Petersham ribbons – an expansion post

My last post on the self-drafted skirt led to this post on petersham. Naomi asked me to expand on petersham ribbon and I said I’d do a post since my reply was getting long.

But first this:

The first time I used ‘petersham’ I had actually been sold grosgrain. Since I had asked the shop assistant who very nicely showed it to me – I just assumed I had the petersham that I had read of. I recall even asking if it would curve and she said yes. As I was sewing, it remained suspiciously straight but I reasoned that maybe it had to be worn before it does its thing. However, after wearing the skirt a couple of times with no change in the shape of the ‘petersham’, I started considering the possibility that it wasn’t me who had made a sewing mistake.

That’s when my search began again – better equipped with the knowledge of what  ‘was definitely not‘ petersham ribbon. I eventually found a haberdashery which was run by an old woman in the market (she told me she had been there for 40 years). She also had some petersham. I was mistrustful given my previous experience but I bought 1m (it looked a lot like grosgrain but had a teeny tiny difference to my untrained eye). When I got home – I unrolled it and immediately noticed the difference between the first one (grosgrain) and this second one. This was definitely Petersham ribbon. I got back as soon as I could to the market to buy more but alas !- apparently she had retired and the day that I had bought the 1m was her last day! So I now had to find some Petersham! The game was on.

Why bother with petersham in the first place

Before I get into a long ramble of petersham ribbon, let me sell you on the benefits of this essential sewing cave notion. The benefits are manifold:

  • It’s so comfortable because it expands to contours of the body and ‘sits’ rather than grips the waist.
  • Can be use if there is no fabric for a facing
  • Can be used to reduce bulk at the waist
  • Its put on after everything is constructed and fitting done so it’s less fuss
  • It’s a strong durable finish used often in couture houses
  • It is much easier to use than a normal waistband.
  • looks neat on the inside

So what is a petersham ribbon?

My first stop was Wikipedia and it says:

Petersham ribbon, also called Petersham facing or simply Petersham, is a thick, stiff, flexible corded ribbon usually made out of eithercotton, rayon, viscose, or a cotton/ rayon or viscose blend of fibers and used as facing by milliners and tailors… It is woven so that once steamed, it will take on and support a particular curve of fabric….t is also useful as an alternative to bias tape for making fabric conform closely to the shape of the body wearing it— in a corset, for example, or along the waistline of a pair of trousers or a skirt.

This is an accurate definition. Petersham looks like a ribbon but it is much thicker and not as drapey as a ribbon. Like grosgrain (pronunced grograin) ribbon, it comes with a scalloped edge but petersham has a tighter weave on one side which allows it to take on and support a curve.20170404_16375320170404_163814

It sounds simple enough but the problem is that in most sewing books that I have read there is no consistency as to what grosgrain and petersham are. In most cases, it is used interchangeably. Add to that the fact that in most shops I have enquired about petersham I almost always get shown grosgrain. It’s not the shop assistant’s fault either as I elaborate below.

Grosgrain or Petersham? Same thing or different?

Petersham is not to be confused with its close cousin grosgrain, which is straight like normal ribbon you might use in hair.

What do the sewing books have to say….

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You cant take the academia out of the girl…..

 

I did a search of my sewing books. I was limited to my own personal library and if there are other books that deal specifically with petersham ribbon I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Just like my shopping experiences, my sewing books also present different information.

Readers Digest mentions petershams and only says this:

Petersham ribbon is often used for finishing or staying waistlines. It can also be a decorative trim. It is sold by the meter in various widths and a wide range of colours. A special curved petersham is also available in black and white only. Pg. 20

This tells me that it is referring to grosgrain in the first then actual petersham last. It is helpful as it does point out that petershams are only in black and white.

