Monday, 20 August 2012

Back to school sewing...

Hello there! Today I'm going to share with you one of the sewing tasks I have spent many hours on recently - attaching the braiding to my two young people's blazers. In our part of Scotland school went back last Wednesday & when I heard the school had introduced braiding for prefect's blazers I envisioned piping cord - easy to attach, just slip stitch around all the required edges and job done. I was so wrong. Apparently schools use ribbon these days (possibly because since sewing was dropped from the curriculum none of them have ever heard of piping cord?) and they give no guidelines as to how to attach it, maybe they expect pupils to "magic" it on to their blazers seeing as none of them have been taught to sew at school? Can you tell this is a sore point for me? It's all right, I won't mention it again I promise ;-)
The end result was that on Monday morning I sat down with my daughter's blazer, the correct ribbon from the approved store in the city, and very little clue as to how to actually achieve the look of the braided blazers I had viewed at the school earlier in the morning. I fiddled with the ribbon, pinned bits, unpinned bits, got some other ribbon from my stash to play with when it became apparent I was mangling the darned stuff, and overall got very frustrated! The big problem was the corners on the lapels. Unlike bias binding this ribbon has absolutely no give in it to ease it round the sharp angles on the blazers' lapel. If I could find a way around the outside corners, the inside one was completely beating me so I took a look online. I couldn't be the first parent to be stumped by this so surely there was something on Youtube or a website or blog SOMEWHERE?????? 
Nope :( All I discovered was that some schools have very elaborate braiding requirements, our school did not braid the blazers in the same way as The Warblers from TV program Glee, and some people charge an absolute fortune to braid a blazer! I am not kidding - if you are ever asked to do this as a favor for a friend bear in mind some people charge £60 to do this!!!! Late Monday night I admitted defeat & went to bed with only the cuffs done & dreamt about the blooming thing!!! Arrrggghhh!!!
Tuesday dawned &, as I had sewn the cuffs, I was committed to finishing my daughter's blazer for the next day, but I warned my son there was no way his blazer would also be done in time for the first day of school (the joy of having twins!). He wasn't bothered as apparently "lots of people" wouldn't have theirs done either (and their parents only had one to do! what was their excuse? ;-) )
After another hour or so of fiddling with it I finally came up with a method that looked promising & started stitching. While the result wasn't 100% perfect, in the opinion of my young people it was better than the ones we had looked at up at the school & I was just thankful to get it finished! If you ever face this task yourself the number one piece of advice I can give you is this - do not underestimate how long it will take you!! Whilst I am not a trained seamstress I think I am fairly handy with a needle & thread. I timed how long it took me to stitch the last cuff on the second blazer (by which stage I had definitely speeded up a bit) and it took me the best part of an hour. I spent the majority of this past weekend stitching the braiding onto my son's blazer so this morning both of them went into school with their blazers done :)
In sixteen years of getting kids back to school this is by far the worst job I have been tasked with (yes even beating the year we spent three days trudging round the shops to find school trousers for a daughter who was sadly too old for pinafores but too tall & skinny for the standard school trouser offerings!). I am not claiming in any way to be an expert, but I decided to take step by step photos while I sewed the second blazer so I could write up a tutorial. I hope it might help anyone else struggling with this task even a little bit. You can find it under the tutorial tab at the top of the page, if I haven't made anything clear please do not hesitate to contact me & I will do my best to help you.
Right, now the blazers are done I'm off to relax with some stitching of an entirely different kind! Have a lovely day!!!

8 comments:

  1. Looks fab! I'm so glad it wasn't me that had to do this....I think I would have just used a tube of glue instead!!

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    1. Thanks Rhona! Tbh I never thought of glue lol ;)
      Hope your week is going great?
      Helen

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  2. Oh my word what a nightmare! I can't believe you had to do that!!! Wow. Well done for persevering though!!

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    1. Thanks Laura, Another one of those times when I was thankful that I don't have triplets! (A very good friend does have triplets & she has often kept me going over the years!) At least it is done now & my son did bring me home a lovely bunch of flowers as a thankyou :) Hope you are having a great week? Helen x

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  3. Woah that looks like one hell of a job! Well done you on getting it looking so brilliant, I bet a lot of other parents would be totally lost off as they wouldn't even know how to thread a needle :-)

    Lori xx

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    1. Thank you, I was so relieved to get it finished!!! I think the school must be in league with our local tailors, they must be raking it in from all the mom's who can't face it lol ;-)
      Helen xx

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  4. Thank you so much for this. I have been asked to do two blazers and wasn't sure how to tackle the lapels. The ribbon I am using looks much the same as the one on your tutorial. I remember doing this years ago for my daughter's blazer and it took forever! I suspect I haven't charged enough! :-)

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    1. You are very welcome, I hope it helps! I think we have a tendency to under value our skills & it's even harder when we get asked to do something like this for a friend. Good luck and happy sewing!
      Helen

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