Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thinking In Leather

If you were to check, you'd find an open toed embroidery foot on my machine. When I was creating textile art, I got used to seeing what was going on and when I started sewing fashions again, I continued using that foot. I've heard it doesn't work for regular fashions, that it doesn't give even enough pressure to the pre-stitched seam and will create issues. LOL - I haven't found that to be true. My clothes look pretty good.




Yesterday - just because I have it - I tried this foot whose proper name escapes me but whose purpose is to help you evenly topstitch each side of the seam line by following along nicely in the groove. However - reality is - the stitching will following wherever you guide the foot and if you don't guide it nicely through the groove, the stitching will follow your not so nicely line. Like all tools, it takes practice BUT...

... I didn't like it. My top stitching skills were developed using a combination of the edge of the (open toed) presser foot and adjusting the needle. I can see and I get better results. I'm happy with that. I don't feel a need to change. It reminded me of when Bernina came out with the built in stitch regulator for free motion quilting. The ladies at the machine shop were so excited to have me try it. And I did. And I saved myself five grand. I'd just spent twenty-five years building up those skills. I didn't need - or want - a machine to take over for me.




Developing new skills is important and so is picking and choosing what skills to develop. Right now, I'm working on sewing and thinking in leather. When I got to inserting the sleeve on Simplicity 2526, I thought I had a major problem, that there was too much ease that I wouldn't be able to tame so I tried Burda 9792 hoping for a flatter sleeve cap.




This pattern has very simple shapes that will be easy to work with in leather. The side seams are mostly straight as is the hemline and there is a facing that can be redrafted into a lining. The longer shirt sleeve has a cuff. My prototype is with a light-weight denim - like a shirt - but for the leather jacket, I'd lengthen the main sleeve pattern and eliminate the cuff.




What intrigued me was the sizing chart for the finished chest. There's very little difference between sizes widthwise and significant differences lengthwise. That's good news in relation to the zipper front I want to use because a 14" zipper is too short and a 16" zipper is too long and there isn't a 15" zipper in town and I am not shortening a metal zipper that's beautifully finished with a lovely zipper tab.... and I don't need to... because I can make the jacket ever so slightly longer and it won't be a problem since children tend to grow up more than out and my grandson is most likely going to be tall like his Dad. All good.




The jacket on top is the Ottobre version cut in a size 92 which on another chart was a size 3 but on the Burda chart is a size 2. The jacket on the bottom is Simplicity 2526 cut in a size 3. One thing that I've read over and over on sewing blogs is that the sizing of the big four children's patterns is way out of whack and European patterns are far superior. That's not what I found.

The bottom Simplicity jacket has 3/8" seams at the neckline and 5/8" seams elsewhere, a 1 1/4" hem allowance, and a cut on facing at center front. The upper Ottobre jacket has 3/8" seams, a hem band front and back that is laying at the back, a cuff on the sleeve that is represented by the paper pattern, and a zippered opening with a 3/8" seam allowance. There's more flare to the Simplicity design however, that is due to styling not sizing. Otherwise, these are very similar in size.




Months back when I placed an order with Silhouette Patterns, I received a free copy of this video - Leather is for Every Body. At the time, I thought not likely, when would I ever be sewing with leather. Well... times change... and last night I pulled it out to watch. The information wasn't extensive but it was what I needed to go forward.

I learned that leather has no grain so I can place my pieces on the leather in whatever way works and I learned that leather can be pinned and pressed which most of the other information I've read says not BUT... I watched Peggy pin and press and it was fine and this is good because I really like pinning and pressing.

I also learned that there's a difference between apparel leather and other kinds. Good to know. Since I'm cutting up an old coat, I'm assuming what I'm using is apparel leather. I learned that I should just sew the garment as per the instructions but I might want to glue the hem. I'm going to visit the leather shop today and see how many hems are glued versus stitched and decide from there. This is for a little boy.

AND... I learned that - just as with any other jacket - the sleeve cap can be eased using tie interfacing. I don't have any tie interfacing and I've now picked a pattern that I think can be eased in well without it but... good to know and I may need some if I'm bitten by the leather sewing bug. I did see some purple apparel leather on-line recently that I thought was FABULOUS. I was thinking purse but now I'm thinking purple leather coat for Myrna. You never know - LOL.

In terms off returning to teaching, I am working on my goals and action plan. Yesterday, I wrote an About Myrna page as a first step.There's a link in the upper sidebar. If you have the time (and interest) to read it, I'd love feedback. Is it too much information, not enough, too boring, too braggy, comes across as fun loving, makes you think I'm someone you'd like to know better or makes you want to run the other way? What should I delete? What could I add? THANKS.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - learning new skills

19 comments:

  1. I love sewing with leather. It isn't so hard, but intimidating. I am sure he will love it. What a novel idea to repurpose an old coat!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement. It doesn't look that hard in Peggy's video. It looks just like "normal" sewing except when she talks about the price of the different leather pieces. OH MY GOSH - not in my ballpark. I'm sure I'd be a lot more intimidated if I'd paid a fortune but repurposing is a good first step.

