Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Nifty Tip

I've designated this "Shirt Week" here - I cleared my schedule so that I could slowly and meticulously sew Hubby's first Real Business Shirt.  (I promise not to write on this one!)  I chose a very fine, soft 100% cotton shirting - in white, because he needs a new white shirt.  But it's stressing me out!  You wouldn't believe how many times I've washed my hands while sewing this thing!  And of course I pricked my right index finger with a pin, so now I've got a band-aid on there to avoid getting blood stains on the shirt.  Yeesh!

Here's a sneaky peek at the pocket I did yesterday:


Anyway, I've spent the last couple hours putting together the collar.  (Yes, I'm slow, and making myself go even slower on this one.  Plus, there was some assorted guacamole and gingerbread cookie eating going on.  Not at the same time though.)

As I was edgestitching the collar, I was using a new tip I learned a couple weeks ago from Threads magazine - I've been using it since I read about it and it works so well, I wanted to share it with you guys.

You know how when you're edgestitching and you get to a corner, and then you pivot and start to go down the next side, but sometimes your fabric won't feed forward and the stitches get all bunched up?  Well, I learned that it's because the presser foot isn't level, like this:


See how it's angled down at the back?  This keeps the feed dogs from pushing the fabric through, and that's why the stitches get all bunched up.  The solution is super simple - just place a piece of scrap fabric under the presser foot right behind your work, like this:


Your presser foot is level and you can keep on going with no bunching!  This has worked for me every single time.  And it's one of those things that's so simple and makes so much sense, I'm wondering why I didn't think of it myself!

Did you guys know about this?  Am I late to the party again?

35 comments:

  1. #foreheadslap
    Why didn't I think of that either?
    The shirt is looking great, btw.

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    1. I had the same reaction!

      Thank you - I was so proud of my pocket I texted it to Hubby :-)

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  2. Oh I've never thought about it with corners, but I always do that across bulky seams! What I've started to do with corners is ahead of time I thread through a piece of thread in the tip, and then use it to pull the fabric after I pivot. But I'm going to try this idea instead next time, it's probably more accurate!

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    1. This is so quick and simple - I just keep a little scrap of the fabric I'm using next to my machine throughout the project now.

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    2. By the way, in sharing on the "suddenly it clicked" moments: it dawned on me that what you described with the un-level presser foot was the same reason I always have problems when starting a thick seam that's at the edge (like two edges of, say, my jacket cuffs). I inserted my little folded thing I use to go up and over bulky seams further into a project (actually my aunt's business card, lol) and genius-- no feed dogs munching and bunching my fabric at the beginning. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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  3. Brilliant tip, I would never have thought of it so thanks very much!

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    1. Thanks! I wasn't sure about posting it, so I'm glad it's helping some people!

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  4. This is brilliant! Thanks for passing along that super useful tip.

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    1. I love that tips section in the Threads magazine. I think it's my favorite feature!

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  5. brilliant! oh i always have this problem! those white dress shirts hide no sins when it comes to less than perfect topstitching and edgestitching... looks good so far!

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    1. I realized that after the fact! I thought, "White with white thread - that will hide any mistakes!" Uh . . . Not!! Still, his store-bought shirts aren't perfect either. I guess nothing made by humans is ;-)

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  6. Your pocket looks darn good, Gail

    Great tip !

    Hugs

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  7. I just learned this technique but in a different context. I'm working my way through the Craftsy course "Tailoring RTW" with Angela Wolf (fantastic course, BTW), and she showed how to get across bulky jean seams (after hammering, another great tip) by using an old belt loop to level the presser foot. The issue on jeans is not that the stitches bunch up, but that you'll get skipped stitches if the foot isn't level. I'm not big on collared shirts so I didn't know about the issue there. Now I'm ready if I need to make one for someone else!

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    1. See? Another application! I don't do jeans so I didn't know about that!

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  8. Wow, your pocket is beautiful. I remember working on wedding gowns and OMG the panic when I would get a spot on a piece. I quickly learned how to get out all kinds of spots.

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    1. Thank you! I might have to pick your brain about the spots!

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  9. Oh you darling smartie pants, thank you for sharing! So obvious and simple, yet for years I've had this problem!

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    1. Me too! I would try to push the fabric through with my hands. Of course that never worked!

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  10. Thanks for the tip. I'll be storing that away for future reference :) Your shirt is looking so NEAT and amazing.

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    1. Thank you - I've been ironing and re-ironing it, LOL! I love how crisp this fabric gets!

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  11. What a useful tip! I'll definitely be using that one, that happens to me all the time.

    The pocket you've shown is so neat. I can't wait to see the finished shirt.

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    1. Glad it is useful! And thanks - I was so proud of my pocket!

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  12. Well, that makes sense! Thanks for the tip :) You're shirt's looking great, but ugh, I hear you about the stress of sewing white fabric. I always wonder how people sewing wedding dresses manage!

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    1. Yes - I thought my biggest worry would be lack of a pretty color or print to look at, but boy was I wrong!!

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  13. Excellent tip, thank you! And I try to avoid using this word, but that pocket looks *perfect.* :-)

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    1. The pocket is indeed perfect. The edgestitching on the collar stand, on the other hand - not so much! Thank goodness there will be a tie covering it!

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  14. I'm fascinated with your husband's shirt! When I was in high school a LONG time ago, my best friend's boyfriend asked for a custom-tailored shirt from "Sir Charles" (locally famous tailor). This was in the 1980's and said shirt was about $165.

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    1. That's about what this shirt is costing me, if you factor in all the tools/books I've purchased to do it. But subsequent shirts will be much less expensive!

      We did receive a flyer in the mail the other day: 12 custom-made shirts for $600. Pretty tempting!

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  15. Man! What a great tip! I'll definitely be using that! The pocket looks great, btw!

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  16. I like how that tip is simple

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    1. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to come up with, right?

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