Tag Archive | cording

Have Yourself Some Merry Little Christmas Crafting.

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…

EXCEPT for the crazy crocheter with visions of grandeur still frantically crocheting her Christmas mouse!

2015 Christmas Card Picture

 

I told myself NO CHRISTMAS PROJECTS this year, despite all the wonderful ideas and patterns there are to read about in the blogosphere and on Ravelry for Christmas crafters.

But, right around Thanksgiving the Christmas crafting bug bit me and I decided that just one little, teeny, tiny, project that could be easily completed before Christmas came and went would be ok to make.

This project needed to be something small and simple that could be made with minimal stress and time. As I looked at my patterns and some ideas on line, I found this pattern for some amigurumi Christmas light bulbs and picked it to be my one and only Christmas crafting project for this year.

The pattern for these Christmas light bulbs is very simple and it only took a couple of Christmas movies for me to have 10 bulbs, 2 of each color, crocheted up. It took a few more Christmas movies to stuff the 10 bulbs, and then I had to stop watching movies altogether so that I could concentrate on the details of these Christmas bulbs. The devil is always in the details isn’t it?

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It took just a few minutes to stitch the tops of the Christmas bulbs closed once they were stuffed. I decided to use googly eyes instead of safety eyes, so, with the husbands help, it only took a few more minutes to glue the eyes on to each bulb. But now the long process of giving each bulb a smile and a personality started.

I tried big smiles, small smiles, v-shaped smiles, rounded smiles, and crazy zig-zag smiles but nothing looked good to me. I finally decided on smaller v-shaped smiles. I was using black yarn to make the smiles but the black yarn was not showing up well on the darker color bulbs so I tried white yarn instead. That looked awful, so I switched to some silver color yarn. After much trial and error, I completed the 10 smiles on the Christmas bulbs.

Now, what should I do with 10 Christmas crocheted amigurumi light bulbs? I could chain them together into a string of lights to make one Christmas decoration. Or I could put a bulb on a long piece of string or yarn and make it a necklace for all my friends and coworkers, but who wants a silly Christmas light bulb necklace? At last, I decided to make them up as Christmas tree ornaments.

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I dug through the closet and found some silver and gold metallic cording to make loops to hang these Christmas light bulb ornaments. I carefully cut even lengths of the cording, and threaded the cording through the top of each bulb. I knotted the cording, planning to twist the cording around and then hide the knot in the top of the bulb but this did not work.

The knots in the cording were too big to pull into the stuffing at the top of the bulbs. In hind sight, if I had stuffed the tops of the bulbs less, this would have worked, but I stuffed the tops good and plenty so hiding the knots in the top was not an option. I tried using yarn instead of the cording but that did not look as good. The silver and gold cording added an elegant Christmas touch to the bulbs. So, after much debate, I decided to just leave the knot at the top of the cording so it was still visible.

This was a great idea and a simple solution except that the bare ends of the cording knots frayed like crazy. I wanted the ends of the knots trimmed close but then the cording would fray and the knot would come untied. Flustered, I turned to the husband who said one word.

GLUE!

So thank heavens for clear drying glue. So, after carefully knotting and trimming the cording ends, I doused the knots and ends in glue to seal the cording, stop the fraying and keep the knot tied. After much patience with the knotting, cutting and glueing, the glue dried clear and the Christmas light bulb ornaments were done.

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At first, I did not like what I had made and I thought seriously about tossing the bulbs into the garbage can. But after they sat on the cutting table for a little while, their silliness grew on me and I now think that they are very cute silly little Christmas light bulb ornaments that my friends and family will be more than willing to hang them on their Christmas trees this year.

Until next time, Crochet forth and Christmas craft on!

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Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 2

DSCN2088When I started this jacket, I decided to go ahead add the optional cuffs to the sleeves.

The cuffs looked so cute on the jacket on the pattern envelope, that I wanted this jacket to have the cuffs. But when it came time to sew the cuffs on, they were not turning out very well. They were just too bulky. The cuffs are made from two pieces of fleece. The first piece is sewn to the sleeve, then the next piece is sewn to the first piece and then folded over to make the cuff. I cut out the cuffs, sewed the cuffs to the sleeves and then removed the cuffs. In my opinion, this was a bad design for a fleece cuff due to so many seams in the cuffs and the bulkiness these seams caused. There are four layers of fleece in the top seam of the cuff, and that is just too many layers of fleece.