The Vogue Sewing Book doesn’t have petersham listed in its index or glossary so I went to look at skirt waistband finishing. Sure enough, it pops up there but under a different guise and name here is the extract (on Faced Waistline):

RIBBON: Shape a 20 -25 mm (3/4″ – 1″) wide strip of grosgrain ribbon by steaming it into curves corresponding to those of the waistline edge. Be sure to stretch the edge that is to be let free; if you shrink the edge to be joined to the garment, it will stretch during wear. Fit ribbon to your body, allowing 25mm (1″) for ends. pg 336

Based on what we already know about the definition of petersham, – clearly, this tutorial is talking about petersham and not grosgrain which will not ever curve unless cut or darted. It’s a good tutorial apart from the fact that if a beginner were to buy grosgrain and follow it, they would be shocked (perhaps not shocked per se but maybe frustrated) to find it’s not working. (Caveat being that they are using this 1978 edition which I have – if anyone has a newer edition – is this still the same exact text or has it been changed? )

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Vogue Sewing Book

 

The Sewing Book (Alison Smith) This book had petersham in the index and has a well illustrated photographic tutorial which refers to petersham ribbon as we know it. Here is the extract:.

Petersham in an alternative finish to a facing if you do not have enough fabric to cut a facing. Available in black and white, it is a stiff, ridged tape that is 2.5cm (1″) wide and curved – the tighter curve is the top edge. Like a facing, petersham is attached to the waist after the skirt or trousers have been constructed. pg 177

This is the best succinct explanation along with the tutorial. On pg 179 there is an equally good entry on grosgrain distinguishing between the two ribbon cousins and providing a tutorial on using grosgrain.  The only thing missing from both these tutorials is how to finish the petersham and grosgrain at the zip fastening. I have provided a link down below in the resources section on a great tutorial which goes all the way to finishing around the zip fastening – I highly recommend this read if you are looking to up your finishing techniques.

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The Sewing Book (Alison Smith)

 

Couture Sewing Techniques (Claire Schaeffer) is the only book to use the term grosgrain and describe a process that is for grosgrain ribbon. I have included it as I found it very interesting. She describes a technique where snipping and darting are used to shape it. So it is definitely grosgrain as it is sold today i.e. straight and needing cutting to shape it to a curve. It doesn’t have a petersham entry on index or glossary either.Here is the extract.

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Couture Sewing Techniques (Claire Schaeffer)

 

Gerstie’s Ultimate Dress Book (Gretchen Hirsch) has a petersham reference in the index. I can’t be too certain but it looks like what’s being referred to is possibly a grosgrain given that it comes in different widths and colours. Also looking at the picture provided, I can’t see the typical waviness I’d expect to see on a petersham that’s been curved around a waist.  Perhaps this might be a US thing and they sell the petersham as defined at the beginning there in differing widths and colours? If there are any US readers who know I’d love to hear your experiances/thoughts on this.

Here is the extract:20170404_200836

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Characteristic waviness of a petersham ribbon

 

So far the Alison Smith book has provided the clearest definitions and tutorial for petersham ribbon. It’s the one book where a beginner would seek to find the proper petersham ribbon since the book specifically says that its only black and white and 1″ wide. The tutorial would also yield a good result as everything matches up.

Ok so now we know that petersham ribbon is the best thing since sliced bread and why there is some confusion as to what it actually is. But hopefully, by now, you get the idea that grosgrain is NOT petersham. Perhaps you can even tell the difference between them. Of course, now are wondering where to buy this lovely thing I speak of. Well, that’s a tricky one……

Where to buy  petersham ribbon?

I live in the UK so my experiance is limited to this country unfortunately.  More specifically to my region in Yorkshire. I tried buying on Ebay twice and each time received grosgrain so I gave up buying online. I went to Bonds in Farsley but they didn’t have any in stock at that time (I havent yet returned to check but they said they stock it). I found some in Boyes Super Store (Bradford branch) where I bought loads. Samuel Taylors in Leeds Market also had some. And thats it. I have basically stocked up and have about 10m each of the black and white in my cave. I invite readers from other countries (& UK) to share if they know where to buy petersham. Please let me know in the comments below.

