Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Win one yard of fabric each month for a year! And there won't be just one or two or three winners; there will be 25 winners. Yep, 25 of you have a chance to win one yard of fabric each month for a year.
Perfect for sewing one of the multitude of projects in the forthcoming book 101 One-Yard Wonders.
Details here. Pin It
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
KSTP TV - Minneapolis and St. Paul - Apple Valley Woman Overcomes Blindness to Books
KSTP TV - Minneapolis and St. Paul - Apple Valley Woman Overcomes Blindness to Books
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Monday, June 22, 2009
However, when I saw this McCall's pattern, 5890, I pushed my fear aside and decided to go for it. I searched the Internet for an animal print knit, which was harder than I had anticipated. Not finding exactly what I wanted, I settled for a cheetah print from Gorgeous Fabrics.
The dress itself is so stickin' simple to sew that there is hardly anything to say about it. Here's my observations about the pattern:
- It's a princess seam knit dress, perfect for adjusting the fit in the bust, waist and hip while maintaining the shape of the design.
- The only adjustments I made to the pattern were 1) forward shoulder adjustment and 2) sway back adjustment.
- The pattern seems to run large. I do not like my clothing tight so I typically cut a size larger in the waist and hip giving myself lots of extra ease. This time I did that and there was way too much ease - the dress hung on my with no shape at all. I needed to take the waist in about four inches and it is still loose enough for me.
- The neck and sleeves are simply turned under and stitched in place. I used light steam-a-seam to give it some stability before topstitching. A binding would look nice also. (Of course I thought of that after the dress was completed.)
- The dress is long. I cut the shorter view with no adjustments. I cut 1" off and sewed a 1-1/2" hem. Next time I will hem it another 1/2" to 1" shorter.
- In my opinion it needs to be worn with a belt to help define the waist.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I rarely have those days, but today was one of those days where everything was just off a little bit. Work up late for a morning parade, clown make-up didn't set properly and had to redo my face, forgot my parade props, forgot my sunscreen (which was needed for the 80 plus degree with full sun parade), threw my clown nose away (by accident) when removing my clown face, lost an entire sewing tutorial blog post, arrived at Saturday evening church only to realize I had forgotten the pot blessing salad on the counter at home...you get the idea.
So when the day's activities came to a close I didn't dare spend time in the sewing studio working on my latest project. I'll hit the studio Sunday evening instead.
The bright spot in the do-over day? The smiles of the kids along the parade route. It's enough to get anyone through an off day.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Ah, but the promise was broken.
Don't let this photo fool you. This top does not have the design elements needed to make it a winner.
While it was indeed an easy pattern, the line drawings are misleading.
- The neckline is much wider and lower than illustrated.
- The bias roll collar does not drape softly at the neckline. Instead it stands at attention in a rather unattractive and unflattering stance.
- The bias flutter sleeves do not fall into soft folds as illustrated. When worn, the sleeves also stand at attention looking more like wings in flight than sleeves.
The fabric was a bit ravelly so I took the extra time to encase every seam with Seams Great. The design calls for a 12" back zipper, which I was certain I could eliminate. Whew. Good thing I basted the center back seam and did a fitting. I would have been unable to get it on without the zipper.
So, I inserted an invisible back zipper, which meant I had to follow the pattern design and add a closing at the center back neckline.
After a few hours the top was completed. I eagerly put it on and grabbed the camera to capture the moment. I quickly discovered that even with a zipper the top was difficult to get on.
And that was when I first thought that this might not have been the best pattern to choose to sew. That thought was quickly confirmed when I looked in the mirror and discovered the problems I mentioned earlier.
"Eew," I thought. "This is one ugly top. I knew I should have chosen McCall's 5561." Of course my next thought was "well, there's no way this is being photographed with me wearing it. "
Of course now that it's completed I remembered to check the reviews on Pattern Review. Which confirm most of the issues I had also. When, oh when, will I learn to check PR first? Oh well, live and learn.
Broken (pattern) promises-they disappoint. But the bright spot? I took photos of the narrow hem process so I have a nice little tute.
Press under 1/4" on the lower edge. Stitch as close as possible to the pressed edge. My machine has the ability to move the needle left or right so I kept the pressure foot centered on the folded fabric and moved my needle to the edge.
Turn the fabric over another 1/8" and stitch in place. You're almost rolling the fabric over and stitching over the first row of stitches. If you sew slowly it will be easier to handle the fabric.
Friday, June 12, 2009
But knits? Well, the thought of sewing with knits made me break out in a cold sweat. After all I didn't have any of those new-fangled fancy-dancy sewing machines. You know, the kind with a stretch stitch designed for sewing with knit.
However, after years of sewing I realized it was time. Time to conquer my fears and move forward.
Pattern of choice? McCall's 4551. After sewing myself a pair of the jeans (woven fabric - piece of cake) I tackled the top.
After carefully using the stretch guide conveniently printed on the back of the pattern envelope, I choose a golden tan cotton knit. The fabric was surprisingly easy to work with, the shirt went together quickly and I accented the seams and collar with brown topstitching.
Life was good. No need to fear the knit. Until I wore the shirt and the seams started to pop. Turns out if you don't use a small zig-zag stitch you need to stretch your fabric ever so slightly to allow for the stretch of the fabric. If you don't? Your seams will pop when you move.
And lucky me, it was captured for all eternity in this photo from 1976.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Case in point. See this top I sewed this past weekend? The fabric, purchased a month ago from a local fabric store, has a nice retro-inspired polka-dot knit print. The shape of the top is trendy with the full gathers above the bust captured in a yoke and the fullness gathered into a bottom band creating a blouson effect.
