Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sew Twitterpated

Sew, this is a review on my newfound love, Vogue 8929.  Not being a skinny little thing (no offense to those of you who are-this is jealousy speaking), I am fluffy and dread making pants, trousers, crops, etc...  To make them fit my curvy rear end, I end up with extra fullness in front.  If I get the legs to fit, the waist is too big.

You know the drill if you are also fluffy. Seriously, these are not my mother's crops.  They are comfortable, with pockets, and sylish. I can't express how much fun I had making these.  And I never thought I would like elastic waist trousers.

The added detail on the inner leg is really nice feature.  I show it here in the white denim so you can see it better, just ignore the unpressed state.   Not sure how it changes the fit, but I like it.

There is an option for cuffs, but I chose not to add the cuffs to the floral pair because it isn't noticeable, but cuffs are a nice feature on the white and navy crops.  

The feature I especially liked is the tummy panel created by the pocket and pocket lining.  It gives a little support in that area.  But be aware, than when you sew the center front seam, you have six layers to sew through!  On the denim, I made sure I used a jean needle.

Overall, the fit was spot on.  I cut a size 16-18.  The stretch of the fabric is just enough.  I used a 1.25 inch elastic in the waist and measured it after sewing the outer legs and fitting the trousers.  The instructions are easy to follow and in about 4 hours, you can have a fabulous pair of crops from cut to finish.  As I said, this pattern left me twitterpated and excited to share with you!  I just cut out a red pair in Ponte knit.  Happy sewing!!

Sew Wondering

Sew, this blog is more about views on sizing.  One of the cool things about sewing for yourself is that size only matters when purchasing a pattern.  The more comfortable you are with that, the shock of what size you purchase doesn't matter.  I wear a 10-12 dress and 12-14 (sometimes 16) trousers when I shop for clothes.  When I sew, I wear 16-20 depending on style.  But with sewing, I have the luxury of nipping in the waist or widening the hips or narrowing the shoulders.  All these things are a pain to modify in ready to wear (RTW).  Sew, here is my question when it comes to sizing.

Have sewists started to buy into the belief that "size matters"?  I ask this because when I read pattern reviews, there are always comments regarding, "there was too much ease", or "The Big 4 patterns are all too big."  There seems a need to share the users are smaller than they are. 

When I sew using the Big 4 (McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity, Vogue), I have a different experience.  I sometimes find there is not enough ease.  There are times when there is too much fullness, but most invariably, the fullness is not wear I need it.  I recognize that my body doesn't match perfectly with every pattern and it is part of the experience to match a pattern size to actual measurements or as close to it as possible.  When shopping for pants, I tend to look for sizes to match by hips and booty.  When shopping for a top, I match my upper torso and adjust for my hips. 

But isn't that what you are supposed to do?  Is there any shame in saying, "I am  a size 16"?  A few years back, I remember reading somewhere that Oprah was a size 8.  I had to laugh because my thought was "she is beautiful, but not a size 8".  But thinking kicks in, then, when you have custom clothing made for you, you literally can be any size you wish.  Sew, why does it matter what the pattern says?  Often, because I want to trust the reviews, I will purchase a smaller size and am disappointed.  I should have just stuck with the pattern sizing, because it is true, not a person's opinion.  I also know that if you use anything but the 5/8" which is recommended seam allowance for most projects, it will fit differently.  I often use that to add additional ease on my hips.  Given the fact that Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14, does the size really matter?

I write this because I thought I must be sizing my clothes differently than others.  Or is it that other sewists have different expectations?  Or want to convince others that they are smaller than the pattern says. Reviews should reflect a helpful view, and honesty is very important. 

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sew Persistent

Sew, have you ever created something imperfect, and, even though there were mistakes, you could not be bothered to correct them? 

I tend to be a perfectionist, but even I know that some mistakes are not important.  Not this time.  Sometimes, you can't let mistakes go.  Well, that was McCall's lovely little 6846.  A fairly simple blouse, easy to make, but a pattern mark incorrectly placed left one sleeve a little off.                    

First things first.  I used an off white cotton knit with a rose etched pattern.  The actual top pattern is not designed for knits, but I thought this lightweight fluttery knit would look nice in view B.  Since it was a knit and easily pulled over the had I eliminated the back opening.  I replaced it with a facing that I fabricated using the front facing and the original back facing modified. 

Putting the pattern together is quite simple.  You could do rolled edges but I just used a very small edge and it worked. 

I carefully marked the sleeves, or sew I thought,  and that is where my mistake began.  The sleeves are tulip style sleeves with the back wrapped over the front.  Sew, I originally cut the pieces, wasn't paying attention and made two of the same sleeve.  I had to recut and sew the right sleeve in the opposite direction. 

Even with the recut, the sleeves came together fairly quickly.  Using my carefully place marking for the back to front cover, I then sewed my sleeves on.  Sew confident, I then serged the edge to finish it off.

