Topics this week so far

favorite_cat_picture_of_the_dayBlogging consultants say to poll the readership for topics but judging from yesterday’s results that is a bad idea. It’s a terrible idea because following through usually amounts to work. ewww! Or maybe eeek! Or as I find myself today, ewwkeee. I have a much better idea. Let’s post links to our favorite cat pictures. The idea is growing on me the more I think about it. Here is one I found today. I would never be able to get my cats to do that.

Okay okay already. Here’s an unofficial-ish result summary:
Austin said we could talk about how we wish we were at Market. I shot him down immediately, but did anyone thank me? No, they did not. Ingrates.

Claudine, Pam, Jennifer et al want me to talk about Etsy. I suppose not being an expert on it shouldn’t stop me since it hasn’t before. But okay, I’m game. I’ll give you yet more unqualified opinions on that. Most can be summarized by stuff I’ve already said and also, seriously -can we talk? Some of you should read my book and avail yourself to the benefits -namely, participating in Refine My Line. In that vein, I’ve have had one woman’s site open all day. Very promising skills that just need a bit of tweaking. She’s soooo close it just pains me.

Rebecca wanted to know where to find wholesale fabric. That would be here.

Linda wanted a post about wrinkles forming on the back shoulder of men’s suits. I asked her to supply me with a sample photo. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, it is soooo annoying. And not too hard to fix as fixes go. Not hard in that the problem is readily identifiable and that isn’t always the case. By way of example, there is one fitting problem innumerable women have, that of gaping in the chest coupled with a fold of fabric forming a dart in the armhole…I don’t know if I will ever write about it because it is so difficult to describe the fix. That one is hard. And no, it’s an entirely different solution from what anyone else has ever said about it.

Theresa wanted my thoughts about the increase in cotton and clothing prices to which I’d previously written this.

B. had kudos for the site (you’re right, F-I’s not a pink pony blog) and asked how to best convey fit and size online to minimize returns. Were one of you playing a trick on this poor man by having him ask me this? Or was this someone’s idea of fun, imagining how many times I’d have to wipe the spittle off my monitor in yet another extended sizing rant? Seriously, does anybody know in which entry I posted my sizing hang tag template? It took me hours to draw it and I can never find it. It would be good to use as part of a stand alone entry (yay for Kay who found it for me!). Until then B, I suggest reading this, maybe this (you could get help with it) and scanning the fit and sizing category. Noah’s comments would also fit in here. If any of you guys want to volunteer your sites for a review of suggested improvements, you know where to find me.

Amy, Penelope and probably others wanted to know more about better sewing. Lisa followed up with this by suggesting I post tutorials in the forum as a member’s benefit -which I will do. I truly cannot see posting any more tutorials on the blog or for free because I’m tired of reading my material in Threads, SewStylish and on other people’s websites with someone else’s name on it. If someone is going to make money off of my information, I should get something for having provided it (and many wonder why the RTW industry doesn’t publish this stuff). Writing a tutorial is at least one full day’s work -if not more.

Alessandra mentioned “style maker” sites popping up. I haven’t been aware of those. Or rather I’ve seen them and they’re very pretty but it’s not something I’m into. I do well to keep up with the reading I already do. But you can write about it Alessandra! hint hint.

Tomorrow I think I will write a tutorial on how to do a vintage invisible zipper. You do know that way back when, before there were such a thing as invisible zippers, there was a way to get the same effect using a regular zipper? Yes indeedy there was and I’m going to show my site supporters just how to do it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll send it to Threads so my name can appear on my own work for once. That’s assuming they’ll publish it of course. Seriously, I like this method much better than the new way because I don’t trust invisible zippers. They aren’t very stable. Always breaking and pulling apart and I don’t know that I can ever find the foot I need for it either.

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  1. kay says:

    Is this the tag you’re searching for? //

    Make sure Threads pays you for the article. Or Sew News or Vogue or….

  2. Kathleen says:

    You rule Kay. Immensely. Serves me right for writing such crappy titles.
    Did you see, jammin ur papers?

    I should do one of those posts where you can’t comment unless you leave a link to a cat picture. I’ve done a few posts where I stipulated comments had to be in haiku. Those were fun, we got some good ones too.

  3. Jess Radford says:

    Just checking in while on holiday (stole my brother’s ipad, naturally) & I am so excited about that vintage invisible zipper tutorial! I want to make & sell wedding dresses & I sometimes prefer the look of invisible zippers but didn’t like the risk of wedding-day-zipper-failure.

  4. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    OMG! That is the absolute cutest kitten photo EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks, Kay! And Kathleen, that one is really cool!

  5. Esther says:

    I think you have zipper bias. Seriously, I’ve never had an invisible zipper split or break ever and I use them 9 out of 10 times (installed with a Singer Slant zipper foot). I don’t like regular zippers because they are bulky and ugly. I hate the look of lapped zipper applications. I don’t know. Maybe someone will invent some other closure and zippers will disappear by the 24th century (

  6. vespabelle says:

    I’m curious to see if your invisible zipper technique is the same as the one my roommate taught me several years ago. I really like her method becuase it doesn’t require the stupid zipper foot (who knows where the darn thing is!)

