Thursday, July 31, 2008

Check it out.

Yeah, baby! This was a wonderful evening when I tried on my dress muslin. I just had to pin out a smidge of extra at the top edge in the back with the princess seams.

I transferred 2" of extra fabric (upper edge gape) to the side seam as a horizontal bust dart, among the other alterations I listed in my previous post today. I tried it on and was thrilled with the alterations made on the tissue and whipped up with this muslin.

Tomorrow I'll tweak the back princess seams in tissue on the back bodice, draft a partial lining, and get right to work. Just can't wait to wear this dress next week!

Here are the muslin previews. It does look better on me I think. My bust is filling out the dress better than my dress form and I didn't clip my curves, nor press anything.

Moving right along.

Last night I worked on my dress. I moved the vertical fisheye dart over toward my bust apex. Traced off the back, pinned my darts and pinned the tissue on Phat Chick. Everything is looking pretty good.

At this point, I'm going to do a 1/2" petite adjustment above the waist and a 1/4" swayback tuck above the waist in the back. Also need to redraw the dart bump out at the top edge of the front dress bodice. I'll add 2" of length to the dress and those alterations should do it for me.

I'll go right to the muslin and see how everything is working. Maybe I'll even cut out another summer top today. Last night I was checking embellishments at Sue's Sparklers. The crystals that I was planning on using are simply way too expensive for a trendy summer top, but maybe the nailheads will work. Still mulling over the options for my summer top neckband at this point.

It's early in the day, have lots to do, but I think there's enough time for at least finishing alterations and cutting a muslin. Anything else is just a bonus at this point.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

By golly, I think I've got it.

My brain was muddled this morning when I posted about my Butterick dress. Tonight I was tracing off the back piece and thought, "Duh! Just move the dart to match my bust apex!!!" So that's what I did and now my tissue dress is pinned to my dressform cover. I'm hoping to make a quick and dirty muslin of it tomorrow.

Alterations, alterations, and more alterations!

Last night I had a block of time and had the patterns from the last two tops I made sitting on my ironing board. Before putting them away, I tweaked the patterns with alterations here and there and then put them away. This way, I can just pull them out, cut, and sew--the way it was meant to be ;) ! The knit top with gathers and circular neckline will be made again in a week or two so that has to be ready.

In the meantime, I'm working on Butterick 4183, the green dress version:

I've made this dress before. This dress, along with several strapless dress I've made over the years has high bust gape. Everything fits just about perfect in a 14 (full bust/waist/hip), but the high bust area is way too big. On my first version of this dress, I could pinch out an inch (1/2" dart) on both front/sides.

My sister (who can sews/pattern design/drape) said to remove the excess from the princess seams in the front. I tried that. Just doesn't work. It gives that "Madonna look" and makes my boobs look cone-shaped and comin'-at-ya kind of look. Taking in the side seams does NOT work. I don't need anything removed from the back. Doing this gives me lots of pulls on the back side seam, a little on the front too, with a nice poofy area where I'm changing the seamline on the side seam. So...that method doesn't work well either.

What does work well is if I pinch out the excess, right at the side front on the top edge. A few years ago, my sister said, "Just transfer the excess to a horizontal bust dart." At the time, that boggled my mind. It doesn't boggle it anymore though, since I've gotten much better at alterations.

Last night I altered the front of the pattern, cutting off the dress front below the waist (temporarily) so it is easier to maneuver/alter. I removed the excess (1" which will be 2" total across the entire front edge) and transferred it to horizontal bust dart shown below:

I did notice something that I don't understand. I'm not a fitting guru, but I do know that bust darts aren't supposed to be more than 1" outside the bust circle. The pattern's bust apex is marked with a circled cross. My apex is farther over to the left marked with a dot. You can see where my darts end up/my bust apex, and it's farther away from the pattern's apex.

