Monday, April 21, 2008

New Look Shirt Finished

I finished this "muslin" of New Look 6407. This fabric was a bear to sew. I had great difficulty with so many parts. The collar went together pretty easy. I liked their directions but actually putting it on gave me some trouble. I am not sure what was making it so difficult. I thought the directions were a little spotty but I could have just been tired.

I had trouble putting the sleeves in also. I do not like to do basting rows to ease because inevitibly I get a gathered look. I prefer to sew in the sleeve flat or pin together having the longer piece go over my finger to ease the extra fabric. One of these methods usually works really well for me. Not this time. I am not sure if it was because of the fabric or because of the pattern having a lot of extra ease. I eventually made it work and got them in nicely but they sure gave me fits.

I ended up having to take the pleats out of the sleeve (at the hem) because it was too tight. I used the same sleeve band so I ended up having little left over. I can tie a knot and have just little tails. I like how this ended up. I think the ties are cute.

I cut out a size 14 in the front and I like the fit although I still have a little fine tuning to do. I discussed some of my fit adjustments for the front in this post. I cut the back a 16. It is a little roomy but if the fabric didn't give a bit I do not think it would be very comfortable. In my next shirt I am going to take in the darts just a bit more at the top and I am going to get rid of some of the extra fabric above the waist. I already adjusted my pattern for the back. I took out more fabric just above the waist and added it back in below the waist for the length. After wearing this a bit I think that I might adjust the armholes a bit. They seem a bit low.

All in all, I am happy with this pattern. I think I will really like it in the other fabrics I have. This actual shirt I am leery of because I am afraid once it is washed it will shrink up into a wrinkled mess. If not, by some miracle, it will be a nice summer shirt.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Love this Sew Stylish!

I picked up the Spring Sew Stylish up today and I LOVE it. There are so many great articles. There is a ton about draping which was fun to read. I love the short article they have about making your own croquis. Paula of Sew Confused has a post with her croquis trying different skirts. This was so interesting to me and I was wondering exactly how to go about making one. This Sew Stylish gives me the answer. It is really easy to do. Burda Style also has some info about using these.

Anyway, this is a great issue and I am am sure that I will use quite a bit of the information inside.

On a side note: Here is my dress form all dressed up (courtesy of my darling daughter) and ready to go!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Down and Dirty Darts

Darts can be difficult little things to sew. I usually do not have too much trouble with the simple triangles but my New Look shirt has some more complicated waist darts. My usual method for transferring dart markings to the wrong side of my fabric is by using tracing paper and a wheel. This proved to be not the most effective method this time.

This time I knew that matching up the lines could be difficult since it was in the middle of the shirt. I (thought I) got smart and decided to put the markings on both sides. This sounds great but it wasn't. Of course with all the moving of the fabric while placing the tracing paper it didn't get put back exactly in the same place and the lines didn't exactly line up. I also couldn't see where to stitch. What to do? What to do?
Here was my down and dirty solution. This is by no means the best way to mark darts but it worked for me. I should have thread traced the outline of the dart but for this muslin I did not want to take the time. I will thread trace on the shirts with the nice fabric.

First I basted the traced dart on my sewing machine. I still had my traced lines to follow. I only basted one side of the dart because the (cheap) fabric was puckering.
Then I matched the basted side of the dart with the traced side and pinned.

Last, I stitched the dart. Since it was thread basted I could clearly see the stitching line and could easily stitch the dart.
Voila! A nice dart. Not the best method but the outcome worked for me.

Thanks so much for stopping by and seeing how I make darts in a pinch. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Fabulous Foot Day

I have another foot that is for embellishment and whatever else you can think of. The foot for this week, the Open Toe Foot, has so many possibilities.
As you can see this foot is totally open so you can see exactly what you are sewing. None of the stitches are hidden. This is especially nice for decorative stitches, appliqu������ satin stitches, or zig zag type stitches. The red dot helps you guide so that your stitches are straight. Since the foot is open it is important to have your fabric wide enough so is is under both side feet. If you have fabric under only one side you may lose it in the feed dogs or wavy stitching lines. This is a great additional foot to have. It is not necessary but does bring a bit of ease to certain types of stitches. If you have a use for this foot that you love please let me know. I love to have new ways to use all these feet I have.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

All is well with the world!

