Tag Archive | grain line

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again!

Screen-Shot-2013-11-05-at-9.01.40-AMYou can see it from across the fabric store and there is a whole wall displaying it…

You’re drawn to it and it is so soft, fuzzy and warm, and some of the cutest designs ever are printed on it…

You MUST buy some and, as a general rule, its on sale…

Of course, I am talking about polar fleece and everybody just loves this fabric! Everyone it seems except me. Dare I say it out loud, I may not be in love with fleece or enjoy working with it as much as everyone else on the planet seems to be.

And here is why.

I, like everyone else, love the idea or the concept of fleece fabric. And who wouldn’t? It’s soft, warm, fuzzy fabric with no fraying, no shrinking, it looks good on both sides, it has some stretch but not too much stretch, and all the other fun features that fleece offers a sewer. What isn’t there to love? But, after sewing the last girl’s fleece jacket and starting my next sewing project with fleece, I’m not convinced that it really is all that easy and wonderful of a fabric to work with.

When I first started purchasing fleece fabrics, I planned to only make blankets with it, and who cared if the blankets were a little off grain and the print wasn’t perpendicular, or that it can’t be easily ironed or caused several headaches when sewn with the serger due to the amount of bulk.

DSCN2567For the blankets I was making, I did not give these concepts a second thought, so I was in love with fleece just like everyone else, and I bought any and all I could get to hide in the stash for future projects I had dreamt up. When I decided that I wanted to expand my skill set a little bit and make more than blankets from the fleece, I was at a point in my sewing skills where I did not worry about grain line, or matching designs, or ironing seams. So for the first couple of fleece projects that I made, I just cut it out and sewed it up, and I was still in love with fleece.

DSCN2575 (1)As my sewing skills have advanced over time, I am now far more concerned with thing like grain lines, matching the designs, and ironing the seams. So, when it was time to make the latest girl’s fleece jacket, these things were foremost on my mind. As I cut out the pattern and the froggy’s and rainbows weren’t straight, making it difficult to cut on the grain line and match the designs up, working with fleece became more than just cut and sew.

DSCN2572Looking at the piece of fleece, there were spots where I had to move over 21 inches from the edge of the fabric before I could find a good spot to cut. This was crazy! I decided that the froggy piece of fleece was just flawed until I started my next fleece project. Although not as much, I had to move 9 inches from the edge to get the footballs and helmets to line up.

Does all fleece suffer from this problem?

DSCN2563If it does, I’m going to have to watch WAY more closely when I buy fleece for pieces that I only have to move over 9 inches rather than 21 inches, or hopefully I can find some fleece that I will only lose a couple of inches on the edge. Plus, I’m going to have to buy extra fleece to accommodate for the lost fabric. I wanted to make my latest project a size large but had to switch to a size medium when I lost the 9 inches along the edge.

DSCN2566I turned to the Internet to see if I was alone in my wavering love of fleece, and from what I was reading, I was alone, everyone else seems to love fleece, but I did find several article titled, “How to sew fleece.” So, maybe you just have to learn the skill of sewing with fleece, just like learning to sew knits, furs, silks, actually any and all other types of fabrics. Maybe after learning some lessons about sewing with fleece, I will then be completely in love with fleece like so many others are.

Well I ldid learn a lot from the articles that I read on how to sew fleece, and I am excited to try out some of the things that I learned.

Luckily, I have my next sewing project involving fleece all cut out and ready to sew, so stay tuned to see how it turned out!

Until next time, sew forth and hopefully fall in love again.

