Monday, October 10

Tulle Skirt for "Mini-Me"

Did I ever tell you how my child waits until the last minute to ask me to sew something for Mini-Me? I do seriously believe that when ideas come to her mind, she believes there are no limits to my abilities. Also, I believe, that I don't have any sense of bounds where my granddaughter's needs are concerned, no matter how little time I have. It's a no-brainier, when my child has an idea for an outfit for my granddaughter, I just cannot say no, and whatever it is, has to be top notch. This tulle skirt came about because Jennifer dreamt up an idea for a pearls and tulle Christmas Photoshoot. Each year she does a different theme, this years theme required a skirt that gave all the fluff I could give for a child yet not make it look like a toddler tutu.
 Well you know what I did....I did what any Mimi would do.  I took care of my business and made a gorgeous, beautiful tulle skirt for my Mini-Me.  Doesn't she look absolutely magnificent in this 25 yards of tulle fabric!!!

The skirt is made up of 10 yards of double layered lightweight tulle on top and 10 yards of doubled netting on the under-layer sewn onto the satin base circle skirt at the halfway point closed by a zipper and the waist is 2 layers of 1.5" elastic encasing the top edges of the tulle.
For the gathering, I used my gathering foot on my machine to knock this puppy out in less than 40 minutes.  I'm very happy with the photoshoot my daughter lined up, this is one lovely picture.

Monday, October 3

Shirt making For The Big & Tall Man:: Burda 6874

More shirt making for my better half and I say it looks great on him. My son had his new shirt and this time around the man of the house gets to have his day in the spotlight.  Sewing for the Big & Tall or shall I say Athletic & Tall guys, is much more different than sewing my my son, who is pretty slim and wiry.
I have not had any formal training in sewing men's shirts. I just look at pictures and figure things out by looking at his rtw shirts before I make it up. Fit is a big deal for any athletically built guy. There are big biceps, strong short neck, full shoulders and wide broad chest, tall build at 6'2" plus. These days they want their shirts to fit tighter yet not look like they are stuffed into a garment meant for a smaller man. So, I am having to learn how to fit the "big & tall" not so big but muscular dude.   Typical patterns are useless to say the least because unless it's custom you can forget it ever fitting. Because of that, I had to make a long list of alterations based off his rtw shirt with a few conventions where the rtw doesn't fit properly.
Burda 6874 by Shirt with hidden button placket.
Since this is my first time blogging a shirt for my man, I should start out with the fact that before this new slim fitting look, I have never had a problem making shirts for him.  It is only now that this "European cut" is en-vogue for the big guy.  I do think it is a much more slimming look than the loose fitting preggo look of days gone by.  Also, the length is such a personalized area as well, and for him he wants it to be pretty long over his hips.  This length may appear to work and he does look great in this length, however, he has requested another two inches to the hem.  It is his preference to wear the sleeve cuffs folded back on themselves and hanging very long. So with that, I will be adding another inch to the sleeve so they can pool around the wrist after folding up the cuff. The shoulders will have another 3/8" added to the yoke.  Just enough so it will allow more for the topstitching of the flat felled seams yet keep it very slimly fitted.  Also, I plan to totally omit the back pleat since after trying this on, he showed me another shirt that just doesn't have that pleat.  Removing the pleat will definitely give a much more slimming fit to the back and make it hang closer to the body.
In all fairness, I cannot lend too much to the sizing of the pattern as I had to up the size by about 4 sizes and make a myriad of adjustments in order for it to fit my man...  I basically used the rtw shirt he has and measured parts of it to get the pattern the size of the rtw in key areas, while adjusting for the size where the rtw didn't fit.  I lengthened it by 2inches on the sleeves and hem, added to the neck measurement and increased the finished size of the back and front yoke so it wouldn't look ill formed over his large shoulders. I added about 1" in front of the yoke and another 1" at the back, but I also did a 1/4" seam allowance to gain more back length in the yoke. The pattern stops at a neck size 17.5', I needed 20" but ended up at 19.5" neck because I failed to add enough at the center back.  It still closes as he needs, but may not be as comfy. I left off the top button since he doesn't like to button the top anyway.
I already have several more ready to be laid out with contrasting collar stands and cuffs. This has a denim twill strip that I topstitched onto the cuff and sewed it into the finished seam.
What shirt patterns do you know of that already consider a large neck size and hefty body build?  I'm thinking of trying the Joost de Cock of MakeMyPattern for a custom shirt pattern in the future.

