Do you think of ready to wear as cheap and nasty?
Ready to wear clothes construction often gets slated in the home sewing community. It’s often assumed that cheap must mean inferior, when in fact modern garment technology includes cutting edge machinery and processes that speed up manufacturing, much of which contributes to the lower cost.
As a masters student on a garment technology course, the first thing we were encouraged to do was to go shopping and really examine the inside of the clothes to see how they were made. A garment technologist will often test the processes involved in a sample to see if its cost effective and to make process diagrams of tricky bits to send to factories. This ensures that quality control can be maintained across multiple factories making the same garment! So, as a costumer working occasionally on a morning tv news show, I get access to garments from multiple high street brands ,and can really get a proper look inside. I’ve found some really cool tips that I’ve incorporated into my sewing, my patterns and even the bee!
# 1- Swapping hooks and eyes for buttons and loops at the top of zips.
Do you hate the little hook and eye at the top of zips? I find them scratchy and a little pointless! This hand worked loop and button looks a lot less irritating!
Oh, and whilst we’re looking at this picture, notice how nicely the facing is sitting around that zip? That’s another ready to wear hack we can steal which I’ll cover in depth in my next blog post.
# 2- Reinforcing the inner edge of trouser hems.
Having a background in men’s theatrical tailoring means I’m a big fan of this, and used it all the time as it makes costumes last longer. By top stitching a seam tape (straight grain not bias!) to the inside of the hem allowance at the back of the trousers before completing the hem, you can protect from wear and tear.
Nb-always do this after fitting and assessing hem length!!!
# 3- Reducing the bulk at the front edge of shirt hems.
Whilst pressing a Tom Ford shirt at work recently- I noticed this detail, and thought what a cool trick it was! Instead of taking the front button stand all the way to the hem, it’s been turned at a 45 degree angle, making an interesting feature whilst massively reducing the bulk at the front hem edge.
# 4- Ribbon plackets behind zips.
So sometimes it feels pretty uncomfortable when a zip sits right next to the skin right? Well a ribbon placket is super easy to add, and is often found on slightly higher end ready to wear especially if it’s a metal zip. You simply make the placket by top stitching a folded piece of ribbon to the length of the zip opening, and either hand sew in place behind the zip once inserted, or machine into the seam allowance of the zip. Easy peasy…
# 5– Stabilizing the back of necklines on knit garments with ribbon.
I love this trick spotted inside a favorite dress from joules! Necklines are prone to stretching out over time on knit garments, and this solution is both pretty and practical. You can use velvet ribbon which feels v luxurious, or any regular ribbon. Secured in place by hand sewing makes this a lot less tricky a process too!
You can also do an adaptation of this by inserting a grosgrain ribbon into the inner side of a collar. Nice little pop of colour and the ribbon will keep the neckline stabilized. Grosgrain can be pressed to a curve before inserting, making it lie flat.
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I've just got back into sewing and I find your newsletter tips really useful so do please keep them coming.