Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Review

So much information is available online today that buying a reference book can be seen as redundant. But for me a book I return to time and time again for inspiration and knowledge is more satisfying that typing a word in a search engine.
Recently I purchased 'Dressmaking - The indispensable Guide' by Jules Fallon. Retail price $35.00. Its a how- to book covering every technique you need to successful teach yourself to sew with clear step by step photographs. There are 5 chapters that each cover a step in the sewing process.
Chapter 1  Equipment - This chapter covers the equipment needed to sew, needles, scissors , machine, presser feet, notions and threads.
Chapter 2- Prep. Covers fabric, interfacing, understanding a pattern, measuring, and cutting fabric.
Chapter 3 - Constructions. This chapter covers the how-to sew of seams, pockets, zippers, sleeves, collars, yokes and more. Often with more that one way shown. There are 7 different ways of inserting a zipper.
Chapter 4 Stretch.You will find information on stretch fabric and how to sew it without an overlocker in this chapter.
Finally chapter 5 - Finish. This is the chapter I am most excited about because it covers lining a dress. For some time now I have wanted to add a lining to the dresses I make but lack the knowledge, not anymore. This chapter also covers hems and hand sewing with instructions for both right-handed and left - handed people. For left- handed person like myself that's awesome.
I am happy with my new purchase and see myself referring to it a lot.
'Dressmaking - The Indispensable Guide'  is a book that every home sewist should own.

Do you have a favourite sewing book?

Friday, September 8, 2017

How to Machine Sew a Button

Buttons used as a closure on clothing for 5000 years are  available in many different styles and colours. However all buttons fall into two groups. Flat buttons with holes and shank buttons.

The shank is a small loop on the underside of a button. It creates space between the fabric and button. This allows the top fabric to sit smoothly when buttoned. Shank buttons are ideal for heavier fabrics. A shank button cannot be machine sewn by the home sewist.
The flat button with two or four holes lies flat against the fabric and can be machine sewn. You can create a shank with thread if needed.

A buttonhole foot and a button foot

To Machine Sew a Button

1. Drop or cover feed dogs, Set stitch length to "0" and stitch to zigzag.

to create a shank position needle between holes
without shank
2. Attach button foot. Place fabric and button under foot with holes aligned horizontally. Turn the hand wheel towards you. Checking that the needle is positioned to go through both holes. Adjust stitch width if necessary.
3. Sew 6 to 10 zigzag stitches. Switch to a straight stitch and sew a 3 to 4 more stitches to secure button. Remove from machine and pass threads to wrong side.
That's it, one neatly sewn button.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Work in Progress

National sewing month starts today in the USA. I will be working on a half square triangle quilt top.
One morning last week I woke inspired to make a HST quilt. For three hours I picked fabrics from my collection and cut 5.5 inch squares. Then, doubt stepped in questioning the madness. This is my 3rd large sized quilt and the first using HST. There is a lot of cutting and accurate sewing involved, successfully matching seams and points, also lots of pressing. Now I have a pile of 5.5 squares sitting on my desk, I put my doubts aside and continue...
My goal is to make a quilt large enough for a single bed. I calculate that I need a total of 234 squares. The quilt is to have 18 rows with 13 squares in each row. I am using 10 different fabrics.
As of this morning I have pieced four rows.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Simple Shorts

super easy shorts with elastic waist

Pattern -K1668 by Simplicity, option D in a small, without any adjustments. There are only two pattern pieces with easy to follow instructions.
Fabric- A black and white polka dot cotton stretch poplin (97% cotton / 3% lycra spandex) 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Good for the Environment

The other day at the bookshop I bought a couple of books. The cashier put the books in a small plastic bag and handed it to me. At home I removed the books from the bag and placed the plastic bag in the recycle bin. So wasteful however with a reusable bag with me it is almost unnecessary. That's why I like this tote project. The bag folds into itself and its lightweight enough that I can carry it in my regular handbag all the time.
Recycling is wonderful however its even better for the environment when I don't have anything to recycle after a shopping trip.
Do you agree?
Fabric-Main fabric left over from the Daisy dress, stretch cotton poplin and quilting cotton scraps.
Pattern- Shopping bag from issue 29 of Simply Sewing.
Hardware- Cord stop by Dritz, cord recycled from boys swimmers.

Here is the first shopping bag tote I made.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Black and White Tunic

front view
 Pattern -K1668 by Simplicity. This pattern has a complete wardrobe to make, it includes a dress, tunic, shorts, pants and a jacket. I made the tunic-option B, in a size small. The front features gathers at the shoulders and neckline. The  pattern is well designed, but the instructions confused me a little and I found myself stitching and unstitching.   However if you transfer all pattern markings especially around the neckline it will come together nicely in the end.

Fabric- The fabric is from Joann, a light cotton shirting.

Hems- I used my rolled hem foot to finish the hem.

back view

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Sleeveless Ruffle Tunic

During my home economics sewing class I had to complete two projects, the first  a plain white short sleeve T-shirt, the fabric for this was supplied by the teacher. The second project, a long sleeved jumper with ribbing at the neckline, sleeves and waist, fabric for this project I had to buy myself. I picked a black and white stripe fabric with white ribbing. The first project was a warm up and once we finished it, the teacher instructed us to begin cutting out the jumper project.  I laid out my fabric and began cutting just as I was finishing up this step the teacher came to check on my progress and informed me that I should  PATTERN MATCH my stripes. Crestfallen, I decided right then never to buy striped fabric again. 30 years later,  ordering fabric online being a couple of dollars short for free shipping I added  2 yards of a jersey knit fabric to my order,  My package arrived a week later I was shocked to see that I had ordered a stripe. A stripe, how did I do that, what was I thinking? After I calmed down I made a dress and pattern matched, it turned out well, I no longer fear the stripe.

The Pattern-Simplicity D0657 A. This pattern is for stretch fabric. I made option 3, the sleeveless ruffle tunic in a medium.
The Fabric - A 50/50 cotton / polyester jersey knit stripe, colour pink and oat, it's 59'' wide. The pink stripe is soft and smooth, the oat stripe is rough to the touch. It was $3.45 a yard from
Stitching- I used a narrow zigzag stitch( length 3, width 1) for all seams and a straight stitch for top stitching (length 3). My needle was a ball point size 80/11 and for the hem I used a twin needle. Also I used a walking foot.
Final thoughts- no fit adjustments were necessary. I deviated from the instructions when attaching the ruffle because I was not liking the overlap hem above the ruffle. instead I pressed the seam of the ruffle up towards the tunic and top stitched it to hold in place.
This is my third make with a ruffle. I don't  like the gathering of fabric to make a ruffle but I do like the end result. so its safe to say If I can add a ruffle I will!

Book Review

So much information is available online today that buying a reference book can be seen as redundant. But for me a book I return to time a...