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Thread: Quilting Skills Really Help When Sewing Clothes

  1. #1
    Super Member CAS49OR's Avatar
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    Quilting Skills Really Help When Sewing Clothes

    I'm new to sewing and quilting. I stumbled into quilting when I was just starting to sew a couple of years ago. I took the class to make friends and use my machine more.

    I've sewn about six quilts, and I'm learning to make clothes. I originally wanted to learn to sew so I could make clothes that fit, but got the quilting bug!

    I'm sewing a nightgown of gingham seersucker fabric now and find myself using quilting skills.

    I set the seams before I press them open, for example.

    I just thought of using Elmer's school glue to tack the yoke seam allowance in place until I've sewn over it, instead of pins. (I see the tip often mentioned in piecing discussions here.)

    btw, The seam ripper works equally well for both hobbies ... I forgot to iron the seam allowances up so they would be sewn down by the stitching around the yoke. Sometimes I think I spend more time ripping than sewing! Of course I used a pretty decorative stitch, so almost 2 hrs. to remove it.

    I used my rotary cutter to cut most of the pattern out! I use quilting rulers and the cutter to trim seams.

    I think more quilting skills translate to sewing than vice-versa. What do you think?

    I think reading patterns for both can be equally challenging, especially if you don't know the lingo!

    Any tips you can think of that will be helpful? I can find many quilting classes in my area, but few sewing classes. I took a beginning class, which prompted me to get my new machine out of the box after three years,
    It was a great deal on a Janome, new in the box for $169.00 which has turned out to be a great machine, similar to the Memory Craft 5700.

    Oh ......... one thing that was freaky-deaky, the 5/8" seam allowance this pattern calls for, it seems huge compared to the 1/4" used for piecing!

    :-)
    CAS

  2. #2
    Senior Member vanginney's Avatar
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    I have been a quilter for 20 years and just recently took up sewing clothes. Sewing classes in my town are non-existent. I take one starting monday on pants.

    That said, I took the sassy librarian blouse on craftsy.com i was impressed with the step by step video tutorials (at 25 which were 20 minutes long). So worth the 9.99 I paid for it with the pattern included.

    Good luck! I am very excited to be branching out.

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    I know how to sew clothes. But I somehow never get the sizing correct!

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAS49OR View Post
    Oh ......... one thing that was freaky-deaky, the 5/8" seam allowance this pattern calls for, it seems huge compared to the 1/4" used for piecing!
    isn't that the truth!!!
    Nancy in western NY
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    Junior Member BDawn's Avatar
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    I have just started quilting and I find I use my quilting rulers when sewing.
    IMO both is an art in it self with challenges. Sewing pattern Co. can vary in size so it takes practice to learn how to cut to fit and pin, pin and try on again and pin. This is what works for me.

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    Yep, that 5/8th seam will get you every time. i don't think of them now, it's been so long since i did any sewing of clothing of any kind.

  7. #7
    Super Member Abby'smom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EllieGirl View Post
    I know how to sew clothes. But I somehow never get the sizing correct!
    I used to sew my clothes until I discovered Macy's and Dillard's sales -- LOL -- maybe polyester knit was the secret to success in those long ago days!! -- for some years my sewing has been limited to quilts, a few related craft items, and Abby the Labby's Vogue pattern fleece shirts -- but yes, some of my sewing skills have improved!!
    diane

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    I have sewn clothing a lot over the years and one thing to be aware of is that the patterns are a size smaller than the things you buy in the store so check out the sizing on the back to be sure it will fit. The things in the store were resized to make us all think we are smaller than we are and the pattern companies did not follow suit. i would be happy to help you in any way you would like. Just send me a note - not sure if emails are allowed on here - I'll check later to see if you have responded. Good luck!!

