Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Sewing With Rosebud in Novi, MI
Rosebud, a veteran of production sewing, is an educator for Islander Sewing Systems. Our garment was the Islander "City Western Blouse," which we had to have cut, marked, and interfaced before we arrived in Novi. When I prepped my garment pieces, I noted we would be abandoning the usual 5/8" seam allowance that is the standard in typical home sewing patterns. For this project, many of our seam allowances were 3/8", others were even 1/4", and only the side seams (which were flat-felled) were 5/8'. There's no trimming and grading seams in a shop, of course, and no hot pressing or steaming anything.
Oh yeah, no pins, either, of course. Many of our practices in our sewing rooms at home just slow down a production sewist, or "operator." Think of it as the difference between someone who wrenches on his own vehicle at home, and someone who puts cars together in a factory. The process is so different, and so are the results, not to mention the motivations.
"Thumb on the bottom, fingers on top," Rosebud reminded us frequently. If there's anything an average home sewer can incorporate into her habits, it's that. Keeping your hands in this position as the machine grabs the work and pulls it in is one of the hallmarks of faster sewing, and it saves you from getting all kinds of hand problems and pains. Here's how: Hold the work just like the photo above. Sew until your fingers get close to the presser foot and you can't see what you're doing. Stop sewing for a second and re-grasp and reposition the work, and repeat the process until you've completed the seam. This is really different from putting in pieces that are pinned together and sort of "feeding" the machine with fabric — which is certainly my own tendency.