Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sewing Class Review - The Technique of Underlining Garments

Time for more learning. I have done several of Sarah Veblen's Pattern Review classes and I believe my sewing has markedly improved. This class has been on my wish list for a while now, so I enrolled as soon as it became available. This is another class which has a kit. This time it includes 2 hand sewing needles and some lovely Japanese silk basting thread, and small scale patterns to make a little skirt from wool underlined with silk organza, and a blouse from silk charmeuse underlined with silk georgette.

The class is delivered by pdf lessons, 2 class chats with Sarah Veblen, and the class message board. There are no video lessons with this class. As usual, Sarah's notes are clear and well written, with plenty of information including pictures. There is a lot of information on fabrics - how to choose an appropriate underlining fabric for your fashion fabric with lots of combinations she herself regularly uses. She also discusses preparing the fabrics (pre-shrinking etc) and garment care.

If you've done any of her classes, you'll know that Sarah is very meticulous and methodical. She talks about the "process" of making a garment, and looking at it that way had helped me be less impatient and to spend the time to be accurate and get the best results I can, rather than cutting corners and omitting steps.

I made the effort to make both sample projects in this class. I haven't worked with these fabrics in real garments (I did make the wool bodice in the interfacings class) so I was learning how these fabrics behave as well as about underlining.

The wool skirt underlined with silk organza was the best one to begin with. These fabrics are much easier to control, both on their own and together. Her tip in the construction instructions to baste around the dart sections made sewing the darts a dream. They came together beautifully, and the silk thread just slips out when you're done (unless you, ahem, catch a little bit in the dart - which I did when sewing the bodice). I even installed a zipper. My zipper technique is rather dodgy, so I need to practise, and this was a good opportunity because the result really didn't matter.

I created a facing pattern from the skirt pattern and interfaced it. As you can see, I didn't bother to finish the edges on this garment. I didn't do it for the silks, either, and they frayed quite a bit - info to store for when I make a "real" garment.  The hem is done by hand with a catch stitch. I love my blind hemming foot, but I've got to admit, a catch stitch onto the underlining fabric only gives a very nice clean look on the fashion side.

I think Bella looks quite fetching in her new skirt!

The blouse was much tricker to make. These silks are much less obedient! Both silks easily moved out of shape, the georgette most of all. It was a challenge lining them up and pinning to baste, and even basting took longer. Because the fabrics are so light and fluid, my basting stitches were not as even.

Sewing the darts was a learning experience too - slippery fabric!  The trickiest part was setting in the underlined sleeves. I got a few puckers on the fashion side which weren't in the underlining fabric. Sarah suggested I do an extra basting line in the other side of the seam line next time to stabilize that area - like basting around the darts.
I decided to take the opportunity to practise sewing bias binding on the jewel neckline. My stitching in the ditch is rather wobbly. My edge foot tends to dig in to the fabric and get caught, so I just eyeball it with the regular foot. I'm getting better at this, unless, like this time, I get impatient to finish and speed up!

Bella is quite pleased with her silk blouse. 

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