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Topic: completely new to sewing  (Read 519 times)
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« on: June 13, 2008 09:54:23 AM »

I am completely new to sewing.  I am a knitter (a slow one at that!) But I decided that I wanted to sew now too.  Mostly because I wanted to make cuddle sacks and toys for my ferrets.  So I bought a machine and made a few cuddle sacks then a big one for my small dog and I thought to myself hey I can do this!  So I got a bright idea, lets make clothes!!!  YAY.  got a pattern and tons of fabric for the pattern, enough for mistake wiggle room, think 8 yards is enough? (it wasway cheap too)  I sat down to read the pattern and get started and WHAT IN GODS NAME ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?!  before now sewing meant go buy those iron on things and iron it together.

What is a nap?  other then what my dogs do all day
Baste?  thinking it goes in the oven with some juice like things all over it
Selvages?  like salvage...pluck something from the garbage? 

Right now with my complete lack of understanding I may end up sleeping while I burn fabric and garbage in the oven.  Ok maybe it wont be that bad.  But if I could get some help understanding these definitions, and if there are more I am going to need to know, I am all up for learning new words. I think that would be great.
Oh yeah the whole 45" and 60" thing what does that mean? 

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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2008 10:13:15 AM »


Okay, the best way to explain nap is to ask if you're using suede, or corduroy?  If you are, then hold the fabric up to a window with the "furry" or good part showing.  Now turn the fabric in the opposite direction (90 degree turn) with the "furry" or good part still showing.  Do you see the difference?  That's the nap.

When you cut fabric with a nap (like suede or corduroy) you want all the pattern pieces laid out with the nap going in the same direction.  If you don't, you'll get a two-tone outfit that will look awful (unless of course, you are making a design statement).

Until I got used to laying out napped fabrics, I took a piece of chalk and wrote directly on the fabric "Top" at the top end and "Bottom" at the bottom, with a bunch of arrows pointing in one direction, the full length. 

8 yards does seem like a lot, but because it was so inexpensive, experiment.  Have fun.  Even if you make a mistake, consider it a learning experience.  I've always worn all my mistakes! LOL. 

I'd also recommend buying a sewing reference guide such as Sewing for Dummies if one exists; and I'm sure it probably does.  I started with a Vogue Book of Sewing.  It was written before computerized sewing machines and things like iron on interfacing, but I still refer to it sometimes. 

You are lucky that there is an Internet, because there's plenty of free advice.  Just google what you need to know and I'll bet someone has blogged it.  There are plenty of free patterns too. 

I took the handmade pledge at birth
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2008 09:41:17 PM »

Basting is long stitches that are intended to hold temporarily. It's also used prior to ruffling fabric.

Selvedge is the factory edge.
Things like fleece you may not notice anything special on  the selvedges at all, but most fabrics have writing (company name, collection name, random stuff like "made in USA") as well as color dots for most prints. Obviously you don't want these to show in finished garments but they also serve as big location markers for you when laying out your pattern pieces.

45" and 60" (the " is inches) are the two most common widths garment fabrics come in.
If you've bought 44/45" wide fabric use that guide for laying out your pieces, if you bought 60" fabric, use that guide. Look at the end of the cardboard bolt when shopping, it will tell you the width, maker, fiber content & washing instructions. For anything you already own, measure selvadge to selvadge.
Fabrics also come in 30", 90", 120" widths. 30" being a lot less common than it used to be and the larger ones are for upholstry & quilting.

Keep asking questions! Smiley
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2008 10:05:04 PM »

Hey thanks for the info.  Now to see if I can put something together Smiley

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