Tag Archive | ant

Applying The Lessons Learned

IMG_0016After being so pleased with the construction process of the dinosaur vest, and then so flustered by the construction of the ant jar vest, I wanted to make another vest. And in the process I wanted to apply the lessons that I had learned and to end the vest making process on a more positive note.

So, I grabbed some more bottom weight scraps from my pile and some monkey printed flannel and I got started! As I laid out the fabric to cut, I spied some pleather that I had waiting to make its way it to the stash. Oh yes! I would give this vest a pleather collar and welt pleather pockets to step up the style!

DSCN3956With the design completed, I started to cut out the fabric. Because I was working with scraps, I did not have a single piece big enough to cut the back of the vest on the fold, so I would need to add a back seam to this vest. A back seam would not affect the wear or the construction of the vest so I saw no problems in having a back seam. Applying the lessons learned from the previous vest constructions, I remembered to cut the extra inch for the buttons on the fronts of both the top fabric and the lining. I also remembered that I wanted to add some interfacing to the pleather the next time I used it. Soon, I had all the pieces cut out, interfaced, and I was ready to start sewing.

DSCN3957The first step in the sewing process was the embroidering of the monkey design. Remembering the lessons learned from before about placement, I thought long and hard about the placement of the embroidery design versus the size of the design and the collar before I finally hooped the fabric and stitched the design. When the design was completed, I saw that I was not going to have an issue with the collar covering the design. If fact, I had over compensated and I was wishing that the design was a little higher than it was. Even though, the monkey design is the best placed embroidery design I have done on these vests, I still have a few placement lessons left to learn.

DSCN3700The next step was to sew the pleather welted pockets. As I debated about the placement of the welts, the husband peaked over my shoulder to see what I was doing. When I showed him the pleather welts, he said no, that I should make patch pockets like on the dinosaur vest from the pleather. I explained to him that I already had the welt pockets cut out and interfacing applied to the pleather welts, but he insisted that I should cut new patch pockets from the pleather instead. Since I know that the husband has a good eye for design I followed his lead and cut out some new patch pockets from the pleather and sewed them on the front of the vest. The pockets came out great! The pleather was easy to sew and the pockets look very good on the front of the vest. Plus, the monkey embroidery design sits at the top of the pockets so it is now not too low.

DSCN3702When it came to the pleather collar and the pockets, I remembered lessons learned about using a press cloth to iron the pleather. I top stitched the edge of the collar so that it would match the stitching on the pleather patch pockets. The rest of the sewing process went smoothly, even the stitch in the ditch seam of the band.

When it came time for the buttons and buttonholes, I applied the lessons learned from the previous vest’s buttons and buttonholes. I decided not to have a button at the top of the vest, but to place the first button so the vest was open as I expected the vest to be worn. I then spaced the other buttons appropriately. The buttons looked like they were in the right place and there was no seam issues when sewing the buttonholes.

DSCN3963I am super pleased with the end results of this vest! It is just adorable!

And as much as I hate to say it, the husband was right and I just love the pleather patch pockets!

The pleather patch pockets are just perfect with the monkey embroidery design and the pleather collar.

Plus, I am super pleased with myself for remembering and applying the lessons learned from previous sewing projects.

I hope some little girl will enjoy wearing this vest as much as I have enjoyed making it. With the success of this vest, I am ready to more on from vest construction to other sewing projects, but I will happily make more vests at anytime.

Until then, sew forth and apply your lessons learned on!

Some Lessons Learned For Next Time – Part 2

Continuing on with the sewing of the denim ants in a jar vest…

DSCN3525The next step in the sewing process was to add the pockets. Since I really did not have a pattern for the side seam pockets, I decided I would design and sew them how I wanted. In designing the pockets, I wanted the fun flannel I was using to make the pockets to show, so I decided to cut a rectangle from the sides of the jacket fronts. But, how big should I cut the rectangle? After some thought, I cut the rectangle what I thought the size should be, 5 inches tall by 1 inch deep, and then cut the pockets to match. With this size of square, I would place the pocket 1.5 inches from the bottom of the fronts.

