June 22, 2012

on friends, fraying, and finds


hello, gorgeous.  is she not a thing of beauty?

i've found that eliminating a center back seam helps very much in the fight against mount crackatoa.  but a side seam zipper means no pockets.  swallowed center back defeated!  mais non, where's a girl gonna hide her flask! enter casey's delicious slashed zipper tutorial.  zipper in the back, pockets in the sides, party all around.  

too bad the maxi skirt it lives in is a complete and absolute hot mess.  like surface of the sun hot.  i'm not abandoning it, but i AM giving it a healthy stay in solitary confinement.  the slashed zipper truly is its saving grace. i love it.  


i'm also in love with this little gadget, hollie's handy seam allowance guide.  i know you've seen this colorful beauty all over the sewing blogosphere, in fact the lovely lizz and karen have both done fantastic in-depth reviews of its major purpose: cutting out patterns that don't include seam allowances.  (i haven't tried it as such yet, as i seem to lack the will to use a burda pattern.) 

but here's where it works best for an i can totally eyeball that edge to a 5/8 seam allowance kinda gal like me.  to be honest, i am that kinda gal.  i have a ruler in my head.  the cool clear kind with the grid and everything.  but sometimes i'm tired, or boozy, or hormonal.  what have you.  that's when i throw this happy yella magnetic jammy on my ginghers and let it do the work.  

after sewing up this patternless draped skirt, i wanted to trim the allowance down to a reasonable width.  i just used my stitching line as the guide (ignore the part where i got drunk and veered off course, thankyouverymuch), matching it to the little black moveable hoop... et voila.  instant perfectly measured allowance.  no chalk lines, no held breath.  this works great for any occasion needing a trim--  you know, every time a pattern instructs you to sew facing to neckline, and trim down to 3/8s?  or attach bias tape, trim allowances to 1/4?  SHABAM.   

and if you happen to be the reckless sort of self taught draper i am, you can even use it to trim your fabric right on your dress form.  maybe you're eyeballing a high neckline and want to hack an inch off of it.  center your seam allowance guide up, and away you go.


i used it to trim my lace facing for le slashed zipper....


GUTS.  pretty pretty guts, thanks to casey and hollie.


and now i've got a tip for you!  after all, i think i owe one karmically.  maybe it's something you already know, maybe it's a tidbit that will rock your world and build my karma up to Hot Mess Maxi Skirt saving levels.

ever worked with loose knit fabrics that fray like a burlap sack?  part of this skirt's sentence to solitary had to do with the RAGE i felt sewing up seams.  never have i missed my overlocker more.  all the nice thick threads of fabric kept bunching up in front of my presser foot, they would just not lie flat.  and unpicking wonky seams did not help the fray factor.  fairly late in the game, a light bulb went off and i used a mini invisible ruler (my real one, not the one in my head) to hold the rapidly fraying edges flat, feeding them beautifully under the presser foot.  do this slowly, of course, i will not take the blame for any speedracers out there who sew through a ruler or cause a broken needle to fly into human beings and/or cats... but if you proceed with caution, this works like a charm.

happy weekend everyone!  in that area, may you proceed with WILD ABANDON!

29 comments:

  1. Ooooo - what a fabulous tip on the slashed zipper! I'm excited to see the final version modeled and styled for the world to see - magnificent! And yes, I am definitely dealing with fraying fabric issues at the moment, so I'll be using that invisible ruled tip asap. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHA

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  2. you got pretty guts for sure!! love the lace.

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  3. This yellow sure packs a wallop! Love it!! And thanks for linking to the slashed zipper tutorial!

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  4. Thanks for the ruler tip! I have just such a fabric in my stash that I bought a while a go but never got around to using because I was scared to cut and sew with it in case it fell apart!

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  5. Ooh, I'm excited to see this skirt. That fabric is fun, even if it is maddening.

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  6. Oh, you know what I love MORE than a bit of alliteration? A fab new sewing tip, using something as simple as a clear plastic ruler! BRILLIANT.

    PS. I have a ruler in my head, too, but it works in metric. I must borrow yours some time when I have to write patterns for the US market!

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  7. Wow these are great tips, I can't wait to try the seam allowance cutting tool!
    Your yellow skirt is looking fab, you sewed that zipper in perfecto!

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  8. Fantastic idea! Having just wrestled with some temperamental fraying fabric, I feel your yearning for kenny. And Oona, your sewing just gets more and more beautiful!

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  9. That ruler tip is sort of BRILLIANT!

    Now then, will you remind me to remember it when I need it?

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    1. if you think about it whenever you have a cocktail, and you have a cocktail every day (as you should) you should be GOLDEN.

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  10. Great idea with the invisible ruler!

    Well, despite the skirt driving you insane, the colour is beautiful and it's making me smile :-)

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  11. So that's what you use an invisible ruler for! teeheee...I too have a ruler in my head but it certainly isn't invisible :) Brilliant idea! This looks so yummy!!

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    1. i totally thought about you when i was writing about it :)))

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  12. Guts in yelllow, gotta love it! Very cool tip.

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  13. That's one amazing zipper insertion! (sounds rude). And yeah, the colour is freaking hot. Good luck! x

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  14. Great fabric! I've never commented before, but I've been reading your blog for forever and I ADORE the things you make. They are so perfectly quirky!

    sewcollegiatechristine.blogspot.com

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  15. Yellow is my favorite color and this is looking absolutely fab! But Oona! YOU MATCHED THE ZIPPER!!

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    1. EGADS!!!!! i didn't even think of that!!! i was so thrilled that my refashioning skillz allowed me to keep the original zip.... oh. i hang my head in shame.

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    2. oh wait! duh, i was thinking of the salsa dress. this is even WORSE, as i chose the zipper. does it help that there are panels of white on the other side?

      no. it does not.

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  16. Fab job, that zipper is super smooth and neat. Is that a zig zag attachment on your sewing machine? Were you zigzagging to stop the fraying too? P.S. I live in L.A., you can borrow my overlocker anytime.

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    1. man, i tried. that featherweight zigzag attachment wants to kill me. i have a track record of dogfights with overlockers, you may want to rethink that offer....

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    2. I nearly busted my friends coverstitch, but the overlocker and I have never fallen out. It's a brother 1037d and very simple. It's yours for borrowing if you want it.

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  17. Lace faced zipper?! Awwww! Awesome!
    I hate loosely woven fabric. But your tip sounds very helpful, I'll need to keep it in mind.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!