Tag Archive | armscye

Invested

DSCN1372DSCN2485 (1)Do you ever have a pattern speak to you when you see it?

Me! Me! Me! Sew me next! Sew me next! Pick me! Pick me!

Well, this pattern did not just speak to me, it screamed at me!

The minute I saw this free vest pattern on the internet, I abandoned all of my other sewing plans.

Since I could not ignore its request to be sewn next, a boy’s vest became my next sewing project.

DSCN2491DSCN2492What caught my attention about this vest pattern was the endless creative possibilities that it presented.

From the fabric I would use to make this vest, to the type of pockets I would sew, to the embroidery and details I would stitch, there were dozens of designs decisions to be made.

First off, I picked the fabric. I choose some sport weight scraps for the outer layer of this vest and some flannel for the lining.

I did question using flannel for the lining though.

The smooth slippery fabric of a lining helps with taking an item on and off. Flannel is not smooth or slippery and would actually make it more difficult to pull an item on and off.

But, since this is a vest, i.e. without sleeves, I figured the flannel would be fine to use. Plus, it would add a layer of warmth to the vest, and as an added bonus, I would be using some of the flannel hiding in the stash and most importantly, I could incorporate the print of the flannel with the embroidery design that I would be stitching on it. So, it was not difficult to pick the dinosaur flannel fabric for the lining and a dinosaur embroidery design.

DSCN1364DSCN1365When it came to deciding on pockets, I liked the patch pockets that were used on the pattern so I decided to make them.

The pockets are not just typical patch pockets so there would probably be something new for me to learn from sewing them.

I started the process by downloading the pattern, printing it out, taping it together, cutting it out, and then throwing it away. Yes, you read that right. I threw it away.

DSCN1373DSCN2488As I laid the pattern pieces on the fabric, I did not like the way they looked at all. I couldn’t get the shoulder seams to match and the armscye looked misshaped.

I could see many problems occurring during the sewing process using that pattern and I did not want to waste my time or fabric on a doomed project.

I was disappointed to say the least.

I was so excited to make this vest and I had already put so much planning into it’s design that I did not want to just abandon the project.

So I turned to my pattern stash and what do you know! Lying right on top was a jacket pattern, Simplicity 8902.

Could I possibly use this jacket pattern to make a vest by just leave the sleeves off?

DSCN2487DSCN2486 (1)I did not know the answer to this question but I was certainly willing to find out.

I began to cut out the pieces for this vest from it. Since I was going to use buttons instead of a zipper, I added an extra 1 inch to the front pieces.

I also ironed on a strip of interfacing to this extra inch to strengthen it for the buttons.

My first step in the sewing process was to sew the pockets on the front of the vest.

Embroidering the dinosaur design was next. Then I sewed the shoulder seams and collar. It was then that I realized I should have reversed these steps. The collar is slightly covering the top the embroidery design. If the design had been any bigger, it would have been hidden under the collar.

The next time, I will sew the shoulder seams and attach the collar first and then embroider the design placing it so the collar is not in its way. Then I will attach the pockets last.

DSCN1368DSCN1369This way I will have no problem hooping the fabric for the embroidering without the pockets on the front, and after embroidering, I can place the pockets over the fabric that was hooped.

The original vest pattern had a bottom band. I liked the look of the band so I decided to keep it on this vest, so I cut the vest and lining 2 inches shorter than the pattern called for to accommodate the bottom band. Because of the bottom band, it was easy to sew the lining to the vest.

With right sides together, I sewed around the vest and lining before sewing the side seams then turned it inside out and sewed the side seams. After a lot of pressing, I sewed the band to the front side of the vest and lining and then folded it to the back and stitched in the ditch to finish up the band.

DSCN1374DSCN2490 (1)The last step was to sew the buttonholes and buttons.

I sewed vertical buttonholes so that my buttonholer would not have to move over the pockets. I don’t believe that vertical buttonholes will make a difference in how the vest wears.

In the end the vest turned out absolutely adorable!

