Tag Archive | placement

Some Lessons Learned For Next Time – Part 2

Continuing on with the sewing of the denim ants in a jar vest…

DSCN3525The next step in the sewing process was to add the pockets. Since I really did not have a pattern for the side seam pockets, I decided I would design and sew them how I wanted. In designing the pockets, I wanted the fun flannel I was using to make the pockets to show, so I decided to cut a rectangle from the sides of the jacket fronts. But, how big should I cut the rectangle? After some thought, I cut the rectangle what I thought the size should be, 5 inches tall by 1 inch deep, and then cut the pockets to match. With this size of square, I would place the pocket 1.5 inches from the bottom of the fronts.

DSCN3524In the sewing process, I noticed right away that I had a good size opening for the pockets but not much depth to the pockets. I should have cut the opening square shorter and used that extra length for the pocket depth. It was too late now though as the fabric was already cut. So, the finished pockets are very cute and the flannel is showing, and the pockets will certainly keep the wearer’s hands warm but the pockets won’t be too useful for hold many items due to their short depth. Another lesson learned for the next time!

DSCN3530The next step was to add the bottom band which was a little difficult due to the stiffness and weight of the denim. I had to use a little liquid stitch to help hold the denim in place to start and stop the stitch in the ditch seam. There was a lot of bulk from the denim front, the seam allowance from attaching the band, and the folded over finish of the band, i.e. 5 layers, in this seam. I trimmed the seam allowance but it was still bulky and difficult for my sewing machine to get started on this final band seam, but I made it through it ok.

DSCN3531The final step was to add the buttons. I measured evenly to place the buttons, but when it came to sewing them on, I had to move the top button down slightly due to the bulky denim seam at the top of the vest. This left the buttons mis-spaced slightly. The top button is not quite high enough to keep the vest closed around the neck if it is worn closed. If the top button is left undone, the vest opens a little too much before the next button. This could have been avoided by sewing horizontal buttonholes and avoiding the DSCN3928 (1)bulky denim seam at the top, but because of the pieced strip on the front of the vest to add the extra inch, I had to make the buttonholes vertical. If I had given the placement of the buttons versus the bulky denim seams a little more thought before I started to sew, I could have placed the buttons better. Another lesson learned for next time!

Now that the vest is complete, I am pleased with the end results. I also think the vest will wear just fine, and I hope some kid will enjoy wearing it too. Many lessons were learned from the making of this vest and I hope to remember all these lessons and apply the lessons to my future sewing projects.

Until then, sew forth and button on!

Some Lessons Learned For Next Time – Part 1

DSCN3928 (2)My latest sewing project was destined to be yet another learning experience for me.

After the successful sewing of the dinosaur vest, I wanted to make another vest. When I made the dinosaur vest, I had envisioned so many different options and fabrics for these vests, so this made it easy to decide that my next sewing project would be to make some of these vest options a reality!

The designing of this vest was not difficult at all. When I was picking out the fabric for the dinosaur vest, I had also pulled out a denim scrap that was just big enough to make a vest and a greenish blue flannel with yellow bug outlines from the stash. I could see a vest from these two pieces of fabric and I knew that I would sew one of my favorite embroidery designs, some ants escaping from a glass jar, on the front. Because of the large size of the embroidery design, I would give this vest side seam pockets rather than patch pockets.

With the design of the vest all outlined, it was time to cut it out and get sewing!
DSCN3931 (1)When I laid out the pattern pieces of Simplicity 8902, on the denim fabric, I remembered that I needed to add an inch to each front for the button overlap. I carefully laid the pattern pieces out correctly to cut the extra inch, but then I promptly cut along the edge of the pattern piece as shown on the pattern and I did not add the extra inch. How dumb was that? Well it was done now and I couldnt undo it so I decided it was a lesson to be learned for the next time I make this pattern.

The denim scrap that I had was not big enough to cut two new fronts, so instead I cut two 1.5 inch strips of the denim to add to the fronts of the vest. The strip would look like an intended button placket rather than a fix, so all was good despite the cutting error that I made. After cutting out all the pieces and remembering to add the extra inch to the front of the lining, it was time to being sewing.

DSCN3930 (1)The sewing process started with embroidering the design to the front of the jacket. I remembered that I wanted to do the embroidering first before adding the pockets to keep the pockets out of the way of the embroidery. I also remembered that I wanted to move the embroidery design down so that there would not be an issue with the collar covering some of the design.

What I had forgotten was that the ants embroidery design is two inches taller than the dinosaur design and I did not remember to take that into account when positioning the design. So, even though I moved the design down on the vest, the top of the design was still higher than I wanted it due to the extra height of the design. After stitching the design to the front of the vest, I realized that the top of the ant design was still going to be under the collar, and not just at the edge of the collar like the dinosaur design but that the ant at the top was going to be under the collar. That will be another lesson learned for next time I use this design!

