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
So, those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I embrace change with open arms. This usually manifests itself in moving furniture around, learning new skills, or traveling to some place I have never been … Continue reading
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
The panel that I pleated in the last post is now in the process of being smocked. The pattern I chose for the smocking is a simple alternation between a half-step wave and a full step wave. This pattern can be smocked without any diagrams or guides and is very basic. I wanted to keep the color scheme down to beige and black, so the thread I am using is DMC 310 (black).
Once I have completed the smocking, I have to block it. To find the center of the panel, I have to lay out the pattern piece for the yoke on the ironing board and do some measuring of sorts. First, I use the line at the 9″ mark as my center, since my board is 18″ in length. The instructions have the front yoke piece being sewn together down the center. Since my panel does not have this center seam, I have to compensate by removing 5/8″ from the center. I trimmed a piece of paper to 5/8″ and laid it on the pattern piece. See how the 5/8″ line now runs down the point on the pattern called “center front?” This is the line I place on the 9″ guideline as my center point of the yoke.
After finding the center, I can now see how large to block out my smocked panel. It needs to be blocked 6.5″ on each side of the center line, or 13″ total across. I block the smocking panel by stretching it to the proper length and steam “pressing” the pleats in place. Once the piece is dry it will retain the shape and size blocked while you work with it in the pattern. You can see from the photo below that the smocked panel is now blocked and ready for cutting. To cut the smocked panel, I lay the pattern piece on top of the panel and line up the center of the piece. Notice that I folded back the 5/8″ seam line on the pattern piece. With a disappearing ink marker, I trace the pattern piece. Then I sew on, or just inside, the drawn line with my machine.
Once the piece has been sewn, cut around the piece on the outside of the stitching line.
One problem I ran into with this top was that I did not purchase enough fabric for long sleeves. Top A has sleeves that go halfway down between the elbow and the wrist. This is a style that doesn’t suit me. So, I had to extend the sleeve pattern piece to obtain the long look I desired. However, when I went to cut out my “long” sleeves, I was short on fabric. See how I compensated for this problem in my next post. Until then…happy sewing!!
I thought it might help me blog more if I attempted to chronicle the steps I go through when creating my fiber items, whether it is a garment, quilt, or even stuffed animal. Some of the things I make are not gifts and so I can at least show the process for some of you who may be interested in the creative process as it relates to sewing in particular.
So, let’s get started. This pattern is a top that I decided to make for myself. I have selected top “A,” however, I intend to alter some of the pieces to suit my style.
I liked the front panel, as it could be smocked, pleated, gathered, or left plain. Any garment that has an insert of this nature allows you to substitute the insert with something else. Basically, I follow the rule to create the substitution insert fabric piece first, then cut out the pattern piece from the created “fabric.” When doing this, it is important to find the pattern piece that is the actual size for the garment. In other words, if I chose to smock the panel and then cut out my smocked fabric using a pattern piece that is supposed to have a pleat in it, it will not work. It would be virtually impossible to pleat a smocked piece of fabric. Here are the three yoke pattern pieces I had to choose from.
I chose #12. Number 8 was much larger because it allowed for the piece to be pleated after it was cut out. What I wanted was a piece that was already “actual” size. There was little difference between #2 and #12, so I started to go with #2, as you can see from the photos. However, it was important to figure out why #2 and #12 were just slightly different in size. After looking through the sewing instructions for the top, I figured out that pattern piece #2 has a single pleat in the center and pattern piece #12 is the actual size of the yoke without any gathers or pleats. I went with #12. For this top, I wanted to smock the front yoke. So, I measured the yoke piece (#12) from top to bottom, although all three yoke pieces were the same height. The measurement was 12″ and I wanted the pleats to be vertical, so I cut a strip of fabric 45″ x 12″.
I threaded the pleater and then ran the strip through in preparation for smocking the panel. The pleater can look intimidating, but it is actually a very simple device.
Here you can see the finished result of the pleating (again, I changed and went with pattern piece #12 after this photo was taken). In the next post I will cover the smocking, blocking and cutting of the pattern pieces.
Last week I took a class on digitizing. Although the class was not using the software I currently own ($100 version, instead of the $1495 version the class was on), I was able to learn several things that made my program seem less intimidating. I took the class to get a basic working knowledge of just “how” to digitize an image and what the basic tool functions are. Digitizing is nothing more than creating a stitch file that your embroidery machine can read from a piece of clip art or any other image file. It involves drawing on a layer on top of the image.
Another great thing about the embroidery machine I now have is that I don’t have to do machine applique by manipulating the fabric under the needle. With this machine I can take a digitized file, hoop together two layers of fabric and stabilizer and push start. The machine does the applique for me and then I just trim away the excess fabric. Since I wanted to practice the skills I learned in the class, I downloaded a clip art heart from the internet and set about digitizing just the outline. Then I did the method above and the result was a really cute applique heart. One thing led to another and by the time the day was over, I had completed a very adorable set of overalls for a 6 month old boy from scrap fabric I had in the drawer. There are endless possibilities for this method and I know you will see more of the results show up here in the coming months.
PS. The reason the bib and cuffs are a solid color is because I did not have enough striped scraps to make the outfit. Sewing two colors together and then cutting the pattern out is a great way to use up those scrap fabrics in your stash
This blog was indexed by google on October 30th. Coming soon we will have information on knitting designs, knitting patterns, and ways to travel with your projects. Stay tuned. Thanks.