Tuesday, October 28, 2008

French seam tutorial

This post is for Heidi, or anyone else interested in the technique. This is what I was taught was a french hem. But I have never read a sewing book so if I'm calling it the wrong name, feel free to correct me.

Okay, first you start with your two fabrics pinned together with the right side facing out:

Next you sew them with a 1/4" seam allowance. On my machine it's the width of my machine foot. (If you are using a knit, you always want to slightly stretch the fabric while sewing so the stitches won't break as you pull it over your head or wear it.)

Then trim the seam to approximately 1/8":

Now press. As a general rule of thumb, I always press seams toward the back:

Here's the inside after pressing:

Now pin again with your pins parallel to the seam. (Sorry for washing these photos out with my flash.)

Sew. I usually do just a tiny bit more then 1/4" here. Most patterns include 5/8" seam allowances, so this will make it exactly that amount.

And press again. I am big on pressing. That makes a difference between something that looks professionally made and something that looks home-made.

Here's the end result:

It takes a little more time but is great to do if you don't own a serger and like neat insides. Keep in mind you need a thin fabric to pull this off. I use it on jersey knits, shirting, shears, etc. I think denims work well also.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vogue 8409 - Denin pleated bodice dress

Here's my latest wardrobe addition. Everyone needs a denim dress, right? Or maybe that was true in the 90's... Anyway, I really like the outcome! I decided not to line it since the fabric is thick and sometimes denim stretches out. This way I can wash it and the fabric will tighten up. Here's a close-up of the front:

The bodice front is cut on the bias so the pleats fold really nicely. It's just a tad low, hence the cami. I think these sleeves are really cute:

I apologize for the lighting. These pictures were taken about 10 AM on a slightly overcast day. I thought morning light was suppose to be really great.

Here's a back close-up so you can see what's happening in the design. Instead of darts, the back has little tucks. I used an invisible zipper for the closing.

On the inside, I made use of bias tape to finish any exposed edges. I ran out of denim during cut out so I had to use some lining fabric for the inside inset. Since it was thinner then the bodice fabric, I added interfacing. This piece was slipstitched all the way around.

On the side seams I used french seams, and the armholes were covered with more bias tape.

Here's the inside slit. I curved the edges so I could use even more bias tape but I think I'm going to do this from now on for garments with slits. The corners don't fall forward and there is no need to tack them down.

Okay, so why denim? Is it because I homeschool and all homeschooling mamas are required to run around it denim jumpers? (Just kidding!) No, I actually wanted a dress to match these shoes. I know they're a little different, but I love them.

Up next is Vogue 8536, the cross-over front top with long sleeves.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Butterick patterns!

Butterick finally put their winter patterns online. Check them out here. The following are my picks:

Wide necked dresses are so popular right now. I haven't loved any of the patterns with this design element until now. View C is my pick. I think the asymmetrical wide collar is so cute, especially with a pretty pin. Goodness knows I don't need another dress pattern. Oh well, I'll probably buy it anyway...

I'm planning to make some knit tops this winter. (My previous post shows all the knits I bought to make into tops.) So I was super excited to see this pattern. View D is my favorite, with the off-center twist and long sleeves.

Okay, I like it but I'm slightly annoyed at the timing. I just made a ruffle front blouse, and I had to fiddle with the pattern to get the right ruffle and sleeve to fit what was in my mind. And 2 weeks later Butterick comes out with the exact same style. Not that I care if other people have the look, just that this could have come in handy 2 weeks ago when I was making my version! Anywho, I do like view C with the pleated yoke, so will probably buy this one as well.

Here's the dress I'm currently working on:

And here's a new pattern Butterick just came out with:

Look familiar?!! This is the exact same dress!!! So if anyone likes the Vogue, buy the See&Sew Butterick for $2.99 and save yourself a little money.

I'm planning to have my Vogue dress completed tonight and posted tomorrow. That is unless I get stuck in it again and have to cut my way out. I think my zipper is a dud.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cheap jersey knits!!!

Ooh, excitement!!! I was just browsing at Denver Fabrics, and they have a ton of new jersey knits. Their prices are awesome and I've never gotten a knit I didn't like. Plus, they take returns! And the shipping is reasonable, too, in my opinion. Here's what I got. I think everything was $4.00 a yard!

It was super hard to pick just these 6. I've never been to their site and seen such a selection. Check it out!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

McCall's 5522 - Tuxedo inspired white blouse

I saw a bunch of these tuxedo-looking shirts at the mall a few weeks ago. (I went there to buy jewelry, not clothing. I'm still sticking to my make everything for a year challenge.) Anyway, I really liked the look, but couldn't find anything like it among the pattern companies I browse. Then I remembered this pattern I had in my stash. I didn't like the big ruffle down the center at first glance, but by cutting it down to only 1" wide and ironing it flat, it morphed into exactly what I wanted.