Saturday, October 1

Buttonholes: Coats, Jeans, and Silk.- Tutorial

Since everyone is sewing jeans and denim jackets lately, I thought I might mention my tutorial which I posted on the Bernina USA Blog, WeAllSew.

You can find a full tutorial and tips for getting better buttonholes on your machine, here, or by pressing the picture.

Friday, September 30

Almost Reversible Dress...My Design Process | Newlook 6482

Here is a simple project that took a little thought to finalize.  In my design process, most often I draw up a design before I sew it up, in order to help me visualize the look before I use my fabrics in the final design.  If I come across a pattern that has a basic design, it becomes my canvas for designing what I want.  But let's be clear, the design doesn't take shape until I've had time to doodle around the line drawing while giving my creative juices a chance to birth something wonderful.  When I sew with a print, the print speaks to me and directs my thoughts to a design.  In the case of a wonderful solid, I am free to do whatever, or maybe even embellish. In the case of this dress was ripe for any design I could imagine.  And this is what I imagined....
Newlook 6482, Simplicity 3503
The moment I laid eyes on this reversible fabric,  I bought from SM, it was destined that I would make something which would take full advantage and display both sides of the beauty it has to offer.  I just love these two sided knits.  My Mom got the red/black and I got this one and several others.  More on those later...sorry, you will have to just wait on that blog post.  But first, I had to test my design ideas.  That way if it didn't work out, it was me who had to wear it and not disappoint her.
I love how the inset on the side is at a slight angle giving it a slight asymmetric look at the hem. As you may already realize, this is not the original pattern. It was the diving board for this design, my design process began with this pattern.  The plain front was not what got my attention for this pattern, it was the side inset.  At first I thought the inset was mirrored on the back, both being on the right side, but this one has the inset opposite on the back, with the matching inset being on the left side of the back.
how to catch stitch,
Construction Details:
Pattern- Newlook 6482

For the Neckline, I used the Simplicity 3503 (OOP) to get the shaping of the facing, it didn't fit the original pattern, but I was able to copy the design detail enough to do a reverse facing which put the finished facing piece to the outside for me to invisibly hand stitch it down.
The hem was hand-stiched using the "catch stitch".  You can see the tutorial I did here.  It was the best hem for this fabric and the look I wanted to achieve.  Now, please understand, if you don't already know me, I laugh and joke all the time about hating hand stitching.  This is true, but one thing you may not know, is that whatever finish achieves the best look is the one I use, even if it means doing the "dreaded" hand stitching.  All the finishing on this dress were hand stitched.
Sizing:  I cut a size 16 in this pattern because it seems I didn't want any negative ease, even though I know it looks like it at the hips.  I did add a full bust adjustment, FBA for added room across the front.  I did allow the resulting dart to alter the armhole so that it would curve and create a more finished look.  The base pattern just had the side seam ending under the arm as though the fabric just lays over toga style.  I made a slim "kimono" type sleeve affect by moving the resulting dart from the FBA into the armhole. 
As for the length, there were no changes made after I measured the pattern, it was just where I wanted it to fall.   If I was thinking, I would have finished the seam allowances so the entire dress could be totally reversible.  We shall see how the next colorblocked dress turns out.
Well, this dress was such a great success!  Now when I make it for Mom, I know she is going to love it knowing she is getting the original design in her black and red fabric. Besides, it was meant for her initially, right?  For now, I have more two-sided fabric to buy, and more colorblocked dresses to design.  What's your design process? Are you creating any colorblocked wonders?

Wednesday, September 28

Happy Birthday Son!!...Mail Order Men's Shirts | KwikSew 2777

This man here will always challenge my husband's position in my heart.   I made this shirt for his birthday in time to mail it to him as a surprise.  When he got it, he thought it was the pants to the suit I started 2 years ago.  No such luck buddy! Those pants will be finished soon, but with a different material for the waistband and the pockets.  You see, when I made the suit coat, I ran out of fabric to finish the pants.  Besides, I doubt seriously he will be able to fit the pants by now.