Goodnight Blues Clues! (Part 1)

IMG_0002Excited to finally have my sewing mojo back, I decided to start with Simplicity 2771, a pattern for flannel pajamas with piping. This project was a little difficult for me to get started because this project is what I have labeled ’empirical sewing’. In this case by empirical I mean that I am not making these pajamas for anyone in particular. I just want to try the pattern and the piping to increase my sewing skill set a bit. So, what size should I make? What fabric should I use? Who will wear these, a boy or a girl? Do I want to make any adjustment to the size of the pattern just from the look of the pattern pieces? Do I add the pocket or not? Who Knows? When I sew with someone in mind, say the little neighbor girl, it is easier since I have her measurements, and I have a feel for what colors or prints she would like. Since I don’t know who will wear these pajamas, I pondered these questions for way too long in my opinion and I finally had to tell myself “Enough! Just do it!” So, I picked the smallest size from the pattern, which was XS or 4-5 Years old. Then I picked a piece of fabric from the stash with Blues Clues on it, and I decided that I would make no adjustments to the pattern as well as no pocket since the print was busy enough as is. And If this project does not work out well, I would be out less fabric by making it in the smallest size and I figured the Blues Clues fabric was dated (Do kids even know who Blues Clues is anymore?). And I know that even after I complete this project, after these pajamas are given to someone, I may be altering it to fit, by shortening or lengthening the hems, etc.. But I guess that is the issue with sewing emperically.

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P1030201Knowing how flannel always shrinks the first time it is washed, I washed and dried the fabric first and then I was ready to cut. As I cut out the pieces of this pattern, I realized that this piece of fabric was not a flannel, but instead just a cotton. It is a little thicker than quilting cotton and has a texture to it, but it is not a true flannel. And since I was just sewing to learn some new skills, I decided to just keep on going even though this project was supposed to be flannel pajamas, and not cotton ones. Also, I figured that I had plenty of fabric to do the project and I would have some fabric left over, but after cutting out the shirt, I almost did not have enough for the pants because of the print. I could have turned Blue upside down on the back of the pants and still had plenty of fabric left over, but for Blue to be upright, I had to cut the pants a little off from the grain line and shorten the pants length by an inch. It is only off the grain line by less than 1/2 an inch and I can make up the lost inch in length with a shorter hem so I kept on cutting.

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P1030197When it was finally time to start sewing, I decided to not follow the sewing guide in the pattern. And since I had mainly wanted to try out adding the piping, I skipped straight to that step first. The pattern assumed you would purchase the piping if you added it, so it does not give you instructions on how to make your own piping. But making piping is pretty straight forward and I made my own anyway. I had some previously purchased cording to use for it and not really knowing what I wanted at the time I had purchased it, so I picked a fairly good sized diameter cording, (and I learned that I would like a smaller diameter cording for the next time I do some piping on clothes.) Because I had originally thought that the Blues Clues fabric was a flannel, I had picked a pink flannel to make the piping with. I know that the covering for the cording should be cut on the bias so that it has some stretch to it, but I’m frugal at heart and I did not want to use all my pink flannel to make the piping for a project that may not even work out, so I just cut some 2 inch strips off of my pink flannel piece. Flannel has a little stretch to it so I thought it should work out ok. I placed the cording inside the 2 inch strips and using my zipper foot, I sewed the cording into the strip of flannel. Then after sewing the shoulder seams, I stitched the newly made piping to the front of the shirt. And it worked out great! Yes, sewing the curves of the piping on was a little interesting, but I don’t know if that was because of my inexperience in sewing with piping or because of the piping not being cut on the bias. I blame it on the first one, but that may not always be the case.

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IMG_0001I was smart enough to follow the pattern guide when it came to ironing and clipping the seams. Ironing the seam in the correct direction made the construction of the pajama top so much easier and gave the piping a better finished look once it was done. The double facing on the front of this top was tricky. Because you want the tops front facing to be seen, it is sewn on backwards of how you would normally add a facing that is folded back. This complexity makes this pattern a poor choice for a beginning sewer. Once you wrap your mind around it being backwards, it becomes clear how the facings need to be sewn on, but at first it is very confusing, and sewing the curves backwards does take some skill.

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You know, I hate long posts, but I have so much more to tell you about this pattern. So, I am going to stop here and type a part two later. So, stay tuned.