Saturday, October 25, 2014

And Even More on Butterick 6049

The saga continues on this dress, but I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel. I was up sewing until 12:30 last night and I'm down to the homestretch.

Daughter tried on the bodice yesterday and the poufs at the sides of the bust are more pronounced in the fashion fabric than they were in the muslin, likely because of the multiple layers. She didn't mind but I want perfection, darn it! This dress definitely needed a full bust adjustment for her but I have no knowledge of how to do that with the style of this bodice, so once again I just flew by the seat of my pants and added darts to the sides of the bust. I also sewed the white bust sections together for an inch or so at the front to make it a little more modest. Daughter is so busty that you could see through her cleavage almost to her waste. Ok, bit of an exageration, but you get the point. She is coming over tonight for a final fitting.

In the mean time I have the skirt assembled and attached to the bodice. I can't say how much I love the inset pockets on this dress! I think because of the full skirt it is the perfect place to carry your cell phone and a tube of lipstick. I may end up making another version of this dress (not the halter version) for myself at some point. Note to self - try on daughter's dress to get a visual before deciding. And get a second opinion. As cute as it is for a younger adult it may be a little over the top for grandmas like me.

Although it is rated as "easy" I have a ton of hours put into this dress. This is because I am taking my time trying to do everything as best as I possibly can, focusing on technique. "Got a job big or small, do it right or not at all". I decided to look up inserting the zipper because I didn't buy an invisible zip (not that the pattern called for one) and I haven't inserted a standard zip in forever. I looked in three different books (Vogue and two Singers) and found three different ways of doing a centred zip. So what do I do? A hybrid of all three techniques! lol I am happy with the finished zip. I even changed thread to match the different fabrics on the colour blocking.

So now the dress is hanging on Gertrude to give the skirt a chance to do any stretching it feels is necessary. All that I have left is a couple of hours of hand sewing. The lining needs to be hand stitched down at the waistline, hooks attached at the top of the zip and the neckband, and finally hemming.

The hemming is going to be a bit of an ordeal. This is a big circle skirt, which means a small hem is necessary. Daughter and I are at a bit of a disagreement about the finished length of the dress. My thoughts are that because the top is quite va-va-voom (on her at least, much moreso than on Gertrude) and because it is a circle skirt, there needs to be some length to the skirt to balance that out. I think the Marilyn dress is the perfect example. She, on the other hand, wants something short because it is supposed to be for a pin-up themed party at a public downtown place. Apparently the one putting this shindig together is wearing a corset. Perhaps this is a generational divide? I think too sexy looks trashy, but there are plenty of examples out there including this black one in today's paper. This leaves me with a big dilema. The best way to properly shorten the dress is to cut it short and use a 5/8" hem. But I really really don't want to do that, because that is irreversable! So what I am thinking is I need to do it full length, do the 5/8" hem, and then tack it up shorter for her event so that it can be let back down. I'm thinking that is easier said than done because of the shape of the circular hemline. And I need to have this done by tomorrow. Arrrgghhh!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More on Butterick 6049

Point is starting to look pretty good
I've been continuing on with Butterick 6049 for daughter. I was having difficulty getting the points to turn out nicely, so a few more trials were in order. I didn't find anything in the sewing books I already had on hand, so I researched what I could find online. I found what I think is the best advice in this video.

After getting a decent point I wanted to adjust the pattern for the gaping under the arms. Daughter is quite busty and I think that is what was causing the gaping. I decided a couple of darts were in order. I darted the muslin and had her try it on. There is still a little bit of puffiness in the triangle but it's not really obvious. I had done the full two inch adjustment in one dart on one side of the muslin and divided it into two darts on the other side. She and I both preferred the double dart as it seemed to absorb the extra puffiness better.

Next up was to transfer the darts to the paper pattern. I was hoping to be able to eliminate having darts in the finished dress. I cut and slashed the pattern piece, retaped and cut out another trial piece.


The final test piece pinned to the muslin

Check out that point - I think I've nailed it!

The underarm seems pretty smooth

 That final test piece is looking pretty good.  I think I'm ready to cut into the fashion fabric. Fingers crossed!

