Sewing Tips To Make Your Life Easier

Besides the obvious sewing items like scissors and pin cushion, there are two items I keep on  hand at all times. They are masking tape and tracing paper. Here are some ways they can make your sewing process easier.

Tracing Paper

I use it when I sew clear elastic band (to avoid fabric from over stretching) , laminated fabrics or leather. For clear elastic (pictured above), I layered the strip of tracing paper on top of clear elastic so the clear elastic does not stick to the sewing foot. I sewed lace, clear elastic and tracing paper together. Once you are done with the seam, just rip the paper to remove it. 

Masking Tape

1. Use it to mark the right side of fabric.

Some fabrics are hard to tell which side is right and which side is wrong. In order to avoid mistakes, I cut a piece of masking tape and put it on the right side of the fabric as I cut the pattern pieces. 

2. Write down the needle size

I often get confused with what needle I’m currently using. I change the needle and keep using it, completely forgetting if it’s 11, 9, or a ball point needle. Sewing needle sizes are hard to tell from just looking at the needle. Now I have a solution. Whenever I change a needle, I write down the needle size on a masking tape and stick it right above the needle so I know exactly what I’m using.

3. Cover the edge side of bones

Instead of creating a bone channel, I use a plain white masking tape to cover the edges of bones and sew it directly on fabric. This only works for plastic bones like the ones shown in the picture, not the steel bones. 

More tips? 
Tips on Sewing Tulle Dress
Tips on Sewing with Kimono Fabric
How to Attach Facings with an Invisible Zipper(No Hand Sewing Involved!)



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The Marriage of Figaro Costume

I’ve had some interesting assignments recently…making costumes! I haven’t had much chance to make costumes except for my failed attempt to sew a past Halloween costume, so when I was asked to make Cherubino’s costume for the Marriage of Figaro, I jumped on it. The fabric was provided by the client (bright green satin with dragon print!) and I bought the triming. The buttons are from Zakzak and ribbon is from Tomato, both in Nippori. Zakzak has some fun trims, like crazy belt buckles. Worth checking in whenever you are in Nippori.Ive made men’s vests, tuxs and pants in the past (here and here) so I modified it a bit to fit this project.  Added a mock pocket flap. One good thing about making costumes is that the clothes don’t necessarily have to be functional. Here are some close up photos of the pants. I used men’s trouser patterns, shorten the length and added some cuffs.  Tada! Ridiculously shinny vest and jacket set. I’m sure you can spot Cherubino from the miles away. I also made a costume for a customer who wants to do cosplay as a character from a video game, Parasite Eve. I don’t play video games and have no idea about Parasite Eve, but the quick google search taught me it’s  “a 1998 survival horror action role-playing video game”. I was to make a dress for Melissa Pearce, and here you can see the character I based the dress for.It was simple to make but ended up very heavy because the fabric used was velvet. I used closed to three meters.


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Embroidered Jeans

After finishing up my last knitting project, I needed another portable project for when I watch TV or travel. Because the season is heading toward Summer, I took a break from knitting and decided to transform my boyfriend denim. It was already refashioned once from thrifted mom jeans to tapered boyfriend fit but I wanted to incorporate the embroidery trend (You can see my mood board on Pinterest). I had a lot of embroidery threads left over from my previous projects (here and here) so I had everything I needed to tackle this project right away. I used this Japanese book, titled “可愛いハンガリー刺しゅう:はじめてでも楽しめる伝統ある手仕事” and followed the patterns. I used an erasable pen to draw patterns on the jeans. Most things are done using satin stitches and lines are done by stem stitches (useful article on 10 hand embroidery stitches). The trick is to first do the running stitches around the border and then fill the canvas with satin stitches. This way the embroider has more 3D effect. Here are some progress photos – from left, 3/23/2017, 3/9/2017 and 4/19/2017. It took a couple of months to finish. I’m glad that they are done before the embroidery trend is over. After I finish all the embroidery, I had to take in 12cm total of waist. I followed this youtube tutorial. 12cm was a lot to take in, so you can see the side seams are not in true side anymore. Sorry for the many butt photos! But I needed to show off the months of handy work:)  



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