DSCN2084If I wanted to keep the cuffs, I had to come with a solution, so I gave it some thought and came up with some ideas.

First, the sleeves could be cut longer to make the cuffs. This would eliminating the bulky seams, but I had not cut my sleeves longer so this solution was out for this particular jacket. Another solution would be to use a thin lining fabric as part of the DSCN2086cuff, but I did not have it in me to dig through the stash to find a matching fabric. My third solution was to skip the cuffs, and make more bias tape. I would finish the edges of the sleeves with yellow bias tape to match the pockets. (My first thought was to use the bias tape to finish the edge of the cuffs, but eliminating only one of the layers in the bulky cuff was not enough.) So, I choose this as my plan. This jacket would not have cuffs, and I would finish the sleeves edges with the yellow bias tape.

Thinking back, I could have had cuffs on this jacket by combining the solutions. I could have used a lining fabric and the bias tape to make the cuffs and eliminate the bulk. Hmmm. Maybe I will try that on the next jacket.

DSCN3414By using the bias tape on the sleeves, I did not have to worry about a hem or the fact I had not cut the sleeves longer to accommodate a hem. I applied the bias tape to the edges of the sleeves, trimmed the seams and turned the bias tape to finish the seams. I noticed that the thin bias tape looked weak at the bottom of the heavy sleeves. The way I got rid of this weak look was to not trim the seam inside the bias tape so much, which was different from any other time I have applied bias tape. Previously, when I applied bias tape, I wanted the seam allowance trimmed out before folding the tape over. If the seam allowance was left inside the bias tape this time, the look was much fuller and it looked better.

DSCN3418It was now decision time. Which way did I want the jacket to cross, left over right or right over left? After a lot of thought and debating, I decided to cross the fronts as if it were a boy’s jacket, the left front on top of the right front. This will probably drive the little girl that wears this jacket nuts as she tries to button the jacket backwards, but the half froggy’s that I got from folding the jacket the other way just didn’t look good. Hopefully whoever wears this jacket won’t mind the backwards buttoning buttons if it is a girl.

I was dreading making the buttonholes on this jacket. I was not sure how my sewing machine would handle sewing buttonholes on fleece. Sometimes, even with thin non-stretch fabric, my sewing machine has a mind of its own when it comes to making buttonholes and sews whatever it wants to. To help combat this problem, I made horizontal buttonholes, and held my breath as the buttonholes were sewn, but my sewing machine did great and the buttonholes turned out just fine.

DSCN3413If I had known then, at the beginning of the sewing of this jacket, what I know now, nearing the end of the sewing of the jacket, I would have added piping to the peter pan collar to coordinate with the finished design of jacket. It would have been really cute to have had the bright yellow piping around the collar to match the piping on the pockets and the bias tape on the sleeve. This is definitely something I will keep in mind for the next jacket.

DSCN3416With the sewing on of the last button, the jacket was finally done!

The making of this jacket was a learning experience from the beginning to the end, from the cutting of the fleece, to the sewing of a back facing, to the piping curved pockets to the designing of the fleece cuffs. There were many lessons learned on this fleece jacket.

All in all, I think the jacket is very cute and I hope some little girl will be willing to wear it and will enjoy it!

Until next time, sew forth and fleece on!

Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 1

DSCN3413Over the years, I have accumulated a massive amount of polar fleece in the stash. At first, these fleeces were only purchased with blankets in mind, but over time, my ideas for fleece fabric has expanded. So, when I saw this pattern, McCalls M4981, especially designed to be made from fleece, I knew what I wanted to sew next.

IMG_0002 (2)M4961 is a pattern for a girl’s unlined fleece jacket with a peter pan collar, patch pockets and buttons closures. I was excited to get started, but I quickly learned that this project was not going to be an easy sew or a fast sew.

