Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tango Progress and Loes Hinse Tweaks

Loes Hinse's style of sewing is different than most pattern companies, with more serging and limited pressing. She has a real philosophy of how to sew, her methods flow from that, and she's pretty adamant about how her techniques should be followed. OK, I respect that, but I still do some things my way.

I thought it might be helpful to discuss what I do when I sew her patterns to "make it work." (I miss Tim Gunn saying that!). I'll explain some of the tweaks I use when sewing with Loes as I talk about my progress on the latest Tango Skirt.

When I last posted, I had cut out the 10 gores and sewn them together with conventional 1/4" seams. It was almost time to serge them all. Loes' styles are generally close fitting, so I often take the extra step of sewing conventionally followed by incrementally serging seams and trying on again until the fit is where I want it. This is pretty simple on a skirt with as many gores as the Tango. As a result of this process, I serged 6 of the 10 seams with deeper seam allowances (3/8" vs. 1/4", the pattern instructions call for 3/8" throughout).

Something else I do is to work flat for as long as possible. I try to do this on every project, not just this pattern. It's just simpler; I don't care for serging in the round and fooling around with ending the stitching when serging straight is soooo much easier. So my last seam of the skirt was basted so I could do my try-ons. When satisfied with the fit, I pulled out the basting and quickly finished the waist and hem edges. Then, that final vertical seam on the serger. At this point, the skirt is basically a tube.

I do a bit more pressing than Loes instructs. Personal preference; I like all those vertical seams to be flattened out a bit. Then, eyeballing it, I turned up a 1/2" hem. I've tried more "measured" ways of doing this, but on a curved hem like the Tango, it works for me. Loes just turns up as she sews. Maybe that works; I'm not there yet.

Re: the waist. The pattern instructions would have you attach the elastic and finish the edge in the same step. I've never felt comfortable doing that all at once. Stretching the elastic and trying to keep slippery fabric lined up all at the same time seems to require more hands than I have!! So I do them separately; it doesn't take that much longer. That's where I am right now; I'll be off to the sewing machine soon to finish. Stay tuned for a picture of the final skirt.

The Ultimate Sewing Resource: Essentially, Loes' manifesto. Really!

S Magazine: There used to be a free Loes Hinse newsletter. Unfortunately no more, but some of them are still posted on-line at Casual Elegance. Download them while you can.

Casual Elegance: Partners with Loes to sell her type of fabrics, plus notions and online seminars.

Threads Magazine: I haven't found these online (yet). The Threads website's search feature leaves a lot to be desired, IMO. Whatever. These articles by Loes appeared in past issues:
  • July 1998, Number 77, "Sewing: Less is More," pp. 43-47
  • August/September 2002, Number 102, "8 Ready-To-Wear Tricks for Making Modern Jackets," pp. 40-43
  • January 2004, Number 110, "Designer Shopping Strategy: Buy Fabric in Groups of Three," pp. 42-45

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