Guide to sewing

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Female Figure Size Chart

To choose the right size pattern, take your measurements as directed on page 35. Then determine your figure type using the descriptions on the opposite page. Find your figure type on the chart below. Locate the column of numbers that most closely matches your measurements. Choose dress, blouse, and suit patterns by bust size; pants and skirt patterns by hip size.

Female Figure Types for sewing pattern

Young Junior Teen About 5'1" to 5'3" (1.55 to 1.60 m) tall. Developing teen or
preteen figure, with small, high bust. Waistline is larger in proportion to

Junior Petite About 5' to 5'1" (1.53 to 1.55 m) tall. Well-developed, shorter figure, with smaller body build and shorter back waist length than a Junior.

Junior About 5'4" to 5'5" (1.63 to 1.65 m) tall. Well-developed figure, slightly shorter in height and back waist length than a Miss.

Miss Petite About 5'2" to 5'4" (1.57 to 1.63 m) tall. Well-developed and well-proportioned shorter figure, with a shorter back waist length and slightly larter waist than a Miss.

Miss About 5'5" to 5'6" (1.65 to 1.68 m) tall. Well-developed and well-proportioned in all areas. Considered the average figure.

Half-size About 5'2" to 5'3" (1.57 to 1.60 m) tall. Fully-developed but shorter than the Miss. Shoulders are narrower than a Miss Petite. Waist is larger in proportion to bust than a Woman.

Woman About 5'5" to 5'6" (1.65 to 1.68 m) tall. Same height as Miss, but larger and more fully mature, making all other measurements proportionately larger.

Maternity Corresponds to Miss sizes. Measurements are for a figure five months pregnant, but patterns are designed to provide ease through the ninth month.

How to take standard body measurements

1) Waistline. Tie a string or piece of elastic around your middle and allow it to roll to your natural waistline. Measure at this exact location with tape measure. Leave string in place as a reference for measuring hips and back waist length.

2) Hips. Measure around the fullest part. This is usually 7" to 9" (18 to 23 cm) below the waistline, depending on your height.

3) High bust. Place tape measure under arms, across widest part of back and above full bustline. Pattern size charts do not include a high bust measurement, but this measurement should be compared with the full bust to choose the right size pattern.

4) Full bust. Place tape measure under arms, across widest part of the back and fullest part of bustline. Note: If there is a difference of 2" (5cm) or more between high and full bust, select pattern size by high bust measurement.

5) Back waist length. Measure from middle of the most prominent bone at the base of the neck downn to waistline string.

6) Height. Measure without shoes. Stand with your back against a wall. Place a ruler on top of your head and mark the wall. Measure from the mark to the floor.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Essential Equipment & Supplies

Basic sewing is divided into five processes: measuring, cutting, marking, stitching by hand or machine, and pressing. For each of these tasks, there are essential tools to make the steps easier and the results superior. Build an equipment inventory as you ass to your sewing skills.

Hand Sewing Equipment

Needle and pins are available in a variety of sizes and styles for different uses. Look for rustproof needles and pins made of brass, nickel-plated steel or stainless steel. Pins with colored ball heads rather than flat heads are easier to see in fabric and less likely to get lost

1) Sharps are all-purpose, medium length needles used for general sewing.

2) Crewels are generally used for embroidery. They are sharp and of medium length.
3) Ballpoint needles are used on knits. Instead of a rounded end pushes the knit loops apart.
4) Betweens are very short and round-eyed. They help make fine stitches in heavy fabric or quilting.
5) Milliner's needles are ling with round eyes, used for making long basting or gathering stitches.
6) Silk pins are used for light to medium weight fabrics. Size #7 is 1 1/16" (2.6 cm) ling; #20 is
1 1/4" (3.2 cm). Both are also available with glass or plastic heads. Extra fine 13/4" (4.5cm) silk pins are easier to see in fabric because of their length.
7) Straight pins in brass, steel or stainless steel are used for general sewing. They are usually
1 1/16" (2.6 cm) long.
8) Pleating pins are only 1" (2.5 cm) long, for pinning delicate fabrics in the seam allowance.
9) Quilting pins are 1 1/4" (3.2 cm) long, used for heavy materials because of their length.
10) Ballpoint pins are used for knits.
11) Thimble protects your middle finger while hand sewing. It is available in sizes 6 (small) to 12 (large) for individual, snug fit.
12) Pin cushion provides a safe place to store pins. Some pin cushions have an emery pack (an abrasive material) attached for cleaning pins and needles. A wrist pin cushion keeps pins handy.
13) Needle threader eases threading of hand or machine needles.
14) Beeswax with holder strengthens thread and prevents tangling for hand sewing.

