29 October 2012

Sometimes it's just not meant to be.

After my full seat alteration fail, I washed and dried more denim fabric to try V8426 again.  I just don't think this project was meant to happen right now.  I pressed out the wrinkles on the wrong side (this is an important fact) and laid out all of my pieces to cut.  When I started to pin the front pieces together in an attempt to sew, I just stared at the CF piece.  There is very noticeable and permanent vertical line traveling down the length of the piece.  Yes, you guessed it:  it's the fold line from the fabric.  I hate Joann's.  Really, I do.  Had I noticed it at the store, I never would have bought it.  Had I noticed it when I pressed out the wrinkles, I would have moved the CF in 5/8" and added a seam.  I thought about topstitching on the line, but I'm not sure how that will look since the other seams will be "raised."  I don't have enough width to cut on the line and make a seam since the skirt felt a little snug to begin with.  Sigh.

I am so done.


28 October 2012

If you looked up "fail" in the dictionary...

...you'd probably see these pictures:

At the time, this seemed like a good idea.  In practice, however, nothing could be further from the truth!  Adding extra length to the seams caused two major and not-worth-it problems.  First, the convex and concave curves did not want to play well.  The seam on piece 8 was far longer than that on the other and I ended up with several puckers.  Grrr.  Second, the extra length drastically through off the CB seam on the yoke.  The seam was angled a full inch (!!!) away from CB.  I can totally see why it happened, but that still doesn't make me happy.  Grrrrrrr.  

I picked the seam apart and attempted to remove the extra length.  Unfortunately since I had already serged and trimmed the seam, nothing matched properly and I deemed the project a failure.   There is a bright side, though.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to add one or two rows of topstitching to the garment.  Now that this project is a wadder, I could add a couple of rows to each half of the front/back and see how I like it.

I do have more denim and intend to give this pattern a second try.  I don't know if I'll be able to contribute anything to the Carnival of Skirts, though.  With the sew along ending on Wednesday and my having to start from scratch, time is running out.


21 October 2012

Vogue 8426: Skirt (Fitting & Alterations)

As part of Faye's fantastic Carnival of Skirts Sew Along, I've decided to work on some skirts as a way to get my sewjo working again.  I didn't stop sewing completely, but I was impaled by indecision so this sew along popped up at the right time.  On my radar are:  Colette Pattern's Beignet, New Look 6130 and Vogue 8426.

I love the style lines and overall look of Vogue 8426.  Plus, with so many opportunities for delicious topstitching, how can I not love it?  I've had the pattern for a while and after perusing the numerous reviews on PR, I decided to give it a try.

In fitting skirts, I always have to make a 1.25" full seat adjustment.  The alteration is easy to do if the back pattern piece is simple.  The back of this skirt has three pieces (back, middle back, and side back) and all but one of the seams is straight.  Additonally, the skirt's back yoke appears to have a deeper dip.

I had to think about how to make the full-seat adjustment on with these pieces.  First, I made a muslin to see if I even needed the adjustment.  In all of the reviews I read skimmed through, no one mentioned needing this alteration.  As this side view of my muslin shows, I definitely need it.  It's too not extreme, but you can tell that the hem isn't level. 

I pondered for a couple of days on how to make the adjustment.  I figured that the adjustment could be made in one of two places:  at the yoke seam or a couple of inches below the seam.
In trying to do the wedge alteration below the yoke seam, I created a hot mess of uneven and difficult-to-true pattern pieces.  I attempted to do the alteration at the black line seen in the picture to the left.  That part wasn't so bad.  I ran into trouble trying to remove the extra width created at the CB from the side seam.  I couldn't get the angle of the side seam correct and didn't feel comfortable with proceeding.  So I scratched that idea and decided to do the adjustment at the yoke seam.

There is nothing scientific about this alteration.  I added 5/8" to the bottom of the yoke, tapering to nothing at the side seam.  I did the same thing to the center and middle back pieces, again, tapering to nothing at the side seam of the middle back (curved piece above).  As you can see I did this right on the fabric, so obviously I'm not that stressed about it!


The hem still appears to be off because I haven't attached the yokes.  I am trying to decide if I want one or two rows of topstitching.

That's all I have for now.  Hopefully I'll be able to work on this in the next couple of days.  I have lots of work to do and sewing will likely be put on hold.

Until next time, be well!


19 October 2012

Bless You Boys!

Congratulations to the American League Champion Detroit Tigers!!

16 October 2012

Notions Store, Fabric Score, and a New Machine

My Go-to Notions Store:  Cleaner's Supply
I first learned about Cleaner's Supply from fellow PR member nancy2001.  The store primarily sells items for dry cleaning businesses, but they offer a nice selection of tailoring supplies:  zippers, buttons, chalk, machine and hand needles, seam rippers, Maxi-Lock and Gutermann thread, scissors, etc.  Pretty much any basic notion can be found at the store and at prices that simply can't be beat.  For example, a 9-inch invisible zipper at JoAnn's costs $2.49.  At Cleaner's Supply, a 9" YKK invisible zipper is $0.44 and $0.39 if you buy 10 or more.  Shipping is highly reasonable at a flat rate of $3.83 for orders under $100 and free for orders above $100.

