Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BWOF 11-2008-103B - Brown print knit top

Well, I finally finished it! When did I start this knit shirt, 2 weeks ago?! I am intimidated by Burda World of Fashion no more. They seem to be putting at least one fashionable knit top in each magazine these days. I need knit tops, so that makes me happy.

They do like low necklines, though, so I'm sporting a cami. I used another busy print. At first I thought I'd made a mistake, but now I really like it. I paid special attention while cutting this out that one of those bulls-eyes did not end up in a bad location.

Here's the back:
I changed up the inside construction a bit. I doubled the front top pieces to create a lining instead of the self facing the instructions call for, and slip-stitched it under the bust and at the shoulder seams. The front neck was stabilized with a single layer of bias tape so it didn't stretch and gap there. I think this must have cinched it up a little, since my top doesn't look as low as the one on the model.

Bias tape was used at the back neckline and to cover the arm seams. Here you can also see where the top front "lining" was slip-stitched to the shoulder.

I used french seams at the sides and arms:

Here's the magazine picture. The one with long sleeves doesn't show the details, so I'm posting the short sleeve view.

Okay, I've really got to make some jackets and coats now. Hopefully I'll soon be able to return to regular sewing. Have a happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive!

Thank you to everyone who wrote in with helpful hints about my glitter dot fabric fiasco. You people had a ton of good advice. You are not going to believe what actually solved my problem!

I had figured out right after I posted that the residue left on the machine needle was what was causing the skipped stitches. It came off with Goo-Gone and would sew perfectly for about 4 inches. Problem was, I had to clean it off after every 4 inches and that was taking forever. Then I checked out www.davina.org/CNSummer2002/Glittedot.html, that Dawn suggested, and one of their solutions was to use a silicone lubricant on the needle. Hmmm, don't have that, do have machine oil that is suppose to be clear and stainless. And what do you know, it worked! So now I put a drop on my needle (with the aid of the telescoping spout which came with the bottle) every 12 inches or so, and it sews up beautifully!

Here's the mystery, though. The blue dance skirt was actually the third one I made using the same fabric! I had absolutely zero problems with the first two. That was the reason for my extreme frustration. I could not figure out what had changed from the second to the third. Nothing had. So why my machine suddenly decided it didn't like sewing on confetti dot fabric, I guess I'll never know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dear Confetti Dot Fabric...

I have decided that we can no longer be friends. You are a mean, mean fabric. You leave weird residue on my machine needle:

Your dots pop off and stick to my iron no matter how low a setting I put it on, but I must press you to get a crisp hemline.

And worst of all, machine stitches skip so much on you, it is driving me insane!!!

You made me so frustrated yesterday, I cried all my eye makeup off and contemplated throwing my machine out the window. Then I borrowed a friend's machine, thinking mine was broken, and am having the same issues! (Although I now realize that I really really want a new machine for Christmas.) You make a very pretty dance skirt, but you are not worth all the sweat and tears. And were it not for the fact that I already bought yards and yards of you for my church's Christmas musical, you would be in the trash can.

I hope we never meet again!

Amanda S.



Seriously, does anybody have any tips for working with this stuff? I have tried just about everything: adjusting the tension up and down, sewing on the opposite side of the fabric, stretching the fabric, switching machines. I have 6 more dance skirts to make and don't want to make myself completely crazy. Thanks!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bias tape covered seam tutorial

Okay all you people wondering how to do this technique, I'm finally getting around to posting this tutorial. I've tried to be as thorough as possible. Let me know if you have any questions.

I usually do this at the arm seams and sometimes at the center back when there's a zipper and I can't do a french seam. This first picture is of the armhole seam of the current top I'm working on. I'm starting with a 5/8" seam allowance.

You want to trim the seam down to 3/8" to 1/2". I never measure, just eyeball it. I do trim one layer of fabric at a time. This is especially important around an eased in sleeve, where one layer is gathered and the other not.

Okay, both layers are now the same width.

Looking at a piece of bias tape, observe that one side of the fold is always just a tad narrower the the other. You want to sew on the narrower side, which insures the wider underneath side will be caught by the stitch as well. First you need to cut a piece of the tape that will cover the seam. Don't stretch the fabric or the tape when you are doing this. And cut it a bit longer then you think you need - maybe an inch or so.

Now fold the end under about 3/8" and iron.

Then you need to trim the sides of the folded piece away.

Now pin. Remember, the narrower side of the tape is the side you pin and sew on.

In this picture you can see the side you folded under where you will start the machine. I like to leave the other end unpinned for right now.

Now stitch.

Here's what it looks like so far:

Now cut your other end the length you need to meet the first end, leaving another 3/8" to turn under.

Cut the sides of this piece at an angle like you did the other end.

Now stitch and try to get your two pieces to meet. This is close enough, especially if working with a knit.

Slipstitch the ends together, and this is the end result:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vogue 2865 - Maroon Boucle Suit

Even though I made this several years ago, it remains one of my favorite outfits ever sewn. I wore it to church this morning so thought I'd show it to you. This is a dress and jacket combo. I thought the front of this design was so cute with loop button closures and little flap pockets set at the ribcage. I made this out of boucle, back when Jo-Anne's had a whole isle dedicated to the fabric. It's hard to find now, but I think it's still timeless.

