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May 5, 2010

Cathy and the black belt - PART 2

 

What can I say, peeps?  You're the best.  Yesterday I let you decide how I should proceed with the 1948 McCall's dress and the results speak for themselves.  The fabric belt is a big improvement.  I thank you. 

Cathy, relieved that her torso won't be sliced in half by a big, black-velvet horizontal, thanks you as well.  She's a happy girl.

The fabric belt was actually quite easy to make.



I interfaced my strip of fabric (there was a pattern piece for a belt), folded the seam allowances under (the belt is roughly one inch wide) and topstitched it directly  on top of an old belt I'd found at the Salvation Army.



I cut a buckle off a fake patent leather belt I had and voila! -- a matching fabric belt with a shiny black buckle.



I'd like to share another first with you, peeps:  I finished my first hem by hand!  I found a You Tube video that showed how to sew a simple hem stitch and I just gave it a try.  It didn't take as long as I feared it would and from the outside it's practically invisible.







It feels like a big leap forward for me, as I had a real fear of hand sewing (primarily because I didn't know how).  I even hand-finished the sleeves!

If the weather holds out, we'll do our photo shoot tomorrow.

Oh, one last thing:  this is a cocktail dress hence the black accessories.  We're going for more of an early evening look. 

Thanks again to everyone who voted and/or commented.  I think you may have saved my relationship with Cathy as well as her career!

So, what do you think -- better, right?

30 comments:

  1. Looks great - the fabric covered belt was certainly the right choice! (Though, sometimes you have to physically try other options before you settle on the best one - the black belt could have worked fine, you never can tell) Sewing the interfaced fabric directly onto another belt was smart - I should try that; I bet that it would be easier to camouflage the fact that I would need to shorten said belts. That hand-hemmed skirt is an inspiration, though. Seems like it'd be something good to do while watching tv. I have jury duty at the end of the month and have been considering partly finishing several dresses, minus the hems, and bringing them to kill time. Could work, we shall see!

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  2. The belt looks great! Clever job of making it. Bravo on your first hand-sewn hem too.

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  3. Yep - better. Looks more glam.

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  4. The belt looks really good! Well done on hand hemming the dress. You're right, it's the thinking about doing it (the hand stitching) that's worse than the actual doing.

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  5. Fab job! Cathy is going to be glowing when she gets to model it.

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  6. This is a beautiful dress! Looking forward to seeing Cathy model it. Well done for overcoming your fear of hand sewing!

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  7. Marie-ChristineMay 5, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    OK, I was a big fan of the black belt, but I admit that I was wrong, this is better. Well, you could still vary the look with different belts :-). I'd prefer a red belt, but I realize this is NY and all..
    You shouldn't be afraid of hand sewing, it's quick to get the hang of it, the result looks good, and it's a nice calming thing to do. Nothing like a round of radio/tv with something in your hands. And sometimes it's much quicker to just whip out a zipper insertion by hand rather than rip it out 5 times, swearing. As to hemming time, it's a pain when you're doing a hand-rolled hem on 90" of silk chiffon (think hungry zombie's next project..), but there's nothing to a 40s dress.

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  8. Another beauty! Love the belt too - I have a fear of making belts. Like your fear of hand-sewn hems, I must overcome it; hopefully as successfully as you!

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  9. Definitely better and what a blooming brilliant way of making a belt. Time to start stalking the thrift shops!

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  10. Yes yes yes!

    Your belt solution is lovely and ingenious. I like that you kept a black buckle to tie in her other black accessories. Makes sense.

    And hand finishing is so relaxing! I rarely do it because I'm usually finishing a dress in a frenzy so I can wear it out to a dinner that I'm already late to, but the idea of stepping away from the machine and finishing a hem by hand is a nice tranquil end to a project.

    3 tips for tangle-free hand sewing:

    1. don't cut your thread any longer than 18".
    2. Run your thread through beeswax (or those wax tailor's "chalks") and then iron it. Smooooth.
    3. Hold your thumb over the spot where your thread came out as you're pulling your needle.

