This month I’m sharing some of the changes in how I make your bedding. This is a nerdy one for all of you sewists out there.
I’ve done away with my two old machines and just use one (new) machine now. Previously I had an industrial straight stitch and an industrial five thread overlocker. Both great reliable machines, but they were older style machines and not perfectly suited to the type of work I do. Little things like thread cutting, auto backtack and auto foot lift make a real difference when you’re doing hundreds of napkins at a time. The old machines also had clutch motors and were pretty noisy.
The overlocker was responsible for all the joining work on quilt covers, pillowcases and fitted sheet corners, while the straight stitch handled the hemming and finishing. This was OK, but it was kind of annoying to have to move between machines. Overlockers can also be temperamental and sometimes mine wouldn’t cut perfectly or it would skip a stitch. Anything that creates rework or requires fixing up REALLY frustrates me. I aim to do things as close to perfectly the first time. Fixing takes up precious time. The overlocker also left exposed stitching. Exposed stitching is the industry normal, but it seemed a little inelegant to me.
I started playing with the idea of moving everything to French and flat felled seams. It requires slightly more seam allowance, but it allows me to work from one machine. This means I only need to thread up one machine in the matching thread colour, and do not need to move between the two. I experimented with the idea, and after getting a quote for a new machine that was significantly less than I expected, I took the plunge.
I’m really liking how this new method is working out. The French seams look great. Time will tell if it’s any more durable, but to be honest, I never really had any issues with the old method.
The other big change was fitted sheets. Previously I elasticated the entire hem of the fitted sheet with exposed elastic. This works well, but after a few years the elastic can become a bit tired and floppy. I looked into how my mill makes sheets and the Europeans only elasticate the head and foot of the bed. I started experimenting with this. I found by giving the fitted sheets extra depth and only elasticating the head and foot, the sides tucked nicely and the entire thing seemed to stay in place better. Rather than having exposed elastic, I threaded it into a pocket. It’s something you will almost never see, similar to the French seams inside your quilt cover and pillowcase, but it’s a nice aesthetic that means a lot to me. It also means the elastic should be easy to replace if it gets tired.
Well, those are just some of the changes I’ve made this year. Nothing earth shattering, but the constant refinement of my craft. It gives me immense satisfaction and pride to be able to continue to refine and simplify how I make things. Less is definitely more.