It has been a week since I posted an update on my blog, so I decided it was time to write an update about what I’m doing now.
The first thing I did was to buy a zigzagger attachment for my old Singer machine from Ebay. Although the machine normally only does straight stitching, with this attachment it can zigzag in different styles and widths. I might post more about it later, but for now I’ll just say I tested it after I received it in the mail and it does work.
I also bought a new (used) camera – I’ll talk about that at the end of the post, but I am still learning how to use it, so some of the photos below are dim due to wrong flash settings (I think).
Okay… now for the clothing part.
I started out the week with the idea of making another pair of jeans with a different pattern from a different company. I began cutting out the pattern pieces for that but I started thinking about it more. This pattern’s size small had a 32 1/2″ waistband, which is far too large for me and I knew I was going to have to go through the process of modifying the pattern pieces again, just like with the Kwik Sew pattern.
While doing it, I kept thinking… why am I doing this when I could just draft my own pants pattern with the correct measurements once, and then I could just trace over that drawing with whatever style of pants (jeans, shorts, whatever) that I am making. This way, I could (in theory) have clothes that fit the first time, without having to go back and change the pattern pieces.
That is what a real tailor does, right? He doesn’t use store-bought sewing patterns – he just makes his own off his customer’s measurements. Also, you don’t see professional designers using commercial sewing patterns. They just draft their own. Since that is the purpose of this blog (learning to make custom clothes), I stopped working on the pattern I bought and instead continued reading the How to Make Sewing Patterns book.
Similar to the How to Make Men’s Clothes book I’d read earlier, the Sewing Patterns book tells you how to draft a basic outline of your pants, and then goes on to tell you how to modify this basic pattern with different styles, pockets, and such.
I drew my initial diagram on freezer paper, and then added seam allowances by tracing it with some tracing paper I bought from Wawak.com.
If you want to do this, it is helpful to have the correct rulers. Above are the ones I used: yardstick, square, hip curve, 1 foot ruler, sa curve ruler (the sa curve one is good for adding seam allowances and the half circle on the end of it I used for the crotch curve drafting). You could do it without those fancy curve rulers, but I found them helpful.
Next, I had to add a marker at 5/8th inch on my Singer. For some reason, this sewing machine has no marks on the metal plate, so you have no idea of where to align the fabric when you are sewing. I used some blue painter’s tape to make my own line. The type of tape is important because painters tape will not leave a sticky residue if you remove it, unlike other tapes. I didn’t come up with this idea on my own – I remembered one of the contestants on the British Sewing Bee doing it to her machine.
I cut and sewed the leg pieces, however I made a mistake when I tried to sew the back crotch seam…
If you look closely at the photo above, you can see I have one front piece facing one direction, and the other facing the other direction. Oops.
After unpicking that mistake, I stopped and will continue next week. I still have to do the darts and fitting. I did try it on once and it seems like it will fit (except for one leg being backwards).
Now, about my new camera… I am tired of trying to take photos of myself with a smartphone camera and a mirror. I really needed to buy one with a tripod, so that I could just stand in front of it and take a photo without all sorts of body contortions. Taking a photo of yourself without using a tripod is hard.
While there may be people selling tripods for iphones (I dunno), I decided to just invest in a more professional camera setup. I asked Anne what camera she used. Her blog photos of herself are very clear, which is basically the same thing I want to do on my blog. So, now I am an owner of the Canon Rebel XTi camera, which I bought at a bargain price on Ebay.
I still don’t know how to use it entirely (I just leave all the buttons and knobs on the “automatic” setting), but it is fun. Below are some photos I took yesterday on my lunch break from my day job. It is at a local park. I think they turned out pretty good for someone who has never used a SLR camera before. I borrowed a 75-300mm zoom lens to take these. I didn’t edit them except to resize them to make them smaller.
The above photo is an accident… I was just taking a photo of the river – at the time I didn’t notice the animal in it.
The last photo with the bird is my favorite.
If you want to take some photos of yourself wearing your handmade clothes, I am happy with this camera and you can get them really cheap on Ebay. The Rebel XTi is not the latest model but still works great. It is fully digital and uses a memory card that you can plug into a computer to copy the photos. As you can see with the photos above, it really does a great job even though I know nothing about photography.