Friday, June 30, 2017

Open Back Top


The Pattern- Its The Jenny Dress by The Fold Line. This pattern is designed for knit fabric. The pattern can be made as a dress with the open back top attached or the top can be made as a separate item. I made the open back top only. The instructions and photos provided  make  this is an easy top to assemble.
The Fabric- I used knit fabric  (about 75cm) left over from a previous project (Walkely Dress). Its has a blue background with a random green anchor print.
The Closure- The hook and eye that hold the back together was up cycled from an old shirt.
The Seams- I used a narrow zigzag stitch for the shoulder and side seams. The hems are stitched using a twin needle. I have used a twin needle before but this time I experienced problems with the threads getting tangled, so I stitched very very slowly and  what I thought would be a quick make wasn't.
 

Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 Challenge- The Nina Dress




 The Pattern- The Nina Dress by Cotton + Chalk, pattern number 6. Skill level 4 out of 5. I chose to make version B. It is a sleeveless dress with front button closures. I added the hem ruffle to my dress as I really liked that feature of version A. My measurements correspond with a medium size and made the toile in that size, but it was so loose fitting that I went down a size and made a small. It fits perfectly without any adjustments.

The Fabric- Its a black and white polka dot, cotton stretch poplin from Fabric.com.

The Seams- There are four princess seams to stitch in this dress. A little tricky, however by the fourth seam I was able to match my armhole edges evenly. (practice makes perfect). The front facing edges and ruffle hem are overcast as per pattern instructions. All other raw edges are pinked finish.

The Buttons- There are 9 buttons on this dress. I found the red buttons at Jo-ann in the clearance section, 4 for 50cents. For the first time I used my machine to sew the buttons on. It was so easy and a time saver. Why did I not try this feature sooner? The buttonholes are also machine stitched, I used my seam ripper to carefully cut them open.


So much learnt making The Nina Dress.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Fold Away Tote


I have made a new bag, the practical shopping bag project from issue 29 of Simply Sewing.
This bag is an unlined tote that fold away into the corner pocket.
I already had every item on the materials list (bonus) and was able to start and finish the bag in under two hours.
The instructions are easy to follow. I only deviated from them once while making the handles, instead of the bagged out method I used the four fold method (fold strap in half lengthwise, press to crease, open and fold outer edges towards the centre crease, press, fold again along centre crease and topstitch down both lengthwise edges.) I prefer this method.
I rate this a great beginner project.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pineapple Block

This week I participated in the Pineapple Smoothie Block Sew Along, the pineapple block was designed by Heather from The Sewing Loft. Heather offers two options for making up the pineapple. I chose option 1(the easy one) less cutting and stitching. My pineapple is a little wonky but I am happy with it.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

New Slippers

 I made a new pair of slippers this week to replace the first pair I made last year. Again I followed the same pattern instructions as before and used more of my scrap fabric (yeah!,  I am on a mission to reduce my fabric scrap pile to nothing).
To make then safer to wear on floorboards I added anti-skid gripper fabric (the stuff on kids pyjama feet) to the soles. The soles of my first pair were felt and it was easy to slide in them across the room, the anti-skid fabric should give a little traction to prevent falls.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pyjama Shorts


This week I made 2 very comfy pyjama shorts. The shorts are super easy to make. I have made them once before, this time I replaced  the drawstring waist with an elastic waist and stitched a small ribbon bow on the front. The fabric is a soft chambray with a whale print. It was a end of bolt I picked up at Joann, only 1.7yds of fabric. Not enough to make two pairs of shorts without a little creativity. After cutting out the first pair I pieced the left over fabric to make a  piece large enough to cut the second shorts  from. The pieced section I positioned on the back.
Incidentally, there was an excellent article on piecing recently in Threads magazine. The pyjama pattern is from Simply Sewing issue 7.
Happy sewing!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

My five favourite sewing books

Here are the books I reach for most often when sewing or looking for inspiration.
 
1. Biblio Craft by Jessica Pigza- I love books and this book is all how books from the past can inspire new creative projects. Its also a visually pleasing book. The sewing projects are ideal for a beginner.
2. The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible by Wendy Gardiner and Lorna Knight- This book covers presser feet. There are four chapters devoted to the different presser feet  available for the home sewist. There is a description of each foot, how it works and what can be achieved using the foot. It covers the familiar (zipper and zigzag foot) and the not so familiar (flower attachment and chenille foot).
3.School of Sewing by Shea Henderson- This is the book I recommend to my beginner students. It covers basic sewing techniques with practical and useful projects to make.
4. The Better Bag Maker by Nicole Mallalieu- I have made 10 out of the 11 projects in this book. The instructions are clear, the techniques many ( how to install a zipper pocket, patch pocket, how to make four fold straps, bagged out straps, adjustable straps, corded strap handles and much more).
5. The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing by Singer- Every sewists needs a good reference books. This is the one I own. It covers the basics (reading a pattern envelope, laying out a pattern, making adjustments, sewing  darts, sleeves, cuffs, collars, pockets, closures and more). It also has a section on home decorating (cushions, curtains and placemats).