Some people say they don't like sewing for family.  Well, not me...I LOVE sewing for my family.  Especially, when they aren't picky about what I make and how I make it.  They give me the freedom to just create, with no specific deadlines, besides the ones I place on myself, and their happiness when I see them wearing the garment.  I just love it!!! For REAL!!!  ((((-:  Big grins on my face.
I made this from a fine shirting fabric I bought from the one of the only folks I buy shirting, The Wool House, while at a sewing convention in Atlanta or LA some years back.  The only way to buy from them other than going to their store in Canada, which I think is still open, is to see them at any sewing expo or conference they might frequent.  I know he will be at the upcoming International Quilt Festival here in Houston this coming month.  Of course, I will be stocking up again.  The last time I went to New York to purchase fabric, namely, fine shirting fabric such as this, it was not happening.  The minimum purchase requirements for my business were higher than I wanted to spend and the retail cost were astronomical.  So waiting once each year to see him here, is well worth it to me. 
Kwiksew 2777 Men's shirt cut in size medium/small.
Construction Details:
The pattern is Kwiksew 2777.  I cut a size a size medium for the shoulders, and graded down to a size small at the waist and arms.  The Shirt runs really large, so since this pattern was custom fit to him, I'm sorry, but its hard to remember all that I have done to this pattern to get it to fit him.  I have made this one for him and my dad several times.  Sometimes, I just don't blog everything.  Here are a few close-ups for you to enjoy.
The pocket is there, you just need to look very closely.

I used a flat felled seam treatment for the entire garment.  Both the side seams and the sleeves seams. It was kinda hard getting into that sleeve, but well worth it in the long run.

The sleeve placket was very easy, I just followed the technique used by the pattern.
The collar was cut with the opposite side of the fabric for contrast.  The back yoke was cut with a center seam so I could get the chevron affect.

Thanks for following along.  I so loved doing this shirt.  It's time for another one.  I guess I better get that one completed for my husband next, right?

Tuesday, September 20

Different Age and Body! Same Pattern! Same Size: Newlook 6735

Okay, now I had to go and do this pattern for my daughter!  This pattern is producing some pretty decent garments.  I have made 2 knit tops, 4 pair of pants, and 2 cardigans thus far.  The pattern is a quick pair of elastic waist pants from newlook 6735, the wardrobe pattern I used, again, to make mine and my moms pants.
With this project, these pants, I have come to hate sewing with ITY!  It is so unstable and totally unpredictable.  It has over 150%-200% stretch!!! What fits me, fits you, what fits her, fits them.  A store, or clothing line's best kept secret so they don't need to worry about making clothes that fit.  All that needs to be done is to sew it in a range of sizes and sell to everybody and you got a total market covered.  So, why don't I like ITY?  I should be happy at how well they turned out for my child.  She, looks great, you say?  Why then, am I not happy?
Let's start out explaining the obvious--- construction details.  The hem was a perfect lattice edge finish.  Done on my serger, by way of suggestion from Carol of "G-CAS! Sew Excited!  when she taught a few things about finishing knits on periscope last month. I have seen this done on many garments, but never thought to use it as a hem on pants.  Needless to say, it works very well for this style palazzo pant.  The settings she gave me to get this look did not work for my machine.  So, it wouldn't help for me to give you all the details for my machine, except to say, I used the #7 stitch and followed the directions in my manual.  If you want to do the same, you will need to make sure you have a rolled hem stitch and possibly change the differential feed and stitch length.  Basically, play around with the stitch until you get this look by "Really" stretching the fabric as you sew.
For the waistline finish on these pants and all my knit palazzo versions, I use a multi-stitched elastic finish.  I sew the elastic in first, then fold over the elastic and topstitch as I stretch.  It takes some getting used to since its sewn in the round.  If you want a video tutorial, just let me know in the comments. I cut a size 16 for this pattern and increased the back rise to cover the rear to the waist.  For the inseam, I extended the crotch an inch inside the back leg at the curve.  The pants were completely sewn on the serger.
Excessive Stretch!!!....caused me to hate ITY knits.  These pants were to be mine!!!  ALL MINE!!!  Until, I had my child come and help out as a fit model for a Fit-Friday LIVE!™ Online class that I host every Friday night.    My students voted the pants should be hers after they saw how well they fit her compared to me.  Aaaaggh...?!!  What???,,..... why did I use her as a model.  I loved the colors of these pants, I cut the pants for myself.  The measurement were meant for my hips, 44", not her hips, 56" inches.   At this point I remembered that when something stretches that also means the "ease" is there for any size above your base measurement multiplied by the percentage and added to the original measurement to tell you that those are the sizes the garment will "stretch" to fit.  i.e..  44x150%=66"  That means that these pants will stretch UP TO 66"inches.  So, if you are 44", 50", 55", 60", or 66", then these pants will fit you.  Cool right? Well, that's cool for my child, but not for me.
You can judge for yourself...but I lost the battle of the pants when my students saw her modeling them in our class.  They listened to me explain all the details of crotch fitting and length changes and then chimed in on who looks better in these pants.  She won!!  (the exclamation points express how I really feel.  LOL.)

