out and ho the machine handled the thickness. Now feeling confident for making some mattress covers and custom size and shaped bedding for our boat when it comes next month.

    Oh and I think DD1 is now sorting out her sports and uni tshirts so I guess there will be another Tshirt blanket to do soon.

    Thank you all for the inspiration and motivation and putting up with my ramblings
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