I just love it, and it was so much fun to design and make that I can’t wait to make another one.

I have not given this vest to anyone yet so I do not have a “wear test” to tell me whether a jacket without sleeves makes for an acceptable vest, but it looks good to me.

I could always make the armscye a little bigger on the next vest to ease my mind and the fit.

So until the next time, sew forth and vest on!

Catting Around With More Pleats – Part 2

DSCN0853DSCN0854With the bodice now completed, the skirt was next. Unlike the box pleated skirt that I made previously, I did not want a pleat at the center front and back and side seams of this skirt. I wanted the knife pleats to fold away from the center front and back. So, I started by pining these points, center front and back and side seams.

With the skirt divided into fourths, calculating the pleat became much easier. I started folding and found that two pleats per quarter would gather the skirt to the circumference of the bodice. I folded the pleats towards their respective side seams.

Once folded and pinned in place, I sewed around the top of the skirt to hold the pleats in place. With that, the knife pleats were done. I believe this skirt was easier to make than the box pleated skirt was because of the time that I spent and knowledge that I gained in making it. I had already experienced a lot of trial and error on the box pleated skirt, making this knife pleat skirt much easier to calculate.

DSCN0329This time I decided to not hem the lining and top fabric together. This also gave me an idea on how to make the stitch in the ditch seam easier. Instead of sewing the top fabric of the bodice to the skirt, folding the lining up and stitching in the ditch, I would sew the lining to the bodice, fold the top fabric up and sew around the folded fabric.

You would see the seam and there would be a fold, but I felt that would be fine. If it wasn’t fine, oh well, this was a trial dress to learn from and I wouldn’t do it that way again.

DSCN0330It felt odd sewing the lining to the bodice first. It felt like I was sewing it backwards. After completing the sewing, I ironed the seam up and ironed the fold in the top fabric of the bodice. I then positioned the folded top fabric over the lining/bodice seam and started sewing. There was a lot of play in the fabric, so I had to sew carefully to get a nice seam, with no folds or tucks.

With the stitch in the ditch seam, you can ignore a small tuck or fold or a crocked seam here and there because it is all done inside the dress. With the seam on the outside, there could be no tucks or folds or crocked seams since it would all be visible from the outside. Once this seam was sewn, I thought the look was good. The exposed seam and the fold looked fine. But, I don’t know that it was really any easier to sew than the stitch in the ditch seam due to the care that had to be taken sewing to this exposed seam.

DSCN0858DSCN0857I hemmed the lining 2 inches shorter than the top fabric so it would not be seen.

And with that done this dress was completed!

It turned out very cute. Cuter than I expected with the cats and the stars. The knife pleats came out great and the reversed stitch in the ditch seam looked fine. I hope some little girl will be happy wearing this dress.

Until next time, sew forth and cat on.

Catting Around With More Pleats -Part 1

DSCN0321Since I was feeling confident about box pleats, I decided that my next project would be another little girl’s dress but this time with knife pleats. I also picked shoulder cap sleeves instead of full sleeves for this dress.

DSCN0324Selecting the fabric was both easy and difficult. The easy part was that I had just purchased a lining fabric with cats on it for $1 per yard at Walmart. The difficult part was picking the dress fabric. After looking in the stash I found this beige and blue star piece which seemed like it might work. The colors matched ok, but did stars and cats go together? It looked ok to me. Once again, the idea for this dress was to try out some knife pleats.

DSCN0291After selecting the fabric, I cut out the pattern. Because of the pleats, I cut the back of the skirt on the fold with no back slit. This time though I remembered the troubles that I had previously when attaching the bodice when the skirt had no back slit. To get around this problem, instead of a row of buttons down the back, I would make a keyhole button loop and button at the top of the back of the bodice. The back of the bodice would be one piece at the bottom making it easier to attach to the skirt.

DSCN0287Wishing I had embroidered something on the plain green cotton bodice of the last dress, I picked an embroidery design for this bodice. Of course, it had to be a cat to match the lining. Embroidering the design was the first step in sewing this dress.