DSCN3932 (1)Flustered even more, I now had to come up with a solution to fix the collar/embroidery design problem. I thought about making this vest collarless or adding a standing ribbing collar that would not fold over, but I did not like the look of these options.

I decided to see if I could just shorten the collar enough so that it would not cover the ants but it would still fold over and look ok. To do that I cut over an inch ff the bottom of the collar. The collar looks a little small now that it is done, but it works just fine. The collar lays right at the edge of the top ant’s antenna, and with a little encouragement, the stiff denim will fold over just enough to cover the collar seam. Still not being totally pleased with the collar, I continued on with the sewing process to the next steps.

But that’s a story for next time.

Until then, sew forth and ant on!

Drop Down the Cuteness – Part 2

DSCN0901The panda bear’s pattern was easy to follow so the crocheting of the pieces was fun and it stitched up quickly. Then something changed. As I began to stitch the panda bear together, cuteness did not burst from every stitch. What went wrong? Upon completing the panda bear, I sat the latest cute bear and the panda bear side by side and studied the differences.

DSCN0903Of course there were the obvious difference in the bears, but as I studied their faces, my attention was drawn to their muzzles. Now, the size of the muzzles of these two bears are quite different from each other, but that is not what caught my attention. It was the placement of the muzzle on the head. The first bear has a big muzzle so it had to be sewn lower on the head, closer to the neck and the eyes needed to be inserted right above the muzzle. The panda bear had a tiny muzzle in comparison, so it could be stitched up higher on the head with plenty of room for a space between the eyes and the muzzle. Was the placement of the muzzle on the face in a different position the answer to the cuteness issue? Was the panda’s face just too high and separated on his head?

I turned to the pattern and, yes, the pictures showed the eyes and muzzle of the panda stitched lower on the head and closer together. I also pulled out the only other teddy bear pattern that has turned out cute for me as I crochet it, the pattern I used to make Madison and Tux, and, yes, because the head is crocheted sideways in this pattern, the muzzle is even with the neck and the eyes are inserted right above the muzzle. If my theory was correct, lowering the muzzle and placing the eyes closer to the muzzle of my amigurumi bears would bring out the cuteness.

DSCN0939I was excited to test my theory and make another amigurumi teddy bear with a lower muzzle and closer eyes, but first I had to try and fix this panda bear. I was not willing to unstitch his head and muzzle plus his eyes were already permanently snapped into place, so I crocheted him a bow tie. I found a free bow tie pattern for a dog on Ravelry and modified the size to fit the panda bear. The bow tie filled in the distance between the panda’s neck and muzzle making the neck and muzzle seem closer together. Whether it’s the illusion of bringing the neck and muzzle closer together or just that the bow tie is cute, adding the bow tie help bring out some of the panda bear’s cuteness that wasn’t previously there.

DSCN0942I did not have a quick fix for lowering the eyes to see if my theory on their placement versus the bear’s cuteness is correct. I will just have to place the eye closer to the muzzle on the next amigurumi bear I make and see if the cuteness appears spontaneously. I am betting it will.

I don’t know if my next amigurumi will be a bear or not, but I see I a bear with a lower muzzle and eyes closer to that muzzle soon in my future. Perhaps then I will know if that was truly the answer to bear cuteness or not. I hope it is and I will have another crocheting mystery solved.

Until next time, crochet on and cute on.

Second Try

P1030516As I said in a previous post, I was not 100% happy with the alterations to my sloper pattern after the wear test. And as I stated in that post, I decided to not just move on to the next sloper pattern, but to continue to alter this pattern to fine tune it some more and to make another shirt from it. So here is the shirt I made after altering my pattern yet again.

.

The first alteration I made to the pattern before cutting out the shirt was to add 1/2 inch back to the side seams at the bust, but not at the hips. Next, I added the 1/2 inch back into the sleeve at the armscye but not at the hem line. I also lifted the armscye up just a little more. The last alteration was to raise the slit on each side of the shirt up by an inch. All of these alterations were to help make the shirt more comfortable while sitting.

.

P1030521The fabric that I picked was one of those purchases that at the time was the cutest, greatest fabric I had ever seen but after living in a box for several years, just wasn’t quite as appealing when it came back out. I find it so funny when that happens. Fortunately, I remember buying this fabric and I did not pay that much for it, but I did buy a lot of it.

.

The cutting and the sewing of the shirt went well. I used a different interfacing this time around and I had better results with it. I did not encounter the stiffness problem like I did with the last interfacing I used. I used some inexpensive buttons on this shirt so that if my alternations did not work out, I did not have much invested in the construction of it.

.

P1030519After the shirt was all finished, the wear test was started. After wearing the shirt a couple of times, I have determined that my alterations are all good and working out well. This shirt is much more comfortable to wear when sitting than the last one was. There is now more room for my bust and hips when in sitting positions. Plus, the different interfacing did not interfere with the wear test. I see, though, after wearing this shirt that my next alteration needs to be with the length of the shirt. It needs to be shorter, and the button placements need to be adjusted.