It has been snowing!

Now, before you think I have gone off the deep end, please, hear me out.

I have live in Alaska my whole life. Life is different up here including the weather. There are some constancies I have come to count on. It used to be that during the summer we would always have at least one 1-2 (some years three) week period where we would have gorgeous weather. We never wanted to leave in the summer for fear that we would miss that short period (and still don't). This has changed only slightly over the years. In the early 90's we had full summers of great weather but now we seem to be reverting back to the single block of good weather. The other constant is during winter. Almost every year that I can remember we get a Spring is Coming tease around February. Then in March or April we get a dump of snow. This is something that I count on. This year is thankfully not an exception. The snow was completely melted from my front yard. Everything was gross and looking like spring. Everyone else was getting their hopes up that winter was over. Not me. I was counting on that one last snow. It came!

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Spring and Summer. I love not having to put on a coat and boots to go outside. I love not shivering going to my car. My thankfullness for this snow has nothing to do with the actual coming of Spring. It has to do with restoring my faith in the world so to speak. This is especially important to me since last year we did not get a Spring snow. If it had happened again I think that my world would have been slightly shaken. So many things are changing all around me. Things are so different than in my childhood. This is like the last area of constancy. One of the last threads that is again unbroken that gives balance to my life. So I am glad for this snow once again. This reminder that all is well with the world once again.

Now the snow can melt. I am ready for Spring!

Thanks for stopping by for a bit of pondering. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fitted Shirt Progress

Making a fitted shirt is quite nerve wracking for me. There are so many things that could not fit right. I must just dive right in. Luckily I could care less about the fabric I am starting with. If it fits right it might make a cute summer shirt. If not, oh well. As a reminder, I am making this pattern.

In this "muslin" fabric that I have had in my stash for quite a while. I am not sure if it came from JoAnn's clearance or Wal-mart. That should give you a good idea of the quality of the cotton.

Now for the alterations so far. In this first picture you can see that I shortened the front above the waist but below the dart. You can also see where I then lengthened it again below the waist. I am short waisted but need the length below my waist so the shirt is not too short so I have to take some pattern out and add it back in. Kind of a hassle.

This next pictures shows what I did to fix the dart placement. I have marked my bust point with the x. The original dart pointed too much below the bust point so I had to move it. Since I also needed to take out some more length above the waist I just took some out above the bust dart. Now the dart points directly at my bust point. I will find out if this worked when I put it together. Unfortunately, I forgot to move the waist dart over a little. It points into the circle I drew around my bust point but not directly at the point. I am not going to worry about this for the muslin but I will probably move it over for the nice fabric.

For this "muslin" shirt I am doing view d (the short sleeve one with ties). I am a little nervous since Becky said she had a bit of trouble with the ties. I am going to attempt this because I think this fabric is better suited for summer and short sleeves. The other shirts I make will be with the longer sleeves.

Now I am off to finish cutting it out.

Thanks for stopping by again. Have a terrific day!

Until next time...

Burda Skirt Complete!

I finished my first Burda skirt and I am so pleased with it. I reviewed it on Pattern Review here.
I made it with some old denim that I had in my stash. I wanted to do a muslin before cutting into my nice corduroy. I am going to make it in the cord but probably not until the fall. I don't want to spend the time on it when I won't get much use out of it right now.

I really enjoyed the process of making this skirt. I love the pleats (which you cannot really see in the picture). The directions and pictures were very clear. I cut out an 18 because that matched my measurements the closest. I ended up having to make my seam allowance huge (1 1/4-1 1/2") at the waist. I knew it could be a bit big at the waist but not that much. Yesterday I decided to measure myself again before I cut out my New Look fitted shirt pattern. I was a whole inch smaller in the waist. Go figure! What a nice surprise. I guess eating less cookies and junk has paid off a bit.

I was going to post my progress so far on my New Look shirt but I decided to do another post.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until Next time (actually a few minutes)...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fabulous Foot Friday (Well, close anyway)

I am amazed how quickly Friday comes and goes. One minute is is afternoon and then it is over. Well, I have to be honest. It flew by because I was throughly engrossed in finishing up my Burda skirt. And I did! I will post on it later today (if I don't get caught up in my New Look shirt that I am itching to get started on). Back to Fabulous Foot Friday.

