Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Youngest DD Sewing Update

Youngest dd has progressed from sewing on paper without thread to sewing on muslin single layers to pinned double layers, removing the pins before she gets to them.  She has been a steady worker and it has been just amazing at how quickly she's learned!  Here she is working on a flannel bag for some of her little toys:

Stitching the seams.

Turning the bag right side out.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kwik Sew 2100 or Unmentionables

Well, I did it!  I made my first ever pair of panties and I used up one kit I bought at conference!  A good feeling all the way around.  And, you know what?  The panties actually look like regular store bought ones--I know, you'd think that would be obvious, but sometimes sewing can look not store bought and downright homemade.

I used Kwik Sew 2100 and made a size 6 in a bikini.  That means that I'll be able to squeeze another pair of panties from the kit fabric, but I will need to purchase some more elastic.  Here they are:

Just a quick run down on the sewing of these.  I used the sewing machine and not the serger, practising using some of the stretch stitches on the machine.  It seems like you can use pretty much whatever makes you happy and get good results.

As to the fit and all that, well, when I held them up I thought they looked huge!  But once I completed the sewing, they looked a lot better and fit perfectly!  Except for (you knew that had to be part of it!) the front leg and the back.  I think the front leg opening needs to be raised--it looks funny when it's on me.  The front waist and back waist of the panty are very different heights--the front sits perfectly for a bikini, but the back is really, really high.  That would be perfect for a higher waisted panty, but not so much for these.  And it just looks lopsided with the back so high and the front so low.  I'll have to see about adjusting the pattern in my next pair.  All in all, I'm really pleased with them!  A quick and easy project for sure and one that I look forward to trying again...except for one problem.  While I have 2 more undies kits, finding more will be a problem!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The temptation to go hog wild buying goodies at the ASG Conference Exhibit Hall was stopped with difficulty!  I managed to come home with a small assortment of fabrics and a few tools. 

First up, the fabrics:

From left to right, light blue cotton and silk (I think) blend, navy jacquard acetate slinky knit, aqua cotton oxford, blue and white cotton plaid, burgandy and silver cotton stripe.

Here's a closer pic of the slinky knit and cotton/silk(?) fabrics.  I don't usually enjoy synthetics as much, but I loved the navy with the jacquard (not sure if that's the right term) pattern on this fabric.  I got a little over 2 yards so it will be perfect for either a shirt or possibly a dress.  The stripe is destined to be a blouse for me.  I loved the little bit of shine the stripes had on the light blue.

I loved these two because I think both sides of the fabric are interesting and will sew up well using the wrong sides for details, like that blouse that was on the most recent issue of Threads magazine.  Can you see how the checks on the blue look different depending on which side is up?  And on the burgandy, the stripe is shiny on one side and matte on the other.

Finally, I have been looking at garment bags and just wanted something simple.  I saw this and thought it looked easy and I loved the fabric!  Wouldn't you know it?  I got back home and went to one of our local shops and they had the same fabric!  I don't think they had it before conference though or surely I would've noticed it???  Oh well!  They didn't have the pattern though!

As for tools, I bought a pattern notcher, Japanese hand sewing needles (rather a big assortment and very expensive), a silicone thimble (I am thimble resistant so thought it was worth a try), a point presser, and a tracing wheel and paper.  Nothing too exciting there, but they were things I can't find around here.

Any regrets?  Only one--there was a piece of nifty silk in cool colors with a wide striped pattern with lots of details on it.  Beautiful, very expensive, and I couldn't decide what to make if I bought it!  So it stayed.  Perhaps I should've bought it just to look at it!

Only one other thing comes to mind--while the exhibit hall was fantastic, I really want a one stop shopping source where I can find not just fashion fabrics, but the stuff that coordinates with them like linings and the little details that would add to the finished look of a garment (trims, neat zippers, etc).  Perhaps a trip to New York needs to be put on the ol' wish list?  Maybe one day...

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the ASG Conference posts.  It was fabulous!  I had great teachers with hands on activities (I am the type to get bored very quickly in a lecture only situation).  I've come back home energized and inspired!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The American Sewing Guild Conference Day 4

Finally, the last day!  The time was both slow and fast at the conference.  My last day was my only partial day class, a four hour morning class.  I came out with a nearly completed bias blouse!  I loved it!  Here it is finished:

I had enough fabric left over to do this for the youngest dd:

I know, it loses something hanging on my hand! 

