Tag Archive | cutting

The Sewing Studio – Part One of Sew It Begins

It’s Ready!” That’s what I declared the other day as I looked around my new sewing studio. The machines were in place and plugged in, the notions boxes were empty with the all the notions stored in their appropriate baskets, and the stash was organized. It was now time to sew. After almost a year of not sewing anything, both the husband and myself are in need of new shirts so that is where I decided to start sewing.

You may have noticed that I did not say that the new sewing room was ready for sewing to start. That is because I now have a sewing studio. Now, it is not as glamorous as it sounds. Since my sewing and crafting has now taken up three rooms in my new home, instead on just the one and one-half as in my previous home, I am calling my sewing space a studio. Plus a sewing studio sounds bigger and better and more exotic. Who wouldn’t want a whole studio for their sewing and crafting over just a room.

I started my first sewing project in my new sewing studio by going into the stash room where I found just the right fabric for me and the husband a new shirt and retrieved our basic sloper patterns for the pattern stash in the stash room. After laundering the fabric, I took the fabric to the prep and cutting room, which is also the crafting and amigurumi assembly room. Here, the fabric was ironed and the patterns cut out. Next, the pieces were carried into the sewing room where the sewing machines and notions reside and the sewing of the shirts began.

It took longer than expected to get to the point of sewing again because I decided to unpack the stash from the many boxes it has lived in for so many years. I placed the contents of all those boxes on wire racks so that the stash is fully visable and readily accessible. I gave the “unpacking of the stash boxes” a lot of thought before I started. I had my picture organizing method in place and it had served me well for many years, but as I organized the boxes in the stash room and opening some to see just exactly what was in each one, I realized that having the stash on the racks was a better way of organizing and using the fabric than the pictures. The husband helped be picked the correct size, weigh and style of racks and helped me assemble the racks. It was then my job to unpack the boxes. I had mixed emotions as I unpacked the stash boxes. My emotions ranged from glee and excitement to see all the precious pieces of fabric I possessed, to terror and fear that I might actually be a true fabric hoarder.

It is great fun to be sewing again. Sadly, I feel that my sewing skills had diminished with the time off, but happily, they seem to be coming back quickly. I am super excited to be sewing and crafting again.

Stay tune for details on the new shirts.

Until then, sew forth and sew on!

Doubling the Edge

dscn0498dscn0527On one of my journeys into the stash, I ran across two fleece blanket kits that I had purchased on clearance many years ago. “Why had I purchase these?” I wondered to myself. A John Deer Blanket? A Christmas Blanket? “What was I thinking?”

Well I will tell you what I was thinking, they were cheap and they were fleece and they were blankets and I needed them to live in the stash. But alas, their time had finally come. They would no longer just live in the stash. They were blankets and since it would soon be getting cold, they needed to be made into blankets and used as blankets. I would not be keeping these blankets once they were made. They needed to go to a good home and to live with someone who needed a blanket. And even though they would be leaving, I would still get the pleasure of transforming them from a kit in to a useable blanket, and that is the real reason of why I bought them.

dscn0506Prepping the fleece was the first step in this adventure. At first I thought about making 4 single layered blankets from the two kits, but then I decided to make the kits just as they came and to make two double layered blankets. Because I wanted to crochet around the blankets instead of just cutting and knotting the edges, I had to attach the two layers together before I could use the skip stitch blade to make my edges to crochet.

Sewing the wrong sides together and turning the blanket, like I would if I was using flannel, would have given me too bulky of a seam with the 4 layers of dscn0528fleece along the edge. And I did not want that bulky edge.

Because the fleece would not ravel like flannel would, I decided to skip the turning part. So, after squaring the fleece, I held the wrong sides together and sewed along the edge of the blanket, about 1/4 inch in. This made the edge of the blanket only two layers thick. Next, using the skip stitch blade, I cut 1/2 inch from the edge of the blanket to make the slits for crocheting. I did not cut off the dotted lines part of the top fleece. These dotted lines were the cutting guide to be used if you were knotting the edge of the blanket together. I did not think the lines looked bad around the design and it made the blanket just that much larger.

dscn0505With the skip stitch portion done, it was time to start crocheting. Since both blankets were in masculine colors, I decided to make a simple edge, with no scoops or scallops.