Please note I am not affiliated with any of the authors or links.
Thanks.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Work in Progress

I could be the only person who makes a quilt for their washing machine, but you see I like to keep the top of my front loader clean from dust and spills, this pass weekend  we replaced the old machine and the new one is bigger, so a new cover was needed, hence this black, white and red quilt top.
I only had two objectives when I started- 1. to use only red, white and black and 2. to use what fabric I already had.  I cut and pieced until I had a 28in (71cm)square. Despite my lack of prior planning I think it's a success, well I like it. The red draws you in and allows the eye to travel around the piece.

Friday, March 31, 2017

2017 Challenge Update

I am extremely pleased with the progress  I am making with my 2017 challenge.
The Lizzy Dress

The Lizzy Dress- back
Firstly this month I made the Lizzy Dress in a black linen/cotton blend, It looks more gray than black. I wore the dress last weekend. This dress pattern has a lot of ease , knowing this from making the toile, I used a wider seam allowance then was suggested. I had trouble sewing the curved pockets so instead I shaped my pockets differently.
I also made the Daisy Dress in a floral blue and white stretch poplin ( pictured below) I added an in seam pocket to the side without the zipper. I am looking forward to a nice hot day so I can wear this dress.


The Daisy Dress
Finally this month I also made a toile of the Joni Dress and am now looking to buy fabric.
 

Friday, March 24, 2017

How to Make Piping

Piping is a decorative trim stitched into a seam. Often seen on a cushion edge, it adds sophistication and strengths the seams. Ready made piping choices are limited, making your own gives you the freedom to choose your own colours and patterns.
To make your own piping you will need the following items- cotton cord, fabric and a zipper foot.

Step 1. Measure the cords circumference and add 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) for seam allowances.  This is the width of you fabric strips. ( The length is determined by the project. On how to join fabric strips see below)
Step 2. Find the bias of your fabric and cut fabric strips using the width measurement from step one.
Step 3. Wrap the wrong side of the fabric strip around the cord, align the raw edges.
Step 4. Using a zipper foot and a long stitch length, sew close to the cord.
I have positioned my needle to the far left, to get close to the cord.
piping is now ready.

To Join fabric Strips 
Place fabric right sides together at a 90 degree angle. Pin and stitch diagonally from lower left corner to upper right corner. Trim seam allowance to .5cm (1/4in). Press seam open.
 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review- Bag Boutique

Bag Boutique- Making Fabulous purses and totes by Amy Barickman was published 12 years ago, its out of print now but last week I picked up a second hand copy for $1.
The book covers general bag making information on different closures available(a new to me closure mentioned is a hex-open frame), handles and straps , interlining a bag and how to transfer an image to fabric. It also has 18 projects plus variations for each projects.
I made the pocketbook purse. The template instructions stated to enlarge by 111%, I did not, what I did instead was to add a 1/4 in seam allowance to the template. My bag measures 13 x 8 in. A little smaller that the project bag but still a good size. I went with variation 2 without the patches or quilting. My favourite feature of this bag and the reason why I made it is the bias binding handles, so easy to sew.  I found the instructions concise and easy to follow.
What I like about this book is that  each bag is shown in a least two different fabric variations. What I don't like is having to enlarge templates. Some of the bags appear a little dated and fussy, however the bag making  techniques shown make this a good book to add to my collection.
Bag Boutique is great for someone with  some sewing experience and bag making knowledge.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Cording Foot and Couching

This week I have been experimenting with the cording foot to embellish plain fabric. The cording foot  has 3 grooves that are covered with a metal clip, this forms channels in which you can feed cord or embroidery thread through. It is an easy foot to use.
I used a zigzag stitch to stitch cord onto the fabric surface. This technique is called couching.
 
In this sample I have used pink metallic thread and cord on linen fabric. the length of my zig zag stitch is 2 and the width 5. (Left to right- a simple straight row, a wave, exposing cord by stop and start stitching, form loops in a simple straight row by pulling cord)
 
following a drawn pattern



on denim fabric using neon embroidery thread, stitched with all purpose white thread.

the Singer Cording foot

 

 

Friday, February 24, 2017

The 2017 Challenge

The 2017 challenge is coming along nicely, this month I made 'The Walkey' dress and a  toile for 'The Overture Set'. The collar in 'The Overture' was a first for me and a colossal learning experience.
I have ordered fabric to make 'The Daisy Dress' in and I have also invested in an invisible zipper foot as most dress patterns use an invisible zipper.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Case for Pockets

Gathered skirt with in seam pocket
Pockets are essential, if I make a bag and don't include pockets I later regret it. sometimes carrying a bag  with or without pockets is not practical, like when visiting amusement parks, with their no bag on ride policy or at the entrance waiting in a long bag check line. That's when a pocket on clothing is necessary to carry essentials like keys, cash and phone.  Sadly its rare to find pockets on ready made skirts and dresses, my main summer wear.
So I made a skirt with pockets. Making this skirt is easy enough, and there are many tutorials on the internet and in magazines. I consulted a number of books  and magazines before I started and consolidated the techniques I liked to make the skirt, my instruction follow.
The in seam pocket pattern you will find in issue 26 of Simply Sewing magazine or draft your own.

