Women sewing

Following my last post, Monday Monday #4, which I deleted, I recognized that I can be hurt. And being hurt or hurting others is not why I write this blog. Sewing is sometimes joyful, sometimes necessary, sometimes difficult, sometimes a blessing. For me, it is something that I am grateful to share with many – it can promote friendship and result in unexpected experiences, but it has largely brought me joy.


The face mask factory …

Good morning! I love this cartoon that was posted on a group I’ve joined, OFMS, Orlando Face Mask Strong.

OFMS is an amazing volunteer organization with 1100 members and growing – we’re not just sewists but also many many people who donate materials, laser-cut fabric to a uniform pattern at a local charity shop, snip 5″ long aluminum wire for nose bridges, do the odds and ends that inevitably come with such an effort, put together sewing kits for the sewists among us to get to work, arrange drop-off and pick-up of mask kits, and manage the administrative work, taking and fulfilling orders, and so on.

This above is a completed mask. It has donated fabrics: shirting fabric for straps and Rifle Paper Company toweling for the mask. The design has 3 pieces, as the back allows insertion of an H600 or polypropylene filter. And it has been tweaked with input from Orlando healthcare/hospital staff.

The masks destined for the hospitals are H600 material, two layers, which can be autoclaved for sterilization and are targeted for use with Covid-19 patients. Last week the group took 2500 H600 masks to AdventHealth Hospital and Nemours Childrens Hospital.

An genius group member designed and now provides a 3-D printer-formed binding tool for making straps. It sits on its ‘side’ so all I have to do is pull the fabric to my iron. I can do a 54″ long strip in less than a minute.

Latest post, 10,000 masks have been completed and distributed. The target – 100,000 masks for the greater Orlando community.

Be well, hang tough, I’m thinking of everyone in these unfamiliar times, and I truly appreciate your companionship.


New dressform

This is exciting! I’ve put off buying a new dress form for several years, as my old form was ‘OK’, and I had other priorities. But this is a year of going for those things I know I will enjoy. As Joan Rivers said, if not now, when…

After careful research, I purchased this Janome Artistic Dress Form in size Small, and I’m delighted. The comparative pic below illustrates my issues with my previous form (in red). It was a Medium, had a booty and tummy, very wide shoulders (which I cut off with a hand saw), and a surprisingly large neck. And it was short-waisted. I have a long torso, no booty or tummy, and a skinny neck!! Enter the new form on the right, wearing the dress form cover I made years ago in cotton rib:

This line of dress forms is available on many trusted sewing sites – SewVacDirect, SewingMachinesPlus, etc., and of course on Amazon.

A table of the dress form sizing:

Have you indulged yourself lately:-) Happy – Coco

Serger business…

Serger horror. I could not serge/cut a seam! This is lawn!

Look what I found. A huge piece of fabric somewhere in my serger. Even though I cleaned it after my pinafore sewing, and my daughter can attest to this, because I showed her the lint that comes from just one garment.

Well, even before this issue, I’ve known for a while that my Janome 8002D knives were dull, so I ordered both the upper and lower knives, they will be here this week.

Meanwhile, I like having two sergers, one with white thread, one for color changes. I’ve had a second serger for years, a Juki MO644D, that I killed by sewing over a quilting pin. Managed to destruct all the thread/guideline pins, presser foot and press plate, just not redeemable for much less than a new machine.

Which is now on order:

Happy woman…Coco

Favorite sites for sewing techniques

Happy New Year! As I’m feeling industrious this morning, I thought I’d share some of my favorite go-to’s for various sewing techniques 🙂 Coco