The dress has hemline slits in the front and back and also at the neckline. It has front and back princess seams for a flattering fit. There really is a lot of topstitching on these two garments as well, although hardly noticeable.

These shoes have a life of about 4 hours max before I have to take them off. They are cute but they hurt!!! I'm willing to suffer for fashion for only so long.

The back neckline is somewhat low. I think it's very pretty but those shoulder straps don't want to stay on me. Because of that, I hardly ever take the jacket off while in public.

On these close-ups, you can see the fabric better. I really love the color pallet. Maybe you can see the topstitching along the labels as well. Both the dress and jacket have a full lining in dark brown.

Here's the pattern. I hardly ever remake jacket patterns, and this one is definitely distinct. But for some reason I can't bear to part with the pattern.

I am currently working on this Burda WOF top, only with long sleeves. I do not plan to expose any cleavage while wearing it, though.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Simplicity 3794 - Navy & white skirt w/ elelet hem detail

Yes, I know I wrote I would be MIA for a month or so making Christmas pageant costumes, but I am having sewer's withdrawal so am working on a few items. I'm trying to keep it simple and easy for now. Check out this skirt:


It's high-waisted with a cute heart cut-in at the band. (Hard to see here. Scroll down for detailed shot.) This skirt has six princess seams creating a custom fit and lovely flare at the hem. The waist band is cut on the bias making it very comfortable to wear. I used an invisible zipper at the left side.

My favorite part is the eyelet trim peeking out from the bottom hem. It is sewn onto the lining. Boy, do these pantyhose make my legs look pasty or what?! I tell you, you never really know what you look like in something until you've seen a picture of yourself wearing it.

Here's the close-up of the waistband. This picture also shows you the navy lining.

Underskirt detail:

Here's the pattern envelope picture. I made view C, minus the front topstitching and belt loops.

I love this skirt so much, I've already bought fabric to make another one for spring/summer. It's this sweet pink taffeta with black embroidered polka dots. I'm planning to use a black tulle trim for the hem.

I'm currently working on a shirt from Burda WOF. I have picked out fabrics for many of the patterns from that magazine, but this is my first time tracing one out. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New Simplicity Patterns!

There's a small batch of new patterns over at Simplicity.com, and I found a couple that I like and want to share.

This first one is 2724, and I really, really love the pink dress on the left. Some of the other styles are nice as well, and I like the way it looks like separates, but is really a dress.

This next one is 2730, and the little jacket with roses around the collar is my pick. I don't especially like the bottom of it - seems to just be hanging there without much shape. I thought I might cut it off to make a short jacket. We'll see.

That's it for now. You can expect me to be MIA for any new sewing projects for the next month. I am making the costumes for my church's Christmas musical and won't bore you with biblical robes and such.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vogue 8536 - Red, black & white mock-wrap top

I'm in desperate need of long sleeve tops for winter, so you can expect to see quite a few in the next few months. Here is my latest:

I love the fabric, but it made for one busy top. I'm also really glad one of those big red dots did not end up in a bad location, as I didn't even think about that while I was cutting this out.

This was suppose to be fast and easy, but of course nothing is ever fast and easy for me. For starters, my machine kept skipping the stitches here or there. Then I decided to slip-stitch the facings and hems down, which took a lot of time. Here's a close-up of the neckline:

It's a bit hard to see the criss-cross neckline with this busy fabric. I should have done a solid color, but I am so bored with all the solid color tops I currently have in my closet. Notice the hem on the bodice bottom and at the sleeves. I got the idea for that here, when I accidentally cut a top too short. But then I realized it eliminated the need for machine top-stitching, which looks really uneven on knits on my machine. Of course that took more time .

My only issue with this design is what happens to the neckline if you fold your arms or sit at a desk with your elbows resting on it: the front overlay of the neckline droops forward. If I make this again, I'll have to modify the pattern to address this problem.

Here's some pictures of the insides:

Here's the neckline with the facing slip-stitched in place and then given a good pressing.

This is at the shoulder. I used french seams for those and the side seams, and covered the arm seams with bias tape.

This is of the underarm where the sleeve meets the bodice. I ironed the seams in different directions to cut down on bulk, but the actual seam line still meets exactly on the outside.

Here's the inside of the hem. I think the slits on both sides are super cute and unlike anything else I've got.

This is the inside of the sleeve facing. Are you bored with the interior yet?

So here's the pattern envelope. I made the green shirt but with long sleeves. There are gathers at the bust side seams but they don't show on my top. I really like the fit, and will be definitely be making some of the other views.

I'm making a jacket next, Vogue 8480, which I would link you to but Vogue's website isn't pulling up for me. Last week we had some unseasonably cold weather for south Texas, and I was almost forced to wear my super ugly brown coat that I've had since high school. (I decided to suffer the cold instead of ruin my outfit with the ugly coat.)