The staff has always been courteous and willing to help.  On my last order, I needed to purchase some Hug Snug rayon seam binding to finish my brown floral silk charmeuse top.  When I called to inquire about shipping times, the young man took my order over the phone, had the order pulled and ready to ship upon receipt of my check.  How cool is that? Also, I've never had a problem with an incorrect order or missing items. 

I was not asked to write a review of the store nor am I getting any reward for doing so.  I am just very pleased with their products and service and wanted to share it with you.

Major Fabric Score
It's bad enough that sewing friends are enablers.  But non-sewing friends too?  This can't be good!  My friend alerted me to a huge fabric sale going on at a local non-profit organization.  The non-profit uses recycled materials from many industries to help make art projects for children and adults.  Donations are used to help run the program and sponsor other local activities.  The suggested donation for this event was nominal and totally worth it.  Here's what I got:

blue-cream wool houndstooth, 1.5 yds
multi-colour wool tweed, 1.5 yds
off-white wool tweed, 1.25 yds
purple with pink highlights wool boucle, 1 yd
cobalt blue wool flannel, 2.5 yds
purple wool herringbone, 3 yds
wool (and possibly silk) tweed, 2.875 yds
camel wool flannel, 1.75 yds
cotton blend boucle, 3.375 yds

I got AAAALLLL of this for under $20.  I really do not need any more fabric and certainly no more wool.  But, I couldn't pass it up.

New Machine:  Singer 99k

I do not have the desire to collect multiple sewing machines.  I have two machines, a serger, and a coverstitch machine and this small group of machines satisfies all of my sewing needs.  The acquisition of the Singer 99k was totally on impulse.

I was at a recycling center emptying my car of recyclables when I saw this little table conveniently resting right next to my car.  I knew it was a sewing machine before evening opening the lid.  The recycling center's manager said the machine had been there for over a month and that he hadn't the chance to take it to their affiliated resale store.  I suggested that he cut out the middle man and just sell it to me today.  =)  That way, he wouldn't have to deal with the fuss of moving the machine, researching a fair price, and marketing it for sale.  I offered him $50 and he agreed.  I thought it was fair based on my limited knowledge of vintage machines and its current condition.

I had the machine serviced at my local dealer and was happy to learn that it didn't need much work.  It sews a great straight stitch and came with several extra attachments (of which I have no idea how to use).  I think the machine will be quite useful when sewing lightweight fabric.  In my pattern review of the silk charmeuse top, I didn't mention the difficulty I experienced in sewing it.  Trust me, it was a royal PITA.  While handling the slippery fabric wasn't much of a problem, preventing the fabric from getting caught below the plate was difficult.  A straight-stitch plate and foot would have been immensely helpful.  For my next project of this sort, I will use the new Singer.  I'll have to figure out to thread it first, though. =)

That's it for now.  I've joined Faye's Carnival of Skirts sew along and hope to get three skirts completed during this time.  We shall see. =)

Thank you for your support on winning the contest.  I am still over the moon about it!  Until next time, be well!


15 October 2012

WOO HOO! I won!!!

Mini Wardrobe 

I won the PR Mini Wardrobe Contest!!!  You have to just imagine the happy dance I did after learning that I won.  I am so excited that I was selected out of a group of very talented sewers with remarkable wardrobes.  Sincere and humble thanks to everyone who voted for me!  =)  *hugs*


13 October 2012

Simplicity 2860 (pants)

Having worked on pants fitting for a few years, I am pleased to finally have a pair of good-fitting trousers.  There's still work to do with the back as the hamstring area is still too full, but at least the pants are wearable and comfortable. Plus, the front looks really good!

Fabric & Notions:
  • about 2 yards of 100% striped herringbone wool suiting
  • 7" nylon zipper
  • walking foot to ensure even feed of fabric
  • fusible interfacing for the outer waistband and zipper fly
  • 80/12 universal needle
Sizing & Alterations:

I started working on this pattern a two years ago, so I don't quite remember all of the changes I made.  Incidentally, I started keeping more accurate records of my alterations in a notebook.  Anyway, for this pattern I cut a straight size 16 curvy and altered from there.  
  • removed three inches in length:  1.5 inches above and below the knee
  • shortened the fly area 1 inch, tapering to nothing at the side seam
  • scooped the back crotch curve for comfort 
The first time I tried this pattern, I didn't make a muslin.  Instead, I left the 1" seam and fit as I sewed.

