Sunday, November 24, 2013

Oh, the joys of basting...

Good evening, my dear readers! This update comes late Sunday night because I spent this weekend with some of the precious people in my life (and drove four hours one way to see them). One of those people was my beloved sewing goddess. I had a lovely weekend with my beloved friends, but I did not forget my wonderful readers, and thus you have an update! Just a small note though - I will not be updating Farm Work and Cosplay Thanksgiving weekend, for I will be spending the time with my friends and family. Updates will resume as usual following that weekend. If you all are very lucky, I might post a few pictures I have not shared with you yet. That is, however, quite up in the air, and I cannot make any promises.

Now for a tip on basting!

Many patterns and projects require you to baste two pieces of fabric together, loosely stitching them so that they stay for a neater, tighter stitching job. Now, in basting, you have a few options. First, you can just pin the two pieces of fabric together and forego all the sewing. The problems with this are that the fabric can slip and - the usual problem with pins - you have to be mindful of pulling them out as you go rather than running over them and risking breaking a pin or your needle. Your next option for basting is machine basting, which is often the preferred method. For this, you crank your machine to the longest stitch length and let 'er go. This is often extremely quick and easy (though for this and hand-basting you'll need to pin anyway), and tends to be a preferred method. The third method is hand-basting, in which you take a hand-sewing needle and your thread and you make big swooping stitches just meant to tack the two pieces together. All these methods are made for easy removal later, because these basting stitches won't be in the finished project.

Now, here's where my tip comes in. Machine basting is tempting and handy in a pinch, but MAKE SURE THE FABRIC FORGIVES NEEDLE MARKS BEFORE YOU MACHINE BASTE.

Did I get your attention? Okay, here's the deal. When you sew on a piece of fabric, you leave needle marks wherever the needle pushed through. You're probably not going to notice these marks very much when they're part of a seam in a garment, and you'll just see the thread. The trick comes when you rip out the stitches, as you almost always do with basting. As soon as the stitches are removed, the holes are revealed. In some fabrics, these holes don't show up much. They're practically invisible, as though you never stitched in that spot. These fabrics are forgiving. Other fabrics hold nasty, nasty grudges. As soon as you rip the stitches, you see these holes that almost seem gaping, and no matter how gently you take the stitches out, they're still there. The soft, simple cotton I used for Belle's bodice is not very forgiving, as I discovered after machine basting the inner and outer shells together and then ripping the stitches to find noticeable marks in the fabric. Thankfully, in that case, a wash made them far less visible (and you can't really find them now), but I still freaked out when I first saw the marks.

If you want to test how forgiving the fabric is, take a scrap of it - doesn't need to be big - and run a stitch down it the way you normally do. Then, take it out the same way you normally would and see if there's any damage. If the marks are too visible for your preferences or you see any other problems, just hand-baste or pin it all together. Trust me, that's better than freaking out over holes in your fabric.

This has been a tip on basting from your friendly neighborhood cosplayer! Have a lovely Thanksgiving, dear readers, and I'll see you again the week following! Remember, I will be taking Thanksgiving weekend off to spend time with friends and family (and possibly have a photoshoot). I send to you all my love and best wishes! Goodnight, and safe travels!

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