Things I’ve learnt in April

Things I've learned _Apr

Obviously, this post is delayed, seeing that we are mid-May already. But I really didn’t want to break my own series routine, after just 3 episodes, so I hope you will forgive me and go along with this one for this one time…

So here are the few sewing and non sewing things I’ve learnt in April.

1. No Me Made May

This year, I decided not to take part in Me Made May in the conventional sense, i.e. making a pledge and posting on Instagram or other social media outlets. But this doesn’t meant not wearing me mades. I have, with a few exceptions, worn me mades almost every day since the beginning of the month. But I just did not want to take selfies, and I don’t want to feel guilty about that.

So, what I’ve learned so far is that my wardrobe is quite strongly divided between winter and summer, with very few in betweens. Because the weather has warmed up considerably, I could wear some summer dresses already, but otherwise I would have struggled to find more transitional pieces. Note to self, less summer clothes, girl, lest you forget where you live and what is the average temperature during the so called summer in London!

2. Jeans making is different every time – make sure you baste fit even if you got a perfect fit in a previous pair

I’m on my way to making my second pair of Ginger Jeans (first wearable toile here). I just love jeans making and although there are other patterns out there, I’m sticking to what I know, i.e. Gingers! The interesting thing is that although I am fairly happy with the sizing and the fit of the first pair, and I made no changes to the second one, I’ve just basted them together to try the fit on and they are miles away from what they should be. They are a size too big, baggy in the crotch and bum area. Although the fabric is heavier than the previous one, it feels more stretchy, so I will make sure from now on to always baste every time.

3. Match needle with thread thickness

I was having trouble with the topstitching thread, it kept skipping stitches and just not looking nice and even. When I got to spend some time with my friends at Joy to Create, I learnt that actually, as much as matching the needle wth the thread, the needle also must be matched with the thickness of the thread as well. I was using a topstitching needle that was suitable for my fabric, a medium wight, a size 80, but when I was putting in the top-stitching thread, which is thicker, I should have tried a thicker needle, i.e a size 90. The explanation is that the needle has a shank (if you run your fingernail along the shaft, you can feel it). That is where the thread goes on its way to the needle ear, and that is how the stitch is formed. If the thread is too thick, it will not fit in the shank and stitches will be skipped. Have a look here at this gif for exemplification. Also, a good article in Threads that explains it.

4. Why you need a hump jumper

Also from Steve and Joy at Joy to Create I found out about this really handy tool called hump jumper (I know, rather rude name). It actually comes default with some sewing machines, like the Pfaff Passport 3.0, but you can buy it separately or even make up one using a piece of cardboard. It could take many forms, but this is similar to the one I use.

The main purpose is to start you off in the right way when you are sewing bulky seams or to help you sew over several layers, like crotch seams of jeans for example. The logic is simple: when you are starting over a bulky seam, you are trying to sew uphill, and the feed dogs are not getting any purchase. If you use the hump jumper by inserting it in the back of the presser foot, you level it with the bulky fabric, therefore starting off evenly and working as if with a thinner fabric.

If you get the pronged version, you can also use it as a shank when machine sewing buttons, so a really useful tool overall.

So that’s it for April, hope you find these few insights interesting and useful!

Alex xxx

P.S In case you’re wondering, the beautiful beach in the header picture is from Denmark, a place called Odsherred in the North West of Zeeland island.