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231  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: skirts without zippers? on: February 16, 2006 08:23:20 PM
I usually use buttons...if you have a basic yoke skirt pattern, cut it out in about 1-2 sizes larger than normal, then sew the right seam with a big seam allowance and finish the left sides with 1/4" or 3/8" seams.  That should give you enough room to overlap and put buttons down the left side. 

Another option is to cut a strip of fabric about 4" wide and your waist where you will wear the skirt + 4" long for a waistband.  Gather a rectangle of fabric to this (you can sew two rectangles together for front and back if you need more fabric) and make buttonholes in the waistband, then down the left side.  Or, put the buttons in the front.  Heck, put 'em in the back if you feel like it -- just watch out when you sit down!  You can also put just 4 or so buttons down the side and sew the rest of the opening closed. 

I've seen skirts on here that fit by means of lacing.  Make a tube for the yoke that will pull on over your hips, then use buttonholes, lacing tape or what have you to put lacing on either side.  Tie lacing to fit.  This works best with drop-waist skirts that have gathers that can absorb the extra fabric from the lacing, but I think it would work with a straight skirt too, if you put in the lacing curved to allow for the hips.  I wish I could explain that better but you know....   Roll Eyes

If you want something easy with no elastic, wrap skirts are an option.  However, I find that they fit oddly on me because I have huge arms and legs and no meat on my torso whatsoever. 

Hope this helps.  I avoid magnets and velcro because personally, I'm a spaz and I'm afraid of my clothes falling off....but those are options too. 
232  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: how to make a strap? on: February 16, 2006 08:07:40 PM
Yikes, that does sound complicated.  I invested in a little gadget called a "turn-it-all."  You can buy them at fabric stores or take a good look at one and maybe make your own.  You sew a tube, put a hollow tube inside and poke it with a stick to turn it inside out.  It's stupidly complicated to explain but oh, so easy to use.  I had to make some blindfolds recently for our youth group and doing the ties with the turn-it-all was a breeze.  I used a coupon and got it for somewhere around $4, I think. 
233  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Do New Look Patterns Ever go on SALE? on: February 16, 2006 08:03:48 PM
Sadly, they don't seem to.  I wish they did -- I like 'em too -- but I've been watching for over a year and it hasn't happened.  Walmart sometimes carries them for $3, which is less than the fabric store cost of $4.15 (or something like that). 

New Look has some of the most up-to-date styles and their sewing instructions are usually excellent.  I say buy the ones you can't live without and figure out how to swap pattern pieces to adapt the rest!   Smiley

234  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / Re: Flip Floppin' ideas on: February 11, 2006 07:35:13 AM
It would probably be more durable (and easier) to find flip-flops with a bit of a heel to them.  I've seen them in some discount stores -- a little bit of a wedge.  I like gluing buttons on them, heart or flower buttons would look cool....  Glitter is nice too, have you thought of glitter pens?  Small photos from magazines, decoupaged on?  I like the yarn idea, but maybe something shiny or different from Fun Fur (I think the Fun Fur makes them look like slippers).  The key might be to look around your house and see what you already have. 
235  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: how to multi-size? on: February 11, 2006 07:29:16 AM
Like everything else, there's a proper way to do this and then there's MY way...  :-)

Here's what I do:
Lay all the pattern pieces out flat.  Note where the two lines are closest (usually at the bottom of the waist/top of the hip curve).  Then use a French curve to make a slightly curved line (echoing the shape of the original pattern) in between the two size lines.  I find it helpful to outline the cutting lines with highlighter afterwards, to make sure I'm cutting the right sizes. 

If the dress is fitted, another option might be to cut everything to the hip size, sew the backs together, and take in the excess on the sides.  If the dress is swingy, you can probably just ignore the hip and sew the waist size. 

Hope this helps.  I'm usually altering the other way -- I have a thick waist -- but I think the principles are the same...

236  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: New at sewing, please advize me on: February 10, 2006 10:18:55 AM
I agree, the machine probably needs to be serviced.  The tension adjustment is only for the top thread.  It sounds like your bobbin tension needs to be adjusted, which can only be done by a professional.

Also, buttonholes are meant to be done on interfaced fabric.  You need to get some fusible interfacing and iron it to your fabric (instructions come with the interfacing).  It will make your job SOOOOO much easier.  Make sure you have a sharp, new machine needle as well, since sewing with blunt needles is just -- eech. 

Try playing around with stitch length and width as well as tension.  Some just look better than others.

Hope this helps....
237  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: SEAMSTRESSES? Pattern Sizing Questions on: February 09, 2006 05:24:07 PM
Don't worry, I've been sewing since I was 9 and I just NOW figured out how to do sizing!  Here are some ideas:

First of all, are you measuring the correct waist?  Most people measure around the area where they normally wear their pants/skirts.  No, no -- you're supposed to measure around the area where you normally BEND in half.  This is usually around the navel or slightly above for me (but I'm long-waisted).

Your bust measurement is supposed to be taken in a straight line through your armpits, ABOVE your bustline.  I'm trying to figure out how to describe that -- the tape measure should go around your upper body, just under the pits and over the high breast area.  This will give you a smaller measurement than using your bra band size, which is the mistake I used to make.  If you are larger than a B/C cup, most patterns are not cut to fit you and you might have to alter for more fabric in the bosom area.  

Hips are pretty obvious, but for straight skirts, use the area where you are widest.  I personally measure the tops of my thighs.  

NOW, if you've done all that and it still doesn't fit, time to check your seams.  I sew with 3/8 inch seams, most patterns are designed to be sewn with 5/8 inch seams, so I usually have to size down.  

Also, check wearing ease!  Patterns will have numbers printed on them which indicate the finished garment's measurements when it is done.  Home sewn clothes are designed with tons of wearing ease, so if you prefer a fitted look you'll have to sew smaller.  Flat pattern measurement helps a lot -- I take a similar garment, lay it out on the floor, measure the areas where it fits and then measure the pattern piece (allowing for seams).  That way I can get a more accurate idea of how something fits.

Hope this helps....I know it's confusing but don't give up!  
Good luck! 
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