Sewing Tip: Masking Tape for Marking Fabrics

I’ve published tips at some other sites, but I thought it might be nice to have them here, too. Search by category “Tips” to find them. This one is very handy for working with fuzzy fabrics:

I’ve always been a big fan of using WhiteOut to mark notches and pattern markings onto Polar Fleece. But the WhiteOut gets gunked up easily with fibres, and it dries out quickly once the fibres get in the bottle. So when cutting a sweater knit earlier today, I had an Aha! moment. Cut small notches out of masking tape and use those to mark the knit. I keep the notches small enough that they don’t cross the seamline. It’s precise, it stays, and it comes off easily. You can also use painter’s tape, which is even easier to remove.

Hope this helps. Happy sewing!

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

This post could also be titled “Oil and Water”, and it refers to silk charmeuse and fusible tricot interfacing. I’m making the Cosmopolitan dress from an absolutely gorgeous Pucci-type silk charmeuse that I bought from Kashi at Metro Textiles. It is so wonderful, and I just love it – the colors, the flow of the fabric, you name it!

While cutting it out today I decided to use my fave rave fusible tricot interfacing. I use this kind of interfacing on just about everything. It really fuses beautifully. But there’s always an exception, right? Check it out:

Gah! I checked all my settings. I had preshrunk the interfacing, and I used a silk organza press cloth and a spritz bottle to moisten it lightly before fusing. This is all standard procedure and works fine on just about every fabric, including many other silk charmeuse fabrics I have sewn with. But not this one! I used my standard silk setting on my gravity feed, and it bubbled like a pan of pudding over high heat. There’s always an exception to every rule, right? And this one shows that not all charmeuses are amenable to this kind of treatment.

So in the spirit of “drop back and punt”, I took a deep breath, dragged out the ol’ silk organza (which, BTW, you can never have too much of in your stash) and cut new cuffs and facings using silk instead. I applied them using long hand basting stitches about 1/4 inch from the cut edges of the fabric. Here are the results:

Much better!

Now I just have to actually make the dress. Back to the sewing room!

Elastic Hanger Loops

Here’s a tip for those who are making a garment that may need support on the hanger. I like hangar loops, but when I make them from ribbon or twill tape, they often fall off the padded hangers in my closet, making them moot. As an alternative to ribbon/tape, use a length of clear elastic for your hangar loop. The important thing is to cut it about 3 inches shorter than you would normally (I’m assuming you’re making a dress here). This will make the elastic bear more of the weight of the garment. The clear elastic is also slightly sticky, so it won’t slide off your hangers. This is a marvelous solution for keeping the shape of knit or crepe garments.

Happy Sewing!