Who knew that you could achieve such a great looking top in such a short time and without a pattern?  I bought a kit from the instructor, Julianne Bramson, with the most fabulous rayon batik fabric.  As you can see, it worked wonderfully for this project!  Julianne specializes in bias clothing and has several patterns.  You can check out her website, Fashion in Harmony, to see her patterns and fabrics.  I wish I had a store close by that carried such great draping fabric!

Julianne had lots of samples of bias garments in class.  She also taught how to modify the neckline and add a couple of different sleeve styles.  So easy and such great results! 

Next up, I'll be brave and show you some of the things I bought while at conference.  In the meantime, I'm working hard on cleaning up my sewing space and rearranging it, too!  Gotta have room for all the ideas running around in my head, plus I need to have space for the new purchases!  Really, it's more like I've reached my clutter limit and can't take it any more!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The American Sewing Guild Conference Day 3

My Saturday class turned out to be so relaxing!  Who knew learning couture techniques to complete a little black dress would be like that?  I had Susan Khalje and our class title was (obviously!) 'The Little Black Dress'.  My readers already know from this post that I put all the stress and worry into the class beforehand because I wanted a perfect pattern!  Really rather silly in some ways, but not so much in others.

Anyway, before class most of us had to see Susan to be fitted in our muslins that we'd made before the conference.  She marks the adjustments on the muslin and then you take it off to save for class.  She had two students who had not been fitted before so we got to watch that process in class.  Interestingly, they were two of the more difficult ones with a lot of adjustments so that Susan had them incorporate those adjustments and try the muslins on again later for more fitting.  It was a neat process to watch plus fun to see the patterns that others chose. 

After watching the fittings, we worked on marking our changes to our own muslins on both sides and then making friends with our seam rippers to take them apart.  The muslins are now our patterns and ready to go!  Pretty neat.

Next, we worked on various hand stitches and talked about their usages.  We also got to see samples of Susan's work--fun all by itself.  It was cool to recognize various garments that I'd seen in Threads magazine.  I am looking forward to trying a handpicked zipper--really easy, great control, and a potential decorative factor as well.  I did mine on some very dark navy linen fabric with white thread, so I don't think a photo of it would show up very well except for the white stitches!  But wouldn't that make a neat sailor type garment--dark navy with white thread topstitching? 

Here are a couple of photos of a sample we made of fabric "sandwiches", fashion fabric, underlining, and lining:

This shows the prick stitck, used to keep the lining secure, and the fell stitch, done to join the lining to the fashion fabric and underlining at the neckline.

This shows the underlining basted to the fashion fabric and a catch stitch used as a hem.

We spent quite a bit of time talking about fabric layers and how you can achieve different effects based on what you use as an underlining.  In the sample photos above, I used silk dupioni for the fashion fabric, silk organza for the underlining, and silk crepe de chine as the lining. 

Playing with fabric and doing those handstitches is fun and relaxing!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The American Sewing Guild Conference Day 2

My next class which was on Friday was a Jeans Muslin Workshop, another all day class, with Jennifer Stern Haseman of J. Stern Designs.  Another wonderful day!  I was the first one finished--not sure how that happened, but that's okay!  It gave me time to shop in the exhibit hall where I went straight to Jennifer's booth to buy denim for my first pair of jeans.  I'm still running it through the wash (she recommends 5 washings to get the dye out and allow it to finish its shrinking) but hope this will be a completed project soon so I can enjoy them this fall.

Here's the denim along with a Swarovski jean button--sorry, that is very hard to see in the photo!

Here's Jennifer's pattern for the jeans:

One of the first things we did was to take our hip measurements and then try on the jeans muslins that she had available in ALL sizes.  She helped each of us individually look the muslins over and record changes.  She had some wonderful handouts with step by step directions leading you through the changes, plus pointing out any other patterns pieces that would need adjusting if you changed one area.  Very helpful.  She had her muslin and I think these worksheets packaged to sell as kits at the conference. 

Anyway, the muslins needed to be a snugger fit than the jeans will be--gotta say, I'm sure it works, but those muslins sure look awful and terribly unflattering on!  Let no sag or bump go unnoticed and yes, I will spare you a picture of me (or anyone else!) in the jeans muslins!  Here it is flat though:


Back.  The little rectangles of extra muslin are there to cover up my name which I wrote all over the muslin.  Sure did not want to get my custom muslin confused with anyone else's!

