Friday, March 30, 2012

A couple more tops by Silhouettes patterns

A quick update with photos.

This first top is another one from the post a couple back that I did not include photos. This is from Silhouette patterns, # 450 Nancy's blouse. This is a fun TNT pattern of mine that I have made several times, I even made one for my sister a while back. I made this version out of a stash rayon that I have had forever. That small flower print is making a comeback so I figured I'd use it. The yolk I made of self fabric and just embellished with both top stitching and couching of several different green yarns. The tiny blue flowers coordinate well with the new blue linen pants I am working on.

This version I left out the vertical waist darts, as I am envisioning this as a summertime staple when it is hot and humid and wanted a looser drapier feel to it.

This second top is a new Silhouette pattern that I picked up at the sewing Expo last week. #500 tank top/pleated top. I have this same fabric cut out for another project and had enough leftover to try out this woven tank top. I am fairly pleased with it and it will make a cut summer top. I have already marked some changes for next time. Such as dropping the neckline and armhole. I made changes to the armhole so that I was well covered, I hate armhole gaposis on a tank top!! However, I need to increase the depth of the armhole just a little for my tastes. And I also increased the back side seams at the bottom for slightly more room at the top of my bumm.

I can envision this top in many different types of fabrics and even as a staple for under my suit jackets for work in the summertime. I am pleased with this wearable muslin/mock up. I did a contrast bias binding at the armhole and neckline that picked up a color from the print and did a rolled hem edge on this light printed cotton that I got from Mood.

(for some reason.... My dress form looks crooked! I was actually not holding the camera straight.... Oops!)

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The superhero t-shirt makeover

Finally had a few minutes to grab a couple pics of the t-shirt makeover I described in a couple posts back.

This was a unisex t-shirt with The Baroness. The Baroness is a character from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. The Baroness is a villain, usually associated with G.I. Joe's enemy, Cobra.

So, I took this villain ugly t-shirt and cut off the neckline and the sleeves and played a bit. I liked the red in the print on the front a played with that and used the same color for the serged edges along the neckline and sleeves. I left the neckline and armholes large because I liked the slouchy look with it being worn with a red tank top under.

Fun, fun shirt.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Sewing Expo Classes

I can't believe it is almost the end of March! Another month rolling on by.

Unfortunately I still have no pictures of my projects. Been too busy :) a good busy until today's crazy work busy kicked in.

I spent all day Thursday, Friday and half of Saturday at the Chicago Sewing and Quilt expo. This time I took a bunch of classes from 4 different sewing instructors/professionals. 2 of them I have used their patterns and have taken a couple classes in years past. Peggy Sagers from Silouhette Patterns and Cynthia Guffey. I really like both of these ladies and can identify strongly with their ideas and methods. Even though they can be very different in some ways.

I also took a class from Emma Seabrooke and Gail Yellen. I have not worked with them before and learned much from them.

Happily for me the Expo this year seems to have a larger selection of 3 hour hands on classes. I took four of these over the three days and found it very rewarding. I met new people, learned lots of new things, and got to try out new techniques.

The first class I took was given by Peggy Sagers and was an upper body fitting class. Where each f the 20 women tried on sample tops in variety of sizes, we stood up front and class did a fit critique and Peggy showed what she would do for a correct fit and then we translated that information into a flat pattern. Of the 20 or so women only 1 was an even size throughout her entire pattern. Most of us were a mix of sizes in different areas. It really helped hone in the eye to repeat the process across so many different body types.

The second class was a technique class on how to stabilize different types of knits with different types of stay tapes. We each had our own sewing machine and went through about a dozen samples of different knit types and hems and necklines and where you use a knit stay tape versus a woven and how to work with stretch lace versus jersey, etc... Excellent info! This class was by Emma Seabrooke.

The third was by Cynthia Guffey and it was a collection of different types of seam treatments. Again we each worked on our on sewing machine (by the way , the machines were supplied by the different vendors) these I will have to take a picture of when I get home because they were so beautiful and really not that hard to do. Things like butt seams, which makes like a giant standing pin tuck along the seam, bias inset seams, wrapped seams, and others.

The last hands on class I took was a cover stitch workshop given by Gail Yellen. I was particularly happy about this class because we were supplied with a room full of Evolution Sergers. Each of us got to work on our own machine, this is the machine I have at home. :) since I have not done anything nut some playing around with my cover lock feature this was an excellent class. We walked away with a bag full of samples and some nice jeans thread, I now feel much more comfortable with my cover lock and just exactly what I do with it and how.

And as you can imagine, spending three days at a sewing expo broke my budget, I left with patterns, fabric, notions, dvd's, new feet for my Symphony and Evolution and I splurged on a starter kit for using pain sticks on fabric. I have been wanting them for several years now.... More things for me to play with!! Now to win the giant lottery so I can stay home and just play in my sewing studio! One can wish!

Here is a parting shot of what I worked on while on my flight today. A little bit of English Paper Piecing, sewing that is all done by hand and very portable.

