Spring Sewing 2023

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:23:15 Spring Sewing 2023


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Lisa is connecting with Julian Collins for Menswear Sunday, April 16th, at 3 pm on the Black Sewing Network on TikTok. They will sew the boxer brief pattern the Gable by Made for Mermaids. Lisa enjoys the Gable pattern because of its simplicity (3 seams, 2 hems, 1 waistband) and the size inclusivity. The kid size goes from toddler to teen; the adult size fits waist sizes 28″ to 63″. Not bad for $9. Get the Made for Mermaids Gable boxer briefs BWS affiliate link

Check out the BWS Amazon store for pinned supply list

Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.

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Lisa Woolfork  0:02  

Hey friends, hey. You want to hear me rap over this beat? Keep listening to the episode. Ay, ay, ay, ay.

Lisa W  0:23  

Hello Stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please. The official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast, with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

Hey, friends, hey, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork, and as I say every week, this is a very special episode. Because this episode is about spring sewing. It is taking us out of the first quarter of the year and into the second quarter which begins this month in April. And I am delighted because every April, this time of year, I do Easter sewing, and this is part of the tradition that I've done for my family that is an extension of our first-day-of-school outfits. I have always done first-day-of-school outfits for the kids ever since my college-age student was in kindergarten. So he and his brother had matching outfits heading into elementary school. I continued that tradition, all the way until now. One is in college and the other graduated college, and I still make first-day-of-school shirts, because I gotta go to school. So, I really love it and enjoy doing it. And you can hear a little bit more about that in our first episode of the Stitch Please podcast from about three years ago, and the boys are talking about that tradition. And it's really wonderful to listen to that episode because their voices are totally different. They were little when they made that recording, especially the youngest. And now his voice is very deep. And he is also taller than I am. And I don't want to talk about that anymore. So let's do talk about the patterns that I'm using for this spring sewing. There are three patterns, one by Simplicity, one by KnowMe, and the other by Made for Mermaids, and I'm making all three this spring. So let me tell you what's on the cutting table.

The fabric I'm using is from Spoonflower. It was designed by a Black woman named Janine Lacour, and you can find her fabrics also on Spoonflower. I'm using the cotton sateen which is a beautiful woven with a very nice hand. It really does hold its shape very well, and it also looks good in pleats, which will be useful for my dress. But let me tell you about the shirts. I tend to use the same pattern for my spouse and our boys. That is Simplicity 8753. It is an Oxford shirt. And it is a button up with long sleeves, collars, and cuffs, with a separate collar stand. These are the hallmarks of what's been defined as a classic men's shirt. What I appreciate about Simplicity 8753 is the way that it has three different fit styles in one pattern. View A is the classic shirt. View B is cut a little bit slimmer than View A giving it a bit more streamlined, and that's what they call their "modern fit." View C is the same as View B but with fisheye darts in the back, and that gives it that slim fit. What is so great for me about this pattern is that I have three people in my family who are wearing it, and they all like something different. My oldest prefers View A, which is more of a rectangle type cut, more boxy with a lot more ease. And my spouse and younger son prefer View C which is the very slim, very slim fit. And the great news for me about that is that, I have for the last six years, used the exact same pattern for all three of them. I do have two copies of this pattern because the boys grew. So what I really love about this pattern is that I can look back at my notes on the pattern. And at first, one pattern said it was for the two boys. They were both the size 34, and one used View C with the darts, and one did not have View C with the darts. And then as they got bigger, the 34 didn't fit anymore, and it went to 36. And now it's at a 38. So it's just the ability to have two patterns that, because of the separate bodice styles, I can get a lot of good use from these two patterns. But one of the reasons that I'm able to use these two patterns for years and years is because I try to preserve them as I go. One of the things I do to make this pattern last, I use heat-resistant tape, and I start using the heat resistant tape from the very beginning. That means when I see a dart, I cover it with tape. The tape does two things. One, it will not melt because it is heat resistant. So, it is something that will help the pattern stay in its original condition because the tape itself isn't going to distort the pattern, like any kind of traditional tape would do when you put a hot iron on it. Second thing that the heat resistant tape does is reinforce the way that I mark darts. I mark my darts this way: I take a piece of double-sided Saral paper, which is a wax-free tracing paper, I take the right sides of the Saral paper and have them face the wrong sides of the bodice piece. This means that when I lay the pattern piece on top of the fabric and use my tracing wheel, the marks transfer to both sides of the fabric, the left side and the right side, at the same time. This will give me even darts on both sides because I have traced them both at the same time. Heat tape is very helpful, because since I have been using these patterns for six years, tracing those darts again and again makes it easy to perforate the tissue paper. And when I use the heat-resistant tape, it resists that perforation, and it allows me to trace the dart repeatedly without damaging the pattern. A method that I've read about but not tried is to use fusible interfacing and use that on the back of your tissue paper patterns. If you have a great idea for how to preserve your tissue paper patterns, please tell us. Go to the Black Woman Stitch website, and in the upper right hand corner you'll see a button that says "talk to us." You click that button, and you can leave a voicemail that gives me your idea for how to preserve paper patterns. Next up, KnowMe pattern 2016.

