We Interupt This Regularly Scheduled Sewing Post….

I just had to tell ya’ll about an incredible weekend I had with my eldest daughter in Houston, Texas this weekend!

(I will try to find something sewing related to share with you as I write, but if you’re here looking for an honest to goodness “how-to” do an alteration, you’ll be so disappointed.)

There are two posts in the works from readers that I know you’ll want to read about. One concerns hemming jeans using the original hem edge. The other is about making corset backs for wedding dresses. So stay tuned!

About this weekend:

It was a gathering of 507 ladies from all over the country who had spent time memorizing God’s word last year.

We were challlenged by Beth Moore and her daughters to hide God’s word in our hearts…a different portion of scripture every 2 weeks …and then gather in Houston to celebrate the wonderful year together!

We arrived on Friday noonish and stayed at the Omni Hotel, which was awfully fancy for us. Thank you, Amanda for getting us the special rate.

(We didn’t know there was a hospitality room! How did we miss that? We were there until Sunday and no one said a word! I’ll probably find out that there was a big fat sign referring to it right in front of our faces. Rats! )

Here’s our room (these photos remind me of Pioneer Woman taking photos on her book tour!):

Can you believe how well everything matches? The bedding was incredible..2 top sheets (who does that?), a down comforter and a top comforter. I felt like a queen! I’m going to use that idea in Colorado where it’s always freezing when you crawl into bed.

Check out this bathroom:

It was the size of a kids bedroom!

We gathered at the church getting ready for the arrival of Beth, Amanda and Melissa (pink boas and all):

For some reason, I forgot to pack BOTH pairs of huge sunglasses, so we traded off wearing the one:

We also brought bubbles and kazoos, but felt those might be over the top, so we stuck to the boas and glasses.

Here’s the beautifully designed logo:

Here are some of Beth:

 Amanda and Melissa:

Here are the Three Amigos:

and Gringo:

Travis Cottrell led us in amazing worship music.

Beth taught 2 sessions on Psalm 119. I had alot to learn.

We broke out for a time of reciting our scriptures and then back for more worship.

Beth was so amazing to hug each of us and greet us.

Can you imagine doing that this soon after surgery? We were humbled.

What a great time we had.

Thank you to all the staff at Living Proof for all you did to make it so fun.

We had a blast!

After the celebration, we walked around the Galleria.

I couldn’t believe the shops that were there.

Designer names I hadn’t seen of heard of since I was in college:

Fendi, Ferragamo, YSL, Chanel, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Versace, etc.

There were stores I hadn’t seen in years: Nieman Marcus (aka Needless Markup), Cartier and Tiffany’s.

There was even a skating rink in the middle of the mall:

Michelle liked this Coach purse:

It was only 150 clams!

On Sunday, we went to Houston’s First Baptist Church and the service was wonderful:

Loved the worship. Loved the sermon.

Then, after another round of lunch, we headed back to the airport.

Can you believe Southwest Airlines ,which was running a half hour late out of Houston, (that was all the time I had scheduled to get on another plane in OK City) got me on a plane in OK City and I made it to Denver on time and with all my luggage?! It was amazing. I just kept thanking the Lord all the way home.

Here we are on the plane out of Houston:

We met a little girl named Meaghan and she taught us a card game called “Cadillac”.

She wooped us in Go Fish too. Go figure.

Just want to say hi to Jan from New York who braved my driving skills to ride along with us on Friday night. Hope you had a great trip back home.

Hi to Trisha (or is it Tricia) from Odessa, Texas and her mom from Midland. So nice to meet you on Sunday. Hope you had a great trip back home too.

Hope all you Siestas had as wonderful a time as we had.

And to all of you who said Houston traffic was unreal…well, can we just say it wasn’t bad at all?

Another blessing.

And to my sewing blog audience, thanks for your patience. 🙂

Hem…Using the Inseam Measurement

Several of my customers leave their pants to be hemmed on my porch without ever coming inside.

It’s because I hem their pants using their inseam measurement.

Once I know what their inseam measurement is, they never have to try pants on for me again.

I just sew each pair of pants at that same length.

This works well for men’s pants especially.

Men’s pants fit pretty uniformally across the board.

I’ll use the inseam measurement for some women too.

Women’s pants, however, can fit differently in the crotch area depending on the style and brand.

Some hang low in the crotch area and some don’t.

That can make for a variation in the inseam measurement.

Today I received a few pairs of men’s slacks for hemming.

This customer wants his pants hemmed with a 27 1/2″ inseam.

(Just so you know, that is a very short inseam. Most inseams are between 28″-36″)

There are two ways to find out what your inseam measurement is.

First, you can measure a pair of pants that you already have where the hem is the length you want.

Secondly, you can measure your body, from the crotch area to the point at which you want your hem to be.

For this example, I will show you how to measure the pants.

In this photo, you can see that I have laid the pants on the floor so that the inseam is showing from the intersection of the two seams to the bottom of the pants:

Here’s a close up view of that intersection of the two seams:

To get the inseam measurement, place a measuring tape at the point where the seams intersect:

Run the tape measure down the inside leg seam to the bottom of the pants. Whatever that measurement is, that’s your inseam.

Because my customer wants his pants to be at 27 1/2″, that is where I put a pin:

Notice the hem. It is put in by topstitching with a sewing machine. I always try to duplicate the original hem when I put the new one in.

First, take out the original hem with a seam ripper:

Take note that the original hem was 1 1/2″ deep:

Once you have taken out all the thread, spread out the entire hem so you can see all the way to the raw edge of the fabric.