Monday, October 20, 2014

New Books

I occasionally visit kijiji.ca looking to see what people are selling under a "sewing" search.  Usually I find sewing machines with very little detail or description.  Sometimes it's a sewing table, or a batch of thread, or sewing lessons, but usually nothing that makes me want to jump on it.  That is until I saw this collection of sewing books from the Singer Reference Library.

I first saw it a few weeks ago.  When I noticed it is still there this weekend I made an offer - and got it!  There were 25 books first listed but it turned out one is missing (working with different fabrics or something like that).  So 24 books for $40.  They come very highly rated by all the reviews I could find.  There are lots of pics and detail.  I have only started reading the "Sewing with Knits" one so far but I picked up several new things after just a few pages.  And people have very good things to say about the pants fitting one.  I suspect this will turn out to be a very good investment.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Butterick 6049 Started

Daughter was over tonight and together we got started on the muslin for Butterick 6049. This is her first time following a pattern so I had her trace out the pattern pieces and cut out the muslin fabric. Then she did some initial sewing before I tried the tricky bit of joining the colour blocked bust pieces. It's a good thing we started with a muslin because the "easy" rated pattern is quite challenging in this point.

This is how the points are supposed to look:


And this is how mine look:


And this is all the directions you get for this point:


Even Gertie says "Warning: those points are a little tricky to sew!"  Fortunately we've got some time so I can do a little research and play with some scraps before cutting into the fashion fabric. I so want her first project to be one she will be proud of!

The Ruffle Knit Top


I've been thinking about changing the name of my blog again. For some reason it just seems more appropriate to call it "the thing that I screwed up today".

I bought two yards of ruffle knit at the Novi Sewing Expo the other weekend with the idea of making a tee. I did some googling and decided that a sleeveless tank would probably be the most flattering in this fabric. I (of course) used New Look 6735. I eliminated the back seam because of the ruffles which made this a three piece top including the neckband. I was careful cutting it out to make sure that all my ruffles were laying in the same direction. then I basted a 1/4" from all edges to keep the ruffles flat while basting the top together. All in all it went together really well and I was really happy with it. Then, of course, disaster struck.

I usually really like my serger, and I like all the knit tops that I have been able to make with it. Yet for some reason I STILL keep catching fabric that is not supposed to be caught and then not finding it until I have sliced through it. This is not the first time, and I'm guessing it won't be the last {big sigh}. In my defense there was layers of fabric with all the ruffles so I didn't pick up on the fact that it was suddenly too thick as I was feeding it through Sergio. If there is a bright side to this big cloud it's that I'm getting really good at fixing my screw-ups! I got out a needle and thread and hand sewed the cut bits with tiny stitches. It's not completely invisible but I think it is wearable. It's more visible in the pics than in real life; if you didn't know it was there you probably wouldn't notice it, and if you do you are looking at it much too closely!

I used a ruffle with backing fabric to make the neck binding. It was a bit of a pain to work with but again I am happy with the final result.

I sewed along the 5/8" seam line for the sleeve openings, and then did a double fold to finish those edges. I was originally going to do a band there as well but thought it would be more work that it was worth, especially trying to catch all those ruffles properly. The hem is left unfinished, just cut short behind a ruffle. The top is cute and something different for an evening out, and I have enough fabric left over to make my darling daughter a skirt.

Novi Sewing Expo Review and Inspirations

Mom and I went to the Novi Sewing Expo last weekend. Overall the show was smaller than I expected. Perhaps because previous shows I have been to there have been RV shows or snowmobiling shows that tend to be huge and completely fill the expo space, I was expecting there to be more vendors. For example there was only one thread vender that I saw but although they had a lot of product I didn't find any wooly nylon. There were some nice fabrics and some that were simply so-so in a variety of price ranges.