I made view B, the one in the middle. As I didn't like any of the sleeve options that came with this pattern, I swapped them for the shorter sleeves of McCall's 5630. Then I got a little indecisive and wondered if maybe a shorter sleeve might look better:

Definitely not! Here's the side view. You can see the cute cuffs and button closure.

Here's a close-up of the front ruffle. You can also see the texture of the fabric as well. I love this design, with fitted mid-section, bust gathers, and collar supported with a collar stand.

Close-up of sleeve detail:

When I started this blouse, I knew I wanted to wear it with this vest I made last month. So when it came time to make the button holes, I made sure the buttons above and below the vest were situated in a pleasing position. I like this better then the white blouse I took the vest pictures with, which I found a bit plain.

Shall we look at the insides? I did all the vertical sewing in french seams, and put bias tape around the armhole and middle seams. The collar and facings were slip-stitched, which this fabric made very brutal for some reason. It doesn't feel very thick, but must be tightly woven because needles didn't go through it easily.

Up next is Vogue 8409, with the 3/4 sleeves, in a cute dark denim. I'm not planning to line it, so am hoping it will be a quick project.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The PERFECT fabric!

Okay, so maybe this isn't the perfect fabric ever. I don't think I could pick one of those. But it is the perfect fabric for a jacket I've been in love with since I was flipping through my Burda magazine a month ago.

I LOVE this jacket. It's kind of a military look but still fitted and feminine. Check out the front and back view that I've scanned:

I'm planning to extend the sleeves to my wrists and do away with the "wrist warmers", as they call them. Oh, I just love the design! But I couldn't recall ever seeing fabric like what they've used. Then the Super Jo-Ann's opened last Friday and of course I had to check it out. And look what I found!!!

I even found the perfect buttons - at 50% off I might add. They are the same dusty black with squares in the center. This fabric might look thick but it's not. It's perfect!!! I am so excited about this I just had to show you. They also have brown and navy in this size squares as well as smaller squares. It's ain't cheap at $14.99 per yard, but was marked down to $8.99 and I only needed 1 3/4 yards. I might go back for another color after I see how this sews up. However, don't expect to see it really soon. I'm still sewing for fall and this jacket is in my winter sewing category.

Monday, October 13, 2008

V8461 Turquoise jacket / S4086 Brown & turquoise floral skirt

Okay, I'm hereby admitting that I have a weakness for the brown and turquoise color combination. This floral has been in my stash for at least a year, if not more. I love it, but didn't have much of it, so I decided to make it into a skirt and needed a top or jacket to match. Vogue 8461 is what I came up with. It's simple and fitted with a fun oversized collar. Here's the back:

If I had to make this again, I would use a thicker fabric. But that turquoise wasn't easy to match so I went with what I could find. The pattern calls for snaps, but I feel a little uncomfortable wearing a jacket by itself with only a couple snaps holding it up. (This brings to mind a red dress my mother made for my sister, Elisa, that was closed with Velcro. There was a slight fiasco with that dress coming open at the bus stop...) Anywho, I decided to add some buttons. I did the full lining in chocolate brown. Might as well match the skirt, right?

The sleeves have darts at the elbows. Here you can see the sleeve lining slip-stitched to the sleeve.

I made the view in gray, with 3/4 sleeves.

Okay, about this skirt... My gut instinct was to make it a bias skirt with a little elastic waist. Did I listen to my gut? No, I did not. I had a cute new pattern, NewLook 6593, and I thought I'd try it out on the fabric I love that I've saved for over a year without first making a muslin. Very dumb idea. Here's a picture of the offensive pattern:

It turned out looking like a shapeless sack. If you have this pattern consider yourself warned. But I'd already made the jacket and loved the floral. I went combing through my pattern stash, looking for something I could save the fabric with. I found Simplicity 4086, now out of print, but that I had made before and knew wouldn't turn into another shapeless garment. I took the first skirt apart and used 1/4" seam allowances. Here's that pattern:

I made the top left view, minus the tie belt and belt loops, and shorter. And phew! It turned out looking cute. Here's a view of the top of the skirt you can't see in the outfit photo:

Here's a view of the full lining:

And here's the very tiny hem:

And oh, yes, Simplicity 2858 has died. The brocade with butterflies was very pretty, but had the same 4 butterflies repeated again and again. I should have chosen a simpler design without princess seams or perhaps paid better attention during cut-out. The good news is that I got it for super cheap and didn't invest much sewing time before I realized it wasn't looking good.