Today is about my newest favorite sewing assist, “Steam-A-Seam” and an on-going war I have waged with the holes in my wares.
I have been sewing, mending, designing, reclaiming, deconstructing, the whole lot my whole life. Both of my grandmothers began teaching me how to sew when I was 5. My maternal “grammy” was an expert home sewer who made clothes, quilts, home décor and even hand-smocked dresses for me as a child as well as the more casual jumpers.
My paternal “Grandmom Maine” went to design school in London and studied theatrical costuming. She was a very sophisticated home sewer and home costumer. She made many-to-all of her 7 children’s theatrical costumes for school plays, costumes for the local Shakespearean theatre company in Yarmouth, Maine, and a traveling puppet show where she and her children made the puppets, costumes and sets, in addition to gorgeous quilts and clothing.
l as well went to design school and earned a degree in apparel design. I have learned from the best. I have worked as a professional artist, designer, costumer, quilter and free-lance seamstress for years. This being said, I am often surprised at what I do not know! A lot, apparently! The last position I held was as a freelance costume fabricator at Laika, working on their upcoming feature film “Paranorman”. http://video.uk.msn.com/watch/video/paranorman-trailer-msn-exclusive/2thp7a25.
As I have mentioned in this blog before today, working at Laika was an incredible experience to be had! Not only because of the magnitude of the production and the awesomeness of the people, but also because of the new things that I have learned. I nabbed a few new tools for the toolbox, both figuratively and literally. One of the most valuable things I learned while I was there I am going to clue you in on…“Steam-A-Seam”. I can not believe how long I have not known about, how long I have lived without this product! I think back on all of the years I have created so many things without the aide of “Steam-A-Seam” and I want to cry, no I want to punch-in-the-face the painful processes that could have been made so much easier. More regretfully, the artwork could have embodied the original vision more elegantly and effectively!!!
I am going to introduce you to “Steam-A-Seam” with a tutorial on how to mend a down comforter and a duvet cover. “Steam-A-Seam” is a double sided fusible web, and has an infinite range of usage possibilities.
My dog sleeps in the bed, for now. And he has for 6 years. I know it is wrong, but this is the way it is. And although it is about to change very soon, the damage has been done. His needle toes ferret through the bedding as he constructs the ultimate feathery stack to burrow into and/or heave his body onto. Some days I come home and a pouch of feathers have been liberated, spilling out all over the bedroom. And sometimes, most of the time, these feathers have made their way through a secondary hole created in a tearing of the outer duvet. At this point, I can throw out my comforter and duvet and buy a new one, but I absolutely do not think that way. I have in the past, in my pre-Steam-A-Seam days, purchased a small bundle of pre-made patches from the drug store, that one can iron-on. These work out O.K., but are usually quite thick as they are made of denim and a liberal amount of sticky coating. With “Steam-A-Seam”, one can essentially make the same sort of patch, but thinner and of any fabric and shape desired. This improves the feel of the mended area, lessening the sensation of a “stiff patch”. One can purchase this product at Joann fabrics in-store and on-line. ( Although I do advocate small businesses, so please check your local quilt/fabric shop first!) They are available in sheets and in rolls, and in varying thicknesses. I keep a bit of everything on hand, but I am using the thinner-weight “Steam-A-Seam” for this project. So here we go: By the way, If I defy any instructions on the original “Steam-A-Seam” packaging, follow their instructions, not mine!
Cut out desired size of “Steam-A-Seam” patch. I measure the tear and add approx. 3/8” or .375” extra around the perimeter of the square.
Iron the “Steam-A-Seam” onto a light-weight fabric of your choosing.
Cut out your patch and refine the shape, trimming of any edges of the fabric that do not have “Steam-A-Seam” on it.
Peel the backing off of the “Steam-A-Seam” patch.
Place the patch on the comforter and press with an iron to adhere.
I do not complete this process with feeding my comforter through a sewing machine. I leave it as-is, and check to make sure all of the corners and edges are stuck down well. I check my patches every so often, like when I take my comforter out in order to wash my duvet. I give it a once over at this point to make sure the the patches are still stuck down and if they are not, I re-press the peely bits with an iron. Let’s do this again, but this time with the duvet:
Turn the duvet inside out.
Make “Steam-A-Seam” patch slightly larger than the tear by ironing a piece of the “Steam-A-Seam” onto some fabric of a desired weight and feel. Trim it to size.
Peel off backing and place on top of tear from the inside.
Press patch onto tear.
Stitch around the entire perimeter of the patch.
When I get to the third side of the square, I use the back stitch instead of maneuvering the entire mass of fabric around.
Now turn the duvet right side out. Zigzag stitch the tear opening, securing it to the patch.
For larger “L” shaped tears, I make two separate long and thin patches.
And perform the same steps as above. Be sure to stitch around the entire perimeter of both rectangles to secure the fabrics. Then turn right side out and Zigzag stitch the tear together, securing it down to the patch. You may also want to give it an extra little press now from the right side.