Category: product review

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success

In this week’s podcast, we talk about sewing rainwear and what you need to know to get the job done.

Sewing Rainwear, What You Need to Know for Success|Chambray Blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

The Ins and Outs of Sewing Rainwear

I decided it would be fun to try something completely different from my usual sewing projects. With the rainy season here, I decided on sewing a raincoat.

There are several different types of fabric you can use for rain wear, either waterproof or water resistant. They are not the same thing. Waterproof fabrics do not allow any water penetration, verses water resistant fabrics that just repel some of the water.

To achieve truly waterproof fabric requires two or three layers within the fabric. The material, and an inner layer or layers are bonded together, usually by a high tech process called Ultrasonic welding.

Ultrasonic welding is achieved by multiple panel edges are carefully aligned together, pressed, then fused together with high levels of ultrasonic sound waves.  The energy from these sound waves is transformed into heat, which permanently bonds the two panels together (usually containing a thermoplastic material), making the two or more panels into one solid panel, with no holes whatsoever.  This type of machine is expensive, the technicians that run them are also more expensive than an average garment worker, and the material cost is reflected in this technology. This is where science and technology have changed so much in the sewing world. The result is a completely waterproof fabric that is also breathable due to the inner layers.

I couldn’t wait to try this out! Who ever thought that sewing was boring??? Fabrics that use this type of technology are 2 or 3 ply Ultra-Tex, SWB-Tex, Hyro-Shield Ripstop, and Storm Fit.

For water resistant fabrics, fabrics are woven together very tightly, water molecules are small and can filter through the fibers because it doesn’t have a backing. Light rainfall cannot pass through these tiny pores since rain drops aren’t always that big, but high water pressure from a constant downpour or submersion will cause water to find its way through the fibers.

Fabrics that are water resistant are coated Taslan, Microsuede Polyester, coated Taffeta, ripstop, Silkara, Weather Max-65 and Ten Mile Cloth.

For my project I purchased two different fabrics, the water resistant 2 ply Ultra-Tex and a soft silky water resistant Silkara for a second project.

Supplies and Resources:

Fabric sources for rainwear fabric and supplies such as grippers, waterproofing tape and buttons can be purchased at: Seattle Fabrics, Fabrics.com, LA Finchfabrics.com, Moodfabrics.com.

    1. a gabardine or twill fabric and add waterproofing after the garment is sewn instead. Can’t use fusible interfacing, it doesn’t stick to Gorex or fabrics that have a rubberized backing.
    2. Alterations to fit, lengthen the pattern. Easy to fit a dolman sleeve.
    3. Simple is easier, don’t add the fine details if you are not comfortable with them.
    4. Cutting and sewing a lining. Slippery stuff! So hard to cut! Use pattern weights and very sharp pins and scissors.
    5. Buttons vs. Grippers: Gripper snaps are easier to install but can cause tears in the fabric unless it’s interfaced. Use a good quality denim gripper for best results.Rainwear sewing techniques, waterproof fabrics are a little different animal. Can’t rip out stitches because the needle leaves holes. Can’t pin either for the same reason. Can use

    Waterproof Fabric Tips

    1. Waterproof fabrics require special care when cutting. You can’t use pins because they put holes in the fabric. Also, fabrics such as Gortex has the heavy backing which is very thick and pins won’t poke through it. You will need to use pattern weights, and lots of them when laying out the pattern to cut.
    2. Fusible interfacing doesn’t work with this type of fabric. I tried ironing some on at low heat (so the fabric doesn’t melt), and though it seemed like it was working the glue did not hold in the long run. Use a sew in interfacing instead for this project.
    3. A walking foot is essential for sewing this “sticky” fabric. One side of the fabric is slick, the other sticks like glue to everything. It gets stuck under the presser foot and doesn’t move as you are sewing. If you don’t have a walking foot, you could try using a piece of freezer paper under the presser foot to help it slide under the presser foot.
    4. A sharp needle is a must. I used a size 14 all purpose needle for this project.
    5. Good quality thread makes a huge difference, Gutterman thread was recommended by the fabric supplier and that’s what I used. Fabric was purchased from Seattle Fabrics.com.
    6. Making buttonholes was challenging. The pattern had buttons and snaps as options, I decided on buttons because they were easy to find. I think snaps would have worked better because the button holer kept sticking to the fabric as I mentioned above and was very cumbersome to use. I made several mistakes with my buttonholes, and I just have to live with how they turned out.
    7. You can’t rip out stitches with this type of fabric because it leaves holes. You only get one chance to do it right, and for the same reasons Gortex is just difficult to work with.