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    I have sewed clothing almost all my life it's only been in resent years I started quilting. Yes they are different animals all together but at the same time very much alike.
    The first thing that I had to get use to was the difference in seam allowances But let me just say this, YOU CANNOT USE QUILTING SEAMS to make clothing and without surging or some other way of reenforcing the seams they will not hold up. The reason is (in my opinion) is that clothing is subjected to a whole lot more stress on the seams. If you use the 1/4" seam allowances on clothing, your clothes will ware out faster and you will not have enough seam left to fix them.
    Personally, I like the extra seam allowance on clothes patterns because I could turn them under and stitch them a second time which added strength to all my seams. There is a name for it but I never did know what it was called. It hides all the raw edges in the process as well . Some of the shirts I made my son when he was in the 4H club are still being used by the children today and he is 27 yrs old now. The colors might be a little faded but the shirts themselves have held up nicely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seasaw2mch View Post
    I have sewed clothing almost all my life it's only been in resent years I started quilting. Yes they are different animals all together but at the same time very much alike.
    The first thing that I had to get use to was the difference in seam allowances But let me just say this, YOU CANNOT USE QUILTING SEAMS to make clothing and without surging or some other way of reenforcing the seams they will not hold up. The reason is (in my opinion) is that clothing is subjected to a whole lot more stress on the seams. If you use the 1/4" seam allowances on clothing, your clothes will ware out faster and you will not have enough seam left to fix them.
    Personally, I like the extra seam allowance on clothes patterns because I could turn them under and stitch them a second time which added strength to all my seams. There is a name for it but I never did know what it was called. It hides all the raw edges in the process as well . Some of the shirts I made my son when he was in the 4H club are still being used by the children today and he is 27 yrs old now. The colors might be a little faded but the shirts themselves have held up nicely.
    I believe you are referring to French seams. They do work well. 1/4 inch on the first seam wrong sides together and then 3/8 inch seam on the second seam right sides together.

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    Super Member CindyA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WMD926 View Post
    I believe you are referring to French seams. They do work well. 1/4 inch on the first seam wrong sides together and then 3/8 inch seam on the second seam right sides together.
    I believe you are correct. There is another seam, "flat felled seam," but I can't remember if they're very similar. Fitting is definitely a problem for me when sewing clothing. If I could get that figured out I'd love to sew more. Now I only quilt.

  12. #12
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    I learned to sew upholstery fabric in my shop. It was either learn or pay someone to do it. And my business barely supported me at first. So that wasn't an option. Then I started making play clothes for my kids, then came the quilting. But I didn't start quilting in earnest until after I retired.
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    My grandmother, who was a professional seamstress with her own business, insisted I learn to sew from the age of eight. By age 13, with her guidance, I made my first entire suit, a yellow suit with white trim, jacket and skirt. I've been making clothes ever since, and that's been decades. I've also designed a lot of clothing and done some tailoring.

    Over 20 years ago, I took up quilting and have not sewn much clothing since. I thought quilting would be easy, given my sewing skills. I soon found out it is different, requiring much more precision than clothing. I have successfully done some patterns requiring accuracy to 1/32 of an inch in both the cutting and piecing. I now prefer quilting but do still make some clothes.

    It's not that the 5/8 inch seam seems big to me, it's that the 1/4 inch seam seems small, since I learned sewing first.

    For the person that warned about sizes on patterns, here's a way around that: Get the closest sizes to your measurements, lay out the pattern on the straigt of grain of fabric, measure each part of you and then that part on the pattern, extend the pattern with chalk lines if necessary (or reduce it), and cut on the chalk lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cricket_iscute View Post

    It's not that the 5/8 inch seam seems big to me, it's that the 1/4 inch seam seems small, since I learned sewing first.

    For the person that warned about sizes on patterns, here's a way around that: Get the closest sizes to your measurements, lay out the pattern on the straigt of grain of fabric, measure each part of you and then that part on the pattern, extend the pattern with chalk lines if necessary (or reduce it), and cut on the chalk lines.
    Yep I felt the same way, seams to small.
    And may I add something about the patterns sizes: I tell everyone to measure your body and buy the pattern according to your largest part. I find it easier to reduce a pattern because you have the extra space to draw on rather then adding paper onto the pattern to enlarge one.

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    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativetexan View Post
    Yep, that 5/8th seam will get you every time. i don't think of them now, it's been so long since i did any sewing of clothing of any kind.
    I made clothing before I ever made a quilt. My first quilt has 1/2" seam allowances. I am mostly a self taught quilter.