To start, I selected a piece of fleece from the stash. I chose this cute girl’s design of froggy’s, bees and rainbows on a brown background. I did not have to launder the fabric before I got started since their was no preshrinking needed with this fleece. I traced the pattern, size 6, and got started with the cutting process.

DSCN2575Cutting out this jacket was not an easy or quick task. The print on this fleece was so far off grain that it was almost impossible to cut the pieces so the froggy’s and rainbows were standing up straight. I pulled the fabric and repositioned the pattern pieces until I finally got the pieces cut out. When I finally finished the cutting process, I realized I had lined up the right and left front backwards from each other.

DSCN2572When I folded the right front over the left front for a girl, I got a nice froggy edge on the right side and half of a froggy edge on the left side, but if I folded the front as you would for a boy, left front on top of the right front, then I had a nice froggy front. So, should I have a poor looking front with half froggy’s and cross the jacket for a girl or have a nice looking front and cross the jacket for a boy? That was the question. This question did not have to be answered right away so I decided to move on.

DSCN3411I did add some thin interfacing to the facings and the collar. The husband thought I was crazy for adding more bulk to the fleece, but I explained to him that was why I was using such thin interfacing. I just wanted something to stabilize the fleece at those spots and keep it from stretching while sewing, particularly when it came time for buttons and buttonholes.

DSCN2074To start the sewing process, I did not read the pattern guide at all. Looking at the pattern pieces, the sewing of this jacket seemed pretty straight forward, So, I just got started. Who needs directions anyway? Am I right? I sewed and pressed the collar, serged the facings edges, folded them over and sewed the facings to the collar. Normally, my next step would be to sew a piece of twill tape to the collars inside edge to finish it and then tacked the facings to the shoulder seams. This pattern has a back facing as well though, and I stopped for a moment as I pondered how I was supposed to sew it on. I then turned to the pattern guide and read that sewing the back facing to the side facings should have been the first step before adding the collar.

Too late now!

DSCN3410I was certainly not unpicking all my sewing that I had done up to this point. My first instinct was to grab my twill tape and just throw away the back facing but then I came up with plan to attach the back facing. After some tedious sewing, I got the back facing sewn on, only to find out that I had sewn it on backwards. The wrong side of the fleece was facing out. Augh! There was no way I was unpicked the back facing just to flip it over. It would just remain backwards. Sometimes, just when you think you know it all, and you certainly know better than some pattern maker and you get ahead of yourself, you find out too late just how wrong you are…

DSCN2080When it came time to sew the pockets, I debated about how to get nice smooth curved pockets since the use of the iron was of limited use with the fleece. I had read about using piping to help curve the pockets so I decided to give it a try. I cut bias strips from yellow cotton scraps and made the piping for the pockets. When it came to sewing the piping to the pocket, I was having trouble starting the bias tape in the fold of the pocket because of the bulk of the fleece. I turned to some liquid stitch for help. I folded the yellow fabric over the top of the cording in the piping and glued it down with the liquid stitch. This gave me a finish at the top of my piping so I did not have to keep tucking it into the fold. I did the same thing at the other end of piping on the other side of the pocket.

DSCN3409I don’t know if I really like the look of the piping at the top of the pockets done this way but it is fine for this time. I think I need to read more on how to start and stop the piping on pockets. The piping did do its job and it helped to curve the edges of the pockets and hold the curve in place as I stitched the pockets on.

Plus, it looks really cute and makes the pockets stand out from the rest of the jacket.

There is a lot more to say about the sewing of this jacket but I’m going to stop here and give you a break from the long list of lessons I was learning on this project. Stay tuned for the finale of this backwards jacket next time!

Until then, sew forth and fleece on!

Fur Real! I am not making any of this stuff up! Part 1 of 2

M6430-2Maybe it is because it has been colder outside recently. Or maybe it is because the ground hog has already seen his shadow and predicted that we have lot’s more winter on the way. Or, maybe it is just the amount of fur that I still have hiding in the stash. Regardless of the reasons though, my thoughts lately have been about sewing fur. So, I decided that my next project would be fur vests.

