Lesson learned on the fold

By Coralie, in Sewing Techniques0 comments

Here’s the tale of my latest school project and the lessons learned while sewing it.

Last week, I had the presentation for the latest design we did at school. And boy, was it a hectic week!

Now that calm and a little free time has been restored, I’m excited to finally show you the final result.

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The assignment was to create a wearable object or garment that used folds as a mean to create volume and shape. From there, ideas and concepts were brainstormed until finally I had a moodboard that inspired me.

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One thing that kept coming back was the idea to make scales with folded fabric. At first, it seemed like a super and intriguing idea, but what wasn’t anticipated was the amount of headache and swearing at the sewing machine this would eventually bring!

When making fabric manipulations, I tested my ideas doing mini toiles or muslin on a wooden mannequin. This was a very helpful way of quickly trying out new things.

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After some complex pattern making and figuring out what to fold and how. It slowly started to take shape.

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And of course, to make things a lot easier, faux leather was just the fabric to help. (Cynical? Me? Noooo…)

Here’s an example of the daily struggle sewing this jacket caused…

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Well, all in all, now that it is done, I’m very happy and proud with the result. This was a a big learning experience and one I want to share with you. So here’s a few tips and tricks learned along the way and that made sewing leather much less stressing. A faux-leather jacket for Spring anyone?

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Test, test, test

Faux leather is tricky because once it’s pierced, there’s no turing back. So one thing that makes the process easier is to test every new technique you want to use. You have to sew through 8 layers of leather and don’t know if your machine can withstand it? Test it! That way you can find the best techniques to handle what you need to do without having the added pressure of “you have to get it right the first time”.

Who needs fancy sewing feet?

If you don’t have a fancy roller foot to use with leather, don’t worry! There’s a simple trick you can use and it makes a world of a difference when topstitching. To help the feet slide on the fabric, use tissue paper or wrapping tissue on top of it. And if you’re afraid of the feeding dogs damaging areas where there’s a lot of layers (typically, when going over seams), use the paper underneath your work too. Trust me, it works like a charm and it is easily removed once the seam is done.

Sewing thick fabric

Finally, knowing which feet to use when sewing thick fabric can help a lot. I’ve used countless times the little button on the back of my standard presser foot. (If you don’t know its use, try this How-To I wrote last year, it’ll change your life! 😉 ). And the blind hem foot was so useful when doing accurate topstitching (How-To available too!).

Now that this project is done, things are going to get serious! 🙂

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The research and design of the final collection is here and I’ve already started brainstorming theme and ideas. If you want to follow along, check out my Instagram for work in progress pictures.

That’s it for today! See you soon with lots of new designs and futurs project.