So here's my question. Why are the pattern darts (the one at the top edge continuing into a long fisheye) so far away from the pattern's bust apex? It appears to be almost 2"!!! My brain is having a hard time trying to comprehend this pattern issue.

However, I'm not coming unglued about this. It is what is. I'll make it up and it should fit fine. No worries really, just comprehension issues for me.

Getting that off my back, now I'm ready to start my day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Pattern's Redesign

Here's the pattern photo with the original style. Robin asked what pattern it was so here it is:

Here's my current version/interpretation of this pattern--look Ma, no neck gape :) !

Here is how I wore it out today. DD#1 said absolutely nothing about the top. Do you know what that means??? She approves! She even commented, "Mom, you need different shoes with that top. Some pretty sandals..." I agree. Shoes, like coordinating fabric, is not my strength.

I've made this top three times before, alterating and redesigning as I go, but my current version shown below is has been more of a major redesign of the pattern. My previous pattern reviews of this pattern include my alterations, but this one has minor tweaks. I did an addition 1/4" (1/2" total) broad back alteration on the upper back piece and back midriff band.

The first version I made from this was in silk dupioni. It was a tad snug in the back but still wearable. My second and third versions didn't matter because I used a stretch knit. My current version is made from a non-stretch woven so I wanted a smidge more back room on the midriff and upper back pieces.

My major redesign was to remove the CF seam on the upper front pieces, make a deep scoop neck instead of a V, remove about 3/8" of possible front neck gape using Method 1 from my Tutorial for Removing Neck Gape from yesterday's post, change the shoulder darts to princess seams on the upper back piece, make the midriff band even more narrow than the previous three versions (I'm short waisted and don't think I can handle the super thick midriff band that the pattern shows), and add front gathers on the front and back skirt portions of the bodice. Only gathers from the bust apex inward to the CF on the skirt portion with no gathering on the sides. Keeping the gathers in a specific area allows for a more stream-lined profile from the front and back without adding extra width at the sides IMO.

Here's the redesigned front and midriff band. I ended up scooping out more on the neck, maybe a bit too much LOL. It didn't look too low on my dressform but the scoop is now more on the daring side ;) . I think I forgot about seam allowances when I marked the neckline. The horizontal line on the front midriff is where I took out even more additional width than the previous tops made from this pattern. The front was cut on the fold for this top, too, unlike the v-neck pattern front.

Here are the back pieces. I added a 1/4" Broad Back Adjustment, then made princess seams. Actually the princess seam below the shoulder dart is simply a style line.

Here are the front and back skirt pieces of the bodice. I slashed and spread the upper portion in three places to add gathering. I also added some length at the bottom to play around with my hemline length. It was unnecessary and removed anyway.

That completes summer top no. 3. The bodice and midriff band was interfaced and underlined with self fabric. I didn't line it as per the pattern because if side seam tweaking was necesarry with this fabric, it would have been a seamripping nightmare. In retrospect, no side seam adjusting was needed.

The armhole and neckband was finished with a self fabric bias binding folded over to the inside. One little, relatively minor issue arose while making this top that I'll include in my review, which will be done in the next few days.

On to my fourth summer project--that Butterick dress. The old noodle will be a hummin' with a necessary alteration for it tonight. Maybe I'll post about that tomorrow.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My WIP is a WIP no more!

I finished my floral top and very happy with it! I redesigned it from the original pattern and plan on posting pics tomorrow. Stay tuned...

Fitting Tutorial: Removing Neck Gape

One of the problems I face with many patterns is neck gape on commercial patterns. It can be on the front, on the back, or even both. Some people might ask, "Well did you choose your pattern by your high bust measurement?" Yes, I did. My high bust measurement is about 34" which is a size 12 Big 4 pattern (McCall's, Butterick, Simplicity, and Vogue). My front width measurement also corresponds to a size 12 as per Nancy Ziemen's recommendation for pattern size in her book Fitting Finesse.