Its been just over a year since I completed the fur coat for the little neighbor girl. I hope she has not outgrown it and that she has enjoyed wearing it. I learned so much about sewing fur when I made that first coat and I did not mean to wait so long to sew fur again and forget all the things that I had learned. One thing I did remember from making that coat was that I had wished it had a nicer looking lining, and that I had done a better job in lining it. So, I decided to make that my starting point for these new vests. I was going to learn to do a better job of lining fur.

P1030986With the linings in mind, I first picked a McCalls M6430 vest pattern to make them from. Since the little neighbor girl already has a fur item from me, I decided to make the vest pattern for a coworker’s tween daughters, aged 9 and 10, but both wearing a size 12. Of course, this meant I would be making two vests instead of just one, but that’s was a good thing I thought since it was a chance to get twice the amount of practice with the fur and linings.

Cutting out the fur was the same as before, and was very time consuming. I traced the pattern onto the fur and then snipped carefully with the scissors to only cut the backing of the fur and not the fur itself. Thankfully, there are only three pieces to these vests, so I only had six pieces to cut out in total. I then cut out the linings which went much faster but still took more time than I expected. The lining fabric just wanted to slide all over the cutting table, so I was careful while cutting to keep it in place and not let it slip around too much.

P1040047I wanted to vary the vests designs slightly from the original pattern, since I figured that I might as well learn as much as I can from a project while doing it. And so instead of using hook and eye closures, I decided to give one vest a zipper as I did in the coat and then use buttons for the second vest. Sewing the zipper in went as smoothly as it had on the coat. I placed the sides of the zipper facing inward on the fur fronts of the vest and stitched them on with the zipper foot. I made sure to stitch down the fur, with the way the fur layed, and making sure to keep the fur smooth. This gave me a nice line on the back of the fur to follow when I stitched the lining to the fur.

The buttons were not quite as easy to do as zipper was. I had to do a lot of precise measuring to get them where they needed to be so everything looked even. And since a P1040043regular button hole stitched by my machine was not going to work with the fur, I figured that a bound buttonhole was the answer. But I was not yet ready for to tackle that with the fur, so I picked a loop closure for the buttons instead. I picked a nice brown woven trim to make the closures that has no stretch, so the fit had to be just right for the loops to go around the buttons properly. The loops could not be too small and not fit around the buttons and could not be too large so that they fell off the buttons. The loops could not be too short or too long so that the edges of the vest laid against each other, and not over each other or apart from each other. It would have been much easier to pick a stretchy trim to make the loops but I did not find a stretchy trim that I liked as much as the trim that I picked out. And I decided that since this was a learning experience, I needed to learn what to do to make the loops properly when my trim was not stretchy.

P1040020So after a lot of thought and measuring, I sewed the loops on top of the fur on the one side of the vest, facing the loops inward, and then I sewed the buttons on to the other side of the vest. I used the extension on my button foot to lift the buttons up from the fur so that the buttons did not sink down into the fur, and so there was room for the loops to fit under the buttons. When trying the loops out on the buttons, I quickly learned that they were too big and that they readily fell off the buttons. I did not want to make the loops any smaller though since it would pull the edges of the vest across each other. I could have moved the buttons closer to the edge of the vest so the loops could be smaller, but I was trying to keep the buttons away from the edge as much as possible so they did not interfere with the sewing of the lining. I also could have sewn the buttons on by hand after the lining was done, but that sounded like way too much work to me.

The final solution that I chose was to P1040039stitch the loops together so that the part that went around the button was smaller but the loop still kept its length. I used 6 strands of embroidery floss to stitch the loops together. And I chose a color that matched the trim so that hopefully the stitches would not be noticed. I used the floss so that the stitches would be strong enough to withstand being pulled around the button time and time again. I stitched through the trim twice with the floss then knotted the floss at the back of the loop. I used a dab of fray check on the knots to seal the ends of the floss so they would not come undone.

Please join me next time as I tell you about sewing the lining and the fur together and finishing up the vests in my next post.

The Top Half

P1030359After declaring the bottom half of my second try of the Simplicity 2771 pattern, the shorts, done, it was time to dive into the top half, the shirt. I had a lot of ideas on how I wanted to construct this shirt differently from the first shirt I made from this pattern and I was excited to get started on it.