DSCN3524In the sewing process, I noticed right away that I had a good size opening for the pockets but not much depth to the pockets. I should have cut the opening square shorter and used that extra length for the pocket depth. It was too late now though as the fabric was already cut. So, the finished pockets are very cute and the flannel is showing, and the pockets will certainly keep the wearer’s hands warm but the pockets won’t be too useful for hold many items due to their short depth. Another lesson learned for the next time!

DSCN3530The next step was to add the bottom band which was a little difficult due to the stiffness and weight of the denim. I had to use a little liquid stitch to help hold the denim in place to start and stop the stitch in the ditch seam. There was a lot of bulk from the denim front, the seam allowance from attaching the band, and the folded over finish of the band, i.e. 5 layers, in this seam. I trimmed the seam allowance but it was still bulky and difficult for my sewing machine to get started on this final band seam, but I made it through it ok.

DSCN3531The final step was to add the buttons. I measured evenly to place the buttons, but when it came to sewing them on, I had to move the top button down slightly due to the bulky denim seam at the top of the vest. This left the buttons mis-spaced slightly. The top button is not quite high enough to keep the vest closed around the neck if it is worn closed. If the top button is left undone, the vest opens a little too much before the next button. This could have been avoided by sewing horizontal buttonholes and avoiding the DSCN3928 (1)bulky denim seam at the top, but because of the pieced strip on the front of the vest to add the extra inch, I had to make the buttonholes vertical. If I had given the placement of the buttons versus the bulky denim seams a little more thought before I started to sew, I could have placed the buttons better. Another lesson learned for next time!

Now that the vest is complete, I am pleased with the end results. I also think the vest will wear just fine, and I hope some kid will enjoy wearing it too. Many lessons were learned from the making of this vest and I hope to remember all these lessons and apply the lessons to my future sewing projects.

Until then, sew forth and button on!

Some Lessons Learned For Next Time – Part 1

DSCN3928 (2)My latest sewing project was destined to be yet another learning experience for me.

After the successful sewing of the dinosaur vest, I wanted to make another vest. When I made the dinosaur vest, I had envisioned so many different options and fabrics for these vests, so this made it easy to decide that my next sewing project would be to make some of these vest options a reality!

The designing of this vest was not difficult at all. When I was picking out the fabric for the dinosaur vest, I had also pulled out a denim scrap that was just big enough to make a vest and a greenish blue flannel with yellow bug outlines from the stash. I could see a vest from these two pieces of fabric and I knew that I would sew one of my favorite embroidery designs, some ants escaping from a glass jar, on the front. Because of the large size of the embroidery design, I would give this vest side seam pockets rather than patch pockets.

With the design of the vest all outlined, it was time to cut it out and get sewing!
DSCN3931 (1)When I laid out the pattern pieces of Simplicity 8902, on the denim fabric, I remembered that I needed to add an inch to each front for the button overlap. I carefully laid the pattern pieces out correctly to cut the extra inch, but then I promptly cut along the edge of the pattern piece as shown on the pattern and I did not add the extra inch. How dumb was that? Well it was done now and I couldnt undo it so I decided it was a lesson to be learned for the next time I make this pattern.

The denim scrap that I had was not big enough to cut two new fronts, so instead I cut two 1.5 inch strips of the denim to add to the fronts of the vest. The strip would look like an intended button placket rather than a fix, so all was good despite the cutting error that I made. After cutting out all the pieces and remembering to add the extra inch to the front of the lining, it was time to being sewing.

DSCN3930 (1)The sewing process started with embroidering the design to the front of the jacket. I remembered that I wanted to do the embroidering first before adding the pockets to keep the pockets out of the way of the embroidery. I also remembered that I wanted to move the embroidery design down so that there would not be an issue with the collar covering some of the design.