I put the top on and I felt very happy with the project, but no, there, glaring at me, was the wrap of the sleeve on the right sleeve seated a little higher than the other sleeve.  I swear, it was just a quarter of an inch, but it was enough to drive me crazy.  Sew, I take it apart.  Damn those serged edges.  And I laid it out and saw that I missed my mark by exactly 1/4 inch.  Enough for me to notice.  Enough to know I couldn't just let it go.

The blouse came out beautifully.  I light airy top, despite three layers in front.  The lovely rose pattern is a nice surprise for a plain white t-shirt.  I can't imagine what it would be like in the suggested fabrics in crepe or a voile. 

One other note.  The top is a little longer than most t-shirts, but I kind of like that.  Sew, persistence paid off.

But the next blog will be about these amazing Vogue crop pants that I have fallen in love with.  I have made three pairs..yes three pairs!  Can't wait to share with you.  Ta Ta For Now. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sew New Beginnings!

Hello, peeps, I know, apologies are due. I've been a while posting. Mainly because my life has gotten a bit stressful for the last few months. In December, my husband had a stroke. No worries, he is alright, but it just adds to his problems. He just had spinal fusion in his lower back to repair scoliosis and stenosis of the spine. In betweens, our marriage became an issue because of all the stress. I went to therapy and with support from my therapist, I starting confronting problems at home and at work. Home life is great, but I put in my resignation after trying really hard to find a solution to the problems. This is a job I've had for over ten years. But I will be okay. I was scared at first, but thinking about it, I know I couldn't stay any longer without sacrificing my personal mental health. I've gained 30 lbs in the last year, eating my feelings down and trying to cope. The last word on this, I promise.

I am all about my sewing. I am going to look at ways to make this a living. Sew, back to the reasons for this blog. I was teaching a class on how to make a sunhat. Since we haven't been able to meet, I am going to use this blog to complete the project. First of all, I've given everyone the sunhat pattern.

I recommended we use a Lurenna Buck Design.   A very simple pattern.  Everyone needs to get enough fabric to make an outside and inside lining.

For fun, I used a bright cat fat quarter selection.

Sew, the first thing is putting the pieces together after printing on 8"x11".  The pattern requires six crown pieces and one brim, and a second six crown pieces and brim in a lining a fabric.  The crown pieces are fairly simple to put together if you follow certain steps.  For example, you sew three pieces together at a time before connecting them together. 
 Sew two pieces together and then turn them to the right side, as the picture shows.  Lay the third piece over the right side and sew it. 
Sew, lay the third piece on top of the two right side pieces and sew it.  After sewing three pieces together, sew the next three pieces together the same way.  Trim the seams as you go along.
When you sew the two three piece section together, iron out the center piece as indicated here in the image, make sure the center at the top is lined up.  When you sew, the sew line should intersect at the top.
Trip the seam and turn inside out.
Complete the process again for the lining cap.  Your points should look the same as below and the crowns should look similar as images here.  You can top stitch at all the seams at this point if you like.

Sew, next is the brim.  Interface the piece that will be the under brim.  I used regular medium interfacing, but use a heavier interfacing if you want the brim to be stiffer.  I like a floppy brim. 
After interfacing, sew the back seam of the brim and trim it. This shoud make a circle. 
Do this for both the top and the lining.  You are going to sew crown and brim together.

When you have done this, sew both pieces (right sides facing) together around the brim and leaving about four inches open on the brim to turn the hat inside out.
Turn the hat inside out. Next, you need to edge stitch the hat where we had the open seam.  I suggest you sew the base of the crown and brim.  You can use other top stitching to add to the trim.   

Final product, hat is finished.  This crazy mess will be perfect for working in the yard.  Until next time, à bientôt.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sew Awesome!

Sew, I had the privalege of altering a beautiful 50- 60ish party dress for my wonderful friend RK.  It is a delight to do anything for her because she is so appreciative and because she looks amazing in anything she wears. 

Sew, she bought a JLF Original yellow striped Chiffon like dress off of Etsy.  It was a tad bit too tight, she has a 27-28 inch waist, the dress was 24inches barely and the chest was compressing the girls.  With tucking and pulling, the dress fit, but was not going to be comfortable enough to work for a wedding party.    It had an old metal zipper that was coming out but the dress was a fairly simple band top and circle skirt.  I took on the task of making it fit. 

I took off the zipper with the intent of replacing it with an invisible zipper.  Those of you who prefer keeping vintage original should stop reading now.  I am about making clothes work for a new generation.

I took all the boning off, and opened all the seems on the bodice.  I then made the decision to cut off the skirt.  There was shirring at the waist but it was fraying and I thought if I took an inch off the top and regathered it, it would be as good as new.  After taking the bodice apart, I resewed the seams a 1/4 smaller,  I removed two darts on the back panels.  By adding 1/4 inch to all six seams and a 1/2 at the zipper, I added about 2 1/2 inches to the waist.  I then regathered the skirt band using my awesome ruffler attachment and reattached.  It worked beautifully.  I then finished the seams at the waistband with edging and hand sewed the facings and boning back in place.  Zipper went in easily and looked awesome.  Checked to make sure all hems and seams were good and ironed. 