My Easter dress this year will be made from KnowMe pattern number 2016. This one is designed by Nicky Brooks, also known as Beaute' J'adore, and it is a j'adorable dress y'all. It's a dress pattern with two views. View A is a short sleeve dress with a long hem. And View B is long sleeve with a tea-length hem, and I'm saying tea length like I know what all this European nonsense means, but I think the tea-length is a dress that you might wear for tea, and it's a little bit below the knee. You of course, because you know how to sew, you can make it as long or as short as you want. I decided to do View B which was the shorter length, but to use the sleeves from View A. I have the perfect combo: short sleeve dress that's also short; perfect for spring. A few things to note for this pattern - I don't need to go over it in much detail because there's a video tutorial for this pattern. You can go to it if you buy the pattern, you scan a QR code, and it'll take you to a step-by-step video tutorial on how to do all the parts. There is a bodice lining. There are pockets that are also a slash pocket, so that you install it a little bit differently than you might install pockets before. And I'm also going to advise you to bring your patience. This dress is tiered, and there are gathers at both the upper tier that attaches to the bodice as well as get gathers at the lower tiers. If you do not like gathers, and I have some very good and beloved friends who hate gathering, they don't like the gathering process. The outcome on the gathers? Yes, beautiful. The doing of the gathers? No, thank you. I advise anyone who's doing this pattern to just pluck up your patience. It is worth it in the end, and then you have a beautiful, voluminous dress that has pockets and a sleeve that is so gorgeous and high-drama that it is all worth it in the end. For notions, you'll need an invisible zipper and some elastic to go around the wrist of the sleeve. For my lining, I decided to use a different fabric in order to try to extend the use of the fabric that I was using for my main fabric. I also cut the pockets, the inside of the pocket, out of a different fabric, again trying to conserve fabric. There is very little lining fabric actually needed for this dress. But if you wanted to extend the use of your fashion fabric, or your main fabric, those are little [steps] that I sometimes take to make the fabric go a little bit farther. One last tip that I'll give is that I like to hem the bottom tier of any voluminous, large-tier dress before I gather it and attach it to the final bodice. That always feels like time traveling to me - like past Lisa did something very kind for future Lisa by turning under this many, what feels like many-yards-long hem, and pressing it and hemming it before I got to this stage. That way, the last thing to stitch on the dress is not the hem but it is attaching the skirt part to the bodice. And it just feels so satisfying that I don't have to do that long hem, and then I can do to hem at a time when I have a little bit more time, a little bit more patience, and not at the end of the dress process when I tend to be the most tired. KnowMe patterns are curated by Mimi G.,and they go on sale when McCall patterns go on sale at Joanne [Fabrics]. McCall and KnowMe are connected in that way. Coming up next, a new way to stay in touch with Black Women Stitch. And after that we'll dive into our third pattern by Made for Mermaids, the gable pattern that is as easy as 1-2-3. Stay tuned.

The slogan of the Stitch Please Podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. And now we're bringing it to you in a new way. "The Stitch" is a newsletter from Black Women Stitch, and I am delighted to tell you about it. What do you get when you sign up for the Black Women Stitch newsletter? You get to hear what's happening with Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast, events that we've had, events that are coming up, contests for prizes, live shows, social media meetups, IRL meetups, episodes of the podcast that you might have missed, as well as opportunities to learn and sew in community with other black makers across the country and across the world. You'll learn also about some actual stitches. We will help you get your stitch together with continuing education for your sewing life [unclear] I am so excited for this newsletter. There's all these things I want to tell you about.  Well now do you have The Stitch. Sign up using the link in the show notes or on our website. We look forward to helping you get your stitch together.

Sew Black is made possible by some amazing people on the Black Women Stitch team. Kristina Gifford, Jenelle Velasco, Latrice Sampson Richards, Naomi P. Johnson, Shana Jefferson, Jill Bates Moore, Nikki Griffin, Coco Springer, Alicia Turlington and Adrienne Dent. And in full Snoop Dogg style, I'd like to thank myself for pulling this together and believing in me. Let's give it up for Lisa Woolfork. And if you want to find out what's happening next, follow Black Women Stitch on TikTok and Instagram and sign up for our email list. Check out the Stitch Please podcast with new episodes every Wednesday, including episodes from QuiltCon, coming out soon. 

