I have been anticipating this post for some time. The green custom dresses have been completed and delivered. It took just over six weeks to create the three dresses and three ties for this Christmas order. Now I can finally … Continue reading
Am I the only one who loves to watch movies like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (CCBB) and My Fair Lady while stitching? I love these classics! Although, I wish Netflix would stream more Fred Astaire. Also, people seem to think … Continue reading
This time of year is so busy that I don’t even know where to begin. A repeat customer of mine has requested three dresses and three mens ties for Christmas. The kicker is that she (as usual) waited to the … Continue reading
Remember the Christmas dresses that I made for my repeat customer Martha? Martha’s family was featured in an online magazine and they even made the cover. The shots they used for the story and the cover were of the family dressed in their finest. Ya, that is right, the Christmas dresses I made. Whoot! The article photos look so great. They were taken by my nephew. He is quite the budding photographer. Have a look.
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
Every time I think about sitting down and telling you all about my latest projects, I get distracted by another project. This year has started off as busy as ever with year end reports for work and tutor evaluations, etc. In the little spare time I have had I have been completing orders and planning new projects. The first order completed this year was a set of green (flower girl) dresses for an Etsy customer.
Immediately after completing that order, I had to quickly turn aound another blue heirloom dress for another order. The start of this order was delayed a bit by the flu bug I caught in December. Having made the dress 4 times before, it was not too difficult to quickly complete another one.
My Etsy listing for preemie gowns has been getting a lot of traffic this month, as well. I have completed and shipped three so far for 2013.
We received a surprise belated present from my aunt in Texas. It seems that my maternal grandmother (the one who I owe all my fiber art talent to) crocheted this piece for us several years ago. She was apparently waiting to give it to us until she had it properly framed. My aunt was able to persuade her to part with it and go ahead and send it as it was. I purchased a frame and solid, uncut mat and framed it myself. We love it! I am so grateful that we are able to have it hanging in our home where it belongs.
Finally, I used my Amazon gift card from my boss to purchase this little gadget of joy. It is a foot massager and it works great!!
I have several projects in the works now that I will post about soon and I was thinking about posting about my next dress project in a step by step fashion. A follow along project, if you will…we will see.
Not much time to blog today, but I wanted to let you know about a video that I found this morning. This is such a cool technique and it will probably show up in one of my Etsy dresses very soon. Enjoy!
The top is finished and it does fit, however, there are a few things that I would do differently next time. Overall, I like the top, but, I don’t really like the construction of the sleeves to the bodice, as they tend to fall off the shoulder. I did fix this problem, but would preferred not to have had it in the first place. Here are the remaining details on the top construction.
As noted in the previous post, the sleeves in the pattern were not long enough for my taste. I like long sleeves or short, not in between. Extending the sleeves on a pattern is usually not really a problem. This time, though, I had the added issue of not having enough of my main fabric for the job. Since I generally wear black as my “base” color in my clothing choices, here is how I solved my sleeve dilemma.
I added 7.75″ to the end of the sleeve pattern (when I thought I had enough fabric). Once I realized that I did not have enough of the main fabric, I “sliced off” the added extension from the pattern piece, added a seam allowance to the extension piece and the main sleeve piece, and cut it into equal triangle portions, making sure to add seam allowances wherever I cut two triangles apart. By adding the seam allowances, I was able to “reconstruct” the sleeve extension after I had cut the fabric pieces. Using these triangle pattern pieces, I cut pieces of black and remaining main color remnants and sewed them together to “reassemble” the extension. I hope that all makes sense.
This top called for bias binding and I make my own. To do this, I cut 1.75″ strips of bias fabric in whatever color I prefer. For this application, I used the main fabric. If I had used a commercially available color, like black, it would have created the look of a noose around the neckline of the top. Not something I find flattering. Once the strips are cut, fold in half lengthwise and press. To use, open up fold, stitch strip .25″ from edge of neckline (or whatever edge you are binding), right sides together. Fold binding over seam and fold under .25″ on other long edge. Stitch in place along back side by hand, or machine.
There are many different techniques for gathering edges along sleeves, necklines, and waists, etc. I use my pleater to do the job. Insert a needle at position 1 and another at position 3. This creates perfect “gathers” and allows me to sew between the two rows of pleating thread when I attach the item to the main garment. After the piece is attached, remove the pleating threads.
Once the sleeves were assembled, I assembled the top according to the pattern directions. Because of the smocked panel and the looseness in the sleeve caps, I had to make an adjustment in the bias binding around the neckline and sleeves. To do this, I made a slit in the back of each bound section and inserted elastic that cinched up each section just enough for a great fit. This pattern does not have much of a cap for the sleeves and they are not bound to a collar for support, so without the elastic insert, they tend to slide off the shoulder, a feature that I don’t like, for sure.
There were many places in this process that I could have done a better job of explaining what I did, but for a first attempt, I think blogging about the process turned out pretty good. There are so many more projects in the queue that I want to tell you about. Please let me know if you liked this series, or if you have any questions at all about fiber arts that I might be able to help with. I would love to have an ongoing dialog here about all things fibery
A few weeks ago a customer contacted me and asked if I could make my Annika dress in the University of North Carolina at Wilmington colors. I said certainly and started looking for the exact colors of the school. This was a little harder than expected and so the customer graciously sent me a t-shirt with the logo and colors on it for comparison purposes. This dress is the result and I believe the colors are as close to exact as one can get. What a fun project this was.