The first row was the foundation row into the skip stitch cuts. For the second row I changed to the complimentary color and did a chain 3, skipping every other stitch. Changing back to the foundation row color, the third row was a chain 3 and then slipstitched into each of the second dscn0530rows chain 3.

I have made this edge several times before on baby blankets and it is a quick crochet and I love the look of it when it is done.

One difference between these blankets and some other blankets I have made, was that I got quite warm under these larger fleece double blankets while I was crocheting the edges compared to a lighter flannel baby blanket. This was actually ok this time of year, but I will not be making any of these large double thick fleece blankets in July.

Now that they are completed, these blankets are ready to find a needed home.

Until next time, crochet forth and blanket on!

Let’s hear it again for B’s. The B5583’s

I finally decided that it was time to try my Butterick 5583 pattern again. I have now worn the shirt I made from that pattern several times and I knew some of the changes that I wanted to make to the next shirt I made with it.

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I started out with a trip to the stash. I figured with the amount of fabric I have in the stash that finding a piece to make a shirt from would just take a few minutes but, boy, was I wrong. Because of the princess seams in this pattern I did not want a stripe or a repeating pattern in the fabric I used. What I learned very quickly is that I must really like stripes and repeating patterns because over the years I have bought a LOT of it. I finally found two pieces of fabric that I thought would work for the pattern. Being wise about this, I started with the piece that I liked the least. That way if it didn’t turn out well I wouldn’t be out too much.

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I knew before I even started cutting that I wanted the front facings to be smaller and skinnier, with no breast shield on this shirt like the first shirt has. So other than the facings, I cut out the same size as I had before.

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I stitched up the basic shell of the shirt and tried it on. I planned to do a lot of fitting to this shell and to make notes on all the changes I made to it for later reference. When I tried it on, there were a number of things I wanted to change. The princess seams on both the front and back just did not seem to be curving in the right spots to match my curves. As I tried to adjust the seams, I quickly figured out that if I took a little under an inch from the shoulder, 1/2 inch from the the front and 1/2 inch from the back, that would bring the princess seams up enough so that the curves of the seams matched my curves. This was a much easier fix than trying to adjust all the princess seams to be the same, so I decided to go for it. This seemed to answer the fitting problems I though, and it did until I continued sewing it up.

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Taking the inch out of the shoulder took an inch out of the armscye. I knew that my sleeve would not fit now and cut an inch off the width of the sleeve. With the sleeves not yet sewn in, all seemed to be good. Taking out the inch had pulled the bottom of the armscye up which looked better than it was before with the inch still there. But, once the sleeves were sewn in, the armscye seems to be too tight and without as much reach room. The original shirt I made from this pattern seemed to have this same problem too, but it seems worse on this shirt. Is that because of the extra inch I took out of the shoulders? I will need to wear the shirt and see if it is really an issue for me as I move in the shirt.

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The next problem with taking an inch out of the shoulder is that it shortened the length of the shirt. To remedy this I make the bottom hem as small as possible to give the shirt all the length I could. It is still a lot shorter than I like my shirts to be though. While studying the pattern more closely, I just couldn’t figure out how taking an inch out of the shoulder could make that much difference to the length. I wondered if something else was going on with the length. Pondering this question further, I finally wised up and looked back at the post I wrote on the original shirt and remembered that I had made the original shirt longer than the pattern showed too. So, yes losing an inch in the shoulder did shorten the shirt but that wasn’t the whole problem. This flustered me greatly. I was smart enough to double check the length on the first shirt I had made, but on the second try I didn’t think to do it. One of the reasons for writing my blog is to have a journal of my past sewing projects so I know what I did to solve previous problems. What good is it to spend the time write down my notes if I can’t remember to go back and learn from what I previously wrote. So, lesson learned. From now on I will go back and read my notes on my previous projects before starting a new one. Also, I have pulled out my pattern and made a note at the hem line to make it longer next time. I will not make this same mistake twice.

