Saturday, August 2, 2014

Orientation Module at Penn Foster

I've completed the orientation module of Penn Foster. It was an fairly standard introduction to sewing. Lots of review but I did learn a few things. Somethings you learn include several hand stitches, names of needles and thread, which needles sizes work best for certain fabrics, pattern sizing and so much more. This is a lot of stuff often questioned by beginner sewing enthusiasts. The charts and glossary were very nice. I honestly do not think any of my sewing books cover so much in so little space. Closest one might be my 1975 Vogue Sewing Book. So fare I am enjoying the class and the review is refreshing.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

High Waisted Bikini

It's swim suit time again. Every few years my daughter finds a style she likes but can't quiet find what she wants. A week ago my daughter walked in with an Old Navy bag with two bikini tops that fit her correctly. Very nicely she asked if I would make matching high waisted  bikini bottoms for each. The first one had to be ready for a day at the water park today. This is what we came up with. I started with the basic panties pattern in the book Kwik Sew's Swim & Action Wear. We then fit the basic panty to her sizes. Once we had that fitting I adjusted the panty to what we hopped would be a good high waisted look for her. Next I playing with the general directions in the book to created the gathered/ shirred panel, and finished sewing up a sample pair. The sample pair will make a nice new jersey panty for her. Glad we did that fitting since we ended up adding several more inches to the panties to create the desired look in her swim suit fabric. Happy Sewing!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Laid back and cool like the 70"s

Today I pulled out some wonderful bright bamboo rayon knit. This knit kept screaming old 70's black movies at me. Yeah, you know the kind that Pam Greer would star in wearing those wonderful jumpsuits and flawy dress in. So I took a stab at a two piece sundress. flowy and loss sexy cool.

Yeah it did not turn out exactly as I thought. But I do like the two pieces. The skirt is a self draft. I basically cut the fabric the length I wanted it and used elastic to gather in the waist to my waist measurement. It's not hemmed here and even after I cut off four more inches I decided not to hem it. At least not today.

The stripe top is Lutterloh 293-88-2014. I had a few little problems or questions with this pattern.

1. How to best stabilize the neck edges. I had a sewing friend suggest just stabilizing the back which I did do. I also stabilized the shoulder seams. I think next round I may try to do something with the front. I felt like the bamboo rayon knit could have used a little support.

2. How to best secure the front crossover so it does not droop?

3. make sure next round with this top to hem before basting cross over to other side front. Really once you sew the side seams you can't really hem it. So my version is not hemmed.

Over all I lied this top pattern and will do it again in a solid color.
Here is the top Lutterloh 293-88-2014 matched up with my black and pink piping skirt Lutterloh 281-144-2011.

Lastly the striped 70's inspired skirt with an Old Navy pink t-shirt.

I don't know what tomorrows adventure will be. Not hearing any of my fabric calling out to be next.

Oh well. Happy sewing.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Church Flow Skirt.

This week was one of those weeks were I was testing my pattern making skills for a few tops (bodice). I will share those shortly after I work out a few kinks. Love learning pattern-making. Found myself really shooting for a super fun outfit for Fathers Day Church service. Well that certainly called for a new skirt first. Here it is. A super simple 3 piece skirt using your body measurements. I followed the basic ideas form this maxi skirt tutorial . My additions included inseam pockets and two 11/2 X2 inches pieces off elastic add to each side of my waistband above the hip hopping it would snug in the knit waist band a bit. Next skirt I will be reworking the waistband since the 4 way stretch knit is having a work out keeping the skirt up and keeping it's shape. I also need up shorting the skirt 5 inches from my original measurements. Not sure if son took my length wrong or is I some how miss measured the fabric. Love, love this skirt and will be making more. Fabric is a simple cotton quilting fabric picked up at Walmart. Happy sewing!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

And Then There Was An A-line Skirt

Once upon a time a sheet was hanging at a thrift store. That sheet did not know what it's purpose was any longer since it's partner was no longer around. In came a bright determined sewer who looked at that sheet and saw a skirt. Took a few dollars to to buy the sheet. She then brought it home and cared for its needs with a good hot washing and drying. Gently fold that sheet and placed it promptly in the sewing corner of the kitchen.
For weeks the dressmaker tried to figure out what to do with the sheet. Drawing pictures and looking through patterns to find just the perfect garment or two.
One cold and dreary spring.... Are we sure it was not still winter? No, spring weekend the sewist dreaming to become a designer decided to watch the Patternmaking Basics: The Shirt Slopper offered on Craftsy.  New inspiration began fluttering and and singing in her brain. Although this would be designer had a perfectly good skirt block made from her Surefit Designs Dress Kit she thought it would be great fun to see how she could change that pencil skirt (straight) into some thing new.
When it came time to work with the fabric she released she could not separate the sheet from her new friend, some pink broadcloth, and decide the broadcloth would be the perfect lining.  Other decisions went into the plan and inspiration began dancing in her head. The skirt no longer would be a straight skirt but and a-line for summer with in seam pockets.  So at last the day came and the button was sewn on. The happy seamstress looked at the creation and said yes this is good. Smiling as the sheet now skirt fluttered in the wind with all it's glory.

