Sunday, March 30, 2014 in crafty things

Adventures in dressmaking

I’ve been on a dress kick lately – not that I’ve been wearing any recently (too cold) but I have been thinking about it since last summer.

I bought the Oolong dress pattern from Colette – they are not wrong, their patterns are indeed beautifully printed. I found the shipping to be steep but only ordered one pattern. It pretty much double the price, so I wonder if 2 or 3 or even 4 patterns could have been shipped at that rate.

That being said, totally worth it, gorgeous patterns, well made, beautifully instructed. I really admired the total package.

Of course, I couldn’t just do it as written, I had to make adjustments.  I don’t necessarily mean fitting adjustments either. This pattern was for woven fabrics cut on the bias. I used a slink knit cut on the cross grain. In cases like this, that’s actually a similar substitution. The fabric was a cut length of 3 or 4 yards I picked up at Value Village (thrift store like Goodwill) for a whopping $3.99.

I do have a serger but it is over 20 years old and probably on its last legs. It has a really hard time handling slinky knits like this. I did one seam and felt like tossing it out the window. The rest of the seam I did on a regular sewing machine with a slight zig zag stitch, nothing fancy. On some seams I made sure to stretch the fabric a bit so the threads wouldn’t break when the fabric itself was stretched.

I cut a 14 because that is my size and the size according to the measurements. I generally make up a pattern without much fitting to give myself a standard to go buy because often it should mostly fit with little issue. I traced off the size I needed onto tissue paper, which was a fair amount of work. The size lines are actually quite close together on the pieces, so my usual method of “fold back and hope for the best” was to difficult in many places.

I did make a dress form last year, but I think the form is actually larger than I am by enough of a difference to matter. The last two things I’ve made are snug on the form and loose on me.

Same with this dress.

If I made it again in a knit, and if you are considering the same in a knit, go a size smaller if you like a snug fit.  This dress should be slightly fitted and in a knit it winds up a teensy bit loose. I would also eliminate the darts when using a knit, the fabric should compensate. The gathers at the bust and using a knit means you don’t have to do a FBA (full bust adjustment). At least I didn’t.

 

The other changes I made were sewing the front skirt to the bodice. I just did a straight seam and not topstitched as directed. I have a similar dress with a pint in the front and it is constructed the same way. It was easier to do it this way with the knit.

I also did not line the bodice, but went with a facing. I did stitch the seams to the facing but this was still not enough to keep the neckline facings in place. So I stitched around the neck about 3/4″ in. It looks nice and keeps the facing in place. I will probably trim off the excess. I’d like to see how the neckline would work when using fold over elastic (FOE) instead.

As for the length – I cut it as long as the pattern and I knew I’d have to lop off quite a bit. Dresses on me need to hit just below the knee to look right so this means cutting off a good 6″ even before hemming.

That;s the only step left to do, and I hope to get it done before we go to Denver in May. Yes, it might take me that long. I’m also considering making a lime green drapey knit cardigan to go with it.

I will probably make this dress again (considering how much the pattern costs, yeesh) and try a woven fabric next time, and make adjustments to the pattern  itself before cutting out. It’s a similar style to the dress I’m making in this post, just a different pattern and something that looks reasonably decent on me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 in crafty things

Sew for victory!

In an effort to jump start my blog a little, I decided to post my progress in Lucky Lucille’s Sew for Victory sew along.

Basically, I had a pattern already picked out from the 40’s and had the fabric on hand. I’ve been meaning to sew up this dress for a while now, and this was the perfect excuse!

The pattern is Simplicity … , which I bought at a yard sale a very long time ago. It was in a paper bag with maybe 6 other patterns. For a DOLLAR. I have made this pattern before, back in the late nineties. Then, I used a black knit with tiny white polka dots, picked the long sleeved version, and skipped the zipper insertion. It was a warm and comfortable presentable dress that was great for church and I got a lot of use out of it. It even held up to me teaching the nursery school kids there.

This time around, I had two fabric to choose from, both picked up at Value Village for $3.99 each piece. They are both either rayon/poly or poly/nylon.

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Definitely man made, and super slinky wovens with a nice drape. Polka dots again. It’s like I really love them or something and they look good on me. Go figure!

So I picked the 1930’s green – it’s perfect and cute! I am also doing the short sleeved option, not shown on the envelope.

You’ll note that since this is a vintage pattern, none of the pieces are printed. They are pre-cut for you, however. I do appreciate that. A quick press and I was pinning and cutting away.

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Now I have a nice stack of cut pieces waiting for me. Probably might not get to starting it till Sunday though.

 

Saturday, February 18, 2012 in crafty things

Still with the feathers

I am almost done Kaytlyn’s quilt. At least the quilting part. I ran out of yellow thread *again*. That’s two spools if you are counting, plus a spool each of pink, purple and orange that still have lots left, but I need the yellow for the back. This quilt is using a LOT of thread.

