Archive for the ‘notions’ Category

Sewing tools — Dritz snap setter

July 9, 2007

I bought a snap setter. I nearly took it back to the store.

The directions on this thing are one of the most unintuitive and difficult to process examples of the genre I’ve ever seen.

Snaps have two halves; an innie and an outie. Before they are attached, each one consists of two pieces — the innie (or outie) and the ring-and-prongs. The snap setter is basically a pair of pliers with which one compresses the prongs into the back of the outie (or innie).

First time I tested the device, I successfully attached an innie to a piece of scrap fabric. So far so good. Then I went to attach the outie. Pulled the snap setter away, and all that was on my fabric was a set of prongs sticking out. The outie part had wedged itself into the machine’s innie. I didn’t know the machine had an innie!!!

I tried various removal techniques. Letter opener. Screwdriver. Pliers. Teeth. Dental floss. Verbal abuse. Fishing line. Pliers again. More verbal abuse.

Spouse Phor came home and managed an extraction by jamming a nail into the back end of the thing.

Set it up again, and had luck with the outie parts, but all the innies fell off as soon as you breathed on them. Swore at it. Went to bed.

Next day, I did some internet research. Joann’s has some heinous reviews.

  • Never again will I buy this. I have again resorted to banging in the snaps with a hammer.
  • I finally gave up and donated the plier kit and a large package of snaps and eyelets.
  • This product would have been great for the price had it worked…all the snaps I have are now a crumbled mess from “testing” The instructions are vague and the dritz website is not helpful. I am very disappointed.
  • all it did was ruined the clothes I was sewing for my baby.

But. There are some folks in there that are saying “what?? worked fine for me!!”. (They don’t say “you idiot”, because Sewing World is a politer corner of the internet, I guess.)

  • It worked perfectly the first time and I was very proud of myself and my new friend the snap and eyelet setter.
  • In my opinion, the directions are perfectly clear and the product does what it’s supposed to.

Now, see, I’m taking that as a challenge. Because I refused to let the machine defeat me. Because that would be admitting that I couldn’t understand the directions.

When you insert the innie part into the slot, it tells you to do so “with the raised center exposed”. Problem is, both sides of this piece have a raised center. I googled some more, and I found these directions, which explain that if you feel for it, one side has more of a raise than the other.

After a few practice tries, I figured I had the hang of it. I finally managed to get all of the snaps on to the McCalls 3665 onesie. Took me down to my very last one. I pressed it. I took pictures. Triumph was mine! At last!

Then Spouse Phor came home, looked at the garment and managed to pull off the top snap when he opened it. Oh well. At least it was him, and not someone I’d given it to as a gift.



April 26, 2007

Since my pinstriped skirt requires a zipper, I thought this might be a good time to do a quick post on zipper installation. There are two basic ways to sew in a zipper: a lapped installation, and a centered installation. A lapped installation is usually found on pants fronts — it means that one edge of the fabric laps over the other, hiding the zipper tape. In a centered installation, which is what I’m doing, the zipper is installed between two equal folds of fabric which meet in the center of the zipper.

This isn’t a typical installation, since I’m not installing the zipper directly to the fabric pieces, but rather to the backing tape that my bound fashion fabric will be attached to.


The Right Tool For The Job

April 10, 2007

So I haven’t been doing too much work lately on my current project — my trip intervened (and I did manage to whip up a skirt with the Malaysian fabric I picked up at the State Department book sale; photos to come).

I brought it back out today, and I have two comments about tools.

The first is that making bias strips out of satin is a complete pain. The fabric is slippery, it doesn’t like to hold a crease, and I managed to singe both it and my fingers. What I need for this is a bias tape maker:

bias tape maker

With this little gizmo, you feed the flat fabric in one end, and it comes out the other end folded around — you just have to press the creases in.

The second comment regards presser feet. For the longest time, I’d had my zigzag presser foot attached to the machine for any kind of regular straight stitch sewing. I mean, no reason you can’t stitch a straight line with the zipper foot, right? Well, but I’d always had trouble with very tiny seams and topstitching. If I was stitching close to the edge, the edge would creep up into the little well of the zigzag foot.

I pulled out the regular straight stitch foot the other day, and it was a revelation. Perfect topstitched seams, less than 1/16 inch from the edge.

Um. Well. D’uh. That’s why they give you a different foot for straight stitching.


March 9, 2007

Pattern pieces are cut, and I’ve made some bias strips. I made a test piece to see how the finish looks with or without whipstitching.

bound-seam-detail2.jpg Whipstitched detail

What say you? Add the whipstitching, or keep the bound edge clean? There’s a comments box down there, people.

Below the fold — how to make bias strips, if you’re interested.