The Free Motion Quilting Project: Garment Sewing???

Monday, June 25, 2012

Garment Sewing???

There's something about the hot days of the summer that makes me want to sew clothing.  I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I just have a hankering to pull out some patterns and piece up a new dress.

I've picked up these patterns recently and yes, my Halloween costume is already set in stone as the Princess from Super Mario 3D land, which I'll modify from the Cinderella pattern on the right.

While I'm going to be a princess from a video game, I'm not exactly sure what my companions are going to be.  James keeps declaring he wants to be Mario (which would be super cute with my costume), but then changes his mind to be Darth Vader or a Stormtrooper.

Not exactly sure how that's going to go, but we have several more months to argue about it between now and then!

As for fabric, some of these patterns call for knits, which can be very interesting to work with, especially if you're used to working with only 100% cotton all the time.

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Personally I've taken a tip from Lyric Kinard to heart: when working with any weird fabric, spend time torturing it first.

So all these pretty knits are going into the washer in HOT water, where they will be beaten mercilessly, then I'll wash them again in cold water, then I'll wash them all one last time in warm water just to make sure I've done the job properly.

Why all this washing at various temperatures?

Let's be honest: in my house a quilt is treated with the reverence and respect it deserves.  Clothing, however, is not.

Anytime I piece a garment, I know it's going to eventually end up thrown in the dirty laundry pile, where it might be sorted into a pile of similar colors...or it might not.  It might be washed at a optimal temperature and setting for the material's delicate nature...or it might not.

Really all bets are off once this garment is finished, so it better be able to stand up to anything!

Another reason for systematic fabric torture is to remove any shrink to the fabric, and to also let it know who's boss.  I'd rather it reveal its cards as a funky, finicky print with weird shrinking and sewing issues right now, rather than later after I've spent 5 hours piecing it into a pretty dress.

I'd also like to get ALL the excess dye out now because as a pretty red shirt, it may just be tossed in with a load of whites.  It sounds bad, but in my house, this happens all the time!

So after thoroughly torturing this fabric, I'm looking forward to creating some pretty new dresses and shirts for the summer.

Let's go quilt!



  1. Gosh, your laundry process sounds familiar!

  2. I have several copies of the Simplicity 5581.

    It seems every year I go to make a shirt for him, I misplace the pattern, so I just wait for JoAnn's 99cent sale and buy more. ;)

    I don't normally torture the fabric, first, but I guess I should. My guy is 6'4", and I always end up adding a couple inches of length to the pattern to make a nice (non-belly baring) shirt for him.

    I also use novelty fabric for his shirts. He has: Millenium (2000), lobsters, beer bottles, Hawaiian shirts (he calls it his 'Meta' shirt -- oh to love a geek), hot peppers, hot sauces and sharks. I have fabric set aside w/ Curious George, motorcycles and pin-up girls. :) Guess I need to make this summer's shirt. :D

  3. I have several copies of the Simplicity 5581. It seems that every year when I go to use the pattern, I've misplaced it ... or a part of it.

    My guy is 6'4" and I've found that I need to add a few inches to the length so that it isn't a belly-baring shirt for him.

    I don't normally torture my fabric before making the shirt -- I like working with the crisp fabric, and hate to starch. I also use quilting-quality novelty fabric for them.

    He has shirts in: Millenium (2000), lobsters, beer bottles, sharks, Hawaiian shirts (he calls it his 'meta-shirt' -- oh to love a geek), hot peppers, and bottles of hot sauce.

    I have Curious George, motorcycles, and pin-up girls waiting to be sewn. Guess I should get around to it and make this year's shirt(s).[Thankfully they are quick and easy -- I think 3 hours from first cut to last stitch.]

  4. Hi Leah,
    I'm totally with you on this. I have had a itch for a while to sew some garments but have some deadlines for couple of quilts which I need to finish.

    I have been wanting to make some sundresses for my 5yr old daughter. I even have her favorite character Dora fabric.

    Hmmm........I hope I can get to it before the summer is over.

  5. Hi. I am somewhat of an accomplished quilter, and comfortable with certain home dec sewing, (like making really col dog beds and dog raincoats) But I have no positive experience with garment construction, especially knits. Does anyone have advice on a source for good lessons on this, (online, TV, or DVD)?

  6. I understand wanting to show the fabric who is boss but take it from a garment sewer all you need to do is give it one good full cycle wash and then a nice hot dryer to find out what the fabric really wants to do. Knits are so forgiving. The only real issue is how much stretch and patterns will guide you to make the best choice. If it is a stable knit you can use a non knit pattern - all others follow the stretch guide. Good Luck.

  7. I can't wait to see you may inspire me to pullout my clothing patterns and make something new. You are a great inspiration to me regarding quilting and being a mother as well as your unique creativity. Have a beautiful day.

  8. I too have a Lucy that I have not used for quite awhile. I was curious how your Lucy was coming along. I think I will try and adjust my Lucy following your example. Do you have any further suggestions? I have been sewing for my granddaughters, but sewing for myself is more of a fitting challenge. I will have to look into a fitting class.
    Enjoy your site very much. Keep it coming.


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