Hopefully, I can snap a progress photo of the Celtic Family Christmas in the next few days to share with you. I am making great progress these days on this particular project. One of the main reasons I am stitching … Continue reading
Remember how I said my husband had given me several (at least 8) pair of blue jeans that no longer fit? He is the only person I know who can lose weight and keep it off. Annoying! Anyway, I have … Continue reading
Yesterday, I took a break from sewing and such to go shopping. There were so many things we needed…and I had to do the obligatory Wal-mart run anyway…and the thrift store was right there… So, shopping I went. If you … Continue reading
Have you seen the various ways people are recycling/upcycling men’s dress shirts these days? I can’t take the credit for this idea, but I thought I would show you how I went about using this idea to make some boys … Continue reading
I have always loved the look of the little sailor outfits on babies. This week I enjoyed the process of creating a set of nautical outfits, complete with reversible hats. These outfits would be perfect for twins. The are sized … Continue reading
Just a quick note to say that, apparently, I am a magnet for unfinished projects. I don’t mind, though. Let me tell you why. My mother-in-law is in a Bible study with a woman who was “de-stashing” patterns recently, and I am the very grateful recipient of about 15 children’s clothing patterns from the 1960′s to the 1980′s. Three of these patterns even came with fabrics that had been cut out, but never assembled. There is something about delving into a half finished project done by someone else and figuring out where they were in the process, what they were trying to do, and why. It is so interesting to see how someone else does something so simple as, say, cutting out the pattern (this lady used pinking shears). She was random about the notches she cut, leaving some sticking out, and cutting v’s for others (I cut a single snip in my notches for reference). Anyway, there is a sense of accomplishment one gets from completing one’s own project, but the feeling is even more gratifying (at least to me) when I am able to do the detective work and finish a project that I did not start. I have finished one of the three dresses and here are the results of my (and her) efforts.
Oh, and here is the latest preemie gown. So sad that this is a burial gown, but happy to know that it will give a nice vision to the parents of their only moment with their baby girl.
In this post we tackle the skirt assembly. Sewing the lace or any other edging, like piping, onto a garment is easier if you draw the pattern outline on the fabric and pin the edging along the line, rather than a raw edge.
Here are the two together for comparison. The one on the bottom is way easier to pin and to stitch than the top one.
Below you can see how, by using a 1/4″ foot on the machine, I am able to stitch with the seam guide right on top of the drawn line. This ensures that the lace is applied uniformly and that the fabric is not pulled out of shape.
When I assemble my dresses, I prefer to use a french seam whenever I can, especially on the long side seams. This type of seam allows you to hide all the raw edges along the seam and makes a more professional looking garment.
To make a french seam (on a 5/8″ seam allowance), sew a 1/4″ seam with wrong sides together. Clean up the edge, removing any stray threads and turn the garment with right sides together and press the seam. Go back to the machine and stitch the seam again using a scant 3/8″ seam allowance. See two photos below.
Remember in the last post that I was confused about the hem band and that I thought there might be an error in the pattern? Well, like I said at the time, I could be wrong and I usually am about those things. The problem, after lots of rereading the pattern directions was not the number of hem bands to cut (2 vs. 4), but rather the poorly written directions for assembly. The drawings are fine, but the directions are for several different dresses and they skip back and forth frequently, which really makes the whole process more frustrating than it should be. This finally led me to break out the sticky notes and cover up the portions of the pattern that did not pertain to the dress I was working on. After that, the dress went together quite quickly and smoothly.
Here was the precise issue. In all the time I have been making girl’s dresses, I have always done hem bands with facings, meaning that I would need to cut 4 pieces (2 bands and 2 facings). On this pattern, the hem band is sewn in such a way as to use the skirt as the facing for the hem band, so the pattern was correct in stating “cut two.” In the photo below, photo 28 and 29 are NOT the dress I am working on. However, they are right below the photo (27) of the dress I am working on, so EVERY time you look at the pattern for reference, you get confused as to how it should look. Photo 27 and 28 are NOT the same dress…
In the photos below, the hem band is sewn with the right side facing the wrong side of the skirt. Then the hem band is flipped around to the front of the skirt and top-stitched in place. Adding to my confusion, the hem band on this dress has scallops that face upwards when finished, rather than down (see photo confusion above).
