Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Erin Skirt

Pattern- The Erin Skirt (short version) from Sew Over It. A button up high waisted skirt. I followed the sew along from issue 22 and 23 of Simply Sewing.
Fabric - Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in black. Its a 55% linen/ 45% cotton blend.

I made the skirt in a size 12 and it fits perfectly without any alterations. My favourite feature are the pockets. I can carry  my phone and keys without the need of  a bag. This skirt is a zero additional cost make, in that the fabric, interfacing and thread are all leftovers  from a previous make. The buttons recycled from an old jacket.

The instructions are easy to follow, my only hiccup in making the skirt is the waistband was  1cm short for my skirt. The instructions state that the waistband should extend by 1.5cm on each end for the seam allowance. On my skirt one end was only 1/2 cm. However this turned out to be no problem at all since the seam allowance needs to be trimmed down to 1/2 cm anyway.
I also spent some time fiddling with the buttons especially the waistband button. I have lost count how many times I stitched and unstitched that button, I think I have the placement right now.
The Erin is super easy to make and I love wearing it.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Joni Dress

The Pattern- The Joni Dress from issue 22 of Simply Sewing is a long sleeve shift dress with front placket, contrast collar and cuffs, pleats and inseam pockets.

Fabric- Cotton twill in burgundy for the dress and a quilting cotton for the collar, cuffs and placket.

Struggles and Triumphs- I struggled to match the bodice and skirt side seams and bust darts. They are slightly off.
When sewing the sleeve seam at the cuff I used a zipper foot and the needle all the way to the left to get a perfect 1.5cm seam allowance.
I hand stitched the under collar in place using a ladder stitch for a neat finish.
I finished the hem using a blind hem stitch.

Final thoughts- I enjoyed making the dress. It gave me the opportunity to learn new skills like sewing cuffs but it also taught me the importance of choosing fabric. In future I will not be using cotton twill to make a dress. It creases. Also the solid colour is a mistake. Originally I was not going to include the placket but without it  the dress looks frumpy. One of the difficulties of making your own clothes is not knowing how the finished dress will look until after you have invested a lot of time sewing. This dress looked so much better in my mind.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Work in Progress- The Joni Dress

My first step when beginning a new dress is to highlight my size on the pattern. Then I  trace it onto white craft paper and cut it out, thus preserving all sizes on the original pattern. This is all very time consuming. I am wondering if there is a better solution?

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) 

The Erin Skirt

Pattern - The Erin Skirt (short version) from Sew Over It. A button up high waisted skirt. I followed the sew along from issue 22 and 23...