What I had forgotten was that the ants embroidery design is two inches taller than the dinosaur design and I did not remember to take that into account when positioning the design. So, even though I moved the design down on the vest, the top of the design was still higher than I wanted it due to the extra height of the design. After stitching the design to the front of the vest, I realized that the top of the ant design was still going to be under the collar, and not just at the edge of the collar like the dinosaur design but that the ant at the top was going to be under the collar. That will be another lesson learned for next time I use this design!

DSCN3932 (1)Flustered even more, I now had to come up with a solution to fix the collar/embroidery design problem. I thought about making this vest collarless or adding a standing ribbing collar that would not fold over, but I did not like the look of these options.

I decided to see if I could just shorten the collar enough so that it would not cover the ants but it would still fold over and look ok. To do that I cut over an inch ff the bottom of the collar. The collar looks a little small now that it is done, but it works just fine. The collar lays right at the edge of the top ant’s antenna, and with a little encouragement, the stiff denim will fold over just enough to cover the collar seam. Still not being totally pleased with the collar, I continued on with the sewing process to the next steps.

But that’s a story for next time.

Until then, sew forth and ant on!

Another Bubble – Part 3, The Buttons

DSCN0544I was very unhappy with the serged seam that I got when attaching the bodice and skirt together on this bubble top. It is bulky and heavy and did not serge well. I think it is ugly. Even after top stitching it down to the bodice, it isn’t the result that I wanted. I had wasted my time and webbing worrying about the thread of the embroidery design under the lining being uncomfortable when this serged seam is far more of a problem that the threads would be.

One reason why this seam is so awful compared to the same seam on the first bubble top is the bulk of the bodice fabric. Rather than using a thin lining fabric for the bodice, I used the same fabric for both the top fabric and the lining of the DSCN0549bodice. This fabric is heavier than a lining fabric would have been. So by the time I was ready to serge this seam together, it was four pieces of fabric thick. Unlike on the last bubble top where all four of the fabrics were thin, three of the fabrics on this top were heavier fabrics, two of which were significantly heavier. It gave me food for thought on what not to do for the next bubble top. It also gave me another reason to make a third bubble top. If I am using a heavier fabric, I may want to do the stitch in the ditch type of seam rather than the serged seam to finish this part of the top.

DSCN0540Because I did not have the expected overlap for the buttons and buttonholes, I made the buttonholes vertical. But with the bulky serged seam attaching the bodice and skirt together, I could not make the first buttonhole as close to the seam as I would have liked. So this top only got two buttons instead of three and they were not stitched where I would have liked them to be. I don’t believe the button placement will affect the wearing of this top though. I think that part will be just fine. Even more food for thought on the next bubble top though. Perhaps I need to do the buttonholes before attaching the bodice and skirt, or solve the overlap problem first and then make horizontal buttonholes.

DSCN0533This bubble top was a huge learning experience for me, just like most of my sewing projects are. This top has convinced me that another bubble top is in my sewing future. I believe there are still things to learn from this pattern. Even with the issues that I will change on the next bubble top, this top is still very cute and I think will wear well.

I hope that some little girl will enjoy wearing it!

Until next time, sew forth and bubble on!

Another Bubble – Part 2, The Skirt

DSCN0543Sewing the skirt for this top was the next step. I remembered this time that I wanted to make sure and iron the hem before I stitched the skirt to the bodice. But after doing so I quickly learned that, no, I did not want to iron the hem before I stitched it to the bodice. Ironing the seam just smashed the gathers and flattened the bubble. So, after ironing the hem, I had to try to fluff the hem enough to get the bubble back.

One thing I wanted to do better on the next bubble top was to finish the ends of the serging on the seam attaching the bodice and skirt together. Because the serging is exposed and not hidden with a stitch in the ditch seam, I wanted a clean serged edge once I was done sewing it. After doing a little internet searching, I found two techniques for finishing off serging that I wanted to try on this top.

DSCN0157The first technique started with serging a chain of thread. Then the fabric is placed under the presser foot of the serger and the chain of thread is pulled around and laid on top of the fabric between where the needles will be stitching and where the blade will be cutting. As the serger stitched, the chain laid under the loop stitches, leaving a clean starting edge. This technique worked well for the start of the serging, but it would not work well for ending the serging so that is where the second technique came in.