The "Chico Twist" Neckline
I took a one hour class in the morning, "Wow Necklines for Knits" with Londa Rohlfing. Being a one hour class there isn't any hands-on and there isn't much time to cover a lot of things, and there are not detailed instructions provided so there is an assumption that you already know how to put in a knit neckband or will buy one of her patterns. I did come away with a few ideas to try such as the "Chico Twist". Basically you make a wide neckband and then offset the long edge. I folded the neckband over as normal and then clipped it every inch and a half. This made it really easy to line up the offset evenly. then I basted the edge before attaching it to the neckline. Londa filled the hour and had examples on hand to see and relevant handouts.

Fabric Requirements
Another idea I took away from this class was the little cards you keep in your purse that give fabric estimates for basic projects. I like the idea in principle but I really don't need any more clutter to be carrying around. I also don't need to carry fabric requirements for every size out there since I mostly sew only for myself. So I adapted this idea to make a tiny spreadsheet of the most common projects I am likely to pick up fabric for on a whim and taped it to the back of my fabric store membership card. I know - brilliant, right?!

I took a four hour class in the afternoon, the "Cover Hem Workshop" with Gail Yellen. The organizers of the event didn't leave enough time between workshops to switch the machines over from the serging class in the morning to the coverhem class in the afternoon. This resulted in the class not starting until 45 minutes later so that the machines could be converted. I don't blame Gail for this, and she was very apologetic, but you shouldn't lose almost a quarter of your class time for the room to be prepped. Another issue that I thought was a big deal is that there weren't enough machines for everyone and 4 people had to share. This didn't effect me directly but I didn't think it was appropriate that these folks had spent their money for the class only to have to share a machine. Again, poor organization. Having said that, Gail put on a great class. I came away with quite a few new ideas and I found her to be a very good speaker and teacher. Also, because of the hands-on format of the class, I met and chatted with some wonderful people. It was a fun afternoon.

I did try out a couple of machines, but I was well behaved and didn't buy any lol. I was impressed with the Juki 1000 serger, and when the time comes to replace my Brother 1034D I think this is the way I will go. I could have got a really good show price on it but having bought two new machines already this year I managed to be disciplined. I also used the Babylock Ovation for the four hour class. This was a great opportunity to try out a machine that everyone raves about. I didn't find it any easier/better for coverstitching than my Janome coverstitch machine. The lighting is better, and the air threading is a nice feature that I could probably get used to quickly. They were offering the machines heavily discounted for the end of the show but I didn't feel the need to go put my name on one. It did seem to take them quite a long time to convert the machines over, so I do think that having a dedicated serger and separate coverstitch machine makes more sense for me.

We did have some sewing "rock star" sightings. I bought Angela Wolf's jeans pattern and Mom had a class with her. Also mom got to chat with Gertie. All in all we had a good time and I'm really glad we went, but I don't see a need to do more than one day. I will probably go back next year.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Going Retro


My daughter messaged me late last night to tell me she's been invited to a birthday party with a 50's pinup theme - and of course she has nothing to wear. I told her I would sleep on it. Feeling somewhat refreshed this morning, I agreed to make her a dress. Mom turned me on to Gertie and her blog, and I knew that I would find something appriate starting there. Darling daughter and I messaged back and forth today and we have settled on Butterick 6049. Here's Gertie's blog post about this dress.

Daughter loved this dress right off the bat, which made me really happy because it is marked as "easy". As I told her, that makes the whole thing much more likely to happen lol. We have to decide if we are going to go whole hog with a crinolin and all, but that decision can wait until the dress is done. In the meantime here is a little gif that made my inner geek smile.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy "Talk Like a Pirate" Day!


 I love Talk Like a Pirate Day. Every year I get into the spirit with lots of "Aaarrrr"s and "Aye Matey"s and "shiver me timbers". When I was leaving work today I reminded the guys that tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day. So imagine my face when I ran across this fabric at the fabric store's 50% off sale! I mean really - what are the odds of running across this adorable pirate fabric the day before TLAPD? It's not like I was looking for it; I was there buying lining for a couple of jackets I'm thinking of making. So needless to say I knew what I had to get done tonight.