    I should send you a picture of my zipper collection. I’ve got some very funky early invisible zippers as well as some regular zippers so old they’re not even called zippers but “slide fasteners!”

    As for Etsy, people need to be very careful. There are lots of resellers of Chinese factory goods masquerading as people who “handmake with LOVE!” who will undercut a truly handmade item.

  7. Quincunx says:

    Oh, vespabelle, please share! I’m on my third local zipper-foot-which-doesn’t-work. At least this one fits the machine, but it’s not maintaining an even distance to the coil. Trying out the centered zipper tutorial at the top of the blog and I can see how polished it would look if I could just narrow the distance between coil and needle 1/8″. (Darn machine has zigzag but no variable needle position.)

    Kitty picture! from the Animal Care Society of Cork. This one even comes with its story on the Success Stories page.

  8. Amy says:

    I sewed a top and pants out of home decorator fabric to go with an elongated upholstery jacket I dreamt up. My friend taught me how to put in an invisible zipper in a trial pair of pants. Because the fabric was stiffer than typical wearable material, it was sort of standing up away from the zipper, and it looked crazy. I added some fusible down the fold, and then it looked pretty good, but I keep wondering why this wouldn’t happen more often with invisible zippers since there’s really nothing keep the fabric folds in place beyond ironing the seam. True to my comment/topic request yesterday on how to become a meticulous sewist, you can see I definitely could use as much sewing instruction as I can get. (Not LOL all that loud!!)

  9. Theresa in Tucson says:

    Kathleen, please do, on the zipper tutorial. I remember having read about such a technique in a “Tips” suggestion somewhere but since the tip was all words, no pictures, I didn’t get a clear idea of how it was done. Your tutorials are the best.

  10. Lisa Blank says:

    Lesley, love your kitty contribution!

    Kathleen, I wonder, too, if you have zipper bias. Either that, or I have had invisible zipper good luck. I’ve never had trouble with an invisible zipper…YET! :-)

  11. Kathleen says:

    Esther/Lisa: I probably do have invisible zipper bias. I’m an old fuddy duddy who resents being dragged kicking and screaming into new fangled things. This is still a neat option and a very cool trick. Excellent for authentic reproductions and costumes as well as those who don’t have the right tools for invisible zips. Be grateful I’m not older. If I were, I’d probably be wailing and gnashing my teeth over fusibles.

    Oh wait. If I had half a brain, I’d tell you you’re absolutely 100% correct, I have invisible zipper bias so it would be a waste of my time to do the tutorial. Score! I knew if I played this right I could get out of it…

  12. Kevin Bishop says:

    I can’t say that I have a lot of experience sewing, but I found one invisible zipper foot that does work really well. It only fits Bernina machines, the #35 invisible zipper foot. I tried the multi-colored plastic invisible zipper foot that fits “all” machines, and that never worked.

    If I start the zipper foot on top of the coil and slightly pull the fabric in such a way to uncurl the invisible zipper coil, the foot works like a charm. I get really consistent results and don’t have to fuss with the foot or zipper. Learning how to use the foot took a little practice, but it wasn’t too bad with that #35 foot.

    One of the nice things about the #35 invisible zipper foot is that I do not have to press the zipper coils open with an iron. The foot automatically uncurls the zipper coil out of the way. I found that many invisible zippers became damaged when the hot iron melted or distorted the plastic teeth. If I avoid the iron, I don’t have to worry about the heat damaging the coils.

  13. Seth Meyerink-Griffin says:

    @Kevin: I thought that all industrial invisible zipper feet did that…? :P I don’t do invisible zippers very often (I think the last one I did was a few years ago, required for school), but I’ve never pressed my zippers while using an industrial.

    My contribution: (no, the person is not extraordinarily small; the cat is just that big).

    I would like to see more reviews of pattern drafting books that are *good*, along with limited previews of what they get very right. I downloaded the Italian one from the USLOC, but I don’t think that their torso shell drafting directions work for men, and I’m concerned about the lack of any darts for shaping in the back shoulder/neck. (Haven’t quite found time to actually make a full draft and check it against the form I’m using for measurements though.)

  14. Amy says:

    I have never been able to make an invisible zipper foot work. I use my regular sewing machine foot or a clear plastic foot. Rather than trying to unfold the crease next to the zipper coil to a 90 or 45 degree angle (which I think is the purpose of the invisible zipper foot), I just unfold the zipper tape so the coil is flipped over, and sew in the crease. After sewing, the coil flips back to its original position without a problem.

  15. I have no problems with invisible zippers (not sewing them in and never had any failure) but the shop who provided me with a good choice of colors has closed and now they are not always easy to get.

    So I would appreciate a zipper tutorial very much!

  16. Dana says:

    Penelope had a good suggestion that got buried in the Etsy chatter. Let’s talk about machine attachments. Maybe an overview of the different types of folders – up turn, down turn, scroll hemmers, … Other feet that we may want to play with for attaching elastic, binders, etc. I know there are a ton of options but there is no directory on this stuff. Covering the basics would be helpful to a lot of people.

