Sometimes you pay for someone to show you all the techniques you know would work, if only you took the time to experiment. This weekend, I Jan Bones, Canadian garment instructor and author of Lingerie Secrets Sewing Patterns, showed us a number of tricks in “Lingerie Finishes for Daywear.” Jan was in the Seattle area for two days for a demonstration day, which I could not attend, and a hands-on day. I attended the Sunday morning hands-on. Lingerie uses knits and lightweight fabrics, and if you’ve noticed fashions, it’s not just for underneath anymore! I learned how to construct, reinforce and reinforce a variety of treatments. I have been experimenting with making my own underthings — I’m tired of fabric that ravels and holes that erupt in side seams. So I’ve had some experience with stretching elastic to fit, which were a few of the techniques that Jan had us produce samples for. Nevertheless I learned some new tricks at this Seattle ASG-sponsored event.
My favorite techniques:
- Use picot edge elastic for various treatments, including encased elastic. Why use picot edge when you are going to completely cover it up? Jan says that it produces a smoother edge in which the elastic “feathers” at the edge so you don’t even feel it. I agree; it’s a comfortable finish.
- Serge edges, then tack them down with a narrow zig-zag stitch so that no edges are felt on the inside. This is great for nightwear. She shared a light green fleece jacket in which she used contrasting turquoise thread for the zig-zag on the outside of the garment — and it looked very snazzy.
- Use a test strip butted up to your fashion fabric. It really works to get the snarls out on the test strip and allows you to sew right onto the elastic, then stretch it to fit with fewers errors. I knew this! But didn’t practice it.
- Reinforce gathers on lightweight fabric by stitching thin polyester ribbon over the top. This could be used in the cup area of a camisole — or think about a top with an empire waist. Gathers in the lower part of the top could loosen over time. The ribbon stabilizes the gathers so the gathers don’t pull out.
Overall, this session was a great class length, and Jan Bones is a pleasant person with lots to share, and I’m sure her students to the north love her. I went home with a number of helpful samples and one of Jan’s printed guides — and I whipped out a pair of undies right then. I have more experimenting to do, but it was an inspiring day.