Tuesday, July 1, 2008

There's More Stuff Besides Stitch Witchery

Some sewers still talk about this stuff as if were the only fabric adhesive around, it's kind of like they're in a 1970s time warp and the last time they used a sewing machine was in 1976 to sew a Bicentennial flag or something else. Fast forward 22 years to 2008! Suddenly they're in front of a sewing machine again, and contemplating making something incredibly complicated like the Roland Mouret dress. The first thing they think of is the double-knit fabric (because it's what their mothers and grandmothers used in the "Brady Brunch" era) and Stitch Witchery, which is in their outdated Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing. I'm only talking about Stitch Witchery because I read about it too much on the Internet, and I virtually never see it on the notions wall at Vogue Fabrics. Okay, maybe it's there on the bottom, close to the floor. Maybe the Stitch Witchery folks don't have the leverage (read $$$) to have their product displayed at eye-level like all those big-bang food producers do at the local grocery store so that you will pick up a mega-sized box of Cheerios staring at you in the face and march to the cash register like an automaton. No, there's all sorts of sticky-stuff out there that I'm guessing was originally invented for Space Shuttle missions and whatnot, but now has been reinvented for sewers keen on making Project Runway dresses.

Personally, my favorite adhesive is Steam-a-Seam in all of its various incarnations. It's perfect for when you miss a spot on your top-stitching and you don't want to redo, or there are some rather large gaps in your blind-hem stitching. The fabric glue stick is not high on my list of "favs" because it can get gunky, all that goop can make it a little difficult to sew. So Steam-a-Seam? Bring lots of it on, even if I have to duke it out with the quilters who like it too for mitering binding on their coverlets. I just noticed on my box of Lite Steam-a-Seam2 that it "virtually disappears into lace!" (their exclamation point, not mine) It certainly did do that when I applied to it the neckline of my Santa Monica Tee, which I continue to admire in the mirror even two days later. "Wow, that twin-needle stitching looks soooo good!" I tell my mirror image every time I'm in the bathroom. I'm certain that Mirror-Image Me will thwop Real Me next time I say that.

It's good to know too, that "Lite Steam-A-Seam2 poses no chronic or adverse health effects when used as intended and conforms to LHAMA Regulations, ASTM D4236-94. Testing is in accordance with guidelines specified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 16 CFR 1500.135. Phew. That's comforting to read, compared to all those artificial colors you read about on a box of cereal.

I must really love this stuff because I periodically find bits of trying to bond with the clothes I'm wearing, not sewing. I suppose it's the 21-century equivalent of having threads hanging off it you. Wearing tiny bits of Steam-A-Seam says, "I sew, how about you?" It certainly makes for interesting conversation if you go out to lunch and your friend tells you, "You've got a little bit of paper or tape or something on your skirt." My friends, this is the time to sing the praises of sewing and Steam-A-Seam. Show your lunchtime companion your fused hem even if you have to get up and show a little leg to do it. Your waiter (or waitress) will no doubt wonder what you're doing, but that's okay. You're doing a little show-and-tell, the adult variety. If your friend is male, he will be amused; female, she will be impressed and want to sew too, even if that means she ends up going to social engagements with bits of you-know-what hanging off her behind or sleeve. I just thought of something. I had a high-school geometry teacher (who nearly flunked me!) who got so passionate about her topic, that she ended up getting chalk all over her clothes. We students would laugh at her. Well, now I understand completely, when I walk out of my home with Seam-A-Steam2 on my elbow, a two-inch piece of black thread clinging for dear life on my light pink top (which I naturally sewed). Granted now, it's not quite equivalent to wearing a quarter-mile expanse of chalk dust, still, it's close. It marks me as the absent-minded sewer, someone so completely absorbed in her craft, she not only forgets time but she ends up wearing her tools, not just using them. That's me in a nutshell. A truly astute friend who sees me with thread bits can simply say, "So...you've been sewing again?"

Now I'm not about to carry Steam-A-Seam with me, but I will bring safety pins to fix a faltering hem that's threatening to trip me as walk across an intersection. (This actually happened to me recently as I was on the way to Martini Park. The hem on my homesewn sweatercoat had a mid-intersection tussle with a Natural Comfort wedgie. Next thing I know I'm splayed stomach first on the crosswalk, my cell phone split in two on the cement. I see cars coming at me and I think this is It. Thankfully, two guys help me off the ground before any of those vehicles come close. I haven't fixed the blind-hem stitch on that sweatercoat, but I should before I wear it again. Right now, it's pinned up because I've got other tops to sew. You'd think I'd learn after bloodying up both knees and ruining my one pair of sheer black stockings.)

Anyway, the best time to stock up on Steam-A-Seam (I nearly said Stitch Witchery. Heavens to Betsy!) is at a sale. I'm certain it will be up for grabs in a marked-down sort of way (40 percent off! 50 percent off!) this weekend when both Jo-Ann Fabrics and Hancocks have their dueling version of Red, White and Blue blow-out sales to commemorate the Fourth of July. If I'm not too busy celebrating, I just might mosey down to either store. This time around, I'm far more likely to pick up more patterns to add to my already gargantuan supply of beige-colored tissue paper in my bedroom.

I'm running out of stuff to write about in this profuse testimonial, but I think I must to go the bathroom and admire the neckline on my Santa Monica Tee. It certainly beats looking at any pimples that dare to mess with my complexion.

Enough of all that, it's time to read the updated sewing blogs on my Google reader. What are your favorite sewing adhesives?

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