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  11. Looks great. Although when I read Marie-Christine's comment I thought: Oh wow, a red belt, that could be stunning!

    I look forward to seeing the photoshoot!

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  12. I'd like to see that dress with different colored gloves. Perhaps red? And with red shoes?

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  13. Nice hemming! I do lots and lots of hemstitching, because I quilt, and that's how the backsides of quilt bindings are finished. You'll get better at it and faster as time goes on.

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  14. Great method for making a belt. I will have to try that. I am looking forward to Cathy's photo shoot.

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  15. It is better! Cathy must be pleased ;o)
    I also did my first hand stitched hem this week. I'm so proud of it, I will likely be pointing it out to strangers. It was easy and nearly invisible.

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  16. Beautiful! The belt and the hem look wonderful. I can't wait to see the photo shoot!

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  17. Thanks, all! And thanks for the sewing tips, Mz. Whitney.

    Funny thing: before I watched that You Tube video, I thought you had to use one piece of thread long enough for the entire hem -- we're talking like, two YARDS -- and I couldn't understand how to keep it from knotting up. D'oh!

    My one problem is the thread pulling out of the needle on occasion as I pull the thread through the stitch. Any recommendations?

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  18. Amazing how changing an accessory can make such a difference. The dress looks more sophisticated now. I look forward to seeing Cathy model.

    Bravo for sewing courageously and trying something new--and the hem looks great! I'm all about being brave and trying new things in the sewing world this year.

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  19. Peter, re the thread pulling out of the needle, it probably has to do with how you're holding the needle (i.e., if you're just holding it just between your thumb and one finger). Try crooking your ring finger around the thread just below the eye hole of the needle as you pull it through. Hard to explain, but as you do more hand sewing, it'll come naturally. It helps to keep a feel on your thread as you're sewing, so you can tell if it's starting to slip.

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  20. When I'm hand sewing hems I loop the thread and knot it at the bottom so there are two threads and no risk of pulling it out of the needle. Another trick I don't really use but I learned on the job is to have your thread looped, bring it through the needle still looped, and bring the rest of the string through the loop, and you have your thread secure.

    The belt looks great! Giving me some ideas about making my own!

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  21. Ooo, much much better. It's a tricky call with fabric like that, going with a bold belt. Though I wonder how it would look with a red belt to match the roses?

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  22. Looks much better with the fabric belt! And what a lovely hem too. I'm hoping for good weather for your photo shoot!

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  23. Brilliant! The print fabric belt is just perfect! And I love the strand of pearls . . . always appropriate!!

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  24. Love the belt ingenuity!

    Your invisible hem looks great. Doesn't it make such a big difference from a machine hem?

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  25. great belt! and you'll find your own "flow" with hand sewing. I'm another who actually likes it.

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  26. Excellent job with the belt! Love the dress as well.

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  27. A suggestion? Use a double thread. Just tie a knot with both ends together. Knotting is a bit of a problem, but it happens anyway....

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  28. I'm amazed what a difference the belt makes! Quite lovely!

    And congratulations on the handsewn hem! I love handsewing.

    As P. said, hook your idle fingers around the thread as soon as it comes through the fabric; it does end up being a very natural motion. Also, make sure you're leaving yourself enough of a tail through the needle - I go for about 6 inches, but you might want a little longer since I assume your hands are larger. And get a new piece of thread before you have so little left that each stitch is a pain! Thread is not expensive, and re-threading the needle and knotting the thread is something that gets faster with practice. You can use a doubled thread and never lose your needle, like others said, but for a hem I think that would provide a less invisible finish. And you run into the problem of one piece of thread coming uneven with the other and making little loops. I use a doubled thread for sewing on buttons, but not much else.

    (Sorry for the delay - I tried to comment yesterday, but had technical difficulties.)

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  29. I also just got a chance to take a look at yesterday's post, I love the fabric belt with the black buckle! My current project has a fabric belt, now I am excited to try my hand at it. The dress looks great and I can't wait to see the final photo shoot!

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  30. I far prefer the self fabric belt to the black one. I love the dress and the hand finishing details are divine. Great work!

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