Monday, June 27, 2011

Vogue 8723 Muslin

I have a joyous wedding to attend and need something new to wear.  I wanted to make something a bit different for me.  I usually wear tailored pants and jackets or straight skirts, now this; a lace dress with a full skirt.  I just love the neckline on this design, straight across the upper chest gives a retro feel, yet the skirt is just full enough to look modern.  I picked up this wonderful lace while in N.Y. at Mood Fabric, everyone is very helpful there.  This particular pattern has different bodice pieces for cup sizes A-D, I usually have quite a bit of fitting to do, but with this pattern, I just need a few tweaks and we're good to go!  Well almost...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hemming Knits with a Double Needle on your Sewing Machine

I'd like to share a tip with you.  I have a coverhem/serger machine, but I don't use it as often as I should.  I really haven't made many knit type garments that require a coverhem, so knits have a learning curve for me.  I blogged a Donna Karen knit dress, and if you read it, you know that I wasn't overjoyed with the coverhem.  It was a bit wavy for my taste; I like hems that look smooth and light (not much thread in there).  Since I'm very comfortable using my sewing machine, I thought I'd try a twin needle for a "coverhem" type hem.  I did a few tests and quickly produced a hem that I LOVE!  I want to share it with you since many of us are sewing up our knits for the warmer months.

Here's what I did:
First, I pressed up the hem the desired measurement making certain it was even all the way around.

Then I put it under the needle to see exactly where the left needle would enter the hem.

Using the throatplate as I guide, I marked/eyeballed the bottom of the hem.  You'll notice that I used the walking foot- more about that later.

You can see exactly where the bottom of that hem needs to be.

Now, turn the skirt over and line the folded hem up to your marked area.  I'm showing the completed garment here, but this is how it was done before the hem went in.

I sewed completely around, starting and stopping at exactly the same place.    
To produce the smoothest hem, I used my walking foot and only guided the fabric lightly, in other words- I let the machine take the fabric through without pushing or pulling- I also stopped to smooth the layers when necessary.  I used a 2.5 needle, my tensions were normal, as as you can see from both sides; I was able to get a smooth, light and exact hem that I'm happy to show and wear.   Click on the pics for a good close-up view and see how nicely a regular machine can hem knits.

I love to hear from you and if you find this helpful, please let me know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

McCall's 6282 Knit Dress

Here's the finished dress, I made collar/view C and sleeves/ view A.  I'm pretty happy with the result and think I'll get lots of wear out of this one.  I do quite a bit of fitting while sewing, as the pattern designers (Palmer/Pletsch) suggest.  I really gave plenty of thought about whether or not to add a bust dart.  After it was done, and I pin fit the dress, I hated them; now that all is put together, I'm glad I did.  I changed the gathers on the dress, they are supposed to go across the waistline but I lowered them to the high hip line- I just don't want extra fabric at the waist, they made a rectangular silhouette.  I used a JET lining from Jo-Ann's fabric and made it a teenie bit smaller, like Spanx!  That worked out great.  I also used a twin needle on my Bernina 1530 and it produced a smooth and beautiful hemline; I'm pleased with that.  I love the fabric, it's a cotton with Lycra from FabricMart, the soft-toned animal print is lovely.

Here's what I liked about this pattern:

  • The basic draft, which included a lining
  • Collar and sleeve choices
I didn't like:
  • Instructions- I think they were a bit confusing and would probably cause a beginner to make mistakes.
  • Sizing.  I felt this pattern ran a little large for a knit dress and I had to tweak quite a bit.  To be fair I did use a very stretchy knit, but I still think it should have been drafted smaller through the middle.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where in the world is SewBarbie?

Well, I've been here,

And there.
"We're having a heatwave"

"Diamonds are a girls best friend"

"One silver dollar"

"Isn't it delicious?"

Carole Lombard was tiny

Back of Lana Turner's gown

Mending a tear
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was thoroughly entertaining!  Daniel Radcliff and John Laroquette were so much fun in their roles, we were all laughing and applauding wildly.  Then on to the Debbie Reynolds auction of movie memorabilia in Beverly Hills.  Do you recognize the first four dresses?  All Marilyn Monroe- it's amazing to see them this close and unprotected, I wanted to reach out and touch them, but people were watching.  She must have had great charisma to outshine a couple of these outfits.  The next dress was worn by Carole Lombard, boy- was she tiny!  If I had stood next to it, it would have looked like a child's gown...only very curvy!  The green dress was worn by Lana Turner, the mannequin is very small and still the corset doesn't even begin to close- this glamour girl had a teenie little waist.  Perhaps I should stop eating for a year or two...

Regarding sewing, which is what we are all interested in- most of the gowns had extensive hand stitches; I would say that the fell stitch was on more gowns than any other.  Did you notice the repair on the green dress?  I wonder if this happened before or after the filming.  I suppose that even the movie seamstresses made mistakes too- now I feel so much better. ;-)  It was interesting to see the applied embellishments and the stitches chosen to do so.  In many cases the buttonholes were the kind that you might make on a vintage machine.  I have an older Bernina 730 that makes these very delicate machine buttonholes.  I found the construction details very inspiring.  There are lots more pictures that I will share later, so stay tuned.

I am working on a knit dress and will blog that this weekend.  My motto for this one is: "Just say NO to bust darts!"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Vogue 1220

Hats off to Donna Karen for this design!  This pretty shawl-collared shirtdress is feminine, easy to wear and fun to make.  I had doubts about the color, but it looks great on, and is perfect for summer.  I'm taking it on a NY trip and will wear it there.  I like the obi-belt, but I think I'll wear it with an ivory belt and shoes- it gives a nice orange sherbert look to it.  I added a lot of length to this one , I was very concerned that it would be too small, but it ended up being a little loose, which is okay with me.  I love that it has pockets and the tulip shaped skirt give it a vintage 60's look, that I just love.  I'm already thinking about making it again- one of the bloggers did it in a stable weave and it looks wonderful, I may do the same.

My tool for this project is Bernina's #63 foot.  I hear many sewers complain that these narrow hemmers never work, but I have had nothing but easy going with this one.  I run these long seams at full speed with no worries, and zip, it's done.  The key is to start the narrow hem correctly and feed the fabric straight into the foot.