Constantine is on a bike trip in Provence, enjoying beautiful weather, great food, and excellent company. It's also a vacation of sorts for me, since the nest is now truly empty. I spent the weekend with the kids, doing some lovely things, but Monday was all for me. I didn't even exercise, though probably should have. I went up to the sewing room with my breakfast and came down only for food! I finished my Sallie maxi dress, and like the pattern enough to do it again, but with better fabric choices.
My ironing board cover finally pushed me over the edge into action. It was too short, having shrunk with the copious steam and heat. I covered it with a fabric that I recently got from "fashionfabricclub" that is very pleasing to my eye and will likely be very durable. I used a linen from my stash, wrong side out, to make the drawstring casing, and "Bob's yer uncle," got that thing done in no time flat. Very satisfying to gaze upon, though not particularly pretty. My water has a lot of iron, and so there is an eventual rust look to the board, despite filtration. This informed my choice of cover fabric.
Then I did something I've been wanting to do for a while. I took out my embroidery module and stitched out a few designs. Lisa had asked me for a case for her beloved Nook, and I didn't get it done in time for her trip to Aruba, but here it is, and I love it. I would not have preferred to do the quilting stitches on the monogrammed flap, but I forgot to put the Velcro on the back of the flap before construction, so it was going to have stitching showing. Live and learn, maybe.
Then, there was the new embroidery design pack I bought because it was on sale and had at least 2 designs I love. Fairy Frost must be a "last year's model," but Christmas designs really should transcend trend. I stitched out this design and even got the courage to put gold thread in there. It worked without a hitch, though I did slow the stitch speed to about half for that part. I'm going to try the applique Santa for a pillow for Sophia if I get the time and nerve. The hardest part of embroidery is the preparation of the substrate, as the rest happens almost automatically. I have to remember that and prepare many at once. Walking out onto the front porch to spray the adhesive is the hardest part!
I like the styling on this, and thought I'd try to do the flat lock seams that my serger features. The seams are strong and the seam allowance is flattened into it. I used the web tutorial below to learn the intricacies of this stitch, and learned the hard way that I need a really good tail of thread before and after each seam. I also learned that I have to tie the thread tail into a knot or the seam will unravel in a flash.
Unfortunately, after making a beautiful, strong, flat seam, I used the cutter on the serger in sewing the pieces together, which sliced that thread and the careful knot off, so the seams started unraveling as soon as I tried that puppy on. OK, lesson learned. I also tried a different way to make flat seams, which takes a little longer, but not when you consider how long it took me to make leggings that I won't trust.
So....you know that stretch stitch on your sewing machine that looks like a lighting bolt? I never liked using it because it's slow and I'm impatient, and why use that when I have a serger? Well, it's actually a really good (almost) straight looking stitch, and I suffered through it to make the seam between that side piece and the back piece. I pressed the seam allowance to the side piece. Then, I used the cover stitch machine to go over the seam allowance, top-stitching on the right side of the garment to make a nice parallel stitch, holding the SA flat. If you don't have a cover stitch machine, a double needle will do this very nicely.
UPDATE, 10/7/15: I reverted back to simply serging that curved seam, and it worked fine but does leave a noticeable ridge of seam allowance on tight leggings. Next time, I'll either flatlock and then remove the blade for the construction part of the garment, or maybe cover stitch over the serged seam allowance, though I suspect that's going to make too much bulk. If I flatlock and then reinforce with some sort of strong stitch at the ends, I'll feel less worried that my seams will split at an inopportune time. As another modification, I think that the waistband construction on this pattern is a little more fussy than it needs to be. I seem to do fine with the Peg Leg waistband, and it's so much faster and easier! I might do this that way in the future.
The best thing about this pattern, besides its pretty lines and great fit? I needed less than a yard of fabric to make it, (mind you I'm only 5'1") and so I had enough left over to make another one with the alternate seaming technique. This is what a "wearable muslin" is all about!! Which brings me to the next thing I want to mention...in sewing garments, I have historically purchased a pattern, some fabric, and set to work making the garment out of the fabric. Seems logical, yes? Well, this is why I stopped sewing garments a few decades ago. By the time I was done with a garment, I often had a piece of clothing that wasn't great. Either the fit wasn't right, or the construction looked sloppy, or something made me regret it. If it's something that I would have tried on and rejected in a store, I was very frustrated to think I'd spent my time and money on it and was stuck with it.
Sewing clothing is a process. It takes at least one, sometimes many, trial runs to get a pattern just the way I want it. Then and only then, should I cut into the fabric I envisioned as the final destination. I have found many times that the wearable muslins made of less precious fabric end up being my favorites!
Here's the flat lock seam tutorial that was so helpful:
INancy Rink designs some truly spectacular quilts, mostly with solid colors. I fell in love with this one on the Craftsy website, and bought the kit. I'll post my meager progress as I make it, but this is the final product as interpreted by one quilt artist:
So, as expected this project is a "slow and steady" affair. Here's progress: this block, today.
I've been sewing some garments, though too many to post in a timely fashion. There's been a rash of great Indie patterns published in the last few months and I've spent a lot of time downloading, printing, taping, tracing, cutting and ultimately, sewing. This is the Boundless Dress by Patterns for Pirates, (P4P) which has become a very reliable source of patterns for knit fabrics, which I have been buying like the next apocalypse is nigh.
Boundless in Art Gallery's Ink Outburst Atelier and some grey knit that was in my stash.
I didn't think I'd use this fabric when I received it, because the print was WAY bigger than I'd anticipated. I used it as a muslin for the Peg Leg pattern by Judy Hale, (P4P) and they turned out too fun to discard. The fabric was purchased on etsy at Nouvelle Fabrics.
This silly hoodie is the Sol Hoodie by Jamie Christina, and the fabric is a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee's knitfix. Recognize the trim? It's Heather Ross's linen fabric from a few years ago. Very precious, and perfect on this garment.
Ah, the Brazi by Stitched Upon a Time. This pattern makes me look better than I deserve, especially with sewn-in girlie parts, which I bought at Wawak.com in what seems like great bulk. (see post dated 5/17/15, when I expounded on the availability of $3 breasts, in pairs, so really, more crudely, "buck and a half boobs.") Speaking of breasts, I generally expect clothing to cover them, so this was my recent "fail" of a blouse, which it turns out was user failure because I allowed the neck bands to stretch so much that the neckline really wants badly to fall to my waistline, and we simply can't have that.
So I'm going to take another stab at this pattern, by Lee Lee from Wild Blumes Patterns, called the Romance Raglan. Stay tuned. I've got a plan.