I was told I would be murdered if I didn't make a tumblr. HERE GOES
I’ve almost got my deck of Dcuttling Doom finished and it’s gonna be so gr8 to use it for the first time. I mean, how could a deck based around a card called Scuttling Doom Engine not be incredible? I can do 17 damage by turn 3 if everything goes as planned. It’s gonna be siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick
Yup! First and foremost, backstitch is your friend. Backstitching is the handsewing technique that most closely approximates machine sewing. I have done more fucking backstitch since I got into cosplay than I had in the previous decade and a half.
You use it in embroidery too, but it is the strongest and most easily kept even way to stick two bits of cloth (or leather, or whatever) together. Stick your needle up through the fabric at the point marked 1, then down again at the point marked 2. Then go back past point 1 and stick the needle up through the fabric at point 3 and down again at point 4. Your seam is progressing from right to left, but each individual stitch on top of the fabric, facing you, goes up on the left and down on the right. Fuck around with it and it will start to make sense.
THE IRON IS EVEN MORE OF YOUR FRIEND. I can’t emphasize this enough. Ironing pieces and seams flat is absolutely key. Pink Effie exists because of the backstitch and the iron.
Other things: if you have use of a serger or overlock machine, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. Sergers are what makes that sort of figure-of-8 stitching round the edges of pieces of fabric that stops them from fraying. They are awesome and I lust after them.
Alterations: “Easing” a seam is when you are sewing two pieces of fabric together and they aren’t quite the same length, so you have to gather the longer one into teenyweeny little pleats or tucks to make it short enough, or stretch the shorter one to match. I think the term “futz” applies. Tucks and darts are ways to shape and alter a piece of fabric, and like half the shit I do on cosplays is take tucks and darts in stuff. Once you can do that, you can have things actually fit you!
Seam allowance—this is like the bleed on a design piece, how much fabric there is beyond the point where you actually sew the seam. Err in favor of too much: you can always cut it down, but trying to sew something with almost no seam allowance (especially if the pieces aren’t serged) is fucking miserable.
Basting is just attaching one piece of fabric to another with long easily removable stitches, used to check how something will fit together, or hang, or whatever. I’ve seen “tacking” used for the same purpose, no idea if that’s a cromulent synonym.
Anatomy of a sewing machine: The bit that goes up and down very fast is the needle. The flat metal piece that runs along the fabric, and through which the needle goes up and down, is the presser foot. The tiny spool that holds the thread coming up from underneath the fabric is the bobbin, and on decent God-fearing machines it lies horizontally just under a slidy metal door on the flat part of the machine—the bed—but on evil probably-Communist machines it sits vertically in a metal bobbin carriage that I suck balls at getting to work properly.* The little ridgy things that push the fabric along from underneath are the feed dogs. Tension and thread length and shape is controlled by various mechanisms along the path of the thread from its spool on top of the whole business down to the needle. You now know as much as I do about sewing machines.
If you have specific questions I can do my best to answer them, but keep in mind I am in no way a dressmaker and I don’t own a machine or sew from patterns, so I’m kind of not a great role model. There are really talented dressmakers on tumblr like pinklikeme who know what the fuck they’re doing and have tutorials up to help teach other people.
*the technical term for the little cave in which this bobbin carriage lurks is the cryhole