So why do I get neck gape? I think it's because of my narrow shoulders and hollow chest, paired with my full C-cup bust. A logical solution for many people is simply to drop down a pattern size and perform an FBA (full bust adjustment) and adjustments further down. For some reason, there is a negative association with altering the neck and shoulders, and IMO, it really is one of the easiest places to alter a pattern with many styles. It's simply the way I prefer to alter patterns for my figure, although it seems contrary to what most will recommend.

Therefore, when I buy sewing patterns, even though I use the correct size for my figure, I often end up with neck gape. This is quite an annoying problem, yet such an easy and simple fix.

I am going to show you two (I have three total however) methods today that I use to remove neck gape on patterns. The first is VERY simple, the second is a little more work, but targets the exact area. I don't use one exclusively, it really depends on the pattern and how much gape needs to be removed. If it is small amount and depending on the pattern style, I use the No. 1. If the amount to be removed is more than a 1/2", I use the second method.

The two methods are:

1. Shifting the pattern's center front

2. Dart and Tranfer



Here is a miniature sample of a pattern front with the bust apex marked as a dot. The pink construction paper is the "pseudo" fabric. The pattern's center front (CF) is placed on the fold.

Let's say I have a small amount of neck gape that I want to remove, not more than a 1/2". What I'm going to do is shift the top, CF of the pattern over to the right, off the fabric fold a 1/4". Yes, I did say a 1/4". Remember, this is only half the pattern. A 1/4" will actually be a 1/2" removed from the entire front neckline. The 1/4" shifted over to the right is illustrated in the picture below. Notice the fold of fabric under the pattern is marked with a broken line.

That broken line will now become the new CF. I will mark a new grainline marking and cut off the excess as shown below. This will complete Method 1, and very easy method to remove neck gape.



This method is a more precise method, targeting the exact area of the neck gape when it is more than a 1/2", and transferring that excess somewhere else. That "somewhere else" in my sample below is a bust dart, although it could be rotated anywhere on the bulging block (anywhere around the bust apex).

First, here is a picture of my sample pattern front:

Next, I draw two lines: one from the area of the neck gape to the bust apex, and one from the side seam to the bust apex as shown below.

After drawing these two lines, I cut them with a scissors *almost* to the bust apex, leaving a hinge of the pattern right at the bust apex. In the picture below, notice how I am lifting the upper piece that has been slashed on both lines. It doesn't lift up completely because of the "hinge" at the bust apex.

Now I will slide the lifted piece over to the right, let's say 5/8" inch for this example. This will remove a total of 1 1/4" of neck gape. Yeah, that would be a lot. But it happens sometimes. Notice in the picture below, when I shift top of the pattern over to the right to remove the gape, a new dart forms at the bust. OR...if you have an existing bust dart, it will make your existing dart bigger. The broken line represents the amount that is removed.

Next, I will true the neckline and fill in the new bust dart with tissue as shown below.

That completes Method 2.

Both are different methods that basically accomplish the same thing--removing that annoying gape. This method can also be used on the back bodice as well. I usually remove back neck gape and transfer it to a shoulder dart or convert it to a princess seam by transferring the neck gape excess to both a waist and shoulder dart combo.

Hope this helps in your quest to remove neck gape :) !

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Current Garment WIP

Here's my latest WIP. I started working on it yesterday and worked a little on it today.

Still trying to decide if I should use a zip in the back. The pattern calls for one because it is actually close fitting, but my design changes w/gathering added a little room. The neckline needs to be lower by at least an inch and my one side seam is just pinned at this point.

I'm going to use self-fabric bias strips to finish the armhole and neckline--there is a reason for this. More details in the construction are forthcoming

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Story of Simplicity 3799

Yesterday I whipped up Simplicity 3799 from my post a couple of days ago. As with any pattern, there is always a story of design changes and alterations that go along with it.

