18/11/2017

My 3 pattern stash tricks

If I would have to pick my favourite part of sewing it would definitely be making and transfering patterns. I usually work on them even when I'm not doing any particular projects. It's my way to relax. Since I started working on my pattern collection I tried to find the best way to store and organise them. After many years I've finally came up with a system that is perfect for me. I decided to show you some methods that I'm using now and used to use in the past. 


I started thinking about how to store my patterns the moment I got my first Burda Magazine issue. My first idea was keeping each pattern in sheet protectors with pattern number, issue number and quick technical drawing. I've changed it few months later when I lost some pattern pieces. They just fell out of sheet protectors. I switched to B4 envelopes. They were okay, just a little to big for my new sewing space. Now my organising system is more expanded.

Starting with sewing magazines, I keep them all in a big box sorted by name and year. Pattern sheets are held in seperate folders, also organised by year. 

On the other shelf I have another box, this one only for patterns. I seperate each type of clothing - tops, skirts or dresses. The ones I've printed or traced have their own envelopes with photo of a pattern on the front and sewing instructions on the back. Some of my traced patterns are not complete, they still need photos or instructions, but I'm slowly finishing them one by one.

I also have few secret and special patterns. I keep them all on few hangers on my wall.


And how do you store your sewing patterns? Maybe you've heard about interesting ways to do it?

08/11/2017

How to finish the edge with the lace trimming?

One detail can completely change the look of the garment. The ruffles, an insert or a trim can upgrade your clothes to the new level. While sewing the robe I decided to make a quick tutorial on how to finish the edge with the lace trim. I choose to show you how I did it on one of the sleeves.



To finish the edge with the lace trimming you will need:
  • A fabric or a piece of clothing
  • A lace trimming. You should have 5-15 cm more than the length of your edge if you're using scalloped lace trim
  • A matching thread
  • A stabilizer. I used the cut-away one, but it's up to you what type of stabilizer you want to use
  • A sewing machine
Start with cutting all pieces. Remember about matching the patern of the trim. Your stabilizer should be wide enough to cover the whole edge of the lace. I sewed it 5 cm away from the edge, so my stabilizer was 8 cm wide.


Baste your stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric. You can decide where you want to place your trim and then baste it to the right side of the fabric. Be sure that the stabilizer will cover the whole edge of the lace.


Sewing time! It's easier to start with the straight stitch and then repeat it with the tight zig zag or satin stitch. Remember to sew exactly on the edge of the lace, so the seam would be invisible.


Now it's time to cut out your stabilizer and excess fabric under the trim. You need to do it carefully and as close to the stitch as possible. I suggest using embroidery scissors. Depending on the type of your stabilizer cut it or rip it out.


And here it is - quick and simple way to completly change the look of your garment. Lace always adds some finesse and charm.

15 tools that will help every beginner sewist

I'm one of the people that will never fully piece their sewing kit together. Different tools will help you with easier or more difficult actions. Some people have no patience or are annoyed with a lot of ripping when they start sewing. However, with right tools. Today I want to show you my 15 essential sewing tools that every beginner needs.




Fabric scissors - the most important thing for every sewist. I don't even remember how many scenes I've made because someone used my scissors without permission to cut fabric or paper (!). Don't scrimp on them, they must be solid. Many people recommend the ones from Fiskars. They're good, but as a person with small hands I usually ended up with sore hand. I use scissors from a sewing kit I've got from my mum.

Paper scissors - I know people that use one pair to cut both fabric and paper. It's a big mistake since while cutting the paper you dull the scissors. It's better to have a second pair.

Sharp pins - not the ones used in office. They usually have glass heads. Available in various length.

Tape measure - crucial to get the measure. I personally use the retractable one. You need to remember that they may stretch a little, so you should replace them regulary. While sewing even 1mm makes the difference.

Hand gauge - perfect for measuring and pressing seams

Tailors chalk / chalk marker / disappearing ink pen - each has the same purpose. Just choose which medium and colour will be better for you.


Basting thread - it should be white or light grey/ pink. Intense colour thread might dye the fabric. You should also pick the cotton one.

Hand needles - essential for basting, decorative stitching or sewing buttons. Usually sold in a small package with various sizes.

Snips - it's easier to cut thread with them then with scissors. Just be careful, I almost hurt my eye because of them.

Thimble - I usually don't use it, but it helps a lot with thicker fabric. Remember to choose a right size.

Seam ripper - seam ripping takes more time than actual sewing. It's much easier with seam ripper. but you need to be careful as well. My teacher used to tell my class a story about a girl that destroyed whole, almost finished skirt with it.

Tweezers - tool with multiple assets. I'll write more about it soon. I mainly use it to thread a needle or rip a seam.

Seam guide - you may find it in your sewing machine equipment. I have to attach mine over the foot. You can also get a magnetic one that you need to place on a stitch plate. Both should help you keep your seam even.

Sewing machine feet - you can also find some of them in your sewing machine equipment. The ones that might be useful at the beginning are zipper and buttonhole feet.

Pattern weights - they make tracing of the pattern and cutting the fabric much easier. I used to use caps, now I have few little jars filled with water. You can also buy beautiful ones from OhSewQuaint or go to a hardware shop and find there some heavy screws.

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That's my list of sewing tools for beginners. Maybe you think I should include something more? Leave a comment down below.

