View Full Version : HUGE rant about sewing and material

02-22-2006, 04:19 AM
Let me begin by sayin I been sewin for more than 30 yrs and I've made everything from car seat covers to my own undies if it can be sewn I've prolly sewed it sometime or another.

Material bought today is not the same as it was a few yrs ago the quality just isn't there used to be ya sewed it lasted forever now material is more or less made to last a year or 2 as most of us only uses stuff a year or 2.

Now for my RANT!!

I bought flannel to use as a lining in a quilt. Preshrunk it same as always with any material before cutting. The material was not cut straight I took the time to straighten it doin the pullin of the tread thing that I normall don't do but I was curious as to what I had. To begin with I got cut short almost a half yard of material on 2 different pieces from same bolt. Half yard each piece between the shrinkage and gettin material straight.

OK I measure out my pieces about 4 times checkin recheckin before I make my 1st cut. I laid the material out flat wanted the width of the material then a yard long. I sew the one end to the other I come up 2 inches short on the 1 piece seam is flat stitches even must not be me or machine. Then I sewed the 3rd piece to the 2nd piece keepin my 45 in width. Now this piece is the same lenght of the 1st piece. STRANGE I've taken the lenght of a piece of material cut it and sewed it together and the piece in middle which was the piece in middle of material before cutting is 2 in shorter than the other to pieces. Doesn't matter I'm gonna have a couple inches at least to cut off around the edges in the end anyway prolly. I've allowed for the 2 inches I'm short.

OK now I'd bought 2 pieces of flannel from same bolt same yardage. I did same thing with 2nd pieces as 1st commin up 2 inches short again. VERY STRANGE!!!!

OK now my project is not wide enough so I cut material to make it wide enough this time sewing the lenght material instead of the width. I measure and remeasure. This seam is about 95 inches long a long seam I want everything right only want to do it once lol, I came up 4inches short on one side the piece i was sewin onto my project. ok I take it off turn it around starting from other end of the material now it's 4 inches to long.

That's a 8 inch difference between sewing 1 direction or the other?? NEVER in my life have I seen anything like it. Being 4 inches to long doesn't matter it's just the simple fact of it happenin and the diff between sewin from 1 end or the other which for flannel should not matter much if at all.

Right now seam is only basted together gotta stitch it again to see if everything gonna be OK. I been workin for close to a week if not a week on this simple flannel that I need in 1 big flat piece when done with it it shouldn't be that hard to do.

My mom bought same material from same bolt I did the day before I bought mine she was smart left hers in 1 piece just put 1 layer on top of another still had trouble when she sewed it of it stretchin least she was just able to trim hers up and move on.

I was back at my local fabric store today gettin other stuff there was couple older ladies talkin sayin they still mend what they got but they no longer buy new material and try to use it cause it not worth it, cause the material not worth usin. the trouble I've had I believe it.

I come from a huge family all the females sew and we all gripe about material ya buy today.

On that note DD bought a pair of jeans from a well known popular store in most malls she wore them twice before the whole crotch ripped out of them goin up a flight of steps at school. The seam didn't rip the demin did around the seam. Yes she was able to return them and get money back. In the 60's and 70's jeans wasn't even broke in till they was couple years old till then usually would stand up and walk by themselves but they lasted forever. Which was why demin was used to begin with not for fashion statement but because it was a good durable material that lasted long time for farmers to wear while farming.

OK enough ranting

02-22-2006, 07:11 AM
You make some valid points about the fabric that exists in the bigger fabric stores. I am a professional seamstress, and I won't even go near a lot of the "cheaper" fabrics at the fabric stores. I do mostly home-dec and costuming, so the bulk of fabrics that I deal with do not have the same problems. The problems exist primarily in the clothing fabrics and within that group there is a larger problem with most of the cotton-derived fabrics. You did everything right with the "pulling the thread" method of straightening the selvage edge, but I'm curious if you did this on BOTH ends of the cut. When doing home-dec stuff, this is the only method I use to get a straight cut. Also, I cut the outside selvage edges off before cutting any lengths, as the factory edge tends to "shrink up" the distance you are measuring. It is all very time consuming, but produces a better finish.

You are correct though ...... the fabric nowadays is not as good as it used to be and it's too bad that you have to jump through hoops anymore to create something to wear. As a result, I very rarely sew ready-wear any longer ...... just bathing suits and formal wear.

02-23-2006, 05:13 AM

Yes I did pull the threads of both ends of both pieces bought my fabric in 2 pieces off same bolt cut at same time. Did that cause a really large piece can be a little hard to manage sometimes. Strange they both was cut the same way and sewed together the same way and came up short the same way.