First off, I tend to dislike patterns that are sized XXS, XS, S, and M. I'd much rather work with the standard pattern number sizes, but oh well. This style tunic REALLY appealed to me. It has that trendy look that is so popular now. The only thing I disliked was the neckband. It was, IMO, too narrow. I've seen lots of tops in this style and the neckband is usually wider and more distinctive. That's what I wanted.

Another thing, this pattern is designed for wovens and I'm using a knit. No problem. I rarely size down and didn't for this pattern either. A size XS (6-8) I'm definitely not! So I decided to make a muslin. There is a lot of muslin knit fabric in my stash with very little stretch, maybe 10%, so the knit really acts more like a woven. Even before I made the muslin, I did a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment on the neckband doing a simple fix--cut off the 1/2" on the front neckband and add it to the back. Normally, this is not the way I would do a FS adjustment, but thought it would work like a charm on this neckband and it did.

Now, the muslin. Here it is with a couple of things I noticed. Slight pulling of extra gathers (where there aren't supposed to be gathers) due to my full bust and a little pulling on the back. Notice the side seam is pulling a little in the front too. The arrows show my problem areas.

I thought the good quality knit I was using would take care of these issues, but since I'll probably make this up on a woven eventually, I decided to do my pattern alterations now, regardless of whether I'm using a knit or woven. It will save me time--the pattern is out, already pressed, etc.

First off, make the neckband wider by a 1/2" I did this by extending the top edge inward as shown in the following pic. You can also see where I added/subtracted the 1/2" for the forward shoulder on the front and back neckband pieces too.

Next alteration--the FBA. Just a 1/2" will do the trick for my C-cup boobs. I was thinking about using pivot/slide, but the traditional FFRP FBA won out. I cut the pattern in half at the waist. Why? Because I don't need the extra width below the waist. I marked my bust apex, sliced and diced, made a horizontal bust dart, then closed it up and transfered it in three areas to add more bust gathers as per the style of the pattern. In the first pic, you can easily see the three slices for the new gathers before I added tissue to fill this area in.

Then I reconnected the top and bottom half of the pattern pieces and drew the side seam to match the original side seam at the waist. After taking this pic, I cut off the excess.

Next up, my Broad Back Adjustment for the upper back only. I'm small in the lower back and don't need any extra width in this area. A 1/2" will do it here too. I use an L-slash method to add the width as shown in the next pic. I blend the side seams as per my preference.

Then finally, I added 1" to the bottom hem for a little extra "playing around" with the hemline length. It was taken out anyway, but it was extra insurance. My widest point is not my hipline but my upper thigh so I like to work my hemline in to what I think is the most flattering length for me. Here I'm showing just the front pattern piece for the added 1" length at the hemline:

Okay. So now the alterations are done! The finished garment is below. Note--the top is not bra friendly! The IBTC can go bra-less, but the full busted gals like me must wear a strapless bra or other suitable boob holding devices.


Back (I really have to start working on pants again. These RTW jeans look awful on that back view and I'm very self conscious about it.)

Here's a closeup:

The next time I make this top, I will use a solid color knit and make the neckband even a smidge wider for embellishing. I want the neckband in a solid to be the focal point of the top. However, I will need to slash/overlap maybe a 1/4" or 3/8" at the CF and CB of the neckband. Making it any wider and putting it on my hollow chest will make it gape.

And that's the story behind Simplicity 3799. Off to do a review of this pattern on Patternreview right now.


Yesterday I finished my alterations for Simplicity 3799 in the morning. A change in my schedule gave me enough time to do the alterations and whip up the top. I love it and am wearing it today. I'll post later of my alterations and pics of my finished top.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Alterations and Muslins

I always seem to forget that maybe someone out there in cyberland might be interested in the alteration process I use to obtain a decent fit. Or maybe how I implement my design changes on patterns. I always like to see alterations, design changees, and reasons and rationale behind doing them on other blogs. Cenetta is always very good about doing that, and there is always something to learn from posts like hers.