    CAS49OR,
    My daughter makes all sorts of costumes for Anime conventions that she attends and uses lots of quilting techniques in her garments, but she has no interest in making quilts. In the last few years she's learned to use a rotary cutter,
    machine quilting,applique, binding; she's a lefty and has had to figure out things that I being a righty can't teach her.
    She makes beautiful garments.
    Sharon

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    quote from cricket_iscute:
    For the person that warned about sizes on patterns, here's a way around that: Get the closest sizes to your measurements, lay out the pattern on the straigt of grain of fabric, measure each part of you and then that part on the pattern, extend the pattern with chalk lines if necessary (or reduce it), and cut on the chalk lines.
    Quote Originally Posted by seasaw2mch View Post
    Yep I felt the same way, seams to small.
    And may I add something about the patterns sizes: I tell everyone to measure your body and buy the pattern according to your largest part. I find it easier to reduce a pattern because you have the extra space to draw on rather then adding paper onto the pattern to enlarge one.
    Don't you have to add "ease" to your measurements? I don't remember exactly but think it is 1 - 1 1/2" and I don't remember if it is for all measurements or only some. You might want to search on this before going forward.
    I never was good on fitting adult measurements but did well on making children's clothes. I did make my daughter's wedding dress and made the bodice in muslin and fitted it to her before I made it in the wedding dress material. It came out very good. So, if you're making extra special items, making it in muslin first really works.
    Sally

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    The ease is already in the pattern. I've made hundreds of garments this way and they always fit fine. I learned from a professional, my grandmother. She went to a full-time, two-year professional course to learn. I've taken well over a hundred sewing and quilting classes over the years, and haven't had problems. Sometimes, though, I use a garment ruler that is curved; perhaps you have seen them? I've developed enough skill with this through the years, fortunately, that I often alter patterns or take one part of one pattern and use it with another. For instance, if I don't like the collar on one pattern but like the rest of the pattern, I'll make a new collar piece or borrow and adapt one from a pattern I do like. My grandma could just look at a already-made style and copy it in her own garment without even using a pattern; now that is skill!

    Did you know that every size increases the pattern pieces by 5/8 inch? So if you can't get one in your size, you can get another and draw the appropriate chalk lines.

    Nancy Zieman has a whole book on the subject, I think.
    Last edited by cricket_iscute; 03-03-2013 at 10:03 AM.

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    Grandma taught me to sew on her old treadle machine. I sewed my clothes, then my children's and now grandchildren's. Always thought quilting was for old ladies. Well, now I am one and I quilt. But I also teach young ones to quilt and tell them not to wait til they are old!

  19. #19
    Super Member CAS49OR's Avatar
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    Vanginney, It's good to know you enjoyed this class. I signed up for it a long time ago, and stopped after I printed out the pattern pieces. 28 pages! I need to sort and decide which elements to mix and match. I plan to make it in muslin to practice first.

    I crochet also, and painted some muslin to weave through a crochet afghan. I'm not sure I like how the colors turned out, they kind of bled together and the focus is orange instead of burgundy and brown, so I may use it to make the shirt and paint a new cloth for the afghan.

    I have fitting problems, did the class help you get the right fit?

    Quote Originally Posted by vanginney View Post
    I have been a quilter for 20 years and just recently took up sewing clothes. Sewing classes in my town are non-existent. I take one starting monday on pants.

    That said, I took the sassy librarian blouse on craftsy.com i was impressed with the step by step video tutorials (at 25 which were 20 minutes long). So worth the 9.99 I paid for it with the pattern included.

    Good luck! I am very excited to be branching out.
    :-)
    CAS

  20. #20
    Super Member CAS49OR's Avatar
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    Same here, I'm sewing a Simplicity pattern now. According to their size chart a large would fit best, but I end up removing 2.5" from the side seams so I'm not wearing a tent. That's 5" x length of fabric gone to waste. I want to learn to convert the patterns before I cut the cloth. I always like to add more length to cover my legs to mid-calve and upper arms too. Different brands are more true to size I've found.

    Quote Originally Posted by EllieGirl View Post
    I know how to sew clothes. But I somehow never get the sizing correct!
    :-)
    CAS

  21. #21
    Super Member CAS49OR's Avatar
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    Cricket and Seasaw that is a good advice. Cricket I'm envious of you and your Grandmother's skills. I'm hoping to learn a lot more and be able to convert patterns better. I started taking a course in Fashion Design from a local community college and the first quarter was all about drafting a shirt. I still have those directions and will lay that pattern on a bought pattern to try to adjust, it doesn't always work out well.