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The first change, of course, was to cut the sleeves down and make it a short sleeve shirt. I thought about turning to my Kwik-Sew patterns again to use as a guide but I did not want to work with differing sleeve caps, so I just picked a length and cut the sleeves off at that length. I don’t know if they should be longer or shorter for the final fit but they looked like a good length to me. I did go ahead and fold the sleeve back up against itself to cut the little edge for the hem. This little extra edge at the hem line makes it so I can make a larger hem so that the sleeve can be shorter or longer if needed. It also makes the sewing of the hem so much easier.

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P1030310I purchased some smaller cording to make the piping for this shirt, even though I had liked the piping of the last pajamas made with the larger cording. It just seemed larger than I had pictured before I started sewing, so I wanted to try some thinner piping on this shirt. The smaller cording was of course easier to sew in both the making of the piping and the sewing it on to the shirt but not so much easier that I would choose it over the larger pipping for that reason. I like the look of the smaller pipping but not anymore than the look of the larger piping. I believe the size of the piping will just have to be decided on a project by project basis. Looking back at it, I probably should have picked the larger piping for this project just because the print on the fabric is so busy.

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As I mentioned before in my previous post on piping, I rolled the dice again this time and pushed my luck with not making the piping on the bias yet again. And once again, I got away with it ok because of the stretch in the brushed tricot I was sewing this with and I was still learning where to clip it as I sewed just like I did with the first shirt. I know one of these times I will regret not cutting the piping on the bias as the reference I have says I should but for now it works ok my way.

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P1030342The next change I made in the construction of this shirt was the lengthening of the facings to match the front of the shirt. By lengthening the facings, I can make the hem of on the shirt any length I want, and not have the length of the hem determined by the facings. I almost forgot that I had wanted to do this when I was cutting out the facings so I made them extra long. I knew I could cut off the extra when I did the hem. It is easier to cut off extra than to add more on later. The extra length on the facings made the sewing of the facings or the hemming of the shirt no more difficult and I liked stitching the hem my way instead of the pattern guide’s way.

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P1030349Next came the biggest change to the original pattern, stitching in the ditch to hold the back facing down. According to the pattern guide, you fold the edge of the back facing under, fold the back facing back and then stitch in the ditch of the piping to stitch the back facing down catching the folded edge as you go. As you may remember, I ended up with a mess on my last go around trying this. At some points the stitching missed the back facing all together and at some points the stitching was so far from the edge of the facing that the folded over edge was not caught in the stitching leaving it to unfold. So this time, I serged the edge of the back facing to finish it and did not fold the edge of the back facing over before stitching. Yes, once again the stitching varied in how close it was to the edge of the facing but this time it did not matter. There was no folded edge to catch in the stitching. And this was so much easier to sew and looks so much better than the wavy mess I ended with last time as I hit and missed the folded edge. And I don’t believe that the spots where there is a little extra fabric beyond the stitching will make any difference in the wearing of the pajamas.

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P1030348I am pleased with the end results of this pajama shirt now that it is completed. It was fun to make and I like my construction changes. What did not turn out well was the matching of sizes of the shirt and the shorts. This has happened to me before. The shorts look so small compared to the shirt. I believe this problem occurred because I used two different patterns. I should have paid more attention to the size of the shorts from the Kwik-Sew pattern compared to the pants pattern and cut them wider and longer. It also did not help that by doing the hems and the facings on the shirt my way that the hem is smaller so the shirt is longer. This just adds to the size difference problem. With all this in mind, I sewed the buttons on the left side to make the pajamas for a girl. I figured a girl would look better in smaller short pajama bottoms with a long full pajama top than a boy would.

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P1030358And with that, my second set of pajamas from the Simplicity 2771 pattern, pajamas with piping, is done. I have enjoyed the pajama/bathrobe journey but it is time to fold up the pajama patterns for now and move on to something else. As of this moment, I don’t know what the something else is yet but I bet it will be a fun and new learning experience as I continue my sewing journey. I have many patterns hiding in the closet that are just waiting for their turn to be made up.

A Comedy of Errors

Oh yes, a grand comedy of errors that in the end left me not feeling very humorous.

