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Are these shortcuts okay?
amysayssew
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amysayssew
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Member since 9/7/08
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Date: 8/18/10 2:58 PM

I mentioned earlier that I was thinking about taking private sewing lessons. Well, yesterday was my first day and I was surprised that we skipped over some of the things that I've read in all of my sewing books.

For instance:

1. We didn't iron the fabric or pattern pieces. The fabric had been dried the night before, so it wasn't too wrinkled, but there were definitely some there, and the pattern came right out of the envelope.

2. We didn't straighten the fabric. I'm used to tearing from selvage to selvage at each end of the fabric to make sure that it's on grain. We skipped this step and folded the fabric with the selvages together right away.

3. We cut around the pattern pieces when separating them from the tissue. We cut out my size (12) only after the pattern was pinned to the fabric.

4. We didn't transfer the markings from the pattern to the fabric; my teacher prefers to lay the pattern over the top of the fabric and mark with a pin when it's time to sew. I usually make tailor's tacks, which are time-consuming and tend to get caught up in my stitching.

Are these shortcuts okay? Do you always:

1. Iron your fabric/pattern pieces?
2. Straighten the fabric by tearing the ends or pulling a thread?
3. Cut carefully around your pattern tissue when separating it from the other pieces or do you wait until you lay it on your fabric?
4. Mark your fabric?

I'm not sure if these are shortcuts that I want to use when I'm at home or if I should go back to doing what I've always done.

I trust that she knows what she's doing; she trained at RIT and has sewed since she was 10...I just wonder if anyone else takes these same shortcuts.

Thanks!
-- Edited on 8/18/10 3:01 PM --

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indiumb
indiumb
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Date: 8/18/10 3:11 PM

I've never ironed a pattern in my life nor have I pulled a thread. i tend to park notches with safety pins if i have them handy or tailor tacks as i find pins fall out for me.

edited too add... i don't iron full stop though. i know i should though. i just don't have the space for it.
-- Edited on 8/20/10 12:27 PM --

JillyBe
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JillyBe
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Date: 8/18/10 3:26 PM

Those are mostly habits that I got into during my lazy-I-hate-my-sewing-machine-anyway sewing period. Except for the marking the fabric by laying the pattern piece over it after cutting thing - even I never did that, as I really think it's begging for mistakes.

I got back into sewing because I wanted clothes that fit. Well. And I want to learn the techniques that give me the best likelihood of getting good results. I'm just thrilled with the techniques I'm learning here, and am happy to be getting back into the habits that will me those results.

JMHO, of course, but having done things both ways, I personally would rather take classes from someone who is teaching a more precise methodology. I'm just taking a wild guess here that the teacher is possibly just trying to reach the most people w/ the easiest way of doing things.

Did you ask her questions about why she doesn't iron pattern pieces, etc.?

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Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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In reply to amysayssew


Date: 8/18/10 3:27 PM

I can see why you might not iron the fabric and pieces in class -- not all fabrics need ironing beforehand, and not everyone irons pattern pieces every time unless the pieces are especially crinkled.

I do always straighten the grain, but I guess some people skip this step and just make sure they have the selvages lined up carefully.

I don't know why she wouldn't have had you mark your fabric right away -- might as well get it over with, and IMO it's better to do it right away in case you forget later on. I find it a pain to go back and do this later. However, as long as she didn't skip this step altogether, it's not the end of the world.

But I would definitely do as she had you do for #3. It's harder to cut out your fabric pieces precisely when the pieces have already been cut out on the lines. I cut around each pattern piece (a few inches away from the lines) when I separate the pieces. I actually don't pin the original pattern pieces (I trace them onto pattern tissue so I can make adjustments without ruining the original), but still, I definitely wouldn't cut the pieces out along the lines until I'd pinned my pieces to the fabric.


-- Edited on 8/18/10 3:30 PM --

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Sellwood sewer
Sellwood sewer
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In reply to amysayssew


Date: 8/18/10 3:30 PM

I think it all depends upon the garment you're making. Quickie pajama bottoms to wear around home? - enjoy the shortcuts. Woven, fitted, tailored jacket ? probably not ok to take shortcuts. It's hard to know if the teacher is taking the shortcuts so as to keep the students moving along, making quick progress and therefore being successful? Or did you sign up for a class where you were hoping to learn all of the "correct" ways so that you could decide for yourself later when it's OK to omit a step or not?

