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DIY is "manly" except for clothing (?)

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  • LesserBlackDog
    replied


    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.

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  • YackoYak
    replied


    @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.

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  • AL_VA
    replied


    @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.

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  • AL_VA
    replied


    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.

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  • jason_carreira
    replied


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

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  • CharlesMartel
    replied


    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.

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  • AL_VA
    replied


    @YackoYak: Cool suggestions. The restoring furniture sounds intriguing. My girlfriend has a beat-up armchair with sentimental value. The batting is dead, some of the fabric is in tatters, but I think the skeleton is fine. I wonder what I'd be capable of doing on that.


    Yep I have only used RIT. There are some guides with pictures online, but the instructions inside the box are pretty good. You get a few different options: stovetop, washing machine, bucket, etc. Garbage white tee is a great idea, though if your next piece is not cotton, it might not be such a great predictor. Not sure how much to expect differences between knit/woven and fabric weight either.

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  • YackoYak
    replied


    AL_VA:
    <blockquote>

    On the other hand, lots of people are afraid of getting fleeced by a mechanic/plumber/electrician/contractor/etc
    </blockquote>


    I think this is true of any service that more complex than I can understand. It's harder to call 'BS' when you don't REALLY know if you need a new water pump in the Chevy.


    Jose hit on the second point: Only you can gauge what side of time vs money you fall on. I pay for my oil changes but cut my own grass, take dress shirts and slacks to the dry cleaners but cook all meals. To me I only do what I enjoy, can do quickly, or have to do my way. I've taken my house down to the studs and it was *really* hard to pay someone else to put up a new fence - both because I knew I would do it better and much cheaper.


    Some ways to get into the DIY part of clothing:
    <ul>While watching TV: Mend rips and tears, move / replace buttons

    Make your own cotton pocket squares from leftover scraps at the fabric store

    Making leather belts/bracelets

    Dyeing clothes (starting with fades jeans?) RIT is popular[/list]


    I consider restoring furniture as a 'manly' DIY activity, and you can get into some complicated sewing with some types of upholstery.

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  • CharlesMartel
    replied


    AL_VA, the dyeing sounds like a great idea, I could start off with a garbage white tee. Do you have any instructional resources/links to recommend?

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  • AL_VA
    replied


    @Jason Carreira: That overcoat sounds pretty cool. And yeah, I take my car in for oil changes too.

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  • AL_VA
    replied


    One economics counterargument I thought of:

    It sounds lots of you have tailors that charge reasonable prices. On the other hand, lots of people are afraid of getting fleeced by a mechanic/plumber/electrician/contractor/etc.


    So it could be a rational response to the "market", to choose certain DIY things over others.

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  • jason_carreira
    replied


    @AL_VA Stuff like a bespoke suit... WWII military inspired overcoats, which are becoming more available but are $1000+


    But then, I also take my car to get the oil changed 'cause I don't want to deal with it and it's worth $30 for me not to have to... Unclogging the sink, on the other hand, I will attempt to do, but I have had times when you have to call a plumber like when my son flushed a plastic toy.

    Leave a comment:


  • AL_VA
    replied


    @CharlesMartel: Have you ever tried dyeing? You might ruin a few, but it's pretty cool when it works. Just a $3 investment for the dye. Though, bleaching a dark color and then dyeing it a different color has never worked well for me.


    I've never taken a sewing class, I'm just self-taught through little projects I take on. Don't know if I'll ever make an item from scratch (cutting patterns out of fabric, etc). Armholes... that's scary.


    I like the "appreciation" argument. To continue the car analogy, if you've got a meticulous stable of classics, but can barely pop the hood or describe how an internal combustion engine works, isn't something missing?

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  • CharlesMartel
    replied


    DIY may not make sense, but doing it occasionally, or watching it performed, gives you an appreciation for the craft.


    Has anyone here taken a sewing class, say at a local community college?


    I too have some designs in mind that I don't see. I'd like a pair of cream trousers. I really like dark, rich shades of red, a red version of bottle green, and I'd love to have a velvet jacket in that color, and really anything. I find the color palette of mainstream clothes limited, dull and unflattering.

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  • AL_VA
    replied


    @jose_jackson: That makes sense. Nothing wrong with valuing your time over your money, life is short.


    @greg_s: Interesting about the "definite" factor, that's something I didn't think of. As for not wanting to ruin ones own clothes, I think the consequences of botched home improvement or car repair are much worse, financially and safety-wise. But as you say, maybe those are more straightforward to do right.


    I'm definitely not arguing to do everything DIY, carry around an ax, and be Super Artisan Man. That's not exactly practical.


    But I still think that if you plot DIY hobbies on a scale of popularity for men, simple clothing repair/alteration falls disproportionately low, considering the level of attention on clothes. Is that a valid thing to say?


    (But maybe the level of attention is what scares people away from mucking it up, as said earlier.)


    Ok now I'm talking to myself.

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