You know the routine – you didn’t allow enough time to finish your dress and now you’re having to cut corners to get it even *wearable.*
I’ve been there. Early on in my costume sewing. Not so bad that I had to be sewn into my dress, but still pushing the clock til it was bruised. I have, however, sewn friends into their bodices. Not something I like or want to repeat.
So I began to notice little areas I could… shall we say… cheat a little in my projects.
I mean, I’m a modern 21st Century girl with a full-time office job, a husband and two furry, attention-deprived (apparently) kitties. Oh, and a house to maintain, extended family to spend time with, a blog to write…. you get the picture. I’m sure you’ve got a long list of responsibilities too.
So while I was balancing all my twirling plates I’d find ways to make my sewing MOVE faster. It’s so annoying to spend an entire Saturday afternoon on pattern alterations only to fall into bed that night cursing the heavens for the speedy passage of time and your inability to get things done quickly.
I have to warn you here, especially if you are a hard core/purist/authentic sewer. I cheat. I use modern methods for my period garments. 99% of them.
In no particular order…
*I serge. Everywhere. Nearly all my seam allowances are covered with those fancy loopy stitches from my Viking 936. I flatline this way. On some edges though, I’ll have to machine baste, like on necklines and hems that will be enclosed in bias. The last thing I serge on my bodices are the armhole seam allowances.
*I use modern interfacing in belts, collars, cuffs and along the back buttonhole openings on Regency gowns. I don’t do this all the time. But when the stash of organdy has run out, well, my hat box full of fusible interfacings will produce something that will work.
*The Assembly Line. Yes, it really does work, and fast!
*The closets full of historical clothing would not be possible without skirt hooks & bars. I should buy stock in Dritz. 56% of my openings are closed with skirt hooks. The other portion with buttons and (machine-made) buttonholes with 7% regular hooks & eyes or thread loops. (75% of statistics are made up on the spot but not my use of these fabulous little notions.)
*Rotary cutters were made for making bias for piping and finishing. I seriously don’t know how the Victorians lived without them.
*Petticoat ruffles only take 27 hours now and not the grueling 68 it used to take with the new Ruffler foot! Get it today to speedily set on miles of gorgeous, flittering waves of cotton. My eyes were opened with this. No more two basting stitches, sewing over dental floss or the like. Although on a side note, I still do prefer the look of regular two thread gathering and use it often. Just not on petticoat ruffles that no one sees.
*I use Stitch Witchery, Fray-Check and Fabri-Tac glue.
*Washable fabrics get pre-treated in a washing machine and dryer.
*I apply my boning in its casing to the bodice by machine. (The only part I hand whip is on the dart points.)
*And I use a Sharpie to write sizes on the ends of bones and rows of cut hoop wire.
Of course other modern methods pop up as I’m going along as they usually do. I’m a rogue.
Now that you know some of my 21st C. secrets, please share yours. I know you have them too. 🙂