Looks to me like she has the expression on her face that says::::  "I WoN!!!"  Please tell me you don't love yourself some ITY knit?  Tell me I'm not alone in my contempt for that fabric, please.

Sunday, September 18

DIY Striped Cardigan and Pant Ensemble | Newlook 6735

Well I finally got a good picture wearing my new cardigan with the matching pants and original wrap top I made last year.  Admittedly, this is the second time wearing this ensemble since I finished the cardigan two weeks ago.   I first wore it to the movies and then again to a volunteer working meeting at the community center. It turned out to be very appropriate for each occasion, considering I actually thought it was too casual for the volunteer meeting and way to dressy for the movies.  Not to mention, I thought it would be too hot each time.  I wore it with the sleeves drawn up for the indoor activity, and for the movies it actually kept me warm.  Of course, when I got back outside, I had to remove the cardigan all together.  Turns out it handled pretty well since the fabric didn't wrinkle like I thought it would.
The cardigan is part of a wardrobe pattern ensemble that I worked on during a recent wardrobe challenge with my online and IRL sewing groups.  I don't know why I took so long to make the right topper for this outfit.  I knew I wanted to use this strip as compliment for these pants, I just couldn't figure the right look.  I originally sketched up a look and sewed up a top that went south really fast....a sheer DUD!!!  PLEASE...LAUGH your head off.  I'm good with that, it looks good on the skinny super tall model.  Another reason to understand how your body relates to different looks.
I am totally in love now.  Now I need to work on the fit of the cardigan just a tad bit more.  
I started with my basic alterations:  (The tissue fitting video is here.)

  • 3/4" Swayback
  • 1.5" FBA using the pivot and slide on the front and also on the side seam.
  • 1.5" large bicep for the sleeve using the pivot and slide method again.  (I just love some pivot and sliding.)
  • For the hip if increased in the center back as well as the sides and front.  I also lengthened the entire thing to balance. 
  • The shoulders were lowered by 1/4" at the shoulder point and the sleeve cap ease was shimmied off about 3/8".  I like the roomy sleeves and the fact there is not to much cap.
A note on the back folks.... After seeing the back and noticing that I am now "Curving" a little more than I used to...I went back and gave myself an "untested" change for the shoulder blades.  I will keep you posted on this new change.  I also changed to give it a center back seam, and thus, added a grain line based on the upper section of the back pattern piece so that my HBL (horizontal balance line) will hang correctly.  
Construction points:
I chose not to make the tie belt. Initially, I was going to add a third button, since that is what was called for in the pattern.  Instead, I settled for two buttons, because when I went to find another pack at Joanns, I couldn't find a match.  The seaming was done using my Bernina 1300mdc serger set for the combination overlock and chainstitch.  The thread used was the Bulky nylon from Guttermann in both the serger loopers. 

The shoulders and side seams were done with the chainstitch and overlock combined in order to limit any over stretching for those seams.  Also, on the shoulders and sleeves I used the process that I demonstrate on my video here:
Youtube Video Tutorial:  How to sew in knit sleeves.