DSCN0294The next step was to sew the bodice together. Normally, to do a keyhole button loop, the front and back of the bodice are cut on the fold, then you would add a v-shape in the neck line, sew around the neck line, and finally cut the “v” open and turn. There would be no seam in the bodice back, but then the armscye would have to be sewn differently so the neck could be turned. With a back seam, the armscye could be sewn as usual. I did not want to rethink sewing the armscye, so I did not cut the back of the bodice on the fold. Instead I added a back seam, but I did not add the extra inch for the buttons. I would change the sewing of the keyhole button loop and button so that a back seam was involved.

DSCN0297How did I do this you might ask? I will tell you. Step one, I serged the edges of the back seams. Next, I sewed around the neck line, then sewed the back seam of the bodice and lining separately, stopping 3 inches from the top on each seam. I pressed the seams open, then placing wrong sides together and adding the keyhole loop, I top stitched a box to complete the back seams and attach the loop, then I sewed on the button. This is basically the way the pattern said to finish the back seam of the skirt when you have one. It worked out great. The bottom of the back bodice was one piece, but it still had an opening to get the dress on and off.

Because I did not change how the armscye’s were sewn, attaching the cap sleeves went smoothly, especially since they did not extend to the bottom of the armscye. I then sewed the side seams together and with that the bodice was complete.

Up next, the knife pleated skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and cat on.

A Box Of Ladybugs – Part 3, The Attaching

DSCN0691DSCN0693The bodice looked great with the sleeves attached, and the skirt was just adorable with the box pleats done. It was now time to sew the two parts together. This presented an unforeseen problem though. Because I have a pleat at the center back ok the skirt, instead of a slit, I had no way to attach the overlap of the buttons to the skirt and still keep the lining separate for the stitch in the ditch seam.

I had several options I could use at this point. One was to sew the overlap of the buttons together, making them one piece and skip the stitch in the ditch seam, sew the bodice and skirt together and finish the seam off with the serger. This would have been the simplest way to complete the dress. But you know me, I always have to do it the hard way first. Instead of the easy finish, I sewed the overlap of the buttons as one piece, and cut a slit in the lining by the overlap. This left the lining loose so I could do the stitch in the ditch seam later. I just had to make sure that the slit was folded up in to this seams before I started.

DSCN0696DSCN0697The stitch in the ditch seam did not go well. Even with an application of some seam to seam adhesive, spots were missed and the slit became unfolded. The seam was all over the place on the inside of the lining. The back part by the button overlap was a mess. But, on the outside everything still looked great! Having learned enough from the attaching of the bodice to the skirt, I patched up the stitch in the ditch seam and called it done. And I know what to do next time to get a better seam. I then hemmed the skirt and the lining together to complete this dress. I still do not know which is best, hemming the lining and skirt as one or hemming them separately.

From the outside, this dress was a total success and I really should have embroidered a cute design on the blank front of the bodice. From the inside though this dress is a total mess, but that will not affect the wearing of this dress. I think this dress will look cute on any little girl and I hope that she will enjoy wearing it.

Until next time, sew forth and box on.

A Box Of Ladybugs – Part 2, The Skirt

DSCN0175I started making the skirt with lots of thought and some calculations. After I had sewed the side seams of the lining and skirt together I sewed the lining and skirt together, holding it as one piece. Then I measured, folded and pinned the box pleats. At first, I made a big one inch pleat and separated them by one inch. This was too large, so I cut it back to 1/2 inch. After much fiddling with it, I finally decided to put one pleat in the center front, center back, and each side of the skirt. Then I placed pleats in-between those. Amazingly the pleats just worked out evenly, and what was even more amazing was that the measurement of the skirt with the pleats matched the bodice. I don’t know if I could be this lucky again if I made another skirt or a different sized skirt. Probably not, but with the pleats pinned in place, I moved to the sewing machine.