Where are you buying swimsuit material these days? Used to make my own suits years ago not done that for awhile tho. Even the elastic store bought now in most stores and ordered from most fabric companys not worth using doesn't last near as long as it used to.

In fact usually if I want elastic for something I ususally find an old pair of pants or whatever that still has good elastic in it and take that out and use it never had no problems doin that usually lasted as long as I wanted it to. That won't work for swimwear tho not from old swimsuit as the elastic the 1st to go in those, elastic does last longer in my swimwear now that I got my own pool tho.

Where do you buy elastic at? I know many ppl who would be happy to find a good source for buying elastic.

As far as formal wear I been very very lucky over the years finding used formal wear at the right times still in style for my DD's to use what little they have needed formal wear so not had to sew that much of it but I've done it. I've found formal wear for them much less than what I could have even bought the material for much less a pattern another thing that has gotten outrageous. The price of patterns keeps many from sewing. OH my the stories I could tell about patterns.

My mom bought our mens shirt pattern in 1951 as the styles changed on collar and cuffs etc she change her cut. We still using that pattern or she is I haven't made a mens shirt in awhile. I tell mom she cuttin shirts out with her own imagination now that there can't be nothin left of the pattern as everytime she gets that old tissue out another piece falls off has been for 20 yrs now at least lol

The Quick sew patterns mom bought in the early 70's has been a lifesaver and we still using most of them. Esp the Tshirt patterns and moms pants pattern.

Speaking of pants mom bought a pair of size 10 pants at yard sale for a quarter took them home made her a pair of size 14 pants out of them with a bit of extra material leftover. Needless to say they was definately miss marked on the size.

Used to be ya could buy material most anywhere and it would be decent material. 1 time very early 70's mom and I got seperated in Kmart I went lookin for her at the material (yes Kmart sold material at one time.) Mom wasn't back there but I noticed material was 36 cents a yard that day. I went found mom asked her why she wasn't back there she says I didn't come to shop for material today. I said but it's 36 cents a yard I've never seen a grown woman run so fast in a store in my life. When we finally left the store for the last time a few hours later I had trouble gettin in moms old 67 new port crysler. It was that jammed full of material couldn't even see out the back window on way home. Trunk was full back seat half the front seat. Over the years she has went to that material many many times tho. Think she has finally used the last of it tho. Or donated it for projects the church was doin for charity none of it went to waste that for sure. I remember preshrinking material for days as we never stored material till it was preshrunk and measured and marked. Of course mom had trouble findin places to store all that material too most keeps shoes and etc under bed boxes of material under moms beds at her house and everywhere else you could dream of.

Sorry ramblin

02-23-2006, 07:01 AM
My mother has the exact same complaints! Rant away! :)

02-23-2006, 07:12 AM
The "ramblin" was cool, as it brought back lots of memories. You sometimes forget that at one time almost everyone sold fabric. I have a bumper sticker on one of my sewing cabinets that says "She who dies with the most fabric wins!" My kids always laugh when they see it, but in my defense, I really use it!

As for the elastic, some of the best elastic I have bought in a while I got off e-bay last year. It was 100 yards of 3/4" for some ridiculously low price. I think it cost more to ship it than I paid for it. I also bought 1,000 yards of 1/2" eyelet for reallllly cheap. I know 1,000 yards sounds like a lot, but I'll probably finish it this year. The swimwear elastic, I am still able to find it at JoAnn's (along with the fabrics). They have the 1/4" and 1/2" chlorine-resistant stuff. I do occasionally order swimwear-related stuff from the internet. In fact, just Sunday, I ordered two new swimsuit patters from Kwik-Sew. There are still some good products to be found on the web, but the reality is that most of the people going to regular fabric stores do not really sew. The store are set up now for crafts. There is nothing wrong with that, as sewing is really more expensive these days and people know it. It just makes it hard for those of us who want something different. Heck, my girls buy most of their own clothes from Loehman's or Marshall's, because for the price of sewing a garment, they can usually pick up a nice designer label!

Good luck trying to track down the items you're looking for and thanks for the trip down memory lane!

02-24-2006, 08:18 AM
Even quilting has gotten to be a crafty thing more than make a useful warm cover for the bed that is practical and will last for years.

Right now I'm in the middle of a quilt that I want to last hopefully 70 yrs or more prolly dreaming I know but I used material for my blocks that came from a great aunt that died in 1973 the strips I got from my mom that she's had in her storage awhile while it's not as old as the fabric for the blocks it's still better than you can buy today.

I'm still fighting the flannel I bought new gonna try again today to get it to layflat after it's sewn. If it doesn't work think I'm gonna hold out for a flannel sheet or thin blanket to put in quilt I'm wanting it light weight but something that will hold up for years.