The back stitch is a reinforcing stitch sewn by hand or stitched by machine. The back stitch is a return with a purpose. On the stitch please podcast, our new Backstitch Series will recall early and or favorite episodes of the podcast. And the best news? It's hosted by you. Yes, you. Thank you, You. Do you have a favorite Stitch Please podcast episode? Let us know by leaving a voice memo on our website, five minutes max. Let us know what episodes you love and why other people will love it too. And if we use your message on the show you will receive a n honoraria. So remember, the backstitch makes a seam stronger. Leave us a message so that your contribution can make the Stitch Please podcast that much stronger. You can find the link at the Black Woman Stitch.org website or just click on it in the show notes for this episode. Now get ready for that "fiah" I promised you in the beginning. [raps] Do it by hand or on the machine, backstitch is a beat. It's the best I've ever seen." 

One of my favorite things to sew is undergarments, especially drawers, panties, however you say it, whatever the word is, whatever the term is in your region, I love making them. I believe that sewing underwear is one of the few opportunities that you can sew something for less than buying it. So I am a huge fan of underwear sewing. It's a huge scrap buster. And it is efficient, it's quick, and it's so satisfying. I have not bought drawers in eight years. I'm just saying. And once you make a pair that you love, you won't buy any either, especially if you enjoy sewing with cotton lycra, double brushed poly or any of the breathable stretch fabrics that many of us use in garment sewing. This leads me to my third pattern, which is the Made for Mermaids Gable Boxer Brief. This is a wonderful pattern. And when I tell you it's simple to sew, I mean that it is easy as 1-2-3. One elastic waistband, two hems, three seams. That's all you need. And you got a pair of boxer briefs. And check it out, you get a chance to sew with me and Julian Collins in a sew-along. So I'm gonna close this episode out with information about the collaboration between the Black Sewing Network and Black Women Stitch. Mark your calendars for April 16th, 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, where you can join us in a sew-along of the Made for Mermaids boxer brief patterns. Now, when I say "us," who am I talking about? Are you talking about yourself in the royal we again, Lisa? We've talked about this. That is not appropriate. No, I'm actually talking about myself and Julian Collins. Yes. That Julian Collins, menswear sewing expert, Bernina ambassador, menswear ex-designer with KnowMe patterns. He and I are going to be sewing boxer briefs together, and this is the first time he's sewn boxer briefs. So I'm really glad to take such an expert seamster through the pathway of sewing undergarments I think he's going to absolutely love it. Here's some things you'll want to think about if you participate in the sew-along. Here are some of my recommendations for working with the Made for Mermaids gable pattern for sewing these boxer briefs. One: invest in some Steam A Seam 2, quarter-inch wide, fusible, pressure-sensitive tape. Yes it is a bit of a mouthful but don't worry about it. I have the link to my Amazon shop in the show notes. It has all of the things I'm going to tell you about. The reason this is important is that when you are working with cotton lycra, those fabrics can curl, and that makes them difficult to hem even when you press well. Even when you are taking all of your time to be careful. The fabric will still shrink up. Steam A Seam 2 helps the fabric to fold better. That adhesive on the fabric helps the fabric to hold its hem. And this is important because if you're going to do a zigzag hem in the leg, or if you're going to do coverstitch hem in the leg, it's much easier to do that without having to navigate pins at all. And this is an opportunity to practice that. So the recommendation that I have is for Steam A Seam 2. The second thing I would advise is, if you want to stick with the 1, 2, 3 formula for this pattern, I would advise you using an elastic waistband - doing an exposed elastic waistband. And in this exposed elastic waistband, you are going to essentially wrap your waistband around the garment itself. And you're going to mark a quarter-inch seam on the elastic, and we're going to baste it. And it's going to be great, it's going to be fine, don't worry, it's just I think that the elastic tends to work better than the self fabric bindings, or the self fabric waistbands. I think the self fabric waist bands tend to stretch. I've noticed that some of the undies that I've made will stretch in the body part, right. But they won't stretch in the waist because that's elasticized. So that's just another recommendation - is to use elastic. And the third recommendation is to get a marking pen that works well in your experience. I am a fan of frixion, that has worked well for me in the past. I say that because when you use your elastic, you are going to need to mark that quarter-inch mark on your elastic before you stitch it on. That is a guide. And so we're going to use that as a guide to make sure that the elastic is on and is also catching the back of the elastic, which is how the brief itself gets attached. It's going to be very fun. I'm really excited about it. And who knows? This might be the start of some type of online series where I go and make drawers, different types of underwear with people in these kinds of sessions. Wouldn't that be fun? As I say it aloud, I imagine the people that know me and love me saying absolutely not. So don't get excited. It's probably not gonna happen. Thanks for listening, everybody. 

You've been listening to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you joining us this week and every week for stories that center Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. We invite you to join the Black Women Stitch Patreon community with giving levels beginning at $5 a month. Your contributions help us bring the Stitch Please podcast to you every week. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support, and come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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