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Sewing to sell How to be better than store bought

Sewing to Sell – How to Be Better Than Store Bought

Sewing to sell your creations at markets or online is tough and you need something to set yourself apart from the rest – especially from store bought clothing. Basically you should be aiming to be better than store bought. Consumers want to know why they should pay more than what they do at a department store – why is handmade better than mass produced?
To be cost effective, mass produced clothing has to be constructed in the shortest time possible. This often means certain steps are skipped, which can mean a less than perfect garment.
Here are a few of the common flaws seen in store bought clothing and ways for you to improve on that and make handmade the best it can be.Sew to sell   excess threads
An obvious thing like loose threads is something everyone has encountered in a store bought garment and is the first way you can improve. Get into the habit of going over your finished garments to clip all those threads.Sew to sell correct grain
Correct grain – take the time to ensure you’re cutting on the correct grain or you will run the risk of your finished garment warping – either as you finish or worse, after the customer has washed it. Pre-washing your fabric is good for removing the dressing from manufacturing, but make sure you hang it on the clothes line straight or you could be creating another warp.Sew to sell pocket facings
Pocket facings are used when manufacturers want to save cost on the main fabric, but sometimes they skimp too much and the pocket lining peeks out. If you want to do better – make sure your facings are deeper.Sew to sell twisted hems
Narrow hems are fine in the right application, but take care not to let them twist and ripple when ironing. If you keep a mini ruler at your sewing machine you can watch that your turning up stays parallel to the edge. For sheer and light weight fabrics, consider folding the edge twice and eliminating the overlocking all together.Sew to sell matching stripes
Matching stripes can be frustrating but is well worth the effort. The side seams of a top or dress will look so much better if the stripes line up. And don’t forget repeating patterns form stripes too.Sew to Sell centering
Check the direction of the print too. For example, if a fabric has a row of boats finishing just above the hem on a pair of shorts, it’s going to look odd if the other leg doesn’t match. The superman logo on these shorts has been centered in the width of the panel and sits at the same spot on the hems.Sew to Sell  coverstitch
If you’re using a cover stitch in your sewing, practice getting the stitch to cover the raw edge exactly. Store bought t-shirts are a common place for this flaw.
If you really want to get fussy with your sewing you could look at how you finish your belt loops. Sometimes you’ll see belt loops that have frayed after washing because the ends have been left raw. While it’s not convenient to overlock them, you can try turning them under a second time to conceal the raw edge. Or even try enclosing them within the waistband at the top edge and where the band joins the shorts.
Have a think about any pet peeves you have about store bought clothing – surely if you notice something your customers will too. Taking the time to do some quality control once your items are finished could make all the difference to your work and will go a long way towards lifting the standards of what consumers expect and deserve.

This article first appeared in Issue 5 of One Thimble magazine and can be purchased here (affiliate link)

Ladies panel skirt

Skirt Sew Along – Variations

Welcome back to the final installment of our skirt sew along. You can find the pattern here, the sizing chart here and the basic tutorial here.

Once you’ve mastered the basic skirt you might want to consider making a few variations to get the most from you pattern. There are a LOT of things you can do to make the skirt unique to your style and I’m going to show you two simple ideas to create totally new looks from the one pattern.yellow full skirt

Our first skirt is created by cutting each pattern piece twice to give it the fullness of a twirly skirt. This one is made from a vintage sheet so the softness is amazing.  To help the elastic stay in place I sewed across the casing at each panel seam. The photo below indicates how long my row of stitching needed to be. sewing elastic across casing

You could also achieve this look with a voile fabric or even soft bridal tulle for a fun tutu skirt. It will work for quilting cottons, but keep in mind there’s a lot of fabric bunched up in that elastic.

 

A video posted by @verydebra on

The second skirt I made was from denim with a simple raw edge applique. The seams are top stitched in a contrasting colour to match the kitty panel and I used HeatNBond to secure the panel before stitching around it twice. The denim is quite heavy for the elastic, so you might like to use a stronger elastic. I figured I could get away with an elasticated waist for this denim skirt since I’ll always wear a top to cover it. denim kitty skirt  

  A video posted by @verydebra on

The kitty panel is from Cat and Vee and is printed on a beautiful linen fabric. The denim is from E&M Greenfield  denim kitty skirt detailYes I prewashed my denim.

Here’s a few more ideas you might like to try.

Thanks for sewing along and don’t forget, if you’re sharing on Instagram, to use #skirtsewalong and #thesewquiltyworkshop so I can see what you’ve created.

 

Ladies panel skirt

Skirt Sew Along – The Tutorial

Welcome back to part three of the Panel Skirt sew along.  Part one and two are here if you want to catch up. Today we’re making the basic design with loads of photos and instructions. If you’re feeling confident then skim over the directions and make it up how you feel comfortable. There’s always more than one way to do something – this is how I do it.