DSCN0159For the second finishing technique, the fabric is serged right to the end, the presser foot lifted and the fabric pulled around, flipped over and placed back under the pressure foot. The next step is to serge down the already serged seam a couple of inches and then serge off the edge. This technique left a rough edge at the end of the serging, but not where the serging is exposed at the end of the seam. This technique worked well at the end of the serging but it would not work well when the serging starts.

So, between the two techniques, I had much cleaner looking serged exposed edges when finished. I still need to practice with both techniques some more before I would say that I am proficient at using either one. And so that is yet another reason that I will be making another bubble top in the very near future.

Next up, part 3, the buttons.

Until next time, sew forth and bubble on!

 

Another Bubble – Part 1, The Bodice

DSCN0533I love fabric. I love it so much that I hate to throw away any scraps. I measure and debate way too long about my scraps before they hit the garbage can. What could I make from these scraps? Is it large enough for another project? Will I want to piece it together with another fabric later? As I contemplated the fate of the scraps from my blue shirt with white sleeves, I decided there was enough scraps of the blue print and white fabric left to make another bubble top. There was not enough for a size 6 like the last pink and white bubble top, but enough for a size 3, so I reprinted the pattern and got started.

Because it has not been so long since I made the last bubble top, I remembered the things I wanted to do differently on the next one I made. While cutting out the bodice I added 1 inch to the back pieces of the bodice so there was fabric to cross over for the buttons. I also cut a 1 inch strip of interfacing and ironed it to the back bodice pieces to give a little extra support for the buttons and buttonholes. The rest of the top was cut the same as the pattern called for.

DSCN0538Since the bodice was made from the white scraps of the sleeves of my shirt, it needed something embroidered on it. The picnic ant design from my last shirt would work great and match the red in the blue fabric. Embroidering the design became the first step in the sewing process, which was odd. Usually embroidering a design on something I make is one of the last steps in the sewing process. I did iron some webbing on the back of the design to help smooth the threads even though there is a lining for the bodice that would hide the threads. This design would be against the little girl’s chest, and I did not want bumpy thread to be uncomfortable when the top is worn.

The bodice stitched up fine. When I had finished sewing it, I laid it out on the cutting table. There was a good two inches of overlap at the buttons. What had happened? Had I mis-measured? Maybe adding a whole inch was too much? I flipped the bodice inside out and cut 1/2 inch off my added inch and restitched. Laying it out again, I now had a 1&1/2 inch overlay. What? At this point I decided that maybe I cut the first bubble top wrong and that was why there was no overlap for the buttons, or maybe the size 6 pattern line was off leaving no overlap. So, I flipped the bodice inside out again and cut off 1/2 inch more. Cutting off the extra inch also cut off my P1040331interfacing so I had to reapply more interfacing for the buttons and buttonholes. I restitched the seam and turn the bodice right side out again. Guess what! It now had no overlap. What? This was going to require more thought than I wanted to give at that moment. The bodice was the same as the first bubble top. The extra inch had been cut off. Since I wanted to keep sewing and not solve this problem at that time, I decided that another bubble top was in my future where I would address the back overlap issue. Since I could not add the cut off inch back to the bodice, I would just finish off this top the way it was. It would just have the side seam issue of the first bubble top that I had made.

Stay tuned for Part 2, the skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and bubble on!

Am I Too Old (For This)

DSCN0389I have been totally enjoying the sewing process of making some little girls dresses and bubble tops and I decided that I wanted to make more, so I pulled some more fabric from the stash. The pieces that I picked to make the next little girls project were a green and white cotton fabric and a green with lady bugs print cotton fabric. These two pieces of fabric looked good together and I could see either a dress or a bubble top easily made from this fabric combination.

