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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewing what I don't want to on: January 21, 2008 07:25:57 AM
How about making all the bindings and bands in a contrasting colour (I like black!), and adding contrasting cuffs, collars etc?  I guess this would only work if you can match the quality, and that could get expensive, though.

2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Good cloth for a potter's apron? on: January 21, 2008 07:23:31 AM
How about the wipe-clean cloth you get for kitchen-tablecloths and kids' aprons?

Remembering the mess I got into doing pottery, maybe a wetsuit would be more appropriate?  And a plastic shower cap!

3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Can I get help recreating this dress :) on: January 21, 2008 07:19:58 AM
The problem is that a lot of cheap lace (on a nylon net ground) hangs like a feed-sack, and the slightly better, lingerie, stuff has no body at all!  That overdress is neither stiff nor completely clingy - you could use a cheaper lace, but it'd have a totally different effect: imagine the same dress made up in poly-cotton sheet and in fine jersey - it'd not look anything like an original in silk satin!  You might still get a silhouette you liked, though.

4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Help with altering on: January 21, 2008 07:15:26 AM
Altering suits and jackets is a pest.  To do a good job, you need to take the lining out and reduce both it and the outer layer the same amount, then put them back together.  Small alterations on the sides and centre back are easy, and altering princess shaping (or adding darts) isn't too bad so long as you can avoid messing with the arm-scye, but anything that involves changing the sleeve head or the arm-scye is not funTM - it's too easy to accidentally end up unable to raise your arm!  Trying to move button-facings or collars is a major undertaking, too, so shortening the shoulder seam (for example) has you coming and going.

All that said, if they are nice suits it probably is worth the hassle, and once you've managed it it'll be very satisfying.  Just be willing to put the whole lot in the sin bin for a few hours if it starts to get too stressful!
5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Handsewing? on: January 21, 2008 06:52:59 AM
Backstitch and running stitch can both look perfectly neat.  The trick (as you seem to have already worked out) is to slow down a bit and be careful!  If you find your line is wobbling, get some tailor's chalk and mark a line to sew along.  You'll probably find it easier if you tack or pin it all in place first - you can get your seam allowances accurate before you need to worry about stitch placement.  Getting the stitches all the same length is just a matter of practice.

6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Boning For a Corset?? on: January 21, 2008 06:40:19 AM

has a pretty good outline of the options available (although I don't agree with some of their details - this may be down to US and UK differences).

Personally, I like the fine, plastic triple-fold stuff that replicates whalebone (and it is pretty close in its properties - I have a coil of antique whalebone I was given by someone attic-clearing).  You have to sew accurate channels for it, but it is a lot more robust than the sorts of plastic boning you can sew through (I made a corset-top with it that had 5" of waist compression before I decided I couldn't fit into it any more).

If you go with metal, go with the spiral steels.  They have some flexibility sideways as well as front to back, so you have a lot more movement in the corset.

For either sort, you generally want the channel to be straight (you can get away with a curve for spiral steels, but that then reduces the flexibility of the corset again).

Find a good pattern, make a muslin and get someone to fit it on your body.  Be careful in the fitting - my first corset has a blood stain on the inside where my mother let go of a pin at the wrong moment and it went half an inch into my side!

7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: How should I end/tie off a handsewn slipstitch? on: January 21, 2008 06:19:48 AM
Um.  Whether I use backstitch or running stitch for a seam depends on what I'm doing and how strong it needs to be: backstitch is less likely to gather, but slower to work.

To fasten off the ends, I make the stitches on top of each other, through the same holes.  Basically like backstitch, but with the top and bottom the same length.

I don't like knots for several reasons: it's hard to get the tension right, they can pop through to the right side, and (if you cut the tails short) they can roll over and slide off the end of the thread if the seam is tugged.

8  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: help with comercial top on: January 11, 2008 08:41:03 AM
If you want to spin from the top (worsted-style, or from the fold), try taking hold of the top, with your hands about a foot apart (or less for a short staple), and just giving it a good shake.  Keep doing this along the length of the top, and it should start to loosen up (assuming it is just squashed and not felted).

9  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: cashmere ?'s on: January 11, 2008 08:37:28 AM
It's expensive compared to wool because you get a lot less per goat!  You get a few ounces from each goat, because you only use part of the coat.  (You know how a lot of animals have a lot of coarse hairs to shed water, and then a fine down underneath them to trap air?  Cashmere is that down from goats.)  In contrast, you get kilos of fleece per sheep per shearing, and most of that will be usable from most modern breeds (Icelandic and a few other northern breeds have the same double coat as goats).  $150/oz is taking the mick, though (unless it's something really special!) - I know I can get white superfine here in the UK for 13/100g, and coloured and lower grades are cheaper.

10  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: more questions from me lol on: January 11, 2008 08:29:20 AM
The yarns are most likely already plied, but there's no reason you can't cable them!  Try spinning them individually, adding more twist in the direction they're already plied, then ply them again in the opposite direction.  Experiment with smallish lengths - the yarns being different weights may affect what happens (I've only tried it cabling the same yarn on itself).  You may want to try other plying - the thing where you have a thicker single spiralling around a thinner might work nicely (although it might detract from the alpaca).

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