Points to note

  • all panel seams are 1cm
  • I’ve overlocked my edges, but you can get away with zigzagging over the edges to stop them fraying
  • elastic is 2.5cm wide and cut to suit your comfort. I like to wrap the elastic around my waist to check it’s not too loose
  • You can still download the pattern here
Cut pieces laid out the correct way ready for sewing.

Cut pieces laid out the correct way ready for sewing.

I’ve chosen some nifty green quilting cotton with some jaunty cups and plates. It’s non directional – meaning the design has no right way up – and will be perfect for this skirt since I like to be economical when I cut. This means I can have the centre front/back panel one way, and have the side panel upside down next to it to fit across the fabric with minimal wastage. If your fabric has a nap – a one way design – then all your pieces will need to be sitting all in the same direction.

Side panel + side panel + centre front/back

Side panel + side panel + centre front/back

 

Join your side seams, then join one of the centre front/back panels to one side. Repeat this step with the other pieces. Lay your two sewn parts together with right sides facing. Sew the last two panel seams.

Arrange the two pieces right sides together.

Arrange the two pieces right sides together.

Overlock or neaten the seams along with the hem and top edges. Your skirt should now be in one piece and ready for a press.

Neaten all edges and seams

Neaten all edges and seams

Join your elastic to make a loop. Read ahead to the next step to see if this is how you want to proceed. Add any labels or ribbons to indicate the back.

Add labels at centre back and sew elastic

Add labels at centre back and sew elastic

Next we’re inserting the elastic in the casing IN ONE STEP. Feel free to sew your casing first then thread your elastic if you prefer. With the elastic laying on the wrong side of the skirt, turn over the casing 3.5cm, then turn under the edge 6mm (or the width of the overlocking.) Sew close to this folded edge being careful not to catch the elastic as you go.

Sewing the casing and inserting the elastic in one step.

Sewing the casing and inserting the elastic in one step.

Pull the elastic and ease fabric around to make it easier for you to sew.

Pull the elastic through to make it easier to sew

Pull the elastic through to make it easier to sew

Once you’ve stitched around, manipulate the fabric so it’s even around the waist. I like to sew a second row of stitching to stop the elastic spinning around within the casing.

Sew a second row of stitching to secure elastic

Sew a second row of stitching to secure elastic

Turn up a 4cm hem making sure your seams are straight. Doing this will ensure your hem edge eases in neatly around the slight curve of the hem. Sew on the inner edge of the overlocking to make it stronger during washing.

Match those panel seams to make sure your hem sits flat

Match those panel seams to make sure your hem sits flat

Give your skirt a final press and admire your handiwork. You may even feel inclined to make a short video like I did –

Next week I’ll show you some ways to adapt the skirt pattern to get a few different looks. Please let me know if you have any troubles and be sure to use the hashtag #skirtsewalong and #thesewquiltyworkshop so I can check out your creations.

 

Aussie AQAL

Aviatrix Quilt – finished at last

What a marathon this has been – but I do love a good meaty, time consuming project so I can’t complain too much. The Aviatrix quilt top is done and now that it’s done I love it again. I have to admit to being very glad to see the end of those butterfly blocks!Aviatrix 2

And now that its done I’m left with the decision of how to quilt it. I mean it’s taken a lot of time and effort to get it to this stage so I don’t want to muck it up by choosing the wrong sort of stitching. My initial idea was to hand quilt – because I like it and think it deserves it. But the thought of having all that fabric and batting sitting around in the summer heat put me off that idea for a while. Maybe save it for winter? Aviatrix 1

Then I thought about just straight line quilting – then I could manage that on my own industrial machine and it would be done faster. But it really deserves better than that don’t you think? The other week my Mum brought her John Watts quilting frame over while she decides whether or not to sell it. (I think we all know it’s staying) It’s all set up and I’m keen to give it a go. So how about I quilt my new Aviatrix on it? Hmmm, a bit too ambitious perhaps?medallion 3

I took the quilt top to my sew day at Brisbane MQG yesterday and it was suggested I custom quilt – a different pattern in each of the borders. I like this idea and I’d definitely have to pay for this sort of thing since I’ve got zero experience. But I’d have to save my $.  Hmmm, more thinking.Aviatrix 3

Today as I write this I’ve returned to the idea of hand quilting. I’ve seen another Aviatrix hand quilted and it is stunning. So yes – I want that!

I’d like to thank Linen from Vine Lines Quilting for hosting the quilt along and Elizabeth Hartman for designing such a  fabulous quilt pattern. You should pop over to Lindens blog where you’ll find links to all the other quilters who participated in the quilt along.

I’ll keep you updated with how the quilt’s going over the next few weeks.