Archive for the ‘Techniques’ Category

Book Covers

When my younger daughter was at college, she used to cover her textbooks to protect them, and she gradually perfected a method that produces a strong, long-lasting, wonderful-to-the-touch book cover. She covered one of my cookbooks, and I was so impressed that I asked her to show me how to do it.  I took pictures of her while she was making one of the book covers so that I could remember what she did.  She used wrapping paper, index cards, and contact paper.Glue on the backs of corner reinforcementsShe makes corner reinforcements out of the index cards to keep the edges from wearing.

I found a copy of McCall’s Dressmaking Made Easy at the craft thrift store, and it was in great shape except for the cover.  Sometimes publications from the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s have covers that are dyed red, and it can rub off on surfaces now that the dye has aged.  I like to cover these books or pamphlets so I can still use them without my hands turning red.  I decided to give the book cover instructions a try myself, following her directions carefully.  It is fun to use colorful wrapping papers for the book covers.  Here is the result of my first effort:DSC00927

DSC00928I’ve never been as successful using contact paper, but this project taught me to use a credit card to smooth it out when applying it to the wrapping paper.  I made the title labels with Word and cut them out with deckle scissors.  They are held down temporarily with a glue stick glue and then the contact paper holds them in place.

The sewing project in the works right now is a handbag for my MIL.  She lives by a small shopping center, and needs a nice small purse that she can carry when walking over to the shops.  Her regular handbag is large and heavy and doesn’t have a shoulder strap.  I’ve got it all cut out and am ready to start sewing tomorrow.


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Freezer Paper

Right now there is another UFO blouse on the machine. I’m going to be seeing my sister in a week or two so want to finish up at least one more blouse to give to her.  The blouse is cut out of the purple fabric shown on the right:


I like to get the collar unit out of the way first, then it is front bands, shoulder seams, sleeves, side seams, collar and hem. Then buttons and buttonholes. I’ve never been very good at sewing around small curves, and when I try to do a curved collar or collar stand without any help, one side looks very different from the other, probably because you sew from the bottom up on one side and from the top down on the other. Anyway, after I made a botch of one collar and saved the day by crocheting two lace motifs to hide the mismatched collar curves, I looked for some kind of template to make the sewing easier.

DSC00911Crocheted motifs to hide uneven collar points


This is the freezer paper I use

Freezer paper is a great tool for things like this because you can iron it onto the fabric and it will stick. Quilters use it for a lot of things like applique which is where I first heard of it. I used to use it for stencils when I was into painting t-shirts for my little girls, and baby bibs. I traced the collar pattern and removed the seam allowances, then I realized that I didn’t really need the whole collar, just the end sections.


Freezer paper ironed to collar piece


Hand basting the seam allowance on the under collar

All you have to do for nice even curves is to sew along the edge of the template.  For this kind of collar which is really a collar and stand combined into one pattern piece, it is helpful to reduce the stitch length in the ‘V-shaped’ section where the curve of the stand meets the bottom of the collar.

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I am using cotton-covered polyester thread to sew the shirts, and the buttonholes in this thread were not the best.  The stitching on the right-hand side of the buttonhole was a lot looser than the left side and sometimes the center space was way too small.


When I looked at a commercially-made shirt, it looked like they were using a much thinner thread.  I decided to try some Maxi-Lock thread in both the bobbin and top threading but using the same needle and buttonhole foot.  Here’s the buttonhole produced:


Much better!

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