Gathered Skirt with Pockets in 10 Easy Steps 
1. Measure waist and multiply by 2.5 for fullness. Divide by 2. This is the width of the front and back pieces.
2. Measure from waist to knee  add 3cm (1 1/4 in),  this is the length for the front and back pieces. (my width measurement was less than the width of fabric, so when calculating how much fabric I needed I multiplied the length by two)
3. Cut 2 piece of fabric using waist and length measurements.
4. Cut pocket pieces from fabric scraps.
5. Place pocket 15cm down from top, Right side down on right side of skirt front, align pocket straight edge with side seam and sew with a 1/2cm seam allowance. Repeat with corresponding back piece.

6. Open pocket pieces away from skirt, press flat. Place front and back pieces right sides together with pockets extended away from skirt. Stitch down side seams and around pocket using a 1cm seam allowance. Clip into seam at top and bottom of pocket. Press seams open. Repeat with other side. Neaten raw edges of sides and top with zig zag stitch.
Do not stitch the section with red pins.
 7.Cut elastic to waist measurement plus 2 cm. Join short ends using 2cn seam allowance.Measure width of elastic add 1.5cm to measurement, fold under towards wrong side top of skirt by that measurement. 
8.Edge Stitch close to fold. Place elastic within fold area. Stitch casing closed without catching elastic. A zipper foot is helpful here. As you stitch shift fabric around elastic. It will gather up.

9. Distribute gathers evenly around waist. When you are happy with gather distribution stitch in the ditch at side seams to hold elastic.
10. To hem skirt fold towards wrong side  1/2cm, press, fold again 2cm, press. Stitch hem.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pot Holder Make


I used Sedef Imer's Pot Luck project (from issue 25 of Simply Sewing)to make this pretty and functional quilted potholder.
However I did a few things differently:-
1. I machine appliqued the flower design using a narrow zigzag stitch.
2. I did not round off my corners.
3. because of reason two I did not need to cut my binding fabric on the bias.


Please note: I am not affiliated with any links. Thanks

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Walkley dress

 I made 'The Walkley' dress this week. A free pattern with Simply Sewing -issue 18. Its super easy to make. Just two pieces, a front and back, cannot mess it up. I have used this pattern once before to make the top version.
The fabric I picked up from my local Jo-ann store. Its a blue knit with a random green anchor print. I used a ball point needle, with a straight stretch stitch for the seams and a regular straight  stitch for the hems. And that's it really, have a good week.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Update on my 2017 Challenge

In the last two weeks I have made 3 muslins of the Daisy dress bodice. Finally I am happy with the fit. Now I need to buy some nice fabric to make the dress in . Can't wait.
I got stuck while making the first muslin. Turns out the original instructions included with the pattern were incorrect. The corrected instructions are on the simply sewing blog.
Other wise the pieces come together beautifully with all the notches matching up perfectly.

Friday, January 20, 2017

How to tranfer an image using a water soluble stabilizer in free motion machine embroidery

 
Transfer the design
In this project I am using a fibrous water soluble product called Wash-n-Gone 541 by Pellon. If like me you don not own a light box then, tape the image you would like to use on a window. Next tape the stabilizer over the image and trace.
I use a pilot Frixion ball pen or pencil. Don't use a marker as it can bleed when you rinse the stabilizer off and ruin your work.
 
Once you have traced the image onto the stabilizer baste it onto the right side of your fabric. I also fuse SF101 onto the wrong side of my fabric prior to basting the stabilizer

 
 
Stitch the design
Attach the darning foot to your machine, lower the feed dogs and stitch over the drawn image. I go over the image a few times to give it a bolder look. For this project I am using a grey all purpose thread.
 
Once I have finished stitching I pull the thread ends to the wrong side of my fabric and trim them. Next I carefully trim away the excess stabilizer and remove the baste stitching.
Finally I rinse the fabric in water to dissolve the remaining stabilizer and hang to dry. When dry I press the fabric and continue with my project.
 


Thursday, January 12, 2017

3 Benefits to Making a Toile

1. Size and Fit
This is the main reason a toile is made first. Use cheap fabric, I used an old bed sheet to make my Rosie dress toile. After trying it on I made some minor adjustments to the fitted waist.
2. Style
Just like when buying ready made clothing you can try it on and decide if the style suits you. After trying on the Rosie toile I realized that the V neckline was to low for me.
3. Practice Skills
I use the process of making a toile my chance to practice my sewing skills . Normally you would not finish the edges but I go the extra step and do. I finished the neckline with self-fabric bias binding and I installed the zipper. Practice makes perfect right? so, I don't see it as a waste of time more like a future investment for when I make the actual dress, I have reduced the chances of messing it up.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Slippers

My first finished make for 2017, a pair of slippers, loosely following the cozy toes project from Simply Sewing issue 24. Instead of faux fur I used flannel for the lining and  also instead of lining the sole I used binding to hide the raw edges.
Cozy indeed.

Open Back Top

The Pattern- Its The Jenny Dress by The Fold Line. This pattern is designed for knit fabric. The pattern can be made as a dress with the...