Monday, January 23, 2012

Hardware: Yea or Nay?

Well, it's Monday and I did not burn down the house or burn myself. Phew! 

Me in the garage sealing the seams of the ripstop over a candle.
The ripstop needed just the slightest kiss of flame to melt. So, now it's sealed and not raveling.

Besided working with ripstop, the other thing I'm liking about this project and that's changed about my sewing over the years is how much I've come to embrace hardware.

Hardware for the diaper bag
When I first made this diaper bag pattern, I was still at a point in my sewing where I followed the directions to the letter. So, I made the strap out of fabric. It looked nice, but once sewn in, the strap length was fixed. And I used velcro for the closures, as instructed, which I was never really happy with. 

In the intervening years, I've learned that there are loads of good hardware solutions available that give a project a much more professional look and finish. So, on this bag, I'm using webbing and hardware to make a fully adjustable and incredibly strong strap. And I'm using magnetic snaps, which are probably my very favorite closure for bags.
Really, this project has excited my inner sewing nerd - the geek that ponders whether it would be better to use sew-in or fusible hair canvas to stabilize the bag (sew-in). It's the kind of project where the technical does make a big difference. What I'm pondering now is which needle to use for the webbing. I'm a bit of a stickler in this department - I'm using a microtech needle and a topstitching needle for the ripstop and have been switching between several different threads depending on the task (basting, seaming, topstitching).     

What about you? Do you like to use hardware when you sew? Or do you prefer to sew every feature of a project? How much do you think about the insides or bones of a project? 


Faye Lewis said...

I commend you Clio for your grasp of hardware. I'm a little fearful of it I guess since I really don't understand how to use it.

Kimbersew said...

oh I think there should be more magnets everywhere. I've only used hardware occasionally, but it really does kick a project up a notch. I've just decided to use hardware more in 2012. I think I used too heavy of a magnet closure (handbag-weight?) on a fleece motorcycle jacket recently, and the stretch of the fabric didn't cooperate with the hardware- but I'm learning!
Any project that uses magnets AND fire is a fun one.

T. Sedai said...

I haven't really used hardware before, but I might be using a belt buckle on an upcoming project. It's something I would be interested in using, but I haven't really made any projects that require major hardware thus far. I think using metal bits on your bag will make it look very professional and I can't wait to see the finished product.

As for thinking about the innards of a project - I have become somewhat obsessed with this over the past year. When I started sewing I thought interfacing was confusing and scary, so I pretended it didn't exist. Now I am much more thoughtful about structure and the hidden parts of a project that make it look more polished. Obviously some projects require more structure than others, and often the fabric will determine how much effort I put into the innards. For a fabulous wool coat I will go all out with sew-in hair canvas, silk organza underlining, back stays, sleeve heads, etc. For a simple jacket made from cotton or polyester I would go the easy route with fusibles and minimal additions. So I guess I think about it a lot, but I also try to keep my efforts of the innards proportional to the quality of the outside of the project as well.

Clio said...

@ T - Yeah, it really is based on the project isn't it? And I tend to want to do things "right" so that they will last.

@ Faye - I encourage you to dive in! I've figured most hardware out by looking at RTW. And you are really great at working with new tools.

@ Kimber - LOL, yeah, it's a very unique project I've got going!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Fancy hardware! I keep buying hardware but then, um, never use it.