Thursday, December 24, 2009

Psyched & Ready To Go!

The real version of the KS338 top is coming along wonderfully! All I have to do is press the side seams and hem it. I'm saving this for later during my vacation. I want to use a double-needle for the hem and I need two things - a needle and some practice! Wednesday is hemming day. I've planned and re-planned my wardrobe to death. What I've finally settled on is knit. Until March, I will be a ponteroma-knit-sewing queen. My goals are ambitious - 13 pieces, but they are repeats in different colors. The BMV patterns are rated easy or very easy; the wraps are supposed to be one-hour projects. I'm getting the hang of Kwik Sew tops. (We'll pray together when I start Hot Patterns 1062.) Including the current KS3338 top, I want to return to work on January 4, with six new pieces. First on my sewing agenda is tweaking my dress form. Ruby was perfect until I put the cover on her. Everything got compressed and the cover really doesn't work with the sway back situation. I added more padding, but the butt is too high and round. The top I'm working on fits me better than the form. I have to fix her ASAP, especially before I start the pants and skirts. Well, here's the wardrobe plan. All in ponteroma knit (purchased with coupons of course). Holiday Break
  • KS3740 (brown)
  • KS3617 (cream)
  • M5241 (brown, cream & black). I've been calling these wraps, but I guess they are cardigans.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's a Miracle!

Look at what a good press will do! No puckers. Yea!!!! I had pressed the sleeves and decided to try and salvage the neckline. Look at what happened. Woo Hoo!

Back to the sleeves. I realized I need to sew very slowly. My lead foot is not welcomed while sewing. Even still, I ended up with this:

After pressing, I still see puckers, so I'm going to press again. I just had to stop and share my neckline joy.

Pucker Up

Yesterday was neckline day. I also worked on the fit in the back; I finally realized that the fabric was pooling because I cut the back too big. I'm trying to remember if I was this clueless when I started cooking. I think the difference was that when I was little, I could stand at the stove and ask questions. I was given small tasks as a helper and paid with chance to lick cake batter from the bowl. Those were the days. I'm on my own with sewing. That is until I find great how-to videos, but more about those later. So I stitched my neckband and pressed it open.
Next, I folded the neckband in half and pinned it to the center back, center front and shoulder seams. I machine-basted it in place. The neckline puckered, so I redid it. It puckered again. I tried a longer stitch length with my already loosened tension. Still puckered. I chalked this up to hurry-up-and-finish-the muslin-and-figure-it-out-before-you-make-the-real-shirt. Probably a bad call, but my frustration level had risen to "I hate sewing." I stitched the neckline in place using the overcast foot. Yep. More puckers.
The good thing is that I've figured out what I was doing wrong -- I was sewing this with the free arm and the neckband was on the bottom. Duh. That's easy to say now, after I saw this video. Duly noted for the real thing, which I need to have finished before the end of the year. Practicing with the sleeves today. See, my attitude has changed. I realize that with each new technique, the first try is practice. I no longer have delusions about my truly neophyte skills. My frustration has dissipated.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Turned On The Sewing Machine!

This weekend was about fits and starts. But it ended we me actually at the machine - for five minutes. I was so happy. Let me say now that I really admire people who sew. I didn't start this thinking it would be easy or that I had a natural talent; I'm now proving both to be true.

But, I love the challenge. The thought of rocking a handmade something so fierce in both garment selection and fit that people ask me where I got it keeps me going. It's actually fun, once you get behind the machine.

However, before you get to the machine, you must prep fabric (did some of that yesterday and reorganized the stash). Then you gotta cut the pattern, tissue fit it and then cut the fabric. You know there's more, but I want to pause here and explain Saturday.

I woke up excited. Got an early start on the pattern. Then I got a little stuck. Are knit patterns cut smaller because of the fabric's stretch? This may be a dumb question with an obvious answer to you, but I was stumped.

This pattern was not fitting Ruby at all, even with the FBA. I knew I was taking my chances on the no-dart FBA because there's a max amount you can adjust, but damn. Then there was the issue of the backside and side seams. "Twas not pretty. What I should have thought of was adding width at the hips! Anyway, I traced the new seam line, got distracted and didn't come back to it until late Sunday afternoon.

I was getting ready to cut out the front piece of fabric when I realized that I although I traced a seam line, I never traced and cut the cutting line. I'm brilliant like that at least once a week. If you look closely, you can see the oops here. Learning that coasters make great pattern weights was a bonus.

Notice that black fabric. That was supposed to be my muslin. Totally didn't pay attention to the fact it had less stretch than my real fabric. Boo hoo. Start over. I pulled out the original muslin fabric for this top. (Once I got this piece home, I thought, "Muslin my eye. This is too good to practice on.")

Here we are all pinned up. Is there anyway to fix the swayback thing in a top?

Looks no worse than some RTW tops on me. I know that's not the point of this, but I needed a confidence booster. It's my first time adjusting a pattern, so whatever.