Finally, we have to have a placket in the back of the skirt. This is the opening just below the buttons on the back of yoke (or top). The directions in most patterns are pretty clear about how to do this, so I will leave you with a photo of mine for reference. Note how the split edge of the skirt is not lined up with the edge of the placket facing, but drops down to the edge of the seam allowance and then back out again.
Last post I determined the pattern and fabric that I would be using for the baby dress I am making as a gift for a friend. In this post, we look at the embroidery. The pattern called for Lazy Daisies, but I opted for bullion daisies instead. Really, any flower could be used here, but I just like making bullion knots, so this was my personal preference. If you have never done this type of knot, here is a tutorial from one of my favorite needlepoint and embroidery sites.
As you can see, I have not cut the piece out, but rather drawn the outline of the pattern piece on the fabric. The reason for this will be clear in the next post.
Close up of the embroidery unit. After completing the embroidery, I read and re-read the pattern for assembly. I could still be wrong, but at this point, I have decided that this pattern (Simplicity #2392) has an error in it. The pattern tells you to cut 2 of the hem band. This is what I did. One piece for the facing and one piece for the actual band that I then embroidered. From what I can tell, the pattern actually needs two bands and two facings in order to accommodate the entire hem. So, I cut another band and embroidered it as well. If, somehow, I don’t need it later on, I will just use it for another dress, or something.
Finally, here is a quirky thing that I do while watching period dramas (my favorite type of movie, tv, etc.). When I see a costume or a part of a costume that I like, or would like to recreate, I pause the film and take a photo with my phone of the screen. This dress (above) is from the movie Impromptu and I really love the smocking detail on the sleeves. Cool, huh? Am I the only one who does this?
Well, not really a sew along, unless you somehow have the pattern and want to dive in, but it is more like a follow along. I thought I would start to document the process of the dresses and things I make so there would be a record of how I create these things and so you can comment (please do) to let me know if there might be a better way.
Since Scott works for the church, we have know quite a few people. At any given time, any of them could be having a baby, getting married, etc. So, there is usually a gift project of some kind in my queue at all times. This time it is a gift for friends who are having a baby girl. This is probably my favorite gift to make. I know you can understand why. Here is the dress I chose for this project:
I am making dress B complete with bonnet.
I won’t show you how I cut out the pieces, because I rarely follow the cutting diagram (see above), but I do always follow the grain-line arrows on the pattern pieces. More often than not, I have found this one detail to be of extreme importance.
Before cutting out any of the pattern pieces, I separated out those that would be needing embroidery on them and set them aside. All other pieces were then cut. The pattern gives some really wonky instructions for doing the embroidery after the dress (and bonnet) have been partially assembled. I don’t like this method, so here is how I do this step.
Taking the pattern pieces for the yoke, bonnet, and hem band, I laid them on the fabric and cut rectangles/squares that would accommodate the layout of each piece. Then I cut and fuse the appropriate fusible webbing to one of each piece of fabric square/rectangle. Taking that prepared fabric and using a washable marker, I trace the outline of the section of the pattern piece where the embroidery needs to be placed. Then I take them square to my light table where I can transfer the markings for the embroidery to each piece. Once this is done, the embroidery can be done on each piece and then the pattern piece can be cut out afterwords. This allows for the embroidery to be done on a larger piece of fabric that won’t stretch out or become distorted. It makes for much easier handling. In addition, if your markings are off, you can then cut your pattern piece accordingly, rather than having to redo the embroidery, etc.
Next post: Embroidery
Hello there, remember me? Poor neglected blog… I have been super busy with a Holiday dress order from the same customer that I made the Easter dresses for earlier this year. She ordered 4 dresses for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays for the same 4 daughters. You will recognize the photo set up for the dresses, but the dresses themselves are quite different. This order was for smocked and embroidered dresses in a deep wine color, where the Easter order was for heirloom embroidered dresses with large collars and lace. I loved doing this order because this customer lets me know what she has in mind and then she leaves it to me to come up with something special. Here is what I came up with.
The bishop dress was based on the Cherié pattern from AS&E issue #44 and the size 14 dress was based on the Angel pattern from AS&E issue #88. The two middle dresses were basic full smocked yokes with embroidery. All 4 dresses were smocked or embroidered with pinks and gold filament, usually twisted together. The size 4 and 14 dresses are beaded within the smocking design as well.
What do you think?