Today I will try to go back and take pictures with explanations of what I've done on two of my patterns thus far. I've worked on revamping my duro top for an updated 2008 look as well as my Simplicity top with the circular neckband and neckline gathers. I made a quick muslin last night of circular neckband top and have finally decided this morning to do a 1/2" FBA on the front and a 1/2" Broad Upper Back Adjustment on the back. Truthfully, I could likely get away without doing them on my knit (the pattern is for a woven). But I dislike the thought of having to get everything out again, repressing the pattern in the future, doing the alterations when I could do them now, first time around.

I noticed on my muslin that the area right near the side back/back armhole area was a little snug. Not uncomfortable at all, but when I look in the mirror and see an outline of my bra band in that small area, that makes me want to alter for broad upper back. On my dress form I'm seeing tiny "forced" gathers pointing to the bust area outside my notches--the area that is not gathered. Yeah, I think a knit would take care of this, but why not do it now. I would like to make this time one more time this summer in a woven.

Since I don't need any width below the waist, I plan on cutting off the front and back bodice pieces at the waist and altering the upper pieces. Then I will tape them back on the lower pieces, truing at the side seams. Also, I'll add about 1" in length right at the hemline. Why add it there? I'm a lazy sewer ;) . Any more than that and I'd use the L/S line.

So stay tuned. I have a busy day today, but when I get home around 6 or 7, the wine cooler will be fully chilled, the popcorn bowl will be ready, and I can enjoy my incredibly exciting Saturday night doing pattern alterations :) !

Only my sewing blogger friends will truly understand how wonderful that is! My own family doesn't get it LOL. And I don't think they ever will.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Projects in the Works

A few days ago I took a trip to the local fabric store in my town. It is owned by a lovely lady named Ursula, who designs her own patternless clothes for herself and others. She's quite an inspiration. A lot of her clothes have an art noveau, kind of bohemian flair to them, and she's quite a help to me with fabric coordination for my abominable fashion sense.

She told me to stop in last time I saw her at school for parent pickup. She said she had some new fabrics and thought I might be interested in them. Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before--just can't remember!) I made the trip in and bought my goodies. So here are some of them with my current projects.

First one up. My Simplicity duro style top. It will be sleeveless and further altered (again) from the original design. Here is my sketch on paper of the pattern on the left of my altered pattern with a narrower midriff band, and on the right is my third redesign with a scoop neck with gathers (if necessary--depends on if I'm getting any gaping in the scoop neck style), an even narrower band than before, and gathers below the band in the front and back.

Here are the fabrics for the top. The solid fabric will be the midriff band, and the print is the bodice, of course. The pattern has been retraced and redesigned/altered for my new style.

Second top: The ever popular 2008 style with the circular neckband and front/back gathers. The neckband will be the solid, the bodice the print. I'm using a knit for this pattern instead of a woven, and I don't use a different size either. However, I will make a muslin to make sure there is no gaping before cutting into my intended fabric. The pattern has been traced and cut, but not altered as of yet. ETA--and that neckband! It has to be wider. I was looking at some Anthropologie tops for ideas and the neckband on this top is too narrow. I just widened it and plan to embellish it, some how, some way ;) .

Last up, is my summer dress of Butterick 4183. It will be the style on the right. I will use a straight 14 and remove the excess at the top edge in the front via a dart transfer. I've made this dress before and a size 14 is perfect with a little taking in of the seams here and there, but the gape on the top front edge is 2" (My upper chest is about a size 10). I can pinch 1" (1/2" dart) out of each side in the front/side edge. No touching of the back--it fits just about perfect. Why do I use the 14 instead of my base size 12? Because in this style, the only alteration I'll need is the dart transfer to remove the excess gape. How easy is that! :) Very!!! I was thinking of the Textile Studio Milan dress, but I haven't made it before. Then I'd have to do a muslin and...well I just don't feel like doing a muslin and am going the easy route with a previously used pattern.