I’m really not happy at all with the finished shirt. I’m hesitant to cut into the other piece of fabric I dug from the stash now for the third one. I believe I need to wear this shirt for awhile and see what really is a problem for me and what isn’t. I have also started to think about my new measurements now that I lost a little weight. This pattern is based on my previous bust size and I’m now smaller there than I used to be. Maybe my fitting issues would be solved by going down a size the next time? I think I am going to wait on trying this pattern again for a little while. On my next try, I will take my measurement again and pick which size I want to make at that time and then see how that fits me.

Slit Placket Trial #2 – To Infinity and Beyond

In a sewing room far, far away the slit placket saga continues…

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Applying everything I had learned from the first shirt, I stitched the next shirt placket very carefully. The resulting placket was once again not perfect but far more acceptable. Still not really pleased with the results,  I did some unpicking and stitched it again. It was better, but not quite there. More unpicking and another try. It was better yet again but, after the third try,  the fabric was starting to become unhappy with the unpicking and restitching. Flustered, I grabbed some scraps of fabric and tried the placket again with the scraps. Guess what? Perfect! Argh! Was the type of fabric causing my problems? So, I grabbed more of the green scraps from the shirt and tried again. The results were good but not as good as the previous scraps. One more try out of the green scraps and the result was perfect. Wow did I really master the skill that fast?

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Not believing that I had really mastered the skill on the third try, I decided to use some more scraps and do one more trial run. As I thought, it did not work at all that time. I had not yet mastered this skill. The result was terrible. Having plenty of scraps, I tried again. Nope. Tried again. Nope. Again. Nope. Rather than letting this frustrate me, I tried to learn something from each try. This really surprised me about myself. Usually, I would let this trial and error thing get to me. I would get angry with it, throw it against the wall and shred the pattern. After the fifth try, I finally make a placket out of the green scraps that was not bad. The next was better, and the last almost perfect. I then tried once more, folding it the other way as if you were sewing a girl’s shirt and it came out great. I decided trial time was over and returned to the shirt front.

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Unpicking my work one more time, I tried the placket again. The result was not perfect but it was the best so far on the shirt. Because of the wear on the fabric. I called it good. Before I take another stitch on the shirt though, I have decided to wash the shirt front to make sure I don’t get the same mess as the first shirt. I don’t believe that I have yet fully mastered the skill of slit plackets, but I feel like I am closer than I have ever been before. As with all of life, right now, luck has a lot to do with the success or failure of a slit placket for me, not skill.

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While the child’s shirt front is in the washer, I am going to start construction of the husband’s next shirt. I need a success story here. Hopefully, his shirt will just sew up and not give me any hassles. You know, it will be my third item I will have made using sew in interfacing. Wish me luck.

Slit Packets – Trial #1

To start, let me tell you what a slit placket is to me because I know not that that is what the sewing community really calls it. When I sew the husband a placket shirt, I make two facings and cut out the center of the shirt and sew the facings in. I call this a cut placket. When I make a placket shirt for a child, the pattern I have calls for one facing and to sew a slit, cut, and then fold the facing to form the placket. Thus, I call this type of placket a slit placket. Now, of the two, I like sewing a cut placket so much more because that is what I have been making for years but the time has come to learn a new skill and master the slit placket.

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As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the construction of the child’s shirt to try out the sew in interfacing was a disaster because of the slit placket. I went into the construction a little cocky because of the the success I had on the slit for the button in the back of the gray Mickey Mouse dress I had previously made. What I quickly learned was that the slit was easy to make but matching the fold is the hard part especially if the slit is not just right. I struggled my way through the slit placket construction. It was not perfect, barely acceptable. I know where I went wrong but I was done playing with it and pushed it to the side. I did not know if I would finish the shirt or just call it a practice run of the sew in interfacing and the placket.

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When I panicked about preshrinking the interfacing, I grabbed the half constructed shirt and threw it in the washer too. I had not preshrunk the interfacing before I sewed it in. Washing it would tell me about shrink in an already made garment.

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This comforted me that maybe the fabric and interfacing was not a total waste. I would learn from it and boy, did I.  The interfacing did just fine in the washer but the placket fell to pieces. It totally came unstitched. Now, the placket was totally unacceptable and I learned that I had done something really wrong, and I definitely had some more learning to do.

