Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Am I the Last to Know??

I just found this link to the Pantone Fashion Color Report Fall 2010 on Faye's blog.  I had no idea a fashion color report existed!  That explains so much!  I was in Lane Bryant yesterday scooping up earrings and some of their fall accessory colors are Lagoon, Living Coral and Purple Orchid.

I have knits in Lagoon (Jo-Ann) and Woodbine (Fabric.com).  I have shirting in Oyster Gray (Vogue Fabrics) and a bottom weight stretch sateen in Rose Dust (Vogue Fabrics).  I can't adjust to tone on my camera, so you'll have to trust me.)

I'm on the lookout for knits in Golden Glow and Chocolate Truffle!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Getting Started -- Burda 8269

I finally got all the pattern pieces cut out for the next skirt, Burda 8269. (The pattern has been discontinued, but you can get the smaller version as Burda 8407.) Getting the pattern pieces ready for alterations is the part I dislike the most I about sewing. (I know this is not an original thought.)  I like to trace all of my patterns onto Swedish tracing paper.  You can sew and even wash this stuff, so it's pretty durable. My evil plan is to use it rather than making a muslin.

It also takes me a while because I include some markings for sizes 18, 24 and 26 (on the appropriate pieces) until I figure out what size I really am and where. Well, the pieces are all cut. I can start the super-easy fitting process now. *side eye*

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stuff For The Stash

Here are some recent additions to my fabric stash:

I got these while in Baltimore at A Fabric Place.  The pink is the one I fell in love with, but there was only about 1 3/8 yds. on the bolt. Perhaps B6085 View E?  I have 3 1/4 yds. of the yellow. I'm torn with what to do with it.

The goal was to find the perfect shirting because I love a well-made shirt (think Thomas Pink). However, the yellow would make a great summer dress, for next year of course.  S2401 View A?  Even my beloved, but yet-to-be-made KS3704 View A would work. How about S2579 View A or S2888, A or B?  Then, there's the sweetest of them all, B4443 (pick any view).  It think it would be a great winter blues-buster if I could work this into a dress. That still leaves me in search of killer shirting ...

My camera is not doing the richness of the Deep Lake knit any justice. These are from Jo-Ann. I'm thinking S2345 View B.

Now what made me want to jump for joy was this mauve acetate from Hancock. $2.37/yd!!! I've been holding on to this denim (also from Hancock) forever. I see Burda 8269 and KS3620 View A.
The only one I'll get to soon is the denim, I think.  I need skirts ASAP!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pfaff Performance 2058 Review

Nia and I spent some quality time together last weekend as I worked on my skirt.  (I chose Nia because the name means purpose.  I am on a mission for clothes that fit.) I figured it was time for a review. Before I get started, let me qualify this.  You know where I'm coming from and my skill level, so forgive me if I gush a bit. Virginia was no frills, but Nia is computerized and fancy :-)

The Pfaff Performance 2058 has been discontinued.  However, my dealer thinks this was the last of the great Pfaff sewing machines.  You won't find all those features for that price again.  I was told to never trade it in. If you find one, snap it up.

I love this machine! I strongly considered Bernina and Viking models.  I wanted a sewing machine that I could grow into.  (I knew I would want a second machine for embroidery one day.)  This fits the bill!  I ended up going with Pfaff because of the IDT.  The built-in walking foot won hands down. You mean I could have a walking foot and another specialty foot working together?! I think I'm going to be a Pfaff girl for life.

Here's a quick summary of her features:

  • Adjustable needle position
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Computerized
  • Free arm
  • Needle up/down
  • Needle threading
  • One-step buttonhole
  • 241 stitches, 4 alphabets; 9 mm stitches too!
  • Stitch memory
  • Stitch creator
  • Sew slow function
  • Bobbin winding through the needle
  • Low bobbin indicator
  • Touch screen
What I think is missing is the ability to adjust the bobbin tension and presser foot pressure. There is an icon for adjusting the stitch balance.  I'm not sure if that's related to bobbin tension or not.