So there you go! Those are my plans. And I'm pretty excited about them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Natural Dyes

The green tea dye last night didn't produce a dark enough tint on my linen. This morning I brewed a nice pot of coffee and am trying again. Hoping for a nice, darker tan shade later today.

And where have I been? There's a knit contest going on at Patternreview! That's motivation enough to sew up my Simplicity wrap dress that has been altered and hanging with a clip on the side of my fridge for 2 months. Just have to pick out the right fabric for it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A lucky evening.

It's lucky here when something gets cancelled. My son's pitching lesson got postponed, lucky for me, unlucky for him. It's great to have an unexpected little break. So I worked a bit on my wall hanging. Here's my progress.
Layering the fabric:

The finished backing:

Creating the fabric triangles (2"x 1"). The fabric triangles have to be the same on both sides (right sides showing) so I had to cut 2" fabric strips, then a 2" strip of double-sided fusible web, followed by another 2" wide fabric strip. I put the fusible web on the wrong side of one fabric strip, layed the wrong side of the other on top, and fused both pieces of fabric together:

Off to cutting the 2" x 1" fabric triangles with my rotary mat/cutter/ruler.

...followed by pressing one side of the triangle in towards the center, then the other so it looks like the samples on the right:

At this point I'm at the pic below, playing around with triangle colors and my design. The off-white linen is too "white", so right now I'm dying the linen triangles and linen fabric in tea, hoping for a darker off-white color. Unfortunately, all I have are green tea bags and no black tea ones. So I'm not sure if the color will be dark enough. Another tea bag session may be in the works.

The center area I'll probably secure with hand stitching, the radiating lines of triangles will probably be affixed with fabric adhesive. Off to check my tea-dyed linen right now.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

That Stroke of Inspiration

It's coming to me.

Do you ever walk by your fabric stash and wait for the fabric to tell you what to do with it? That's what I've been doing. I still have some fabulous knits from PR Weekend 2006 and 2007 that I absolutely love and just yesterday I realized what I want to do with at least one of them. Yesterday there was a review on the CJ princess seamed/wrap top pattern at Patternreview and now I have a pretty good idea of what fabric to use with it. It was one of those "Aha!" moments. I have another idea of pairing of pattern and fabric but want to make sure the fabrics I'm planning on combining for it will work. I might have to post a pic of the two fabrics in daylight so you all can give me some input. My ability to coordinate fabrics is abysmal.

I have also been working on a very interesting wall hanging based on my son's art project which I posted a pic of a while back. It is coming along nicely and think it will make a nice artistic type of piece for my living room wall. Been taking pics of my progress with it and will try to post my continued efforts of it tonight with my Saturday night bowl of popcorn and wine cooler. I'm just one heck of an exciting chick, aren't I ;) ! Just loving those Saturday evening sewing blocks. That inner sewing geekness is evident again.

Right now I'm going to grab my coffee, a piece of banana bread, and enjoy some quiet time reading sewing blogs. First blog to read for today is Robin's blog. I have to check out her dress she was making for a wedding. I live my non-kid life vicariously through her :) . She's an amazingly talented woman with an equally amazing interesting life. I'm am going to try to make it a point to discuss other people's blogs in my posts for a while. There are some really great blogs out there, and I often find new ones by clicking on links in other sewer's blogs.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sewing for the 4th of July

Note: I'm sorry about the darn paragraphs! I hate when blogger causes me problems and I can't create proper spacing between paragraphs. With all the div codes, you'd think I'd have tons of spaces but I don't. Anyway...

...About six weeks ago I started wall hangings. There was a sale at Embroidery Library/ on wall hanging designs so I bought several for various holidays. Two were for the 4th of July. For my non-American sewing enthusiasts, the 4th of July is a national holiday celebrating the 232 year of the USA, our country's birthday.