Mistakes to avoid.

Hopefully, I made these mistakes so you don’t have to.

Buying the wrong thing.

  • Watch out for descriptions that say grosgrain/petersham in them – most likely they are the grosgrain ribbon. As mentioned above, my research indicates that petersham and grosgrain are 2 separate things.
  • I have also yet to ever come across Petersham that isn’t black or white or 1″ wide. I use that as an indicator myself. Buy from reputable sellers so that you can double check with them before buying. Also once you find it, buy shed loads of it – it’s not easy to come by!

Cutting your petersham too short.

Its painful and it has happened to me but I quickly learnt not to do that again. Now I don’t necessarily cut it from my roll before sewing in on. I will sew it on then cut off the excess leaving the allowance I need to turn under.

Unraveling ends

I have used Fray check successfully especially when I cut it an angle which I wouldn’t advise. Otherwise turn it under and hand sew it as soon as possible.

Petersham ribbon when used correctly creates the most comfortable waist finish. My all time favourite Holyburn skirt has a Petersham ribbon.

20170404_200400_HDRResources on Petersham ribbons

A Challenging Sew – a useful tutorial on sewing a lined skirt with petersham.

Threads  – a Youtube tutorial on how to curve petersham to a seam.

Hopefully you have a slightly better understanding of Petersham Naomi. I have enjoyed writing up this post so thank you for asking the question.

Now lets see if you picked up something. I have 2 pictures below – which ones are the petersham ribbons? All welcome to have a go 🙂20170404_16344320170404_16381420170404_163722

Thanks for stopping by!

Hila

xoxo

PS. Apologies for poorly lit pictures. I took these on my phone today as I was writing this post.

Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, First Edition 1978

The Vogue Sewing Book, Revised Metric Edition, 1978

The Sewing Book, Alison Smith, 2009

Couture Sewing Techniques, Claire B. Schaeffer, 1993

Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book, Gretchen Hirsch, 2016

Early 2017 Springwatch

Hello,

This past weekend presented itself with some lovely weather so I was out on Sunday in the garden – cleaning the greenhouse, sowing seeds, etc. The etc includes taking in the beautiful spring sights.

I don’t know about you but I love the morning after a light shower. The flowers have the droplets clinging on to their delicate petals and its a lovely thing to see. I took these pictures using OH’s phone and I was rather impressed.2017-03-12 09.47.472017-03-12 09.48.082017-03-12 09.48.51-22017-03-12 09.49.132017-03-12 09.50.012017-03-12 09.51.292017-03-12 09.53.242017-03-12 09.53.402017-03-12 09.54.102017-03-12 09.54.282017-03-12 09.55.102017-03-12 09.55.592017-03-12 09.56.152017-03-12 09.44.202017-03-12 09.44.432017-03-12 09.45.032017-03-12 09.45.072017-03-12 09.45.16

Meanwhile at the allotment the garlic and overwintering onions are doing well. I just sowed the seeds for this year. The potatoes are chitting along. This year we are only going to plant one variety of potatoes : Maris Piper.

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Leek bed
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I think it was the birds that did this to our purple sprouting brcocolli

2017-02-26 15.44.28

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The onions sets and garlic.

Spring is coming.

KnitWeek2016 Pt 1 : Organising the Yarns, Supplies & Patterns

Hi guys,

The first of my posts in KnitWeek2016 begins with organising the knitting stash. I began in earnest in early October. I think that most of us in the sewing and knitting community are more of producers than consumers (only in the sense that we consume tools and raw materials to make an item rather than just purchasing an item ready made).  As a consequence we collect tools and materials for production. With that comes the challenge of keeping organised. Luckily my knitting stash is much (much) less than the sewing stash so the task of organising it didnt seem too daunting.