DSCN0191I first sewed down one side of the pinned pleat, across the pleat and then back up the other side of the pleat to the top of the skirt. I sewed carefully to keep the pleats as even and straight as possible on both the front and back sides. The pleats are not sewn perfectly, but they still looked good. After I completed the sewing, I read that it would have been easier to have held the pleat together, stitched down the back of the pleat, flattened the fold in the back of the pleat and then sewed the box on top of the skirt. Making the seam down the back would have held the pleat even. Oh well! If there is a hard way to do it, that is how I will usually do it. If I do it again I will try the easier way of sewing the pleats.

Regardless of the methods I used, the pleated skirt was now all done and it was just adorable! If I had not already made the bodice, I could have just attached a waistband to the skirt and had a cute little skirt all done. As I thought about that, cute little pleated skirts of various fabrics danced around my creative mind, but I decided to finish this dress first.

Next up, the challenge, attaching the bodice to the skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and box on.

A Box Of Ladybugs – Part 1, The Bodice

DSCN0173As you know, I love to sew for kids. Not only have the dresses and bubble tops that I have made recently been a fun sew, I have learned so much while making them. I have used the sewing techniques and design details that I would never use on clothes made for myself or the husband. Now I would like to try another sewing technique, box pleats. So, I turned back to the little girl’s dress pattern that I have previously used. This time I would make box pleats to gather the skirt to the bodice. It would take a little math to figure out how many and what size of box pleats were needed, but I was willing to give it a try. A little math does not scare me since I am good at it and I use it at work all day long. As long as I was making another dress, I decided to add sleeves to the dress as well. So, I had a lot to learn from making this dress.

DSCN0162Now that I had the design of this little dress outlined, it was time to pick some fabric to use for it. The scraps, the ladybug print and green fabric, were still sitting on my cutting table from my shirt, so why not just use these scraps? I wanted to make the bodice of the dress from the ladybug fabric and the skirt from the green fabric, but there was not enough fabric to make it. So, I had to switch that around, making the sleeves and skirt from the ladybug fabric and the bodice from the green fabric. This meant that the bodice design would be very plain. I could fix that though with a nice embroidery design on it. Because this was the first time I would be sewing a box pleat skirt, and I was adding sleeves to this pattern, I decided not to add an embroidery design to the bodice. Since the ladybug fabric is thinner than the green fabric, I decided that I would need to line the skirt. I found a nice piece of white fabric to use for the lining of both the skirt and the bodice, but I decided not to line the sleeves. It wasn’t needed, and it would reduce the bulk.

DSCN0162The bodice was cut out per the written pattern, with the buttons down the back, but the back of the skirt was cut as one piece because of the pleats. With everything all cut out, it was time to sew. I started with the bodice and right away I realized that because I had decided not to line the sleeves that I could not follow the pattern instructions for inserting the sleeves. I had to figure out a different way to insert my unlined sleeves into the bodice instead.

After a great amount of thought, I started by sewing the shoulder seams of the bodice and lining and finishing the edges of the sleeves with some serging. Next I stitched the sleeves to the bodice except I started 2 inches from the side seam and stopped 2 inches before the side seam on the other side. I stitched the lining to the bodice/sleeve combo on the seam stitch line, starting and stopping at the same spots. The next step was to sew the sleeve together, and sew each side seam together. I then had three pieces to join together. Then the pieces were carefully pinned together and stitched together completing the joining of the sleeve to the bodice, but incasing the sleeve in the lining.

DSCN0170After going to this much work to encase the sleeves seams, I thought about a much simpler way of stitching on the unlined sleeves. I could have just held the bodice and lining together and sewed the sleeve on like I would have sewn in any sleeve. The seam would have been exposed this way though, and it would not have been encased between the bodice and the lining. Next, I would have sewn the sleeve/side seams together and finished the seams up with the serger. I don’t know why I made it so complicated but it was all sewn now and I certainly was not going to unpick it. The way I did it left a very clean finish with as many seams tucked inside the lining as there could be.

Up next, the box pleat skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and box 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!