I haven't used my embroidery machine as much as I should be, so doing these were important to me. My embroidery skills should be much more proficient at this point having had this machine for about 2 years now. I pulled my linen out of my embroidery stash (fabric that was purchased in March for just this purpose) and got to work. Didn't have any pieces of stabilizer for my 5x7 hoop so I used pieces of heavyweight pellon sew-in interfacing on the first one (eagle). During the interim I was able to purchase Sulky Soft and Sheer for my 5x7 hoop and used that for the second one (bear). I adhered the linen to the pellon with KS2000 spray and hooped it. Got my designs going and ended up with what I posted last week, what looked like this:
Each design was done separately. Last year I bought a Janome Clothsetter for $55 from a PR Member but still haven't used it. I think it would have been perfect for joining the designs but with time at a premium, I took the easy route. My plan was to join the designs together with a horizontal seam which I did. Yesterday and today I worked on finishing them (you know, it's only July 7 now!) so I can at least hang them on my walls for at least one week before having to take them down.

I'm thinking these look fairly nice. I like the eagle one better than the bear one, just my preference. Here are the finished wall hangings:
Overall, I'm fairly satisfied with this project. I definitely would not classify myself as a home dec type of sewer, nor a quilter. However, I was very impressed with DebraH's wall hanging (Darn! I'd link to her review but can't get it right now) review at Patternreview so I decided to put my sewing skills to use and decorate my walls. I'm a terrible decorator so anything looks better than what is on my walls now.
The inside border are strips for each of the 4 edges cut to size. The outside border is a full piece of material with the red border/embroidery designs edgestitched right on top of it. The edges of the outer border are finished with a zigzag stitch, turned under and topstitched. Very simple really. Not terribly professional. But if anyone is looking at the backside of my wall hangings other than my sewing sister, they're just plain too nosy.
Here's the backside of each hanging:
Okay. Now here's the problem with my wall hangings. I'm hoping some of my embroidery-loving sewing buddies can help me out with this. Check out the pic below of my projects WITHOUT the flash! The problem is evident!!!
See how the "bear-ey" one is all mottled and the eagle one is much smoother? I attribute this to my stabilizer. The "inappropriate" stabilizer of heavyweight interfacing produced a much better embroidery design, whereas what I *thought* would be the appropriate stabilizer looks, well, not so good. What does this mean? Just use a thicker stabilizer? Two pieces, maybe three? v
Also, the stitching was a b*tch on the bear one too. I used different and new needles to see if it would make any difference. Played around with the upper tension. No difference either. The threads on top kept getting loopy in certain places. It didn't do that as much with the thicker, "inappropriate" interfacing stabilizer.
So, what gives? Just use a thicker stabilizer or more pieces (maybe 3)? I'd like to make more and try to sell some for Christmas so any help on improving the appearance would be greatly appreciated.
One thing's for sure, I underestimated the time it would take to do the designs. I was thinking I could do 3 designs/day for one hanging. Didn't quite work out that way. Between all the thread changes, I was lucky to get one design done per day. I don't sit at my machine either so the machine has to frequently wait for me to change the threads too. The good thing is, I'm learning. Getting a little better and more knowledgeable about Embird and embroidery in general.
Looking forward now to get started on a few more. First some for my own home, then some to try to sell.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What I'm wearing today.

I've seen a few blogs lately where people have posted what they've worn/made for a week. That got me to thinking when I get dressed in the morning if I've been wearing things I've made, and the answer is yes! Most days I AM wearing something I've made.

Today I'm wearing my blue top that I finished two days ago. Thank you everyone for the very kind comments--very much appreciated! I think when I get home from my afternoon activity I'm going to remove the hem and make it a 1/2"-3/4" longer. It's merely a hem length preference. This top hasn't made it into my review list yet, although it's not that much difference from my previous review. Just a tweak here and there and a heavily redrafted cap sleeve.

An answer to Keely: Yes, Keely, I did indeed remove 4" of width at the side seams right at the area near the horizontal seam near the bust! I didn't do that on my first top made from this pattern, but this is a very good quality knit with nice stretch. Don't think I could get away with that in a lesser quality type of knit fabric.