Cataloging the yarn

First I emptied out all the yarns I had and proceeded to catalog them all on Ravelry. I have been in awe and super impressed with how incredibly useful the Ravelry stash feature is. If you enter all your details correctly it will show you which patterns can be made up with the amount of yarn you have for a particular yarn. Also seeing what other projects have been made using that yarn in your stash is so useful for giving you ideas when you are in a rut, or if like me you cant remember what you bought the yarn for :-). So now all my yarn is cataloged and my gosh it feels good. If you would like to have snoop around my stash you can find it here <link>.

Yarn storage

I like to have my stash visible so I dont forget what I have, seeing as I am more of a more of an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of person. The 80L plastic tub I use is great at keeping out yarn eating bugs, as well as keeping the stash visible.

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All my yarn stash in this 80l capacity plastic tub

So then while I was at it I thought that much as I like digging out all the 29 stash items I have, I wanted to easily browse what I had without having to unearth them all. So a simple idea formed to have strands on a page with name and details. I used a laminated card with a hole punch to make holes for stringing yarn samples through and voila – my yarn directory! Its kept in the same binder as my knitting patterns.

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Yarn sample catalog page in my knitting pattern binder

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Knitting patterns

Next up I sorted out the patterns I have – printed and bought (Eeeeck I actually bought a couple of patterns from an actual bricks and mortar shop when I started knitting before discovering Ravelry). Anyhow those were neatified and filed in the binder.

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Knitting patterns stored in plastic sleeves

Knitting tools and sundries

Next up my knitting tools – I have loads of circular needles, crochet hooks and DPNs. These were more challenging to organise. On the one hand I needed to have them all together but at the same time I need to look through by type quickly….for now my solution was to have them all in one old shoebox. I will be thing about how to improve on this.

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Knitting and crochet tools in separate freezer bags within one shoebox…

I now enjoy the yarn in my collection rather than feeling overwhelmed by it. Having said this though I do realise I need to do some serious yarn stashbusting over the next year.

What are your favourite yarn stash organising tips? I will be back tomorrow with another knitting post sharing a finished knitting project. I actually finished some knitting projects guys 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace and love,

Hila

Sewing Plans…..sort of…ish….

Hello again,

So I have been mulling a bit on my sewing plans. This last week with the sewing goddeses smiling upon me has meant I have been doing what I like to call intuitive sewing – which roughly translates to sewing without a specific plan. It rather entails stumbling across a fabric and thinking this could go with that other thing I am making and then I immediately cut it and sew it up and I look for some more fabric that could make something to go with the thing I just made previously…and so on….

More importantly – one of my new habits (that I am trying to form) is making sure that no remnants are left – if the left over bit is large enough for a top its gets cut immediately or if it is leggings for my twinks it gets cut and anything left over insufficient for a garment gets chucked. A very good thing for how it is depleting my stash slowly.

Anyhow I digress – the purpose of this post was to pull together my thoughts on what I want to proactively achieve over the next few months.

  1. Pattern Review are doing a One Pattern Many Looks contest which I have decided to enter. In the past I have excelled at such a challenge based on how I did at IPM 2015 and 2016 One pattern 2 ways contest. See here the Giselle Maxis I made in 2015 and the Carme blouses I made in 2016. I haven’t yet picked a pattern but my cogs are turning. You can check out the PR details here.
  2. I found out about the Little Red Dress Project over on Youtube – its not limited to vloggers – its just how I first came across it. Its a challenge to make a red dress in time for the Christmas holidays. I am realising that red looks good on me and I want to add more reds in my wardrobe so this is great for me.
  3. Separately I want to make another pair of jeans. I have bought the Mimi G pattern during the Simplicity sale. I have the fabric and I just need to trace the pattern.
  4. I signed up for Stitching Santa run by SewChet which I am quite excited about. To shake things up for myself I decided to go with knitting instead of sewing. This is my first time signing up.
  5. I need to catch up on my Burda Challenge 2016 – I have done 8 garments to date but I really need to have a total of 12 (one pattern/month) to justify the subscription. I didn’t renew my subscription when it ended in August but I actually really like Burda  patterns. Their fitting is pretty much perfect on me and they have some fun designs, so I would like to have a 12 month subscription for next year. My Burda makes so far here..
  6. I have enrolled on the free class Fall 2016 Knitalong on Craftsy. Its focusing on knitting 3 accessories over the fall months : a cowl, a hat  and fingerless mitts. The idea is one item for each month of fall. The class is free and it includes the 3 patterns. I am liking it so far since starting my cowl.