Add darts to pattern bodicehttp://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/do-a-full-bust-adjustment-by-adding-a-dart-to-a-no-dart-pattern
Adjust wrap dress necklinehttps://www.craftsy.com/sewing/article/how-to-adjust-a-wrap-dress-neckline/
Conversion table – fabric widthhttps://butterick.mccall.com/size-fit-charts/fabric-width-conversion-chart
Conversion table – multi-country sizinghttp://www.onlineconversion.com/clothing_womens.htm
Fly front zipperhttps://grainlinestudio.com/2012/09/19/sewing-tutorial-inserting-a-fly-front-zipper/
Making a  jacket – Threads pt1https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2008/06/06/making-a-jacket-part-i
Making a  jacket – Threads pt2https://www.threadsmagazine.com/2008/06/06/making-a-jacket-part-ii
Making a jackethttps://www.threadsmagazine.com/2010/09/09/how-to-sew-a-notched-jacket-lapel
Making a lined jacket – Atelier Saisonhttps://ateliersaison.jp/pg189.html
Neckline – Alder v-neck variationhttps://grainlinestudio.com/2014/09/23/alder-v-neck-variation/ttps://grainlinestudio.com/2014/09/23/alder-v-neck-variation
Neckline – sew v-neck bandhttps://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/09/how-to-sew-a-v-neck-collar/
Sew4Home Project Indexhttps://sew4home.com/project-index
Shirt collar constructionhttps://closetcasepatterns.com/an-alternative-method-for-sewing-a-shirt-collar-kalle-sewalong/
Sleeve – make a flutter sleevehttps://www.craftsy.com/sewing/article/flutter-sleeve/
Sleeve – Plackets and Bandshttps://inseamstudios.com/sew-sleeve-placket/
Sleeve – Plackets and Bandshttps://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/C222/welcome.html
Sleeve – Plackets and Bandshttp://off-the-cuff-shirtmaking.blogspot.com/2014/01/tutorial-shirt-sleeve-placket.html
Welt Pockethttps://guthrie-ghani.co.uk/blog/big-bow-coat-welt-pocket-tutorial
Welt Pockethttps://oliverands.com/community/blog/2013/10/tutorial-how-to-sew-a-welt-pocket.html
Welt Pockethttps://grainlinestudio.com/2016/11/29/tamarack-inserting-welt-pockets/
Welt Pockethttps://www.threadsmagazine.com/2016/11/04/video-sew-a-single-welt-pocket

Thinking about sewing and pressing

I’m watching a good movie and sewing buttons on a new blouse. The things that go through my head…

Love your steam iron 🙂 As I sew, I press open every seam to sink the threads. And proceed from there. The end result is well-worth the time and effort for a nicely finished garment.

I use a very inexpensive ($25) Sunbeam steam iron. It has great steam, is easily replaced, and lasts as long as many pricey irons I’ve purchased in the past!

Just a thought – Coco

Love your machine – Sergers

Absolutely indispensable – a serger. Forget pinking shears and overlocking/zigzag stitches on a sewing machine. Nothing takes the place of a serger for fabric and seam edges. IMHO, a good serger is a great investment in sewing satisfaction and professional finishes.

They work so well – powerful little beasts – that it’s easy to forget that they need care and feeding just like a sewing machine. So, some tips from a lover of a good serger.

  • Simple stuff – clean it. I use both brushes and cotton swabs to get into every nook and cranny. Have you used it for a few hours or on a linty project? Clean it. I actually clean mine for every project, and I do recommend this. BTW, cotton swaps are great for cleaning the bobbin race on your sewing machine.
  • Intuitive stuff – oil it. That machine is pumping its heart out and has so many moving parts- oil doesn’t really last very long. Your serger will love you back for a little oil. I do this frequently, and I use a wonderful oil pen.Varieties are available, Sewing Machines Plus, Wawak, etc., all refillable. They have skinny needles for easy application. Just be sure to use sewing machine oil!
  • Easily overlooked – the needles. Serger needles take a beating, and they should be replaced! Most of the time I have a 90/14 in my sergers, but have changed them for different threads and fabrics. My choice: Klasse universal needles – again, MHO, do not spend money on a serger-specific needle!
  • Don’t drop a needle into the machine while replacing it! I have a nifty brush with a helper-hole on the end, I think it came with my Juki:
  • The tricky bit can be threading the loopers. Try a serger needle threader! it goes in and out all those elusive spaces.
  • Deep cleaning – About once a month I remove all the threads from my sergers and give them a deep cleaning. I’ve had mine for years, and I think a little love goes a long way. My machines, and I recommend them both, mid-price, heavy, quiet, obedient! and old friends. I have tried air-threading machines and ones with dial-tension. I like these. The tension knobs facilitate nuance changes, really important for the loopers and needles:
  • Last thought – cutting blades. When is the last time you replaced these? They are like scissors, but in one project do more than a pair of scissors over many years. And they are easy and fairly inexpensive to replace.

Bye for now – off to a project! Coco