Tag Archive | curve

New Sewing Tools – Part 2 – In The Pink

DSCN4050The sewing process for the sweater started with the plan to use my second new sewing tool, a new pair of pinking sheers. When reading about sewing fleece, one of the suggestions for finishing the seams of fleece was to just pink the seam allowances with a pair of pinking shears. I used to have a pair of pinking shears many years ago. I loaned them to a friend and I never saw them again. I haven’t really missed owning a pair until recently though, so I decided to reinvest in a new pair of pinking sheers.

DSCN3982When I looked into buying the pinking sheers, I found that I could spend a lot of money for nice pair or a much smaller amount of money for just a pair of the sheers that people had reviewed and said worked well for them. As you and I know, a good pair of scissors is a valuable sewing tool. So, when it comes to buying sewing scissors, I believe that you should spend the extra money for a nice pair of sew scissors. But is that true when it come to pinking sheers I wondered? I decided to go against the grain and buy the less expensive pinking shears for now. Later, if I found that I used the pinking sheer all the time, and I needed a nicer pair, I could then invest the money and buy the more expensive pair.

I sewed up the seams of the sweater, ironed the seams open and pinked the seam allowances. This was easy to do, but it was time consuming to line up the pinked edges. When the seams were done, the pinked seam allowances looked good and pinking was a fine way to finish the edges, but I still think that I like the look of a serged edge better. A serged edge to me is just a cleaner look.

DSCN3721In the end I was happy that I did not spend a lot on money on the more expensive pinking sheers. I just don’t think I will be pinking all that often, and the less expensive pair will be fine for me for how often I expect to use them. Although, if I was going to be using pinking sheers on the majority of my sewing projects, I would definitely invest in the nicer, more expensive pair of the pinking sheers since I know how much better a project goes with good scissors.

Sewing the bias tape on was next. I learned quickly not to let the fleece stretch too much as I sewed the bias tape on. My plan was to sew the bias tape on, fold the edges over and to stitch in the ditch on the front, catching the bias tape on the back. This did not work for me though. I remembered to not trim the bulk from the seam allowance of the bias tape but to leave the bulk to even out the fabric from the heavy fleece to the thin bias tape. I did trim a little of the bulk off the edge to smooth the edges, but not much.

DSCN3974The problem with leaving the bulk is that after going around the bulk with the bias tape, the bias tape was too short on the back side to be caught by the stitch in the ditch seam from the front side. Rather than arguing with the stitch in the ditch seam, I decided to sew on the edge of the bias tape on the front side. Now, there was no problem catching the bias tape on the back side. I was using nice matching thread so the sewing on the edge looks good, probably better than the stitched in the ditch seam would have looked.

DSCN3723The last step was to apply the velcro closures. As I cut four one inches squares of velcro to sew to the sweater, the husband shock his head no. He said he thought that buttons would look better. Since this sweater is not for an infant, there is no worry about a chocking hazard with buttons, so I decided that using buttons instead of velcro would be fine. I asked the husband what he thought about sewing the velcro on as the closure and the buttons on top of the velcro for decoration but he thought that the buttons as the closures was better. He did not like idea of the Velcro closures for a three year old.

DSCN4045Because the sweater is unlined with no facings or interfacing, I put a piece of tearaway stabilizer under the fleece to help keep the fleece from stretching as I sewed the buttonholes. This worked out great! The stabilizer held the fleece steady as the buttonholes sewed and gave the buttonholes themselves more durability. The extra stabilizer was torn away so you won’t even know I used it nor will it ruin the look of the buttonholes inside the sweater.

DSCN3976Soon the buttonholes and buttons were sewn and the sweater was all done!

I think that this sweater is just adorable! I had a lot of fun making it and I learned a few new sewing things and I got to use my new sewing tools as well. I will keep this sweater in mind for the next time I want to make a fun and simpler sewing project.

Until then, sew forth and pink on!

New Sewing Tools – Part 1 – Cutting The Curve

DSCN4045I love to go to craft shows, but I rarely buy anything. I am one of those people that professional crafters hate. I walk around and see what they have made, borrow their ideas, then I run home and make one for myself. That is what happened this time, with my latest fleece jacket/sweater project. The lady at the craft show had made a simple infant unlined fleece sweater, finished with bias tape edges and velcro closures. The sweaters were just adorable, simple and cute, and since I was in the mood for a light project, I decided to make one of these sweaters myself. Plus, I could practice making and sewing bias tape and use two new sewing tools that I had recently acquired.

I knew that I wanted to use this bear fleece that had been in the stash for many years. In fact, it was one of the first pieces of fleece that I ever purchased. Since it was never picked to be used for a blanket, it was time for it to be a sweater instead. I picked a brown cotton fabric for the bias tape, but when the husband saw the bear fleece he said to change to a red bias tape instead. It was no problem to pull some red cotton out of the stash to make the red bias tape with.

DSCN4052I cut 2 inch strips on the bias of the red cotton fabric to make 1 inch bias tape. The cutting and sewing of the strips went smoothly. I am getting better at this process each time I make bias tape. After a lot of ironing, I had a pile of red 1 inch bias tape made. I did not know exactly how much of the red bias tape I needed, so I just made a fair amount since I knew I could make more if needed. If I had extra, I would just save it for another project.