I read another tutorial from Diane Gaudynski, and I swear this is the one I was looking for before, but someone forgot I read it. This time I clicked. Diane Gaudynski “Echo Feather Plume”

Here’s what I did the other day.

This was the third block I did, nice and relaxed and happy with the results. I’m not quite done the quilting because as I said above, I ran out of thread! And my local quilt shop is moving so it has been closed for a few days.

Here’s a nice shot showing how the quilt will look when done.

I need to find where I put the rest of the hot pink fabric so I can use it for the binding. One more row of feathers to go and two more of loops.

And just so Kaytlyn is not the only person I am tormenting with quilting previews, I did some work on a wall hanging for my mom. Mom has picked out a panel to hang in her stairwell, and since I am now her quilter, this is my first project and she said to do whatever I liked.

If you think that looks good, wait till you see the front. ;) Some days I wish I had the whole day to quilt. So far, I have to keep stopping for one reason or another.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 in crafty things

More quilting progress and how to get out of a boo boo

So I’ve worked on Kaytlyn’s quilt a few more times, after I unpicked the last screw up and worked on something else instead. Here’s what that same block looks like now, all done properly.

I went swimmingly, until I flipped the quilt over and realized I made yet another boo boo. But this one was more recoverable and did not involved taking out stitches. It turns out if you are near the edge and don’t pay attention to the backing fabric, you get this:

It flips over and you wind up quilting it. Uh-oh. But then you just find your tiny scissors, turns on some bright lights, get comfy and snip the fabric off from around the stitching. Like this:

Any of those stray threads will wash right out. I always try and wash my quilts before I send them off. This way I know they will hold up for the user and if anything comes undone (it happens) then I have a chance to fix it.

I also figured out how to quilts the skinny blocks and thanks to some advice from Angela Walters, decided *not* to quilt the hot pink sashing. It looks SO much better leaving it unquilted. It really does help frame the blocks, don’t you think?

Here’s the back, where you can see the effect really well.

In the skinnier blocks I decided to do a loop-de-loo, or a bunch of Laverne L’s. Sometimes when doing these bits I hummed the Laverne and Shirley theme song because I am a dork like that.

Two more big rows to go! I have to draw out the feathers on these ones, since I’m doing them all in the same direction and they are basically upside down because of the way I have to feed it through my machine.

Friday, February 3, 2012 in crafty things

A goof up and a quick break

I had a migraine yesterday. It woke me up, that;s how it hurt. I think it was from sleeping hard in the same position for hours.

So I muddled through as best I could,and after the second round of strong tea and Advil, plus protein, it lessened enough I could move my head. I set aside my laptop (one can still do minimal support when one’s head is settled amongst pillows) and shuffled down the hall to go play with fabric.

Face it – I needed the break anyway. :D

I tried to quilt a bit and screwed up two feather blocks. Well, screwed up one and tried a different method on another. I’m not doing each block exactly the same, trying out a few different things every so often.

But the orange thread on the plain pink square? Upside down? Post-migraine?

Yeah. Not a good idea.

I did, however, take pictures for you to point and laugh at. Today I attacked it with a seam ripper.

Also shown: I did a small disappearing 9 patch baby quilt and laid out another, all from the same line of “Giddy” fabric. Nice and springy and Valentine’s in one.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 in crafty things

Feather quilting

Since I’ve finished up Meaghan’s quilt I moved on to Kaytlyn’s, getting it all layered and basted this weekend. I also had a chance to quilt three of the large blocks.

I had always planned to do big feather plumes in these blocks, as it just screamed at me to do so. Problem was when I started the quilt, I’d never done them. So I drew and I practised and I did some samples.

Today I actually dug out all the thread and took the plunge. I’m using yellow thread on the back and in some places on the front will be changing thread colors. This not only blends in better (to hide potential goofs :P ) it also helps me use up much of my half-empty spools of thread. OF which there are plenty.

I’ll do all the large blocks on this quilt first and yes – I am stopping and starting on each block, snipping the thread entirely and not stitching over to the next one. I also did not draw on most of the quilt top for a template. Some I just drew the spine, some blocks nothing at all. They will be almost entirely freehand.

I’ve also been picking up some tips from Diane Gaudynski and her upcoming free motion quilt along. The topic for February? Feather plumes! :D Mine don’t look near as nice as hers, but like she says – just keep on practising!

By the time I get to the last block, I should be pretty good. They are fun to do, if maddening in parts. I definitely like the look of going back and outlining the whole thing until the block fills. It definitely hides my turn backs.

I also chose poly batting because of the loft, and to see how my Bernina handles it. So far, I still don’t like working with it.