Now looking at my original sloper pattern with all of the changes lying on my cutting table, I see that it is a mess. Not wanting to lose any of the alterations that I have made so far, and even though I want to make a couple of more alterations before I’m done with it, my next step will be to to retrace my sloper pattern with the alterations I’ve made up to now. After that I will make the alterations I want to the length and the button placement, and then make another shirt. If all goes well with the length and buttons alterations, I will retrace the pattern one last time and call that my final ‘altered button up the front, v-neck, no collar sloper’ pattern.

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. )

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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!

.

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!

P1030188

Little Girl’s Corduroy Jumper with Embroidered Pockets

I used Simplicity Pattern Number 7056 to make these little girl’s corduroy jumpers. As I had stated in a previous post, I purchased this pattern many years ago, so I would bet it is out of print by now. I picked the sizes that I was going to make based on the amount of fabric I had left of each piece of corduroy. So I ended up tracing a size 3 for the red corduroy and a size 4 for the purple corduroy from the pattern and I was on my way.


When I cut out the dress from the red corduroy, I found a flaw in the fabric so I did not have enough fabric for the facings of the jumper. Because of that I decided to use the same black fabric from the lining of the pockets to do the facings. Because this was a thinner, lighter weight fabric than the corduroy, I decided to use  interfacing on the facings of the red jumper. I did not interface the corduroy facings of the purple jumper.

.

With both dresses cut out and the pockets all made up, the first step was to sew the pockets to the front of the dresses. Since I was putting two pockets on each jumper rather than just one as the original pattern called for, I was now the designer and could put them where I wanted. Not being very original, I just placed the red Mickey and Minnie pockets side by side. This looked cute to me since they were facing each other so I went ahead and stitched them down.

.

The purple pockets on the other jumper took some more thought though. I tried to place the Bambi and Flower pockets side by side like I did the pockets on the red jumper but it was not as cute. Why were they not as cute I asked myself? Well it was because I had made the purple pockets first, so they suffered from the designs not being quite centered and the pocket’s curves not being quite even, since I was still experimenting with making lined pockets. So, sitting there side by side, the flaws of the pockets stood out like a sore thumb. So just as I decided to make the pockets again, the husband walked by and pushed one pocket up. There, that solved the problem! With the pockets not sitting next to each other, you did not notice the slight flaws in two pockets. Thanks to the husband the day was saved again.

.

Not willing to use fusible interfacing on the red jumper and ruin what was turning out to be an adorable outfit, I used sew in interfacing. To help make it easier to sew in the interfacing, I used some spray on adhesive on the interfacing first before sewing. This made it like fusible interfacing and held it in place as I sewed. Using sewn interfacing with a little bit of spray on adhesive worked out so well, I plan to use the technique on other future projects.

 .

From there the jumpers sewed up quickly and easily. I had to remember how to use the “clip the curves” technique to aid in turning the facings, and clip an inward curve and “v” an outward curve. It was a lot of fun to see the jumpers come together. I had a great time picking out special buttons for each jumper as well. I am so excited about the finished jumpers, that I can’t wait to sew more of them. I know I have some nice soft tan corduroy in the stash and I want to make a jumper from denim too. Now my creative eye is on overload!

Pin Obsession

As you already know, I am a pinner and I use lots of pins when I sew. I believe that it is worth the time to add a pin and get  good results, than to not pin and get sloppy results and then have to unpick and start again. So, why did it take me so long to start using pins with my crocheting?

.

I can’t take credit for the idea to pin together the body parts of an amigurumi as you sew it together. I saw that someone else had done this while browsing some websites. So, I decided to give it a try. The first amigurumi that I used pins on was Frankenstein’s hair. It worked out great. The pins held the hair in place and made it a lot easier to stitch it in place. But, why did I not use pins while sewing on the arms and legs? I’m not sure. Since I know the value of pinning, why was I not using my pins to my full advantage?

.

As I finished crocheting the body parts for my latest amigurumi, I began to dread the sewing together of the parts as I always do. As you are well aware, sewing the amigurumi together is my least favorite part of the process. Over time, the sewing together of the body parts has become easier as I have learned to take my time with the stitching, and have just gotten better at it with pure practice. This time, though, I have decided to pin each part together and then stitch. So far, as with Frank’s hair, it has made the sewing together of the parts easier and with better results. I would like to kick myself for one, not thinking of pinning in the first place, and two, not pinning parts together sooner. It really does help you keep the body parts where you want them as you stitch them together.

.

If you are going to give this a try, I will give you this advice, have nice sharp long pins and pin straight down. Unlike pinning fabric, where you pin parallel, amigurumi parts are pinned together perpendicular to each other. So, make sure your pin extends into both body parts you are stitching together.

.

With the sewing of the body parts almost done, I will soon be able to finish the details of this amigurumi and then the really hard part starts, what to make next.