    Waver Jacket Pattern Review

    I have not sewn with many pdf patterns, as I usually just stick with one of the name brands. This pdf was overall well designed, but I spotted a couple of things that could have made this project turn out so much better.

    1. The Center front wasn’t cut on the straight grain: This may seem like a small detail, but this one change could have made this coat so much better. Grain line placement makes a huge difference in how the finished coat hangs. As you can see from my photos, the coat appears to have too much fullness at center front, and hides the buttons when hanging. This is because the marked grain line was at an angle to the center front, generally a no-no in the design world. Particularly with center front button plackets, the front grain must be cut on the straight grain for the best result. I knew I should have changed it when I cut it, but for some reason I didn’t. Live and learn from my mistake!
    2. Pocket placement could be better: The pockets are way to close to the center front. I did alter the pattern and added extra fullness at the side seam. The pockets should have been moved at least 2″ closer to the side seam.
    3. Lining hem could be longer: Most quality coats have what is called a jump hem. That is, a hem that has 1/2″ or more extra length in the lining so that when you move your arms and shoulders the extra length keeps the hem hanging straight and doesn’t pull up as you move. This coat was not designed this way and I discovered too late that the hem pulls up in an unattractive manor when moving about. If I make it again, I will add extra 1″ of length to the lining. For now, I stitched the hem of the lining independently from the jacket, allowing the extra movement that is needed.

    Overall this was a challenging project. The fabric I chose was not easy to work with, but I am still pleased with it. My purpose in making this jacket was to have something to wear for walking outside and working in the yard on wet days. The jacket serves it’s purpose even though it isn’t as perfect as I would like. The color alone makes me happy every time I put it on.

    See the full sewing tutorial here.

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Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review

Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review

Every little girl wants matching Mom and me outfits. Some of us wait a long time to get them! This easy apron is a great project for a beginner sewer, make one for you and your child in a single day!

Mom and Me Aprons

I love aprons. I have at least 6 of them that I use all the time for cooking, crafting, or cleaning. Some of them have pockets, some don’t. A few of my aprons are for specific holidays or making Sunday dinner. I don’t have many that are prints, and I was smitten with these lovely fabrics from Cross Cut Sewing Company the minute I saw them.

This pattern is very easy, requires only a yard of each fabric and is reverse-able. I love the contrasting bit of fabric at the hem that gives you a hint of what’s on the other side. The pattern, fabric and trims come as a complete kit and are customize-able for children or adults. It’s easy to make a mother child combo, or you can make two adult size aprons as I did. You can choose your fabrics too, and I loved this combination of floral and chambray. Chambray is my favorite thing you know…..

Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review|ChambrayBluesblog|chambrayblues.com

The Cross Cut Sewing Company pattern directions were easy to follow. I didn’t change any of the construction, but I did add top stitching 1/4″ from the edge of the apron around the perimeter. Also, I applied Fray-Check to seal the raw edges of the twill tape after cutting. The twill tape is used for the neck band and waist ties. You could also melt the edges with a cigarette lighter to seal them, but this method will slightly discolor the edges where the Fray-Check is completely clear.

I also added a stitch in the ditch seam at the hem where the contrasting fabric band begins. To do this, just top stitch over the seam line, it will appear on both sides. This stitching helps keep the layered fabrics together and keeps things from shifting during washing.

 

The great thing about the pattern is the reverse-able nature of it. The apron is fast to cut out by layering the two fabric pieces before you cut with a rotary cutter. Just be sure the edges and folds match so you don’t end up with one piece that’s larger than the other.

The pattern kit came with D-rings for the neck band which were easy to stitch in place on the twill tape.

Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

Mom was more concerned about eating her breakfast before it got cold and putting her lipstick on before the photos. But, she likes her new apron. I caught her with it on while she was doing dishes this morning! Finally, we have a Mom and Me outfit. I always wanted one as a kid! You are never too old for this sort of thing, Mom is 87 and still going strong!

Thanks to Cross Cut Sewing Company for sponsoring this post!

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Sweet Mom and Me Apron Pattern Review|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

 

Try some of these other great ideas:

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

5 Step Easy Headband

How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

What You Should Know About the Cricut Maker

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Why Self Care Makes for Better Sewing

Why Self Care Makes for Better Sewing

We have all been there: feeling, sore, tired, overwhelmed and unfocused. These things can disrupt your mindset and decrease your sewing productivity. Here’s why you should make self care a priority for better sewing.