Let's see if I can remember the adjustments we made:

-shorten the legs above the knee
-raise the waist 3"-4" (I'm not wearing low rise jeans!)
-add some room to the back because the side seam was pulling forward
-redraw the crotch curve (she automatically assumes that everyone needs to do this)
-add 1/4" to see seams for ease

In addition to her terrific directions and help in class, she has a blog J. Stern Designs blog that has additional information.  Jennifer, just like all the other instructors at the conference, was very generous about telling people to email her with questions.  She also had a khaki pants pattern that looked interesting and this really great looking blouse pattern with a peplum--those are so flattering on me.  However, I figured I had more than enough fun stuff to keep me busy for awhile!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The American Sewing Guild Conference

If you ever have the chance to go to the ASG conference, then go!  I highly recommend it.  I've been working on getting back to real life which is so hard because I want to go sew.  sigh.  I didn't take any pictures while I was there, but do have some of the things I worked on.  I took four classes:  Bra Making, Jeans Muslin Workshop, The Little Black Dress, and a Bias Top.  The first three were all day classes, roughly from 8 to 5, with an hour lunch break.  The last one was a half day class from 8 to 12.

First up, bra making with Anne St. Clair of Needle Nook Fabrics in Kansas.  Each student needed to go in the night before to try on bra samples and be fitted in the correct size.  That night, Anne and her wonderful staff cut out ALL of our patterns for us, including any adjustments Anne thought were necessary.  When we went in the next morning, we got a little overview and general information about the process.  We also got to see what fun you can have if you make your own bra--matching bra, shirt, and panties!  How great is that??!

Our bras were plain Janes made in either beige or black.  We cut out our fabrics and got to work.  I gotta say that this class is pretty intense and busy, but there's plenty of help along the way.  Seating is assigned so that you're sitting with other women who need similar adjustments.  Anne, Janet and Grace continuously circulated around the room helping and teaching in small groups as each step came up.  It was great!  I came out with a finished bra, plus enough fabric and supplies to make two more. 

Anne considers the first bra to be a wearable test muslin so you can wear it some to be sure that it feels comfortable and fits properly.  I wore mine one day and it felt great, so I think I'm ready to enjoy some of the fun bra kits I bought!  I would've worn it more, but let me just say that the machines for this class were just AWFUL.  They are ASG owned machines which were used last year for this class (and didn't work great then either).  I sewed on them the following two days, too.  They were fine on the muslin and other fabrics but completely rotten on the stretchy silky bra knits.  The stitching across the cup seam looked rather pointy, not a beautiful look under many tops!  I had a sweater that worked fine as a test run, so I could at least give my new bra a try.  Just great!  I love it!

Since this has gotten so long, I think I will break the classes up into separate posts, so look for the other three classes later!  Here are some pics:

This shows the bra making supplies on the left, the book by Anne St. Clair (provided for class use, optional to purchase which I did), and my pattern pieces.

Finished bra!  I have extra padding in the right side to compensate for being a little lopsided.  The kids always preferred nursing on the left....sigh. 

I bought 3 matching bra and panty kits, plus a panty pattern.  From the left, a light blue cotton knit, raspberry metallic cotton knit, and a shiny stretch on the right.  Can't wait to get into these!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simplicity 5364

Today marks the due date for the Ugly Fabric Challenge issued by our local chapter of the American Sewing Guild.  I originally posted about this in May here:  Various and Assorted Catching Up.  It seems like a long, long time ago now!  Of course, I put it off until the last minute.  Bad me.  Once I adjusted to the color of the fabric, I knew it would be perfect for the guys in my life!  They look good in browns so 2 pairs of pajamas pants it was!  I used Simplicity 5364.  All of one pattern piece required.  Super easy, just matching the plaid took a bit of time, during the cutting out.  Sewing was a breeze using the walking foot on my machine!  It used up most of the fabric, too.  Good feeling!

The only thing to note is that I put in elastic in the bottom of ds's pants so his can be longer since he keeps growing!  Otherwise, no changes at all. 

A brown or black t-shirt and this project is ready for the cold weather! 

There were some really terrific projects tonight.  People were very creative with their ugly fabrics!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DH Sewing Update

I had hinted in earlier posts about dh's  sewing projects, but haven't followed through on his completed projects.  He went from this:

To this:

FOUR dogs beds, yes!  Out of all that stuffing (that was photographed after stuffing one bed).  The cut outs on the top are the fashion fabric covers for the beds.

To this:

Edited to add the pictures of the completed beds!  Sorry, I forgot to put them in before posting!

And, finally, something completely different!  Here's the apron made from some lovely cotton batik purchased at a local quilt shop.  He modified the pattern, Simplicity 2824, to make it more substantial at the top by adding a backing/lining.  Here's the final result: