Monday, July 27, 2009

quick summer dress

I used my tank top pattern to make a summer dress. My usual method of finished the edge is turn over 3/8" and stitch with coverhem. This fabric was too heavy. The neckline started pulling out of shape immediately.

I stabilized the edge with elastic. I stretched the elastic just a little bit as I zig-zagged it to the edge.

Then I turned it over and top-stitched with the coverhem machine. The dress feels very secure now.

I can just keep sewing smaller & tighter garments and call them athetic wear. That's all there is to it, isn't there? I think so!
~!* It's HOT here! *!~

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Fun

I got tired of sewing for myself a few weeks ago, and like magic- other projects just popped up!

Here are a couple things in the works - an overhaul of this Betsy Johnson dress for Kelly, and a bra for my Pilates teacher

Currently, the dress hangs all the way down to her lower calf and we are going to bring it way up to mid knee. If you can see the little pin- that's where the new bodice will begin. This dress is cut on the bias, so it adapts easily to the different girth requirements.

The bra pattern is laid out on my work table, along with the AMAZING Household Goop that I will use on the bra wires. The hardest thing I have found, about bra-sewing, is getting just the right wire. I am still waiting for my order to arrive from Canada and when it gets here, I'll be snipping off just a few centimeters, filing it, then coating it with the AMAZING Household Goop.
Oh yeah, and maybe some athletic wear for myself? I've got just the right fabric for it now, many thanks to Sigrid :)

Reading blogs about sewing is the closest I will get to it today. Of great interest is the detailed information from Barbara about diaper sewing. I was asked about this, so here it is. If you want to save a lot of money on diapers, check out Barbara's post about it.

And thinking about knit swatches. There are some really cute knits out there and a friend asked me what would I make from these knits? I have to say, I am not the best at matching fabrics to patterns, but it is fun to think about. Before even answering that question, I would check out Imogen's blog to learn about body shape. Her blog "Inside Out Style" is on my blog roll over the the right (although the links seem to be working only sporadically, not sure why). She goes way further than to say you are an apple or a pear. She uses an alphabet system and I have learned that I am an "A" so I should dress with emphasis on strong horizontal lines at the shoulder and leave the bottoms boring. No need to draw attention there. In my mind- knowing your body is the best place to start when choosing patterns.
Having said that, I would sew tops from all of these fabrics. The top 2 fabrics have lots of 2-way (east-to-west) stretch and no stretch up & down. Definitely cut your pieces so the stretchy part goes east-west. The uppermost swatch curls a lot, so it's going to be more difficult to handle. Save for a day when you are feeling more patient.
The middle fabric has great recovery (ie, when you pull it and let go, it snaps right back into shape). It is also ribbed and has good body. So this knit won't cling as much as a jersey would It would look beautiful as a twinset and I think it would produce a nice high-end sportswear look. I think it will be easy to handle, too, and sew up very nicely.
And the bottom fabric? OMG is that not just the cutest Missoni-like thing? It has no stretch at all an it's pretty sheer. I've had very good luck using a mesh knit to line something like this. Something like this nude mesh would be invisible underneath, provide structure without being too rigid.
While I am lazing about, others are hard at work. Well, maybe just observing the work being done :)
*Enjoy your weekend*

Monday, July 20, 2009

cute or what?

Lizzy and her friends at Otakon - I like seeing the big smiles.
It's only 10 days til Laura comes home. I am getting excited. We are going to have Thanksgiving in August. I am preparing by cleaning. I washed the front of the house today. (it's true)
That's my way.

What's up next on the sewing table? Unmentionables. Sigrid sent me the most beautiful assortment of fabrics. They have an amazing shop in Amsterdam called Kantjeboord.
I sent her some designer Vogue patterns. We really do not have such nice fabrics & laces in the US like they have in Amsterdam and Germany.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Progress by leaps and bounds

My husband is a great cook and he has taught both of his kids how to work the kitchen.