Here's my new top, sorry for the VERY sleepy morning face. We are so tired lately from running around. Hopefully tomorrow we can sleep in.



And now I'm off to my second activity for the day. Hope everyone has a great weekend. BTW, if you have a chance, check out Karen's blog to see her new Patrones dress. It reminds me of the Obama dress that's creating quite the buzz.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Just had to get it done.

Finished my shirt a few minutes ago and took a pic. I'll review it some time in the next few days. I went with the cap sleeves after reading a comment by Mary of Sew Fast Embroidery She said she made the version with cap sleeves. DD#1 liked the sleeves, DD#2 didn't, I didn't either initially, but after Mary said she went with the cap-sleeve version, that's what I did. Don't you just love the Internet for opinions? :)

Here's the top (personally I think it looks better on me than the Phat Chick who is simply a kind of fat version of me). My overstuffed DTD looks like she's 4 months pregnant and I'm DEFINITELY not!

DD#1 had me nip in the sides near the horizontal seam below the bust. Said it was too tentish and she said nipping it in there would be more flattering. I guess she's right (how did that happen???). I removed about 4" total width from the side seam allowance in that area tapering to the original seamline at the underarm and about 4" below the horizontal seam. I'll take pics of it on me before doing my review.

Kept thinking about Robin's new coverstitch while working with my top. Oh...what I would give to have a coverstitch machine. But I need a new serger first! And who said we sew to save money? I don't think it quite works that way, does it!

Maybe a little more sewing over this long weekend that will feel like it's a total of 5 minutes long. Happy 4th of July to my fellow American sewing buddies!

ETA--what is it with husbands? DH made that comment again, "Why are you always sewing shirts like that?" I'm not LOL. It's only the second time I've made a top from this pattern. The first one was the long-sleeved version. I think it's a reference to a loose-flowing style which echoes maternity wear. Although it's pretty obvious I'm not pregnant. Some day I'm going to ask him what top he likes from my pattern stash. However, I think I already know the answer. It's going to be, "None of them!"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Half done!

Today I worked on some (Mmmm!) garment sewing! Love it, love it, love it!!!

The progress is below. Actually, right after taking this pic I sewed the front and backs together at the shoulders using my favorite method of stabilizing--1/4" ribbon. It's cheap and is useful for about 90% of areas I need stabilized. The fabric is from one of my favorite NYC stores Metro Textiles from PR Weekend 2007. There's still enough fabric left to make another top or a skirt. Still debating at this point in time, but most likely will be a skirt for my substitute teacher plans in the Fall.

I asked DD#1 about her opinion about the strip in the front where the gathers are. Should it be solid black or the matching print. My fashion "gut" instinct was to go with the black, but my fashion taste is, well, not that good so I asked DD#1 about her thoughts. She said, "Go with the black one. Definitely." So maybe I wasn't far off this time. Can't wait until this top is done. It has cap sleeves and I want to wear it with skinny black capris.

The cap sleeves are fairly interesting. I'm using Simplicity 3624, one that I used before in March but with long sleeves. The short, cap sleeves on this are a mirror image on one piece. So the fabric will be folded in half at the hemline, and I presume basted along both raw edges at the armhole seamline on the sleeve before sewing it to the bodice. I don't recall ever seeing a sleeve pattern like this, at least not in recent memory. It really could be cut as a single layer but this method is kind of nice because the inside of the sleeve will look the same as the outside. It's really a self-lined sleeve I guess. It's just an interesting point to note about the pattern.

Oddly enough, the neckline is the turn under and topstitch method. IMO, that is kind of weird, but oh well. To spend time making a nice sleeve, then doing a very simple neckline finish. I was thinking about making this top sleeveless and lining the upper half, but didn't. On a snap decision, I decided to go with the sleeves.

We'll see how things are looking tomorrow. I'm hoping to wear this one on Saturday. Stay tuned...