Monday, June 27, 2011

Simpicity 2219: Again

When my first version of this dress (which started out as a muslin, but turned out to be wearable) turned out so well, I set out to make my sister the same dress, but without the sleeves. I found a fabric that suited her to a 'T' at Best Online Fabrics on Ebay. They were very accommodating in sending me a custom invoice for my requested yardage. In fact, they only had 2 pieces left, which added up to more than my required yardage, so they actually sent me extra for free. Which is good because it turned out that I totally needed it.

This dress was a darn train wreck! I must've been overconfident, because I had to completely start over on the bodice not once, but twice. The first time I had to completely re-cut out the pieces (thank goodness I had that extra yardage!)

The first time, I was zipping right along. Got the bodice pieces attached to the lining, trimmed my seams (more like butchered the poor things) turned it right side out & discovered I didn't like how the center front 'V' looked. It just didn't lay right. Of course, ripping & re-sewing wasn't the easy option since all my seam allowances were varying widths. That'll teach me.

So I re-cut the pieces. And re-sewed the pieces. And I was zipping right along. I came to the point in the instructions for attaching the sleeves. Since I wasn't doing sleeves, I turned the page over to skip it. And what do you know? Lo & behold there are COMPLETELY different instructions for sewing the bodice without the sleeves. See, in Views A & B, attaching the sleeves finishes the outer seams of the bodice. No sleeves--no finish. Which I would have figured out had I spent more than 2 seconds thinking about the whole thing--or, gee golly, looking at the construction steps.  So, out came my seam ripper again.

And then I really did zip right along. The rest of the dress came together beautifully. Once it was all together I tried it on, since my sister & I are about the same size.

And my heart stopped. The bodice was low on the sides. You could see my bra! Like, a lot of my bra. My main reason for choosing this pattern was for ease of wearing. So, I took it off & set it aside. Later that night, laying in bed, it dawned on me. I have sloping shoulders. Significantly sloping shoulders. That would account for the low bodice. So, I basted the sloping shoulder alteration on to the shoulders. It certainly wasn't pretty, but it did the trick. And told me that I was the problem. Not the dress. What a relief!

All in all, it was well worth it. My sister loves her new dress & has plans to buy a new pair of shoes to match.  And as for me, I'm jealous of her new dress & am working on some alterations to make my very own sleeveless version. 
Oh. I almost forgot the finishing touch, the custom, coordinating label.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Baby Dresses

A friend of mine has a 2 year old granddaughter. She had bought a couple patterns & fabric to make some dresses but just never got around to it. When she found out that I sew (and that I enjoy it!) she asked if I would mind sewing up the simple patterns. I was kind of between projects, so I said sure.

She had picked out New Look 6576 & 6878.  The Cherry dress (6576) came together super easy & I love how it turned out. I really wanted to find cherry buttons (though, it may have been overkill) but couldn't find any that didn't look like tomatoes. So I stuck with boring old white buttons & used red thread for the buttons, buttonholes & hem.

6878 was a little more challenging. It has a zipper closure--which I did "by the book" and am pretty happy with how it turned out.  The "hard" part was attaching the yoke facing. The directions say to press the raw edge if the facing in 3/8" and sew on the outside in the seam (that attaches the facing to the dress). Theoretically catching the 3/8" hem on the inside. I'm just not that precise in my sewing (yet?) so, I whipped out my handy dandy transparent thread & sewed that baby  by hand. I think it saved me a lot of heartache in the long run.

So, now there done & on their way to their new owner. My friend asked me how much I wanted for payment & I have no idea. I had it in mind as a favor, and I didn't spend hours & hours on them or anything. They were kind of nice projects to do since they weren't real challenging & I didn't have anything else immediately lined up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Good to be Back....

Phew. Ten whole days without a computer.  I suppose I can't complain too much; I was able to surf the web & read blogs on my phone, but not being able to post or interact left me feeling out of touch. :) On the other hand, there were some perks. :)

I have so much to talk about! A few new notions, some new finished projects (three, in fact), and of course, the ever constant stream of plans & new items on the "to sew" list.