So those are some of my loose goals for the coming season’s sewing and knitting. In the meantime – I have been going through my fabric and pattern stash selecting ones that I will never use and taking them along to the Sew Up North meet up on Saturday 4th November. I cant tell you how excited I am to be going even though I know I am not going to be buying fabric (actually I have a teeny tiny £20 budget) but still I cant wait to meet everyone who is going to be coming and help out in any way I can. Plus just to soak up the feeling of being in the company of  like minded individuals. More details over here at RedWSews.wordpress.com.

Is there anything else going on in the sewing community that I have missed?

Until next time – Happy Sewing! I will be back soon.

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

Ramblings etc..

Remember in my last Ramblings post I  mentioned our first camping trip?  Well …it rained and rained, and then some more rain even when we were packing up the tent. Everything got wet. Basically the entire 3 days we were there, it RAINED!  Not giving up though – I cant imagine it could possibly get any worse than that. The only way must be up surely.

I bought 2 sewing books while in the tent at night struggling to sleep in cramped quarters. Boundless Style and Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. Looking through the books was fun the first time but I quickly realised it was unlikely I will be making anything from these books. I think buying them was a reaction to my dropping sugar on top of being stuck in a tent with 5 excitable kids.

Speaking of sugar -its been well over a month of being sugar free now and I can honestly say that I am past the cravings. I do not crave it anymore. I can walk past the candy aisle in the supermarket and not be tempted. I am now moving to the  next stage which is swapping over my simple carbs for complex ones. Apparently our bodies treat refined flour like sugar so that means I am swapping to whole grain pasta and whole grain rice for now. I bought some quinoa and hated it. Brown rice was not too bad but too chewy – unsurprisingly the kids dont like either of those so I have to cook a separate portion for myself.

Knitting – why am I so bad at finishing knitting projects. I have 5 in the process. A Marion cardigan (needs blocking) , a Miette that was finished well over a year ago but is yet to be blocked. A green Antler cardigan for my third child. An Owls sweater for me. A purple chuck sweater…………..I wallowed. I threw myself a pity party – but I didn’t let the self pity settle for long (thankfully) and got tough with myself!  So I set myself an ACTION challenge in which I just have to take any action with the knitting. The deadline being a blog post in first week of November. Don’t judge me – sometimes I need hard deadlines to push me :-). Knitting means a lot of TV shows in the background.

I have been watching an Amazon Prime original series called The Collection which is set in Paris fashion house just after the end of WW2. I was quite looking forward to it but have found it to be quite slow and indulgent. Perhaps I was expecting too much actual atelier insight – a true glimpse into the workings of a haute couture house. Alas it has disappointed me so far. I am still watching it in the background as I knit at the end of the day in bed just to see exactly what all this meandering has been about. Have you seen this too? Another show I have been watching and loving is Parks and Recreation. Been doing a lot of knitting to this and even got hubs hooked on it too.

The Knitting and Stitching show is upon us Northerners in Harrogate. I had promised myself last year that I would go but unfortunately due to my excess fabric and yarn stash – I have wisely deferred to next year. I now have a hard target to reduce my respective stashes so I can go next year.

I will be joining in on Sew Up North – a sojourn arranged by Redsews on 5th November. For more information click here – it is going to be an awesome day out. I will not be buying fabric though. If you are in the area why  not drop by?

