Friday, July 26, 2013

Sew Much To Do

I am the type of person that can read more than one book at a time. I pick them up and put them down based on my mood. I kinda think I'm that way with sewing; we'll see. In the very near future, I need three things: a top, another skirt and a maxi dress. These are all currently in various stages of pattern alterations. I actually have a skirt muslin. I realized a couple of nights ago that I forgot to divide the amount I needed for the maxi dress FBA in half, so that will have to be redone.

I am one pattern alt away from getting to the muslin for the Colette Patterns Taffy Blouse. It's one of the patterns in The Colette Patterns Sewing Handbook. I've done a square shoulder alt and added room for the girls, using a Y-dart FBA from Fit for Real People. I just need to finish the hip.

Whenever I do square shoulder alts and FBAs, the armhole looks so wrong! I use the pivot and slide method for the square shoulder. Here are better shots of the before and after the FBA. I had real trouble squaring up the dart legs. So much so that I scrapped the first attempt, retraced the pattern and started over.

Closeup of how the armhole hinge moved.

The only thing that is kinda scaring me about the construction is the bias tape. Not sewing it, but making it. The blouse fabric is from the stash (woohooo!) It's a silky from Jo-Ann. I just can't see using good ol' Wright's bias tape on this.  

I have a bias tape maker. I'm just praying that I can cut and sew the 5.5 yards correctly! I've never made bias tape before. I'm also wondering if I have enough fabric to make that much bias tape. How much fabric do you think I need? Y'all, I'm scared of this like I am of hand sewing. I wish there was another way, but I think I need to use the same fabric for the bias tape in order to get the look I want.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sewing Kit HD

This app is a great concept with seriously flawed execution. This should have been released as a beta or even alpha version -- for free. It's simply not worth $9. To add insult to injury, I purchased this app weeks ago and there hasn't been a single update.

I love the idea of a sewing app that tracks patterns, notions and fabric. Bonus because this is not just for your collection, but you can also tie things to a specific project. Brilliant! Just what we all wanted.

The aggravation comes with the app's clunky navigation. It's neither intuitive nor streamlined. There are times when the fabric types load automatically, but the notions never do. When you add them manually, you get generic choices like "zipper." Really? Why not give me the option of selecting the type and size? If you want that level of detail, I guess that's why there are Notes. Backup to Dropbox is manual.

This app is very buggy; I don't expect this with a $9 app. The big appeal is the barcode scanner. However, the databases are incomplete! I scanned about nine recent McCall patterns. Some loaded fine. Others loaded without an image. Some are nowhere to be found in the database. Scanning thread spools proved to be just as frustrating. I'd started with the simple task of black and white thread in different sizes from Mettler and Gutermann. They don't all come up in the app's database.

Sometimes when you scan a pattern, the fabric types populate. When they don't, it's because all of the fabric types aren't in the database. How hard was that data to obtain before the launch of the app if you're working in partnership with the pattern company??

Even the language and symbols used in the app are irksome. The text is overly formal in some places and not quite right in others. "Threads" and "Inspirations" (plural instead of singular) annoy me. The red circle with a slash through it means both stop and go back. Who does that in web/app design??

I was hoping that this app could replace the combination of apps and sites I use to track my tiny sewing world. My fabric stash is on a secret Pinterest board. I snap a picture and type in the specifics for each piece. Pattern Review tracks my patterns; I enter all of the relevant envelope info. I track projects on Evernote. Each note contains a pattern pic and any alteration and construction notes. Evernote has desktop and mobile apps and is cloud based. You can get to your notes from anywhere. I use Grocery King for Android as my shopping list. Because I've been using it for years, I've built a pretty extensive database. I love that I can do price comparisons. There is an Apple version on the way. I use Google Drive to track purchased thread and tapes.

However, all is not lost in the world of ready-made sewing apps. I am thoroughly enjoying the Craftsy app (wish they would get a move on with the Android version) and the Schmetz Needle app. The Schmetz app is very utilitarian/no frills in its design, but it gets the job done. There isn't an Android version yet. I really enjoy reading Threads Magazine on Apple devices.

When you think about it, it kind of makes sense that sewing would be slow going for apps. I'm glad it's starting to get some tech attention! I'm sure our patience will be rewarded one day.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Experiences

Well, I finally finished a project. Not quite a first, but it's been so long it feels new :-) Behold S2614! Please forgive Ruby's indecency. I don't want to flatten those cups by storing them. Besides, Ruby needs a little more heft all over to better match me. *sigh*

Anyhoo. Let's get to the review, shall we?

Pattern description
Misses' pullover top and bias skirt. Separate patterns included for A, B, C, D cup sizes. Threads Magazine Collection. I made the skirt, View A.

Pattern sizing
6-22. Let's just say I started with the 22 :-)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing?
Absolutely, except I added length.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Sure. I made the casing differently using this method. Although the instructions didn't call for it, I let the skirt hang before hemming in order to let the bias settle.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
No dislikes! This is a great starter pattern. 

Fabric used
Cotton/poly blend from Hancock. I've had it since 2005! Bemberg rayon from Mood for the lining. I starched the lining fabric before cutting.

Pattern alterations or any design changes?
Plenty! Where to begin? 

Alterations -- I made separate front and back pattern pieces for asymmetrical me.
  • Added width to waist and hips. I think I'll decrease the back waist width 1" next time.
  • Raised CB waist an inch. Thinking about lowering the CF waist an inch.
  • Added 2 3/4" to CB hem
  • I did High hip alt using the seam method. I should probably add more.
Design Changes
  • Lengthened 5"
  • Added a lining with hem lace! I can't help it -- I like linings. 
This project was my first ever lining! I used this tutorial to figure out how to add a linking to a skirt with an elastic waist. I used French seams for the side seams. (I didn't finish the side seams on the skirt since it's cut on the bias. Time will tell if this was wise.) Man, I ironed it, tried it on and then put it on Ruby for pics. I can see this garment will always require an iron.

I love the hem lace. It's a pretty, flirty touch to a rather utilitarian skirt. I figured I'd keep the color simple for this go round. When I got to the end, I realized I hadn't given any thought to what to do with the ends of the lace. I ended up overlapping them and joining them with a zigzag, the same way you join elastic. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it?
Absolutely to both!

Although it took me forever (no fault of the pattern), this was a fun project. My inner gadget girl got her workout in because I used a gang of presser feet:
  • standard foot
  • 1/4" foot (French seams in lining)
  • zipper foot (casing)
  • narrow edge foot (hemming) 
  • join and fold foot (attaching the hem lace) -- this was my first time using this foot. It was a little tricky with the slippery lining.