Now it was time to cut out the sweater. I was on my way to the pattern stash to find an infant jacket pattern to use when I spied my Simplicity 8902 pattern laying by the cutting table. Why not just use this pattern? It is a tried and true pattern for me, plus the size 3 was already traced and ready to use. I had envisioned this project for an infant but there was no reason that a 3 year could not wear a teddy bear fleece sweater as well so that is what I went with.

DSCN4046As I cut out the pattern pieces I added an extra inch to the fronts for the velcro overlap and I got the chance to use my first new sewing tool. I wanted to curve the tops and bottoms of the overlaps so I used my new french curve ruler I had picked up on clearance recently. Usually, I would have looked for a plate or bowl to cut the curves, but it was nice to use the curved ruler with the markings to make more accurate, even curves with. Plus, the rotary cutter cut much smoother around the edge of the ruler than it does around the edge of a bowl or plate. It did not take long to cut out the pieces for this sweater and to begin the sewing process.

Stay tuned next time for the sewing of the sweater.

Until then, sew forth and curve on!

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!

Summer Buggin’, Had Me A Blast

DSCN2049I decided to follow my own advice and to continue with my “Just Do It” New Year’s resolution just with a smaller and less complicated amigurumi crochet pattern this time around.

Digging through my patterns, I picked these three bugs as my next patterns to make. I have had these patterns for a little while now and have always wanted to crochet them, but I had just never gotten around to it. These patterns definitely meet my New Year’s criteria but are definitely smaller and much less time consuming than the making of Arnold the turtle. And with that, these three bug-eyed bugs became my next amigurumi projects to make.

DSCN2056The first bug I made was the caterpillar. Even though I had read the pattern before I started, I had crocheted several of his pieces before I realized that I was only supposed to be crocheting in the back loop. While holding the pieces that I had crocheted together, the caterpillar looked like he was turning out just fine being crocheted in both loops, so I kept crocheting in both loops. After completing the crocheting and stuffing, it was a little odd to stitch one ball to the top and one ball to the side of the first ball, but it worked out fine. Once the stitching was done, I gave this caterpillar a big smile and with that he was done.

DSCN2055The second bug that I made was the mosquito. This time I did remember to crochet the pieces in the back loop only. The pattern called for just 4 legs though. Insects have six legs so I thought about making him two more legs, but since I was only giving this mosquito two body parts instead of the three he should have and technically would be stitching those 4 legs to the wrong body part, I decided to go ahead and just follow the pattern and only give my mosquito 4 legs and not worry about it being anatomically correct. At the end, it was a little odd stitching the mosquito’s eyes on. Unlike the caterpillar who’s eyes sit on the top of the head, the mosquito’s eyes were stitched to the side of the head. This meant that the safety eyes were attached at the top of the crocheted pieces instead of the side. Once the stitching was done, I gave this mosquito a smile and he too was done.

DSCN2050The ladybug was the final bug that I made. Once again, I had all six legs that the pattern called for crocheted before I remembered that I was supposed to be crocheting the pieces just in the back loop. Because the caterpillar had turned out just fine being crocheted in both loops, I kept on crocheting. The pattern called for all the spots and the ladybugs wings to be the same size, 6 single crochets in the magic ring. After looking at a couple of pictures of ladybugs, I decided that I wanted my spots to be different sizes. So, I made two spots as the pattern called for, two spots with 9 single crochets in the magic ring, and then two spots with 12 single crochets in the magic ring. I then stitched 1 of each size of spot to each wing with the largest spot at the bottom of the wing and the smallest spot at the top. Next the ladybug’s eyes were stitched to the top of the head like the caterpillar, making it easier to stitch them on, but it became a tight squeeze when stitching the antenna and wings to the ladybug. If I had crocheted in the back loops only, the ladybug would have been bigger and this would have made the stitching on of the antenna and wings easier, but in the end I completed the stitching and it all worked out just fine. Once again with the stitching done, I gave the ladybug a smile and she was done.

DSCN2053I wanted my bugs to stand on their own but this was not going to happen. The caterpillar is the most likely one that I made to stand on his own, and sometimes will with some squishing down. Because of the weight of the mosquito’s head and eyes though, his 4 legs will not balance him properly. I can squish him down and get him to stand for awhile, then he falls forward since he is so top heavy.

I am lucky I got the ladybug to stand long enough for the pictures for this post. Even though the ladybug’s legs are all the same size, by the time the legs were stitched around the body, the front and back legs are shorter than each other. I could have removed these legs and made them longer to solve this problem, but I decided not too.

DSCN2057So, between the heavy eyes and head and the uneven legs around the body, the ladybug is not great at standing. Maybe if I had crocheted in the back loop as the pattern said to, the body would be bigger and the legs would not be as curved around the body? This might have helped the ladybug to stand better and if I make this pattern again I will see if that is the case.

Even though the bugs will not readily stand on their own, they did all turn out to be very cute and they were fun to make, and I have a great time doing the crocheting and stitching them together.