The Great British Bake Off – I had a funny conversation with my twins in the sewing cave. I snuck off to the cave while the whole family was catching up with GBBO. Less than 10 mins of blessed solitude later my twinks made their way up the attic stairs. They proceeded to upend my threads, pins and pattern weights to play with…..

Mom: GBBO is on downstairs…..

Twins:…..<silence>…….

Mom: Why dont you go watch it downstairs?

Twins: No. We are girls.

I dont quite know what to make of that statement but the tone and finality of the stated fact immediately reduced me to acceptance of their presence in the cave. An hour later, satisfied with making 2 more Renfrew tops – my twins satisfied with building ‘Pin and Thread Town’, we left the cave. And that was that.

Oh and I usually like GBBO but I have been a tad annoyed with some of their challenges this year – they lost me at lace pancakes!!!! Imean WTF!! Who would seriously want to make lace pancakes? I love baking but that episode just felt silly to me. <maybe in time I will get over it and watch it before the season finishes>…..only time will tell.

I also caught Episode 2 of ‘The Apprentice’ on Iplayer last night and am glad that they finally stopped the pretense of being a show about real business. The contestants, as far I can tell (from the one episode), are crackers and will provide Big Brother style reality TV material. Nothing like how real businesses operate at all!

The sewjo goddesses are smiling upon me – I have never felt so motivated to sew and am whipping up so many items. I cant wait to do a photo shoot for the the autumn stuff I have made so far and share :-). How is your autumn sewing coming along?

Thanks for stopping by and I hope wherever you are in the world you are having/had a lovely day.

Peace and love,

Hila

 

 

 

Small luxuries

Life is about the small stuff right?  Favourite little extravagances to relish in. Everyone has something they see a small luxury in an otherwise plain ole life. I think that one should indulge in little luxuries whenever one can because if one is going to be working hard for one’s money, one should be able to treat oneself every once in a while. For some its a glass of fine wine, a Starbucks mocha latte, an expensive lipstick , designer handbags, manicures/pedicures. Life’s little luxuries are what keep many of us refreshed and relaxed when the stressors of work and home leave us frazzled.

I got to thinking about my little luxuries. Whats mine? It used to be the copious amounts of cheap candy and chocolate that I’d stash around the house in little nooks. Now that’s gone.  I dont smoke nor drink alcohol. I dropped coffee and tea when I started my baby making marathon 6 years ago and never went back to the stuff. I havent bought new clothes in decades (hate shopping). Car boot sales and charity shops have always been my preferred hunting grounds. Same goes for shoes. I love them but I only ever buy when massively discounted on sale but its mostly second hand on Ebay or car boot.

I don’t do manicures because I like my nails trimmed very very short and low maintenance. I do my own hair – no time for saloons – in fact I cant even remember when was the last time…16 years ago maybe.. I stopped wearing make up about 7 years ago and my skin has been the better for it. I use Dove soap and Aveeno cream on my face morn and night. I don’t wear perfume either – I went off it during my first pregnancy and never got into it again. Without the sugar,  I no longer have a small luxury. I need one. What’s your small luxury?

Peace & love,

Hila

 

Ramblings…

Hello chums,

 

Its been a long time….2 weeks to be exact and I have missed you all. I have missed the writing process. Several reasons are behind this but technical problems are my biggest headache so far. I used to be quite tech savvy until my boyfriend started helping out, then he moved in with me  – then I married him. We merged and he sort of became the tech guy and now 10 years later I haven’t had to deal with any tech stuff. So when something goes wrong I wait for him to sort it out. The other day I was quite perturbed at how I have ended like this argh.

Anyhow I digress. Its been a very busy holiday so far. We got back from London last night absolutely knackered. We did a lot of the touristy stuff with the kids but I didnt get to enjoy much of it. I was behind the scenes running wriggling childrens to the toilets and cleaning up messes, feeding, etc etc. I did feel fabulous doing it though – in fact I have decided that whenever we go anywhere from now on I will be wearing my very most glamourous dresses. And here is Why? Continue reading