Bow ties are cool

Some people often asks me to sew something for them. Each time I refuse. It might seem selfish, but my reasons are simple. Selfless sewing is not that fun for me. I'm just too stressed, cause I want it to be perfect. And since I'm not good at dealing with the stress, not many things that I made went to someone else. However, this time I wanted to make something special for my friend.



My friend really likes "Doctor Who", especially The Eleventh Doctor played by Matt Smith. Most recognisable thing about him is his love for bow ties. My friend likes them as well, so I decided that they'll be a perfect gift for him. I've made three of them, all from different types of cotton. One of them is not in the photos. It was a plaid, navy blue bow tie. The other navy one is reversible. Sewing them was easy and it's a good project for the beginners. Patterns are easy to find, and with few measurements you can make it on your own.


Next time I'll use self drafted pattern and modify the shape, so it wouldn't be so traditional. Maybe I'll even make few for myself. I'm sure my scrap box would approve.

What you need to keep in mind while designing your own fashion collection

It's my last year at fashion technical school. I've met so many fantastic people, sharing the same passion. I've gain more knowledge thanks to various contests, lectures, exhibitions and trade shows.

I decided to share some of it with you, starting with designing your own fashion collection. It might seem simple, but it's not. Not only creativity matters. You need to think about tiny details that may make your collection a success or a failure. Remember, fashion is a business. Very brutal one.



Before I start just a quick reminder - all of these informations are based on my experience and knowledge. They might be useful while designing a single garment. Keep in mind that every case is different and each designer has their own methods. However there are some aspects than are crucial for successful collection.

To design your own collection you need to go through few steps that might not seem related. Some people don't know that fashion designer is not only an artist, but also a tailor, a patternmaker, a psychologist, an accountant, a marketing expert, a salesman and most of all, a businessman. Of course they're not working on their own, but they should know the basics of all of these professions.

Fashion industry is well-developed and every person needs to find their own methods, but each of them should remember about some things. Before the designer will start the first drawing they have to think about every detail. It must be consistent, tasteful and smart. Every single step must be planed out. What designer needs to keep in mind while planning a collection?

Season


Creating the full fashion collection takes a lot of time. Designer should start working on it about year and a half before the beginning of the season and organise fashion show 6 months in advance. There are four main seasons:

  • SS (Spring-Summer) - fashion shows in September
  • AW/FW (Autumn-Winter / Fall-Winter) - fashion shows in March
  • Pre-Fall (transitional collection between SS and AW/FW) shown in January
  • Resort/Cruise - in other words holiday collection for people spending their winter time in warmer places, shown in June

Types of collections


There are two types of the collections - haute couture and prêt-à-porter. Each has few other subgroups in which products have different quality, prices and the amount of produced pieces. They can be mass-produced or made for a private client.

  • Haute couture (fr. high fashion, high dressmaking) is a very exclusive fashion, often considered as art. This type of collection requires a lot of time and work, it's usually done by many craftsmen.
  • Prêt-à-porter (fr. ready-to-wear) is the easily accessible fashion usually made for average person.
Beside that designer should define the style of the collection. No need to be strict. Fashion should be fun. Mix sport style with some elegant elements.

Target group


While making the collection the designer must remember about the client. The clothes needs to be created for people that will eventually buy and wear them. What you should do is make a profile of your perfect client. What you need to keep in mind?
  • gender - if we look at human anatomy there are some differences in women and men body that needs to be included to the designs.
  • age - there are few age groups - infants (less than a year), kids (1-12), youth (13-18), young adults (18-25), adults (25-45), mature adults (45-65) and seniors (over 65). You need to remember about important aspects of every stage of human's life.
  • demography - what you need to consider is different geographical position, culture, etnography, earnings and mores of the society. Demand will rest on the location.
  • lifestyle and social class - different social gropus requires different clothes. Businessman needs elegant and classic look. Mother-to-be usually picks something comfy.
  • anatomic differences - not only we are different within our society, but silhouettes vary between regions of the world. People from China or Japan are more petite than Americans. On the other hand there are people that can't find fitting clothes in typical clothes shops because of, for example, height, weight, disabilities or even pregnancy.
  • subculture - this one is not essential, but collection might be dedicated strictly to chosen subculture.
  • religion - some religions are very strict about clothes. If designer wants to sell clothes in religious country they should remember about those restrictions.


Trends

Collection should be the mix of designer's aesthetics and current trends. Thinking about them a year and a half in advance can be tough. There are companies speciallizing in forecasting future must-haves. You may also want to check textile faires or Pantone's colour of the season.

Finanses


The key to the success is to stay in budget. You need to be realistic and cut the costs if you have to. Remember, the more work, the more money you'll spend. You should also think about utility. Make more dresses and shirts than coats.

Raw materials


Even the best idea might be a failure without suitable supplies. You must check if it's available, profit will be bigger than costs and if there'll be a customer for the product.

Brutal reality of fashion business


Quoting Heidi Klum "One day you're in, the next day, you're out". This business has its own rules. It's not easy to create a customer base and maintain your own brand. You must always think about it, adjust to the reality, but at the same point don't lose oneself.



In my opinion those are the most important things you should enter into consideration while planning your collection. Thinking about them will help you with other stages, sometimes make them easier and faster. Everything will be deliberate.

What might ease designer's work? How to find your aesthetics? What's the best way to get inspired? Next designer's guide post soon. Maybe there's something you want to know about fashion designing? Leave your suggestion in the comments.