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IMG_0002As I mentioned before in a previous blog post, I wanted to make my Simplicity 2771pajamas with piping pattern, one more time to help me retain what I had learned from the first pair of pajamas I made from it and also to try some variations on the pattern. Also, I wanted this version to have shorts instead of long pants and short sleeves instead of long sleeves as my previous project had, and since adding piping to Simplicity 3897 didn’t accomplish this, I decided to start by altering the original pieces of Simplicity 2771 to get what I wanted.

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I started this project off by selecting the fabric. Since this was going to be another trial of this pattern, I picked a piece of brushed tricot that was actually in my donation box and on its way to be donated. After a trip through the washer and dryer, I laid that fabric and pattern out to be cut. While trying to decided where to cut the pants off at to make shorts, the thought struck me that I have some really nice kid’s shorts patterns. So why was I fussing about with trying to modify a pattern? Instead I grabbed my Kwik-Sew kids book, traced and cut out the pattern for a pair of size 4 shorts. At this point in the project is where the errors started to occur.

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Error #1

P1030353I decided to try my luck again and I made my piping from a piece of fabric not cut on the bias. It worked ok the last time I did it, but I know one of these times it is not going to. The piece of green cotton I wanted to use to make the piping was just 1/8 of a yard so it wasn’t really big enough to be cut on the bias for the piping even if I had wanted to. But not cutting on the bias was not my error. The error came when I finished stitching the green cotton around the cording and then realized that I had only made the piece of piping long enough for one side of the shirt. I then cut more of the green cotton to make more piping for the shirt, but I really hated to just throw away the first piece of piping. I then had the brilliant idea to add the piping to the side seams of the shorts instead. Since I was using my Kwik-Sew pattern which has a side seam instead of the pattern from Simplicity 2771 that does not have a side seam, it would be easy to add the piping to the shorts. Or at least that was what I thought.

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Error #2

P1030343Because the side seams are straight, the piping sewed in easily, but unlike on the shirt, there is no facing to hide the inside edge of the piping. Without piping, I would have just serged the side seams to finish off the seams, so I decided that should work ok with the piping. As I worked to feed the piping through the serger, I did not notice that the bottom of the shorts had folded over until I saw the serger cutting off the fold. By this time I had cut a nice hole in the back of the leg right beside the side seam. This hole is labeled error #2 for this project. I unpicked the serging, ironed some iron on tape to patch up the hole and then darned it. It is on the back of the leg and does not look too bad, and since this is just a trial run of the pattern I decided to continue on with the shorts.

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Error #3

P1030346Tired and a little flustered from the the whole “hole” experience, I was done sewing for awhile and I reached up to close my blinds. Instead of watching what I was doing, I gave the cords of the blind a tug and tangled the cords of the blind up with my serger thread. I tried to untangle them but they were knotted together tight. I got the blind’s cords untangled enough to finish closing the blinds but the serger thread was now a total mess and I was in no mood to rethread my serger, so I said to myself that that would be the first project that I would tackle the next day. As you can guess, when I returned to my serger the next day, I forgot about the knotted thread problem, and focusing on serging the side seam and feeding the piping through the serger. As I serged the side seams together I got a total mess. Since this was the second time I had serged this same seam, I decided just to let the messed up serged seam be broken on this part of shorts.

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Error #4

P1030351I finished the elastic and the hems with no problems until I noticed the way the piping was laid. As I always do, I stitched the side seams at the waist and the hem so they lay towards the back of the shorts. This is how it is supposed to be without the piping but doing this with the piping caused the piping to lay forward. This makes the shorts look backwards. But I really did not have it in me to unpick the hems and the waist to fix this problem. So, I did not and I left it as it was as well.

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I have at this point finally declared the shorts finished and I am now ready to move on to the shirt. But. even with all their errors, I feel that these shorts are certainly wearable. They are certainly not my best sewing job but they are good enough for a trial run, and as always, I have learned from my mistakes. Hopefully, I will not have the same types of errors with the construction of the shirt.

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It just goes to show you that no matter how smug you get and how great of a seamstress you think you are, you still have a lot to learn. Just like all of the contestants on the Great British Sewing Bee series that recently aired on the BBC, you can always be humbled by the seemingly simplest of things that you thought you knew backwards and forwards.