Next, I sat down at my machine to do the easing lines. I was excited to wind the bobbin! The 1/4" seam allowance? No biggie. Yeah right. Thought I could get away without marking the stitching lines. Nope. Why hasn't Crayola or Sharpie done something about the difficulty of marking dark fabric? I have chalk and the white pen, but there has to be something better. I guess I'll be getting one of those new ceramic sewing pencils soon

Okay. Marked all the lines. Let's sew. Easing lines done. What's next? Add interfacing to the shoulders. Hey, I read somewhere that you need to preshrink interfacing. Uggh! Got up from the machine to do that. The strips were so small, I was able to get them completely dry with a towel. Then I noticed on the packaging that it was preshrunk. So is only the type you buy by the yard that needs preshrinking? Anyway, let's fuse, baby!

Yea! Let's sew. Wait, something isn't right. This is because I pinned the wrong side front to the right side back. Then I pinned the wrong shoulders together. Then I realized I had not finished marking the seamlines on the back. (This is why I do all of my important thinking in the morning, I'm completely useless at night.)

The directions say to overcast the seams. I have an overcast foot. No problem.

Umm, problem. My foot isn't adjustable, so my seam allowance is now 1/8." Oh well. I suppose I could have trimmed everything 1/8" and then proceeded, but where's the fun in that? Duly noted for the real thing.

Perhaps I should have put the interfacing right to the edge of the fabric? I guess muslins are important after all *wink.*

And that was my sewing weekend.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Had Happened Was

Usually when you hear that, whatever immediately follows is bound to be some foolishness. This is no exception. I went into Hancock again today to purchase the last of the knit fabric for the wardrobe I'm planning. Just needed 2 1/2 yards for some pants. As luck would have it, there was a cut in the last of the chocolate brown ponteroma knit. Darn.

As I perused the fashion fabrics at this location, I spotted this:

$2.95/yd plus a 50% off coupon! I have no idea what kind of fabric this is, but I was sold at "machine wash cold, tumble dry low." I took what was left on the bolt, a little over three yards. I wish there had been more so I could have copied the first lady's sheath dress and matching coat look. Oh well. I still see a sheath in the distant future, perhaps Vogue 8555, View A. Look at how pretty Cenetta's is.

As for the wardrobe, I still need that knit and some corduroy. I'll be waiting on the knit until the next batch of 50% off coupons rolls around.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Couldn't Help Myself

My name is Carla and I am addicted to fabric. Okay, patterns too. I had a great system going -- don't buy more than can fit in the bins I already own. Oh, how I have walked away from that. Two things haunt me -- I can't pass up a good deal (thanks, Vogue Fabrics) and I keep re-envisioning what I need in my wardrobe. I have finally mapped out a wardrobe that will have some mix and match pieces, so that should help. All I need is the last of the fabric! LOL

Anyhoo, so I was working this wardrobe plan when I needed some cheering up. I decided to take a stroll through Hancock Fabrics. This is monumental because a fabric store has now replaced Target and Williams-Sonoma as my happy store. The fact that the value fabrics are different at each location encourages my bad behavoir.

Look at what I found!

The plaid is a poly taffeta (I think). When I spotted the plaid (I'm attracted to most things shiny) I immediately thought holiday, but it's a bit loud to be covered in it from head to toe. Enter green poly dull satin. The green makes it more Christmas-y. Would you believe the plaid was $4.95/yd and I had a 50% off coupon? Score! The satin was 30% off.

Decisions. Decisions. After I finish KS3338 this weekend (prayerfully), do I start the wardrobe or play with this in hopes of something new and cute for Christmas or New Year's Eve service? It's been years since I had a Christmas outfit (childhood flashback).

I Heart Christmas

This has absolutely nothing to do with sewing. I just wanted to share my holiday decorations with everyone. See everything here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Starting Over -- Kwik Sew 3338

Let's see. I was kinda proud of my progress on this top. Then, Ruby came and then Thanksgiving, etc, etc. (Speaking of which, I'm open to any and all suggestions about how to mimic my swayback on a dress form.) So when I sat down to pick up where I left off, I realized I probably should start over.

Two reasons for the decision: a dress form to make fitting easier and I wasn't real clear on how to do an FBA without creating a dart. I wasn't grasping the concept from Fit For Real People. Enter The Perfect Fit -- it made things crystal clear! The clothes in the book are dated, but the advice is timeless.

So, according to the book, The max I can add to the bodice width is 1 1/2." I hope that's enough! I probably should know for sure, but how in the heck do you tell with a knit pattern? Isn't it cut smaller anyway?

So again, I'm using Swedish tracing paper. Love that stuff. I hope Santa brings me more for Christmas. Here's the pattern on the form:

When tracing, I traced both the medium cutting line and the extra large. When cutting, I just left a gap between the two. I figured I could tissue fit the side seam after the FBA.

I'm new to this, so I'm not sure if I did this right. I tugged at pieces of the pattern to get it to fit the form better. I thought that back and shoulders were pretty standard, so the fit issue must be in the bust. Therefore, I got everything else to lay properly and let the center front do what it wanted.

Now for the adjustment. I slid the armhole portion out the max 3/4." I moved the center front waist down 2".

Well, that was all of my Sunday progress. (I spent most of my sewing time finishing padding out the dress form.) Next, I have to blend the cutting and stitching lines. My goal this weekend is to finish the muslin.