  17. Kathleen says:

    Dana, this is so complex I don’t know that we could cover it out here because it would have to be generic. I have done this tho with respect to some of the tutorials. There is also one post about attachments specifically with a whole lot of resources to follow up on. It could probably use some more eyeballs. Point is, industry stuff is so much more specific, not generic. Unlike home sewing, it defies easy categorization because there is presumed responsibility in advice dispensing. In home sewing, everything is so loose and goosey that responsibility could be thrown back to the user and no one is the wiser and there is no liability because nobody has any (real) money riding on it.

    There are so many options based on desired finish, machine type/class etc. Because it is so specific to product type and very individualized according to product and materials (and one’s machine and disposable income), it can only be done one on one. Which is what we do in the forum. You’re a member, go poke around in the equipment or sewing sections. Again, I have written about this stuff before (“service lines“) etc but it is so highly technical that even out here, most people don’t read it. They say it makes their head hurt. So, if it only appeals to a few being a very technical niche topic, I think it’s better to debate the pros and cons of given solutions in the forum. Highly technical entries on the blog are not popular and I can’t feel bad about it because we do provide alternatives for people who do want it.

  18. Lisa Blank says:

    By way of example, there is one fitting problem innumerable women have, that of gaping in the chest coupled with a fold of fabric forming a dart in the armhole…I don’t know if I will ever write about it because it is so difficult to describe the fix. That one is hard. And no, it’s an entirely different solution from what anyone else has ever said about it.

    Might this be another item to tackle within the confines of the forum sometime?

  19. Kathleen says:

    Lisa…boy, I would hope so but can’t say that for sure yet. It is …well, such a radical departure from what we think we know that I need to run through proofs a couple of times with someone at my elbow, teaching it to them first to have it clear in my mind before I could ever attempt to write a draft tutorial for it. I don’t have the clarity or certainty of it such that I would describe it as reproducible and it must be if it is true.

    It is a departure from what we think we know about drafting for the body (ie, the torso broken into 8 more or less equal vertical sections) and I just don’t believe it is true (I haven’t believed in the 8 *equal* sections for a long time, this being an outgrowth of that). It’s rather sacrilegious. But most of all, it is a difficult correction, at least a two stage iteration (I think, again, I’m not wholly certain myself yet) and this presumes the draft one is correcting is devoid of other contributory problems.

    It is problematic in that it is not an easy repair, not a quick fix which is what most people want. The conflict is that if this were easily corrected, the method by which it could be done, would have been devised and proven long before now. That this hasn’t been resolved (routinely and with satisfaction) tells me there is more to it than we’ve supposed and hence this exploration I’ve made.

    There is only one certain way to prove it (teaching it being another story) and that is to start with a perfectly fitted shell and then to introduce the defect (reversing the correction). But then, I have long thought fitting texts should be constructed in just this way. This would be a laborious enterprise…

  20. Amy says:

    I’m not sure what everyone is writing about at this point–it’s way over my head–but if sounds like Kathleen’s statement, “It’s rather sacrilegious” should be more like “It’s rather sacroiliac” with the 8-section reference.

    Just trying to inject a little “zippy” humor…. ;-D

  21. Lisa Blank says:

    Kathleen, I understand what you’re saying. If I lived in NM, I’d volunteer to be the guinea pig. And I get it that writing up tutorials is a time-consuming process, let alone trying to prove something new.

  22. kay says:

    Kathleen, is this gaping chest/dart to the armhole problem perhaps related to your comments on the saran wrap method? “A word of caution: The shapes from this wrap may look weird or wrong to you. Do not correct them! Every time I have corrected what I felt were mistakes, the block did not work. Conversely, once I finally trusted myself and did not correct the “error,” the block fit wonderfully.” (//

    I see this combination of fitting issues most in people who habitually slump; patternmaking books seem to be mostly set up for charm school posture, but most of us today look more like cooked noodles.

  23. Marie-Christine says:

    Well, I recently found this over at discussing, ahem, what one does not want to end up looking like.. and the general topic of frills on clothes.
    On the other hand, as a San Franciscan, I find this one very appropriate:

    About the armhole wrinkles, the best fix I’ve ever seen (well, the one that works for me) is in gale grigg hazen’s ‘fantastic fit for every body’, where she demonstrates it in a vest and calls it ‘the hook’. Weird, you don’t want to see this one in saran wrap :-), but effective..

  24. Kathleen says:

    Lisa wrote:

    Might this be another item to tackle within the confines of the forum sometime?

    In reference to what I’d said earlier:

    By way of example, there is one fitting problem innumerable women have, that of gaping in the chest coupled with a fold of fabric forming a dart in the armhole…I don’t know if I will ever write about it because it is so difficult to describe the fix. That one is hard. And no, it’s an entirely different solution from what anyone else has ever said about it.

    I’m posting today with a link to a forum only pattern puzzle on this topic. I’m hoping participation will help me gain the clarity to explain it.

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