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While the interfacing was washing, I did not want to waste precious sewing time, so I decided to cut out the husband’s new shirt while waiting for the wash to complete. After having a blonde moment and cutting the front of the husband’s shirt not on the fold, I decided to cut out another child’s shirt with a slit placket from the fabric of my cutting error. Luckily, I had extra fabric and was able to cut out a new front for the husband’s shirt on the fold. When the first shirt came out of the washer and the placket was a mess, I decided to sew the new child’s shirt I has just cut out first. I will let you know how that turned out in the next blog post.

I put a Curse on You, You evil Fabric Sale you!

Joann’s last sale featured some basic sewing supplies I was running low on, so I decided to take a journey to the sale. Before we left, the husband handed me an emailed coupon for 20% off my purchase including all regular and sales prices. Excited at the thought of saving even more on the supplies I needed, we headed for the store.

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When we got to the store, my list of needed supplies was quickly put in my pocket as the first rack of fabric was all leftover holiday prints 60% off. 60% off was a great price but then add my 20% off on top of that and I was in sale heaven! I quickly filled the cart with bolts and bolts of wonderful fabric which included holiday Snoopy and Mickey Mouse in both cottons and fleeces. After the cart was too heavy to push, I made my way to the cutting tables to have it cut.

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On the way to the cutting tables, I passed the licensed prints, at 40% off for the sale. You can do the math, 40% sale plus 20% coupon. How much more can I fit in the cart? How much more can I fit in the trunk of the car? How much more can I fit in the stash? Without answering these important questions, several more bolts of precious fabric made its way to the cutting table with me.

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After spending a fair amount of time at the cutting table, the husband, who is a real trooper, reminded me of the list of supplies that we really came for. It did not take long to pick those up and then we were off to the registers.

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After ringing up my piles of fabric and needed supplies, the young man behind the register handed me a coupon for 30% my total purchases for next week. The husband about burst into tears and I started to plan my trip to Joann’s next week to shop the sales again.

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And yes I do have to keep reminding the husband that if the apocalypse happens in the near future that I will always be able to trade fabric for food. If it wasn’t for that, I’m unsure he would let me continue to purchase more and more fabric for the stash.

B5538-I

In deciding to continue my love affair with my new Butterick patterns, I chose B5538 as my next project. I probably should have been trying B5503 again, but the pattern is going to need some work and something new just sounded more fun. I have looked at patterns similar to B5538 often but always said no because of the princess seams. However, in an attempt to spice up my current sloper patterns, I am going to give the princess seams a try.

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The journey started with a trip to the stash. I found a piece of fabric that would work for a wearable muslin. The piece was 3-1/4 yards long. The pattern called for 3-1/2 yards, so I figured I could make that work. It is amazing to me how much fabric these new patterns are calling for. I can get my basic sloper pattern from 2-1/2 yards. As on the last pattern, I would learn later why that was. The fabric was then pre-treated, ironed and ready for cutting.

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The next step was to get the pattern traced and ready to cut out. After tracing all the pattern pieces, I was smart enough to remember my past lessons and pulled out my sloper pattern. Upon laying the two patterns together, I quickly realized that the pieces of B5538 were shorter than what I like my shirts to be. I am so thankful that I thought ahead and did this. I would be telling you a much different story if I had not discovered this fact while in the cutting process instead of the sewing and fitting process.

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Already being 1/4 yard short of what the pattern called for and wanting to lengthen the pieces as much as possible, I turned to the pattern guide and studied the layout of the pieces on the fabric. I twisted and turned the pieces and finally got it all to fit as well as increase each piece by 2-1/2 inches in length. I had to put a seam at the bottom of one of the facings to make it work, but I have done this before on shirts and it has worked out fine. Unlike pattern B5503 that used all the extra fabric it called for in length and that I later ended up cutting off, this pattern required extra fabric because of the size of the facings. For the facings, you cut the front of the shirt again. That is a huge facing compared to other facings I have made. But, not being sure about the whole princess seam thing, I decided to make the facings as big as the pattern called for and see if that size is really needed, or if they just did not want to make a separate pattern piece for the facings.

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Before sewing could start, the dreaded application of the interfacing had to take place, but I am happy to report that with the new info I now have about applying interfacing, it ironed on beautifully. I was so excited that I had to stop and do a little happy dance before I could start to sew.

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This is part 1 of a 2 part post.

BURDA STYLE