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And that is why my motto is SEW FORTH AND SEW ON!

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Until next time! Happy stitchings to you and yours!

Goodnight Blues Clues! (Part 2)

Let’s see. Where did I leave off? Oh, yeah… Simplicity 2771, Blues Clues pajamas with piping.

IMG_0002Another reason I say this pattern is not good for a beginner is that it is also tricky to stitch the back facing on with the curves. According to the pattern guide, you sew the back facing to the front facing, flip it over to the back, then fold over the raw edge, and finally you stitch in the ditch along the piping while making sure to catch the facing in the back too. Sure it sounds easy enough, but not without a lot of pins holding things together and folding and ironing, and sweat and tears. On the straight parts of the facing, it was easy to stitch in the ditch on the front and catch the facing in the back right through the folded raw edge, but on the curves it was too easy to stitch too far into the facing and not along the edge, missing the folded raw edge so that when you were done sewing, the raw edge just folded back out. Because of this when you come to the curve, you must fold more in to make sure and catch the raw P1030206edge, but then you end up missing the facing altogether. So then you try to fold it back out a little more and then you miss catching the raw edge again, or, like I finally ended up with, and you barely caught the raw edge here and barely caught the facing there. ARGH! I don’t know if it is just a matter of practice to stitch the facings on more easily, or if I need to come up with a better way of stitching them on. I stitched and unpicked and restitched and unpicked and restitched until I was tired of the process so I called the wavy mess I had on the inside of the shirt good enough for this try and moved on. (I hate to see a beginner try a project like this, get discouraged and quit sewing altogether due to the frustration of it. I certainly don’t claim to be the world’s best seamstress as shown by the wavy seam on that facing, but I have had successes in the past and so I have built up some patience with my sewing as time has went on. )

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P1030158Here is where I ran into a little snag because I did not follow the pattern guide when I started this project. In the guide, hemming the shirt is the step you are supposed to do before starting the piping, so the facings are shorter than the front of the shirt because IMG_0001you had already shortened the front of the shirt with the hem before you added the facings. But because I had sewed the piping and facings first, I had to unpick the ends so I could do the hem and get the facings length to match. Luckily this was less of a problem than it could have been because it was on the straight part of the facings and not the curved parts. It was just a minor annoyance, and I had to take a much larger hem than I would have liked to since I like longer shirts. If I make this pattern again, and I probably will, I am going to cut the facings longer at the start so I can finish them differently. Because I had sewed this the way the pattern had called for on the hem and the finishing of the facings, it will be difficult to shorten or lengthen the shirt if I need to later. Plus the finishing of my flannel piping was a little bulky as I sewed through the 6 layers of fabric. If I had purchase some cotton piping, it would have been much less bulky to sew, but I still think it turned out ok and I learned a LOT.

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P1030159I had similar issues with the way that the pattern guide said to finish the piping and hem of the sleeves so I did it my way instead. I sewed the facing to the sleeve before I P1030162sewed the sleeve up. Then after sewing the sleeve, I folded the facing up and stitched in the ditch of the piping. Even though I was stitching in the ditch again around the sleeves, it is a straight line, so it was not that difficult to do. And by sewing it this way, if I need to shorten or lengthen the sleeve later, it will require less unpicking. It was a little tight stitching around the cuff, but I did it without any problems and I will say that practice make perfect. The second sleeve was much easier to stitch than the first one was.

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P1030192My third reason for saying that this pattern may not be the best choice for a beginner is the buttons. It took time and patience to get them placed down the center and looking in the right spot between P1030185the piping. There was no forgiveness on placement. They had to be centered or they looked funny. I won’t say I did a perfect job on the buttons but I tried.

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With the shirt finished, the pants were an easy sew to complete the pajamas. The pants have no pockets and no piping. I thought about putting some piping on the pants at the hem or down the side seams but decided not to. Four seams, some elastic at the waist and 2 hems and the pants were done!

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Like I said, I will probably make this pattern again and hopefully soon so that I don’t forget all I have learned, but for now on to more projects!

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