For the next few weeks the feet that I will be showing to you are feet that I purchased because I thought they were so cool. I loved the effect that they created but I do not use them very often. These definitely are accessory feet. They certainly aren't necessary but are fun to have for options. This one today is one that I know a lot of people love (some couldn't live without it) but I have had a very hard time getting used to. I think I need more practice. Today's foot is the Narrow Hemmer Foot. I bought this because I thought it would make hemming so much easier and for many it does.

The Hemmer foot rolls and hems the edge of your fabric all in one step. How cool is that!! This one takes a little practice getting used to and you might have to slow down your sewing a bit. In the past I have had great difficulty sewing slowly. I bought this foot to make hemming easier and faster so I thought I should be able to sew fast, right? No. Slow and steady is the best method. Slowing down gives you time to make sure the the fabric is feeding into the guide correctly so the hem doesn't twist. Once you get the hang of using the hemmer foot at a slow pace I am sure that you will be able to speed it up later.

There are some great tutorials out there using this foot. Dawn at the Secret Pocket has a tutorial that is really good (I have so many of her posts saved in my bloglines). She gives a couple of links but I will also include them here. They are fantastic resources.

Threads Magazine: Mastering the Narrow Hemmer
Sew News: Fancy Footwork-Rolled Hemmer
Jan Andrea's Using a Hemming Foot Tutorial

Hemming Feet come in various sizes depending of the weight of the fabric and the size of the hem that you want. My foot is a 5 mm Narrow Hem Foot. It works for light-mid weight fabric. Cotton works great. I wouldn't use this size for heavier fabrics such as denim or corduroy. You would need a wider foot for those types of fabric.

How to use this foot:

To begin you must start your hem before placing underneath the foot. Use the hemming foot as a guide for how wide to begin the hem. It helps to pin the hem in place. Once you have it started place it under the foot and set the needle down to secure and check that the hem is very close to the edge. Your stitching should be very close to the folded edge. Stitch a few stitches to secure fabric and to insure correct placement.

Lift foot with needle down and place raw edge of fabric in the fabric guides. Lower foot and continue stitching guiding the fabric into the guide. It is very important the you keep the fabric curled even with the guide. Do not led fabric go under the edge of the right side of foot. The Threads article has some great pictures showing results of improper placement of fabric.

This is your finished hem on the right side.
This is the finished hem on the wrong side. Notice how close the stitching is to the edge.

This is obviously not a complete tutorial but I hope that it is enough to get you started thinking about Hemming Feet. They are a wonderful accessory to add to your sewing collection. With some practice I am sure that this foot will become a necessity.

Kat mentioned needing to get a special box for her presser feet. I thought I would show you how I have organized mine so that I know what I have and can access them easily. Originally this box was only for my accessory feet. All of my standard feet were stored in a box that was attached to my sewing machine. I recently removed this box from my machine to put a table to extend my sewing area. Now I have too many feet for this box and need to come up with a new solution.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful day!

Until next time...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Yummy Yummy Puppy Chow!

This treat probably has many names but we have always called it Puppy Chow. I was craving junk food this afternoon and I had the ingredients for this and it is soooo easy. It hit the spot!

Puppy Chow

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups Crispix cereal
1 cup powdered sugar

Melt chocolate chips. Mix in peanut butter. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and mix until all the cereal is coated. Put powdered sugar and cereal mixture in a gallon size plastic bag and shake, shake, shake. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

This is what my kids thought of it...
(my daughter stuffed her mouth immediately :))

Your family might like this too. :)

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

I Am So Honored!

Thank you so much Jemima Bean for bestowing upon me this award:

I love reading Jemima Bean's blog. She is so much fun and creates wonderful things. Thank you so much for giving me this award. As part of accepting this award I get to give it out to 10 different blogs that I think are Excellent. This will be fun! I think that most of these have not received this award yet but if you have well, you're doubly excellent. :)

Here is my list:

Bunchkinknits: Not only is she a great friend she has an awesome blog. She is a fantabulous knitter and tries just about every craft she comes across.