I didn't think the full legs looked particularly good on me, so I took a very large seam allowance on both sides.  Unfortunately, this distorted the fit and produced the result you see in the pictures above.  It's not too bad and I do still wear the pants, but improvement was definitely in order.

For the brown herringbone pair, I didn't take as large a seam allowance because I regained most of the weight I lost last year (stupid pounds have a GPS or something).  When I make this pair again, I will probably shape the legs a little to remove some of the fullness.


Oh my.  Where do I start with this headache?  One thing you've probably gathered from reading my blog is that I don't give up easily.  I fight  the battles that are worth the time and effort.  I do know when to surrender, though, and have no qualms about it!  Such is the case with the clean-finish waistband method presented in two videos by Hot Patterns (part 1 & part 2).  I appreciate the time and effort Trudy extends to everyone by producing these and all of her videos.

Unfortunately, I just could not make this method work for me.  I watched the two-part video over, and over again and made sample after sample.  It seems like some information is missing and without this, I couldn't get it right.  I enlisted the help of folks on PR and Stitcher's Guild and received many wonderful and helpful replies.  Despite the tips given, I couldn't make it work.

Determined not to be defeated, I consulted David Page Coffin's book, Making Trousers.  The basic idea is to extend the center front of each waistband a couple of inches and wrap the extension to the inside.  Once the facing is attached to the top, the front edge is folded under and stitched in place.  DPC does a much better job of explaining the process.  I have plans to make this pair of pants again and when I do, I'll photograph and document the process in a blog post.

There's nothing extraordinary about the construction of these pants.  I pretty much sewed them as if I were sewing a pair of jeans - less all of the topstitching.  I finished all of the edges first before sewing the seams and sewed a blind hem along the bottom edge. I also added a fly shield.  The pattern goes together rather quickly as there are only four pieces.


While I am very pleased with this pair of pants, I will tweak it a bit more to improve the fit.  S2860 is a good place to start if you're looking to develop and tried-and-true pants pattern.

Until next time, be well everyone!


03 October 2012

BWOF 8-2005-102 (skirt) & Thank you!!

What can I say?  I adore this skirt!  I love how the bias lower half gives that little oomph to an otherwise plain skirt.  Even though I have many more skirt patterns in queue, I just might  make another one of these.

Fabric &Notions:
  • 1.5 yards of 60" wool tweed with metallic threads
  • about 2 yards of 45" brown Ambiance lining
  • 7" invisible zipper
  • 1.5" wide light brown petersham cut to waist measurement plus extra for overhang

I made my standard 1.25" full seat adjustment by adding a wedge at the center back as described in this post.  I also lopped off 1.25" from the hem for a more flattering length.  I probably should have taken half of this alteration out of both the lower and upper halves so that the proportions remained roughly the same.  I don't think things look off, but if I make this again, I'll probably take some of the length out of the upper half.

Seam Allowances:

BWOF/Burda Style magazine patterns do not have added seam allowances.  This can be both a good and bad thing.  The good thing is you are free to add whatever seam allowance you want, anywhere you want.  For my skirt, I added 1/2" on the side and waist seams, and 3/8" along the curved edge.  The smaller seam allowance along the curved edge made for much easier sewing and manipulation without having to clip the fabric.  Additionally, exact pattern measurements are easy to make and all alterations are done right at the seamline.  I usually add my seam allowances right on the fabric.

The bad thing, for me at least, is sometimes I forget to add seam allowances.  Ummm....yeah.  I know that I need to, but I get distracted, start cutting and don't realize I'd forgotten the seam allowances until after I start sewing. 

Lining, Waist Treatment, and Zipper:

I used my favourite method of lining without facings as described in an older post.  I also cut the lower half of the lining on the bias but could have cut it on the straight grain or without the flare as shown in this PR member's review.

The pattern is drafted to include a buttoned waistband.  I didn't include it because I assumed I would need to contour it a bit to account for my sway back.  I didn't feel like doing any of that and just faced the waist with petersham.

I completely forgot to interface the zipper area.  Fortunately, the fabric is sturdy enough where I don't have any ripples or puckers.  I have to make it a practice to do this all the time.  I remember to do it with pants, but somehow the practice escapes me when it comes to skirts.  I'll work on it. =)


The side seams were finished on my serger, then sewn on my sewing machine.  The seam that joins the upper and lower halves were sewn first, serged together, and pressed up.  Finally after allowing the skirt and lining to hang for 24+ hours, both hems were finished with my serger's rolled hem stitch.  I didn't want to distort the bias by attempting to fold up a half-inch hem.


It's a fantastic skirt with nice details and a great way to get started with sewing BWOF patterns.  The skirt is simple enough that the instructions can be ignored.  Honestly, I don't even think I looked at them.  Anyone who's ever sewn a skirt can definitely sew this one!

Finally, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone who left such wonderful comments about my wardrobe.  That was so kind of you to stop by and share your thoughts!  I'm smiling all over again. =)



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