But as the fabric sat on the cutting table, I started to wonder to myself if I should make myself a shirt from this fabric instead of another little girls project. In the next moment I wondered to myself, “But am I am too old to wear a green shirt with lady bugs on it?”

“Bah! Who cares! Surely not me!” I said to myself.

Besides, I really like the fabrics and it is time to make me another collared camp shirt from my altered sloper pattern to test the fit. So could I make this shirt from this fabric combination? Yes I could! There was plenty of fabric to make it with. But would I wear this combination once I had the shirt made? Yes I would! Now how about if I put a cute picnic watermelon ant embroidery design on it? Would I still wear it then? Yes I still would! So I decided to get started on it right away!

DSCN0391I cut out the fabric using my newly altered collared camp shirt sloper pattern and got started sewing it together. It sewed together nicely and soon enough I had a fun summer shirt all ready to wear. Sewing this shirt was not the problem. Wearing this shirt was. And not because of the lady bugs or the ant.

After I completed the sewing of this shirt, I pulled it on and noticed right away that the fit was not right. The shoulder seams did not want to sit square on my shoulders and the front of the shirt kept shifting back like it wanted to choke me. I had to keep pulling the front of the shirt down. On the back of the shirt, there are pull line from the armscye to the collar.

DARN! Where had I gone wrong?

These were the same alterations to the pattern that I did for the last shirt I had made, the blue shirt with the white sleeves. And I had wore that shirt and except for the depth of the armscye it all seemed to be good. I pulled the blue and white shirt on again and wore it around the house for a little while only to learn that it too suffered from the same issues. I realized then that I had only wore this shirt to work, under my jacket, and that it was my work jacket that had been keeping the front down. So, I now had to figure out what the alteration problems were and how to fix it.

IMG_0238 - Version 2It did not take long before I figured out that the back where the collar attaches was cut too deeply. And I was depressed that I had two shirts with the same problem and had not caught the problem before making the second shirt. I don’t really know if raising the back will fix the issue but it seems that by raising the collar, and not having it drop so far down my back will help.

Ok, so I think I have figured out what the alteration problems are. Now can these two shirts be fixed? I debated about adding a yoke to the back of the shirts. This would be a way to add enough fabric to raise the collar back up. I also thought about abandoning the collar, adding a facing and make the shirts collarless. Even though the back of the shirt would still be low on my back, there would not be the weight of the collar dragging the back of the shirt down, and hopefully that would make the shirt more comfortable to wear.

DSCN0394While looking at the work that would be needed to fix the issues with these shirts, I lost all interest it trying to raise the collars. The blue and white shirt is a work shirt and is fine under my jacket. Although, the lady bug shirt was made to be a fun summer shirt, it would now be a work shirt too. Since finding the issues with the shirts and trying to solve them, I have wore the lady bug shirt to work and it wore just fine under my jacket as well.

I even received several compliments on the lady bug shirt at work. I don’t know if the compliments were sincere and my coworkers really liked the shirt or if the compliments were a rolling of the eyes that I would wear lady bugs. Really though, I don’t care either way. I really like the lady bugs.

While these two shirts will not be my favorite shirts to wear and they will see less wear than some of my other shirts, I still think they will be ok even if not perfect. But that is just the way it is sometimes. Unless I get a wild hair to alter them, they are what they are. They are not unwearable by any means. I decided that my time would be better spent making a new shirt with a raised back and letting these shirts just be off in the fit, so that is what I’m going to do.

DSCN0418P.S. Speaking of altering, I altered another one of the husband’s shirts. This was one of the last shirts I had made for him before he lost some weight so it was quite large on him. I removed the collar and took a full inch out of the shoulders, then I re-attached the collar. I also took 1 & 1/2 inches out of each side seam including the sleeves. I could have taken even more out of both the shoulders and the side seams but I stayed on the conservative side for this alteration. I can cut more off later if needed. As I learned from altering my shirts, it’s much easier to cut extra fabric off than to add fabric back on. His shirt is still a little large on him but the fit is much better than it was and I think he looks good in it.

Until next time, sew forth and alter on!