I held my breath when RK tried it on; I had only seen it when she could barely zip it but I had a send that the top needed to be a bit snug but the waist needed letting out.  It fit amazing. 

The dress was sheer and needs a slip, but it also needed a petticoat. After viewing a couple of blogs, I decided to make a slip top with attached tulle (similar to a modified drop waist).  I found some beautiful glittery tulle and using the ruffler, ruffled up about 4 yards layered and attached it to a short slip top that I made with elastic top.  I just cut the tulle at the bottom and fluffed it out to finish.  Beautiful.  Mission accomplished.  I am not keen on alterations except for things that I can learn new lessons or get to work with fabulous fabrics.

Now I can't wait to see the photos from the party!  I will post those later.  Here are some photos of the before and after.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sew Ready for Fall

Sew, it's fall and gets me wanting to make gifts.  I've spent most of the summer sewing for others, working, and going to school.  I got tempted to make the Bombshell bathing suit by Heather from So tempting to see all the gorgeous suits posted on line.  Sew, my friend RK volunteered to be my muse because she is a Bombshell and a sweet, sweet girl.  Here is RK looking majestic in the gorgeous suit.  I cut a straight size 8 and didn't have to do any adjustments.  I learned some things such as my old serger was not going to do this well, so my hubby bought me a new one for my August birthday.

I made a couple of skirts and blouses for me and I keep trying to make a decent pair of pants.  I will keep working on that.  I did make a particularly delicious fake suede skirt that I love.

 I've done a lot actually and I will post some of those projects later, but I'm dying to tell you about these wine coasters. 

For today, I have quick gift project.  WINE COASTERS
It is  great use of scraps, but you can also by some fat quarters.
These are wine coasters!  Since I am mad about wine, I have to make these. You could totally make them in different colors for parties so everyone knows which glass belongs to them. 

So here is what you do

Step 1:  Cut a circle with the diameter of 4 1/4 inches (if you make them for the larger wine glasses you will have to measure accordingly an add 1/4 to the diameter).  I  cut mine from cardboard so I could reuse it.
You will cut a total of five circles per wine coaster.

Step 2:  Select 2-4 fabric scraps. For this example I only used two.   I cut two circles from each fabric . And cut a 5th circle for the bottom.

I then folded each piece in half an ironed them. 
I then took each piece and placed them just like the picture shows.  It is similar to how you close the lid of a box.  Position the pieces so that edges line up and pin to hold in place.

Use the fifth circle and place on top, finished side down.

Sew around the edge about 1/4 in and make sure you catch all the layers.   Turn it inside out, remove the pin and iron.  YOU have made a sweet little wine coaster!
To make them less slippery, glue  a piece of felt on the bottoms.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sew Simple Sew and Sews

Sew, we had our meeting of our sewing bee called The Sew and Sews. During this meeting, we learned about our sewing machines. Although everyone had different machines, they all have some basic features. We learned to thread our needles, how to wind a bobbin, and how to clean our machine. Some tips: use compressed air to clean the machines; clean inside the bobbin compartment, use a damp cloth to clean the outside. Use sewing machine oil to lightly oil the bobbin case. One drop. Cleaning out lint and oiling needs to be done regularly to prevent malfunctions of the machine. We also learned about stich tension. Tips regarding choosing needles: If thread keeps breaking, change the needle, it could be worn, the tip damaged, or bent slightly; enough to make a difference to the machine. I explained I preferred Schmetz needles and they have a wonderful site to explain about needles: Choosing needles will depend on the fabric and the use. I also talked about specialty needles such as Jean needles for sewing jean fabric.  Sew, then we practiced sewing, adjusting stitch length, using our backstitch on our machines, and winding our bobbins. 

Sew, our next step was learning to hand sew.  I discussed the importance of using basting instead of needles.  While it takes longer, you have more control of your fabric and you won't sew over a pin, damaging your machine.  Sew, we practiced two important hand stitches, the running stitch (basting stitch) and the back stitch, to use when having to hand sew fabric.  Before we did the stitches, I demonstrated my preferred method of threading and knotting a needle.  I found a really good you-tube video to demonstrate the technique:

These two images show the running and back stitch.  For this class, I recommend we practice getting to know our machines, and practice running and back stitches. 
Back Stich  -  good for hand sewing, looks similar to sewing machine stiches, use small even stitches.

Good for basting.  Use even stitches.

I include a surprise project here.  Why don't you make a pillow and use the stitches with three strands of embroidery thread to make this?  I found a really good video.

Why not make a pillow that says: I Love OK.  Use your basting or running stitches to stitch the letters.   Simple write them on the pillow and trace the letters with your embroiderly thread.  Use an embroiderly needle (it has a large eye) and three strands of embroidery thread in your favorite color.  Embroiderly floss comes in six strands, you simple pull cut a piece and divide it into two strands.  This is your challenge.  We meet again soon.