The magic of dart manipulation and adding volume. I've been reading about it in several books including  Patternmaking of Fashion Designers, and Make Your Own Dress Pattern. It was just the right time to take a new step. One of the things I have learned is that having several well fitting basic patterns is all you need to start designing more for yourself. A rather good wardrobe can be at your finger tips.  I will be sewing this skirt again. After a few more minor adjustments  I commit it to card stock like my initial pencil skirt I made earlier this year. I'm not sure what's up next on my sewing table but several Lutterloh tops have been calling. Happy sewing!

Update: My daughter tried on my skirt and it fit her perfectly. I decided to give it to her as one of her Mary Kay outfits. Here she is styling it.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Special Delivery

In the last few months the mail person has brought several well waited package to the door and none of them are fabric. Ok it's not just the mail person but the the amazon download monster too.
My sewing library seems to be getting bigger and betters as I stretch to go to the next level.
What is that level I'm not sure but I know it includes pattern making and new respect for fashion sketching and historical clothing.  The new titles that have made there way to my shelves are How Patterns Work by Assembil Books, The Complete Book of Sewing by Constance Talbot, Drawing Fashion by Bill Thames, Fashion Sketchbook by Bina Abling, Decorative Dressmaking by Sue Thompson, How To Design Your Own Clothes and Make Your Own Patterns by Claudia Ein,
Vintage Lingerie by Jill Salen, Pattern Cutting Made Easy by Gillian Holman, and last but not least Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong. Trying to mind the budget it is so nice to find many of these titles used on Amazon.

Happy sewing until next time.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Makings of a Great Skirt Sew Off

The weather this winter has been horrible. Snow, cold, snow, cold etc. Enough already!I really should not complain the cold had me looking for spring/summer skirts which lead me to Lutterloh 267-159-2007. This skirt had my mind moving and my yearn to play with fabric going. Never dreamed it would become a  huge disappointment for me. Three tries later we got to the point of one I might wear this summer but the verdict is still out on that with ten inches of snow still on the ground. On to the review.

Lutterloh 267-159-2007 (supplement-pattern-year) 
Pattern Description: 
This is a mermaid skirt that would be used in conjunction with a sari or other ethnic type garment. Sorry don't have a better explanation.
Pattern Sizing:
Lutterloh is based on your bust and hip measurement. Your pattern is drafted out using these two measurements. So ideally if your bust and hip are 50cm to 140cm the system should work for you. 
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?.
Yes but in one fabric.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Lutterloh has no instructions. I checked a few of my resources about fit.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the general shape of the pattern. What I disliked once it was made was that it had no darts or other helps to fit it properly.
Fabric Used:
This was a piece of poly mix of some sort I picked up in Jo Ann fabrics clearance section.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I drafted this pattern out a total of 2 times with 3 alliterations. The first was in a 122cm hip to try to create it as a wrap skirt. I ended up having to cut over 2 inches from the hem. the skirt was so large I had to remove my over lap and still take it in over 2 inches on each side seam. after much putzing with it I decide a need to re-draw the pattern. Second draft was done in a 120 hip. the ease was still huge 6cm in the waist and 4cm in the hip according to the patter paper. Once I sewed it up it still was about 6 inches to big in the waist so I took in each seam by about 1 inch. By this time I was very tired of playing with pattern and put the wearable muslin in my closet not taking it back out until today. 
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes to both questions. I’m determined to get the fit correct on this one. I have some wonderful bright summer tropical fabric waiting to be made into this skirt.
This one might end up in the waste basket.

When it comes to sewing the best 2 cents I can give is try something new. So I did. For the first time in a long time I drafted a pattern from scratch to use to compare to my other patterns and then I decided to to give my SureFit designs a try. My endeavor is to eventually remake the above skirt from scratch. In the mean time why not have a little fun making some new skirts and playing with different styles. This leads us to my first SureFit pencil skirt that I made with the aid of the dress kit  and the pencil skirt design sheet. There is nothing like learning a new system, but after making a quick skirt sloper this pencil skirt went together like a dream.

This pattern was drafted using the SureFit Designs dress kit and downloadable pencil skirt fashion leaflet.
Pattern Description: 
Pencil skirt with back slight, darted waist, waist band and back zipper.
Pattern Sizing:
I used my measurements to create the pattern. With SureFit’s dress kit it teaches you how to use your body measurements to get a good fit to start out with.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes the instruction used to draft the skirt were easy to follow. I checked a few of my resources about fit only to make sure I was not seeing anything that I need to fix.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I wanted a blank canvas to work with to create other skirts. This simple pencil skirt will work great as a starting point. The waist may have been taken in to far but that maybe a measurement mistake on my part.
Fabric Used:
A denim remnant found at my local Goodwill.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I first drafted out my skirt sloper to address any fit issues. I found on my slipper that my waist and hips were too big so I had my daughter remeasure me. I then drafted a new copy of the sloper. Next I adjusted the this pattern to be a pencil skirt according to the fashion leaflet. trying on the pencil skirt mid way through construction I thought I saw some pooling in the back under my bum but after having my son take the pictures I don't seem to see it any more.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes to both questions. This may become a TNT skirt to use to create other skirts and designs from.

This is a good wardrobe builder.

Let the skirt sew off continue. 
If you are wondering what books I might consult when sewing and fitting something new it would be Easy Guide to Sewing, Fit For Real People, Fitting and Pattern Alterations, and A Guide to Fashion Sewing.