I am teaching my niece some sewing and here is my analogy of the situation:

It's like she came and said, "I want to learn how to cook & my first meal will be Thanksgiving dinner - are you up for it?"
I said yes.

We made patterns from scratch, she has learned to thread the machine and wind the bobbin. She sewed lots of the seams, and she fused all of the interfacing. Her interfacing looks perfect. Her seams are straight.

We are working with poly charmeuse satin, poly crinkle stuff and poly duppioni. Not the easiest fabric for your first big project. I have protected her from its horrors for the most part.

And here is a cell phone pic of where we stand:
I am, of course, tired!! I have been sewing my butt off. Ah, middle age. :)

Now if you are related to me and you even act like you might use it, I WILL buy you a sewing machine. It is a compulsion.
Here is what I bought for Lizzy and I LOVE this machine!!
It is Janome 11590 from

This model is sold by Sears as a Kenmore 16231. Overstock sells it as a refurbished machine. Seriously, this machine purrs like a kitten and makes a beautiful stitch. It has needle-up/down and presser foot adjustment, and an automatic one-step buttonhole.

So..... there is still a skirt to make. But (said with the usual optimism) it seems pretty easy.
Fun for kids.
An education for adults.
(I am getting exposure to anime, manga, cosplay ...)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ty Lee

Next up is a costume to be worn to Otakon - this is Ty Lee, who (I think) is a character in a video game. I beleive it is the sort of thing that I would not know about were it not for contact with younger human beings.
I am guessing my best bet is to draft up patterns using Wild Ginger Pattern Master Boutique for quick & dirty fitting as we go. No muslins- this will be a fast project and we'll solve any puzzles as we go.

Sounds like fun, no?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Leopard print mesh knit

I really wanted to sew my newest fabrics, but my patterns & notions are a little confused between Rockville and Baltimore.

Well, that's a good reason to have plenty of backup fabric on hand, eh? Isn't this a wild print? (for me anyway). I bought it from EmmaOneSock quite a while back and I wasn't sure if I liked it. Today I fell in love with it.
I am really starting to like wearing tank tops on the weekends, or layered during the week for work.
It was a fiddly bit of work because I had to piece it together in the front. Since I had enough, I went ahead and doubled the front panel. You can really see the shape of the piecing (like a reverse princess seam) when viewing from inside out.

When I tested my first seam on the coverhem, there was a pronounced tunnelling effect. I decided it was a happy accident - because it gave a bit more stability. This is some very stretchy fabric. The neckline, armscye and hems are just a simple turned over hem, but the tunnelling makes it look like I used a binder. Neato trick.
When I look at these pictures I think I might go get a real haircut. It's been over a year since a professional touched my hair and I think it's time :)
*Happy Independence Day*

Friday, July 3, 2009

what day is it?

Relief! I pulled a few all-nighters to get the job done and now I can relax. June 30 is my hardest time of year. I actually did some mending at weird hours of the night, while waiting to proceed with next steps in the workplan. I had a nice piece of silk, in case I felt up to some real sewing, but alas, did not possess the necessary attention span to do any real sewing.
That's cool. So glad I have a 3 DAY WEEKEND!!

Look how clean my home office is! I work completely with a computer now- I don't even have pencil & paper! This surprises me- I had doubts I would ever give up my paper. But I guess old dogs can learn new tricks.

update: yeah, karmapolice commented about my laptop (where is the computer screen?!) It's there! This angle is weird, the screen is sitting up in a way that makes it look invisible.
But it makes me think about a sewing idea. I would like to make a pillow-ish thing to put on my lap for the computer. But it has to include ventilation somehow.
Currently, I place a pillow on my lap, a board on top of the pillow and the laptop sits on the board. The white board is a shelf from the closet, actually. I heard that if you leave a laptop on a pillow for too long it will overheat and kill it.
Back to the fun stuff. Outdoors, sunshine, etc.

Happy Sewing!