Marking Tools

The symbols on a pattern piece are guides for the accurate construction of the garment. Transferring these symbols from pattern to fabric is essential to fitting and sewing. Because you will be working with several types of fabrics, you will need a variety of marking tools.

1) Tracing wheels come in two types: serrated or smooth edhe. The serrated edhe makes a doled line marking. It is suitable for most fabrics but may pierce delicate ones. The smooth-edge tracing wheel protects delicate, smooth fabrics such as silk and chiffon. It makes a solid line marking.

2) Dressmaker's tracing paper is a special waxed carbon paper which transfers the tracing wheel's line to the fabric. Choose a color close to that of the fabric, making sure it can be seen easily.

3) Tailor's chalk or marking pencil marks quickly and easily, directly on the fabric. Chalk rubs off quickly, so use it only when you plan to sew immediately. A tailor tacker holds two pieces of chalk and marks from both sides.

4) Liquid marking pencils make quick work of marking tucks, darts, pleats and pocket locations. One type disappears within 48 hours. the other washes off with water but should not be used on fabrics that show water marks. Pressing may set the marks permanently, so remove marking before pressing the area.

Measuring Tools

Body and pattern measurements both require measuring tools. Toensure a good fit, measure often and accurately with the best tool for the job.

1) See-through ruler lets you see what you measure or mark. this ruler is used to check fabric grainline and to mark buttonholes, tucks, and pleats.

2) Yardstick is for general marking and for measuring fabric grainline when laying out the pattern. It should be made of smooth, shellacked hardwood or metal.

3) Ruler is for general marking. The most useful sizes are 12" or 18" (30.5 or 46 cm) long.

4) Tape measure has the flexibility required to take body measurements. Select a 60" (152.5 cm) long tape with metal tips, made of a material that will not stretch. It should be reversible, with numbers and markings printed on both sides.

5) Seam gauge helps make quick, accurate measurements for hems, buttonholes, scallops, and pleats. It is a small, 6"(15 cm) netal or plastic ruler with a sliding marker.

6) See-through T-square is used to locate cross grains, alter patterns, and square off straight edges.

Cutting Tools

Buy quality cutting tools and keep them at their best with periodic sharpening by a qualified professional. Scissors have both handles the same size; sheras have one handle larger than the the other. The best quality scissors and shears are hot-forged, high-grade steel, honed to a fine cutting edge. Blades should be foined with an adjustable screw (not a rivet) to ensure even pressure along the length of the blade. Sharp shears make clean cuts and well-difined notches. More important, they do not damage fabric. Dull shears slow the cutting process, and make your hand and wrist tire easily. Sewing shears should not be used for other household tasks such as cutting paper or twine. Scissors and shears last longer if you occasionally put a drop of oil on the screw assembly, wipe them clean with a soft dry cloth after use, and store them in a box or pouch.

1) Bent-handled dressmaker's shears are best for pattern cutting because the angle of the lower blade lets fabric lie flat on the cutting surface. Blade lengths of 7" or 8" (18 or 20.5 cm) are most popular, but lengths up to 12" (30.5 cm) are available. Select a shorter lengths for small hands, longer lengths for large hands. Left-handed models are also available. If you sew a great

deal, invest in a pair of all-steel, chrome-plated shears for heavy-duty cutting. The lighter models with stainless steel blades and or ligthweight fabrics. For synthetic fabrics and plastic handles are fine for less-frequent sewing or lightweight fabrics. For synthetic fabrics and slippery knits, a serrated-edge shears gives maximum cutting control.

2) Sewing scissors have one pointed and one rounded tip for trimming and clipping seams and facings, The 6" (15 cm) blade is most practical. Embroidery scissors have 4" or 5" (10 or 12.5 cm) finely-tapered blades. Both points are sharp for use in hand work and precision cutting.

3) Seam ripper quickly rips seams, opens buttonholes and removes stitches. Use carefully to

avoid piercing the fabric.

4) Rotary cutter is an adaptation of the giant rotary cutters used by the garment industry. It works like a pizza cutter and canbe used by left or right-handed sewers. Use the rotary cutter with a special plastic mat available in different sizes. the mat protects both the cutting surface and the blade. A special locking mechanism retracts the blade for safety.

5) Thread clippper with spring-action blades is more convenient than shears and safer than a seam ripper.

6) Pinking shears or scalloping shears cut a zigzag or scalloped edge instead of a straight one. Used to finish seams and raw edges on many types of fabric, they cut a ravel-resistant edge.