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DIY is "manly" except for clothing (?)

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    AL_VA, do you prefer any of those dyeing methods over the others, for cotton?

    I'd like to try get one color right, and then dye a fitted tee, oxford shirt, polo and maybe a pocket square, all in the same shade. Maybe a chino jacket or windbreaker a la James Dean eventually.



      I was just searching craigslist for "cuff" for cufflinks and saw a computerized sewing machine that does button holes, etc. for $325... Interest peaked



        Ah, honestly I'm really not too experienced with dyeing, so I can't give much advice.

        I've only done the bucket method, because I don't want to soil public coin op washing machines, nor want to soil a pot with chemicals in the stovetop method. But I'd bet that washing machine and the stovetop are better than the bucket, because of the higher heat, and the washing machine gives agitation.

        If your bucket is smallish and you have to pack your garment down to get it under the water level, it can get an ugly blotchy look. So you have to sit there swishing it around in the bucket for 10-20 minutes. Also another factor to avoid blotchiness is pre-wetting the garment before putting into the dye. It might seem smarter to put the garment in dry, so that it absorbs concentrated dye full-blast, but I think it makes the dye absorb unevenly.

        Also, don't skimp on the salt and detergent, and wear gloves.

        But seriously, I'm not very good at dyeing, take this all with a grain of salt.



          @Jason Carreira: Nice! Though, buttonhole function alone doesn't mean much, you can find those on cheapo models too. Not all buttonhole methods are created equal: 4-step buttonholes is just some glorified zig-zag stich options and you still do a lot of work, while 1-step and 2-step are easier and possibly neater. Unfortunately you're not going to get a meticulous hand-sewn piped buttonhole at the press of a button.

          Also consider the ability to sew denim or leather. Perhaps counterintuitively, computerized is better than non-computerized at that (at a given class of machine).

          Embroidery options sounds cool but you might never use them.

          Reverse button sounds lame, but you need it. Backstitching and stiching in place means you don't have to stop and tie fiddly little knots to terminate seams.

          Free-arm is probably a must.

          Plenty of other things to consider, that are beyond my knowledge, when buying a machine.



            @Jason - I bought my wife a new Brother programmable sewing machine that does one-step button holes and a large selection of stitches for ~$150 - something like this. She's been wanting to get into making her own things, though I confess that I also got it "for her" so I make my own cotton pocket squares. But I'm not looking to get into heavy denim, leather, or to put my tailor out of business. A family friend has an old school cast iron / steel machine that easily punches through thick upholstery fabric.

            @AL_VA - Agree on the bucket and gloves method. I'm nervous about using my own washing machine.

            My Measurements: 6' 1" height, 35" sleeves, 41-42" chest/jacket, 35" waist, 34" inseam, 11.5D/EEE shoes, 200 lbs



              My mom is a serious quilter/textile artist in her spare time so my brother and I grew up knowing our way around the sewing machine (even my retired USMC officer dad has one and occasionally uses it).

              If I were confident in my ability to alter clothing without screwing it up, I would definitely alter my own clothes. But I think it would require a lot more practice than I am willing to develop to get good at it.

              P.S. If you want to buy a sewing machine, Bernina is the only way to go.