I don’t know why I hesitated on crocheting these patterns for so long, but I would not hesitate to make all three bugs again.

Until then, crochet forth and bug on!

Simplicity 2480 – The Jacket – Part 4

DSCN0984With the pockets now completed, it was finally time to stitch the jacket! The first step was to insert the zipper. Remembering the lessons that I had learned from inserting the zipper in the little girl’s peplum jacket, this zipper sewed in much easier. And I did not need to move the needle over to sew the zipper on like I did the last time. The only challenge I faced with this zipper was deciding just how long I wanted the zipper to be.

Did I want it to extend into the collar or stop just before the collar? DSCN0807

The pattern called for the zipper to be inserted into the collar, but If I stopped the zipper at the collar, I could attach the collar as I would the collar of a camp shirt, finishing it off with a little twill tape.

If I followed the pattern instead and inserted the zipper into the collar, some hand stitching would be required to finish the collar. Now, you know how much I just “love” hand stitching, so you can guess which plan I was leaning towards, but then I remembered that I was making this jacket to learn so I decided to follow the pattern and insert the zipper into the collar, and then do the required hand stitching. After sewing on the zipper and facings, I hand stitched the edge of the collar to the back of the jacket. This went a lot smoother than I expected it to. I think I did a pretty good job on the hand stitching and that it will hold up with wearing.

Now that it is done I am pleased with the results of how I attached the zipper, collar and facings. DSCN0737Before I started this pattern, I read some pattern reviews for this pattern on the internet and one of the things mentioned about this pattern was that the sleeves were extremely wide. I could see this as I traced the sleeve part of the pattern, so I decided, based on the size of my wrists, to grade 4 inches out of the the width of the sleeves starting at the wrist.

I think the wearer of this jacket will like the thinner sleeves and it saved on fabric. I inserted the elastic at the bottom of the sleeves as the pattern called for. I think that will also help with any extra blousing from the wide sleeves. DSCN0989I interfaced the facings and collar before sewing them on. I just grabbed the first interfacing that I pulled from the stash to use, but I wished later that I would have looked a little closer.

Now, with the interfacing applied and the jacket sewn up, the interfacing that I used is too heavy for the fleece. The heavy interfacing makes the collar stiff so that it only wants to stand up. The heavy interfacing is also a problem at the inseam pockets. Because I used two pieces of fleece to make the pockets, they are already bulky but when I added the heavily interfaced facing on top of the pockets at the bottom of the jacket by the zipper, it is even bulkier.

Lesson learned. DSCN0987

Upon completion, I stared at the jacket and it looked very odd to me. It looked like it would never fit anyone.

It’s was so small in circumference but long in length in both the sleeves and the body of the jacket. Who would have such odd body proportions. Then it dawned on me what I had done. I had made a extra small adult jacket, and not an extra large child’s jacket. Once I figured this out I could finally picture a young slender adult wearing this jacket without any problem. An unforeseen lesson in sizing and fit was learned this time around. Although this jacket may not be perfect, and some of the seams are not very straight, I am still pleased with the end results.

I learned a lot, and it has left me with several ideas and sewing techniques that I want to try and work on in the future. I hope some one will enjoy wearing this jacket and that it will fit them well.

Until next time, sew forth and jacket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #3 and #4 – Part 3

Version 4As mentioned in a previous post, I had already decided not to make the side in seam pockets with a zipper closure as the pattern had called for, so I set the pattern guide aside and thought up my own plan for sewing these pockets. Most of my ideas came from the in seam side pockets I had sewn in a little kid’s polar fleece jacket several years ago but with a few changes.

The pockets on the kid’s jacket were just one piece which was sewn to the front of the jacket to make the pocket. An open rectangle was sewn at the side seam for the opening of the pocket and then the pocket sewn to the front of the jacket to complete the pocket. The seam attaching the pocket to the jacket was seen on the front of the jacket.

DSCN0768The pattern I was currently working with called for these pockets to be make from two pieces so the pocket is not sewn to the front of the jacket. I liked the idea of not having a visible seam on the front of this jacket. So, to make the opening of the pocket, I placed one piece of the pocket on the front of the jacket, right sides together and sewed, cut and turned the rectangle for the opening. Next, I sewed the second pocket piece to the first pocket piece to complete the pocket.

DSCN0802 (1)The pattern called for the first piece of these pockets to be a lining fabric instead of using two pieces of the fleece. The reason for this was the bulk. It you were using a heavy polar fleece, two pieces would be very bulky, but I was not using polar fleece, my fabric was just a sweatshirt fleece, so I made both sides of these pockets with the same fabric. Two pieces of the fleece didn’t seem that bulky to begin with, but when it was added to a third piece, the front of the jacket, the pocket was then getting a little bulky. It was not so bulky that I was willing to unpick and restitch the pockets but the lesson was learned. Don’t double up fleece when making pockets with it!

With pockets #3 and #4 done now it was time to insert the zipper and finish up the jacket. That’s coming up next so stay tuned.

Until next time, sew forth and in-seam pocket on!