Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Shego Costume: Making a Bodysuit (Part 2)

When I'm unsure of how to do something, my first initial reaction is to hit my reference books or the internet for information. My books had a lot of information on knits and stretchy fabric, which was applicable, but I wanted a bit more specifically on spandex. I learned a few things:

Cutting spandex:
  • Lay out your fabric on the table so that there is very little stretch on the fabric.
  • Use fabric weights not pins when laying out your pattern.
  • Use a rotary cutter instead of scissors. It cuts spandex a lot smoother. You can always use a sharp pair of scissors to nip the areas where the rotary cutter didn't quite cut through.

Sewing Spandex:
I found a blog entry at McCall patterns that was extremely useful, as it detailed how to sew spandex with either a serger or a regular sewing machine. I have a serger so that's what I used.

Some (but not all) things to consider:
  • Needles -- Use new needles, either a ballpoint needle or stretch needles.
  • Thread -- Use a polyester thread. If you have a serger, a wooly nylon thread works too.
  • Pins - Pin inside the seam allowance to prevent holes, which means you'll have to sew a teensy bit slower.
Test Swatches:
After I cut out all of my pattern pieces, I went about making test swatches using various settings on my machine. The purpose of this exercise was to see what was the best set of settings that worked with this type of fabric. Overall, I made 15 test swatches, which might seem like a really burdensome task, but I assure you that it's worth your time to do.

In some cases, the overlocking threads were too loose, so I played with tension.
Here's one particular swatch where I was having issues with ripples, so I adjusted my differential feed.

It took me about two hours to set up my machine, make test swatches, etc. Eventually, I got to a point, where I was happy with how the stitches looked and that they provided enough stretch to work well, but all the stitches were of a good tension.

Finally, I was at a point I could actually start sewing the costume! I started with a very small piece of the costume as a first run, and it looked great.

However, it was a weekday, so it had already gotten a bit late. But, I had gotten everything I wanted accomplished, so I put everything away so I could just start sewing the next evening. :-)

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