Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Sewing School Scoop - Volume 4

Hi again! I've got a few more Sewing School Scoops for you before school HOLIDAYS (a lot of the Sewing Teachers will be in France and out of Shanghai for the summer, so we'll take a break! SAD)! If you're new to my blog (thanks for reading), I've been sewing for a while, blogging for a while but have only *just* started learning about sewing & the techniques at a wonderful sewing school here in Shanghai. My teachers are French expat women, and run through Couture Nomad, where Teacher Catherine has created her own patterns for us to sew through the ateliers/workshops. In my class there are two Spanish speaking women, and the rest French... and myself - little old Australian/English speaking me - so you can imagine the chitter chatter going! MOSTLY in French, but I get lots of translated jokes handed down so it's just the best learning to sew... in Shanghai... and trying to understand French & Spanish at the same time!

For my scoop this week, here are a bunch of my observations... but mostly my most recent "WTF Amazing" moments in learning about sewing:

1. Tracing patterns is still a new concept for me, and it's not straightforward for me yet, and as you can see I'm getting the hang of the lingo of naming pattern pieces, transfer markings and then... adding or including seam allowance. What I really like in tracing patterns, is you can do inbetween sizes, for these Yokohama trousers (for children, in the Couture Nomad pattern collection) are size 2 or size 4... and my boy is kinda 3 year old sizing right now... so hey! Make your own inbetween size!

2. You can spot a quilter/pattern maker from a mile away! Look at Teacher Muriel's pocket pattern piece: It's a lovely puffed out but folded pocket that's perfect for a little boy to put his cars in... and totally ON the grid...

3. Lots of patterns have different seam allowances, right?! The Couture Nomad ones have 1 cm, which makes things really neat (we sew on Singer machines in the studio) and oftentimes you have less bulk... I did ask why they use 1cm instead of 1.5cm or the 5/8 vintage seam allowance BUT I have forgotten the answer... next time!

4. I'm not sure if I'm a person who traces INCLUDING the seam allowance or a person who ADDS it later while pinning/placing the pattern piece and then drawing with chalk around the pattern. Can I do both? I'm not sure yet, as it probably pays to be consistent with your preference... the last skirt I made in class I remembered the seam allowance, so included it on my traced pattern... but forgot it again when doing the waistbands... grrr... luckily, I remembered just before cutting!

5. I'm getting very good at topstitching! The trick is... sew slowly! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT. It's not perfect, but I can definitely see an improvement... I would sometimes just omit the topstitch to save time, but how darling does the purple look with the fabric? I grabbed the purple thread, because I honestly thought there was purple through the fabric... but maybe it was the red/blue combined that gave me that impression!? WEIRD

6. I am also choosing weird fabric because I have SO much choice at the fabric market. Lately, there's a radar in my brain seeking out fabric I've never sewn with before or SEEN before (there's a weird one coming up, EEP!!!) and maybe I'm a little overstimulated by it all... but 3D glasses and moustaches are fine for 2 year olds right! This cotton is a little starchy and stiff, so better for trousers, rather than the dress I had planned to make (some sort of 50s frock, I had thought) ...

7. When Teacher Muriel says to transfer all the lines and marking from her pattern piece, you DO IT! Then you get to use that awesome marking paper (pink this time) and the tracing wheel.... WAHOO.

8. Also, Teacher Muriel also showed me a common way to mark fabric, the right and wrong side. The top 'glasses' are the wrong way... often you can just mark the wrong, and she said you can remember by 'looking' at the wrong way with the glasses.

And speaking of glasses, here's the front piece of my little Yokohama trousers, the straps tie at the back...

9. And lastly, I am becoming quite neat (when I'm at sewing school... at home I have to straighten up a bit!) at sewing! Look how clean and lovely my work is?! I try and snip the thread ends as I go instead of have a big clump at the end ... and keep my patterns all lovely and flat until it's time to sew again in class. What a big sewing nerd I'm becoming!

How is your sewing week? Are you finding some short cuts (please share!) or some amazing more time consuming techniques in your craft? (please share them too!)


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