I washed and dried the fabric - a cotton poly blend with no lycra. Somehow I managed to stretch out the neckline when topstitching. I'm still not sure how that happened, because I thought Phoebe's IDT system was supposed to stop that from happening. To try and fix it I tried sewing a bit of clear elastic across the back of the neckline. It's minimally better but not very smooth. So I wet it down again and right now it's back in the dryer. Hopefully that will resolve it.  Either way you know what I'm wearing tomorrow!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Frankenstein Reincarnated

I've been busy sewing for my daughter for the last while. She's got a skirt, a sleeveless tee and a short sleeved tee from - what else - New Look 6735. The problem, well actually there were a couple, is that the skirt ended up a little on the short side (in my humble opinion) for my tall daughter, so I added a yoke from McCalls 6966. The other problem is that she didn't want the back seam on the tees. No problem, I can cut it on the fold. Except that I forgot when I laid it out and cut it for the seam. Twice. I have fabric to make her two more tees but I need her to try on what I've got done so far. I did write on the bag with her pattern tracing to "cut with a double fold!!!", so hopefully I get it right next time.  Sheesh!

So my aim this week has been to do some sewing for me.  An idea I picked up from the internet was to made a 3/4 sleeve tee with a matching infinity scarf.  I saw this done in a pretty solid sage green, and it looked almost like a cowl neck tee.  This would give you options and make a basic tee more versatile.   I finally got into the sewing room tonight, and just as I was about to rummage through my stash to see what caught my fancy I instead saw this top sitting on my cutting table looking at me accusingly.  So I gave in and had at it.

My mom had suggested running some thin elastic through the neckband, so I did.  Then I took it in quite a bit through the sleeves and the bodice.  I didn't even take it apart first to redo the ruching properly.  I just basted, checked for fit and then sewed.  I was afraid of doing anything more than absolutely necessary because this fabric stretches out of shape so much.

The conclusion?  Well the neckline is not as smooth as it should be, but it is a huge improvement.  The fit of the bodice is generally much  better except that the shoulder seams are a bit wide.  I may even wear it in public at some point.  I am playing with the idea of replacing the neckband completely (again!), this time with another more reliable fabric.  I'm sure I have something in my stash that would work, but depending on how this fabric behaves I could end up with something completely unwearable again.  So I'm not sure if I should tempt fate.  Sometimes I think it's best to leave well enough alone.

Hey - maybe I should do an infinity scarf with this tee!  I'll bet it could hide a ton of neckline sins.  I wonder if I can still get this fabric?  Hmmm...

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Wardrobe Planning

When I first got back into sewing last winter I started stockpiling fabric. Initially I was more disciplined and bought fabric with specific patterns in mind to use them for. Then I started having some success with knits, and bought knits every time they were on sale just to build a stash. The whole fabric-buying concept has turned rather willy nilly with no game plan in place. This isn't quite as disastrous as it sounds because I mostly live in jeans and so knit tops always "go". But I've read a couple of posts lately about wardrobe planning that has made me think I need to be putting more planning into my purchases. Sometimes less is more.

I found a new blog to follow, The Vivienne Files, which is all about wardrobe planning. There is an excellent post that talks about the Chanel theory where the author quotes Chanel as saying "One shouldn't spend all one's time dressing. All one needs are two or three suits, as long as they and everything to go with them, are perfect." She then goes on to lay out an entire wardrobe with examples of all the outfits that can be pulled together from it. I absolutely love the wardrobe, and it would be perfect for my fantasy life, but not so much for my real one. Well, others must have spoken up about this because she later wrote another Chanel post that she has converted to a more casual wardrobe. Brilliant!

What I have done with my new sewn-for-me wardrobe so far has not been a complete disaster. Yes, I haven't planned very well, but I do find that I tend to stick with colour groupings that I like so I inadvertently end up with pieces that go together after all. For example, this weekend I wore (for the first time) the brown pinstriped jeans with the orange topstitching along with the burnt orange tee. These two pieces looked really good together even though they weren't planned with each other in mind. I think this is going to be a favourite fall outfit for me. Then when I got chilly I put on the beige cardigan and it still looked pulled together without being too matchy-matchy.

So what's up next? I need to check and see where there are holes in my wardrobe, and then see what I can build with from my stash. I guess you'll need to stay tuned to see where that leads! ;)