Christine B
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Christine B  Friend of PR
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In reply to amysayssew


Date: 8/18/10 3:51 PM

Quote: amysayssew
Are these shortcuts okay? Do you always:



1. Iron your fabric/pattern pieces?

Pattern - almost never. Fabric - totally depends on the fiber/type. Linen? Sure. But most everything else I use as it comes out of the dryer.

Quote: amysayssew
2. Straighten the fabric by tearing the ends or pulling a thread?

I've never had the patience or need to pull a thread. I tear cotton wovens all the time, though.

Quote: amysayssew
3. Cut carefully around your pattern tissue when separating it from the other pieces or do you wait until you lay it on your fabric?

Ha, I like the trick question here - you said ''carefully''. (Like I do *anything* carefully!) Generally, I just hack my pattern pieces apart; I'm lucky if I don't cut off any collar tips or the like in the process.

Quote: amysayssew
4. Mark your fabric?

Again, this is one of those ''depends'' answers - depends on whether or not I have chalk or my water soluble pen handy, or if the fabric is one that needs to have those marks transferred w/ tailors tacks. I am trying to get into the habit of removing, folding (with the pattern piece number facing out) and putting away my pattern pieces immediately after cutting, because I find myself wanting to cut the same garment in several different fabrics all at once (right now it's the skort, I'm working on the 4th version in three days).

BTW, just because someone has gone to FIT doesn't mean they are a sewing expert. :-) I've sewn for 40 years and just this year have learned how to put in centered and lapped zippers like they do in RTW.

ETA - correct spelling errors (2x).
-- Edited on 8/18/10 3:53 PM --
-- Edited on 8/18/10 3:54 PM --

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''The best-dressed woman is one whose clothes wouldn't look too strange in the country.'' - Sir Hardy Amies

my horse
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my horse
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In reply to amysayssew


Date: 8/18/10 3:57 PM

I think you already know a lot of excellent habits. I'm old school so I would have the same reservations you do. I wonder if this instructor sews for other people because the shortcuts you mention are the quick and dirty way to crank something out, as you would need to do to meet a deadline. Taking the time to do it right is easier than reworking or wadding IMO.

Find your own comfort zone and sew accordingly. Your instructor may have some very valuable help to offer once you get past the basics...maybe that's where she's headed?

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She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. Proverbs 31:13 NAS

M.S.
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M.S.
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Date: 8/18/10 5:14 PM

I take the same shortcuts, except the one about transferring marks onto the fabric.....especially pleats, darts, and the dot where a sleeve head meets the shoulder seam. I skip some markings if I know I'll ignore them anyway.

If you are learning something from the class, it's worth the money. The instructor probably has limited time to get through her lesson with you and could be saving you money by eliminating some fussy steps, IMO. Every seamstress has her own opinion about the best techniques.

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/18/10 6:13 PM

I always iron my pattern before using it. Always. There are often little pleats & wrinkles in the paper. In a semi-fitted garment, this could cause it to turn out a little small-ish. If you're making a loose-fitting garment, it might not make a difference. I still iron the pattern. JMO

tourist
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Date: 8/18/10 6:28 PM

I take those shortcuts, too, though I always trace patterns now, so that adds a step. I think we were taught to NOT cut the pattern carefully because as someone said, you can get a more accurate cut with a bit of paper there.

Marking - well, if you are young and don't have a bird's nest in your memory spot, I guess you could do it her way. Or if you know with 100% certainty that you won't stop in the middle of the project to eat or otherwise distract yourself. I just hate having to go back and mark. I want it done the first time or it never gets done at all. Fine for pjs etc., but not fine for more detailed stuff.

As I read your post I was thinking about our dance teacher who really just wants to get people moving and feeling like they are dancing at first, but refines the movement later on. Sometimes it is more fun to just dive in to start with. i commend you on doing tailor tacks as a beginner!

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

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