Answers to sewing questions

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Recent sewing questions have brought up some interesting topics:

What’s the difference between a lining and a facing? A lining protects and covers up the inner structure of a garment. It’s usually a silky fabric so that sliding the garment off and on can be done with ease. Linings are constructed similarly to the outer garment shape, though they may not go all the way to the edge. Instead, a facing my bridge the space between the lining and the finished garment edge. A facing is simply a shaped piece, usually cut from the garment fabric, that finishes an edge. It may be a neckline, armhole, front opening, etc. A shaped facing is generally 2-3″ wide, depending on the garment size.

How do I sew freestanding machine embroidered lace? There are two kinds of machine embroidered lace–freestanding, and lace patterns designed to be sewn on a base fabric for support. Freestanding lace has no permanent support, but it does need to be embroidered on a removable stabilizer. Either a water- or heat-removable stabilizer can be used for this purpose. Once the embroidery is complete, the stabilizer is totally removed, leaving only the lace stitching. Depending on the density of the design, more than one layer of stabilizer may be needed, or a heavy weight used to keep stitches from distorting.

How much elastic do I use to make a fitted sheet stay on the bed? Fitted sheets have elastic either in the corner areas only, or around the entire sheet perimeter. The general ratio is to cut elastic about 1/2 to 2/3 of the distance it’s being applied to, depending on the stretch of the elastic. If you’re using clear elastic, be sure to stretch it several times before use and then allow it to go back to it’s original size before stitching. Sheet elastic may be applied in a casing, or directly stitched to the sheet edge.

How should I charge for sewing classes? There are a variety of ways to charge for classes, and if you’re working with a store they may have a set policy in place. Some stores pay teachers an hourly rate, others pay a set amount per student. If you’re doing classes on your own, determine the length of the class, plus your preparation time, and assign yourself an hourly rate to determine the amount you need to make. Add something for overhead, like lights, machine use, etc. Divide the total by the minimum number of students to determine the class fee. Remember that teaching classes is a business!

Just a reminder that February 6 is National Wear Red Day in support of the American Heart Assn’s. campaign for awareness of heart disease as a killer of women. So, get out something red to wear this Friday.