July is going to be a busy month! We have our annual 3 day convention & I'd like to carry on the traditoin of making Laila & Shawn a coordinating dress & tie (respectively, of course). I just ordered fabric for the dress & a slew of swatches to find the perfect silky coordinate. I'm also going to need to make another suit or 2 for Shawn.  All his pants are quickly becoming too short.  Since I was planing on sewing for them anyway, I think I'll hold off until July 1 to start & enter some of my creations in the Sewing for Children contest on PR.

Also, Sarah Veblen is offering a class (again, at PR) on fitting & altering skirts. I'm seriously considering taking this class. I think it would be a great experience.

Well. That's it for now. I just wanted to peek my head in & say hi!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sewing Snippits...

It's been kind of a rough week for me. All my key appliances seem to be boycotting. On Monday, I was practicing doing a rolled hem on my serger (for the class I'm taking). Everything was going fine. And then, all of a sudden, it stopped forming a stitch. And then came a horrible clanking noise. I did a little looking around & realized teh lower looper was hitting something.

I was all set to take it in to get serviced on Thursday, but my father-in-law came to the rescue. He was able to fix the lower looper rub relatively easily. And by the end of the day, my beloved serger was better than ever. Oiled, cleaned, tension correct. She's running beautifully. And I am so glad, because I was dreading having to use just my sewing machine on my next knit dress.

Also, my computer went on the fritz Thursday. Just up & quit working. So, I called my tech (who happens to be an 18 year old computer genius--he also built our computer originally) and he determined the graphics card was bad. So, he gave us one out of his computer & we're up & running (for now...since we're using his fancy graphics card, he can't play his he'll be taking it back shortly LOL). So until we get our card, I'll be without my computer. I still have internet access on my phone, but I won't be able to post to the blog. So, please excuse the temporary radio silence.

I'm making a couple of baby dresses for a friend of mine's granddaughter. She had purchased the fabrics, notions & patterns, but just hasn't (& won't ) get around to sewing them up. I'm glad to help out, and they'll be quick little projects to keep the mojo going. That & I won't have to look up any complicated construction techniques while I'm without the internet.

So, there you go. Consider yourselves caught up. Hopefully it won't be too long before I'm posting again. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ruched Rugby/Striped Sailor Top


I just love it when seamstresses have clever names for their garments. I've never really been able to come up with anything, but this top ended up with 2 aliases. 

First off, the stripes made me think of those rugby shirts that were so pupular when i was in high school. After a google search,though. I realized that those all had thicker stripes. Oh well. The name sticks. 

Secondly, when I asked my hubby if he liked my new shirt ("I made it!!" I still get such a rush uttering those words!) he said, "Yeah. It's cute. You look like a little sailor." So. There you go. 

On to the pattern!

Another super fast project. As in one afternoon. With toddler & baby underfoot.  The pattern is actually a 1 piece download from burdastyle called the kimono tee.  To conserve fabric, I cut the pattern at the shoulders & cut the front & back pieces on the fold, making it a 2 piece pattern (plus the neckband). I also eliminated the waist casing and ruched the sides (but you can't really tell) 

The fabric is another clearance from Joann (I actually have it in purple, too). It's definitely polyester & maybe lycra...I'm not so sure it isn't swimsuit material. Anyway. It's a quick, cute top. If I make it again I think I will use something with a little more drape. The sleeves on this one don't quite flutter like I had in mind, though, it could be that the stripes just obscure it. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My First Self Stitched Outfit!

Here's the debut to my first complete outfit! It's been a long time coming...

The top was originally supposed to be Vogue 8669, but that went from UFO to wadder. Which broke my heart just a little because I had set out with such high hopes. I even drafted flutter sleeves for it. In the end, the fabric had ended up running (yeah, like panty hose! So weird!) clear out past the seam line at one of the armholes. I could have fidgeted with that, but the top really didn't fit me well. The other bummer was that the fabric color had been a perfect match for the wine in my skirt, so I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find it again. A trip to Joann revealed that they still had the fabric in stock (and still on clearance!) so I grabbed a couple yards & McCalls 6034.