After my last cardigan, which I haven't worn much since I made it, except on a cruise...I felt I would consider this length and see if it was something I would wear before making anymore.  The jury is in!!!  I WILL definitely be making more cardigans.  Will it be this version, I'm not really sure.  Although, I do like this style, I am more interested in having one with pockets.  I may redesign this one to add some of the details I would like.  That makes sense, especially after making all these adjustments.  What say you to other ideas for designing cardigans or "toppers?'  

Wednesday, September 14

Mommy and Me outfits..NewLook 6735 and Newlook 6648

When I first heard the comment you are twinsies or that making the same garment or maybe using the same fabric made bloggers refer to each other as twinsies, I had no clue how making this little outfit for myself would lead to the adult version of the mommy and me ensemble.

I try and make something for mom as often as I can. She is always thinking about sewing and I am always sewing. Shucks, truth be told everybody in my family is always thinking about what I could make them. If I just had it in me, I would be sewing a new item for every one of my loved ones daily. I would be pushing out a couple new items each week. I wish I had the time and the inclination to do that. It's just how much I love sewing for my family. However, since I don't have that kind of time, I must limit what and for whom I sew. You already know, Moms are the wind beneath our wings. The breath that helps us rise to greater heights.

The pattern is a quick pair of elastic waist pants and the tops are two different view from the same newlook pattern. I started the pants the day before for myself and quickly realized that I needed a matching top.  I purchased this nylon/spandex sale fabric at JoAnns.
My neckline finish is from the view D cowl neck.
Newlook 6648- View A with C sleeves
The pants are both the wardrobe builders pattern newlook 6735.  The tops are newlook 6648, which is out of print, however, I'm sure you will find it if you want.  Mine is view D and moms is view A with view C butterfly sleeves.  I did a quick tutorial on how to make the "french bound" armhole and neckline treatment while I was sewing my top.  That video tutorial will be up later in another post and on my channel.  To be notified, just make sure you are also subscribed to my youtube channel.

More to come.....

Thursday, September 8

The Cardigan- Tissue Fitting for Knits: Video Tutorial

Hello there, this video is an in-depth explanation of how I tissue fitted a Knit Cardigan using Newlook 6735 as part of the wardrobe builders challenge I participated in with my sewing groups online and off.  As well as an extension of our Sewing Fashionistas Group for our Wardrobe Fit-Along: The Knit Top.

I thought this might be helpful for you all to work to fit any sweater that you may sew this fall as well. I have made two of these already and have a couple more on the table to cut and sew within the next couple months. I am working still to pull together all the content I filmed in making the alterations for this cardigan and my t-shirt. So please stay tuned and subscribed so you can get the updates on the actual tissue alterations when I upload the videos.

Thanks for joining in the process to sew and fit your perfect wardrobe.  Don't forget to like and subscribe to my channel if you haven't already.

Tuesday, September 6

Passion Fruit t-shirt Knit Dress- that 70s Vibe!!

No actual fruit here. Just that flavor, the color of Koolaid and watermelon on a summer day. Cool indeed because it is a rayon knit that feels cool in any weather.   I just wanted to make this dress because I had a feeling for something wild and fun.  The colors of the fabric spoke to me and I just went with the design.  This t-shirt dress look was made back in February, but I just hadn't remembered to blog about it until now that I am doing another "Wardrobe Fit-Along" The Knit Tee-Shirt.  I added the fun flirty "bell" sleeves as another way to show off the double sided qualities that got me to fall in love with this fabric in the first place.
I couldn't decide which side of the fabric to use since it's a reversible double sided rayon/lycra. It was a dream to sew and even more so a dream to wear. It's not hot nor heavy.  I bought it from "Sew Much Fabric, sold out, but here are a few others that are in cue for me to sew during my Sew-To-Fit Along that I am participating in with my "IRL" and Online sewing groups.
The pattern was a Bootstrap pattern basic....a jersey dress sloper.  I changed the hem and the sleeves to get the bottom flounce and the bell sleeves.  Such a fun look.  The neckline wasn't included in the pattern layout since it was just a sloper.  I cut the neckline to my desired size and shape based on my own measurements, and finished it off with a 5/8" neckband.  For the hems, I just folded the fabric over twice and stitched in place.  Since it is a two-sided fabric, that created the bias bound contrast I wanted.
So, in the case only, being two-faced is a good thing.  Have you ever sewn with two sided fabric, how did you maximize its beauty?