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further garment progress - when you don't know what to do... — LiveJournal
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further garment progress
My dress is cut out. Now I just need to assemble it, which I'm about to go do. I need to make sure the tension is set right, though... bleah. My least favorite part of sewing.

I had no idea the bells and whistles you can get in sewing machines these days. Self-threading, self-winding bobbins, automatic buttonholes, embroidery, computer interface... it's almost scary. They do everything but cut the fabric for you, and you can get machines to do that, too. Okay, so they're really only practical in a factory setting, but they're out there. Maybe someday I'll have the cash to blow on a machine like this, but in the meantime, I'm glad I know how to do things the "hard way".

Speaking of which, I tried something the other day that I never really thought would work, but it does, and I love it. I bought some beeswax, and I run my thread through it before handsewing with it. It really does make it easier to sew with! No tangling, and the thread just goes through the fabric so much easier. Kass McGann recommends a lump of regular beeswax rather than the stuff you can get at the fabric store, but I wanted to try this first before I went searching for the real stuff. Sure smells nice, though. I want a period sewing kit, and a lump of beeswax will definitely be in there, along with linen thread. I really need to find a good source for it locally; it's a pain to have to order it.

Okay, I think I've procrastinated enough.

i feel: calm calm

10 trips or shoot the rapids
From: nutter4 Date: April 29th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC) (base camp)
This reminds me of an antiques programme I saw recently, where they had a fine example of a regency sewing box. In it was a tool very similar to the ear-scoops you see at Vike shows - because basically, that's what it was. Your elegant regency lady would scoop out her ear-wax and wax her thread with it. Gross but true. :)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: April 29th, 2004 02:32 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Oh, ew. Oh my god ew. I mean, yeah, it makes sense, but that's like using boogers to lubricate a drawer slide.

I'll stick to bee secretions, thanks. It smells WAY better.

(Interesting, though!)
skittl1321 From: skittl1321 Date: April 29th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC) (base camp)
The absolute best sewing notion I have used (if you consider it a notion) is the silk button twist thread I was given to sew eyelets on my dress. Granted while I was doing it everyone was asking me "why don't you use grommets" which I suppose would have been easier, but the highly twisted silk made it go so much smoother than the nasty poly-cotton I sew with, and since it is visible stitching, it made me happier.

-yeah, so that didn't really relate. But ok.
tashabear From: tashabear Date: April 29th, 2004 02:34 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Of course it did!

Grommets are just so ugly, and they tear the fabric, and they're NOT PERIOD. The closest I think you get are flat metal rings used as reinforcement, and you have to sew over them anyway, so you might as well make a nice buttonhole.

Silk thread is definitely yummy.
esmerel From: esmerel Date: April 29th, 2004 02:25 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Got an apiary local? I can't think of a better place to get beeswax. :)

Hmm... maybe I should check the local ones here...
tashabear From: tashabear Date: April 29th, 2004 02:36 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Actually, my apprentice sister and her husband keep bees, and their hive died over the winter -- I should ask if they're keeping any of the wax or if they're using it all to start the new hive. I might see them this weekend; if not, I'll see her on Tuesday.
cellio From: cellio Date: April 29th, 2004 02:44 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Please tell me more about the self-threading feature? How (and how well) does it work? Threading the suckers is one of my big barriers to using a sewing machine. (The other is trouble-shooting, particularly when the bobbin thread goes all clumpy on me.)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: April 29th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC) (base camp)
I have no idea. Jeanette (the Janome) is very basic, and I need to thread her myself. I saw the feature on some high-end Singers online; you could ask at a dealer. (The machine I linked to was $3000!!)

The bobbin thread, though -- make sure you hold the ends of the thread as you start sewing, otherwise it gets pulled in on itself and everything goes south. also, be sure to keep frayed edges away from the openings in the plate; they can get caught in the feed dogs and pulled down to the bobbin race and then things need to be disassembled to work right.
esmerel From: esmerel Date: April 29th, 2004 04:33 pm (UTC) (base camp)
On my machine, the self threader works like so:

There's an arm with a little hook on it. Thread is draped over hook. Arm with hook moves up and down, locks in down position. Move needle to up position - needle and hook should be at same level if they are at the proper places. Then you just swivel the hook right into the eye of the needle and grab the loop of thread.

It sounds more complicated than it is, even :)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: April 29th, 2004 09:38 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Oh, how nifty is that. Something to look forward to!
10 trips or shoot the rapids