Practice Makes Perfect. Or does it?
As Michael's former voice teacher, the late Cornelius Reid, used to say, "practice makes permanent." What that means is, be careful what you do (and how you do it), because whatever you practice will become your habit.
This applies to sewing too. It's great to practice, but only provided you have good technique. Practicing lousy technique is just going to cement that technique in your head (and hands).
In last night's menswear sewing class, we worked on collar stands and collars, using a number of methods whose value was immediately obvious to me. The challenge now is to unlearn what I've been doing for nearly five years.
|In class we call this the band. I'd read that it's a band only when there's no collar; otherwise it's a stand. Clearly there's no consensus about this.|
I exaggerate. There's nothing wrong with my method of attaching collar and collar stand, which I learned from the Margaret Islander video, Shirts, Etc., and which I explain in great detail here. But I can see that the method taught in my menswear sewing class is probably more precise. I won't go through the whole process here, but it involves the more traditional way of fitting the attached collar bands (with the collar wedged in between) onto the neck edge. (Also stitching up (the width of the seam allowance) the side that's going to fit on the outside of the neck edge.
Speaking of collar bands, something I've found potentially confusing -- not to me so much as (I imagine) to others, is the use of the terms right side and wrong side. In class, we use it to mean not only the side of the fabric you don't want facing out, but also the inside of a finished cuff or the underside of a collar. I asked about this last night and Professor B. replied that he could see why it might be confusing but he had never heard them referred to in any other way. In home sewing, I have always seen the part of the cuff that's facing inward called the inside cuff and the part of the collar that's facing down, the under collar (same with inside collar stand). Am I wrong about this?
|We also talked about buttons. We learned that you can tell a real mother of pearl button by holding it next to your skin. It should feel cool.|
We've been starting our weekly classes by copying instructions for whatever we're learning that day off the blackboard, along with accompanying diagrams. This takes time, but it does help to cement the ideas in your head. We review them together, and Professor B. demonstrates to us, step-by-step, how to perform them, usually adding some extra pointers along the way. (Like pinning starting at either end of a seam, then pinning your center, and then sub-dividing each side to evenly distribute ease. Or ironing in the direction you stitch.)
My big takeaway from last night's class was marking the corner that will become the collar point with chalk (or pencil) BEFORE you stitch your two collar sides (right sides together) -- i.e, marking the seam allowance on both edges with a focus on the point where they intersect). That point is very important and it's very helpful to have those traced lines when you're stitching (also, narrow the stitch length). Another helpful hint: as you turn the corner, stitch one angled stitch and then turn the corner all the way. That one stitch helps to create space for the trimmed seam allowance when you turn your collar right side out.
Anyway, here's my collar -- not perfect as you can see; I'm not sewing at my best at 8:30 at night, especially when I'm feeling rushed. The two I make for homework (along with attached collar stand) will look better I'm sure.
|The edge isn't quite straight.|
|I didn't push out the seam well before ironing.|
Will I change my method of attaching collar and collar stand to my shirts from the one I've been using up until now? I probably will. I've already incorporated the cuff technique (very similar to the collar band technique, actually) and it has helped me to create a cleaner-looking cuff.
Readers, that's all for now. (Maybe after the class is over I can offer a "New & Improved" shirt sew-along!)
Next week: sleeve plackets.
Have a great day, everybody!