    It's funny, when I took the course my machine was still in the box, and I had ZERO knowledge of sewing and didn't practice at all at home. The classes have since became too expensive or I would love to go back now that I know how my machine works.

    Quilting is great for teaching patience, and confidence, since I eventually will make something pretty if I stick with it and follow (figure out) the pattern. I have an on-going affair with Mr. Clover (clover brand seam ripper) when in the past I would have just chucked the whole works in the trash.

    btw I just made a fleece jacket for my hubby for his birthday and he says it is very nice! I had made the vest in a beginning sewing class about 2 years ago, and I made the version with sleeves last month. I did the exact same thing I did when making the vest -- forgot how much the fleece stretches and ended up with one side six inches longer on the zipper. Mr. Clover got hot and bothered again! I used wonder tape on it, and pinned heavily so it couldn't move much the second try.
    :-)
    CAS

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    Ok I went looking to find a god place on the net that will give good instructions on how and where to measure yourself before buying a pattern. This is it, very similar to what I did with everyone that I sewed for.

    http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/...-to-measure-up

    Please go check this site out as it might even have more information on how to adjust the patterns.

    and this is the best I've seen to help you pick out the right size pattern for your size, it's on the same website

    http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/...-size/page/all
    Last edited by seasaw2mch; 03-05-2013 at 04:43 PM.

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    I never sewed clothes before. I started out as a quilter when a co-worker taught me to quilt many years ago. Now my DGD got an American Girl doll for Christmas and has asked me to make her doll some clothes. I'm doing it, but it sure isn't fun. The pieces are too small for me. Challenging to say the least but she's my granddaughter, so I will do it gladly.
    I don't want to brag but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

  24. #24
    Super Member CAS49OR's Avatar
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    Seasaw that is a great site! I noticed in the comments many people remarked on the size difference, for example one woman said she wears a size six but according to the pattern she wears a 16. I haven't used many patterns but have found Kwik Sew seems to be the most accurate. Hubby's jacket pattern fit perfect going by the chart, as did a cotton shirt I made myself.

    I know vanity sizing has got much worse, if I go to a thrift store and find old jeans they are the same size but the ones in the store sure aren't. I wear a smaller size than I know I really do judging by the labels in the store.

    On the comments someone had a link to this method of pattern re-sizing, what do you think of it?
    http://sensibility.com/blog/tips/how...ize-a-pattern/

    I took a class with Glenda Sparling, who teaches "Sure-Fit Designs" and made a bodice that fits perfectly, it was made of muslin, and I have not gone ahead and made a shirt using the method, but she taught us how to measure very similar to the site you shared. I need to do measure again since I've gained 5-7 lbs. since then.

    GagaSmith I was thinking getting a doll and dressing her would be a great way to gain sewing skills, but thought they would be small and hard to handle too. Your Granddaughter sure is lucky and will really appreciate the pretty clothes for her doll, maybe you can make them some matching outfits eventually?
    :-)
    CAS

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAS49OR View Post

    On the comments someone had a link to this method of pattern re-sizing, what do you think of it?
    http://sensibility.com/blog/tips/how...ize-a-pattern/
    A quick glance at that site, I would say it might work well on a pattern that isn't close fitting (clothing made to fit sort of lose) but if you were doing a pattern that was form fitted, I'm not sure that it would work as well. Some of the things they showed would work, like the adjustments for shorting or lengthening but dividing the pattern up like they did, I think would not work as well with some fitted patterns.

    I could be wrong about that because I have never seen or done altering their way. Maybe some one else here has more experience with that then I do.

    Most of the patterns that I did back in the day were ones I drew up myself using a pattern that was general in size and altering it as needed to fit each person. I worked with young girls that would have a size 20 breast, a 12 waist and maybe a 14 hip. So I would get a pattern to accommodate their breast size and alter the other areas down as needed. For me it was easier to reduce the other areas, rather then enlarge the breast because most of the shirts or jackets they would wanted a tailor fit. I hope this makes sense.

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