My dealer likes to do a demonstration where you feed various types of fabrics continuously under the presser foot while sewing. For instance, a swatch of denim, followed by a sheer, then felt and maybe quilting cotton. You end up making what they call a kite tail. It demonstrates how well the IDT works. Perhaps IDT has something to do with presser foot pressure too?

Nia performed wonderfully on my skirt.  Overcasting, topstitching and twin needle work were no problem. There's a twin needle safety program that allows you to tell the machine what size needle you are using!  The machine sews so smoothly.  The IDT ensures the fabric feeds evenly.  This denim experience was very different from my previous one.

The on-screen menus are pretty easy to use (except for the stitch creator). The machine comes with eight presser feet, including the famous Sensormatic buttonhole foot.  There are about 40 additional feet you can purchase!  I used the adjustable guide foot for my toptstiching and seam guide foot.  They make things so much fun.

Threading is easy.  It's taking me a while to get bobbin winding down, but I'm working on it.  What has me stumped is the stitch creator.  I can't figure it out; it's not intuitive.  You don't have the ability to download or load additional stitches into the memory, so you have to create what you want.  I want some candlewicking stitches.

My true complaint is the needle threader.  It works for some needles and not for others.  A color screen would be nice, but I guess it doesn't matter if you're not doing embroidery.

All in all, I'm very pleased with my purchase.

Monday, August 23, 2010

McCall's 2010

The new McCall's winter 2010 patterns are out today.  Here are a few of them:



I'm adding these to the shopping list:




Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kwik Sew 3789 - A Confidence Builder

Woo hoo!  Kwik Sew 3789!  I'm done.  A little groggy from the lack of sleep, but I'm done.  I was so excited when it came out of the dryer, I spent 10 minutes trimming the fraying.  Of course this was after I had already vacuumed.
Isn't the fraying cool?
This was supposed to be done so I could wear it Friday evening.  Where did I go wrong? Trying to adjust for my pearness.  When I made the muslin without any adjustments, it was shamefully tight in the hips, thighs and rear.  Another person could have shared the waist while I was wearing it.

To fix all of this, I first tried bringing in the waist by grading some of the pieces from a L to an XL.  That didn't work for the waist and of course not my hips.  Next, I slashed the skirt from the waist down in the front.  I ended up with an out of control A-line.  This happens each time I try this because of my front thighs.  I then tried to retrace the pieces and draw XXL lines.  I thought this worked until I tried to pin the musllin Friday morning.  

Screw the tracing; I didn't have time to trace.  I broke my cardinal rule and used the original pattern pieces.  I used the XL cutting lines for the entire pattern and killed two birds with one stone:  by changing the basting from 1 1/4" from the edge to 7/8", the skirt fit and I made the design detail look better.  (I topstitched 1/2" from the edge once instead of topstitching 3/4" and then 1/2" from the edge.) Problem solved!  

Now by the time I figured this out, there was no way the skirt and I would be ready in time for the event, so I resolved to have my own personal Friday Night Sew In.  I didn't even know it was already an official FNSI!  The collective spirit from all the participants must have been what gave me the extra push when I got sleepy:-)

Nia, my new Pfaff 2058, and I finally got to spend some quality time together. I love her!  I really love the extra presser feet I purchased.  Yea for the seam guide foot and adjustable guide foot!  Super yea for the low bobbin indicator and twin needle program.  I can tell her what size needle I'm using and she automatically adjusts!!! That may be standard on all computerized machines, but it's new to me and I love it.  Special shout out for the IDT; the built in walking foot is killer.  Okay. Enough sewing machine love.  