I cut a size Small (8-10) but should have done an XS. I took the side seams in about an inch and remedied that, but the shoulders are a bit too big. The pattern calls for a narrow 5/8" hem at both the back neckline & the sleeves. I handled the neckline ok, but the sleeves proved to be too much trouble, so I opted for a regular 5/8" hem. I also omitted the band since the top was pretty long as is. I used elastic thread (awesome!) and ruched the side seams a bit in order to keep the drape a little more consistent.

I cut my fabric out on Friday & finished it up on Saturday. Which, I think, makes this my fastest project to date.

The skirt is a linen that I found on clearance at Joann (I really prefer to buy fabric online as far as quality...but it's hard to resist when you're holding it in hand!). It is so soft & doesn't seem to wrinkle too horribly. It was a little sheer, so I lined it with a soft cotton muslin. 

I followed the guidelines in Sew What! Skirts to draft a basic A-line skirt.  When I tissue fit the pattern, though, it didn't meet my center front so I added an inch to the waist. For whatever reason, I ended up having to take the skirt in at the waist, though.  I may have been inconsistent in deciding where I wanted the skirt to be.

I hemmed & hawed over how I was going to handle a facing, a zipper & a lining. I found multiple tutorials on constructing various combinations of the above, but they all had one aspect or another missing. Then I realized that lining the skirt could offer a finished top edge & ditched the facing. I stitched the lining & fashion fabric right sides together & then top stitched. I slip stitched the lining to the zipper by hand, which turned out very nicely.

I'm so proud of my new outfit, but I must admit, my favorite part of the ensemble can't be seen when I'm wearing it....

a coordinating label!! I used one of my favorite fonts & printed it out on a colorfast fabric sheet! I'm pretty pumped about the idea of all my future garments having coordinating labels.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Confessions of a Seamstress in Training

Within the last week, I've bought 14.5 yards of fabric. Yeah. Wow. Three yards are muslin, but the rest are destined to become wonderful skirts & tops.

And because I've bought so much fabric this week, and I like to pre-wash it all before it goes into the stash, I've managed to stay on top of the household laundry. It's amazing that I don't mind doing the laundry when it includes new yardage.

I've actually finished my a-line skirt, but haven't shared it yet because a matching top is in progress. I'll share more on that later--it's a long, emotionally draining tale of heartache. Hopefully it will have a happy ending. 

My serger class had it's first chat last night & it was really good! I've been having a lot of trouble with the tension on my serger for awhile now...the upper looper is too loose even on the tightest setting. Jen said to try moving my knife over so it was catching less fabric. And it worked! My upper looper is still on the highest tension, which bugs me, but my stitch is really nice looking. I'm going to have to take my serger in for servicing soon, and I'm trying to get used to the idea of being without it for weeks on end. :(  Honestly, I'd rather give up my sewing machine, since I've been sewing more knits than wovens.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Toddler Dress Clothes--Finished!

My little guy (and my big guy for that matter) wear suits a lot (well, it doesn't seem a lot to us, but compared to most guys--I suppose it is.) We attend Christian meetings twice a week & work in our ministry 1-2 every week, so my little boy wears a lot of suits.  Typically, his dress clothes consist of slacks & a button down shirt, sometimes with a suit jacket or vest.

Needless to say, my boy is growing like a weed.  And buying new suits gets expensive. They are hard to find in the first place, and he's getting out of the sizes where they sell "sets" with pants, vest, shirt & tie.  So I made it my mission to find patterns for my little guy.

The pants were easy. The extremely talented (and generous!) Dana from MADE has been so kind as to share a pattern for kid pants. I've sewn these up twice now (both with a flat front) and I love how they fit. The legs are slim & make my little guy look oh so grown up! Not to mention her instructions are easy to follow & straight forward. Thanks Dana!

Finding a vest was more challenging. I spent quite a bit of time trying to find resources on-line for toddler suit vests.  I did find one helpful tutorial that explained how to draft your own vest from a dress shirt. That was very helpful, but I really prefer patterns at this point in my sewing.  They make me less nervous.  Anyway, I came across this vest pattern from Jocole on Etsy. And we all know how much I love PDF patterns. I didn't hesitate before buying it.

And I'm glad I did. It's a reversible pattern, but I used the same fabric for both sides. Next time I'll use a satin lining to make it even more RTW.  I love the end results & will be sewing more little suits very soon. :)
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