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Location:Downtown Toronto,Canada

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Busy busy day in the sewing room

My husband worked all day today, he normally does not work on the weekends. I was bummed about it especially since I traveled most of last week and leave again tomorrow!

I did my best to make the m out of it and spent a solid 8 hours in my sewing room, maybe a little bit more. I really needed it! We have this trip to Jamaica coming up quite quickly and I have very little budget to buy new clothes. I am reserving that money for a new bathing suit, I have yet to dive into the territory of making bathing suits. Someday, but not this day!

I am in need of summer/tropical vacation clothes! Today I feel I made good progress.

I finished the ruffle shirt, ended up making the sleeves and then removing them, they looked more like linebacker shoulder pads or some weird such thing. Off they came, honestly I am not so sure how I feel about this shirt. It fits nice and the ruffles give it some interest but the base fabric is just sooooooo.... Outdated, juvenile, country, something. Well, I can be sure that no one else will be walking around in that shirt!

I did a re-fashion non a t-shirt that my husband gave me. He loves to get me cool t- shirts but they need help. I only wear t-shirts when I am exercising or cleaning the house! This one I removed the sleeves, cut off the neckline and made a wide scoop neck. I serged the neckline and the armhole in a contrasting color that was in the print on the front of the shirt, made a little rosette with some leftover fabric from one of the sleeves and added an iron on to the back. cute!! Looks great layered with a tank top.

I made another pair of Peggy Sagers yoga pants. This time as a pair of capris. The fabric was a 4 way stretch woven that i purchased a while ago to make riding breeches. Since I am not riding anymore I decided to use them for this pattern. The fabric is an expensive one that have wonderful qualities and made a super pair of pull-on Capri pants that certainly don't look pull-on!

I cut out another pair of capri pants out of blue linen that I have washed multiple times to get it nice and soft. This pattern is another Peggy Sagers pattern, the Capri Pant, and has a front zip. I eliminated the front pockets and plan on adding a single patch pocket to the left leg and adding a drawstring to the waist and not sewing any darts. For years I had a great pair of linen beach pants and when I broke my leg I cut one leg off to wear with my cast. Now I am on a mission to recreate them. These are all cut out and ready to be sewn.

I also readied a shirt pattern that I want to make from some light weight cotton that I picked up at Mood last Christmas. The pattern is cut, the fabric is washed and dried and I just need to cut the fabric and see it up.

So, as you can see a busy and successful day in my sewing room!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Serger Club and a little of this and that

Updating my blog as I sit at my gate waiting for my flight. This is going to be a very busy workweek, so I figured I'd make good use of my time.

A couple weeks ago I joined 'serger club' at Linda Z's shop where I bought both my Babylock Symphony and Evolution. It meets the second Monday of every month and you can go during the day or in the evening. The day of the week and the choice of times works perfect for my crazy work schedule. As a rule, I try to not travel on Monday's.

I figured that since I now am the owner of the best serger on the market, as well as the easiest to use, I could use some inspiration. The club is run in a 2 hour format with a break in the middle. The first hour is a project. The instructor is up front on an evolution and she does a project from start to end along with a handout. They also have a very large screen TV over her with a video camera close up on the serger so you can really see what she is doing. Yesterday's project was an ironing board cover.

Then a 15 min break for chatting and shopping. Then back for another hour that consists of show and tell. And then some technique work and Q&A session. I think one of my favorite parts was the show and tell! It was fun to see what everyone else was working on and things that they have done as well as get brainstorming ideas from others. I liked it!

I also learned that every other month they have a specialty class for using specialty feet on the Evolution. For Evolution owners only. I signed up for the one in May and July. I have about 8 feet with my serger and have only ever used 2. This class is a technique only class and I like that very much. I'm not much for doing hands on project classes, I like to do things on my own.

Speaking of doing things on my own.... Here is a picture of my works in progress sitting on my dress form at home. Having fun!

I have also finally cut out a bunch of hexagon pieces for my English paper piecing project. I am calling this my traveling project since it is done entirely by hand. A great way for me to bring a project along with me while I travel for work. It will be interesting to see what I have done by the time I get home on Friday.

Last but not least... I am going to miss the premier of Fashion Star on NBC! I'll be I an airplane. Booh. Hopefully I will be able to watch it online tomorrow.

Is anyone else planning on watching?

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Location:Chicago O'Hare airport

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Couture Dress: Part 2

Now that I have my dress form perfected, I have been able to make some progress on my Couture Dress class.

The muslin has been fitted and adjusted and then refitted to make sure I liked the adjustments.

A couple of basic adjustments that I made.
Took in about an inch at each side seam above the waist, raised the armhole by 1/2 inch, added a 1/2 inch to the side seams just below the waist. Those a pretty basic adjustments that I was not surprised to make.

The adjustment that I was surprised about making was that I needed to lengthen the front bodice a full inch and tapered to nothing added at the side seams. The dress has a bias pieced band that runs just above the waist around the body. Before I made the adjustment this band was pulled upward in the front and just looked funny. Once I made the adjustment I was able to get the entire band to run perpendicular to the floor as it should.