 

Why Selfcare makes sewing better|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com
Taking care of yourself will make you a better sewer!

I sometimes think that as sewers, we are destined to take care of everyone else but ourselves. We spend long hours hunched over a sewing machine or cutting table, laboring away on the things we make out of love for everyone else. So often we end up with sore backs, wrists, dry cut hands and cut bleeding fingers from our efforts. Forgetting to take care of yourself actually disrupts and slows down your sewing production. Here’s how you can remedy your physical issues that keep you from being more productive in your sewing.

 

Why Selfcare makes sewing better|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com

Take Time for Self Care

This post is sponsored by Love and Leche. I was compensated in some way for writing this post. Any opinions given are completely my own. See the disclosures page for more information.

Why Selfcare makes sewing better|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com

Top Self Care Issues

  1. Cure dry chapped hands. Here in Wisconsin, our long cold winters attribute to dry skin and cracked hands. With all the cutting and sewing I do, I find that my hands are just a mess. Nothing seems to keep my hands from feeling chapped and sore. Sewing just makes the problem worse. Love and Leche sent me their natural lotion bar to try and it’s been a game changer. This bar is incredibly moisturizing, and it doesn’t leave a greasy residue on your hands. I love that it comes in this adorable bag, and has a mini-lotion tin for my handbag. This eco-friendly gift bag is made by Work + Shelter in New Delhi, India. Your purchase of this product (the gift bag) goes to help impoverished women giving them more control and dignity in their lives. It’s a win, win.
  2. Be sure your sewing table is at the correct height. Working on a table that is too low, or too high for long hours will cause back and shoulder pain. Your hands and wrists should be perpendicular to your machine while sewing to relieve stress in your neck, back and shoulders. If your table is not the correct height you are at risk for injury. Look for a lower table or adjust your machine height by setting it into the table top. A handy man can cut a hole in your table to set your machine down in it without too much trouble.
  3. Take frequent breaks while sewing. This may seam obvious, but it’s easy to get so involved in your project that you spend hours and hours without moving or changing position. You should get up and walk around at least every 20-30 minutes to relieve stress and relax your muscles.
  4. Cut out your project on a waist high surface. Many women who sew have lower back pain from leaning over their cutting surface. You will be amazed how much better you feel by raising your table up when you cut. Try using an inexpensive 8 foot plastic dining table raised up on concrete blocks for cutting. You can even put two tables together for a wider cutting surface. Look for inexpensive plastic risers to add to your own table at Walmart or Ikea for this purpose.
  5. Pace Yourself. It’s easy to over commit to your sewing projects. I have 5 cut projects waiting to be sewn as I write this post. As much as I love to sew, no one can sew 24 hours a day. Set a realistic deadline or goal for your sewing. I have a project scheduled on my calendar for each month. If I get it done before the month is over, I start another one. If not, then I have some time to squeeze it in during the next month. Sewing is ment to be an enjoyable hobby, it’s not enjoyable if you are stressed out trying to finish a project and make mistakes because of it. I limit my sewing to 2-3 hours per day. If I try to work longer hours, I end up making unnecessary mistakes in my work. Pace is important!
  6. Treat yourself to a massage. I am a firm believer in massage. Get one once a week or once a month to stay loose and limber for sewing. Massage releases toxins that build up in your muscles over time. The most effective massages are at least 60 minutes long, it takes that long to truly relax and enjoy the massage. It may cost a few dollars, but you will be more productive in your sewing if you feel good. This is particularly helpful if you sew for a living, or have a big stressful project your are working on such as a bridal gown or large quilt. You won’t regret it, I promise.
  7. Drink plenty of water. Headaches are the first sign of dehydration. Be sure to keep a bottle of water next to you as you work on your projects. It’s easy to forget that you need to keep hydrated as you work. Definitely will help you concentrate longer and get more done.

Why Selfcare makes sewing better|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com

 

Thanks to Love and Leche for sponsoring this post! If you would like to try their products, they are offering a free mini-lotion for your first purchase as a special offer to my readers. Enter the code Chambrayblues at checkout. Offer is good until May 15, 2018.

You can also register to win a free lotion gift bag here.

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Why Selfcare makes sewing better|Chambraybluesblog|Chambrayblues.com

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