Sunday, September 29, 2019

Social Sewing     

Sewing can be a lonely, isolated activity, but only if you choose to make it that way.  You can choose to go it alone and sew in your sewing room with no input from anyone but you.  I see that choice as one that can be a little boring and has less potential for true creativity and enjoyment.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying you should never sew alone in your sewing room.  I am saying you may add to your productivity and creativity by socializing and occasionally sewing with other people who enjoy sewing!

Social groups of every kind have long been the basis of the American way of life.  However, these groups have been declining at least for the last 20 years or so.  We are beginning to see this happen even in sewing groups such as the American Sewing Guild.  Most chapters are experiencing a decline in membership.  The Lansing Clippers is working to not only keep the current members, but increase the number. 

The Lansing Clippers offer many opportunities to get involved with other motivated, talented, and inspired sewers who love to sew and are willing to share their knowledge and to learn from others.   There is an opportunity to learn techniques and to get inspired by attending each monthly meeting.   It is easy to get inspired by Show and Tell by our members.  Not only do they show items they made, but they usually share which pattern they used and where the fabric was purchased.  They will explain what problems were encountered, too.  You can’t get information like that while sitting alone in your sewing room!  You can also acquire sewing skills by attending classes that are offered occasionally by the chapter.  Don’t forget we have three neighborhood groups that provide opportunities for inspiration as well.  For details on these groups, check out our Neighborhood Group page on our website

Another great social sewing event is our sewing retreat.  The retreat this year was held again in Shipshewana, Indiana.  It gave those who attended an opportunity to totally concentrate on sewing for several days.  We didn’t have to stop to cook meals, do laundry, or clean the house.  We did stop occasionally to shop and eat!   We are looking forward already to going to retreat next year.  I hope you will join us!

By the way, are you going to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Novi this year?  It looks like they will have more vendors than last year and lots of classes.  Check out their website,MI/ClassDescriptions.aspx to see the list of classes and to register.    Even if you don’t register for a class, you should go to see what the vendors have to offer and to get inspired.  I advise you to take along a sewing friend.  Conversation will make the trip seem shorter and you will have more fun sharing ideas for sewing projects with a friend!

Keep sewing and be sociable with other sewing enthusiasts! 


Sunday, September 8, 2019

How to Miter the Corners of a Patch Pocket

At the last meeting of the Lansing Chapter American Sewing Guild meeting, Carrie K. gave a demonstration on how to miter the corners of a patch pocket.  I did not see the demo because I was giving a different demo at the same time.  I heard it was a really good demo and I wish I could have seen it.  Carrie said she used a method she saw demonstrated by Nancy Zieman years ago.  I decided to look through some of my Nancy Zieman books to try to find the instructions.  I found them in 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew.  The instructions are on page 27 – 28.  

Nancy used transparent tape to help sew the mitered corners on the patch pocket.  She used it to hold the fabric edges together and to provide a guide for the stitching line.  This is a really good technique to use to sew a professional patch pocket.  The instructions follow:
.     1.  Measure twice the seam width on both sides of the bottom corners (5/8” x 2 = 1 ¼”) and mark on the wrong side of the fabric with chalk or marking pen.  Place transparent tape on the wrong side of pocket between the two marks as shown in picture below.

2.     2.  Fold the corner to a point with right sides together.  Align the tape and the marks.  Stitch next to the tape being careful not to stitch through the tape.  Trim the seam to ¼ inch.  Turn the pocket to the outside and press.  Repeat this step for the second corner.

Nancy’s book gave instructions to finish the patch pocket.  After you miter the corners, continue as follows.

.        3.  Cut a light-weight fusible interfacing the width of the top hem allowance and fuse in place.

4.    Fold the top hem allowance down to the right side of the pocket and sew both side seam allowances.  Trim the side seam allowances in the hem and turn right side out and press.

      5  .  To sew the pocket to the garment, do not use pins.  Instead, cut ¼” strips of Wonder Under or some other brand of fusible web strips to hold the pocket in place while stitching.  Place the strips on the wrong side of the pocket along both side edges and the bottom edge.  Press with iron onto the garment to fuse in place.   Edge stitch the side and bottom edges of pocket.

Nancy Zieman suggested using a blind stitch foot to sew around the outside edges of the pocket to attach it to the garment.  I had never used the blind stitch foot for this purpose, so I decided to try it.  It worked quite well.  You can edge stitch close to the side and bottom edges of the pocket by aligning the edge of the pocket so the red wheel on the blind stitch foot passes just to the right of the pocket edge.   See the picture below.

This was the first time I tried this method of making a patch pocket.  It found it is an easy method to make a professional patch pocket on the first attempt. 

The book, 10-20-30 Minutes to Sew, is a great resource for beginner sewers.  It also has some great tips to improve and speed up sewing.  You could use it to improve sewing techniques you may have done for years, but perhaps may not have sewn them as efficiently as possible. 

I hope your sewing is going well.  Don’t forget to occasionally look through some of the sewing books you have to get inspired with ideas for new projects or ways to improve your sewing techniques.