Monday, February 20, 2012

The Couture Dress: Part 1

Last Monday I signed up for the Craftsy .com class the Couture Dress, taught by Susan Khalje. The class was on half price sale and I have been wanting to take a class or seminar with Susan for a very long time now. I just haven't been able to make the finances plus the time away work out.

When I first saw the class on Craftsy I was skeptical. Honestly speaking I wasn't sure that spending about 150$ on what I thought was a video recording was worth it. I signed up for one of The Craftsy free classes and did a search on the blogs of others that have taken the classes. Between the reviews and my experience with the free class and the half price sale I decided to go for it.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I am so glad that I did! I am really enjoying it.

I have my sewing studio set up with my large screen laptop sitting at an easily viewable spot from anywhere in the studio. I payed for my class, ordered my Vogue pattern at checkout and while I was working on other projects last week I started watching/listening to the first couple of classes.

My Vogue pattern arrived by Friday and I spent several hours yesterday working on my Class project.

Here is my progress so far:

Vogue 8648 view D

Fabric: White printed linen (the one I bought in Syracuse, NY)

Preparing pattern: 55 mins (adding stitching lines, extending and/or correcting grain lines)
changes made to pattern: changed bodice side back and bodice side front to straight of grain. Pieces 2 and 4

Pinning and cutting muslin: 55 mins
This took slightly longer than it should, I realized after pressing and pinning the entire length of muslin that my skirt pieces were to large to be cut on the folded muslin and needed to be opened and re-pinned with the fabric opened.

Transferring marks to muslin: 1 hour

My thoughts so far:
I have always had an interest in working with couture methods and making items that fit me and fit me very well. Several things that came to mind immediately was that using this process the pattern is 'saved', meaning I can use it over and over as I change shape (meaning hopefully lose weight!) and I can also use it for other people and if I hate the pattern I can always pass it on to someone else who wants it.
I realized that it also allows me to easily sew a beautiful fitted garment for someone else.

Marking only the stitching lines was very much an Aha moment for me as well as only having to take minimal measurements.

I'm excited to work on the process!

One last thought... I'm not sure that I would use this process on every garment that I sew, specifically some knit 'easy fit' garments and my favorite TNT patterns. Anything that I think I need to make a muslin for would definitely benefit. (thinking of the red wool coat I just made)

I'm also working on getting my dress form into a perfect body double.... More on that soon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Baby Gift... Washcloths and bath blanket

A coworker of mine is expecting his first baby! Always an exciting time in ones life. I knew that I wanted to make something for the little guy that's on his way but I was not sure what.

My stash was housing a bunch of Winnie the Pooh fabric and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to use up some of my Pooh bear stash. I had originally thought of making a quilt, I laid the fabric out for a couple of days, played with some ideas. However, no inspiration was forthcoming. Nothing, nada, zilch, I could muster no will or inspiration to work on a quilt.

However, I kept having images of bath time stuck in my head. Perhaps because when my daughter was a wee little one bath time was my favorite time. So, I decided to just go with it.

I bought some blue 100% cotton terry and made a multipurpose bath time, pool time, beach time blankie. One side is terry cloth with a little hoodie corner and the other side is my favorite of the Pooh Bear fabrics. I did some free motion quilting to hold it all together along with a nice edge stitch to keep it looking neat. I also decided to make several wash cloths to go along. These I served the terry cloth and the cottons together with some blue wooly nylon and a 3 thread wide overlock. I also did a little bit of free motion quilting to hold them together.

After finishing I washed everything in a little bit of Woollite and dried them on low just to make sure the served edges of the washcloths were going to hold up, as well as to make sure it was all clean for the new baby.

A fun, inspired and fairly quick sewing project! The only thing I am a bit bummed about is that on the big piece of terry cloth you can see a fairly large whitish area where it seems the blue dye did not take during manufacturing. Of course I did not even notice until I was just about finished with the project! Not sure how I missed that one...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:,Lisle,United States

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A kitchen project for my husband

One of the interesting outcomes of my broken leg was that my husband has taken over the kitchen! I am not complaining, at all. I don't mind cooking but for the most part it is just something that needs to be done. My husband really took to cooking and baking for real when I broke my leg almost 2 years ago. He makes amazing dishes

So, the kitchen has become his domain.

We have a set of wire mesh drawers in the kitchen and it was just bugging my husband that you could see right through them to the contents inside.

He picked out a home dec fabric that matches the colors of the floor tiles with some red to pick up the red accents in the kitchen.

I used the home dec fabric and interfaced it with a fusible heavy weight stabilizer, worked off a paper pattern I made from the drawer fronts. The biggest challenge was in how to attach them to the wire drawers in a way that did not look sloppy or home made. After a bit of thought I made a mock up with a size 0 hook from a package of hooks and eyes. It worked great.

I hand sewed on two hooks to the upper part of each drawer front liner and squeezed them closed with a pair of pliers.

Final outcome: my hubby was very, very happy so I call it a success!

Not the most exciting project to work on but well worth making the hubby happy!

Tonight I'm off to m y Babylock dealer for my first class on my Evolution. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

Valentines day is always fun, I loved when my daughter was young and she had to make Valentines for her classmates. We used to decorate our home with hearts and have fun.