The waistband casing method was new to me.  Instead of sewing the casing and feeding the elastic through, you sewed the elastic together and stitched the casing over it.  This would have been totally cool if I had been confident in my sway back and high hip adjustments.  I tested them while pin fitting the tissue, but I was afraid to cut the fabric.  I ended up trying skirt on with the elastic and pulling a significant amount of fabric over the elastic. (I should have had more faith in Fit For Real People. After I basted the casing, there was no way I was going to undo it to refit. I sewed over the basting stitches.  

Unfortunately, I ended up stretching the elastic.  I read in The Complete Book of Sewing New Edition that you can steam the casing to get the elasticity back.  Hope it works!  (I so wish Santa would bring me my steam iron now!)  Of course I needed to overcast the new edge of the casing. A little difficult after the fact, but doable. 

My other difficulty was the twin needle topstitching.  I finally got the tension right so that there is no ridge!  I had to rip out about six inches of stitches once I discovered this tutorial, but knowledge is power!  Or so I thought until I made the same mistake on the flounce.  However, I decided I like a little ridge at the bottom of the skirt.  These were stretch triple straight stitches, so ripping them out was not an option!  One should not try new things at 1 a.m.!

After washing to get the fraying, I've noticed a couple of things I should have done differently.  I did not overcast the trim seams.  Top top it off, I trimmed them way to close.  Here's the result:
My other error in judgment was the waist casing.  I should have overcast the edges of the pieces that formed the casing.  Always go with your first thought.  The fraying isn't the same there and it looks odd.  I trimmed it off and I'm still not completely happy.

Lastly, totally my fault, but I used a ton of thread.  The overcasting, topstitching (and ripping out) used 2+ spools of 100m heavy thread.

Now you have the back story.  Here's the review:

Pattern Description: 
Long Patchy Skirt
Pattern Sizing:
XS-XL.  I made what is probably a large at the waist and an XL+ for the rest!
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Exactly. I made view B.
Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes.  Kwik Sew always has well-written directions.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the length, asymmetrical patches and frayed look.  
Fabric Used:
Medium weight denim from Fabric.com
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

You are supposed to baste the pieces the pieces  1 1/4" from the edge and use the basting as a guide for overlapping the pieces.  You then toptstitch 3/4" and 1/2" from the edge.

I changed this by basting 7/8" from the edge and topstitching 1/2" from the edge once. I didn't like the way their topstitching looked -- two rows with 1/4" between the rows.  I thought that much space between the rows made the skirt look less contemporary.  This worked out great because I needed the extra room for my super-ample pear self.  I did a single row of stretch triple straight stitches.

I also made attaching the trim over the flounce seam easier.  Again, I didn't like the amount of space between the topstitching rows and at 1 in the morning, it was no way I was going to sew two rows.  Enter denim twin needle. Worked great once I got the tension right.  I also used the double needle to finish the bottom of the skirt.  

I also attempted a sway back and high hip adjustment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This is such a distinctive skirt; I probably won't make it again.  I would definitely recommend it to others.  
I love it!  As a beginner, this was a little time consuming with all of the overcasting and topstitching, but worth it.

Beginners, here are the skills you'll practice:
-  Waistband casing and inserting elastic.  I'd never seen this method before.
-  Topstitching.  This is how you seam the pieces together.  You'll be an expert when you finish.
-  Seam finishing - overcasting raw edges
-  (Because of the topstitching and overcasting, have extra thread on hand)

I Can Sleep Now

Just finished.  Pressed and ready to be thrown into the washer for fraying. (Not me, the skirt)

Now to catch some zzz.  I already see myself nodding in church ...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Treating Myself to Breakfast

I'm headed out to treat myself to one of my favorite breakfast joints, Cracker Barrel.  Why is this important? (I know this is the sewing blog and not the food blog.) I am almost finished with Kwik Sew 3789!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I worked on it most of yesterday and I've been at it this morning since a little after midnight.

I have to add the trim and flounce and I'm done!!!

I see hash brown casserole and a trip to Jo-Ann in my very near future ...