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Monday, January 24, 2011

A New Webpage is Live at

Topstitched or top stitched...whatever floats your boat!
This next webpage explains how to shorten a hem that's been stitched on other words, it shows, on purpose.

The best example of this is the hem on khakis. Check your closet. I bet you've got plenty of these casual slacks.

This particular page has an added twist. The alteration is really quick because I don't have to rip out the old stitching. I also use no pins here.

So check it out. Let me know what you think. Top Stitched Hem Instructions

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are Your Jacket Pockets Flipping Open?

Sometimes when you buy a suit or ladies dress slacks the pockets are sewn shut. Why, you ask? Well the manufacturer wants to be sure the garment retains its shape, even on the sales rack. You can remove the stitching after purchase, if you want. Some ladies, however, chose to keep the pockets closed in order to keep their slacks smooth and attractive. It's really a matter of choice. In this case, however, the gentleman had a suede coat. The pockets had stretched out of shape and became unattractive. He wanted them sewn shut.

Unfortunately, I do not have a before picture. Here you see the finished product at a distance. Some pressing was needed in order to steam the pocket into shape. This type of pocket, by the way, is called a "welt pocket"

Choosing a matching color thread makes all the difference.. The stitches are visible here, in a close up photo, but you cannot see them from a distance. I left enough gap to give a natural look and a little movement to the fabric. Stitching too tightly would look awkward and pull the fabric ends too close. All in all an easy alteration that requires just a bit of attention to detail. Then again, don't they all?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fitting Tips for a Successful Alteration

I've fit a lot of clients over the years and I've had very few returned garments. One of the reasons for that is that I insist that they bring or wear the undergarments and shoes they'll be wearing the day of the event. For jeans or other pants hem, of course, this just means shoes.
Bridal and formal gowns are a different matter.
Anything the girl wears underneath that dress is going to affect its fit. Regular undergarments have an impact on the fit, and specialty shaper garments make a bigggg difference.

Men should wear a belt and have their shirt tucked in when being fitted for dress pants.

When fitting, have your client relax. They will not be standing at attention while wearing this garment, unless you are fitting someone for a military uniform! Talking small talk will usually put a client at ease. Just be sure they are not looking down at you in order to continue the conversation. Obviously this will affect the hem.

Their arms should rest comfortably at their sides and they should look forward, casually. If you are marking the hem on a formal and you need the client to rotate a little, wait until they get situated before you resume pinning. Use lots of pins. They will be your roadmap when the garment goes into your sewing room.

One more thing, ALWAYS ask if the client is "doing ok". Standing still for long periods does a number on the blood flow, especially if the client has their knees locked. Try to avoid having your customer pass out on the floor. It's just so messy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is a Waist Stay?

Well I'm happy to be back blogging again. I've taken on some new responsibilities, so finding the time to write has been a challenge, but it's a new year! I will be blogging a lot more often, though maybe with fewer photos, since that takes up the bulk of the writing time. If you have an idea you'd like me to write about, just leave a comment, or fill out the form labeled "Contact Me" on the left. You can also leave me a Facebook comment.

fraying bra strap

Very often, strapless wedding gowns have a waist stay as part of the corset. It is engineered to hold up the dress, so the weight of the fabric doesn't hang from the neckline. The strapless bridesmaid dress pictured here has a waist stay also. It is the grograin ribbon that is attached at the bottom of the bodice lining.

fraying bra strap

You can see the ends of the ribbon here. It is adjustable so you can make it comfortable. It holds the weight of the dress, so the bodice area is more free to be supported by your undergarments. In other words, the bra is holding up your body, while the waist stay is holding up the dress.

Sew new strap to front

Here you see how it fastens. When you have the dress on, hook the waist stay first, then zip the dress. Don't neglect this little step. It will keep everything where it needs to be while giving a nice shape to your figure. You won't be pulling your dress up at the armpits all day either!