If you measure from the fold of the original hem, you’ll see that there is 2 inches of fabric beyond that.

Measure from the folded edge to the pin.

That will tell you how much fabric to press up for the new hem.

Or you can measure from the original fold to the pin:

Press up that amount all the way around the hem:

Then, measure out that 2 inches and trim off the excess:

You’ll now fold up 1/2″. I know that because I left 2 inches of extra fabric and my original hem was 1 1/2″ deep. So, 1/2″ is what’s left to turn under.

Fold under the hem twice and pin in place, matching the side seam of the fold to the side seam of the pants:

You don’t have to pin this hem in place. You can just stitch if you like and if you feel comfortable doing that.

If I do pin the slacks, I like to pin on the outside (right side) of the pants.

I place a pin at each side seam and one if the center front of the pant and one in the center back.

Then, topstitch the hem in place.

On the next post, I’ll give you some pointers to make your topstitching look great.

***Note…if you want to learn how to sew many different types of hems, look under “More Articles” on the left side of this page and click on the arrow “Select Category”, then “Hems”. You’ll find several pages worth of hem “How To’s”. There’s sure to be the one you’re looking for.

Liquid Stitch

Do you get lots of sewing related items in your stocking each year?

My husband puts all sorts of them in mine… bless his heart.

This year, I got this:

I have to admit that when I first pulled it out of there, I thought to myself:

“When will I ever use this?”

My husband loves to admit that he walks down the aisles of a certain large box store and puts anything sewing related that he sees first, into the cart.

I have never told him that many of those purchases have gone unused.

It’s not that they aren’t great.

It’s usually that I have one or two or ten of them already.

It just doesn’t seem right to disappoint him and turn all his joy into sadness.

So, I just thank him and merrily tuck it away into “that box” of stuff.

It’s sort of like me trying to buy him fishing or hunting items.

I don’t know what he has or doesn’t have, or need or doesn’t need.

If he doesn’t spell out exactly what he wants in the right size, shape , brand and quantity, I avoid it.

Who knew there were a dozen different sized tippets?

What’s a tippet anyway, right?

Well, I gotta say, before I could put this tube of stitchless wonder away,

I noticed my mother-in-law’s stocking laying there with the snowman coming off.

And the tree.

Her stocking is made of felt and the items are all glued on.

So, in my usual, predictable fashion, I hightailed it upstairs to the sewing machine to stitch these pieces down permanantly.

The only problem was…. the stocking was too narrow to scrunch all up and turn it in several directions while I tried to stitch them on.

And after my last month of alterations, I wasn’t in the mood to wrestle with it.

So, the Liquid Stitch came to our home at a perfect time.

And guess what?

It worked like a charm!

It made my day.

It’s still making my day.

It dries clear, is machine washable and dryable, non-toxic, permanent and strong.

I can’t believe I’m promoting a stitchless adhesive on a sewing blog, but hey…

When something works, you gotta sing its praises, right?

Taking In A Dress That’s 5 Sizes Too Big

I haven’t written in almost a month. Not because I didn’t want to.

I was preoccupied with altering a bridal gown.

I should have known that taking in 8 inches at the bust was going to prove to be difficult.

Isn’t there an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t take in more than like three inches or something?

This dress was a size ten and I think the bride is a size zero.

To complicate matters, there was a band sewn in around the top edge of the dress.

As in many strapless dresses, the front was higher than the back, so when you take it in at the side seams, the new seams don’t match up.

Here’s a drawing of the side view of a gown:

If you take in an inch from the front and back, which is a total of 2″ (I just folded the paper along the side seamline to make the point here), you can see that the band doesn’t line up now.

Neither does the dress itself:

My alteration was double the amount of the one in the photo above.

Plus there was beading involved.

And appliques.

But those were the least of my problems.

Here’s how it looked midway through the project:

The band is lining up fairly well with the main body of the dress. I’ll need to tweak it a bit, but do you see the “sagging” at the bottom of the photo?

My next challenge was to pull the band down lower on the dress to take that excess out of the dress and get it to lay smoothly.

This was much more difficult than I thought it would be.

The more I pulled it down, the less circumference of the band I had to work with.

Eventually, it worked.

I also added some boning to give her support on that side seam.

The manufacturer had added the original boning to the inter lining (yes, it’s a third layer…not the dress, not the lining,, but another layer.)

The interlining was made of self destructing fabric (ha!) and there wasn’t much of it to begin with. So, I needed to use some Fray Block on it to save what I could.

I would have loved to tear it all out and get rid of it, but time was of the essence and I knew whichever way I went, it was going to take time. (Oh, maybe I should have just cut it out! Hmm. Hind sight is always 20/20, isn’t it?)

I think my mind was on getting ready for Christmas and not stressing out!

Haven’t you had alterations like this before?

The farther you dig in to the garment, the more work you find to do?

I don’t run into this very often, but this was just one of those times.

Notice in the photo above that the band seam is now not perpendicular to the floor.

That is because it wouldn’t match up if I did that.

Thankfully, this seam was under her arm and mostly covered with the applique when finished, so no one cared. Or noticed.

I forgot to mention that I also had to take up the hem.

It had horsehair along the bottom and a huge train (which I didn’t have to alter, thankfully)!

The bride had a rough work schedule, but we got her fittings in when we could, sometimes at night.

I finished the day before Christmas Eve!

There were bridemaid alterations that had to be done the following Monday and the wedding was Tuesday!

What about you, have you ever had a project that consumed you or stressed you out to the point that you didn’t think you could finish it on time?

I’d love to hear about it.

Also, are you making any New Year’s resolutions?

I think you know mine!!!!