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  2. I think you'd do well to remove any mention of nerves or outdated contacts. You have decided to return to teaching...voila.

    Purple leather coats rule. And leather scraps work great for jewelry. :-)

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    1. Thank you. Done.

      I was thinking about your comment while I was out running errands this morning and I can totally see using little bits of leather in jewelry. My mind is racing with all sorts of ideas. LOVE that feeling.

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  3. Hello, Just found your website a week ago and have enjoyed reading it. Just an FYI, Bernina foot #5 is a blindstitch foot used to sew blind hems. Bernina foot #10 is the edgestitch foot. They look a lot alike but have different jobs.

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    1. LOL - an interesting time to find me at. I'm glad you're enjoying so far. We can tell that I don't do blind hems either. Might have to figure that out just to see how it works but so far blind hems haven't been necessary on my style of clothing. I checked and I don't have a #10 foot and I guess I'll just stick with the open toed embroidery foot since it works. Thanks for the info.

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    2. The #5 can be used for both purposes--I use mine for edgestitching more than blind-stitching. It does take some practice and concentration, but it's great for stitching closer to an edge than needle-adustmentment alone comfortably allows.I haven't tried the #10 but at the price of Bernina feet, I'll stick with what I've got. :-)

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    3. LOL - at least I used it somewhat correctly. I'm a few tools that really work kind of girl not a all kinds of gadgets one. As you said - good thing with those prices.

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  4. Actually...I could see you wearing a purple leather motorcycle jacket...you could make it up using the Kwik Sew pattern that Margy and Shams used to make their's recently (and that I bought over the weekend for me!) :-)

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    1. I can see me wearing a purple leather jacket but probably not a motorcycle style. I prefer much cleaner lines although I like all the seaming for shape and detail - like the fabulous seaming through the back of Kwik Sew 3827 although I'd want it longer, down to the hips and a different collar. Something to think about. Smaller pieces are helpful with the leather... from what I've learned... with my limited exposure... LOL.

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  5. I obtained some tie interfacing by buying some ties at the thrift store and taking them apart. I used the silk for a crazy quilt and the interfacing for a tie for my son. Just an idea.Thrift store ties are often new and very nice for all kinds of recycling.

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    1. My friend Patti recycles ties. I'll ask her if she has some of the interfacing otherwise I'll check for second hand to finish this project and then order some if I think I'll use it more. Fabulous that you were able to use both pieces. I really enjoy recycling. I think it has wonderful built in challenges and a huge sense of accomplishment.

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  6. Hi Myrna, I read through your bio and have a couple of ideas, but I want to let them percolate, just to make sure I'm sure...

    The great thing about a blog, though, is that you can edit at will. As you say, your publisher will accept your deadlines, which means that it will accept any and all author changes! ;)

    I have never sewn leather. And re: moto jackets, I'm with you on styling--I like clean, clear lines. (In fact, a style blogger I sometimes look at--Bourbon & Pearls--challenged readers to come up with 5 words to describe their personal style. Clean and clear were 2 of the words that immediately came to mind! (I yam who I yam, apparently..)

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    1. I'll look forward to the feedback. Much appreciated. Yes, blogging has that wonderful ability to both publish and edit.

      I love the five words assignment. What fun. Hmm.... clean lines, texture, color, curves... have to think about that some more. Did you make a longer list and then edit or did you know right away?

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    2. 4 of the 5 words popped into my mind right away. The 5th took a little longer...but interestingly enough, in some ways, it sums up the other 4!

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  7. When I sewed with leather last year, I put the pattern pieces on using the grain as the bias of the lambskin had some stretch. I used a Teflon foot to sew the leather, a regular needle, and a long stitch. I was able to gather the sleeve heads into the armhole.
    I am making a leather jacket for a client next and it is my last project. I am not as worried about sewing leather as I was last year and have done a muslin already for the client.

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    1. Ann you keep saying that you're quitting but we never hear that you actually have. I hope this is it and you get on to Ann things.

      I've finished the "muslin" and I'm ready to draft the final pieces. Should be fun.

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  8. Interesting point about what foot you use on your sewing machine and how you taken the time to learn the proper technique, so why have a machine do it. I feel the same way about quite a few techniques that there is some handy & expensive machine do to the same task now. Glad to know I'm in good company!

    The jacket will be awesome!

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    1. I'm finished the prototypes and ready to draft the actual jacket now. My daughter says she's lost track of the samples and that's okay. I've got it - I think - figured out. Should be really fun.

      In all kinds of areas of life - the kitchen, beauty supplies, technology - I'm a keep it simple kind of person. If I have a system that works, I don't particularly see a need to change it without a compelling reason and compelling to me is rarely more expensive or cluttered or complicated in any way. Typically, it's about results. Thanks for keeping me company.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.