After perfecting the fit and transferring all the information on to the muslin, I took the muslin apart and used it at the pattern to cut out the interlining. I. Used a fine 100% white cotton for my interlining. This step is exactly like the first step where you cut out the fabric and use a tracing wheel to transfer all the information onto the interlining. I used red waxed tracing for the seam lines and any markings within the seam allowances for any areas that needed to marked in the main body of the fabric I used a light yellow. The yellow does not show through the fashion fabric but the red did.

I must comment here that this process is both slightly tedious as it seems to take me about 55mins for each and every step! However, I also find it quite liberating since by the time I get to cutting into the fashion fabric I feel comfortable with the pattern and no worries about cutting into an expensive piece of fabric. I have also found that while working with the muslin and interlining that I keep in my mind my fashion fabric and how I want to best make use of it.

At this point I have spent aprox 7 hours on this dress, i have made and adjusted the fit of my muslin, deconstructed the muslin and cut out the interlining, transferred all the sewing lines and marks to the interlining. Doesn't sound like a lot of work for 7 hours!!

Next step is to cut out my fashion fabric and hand baste the interlining and fashion fabrics together.

In the mean time... I have been playing with another project. This one is a fun top that I have had cutout for at least 2 years. I have NO idea why I cut a top out of this particular fabric... But I did. So, my challenge to myself was to finish the top in such a way to make it fashionable and fun to wear regardless of the base fabric. Pictures to come!!

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Location:,Lisle,United States

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Dress Form

Ok, so as I said in my last post, I had to postpone work on my Craftsy Couture Dress due to the lack of a dress form.
When I moved into my new sewing studio I made the decision to pass my dress form onto the Goodwill in hopes that some young new sewer could make use of it. There were a couple things wrong with it that no longer made it useful to me. The biggest was the size, I was always at the upper end of the size range and unfortunately after breaking my leg I could no longer use the form effectively. I basically was just using it to 'hang' my projects on.

When I moved into my new studio, I was really wanting to get a professional dress form made for me. However I thought long and hard and decided against it for a couple of reasons. One, I am losing weight and have a substantial bit to lose not just 10 pounds but more like 50. Ugh... Second reason, they are very expensive for my budget.

I still want a professional dress form! But, in the meantime while I wait for my weight to stabilize I decided to go with a hybrid of sorts that will allow me to get a great usable and adjustable dress form for the interim. After much thought and tons of investigation this is what I came up with.

My criteria:
Customizable to look like me
Adjustable as I lose weight
Pinable for draping, etc..

My Solution:
A Dritz My Double Deluxe Dressform from JoAnns that I got for $100 of the price.
Fabulous Fit, fitting system that I also got on sale.

How did it meet my criteria?
I'll work backwards on the list since that is how I basically made the Dressform into me.

First thing I did was adjust the basic adjustable setting on the dress form for about 3 sizes smaller than me, wrapped her in 2 layers of thin poly batting to make her surface pinable everywhere. I then spent a while with some help getting accurate measurements of myself, Fabulous Fit comes with a great measurement chart so that was helpful. After that I slowly added the first cover and the majority of the fit pads to the form. Honestly this took several hours to do. I was being very picky!
I then added the second Fabulous Fit cover, with the princess seams, along with a couple extra padded areas to make it really look just like me. I tried to think ahead and make these the areas that I think will be the first to leave my body as I lose weight.
My Dressform now looks quite like me.

The covers are quite snug so they did a great job of compressing the batting for my pinning surface.

I met all of my criteria quite nicely, I wish it had a little more weight to the base for stability. I may add an old plate weight that my husband has in the garage to the base. I actually think it will fit through the pole at the bottom quite nicely.

I really like having this Dressform to work off of since I do not have a sewing/fitting buddy.
What I really don't like.... Seeing me with no clothes on standing there. Yikes! I'm hoping it gives me extra motivation to keep losing weight!! I'd put up a picture... But, I'm honestly am a little self conscious about it. Here is one with a dress on it which hides my lumps quite well!

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Location:Maple Ave,Lisle,United States

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Serged Evolution Serger Cover

I had to put a temporary hold on my work on the couture dress. More on that latter. In the mean time, since buying my evolution I have been wanting to make a new cover for it. The limp vinyl cover that came with it was just ugly and IMHO inadequate.

So this week I made a new cover for my new baby.

It is made almost completely on the serger itself, the only part that i did on my sewing machine was the handle area.

I used 1 1/2 Moda Zanzibar charm packs, all pieced on the serger using a 4 thread overlock. I then added a thin iron basted batting and a music note fabric as the lining. I then had some fun! I used added decorative chain stitching to quilt the layers together and added the cutout for the handle. After this was done I added piping to the corners using my cording and piping foot. (also something I have never done using a serger!)

To finish it off I serged the bottom hem with a wide 3 thread overlock with decorative pink thread in the upper looper.

Now my Evolution is sporting some kick ass new threads to keep her cozy and safe from dust!

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Location:Lisle,United States