Except this isn't a recent pattern release. It's a vintage pattern, Simplicity 8890, issued in 1979. I found it in the recycle section of Pattern Rescue.
I had just seen a woman wearing a similar style top on a local news program just a few days before I spotted this pattern on Pattern Rescue. Her version, which was quite elegant, had more gathers and looked like it might have been a silk jersey. This one I sewed as is to test the fit of this pattern. Now I'm off to find a super soft drapey knit for my next one, hopefully in an elegant silk jersey.
Like they say, everything old is new again.
So tell me, what vintage patterns have you been sewing lately?
(Full review of the pattern is here on PatternReview).
Friday, June 05, 2009
Measurement instructions edited 6/14/09
Four knit rectangles + elastic + thread + sewing machine + 2 hours = one fabulous knit tube dress.
That’s right. You can sew a fabulous knit tube dress in two hours. Here’s how:
Fabric and notions:
- Approximately 2 yards of 60” wide knit fabric.The wrong side of the fabric will show with the tie variations, so keep that in mind when you choose your fabric. Your yardage will depend on the width and length of your rectangles. You’ll figure those out in the next step.Basically you need enough fabric to cover the width and length of your body.
- (If your measurements + ease indicate you need to cut two rectangles wider than 24", you'll need to purchase enough fabric to cut two dress lengths)
Thank you to the Anonymous (Jun) for asking for clarification on this step. I see I skipped one very important sentence and added the clarification below.
Take your measurements:
- Measure around the fullest part of your bust. Add 12” for ease and seam allowances. EDIT: Divide this measurement by 2. This will be the width of your two rectangles. Example: bust measurement = 36" + 12" = 48". 48" divided by 2 = 24".
- If your hips are larger than your bust add 12” to your hip measurement and use that number as the width of your rectangle.
- Measure from underneath your underarm to the floor. Add 3 inches for upper casing and hem. This will be the length of your rectangle.
- Each dress rectangle for my golden goddess gown was 24” (w) x 61” (l). For this dress: bust measurement = 36" + 12" = 48". 48" divided by 2 = 24". The front dress rectangle was cut at 24" x 61" and the back dress rectangle was cut at 24" x 61".
Cut your dress:
- Find a large flat surface to cut out your dress.
- Fold your fabric in half, wrong sides together, and lay on a large flat surface.
- I used the floor in my sewing room, much to the delight of my little helper Sophia, who promptly plopped herself on the fabric and refused to budget. (Until a puppy treat magically appeared.)
- Measure, mark and cut your rectangle. Because you had your fabric folded you will now have two fabric rectangles.
Cut your ties:
- Cut two rectangles that measure 6”(w) x 50” (l). You can cut the ties longer if you think you'll need it to do the tie variations.
- Edit 6/14/09: If you have a larger bust line you many want to cut the ties wider and longer. If you choose to do so you will need additional yardage. My fabric, when folded, measured 30" wide, which allowed enough width for the dress rectangles (24") and the tie rectangles (6").
Sew your dress:
- Hem the two long edges and one short edge of the ties.
- On the golden goddess gown I turned one edge under 1/4" and stitched over it using a a wide zig-zag stitch making sure the right swing of the zig-zag was just off of my fabric. You could also turn the edges under 1/4" and stitch in place, or leave the edges raw.
- Run gathering stitches along the unhemmed short edge of the ties.
- Pull up gathers to measure 3”
- On wrong side of dress beginning at the top edge, measure down 2” along side edges (the long sides) and make a mark.
- Place the upper edge of the tie along the mark you just made, right sides together and matching raw edges. Baste in place.
- Pin the two large rectangles together along the long edge, right sides together.
- Using a 1/2” seam allowance, stitch the side seams.
- If you don’t have a serger, sew the seam using a narrow zig-zag stitch stretching the knit fabric slightly as you sew. Sew a second narrow zig-zag seam next to the first seam and trim the seam.
- Turn under 1” on the top edge of the dress. Pin in place.
- Stitch 3/4” from the folded edge forming a casing for the elastic, being careful not to catch the ties. Be sure to leave an opening so you can insert the elastic.
- Place a safety pin on one end of the elastic and thread it through the casing you just created.
- Don't forget to pin the other end of the elastic to the garment or you’ll lose the elastic in the casing when you begin to pull to thread the elastic through.
- Once the elastic is through, secure the elastic to the dress by pinning both ends to the dress seam.
- Try the dress on to make sure the elastic is tight enough to hold the dress up. Adjust if necessary.
- Remove the pins, overlap the two edges of elastic, stitch together securely (you don't want that elastic to come undone while you're wearing the dress now do you?) and tuck into the casing.
- Sew the casing opening closed.
- To hem the dress, turn under 1” on bottom of dress and stitch in place.
Done!Put your dress on, twist the tie ends to form different bodice variations and then prepare yourself for the onslaught of compliments that are sure to come your way.
This beautiful yellow dress was sewn for beautiful Julie who has been learning to sew in my Sewing Studio Sundays. I'm hoping to convince her to model it for us for a future post.
It's a bit reminisce of these Greek Goddess dresses. And for all of you gorgeous older babes who remember this style from decades ago...yes, it was inspired by fashions from the 1970s. Pin It
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Using stripes, as shown on the pattern envelope, certainly showcases the unique seaming on the top.
The sleeves are pleated near the elbow and the sleeve is two pieces. The top of the sleeve is the continuation of the neck band.
Now I know you're going to leave comments asking me to model it. The knit is so soft that it shows every bump and bulge and since this is tunic length I need something with a flat front, not the jeans I had envisioned. So, sorry dear readers, I won't be modeling it yet. It's a cool top with all the crazy seams and stripes but until I find something to wear it with, it's destined to languish in the back of my closet. Pin It