Craft Apple: She creates amazing projects. She is very creative with her posts and has a ton of great informational stuff.

Domestic Diva: She is so much fun! Her Sewing Room Organizational Challenge is AWESOME. She is hard at work designing her own line of boys clothing which is going to be fantastic.

Phat Chick Designs: She is a wonderful seamstress. She creates beautiful clothing and she writes great tutorials. I learn a lot from her.

Sewing by the Seat of My Pants: I love reading about all the goings on here! She makes amazing stuff. She will try stuff that boggles my mind. You have got to see her leather jacket posts. I can't even believe them!

Artsy-Craftsy Babe: She is a woman of so many talents! You never know what she will come up with next and it is sure to be fantastic!

Susie Homemaker: I love reading her blog. I am in awe of how much she creates. I am inspired to make so many of the things she shows on her blog.

All Things Heather: What an enjoyable blog! She creates great stuff, knitting, sewing and other crafty stuff. I love her honesty in her blog.

Scribbit: She is a fellow Alaskan who has a great blog. She talks about so many different things that I wonder every day what she has in store. She is a ton of fun!

Our Journey to Becoming Super Healthy: This is a blog I recently discovered. I love it! We are a generally healthy eating family but she gives so many more ways that are so easy.

Thank you all for letting me into your world. I have throughly enjoyed getting to know you! Now you can nominated 10 blogs of your choice and let them know in their comments. Have fun!

I also have to thank all of you who read this blog. I really appreciated your coming to my little corner of the world. Thank you for all your comments and kind words. I try to email everyone who comments because I am so greatful for the time you took to comment. Some of you comment and I can't email you back because your address doesn't show up. I am very thankful for your comments also!

So, thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Burda Skirt Progress

My skirt is progressing nicely (I think). It was easy to cut out. :) I cut a straight 18 since it was closest to my measurements and I have not made a Burda pattern for myself before. I did shorten the front by 1 1/2" because I have short legs. I did not shorten the back since my back length (waist to knee) is about 3" longer than my front length (at least that is what my husband said). I was not sure how I would get the lengths to match but since I was using some "muslin" fabric if I messed up it would be fine. I stitched the pleats and back darts, and attached the pockets. Now for the tricky part. The pattern has you attach the waistband pieces to the skirt pieces before stitching the side seams. This posed a problem since my front and back pieces are 1 1/2" different. Here is my process to find the "perfect" fit:

1st attempt: I basted the side seams and the waistbands together. Then I basted on the waistband. When I got to the side where there was an 1 1/2" difference I just gradually basted the waistband on so that it bridged the gap. This made a slightly curved seam. When I tried it on there was a few strange wrinkles. This would work if pressed really well but I wasn't quite satisfied. I wish I had a picture but I moved on to attempt #2 without thinking about pictures.

2nd attempt: I removed the back waistband. I wanted to see what the back was like without the band. Would I need more/less dart? How does the shaping look without the band? Well, to my surprise it fit quite well. I now have some choices to make. Do I eliminate the back waistband and just make a facing (the front plus waistband and back side seams are now the same length)? Do I try to attach the back waistband but then this will eliminate the darts? What to do? What to do?

3rd attempt: Still trying to get a better fit. This time I basted the side seams so that they matched at the top. The back fit even better but my seams went forward and I still had a bit of extra room. Six inches below the top I started curving inward from a 5/8" seam allowance to about 1 1/4" seam allowance. This doesn't fully correct the side seam leaning toward the front but the fit is better. So far this is my best fit (aside from the back hem being quite a bit longer than the front). I think that I am going to go with this and see what happens. I might be doing a lot of ripping. I think I will baste it ALL together (zipper and everything). I hate wasting the time basting but it will be so much easier to rip out this way if it doesn't work quite right.

All this for a skirt and I don't even where skirts very often. Well, when this is finished I will make myself wear it!

It's times like these that I so prefer sewing clothes for my daughter. I just don't have these troubles making stuff for her. I guess I am learning. Right?!

ARRRRGH! I have to go pick up my kids now and have a busy evening. I probably won't get a chance to get back to this until tomorrow. I hope I remember what I am doing. :)

Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully I will solve some of these problems for next time. Have a great day!

Until next time...