Now that she is on the cusp of turning 24 there is no more childlike fun. However, we do still celebrate. After all it is a day to celebrate love!

This year I made 2 little canvas Valentines. One for my hubby and one for my daughter. I put them on the dinner table.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Main St,Lisle,United States

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fabric Wall Art

We are in the finishing phases of a redoing our master bath and I needed something for the walls. An idea jumped out at me from the cover of the February 2012 Making Magazine. It was so simple yet striking. Old embroidery hoops with fabric in them. Yup that's it, so simple yet so inviting and modern and chic.

It just so happened that I had some extra embroidery hoops and even if I didn't they only cost about $1.29 full price. I also happened to have the fabric that we picked out and purchased for use in the bathroom for basket liners that we ended up deciding not to use. My hubby and I both really liked the fabric so decided what a fun way to still use it and showcase parts of the print we really liked, plus such an inexpensive project.

The bathroom is painted white and gray with accents of black. I love it! The toilet sits in a little alcove and over it are hung some glass shelves with lotions and perfumes and hair necessities. The 2 walls on either side are just these big blank gray spaces that need filling. This project took care of one of the walls. Due to the placement it really is not very conducive to getting a good picture! I did my best but it really doesn't seem to do it justice. At least you will get the idea.

This last picture is of the corner on the other side of the bathroom. We found these little shelves at Home Depot that really add a nice touch staggers up the small wall space. I really want to make a tiny soft sculptured bird to add to the little birdhouse.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Maple Ave,Lisle,United States

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Simplicity 0570 in maroon/cream wool double cloth

I love finishing a project. I'm calling this my Evolution Serger Coat.

I wanted to make a new coat and I wanted to play with my new serger and I wanted to push my comfort zone in my sewing skills. I noticed when I moved my sewing rooms to my new sewing studio that some of my favorite fabrics have not been used because I am a little scared of cutting into them. Not sure why.... Except for ruining beautiful pieces of fabric.

Back on track... Simplicity 0570
This pattern has several different versions and states that it is made for fleece. I went with a wool double cloth.
Due to my fabric choice I eliminated all facings and interfacing. I made some slight design changes in the collar.

I really like 95% of this coat... The only part that I am a little iffy on is how I attached the collar. But I think it will grow on me.

The Evolution portion of this project is seen in the seams, the were all done with flat locking that finished the reversed side beautifully. I was really happy with how it turned out. I finished all the edges with a 3 thread serged overlock stitch, I also used this stitch for attaching the collar. On the collar edge I used one of the Evolutions specialty stitches, the wave stitch. My new serger is amazingly awesome! It is so easy to thread and to switch between stitches.

I made a muslin out of stash fabric that I kept for that purpose. I only pinned in the zippers. I made a couple of fitting adjustments at the waist. I tried the muslin on with a thick sweater and also with a suit jacket to make sure that the fit through the shoulders and the arms was comfortable. I wanted to make sure I could wear this with warm clothes on underneath. I picked the size by finished measurements, I like this fit but I think the sleeves are overly roomy. In the picture I just had on a t-shirt, when worn with more clothes the wrinkles on the arms from the extra fabric were filled out and not so noticeable.

I like the zipper details on the sleeves and the front opening, makes it fun and a little different.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Traveling in Syracuse and a sneak peek

I left home this morning for a work trip up to Syracuse, NY. Normally a trip to central New York at this time of the year is to be avoided due to frightful, nasty winter weather. This winter the weather is so strangely mild. I did not even have to pack my snow boots and parka!

I landed here to find that my afternoon appointment had canceled and needed to kill a couple hours. So to my trusty map app on my iPad and looked up fabric and quilt shops.

I found two promising stores: Feminine Touch Fabrics and Calico Gals. Both were on my way towards my next stop and my hotel. Lucky me.

The first stop, Feminine Touch Fabrics, a small independent fashion fabric store that was filled with an interesting array of fashion fabrics, trims, and an area of home dec fabric. It was not a big store but they had a very interesting assortment of fabrics at excellent prices. They lady working, Amber, was very nice!
I purchased a very summery printed 100% linen for 6$ a yard. Will make a great summer dress!

I would go back to this store. Even though there was not a large selection they had some very interesting items. A hit or miss that is worth stoping into. I just would not go after dark.... Did not seem like the best area to me.

The second shop I stopped at, Calico Girls, was a nice quilt shop. But not very memorable for a traveler. They had a nice but normal selection of quilt fabrics and a nice layout and selection of BabyLock and Bernina machines.
Of course I had to buy something! I have been wanting to make covers for my machines but have not been inspired by anything that I had in my stash.

They did have a nice selection of Moda precuts and I bought 2 charm packs of the Zanzibar skins. Those will be fun to work with! The lady at the checkout was quite nice and chatty, we found out that we both own Symphony's and spent a few minutes chatting about our favorite features. That was fun.

My latest project sitting at home on my work table has left me in love with my new Evolution serger! Here is a sneak peek...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:East Syracuse,United States

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Craftsy online classes

Just a quick question...

Has anyone out there taken any of the Craftsy online classes?

If so do you recommend? Or have any other feedback?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad