Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fantastic Skirt Pattern

This is the Magic Pencil Skirt from Pamela's Patterns. I think it is one of the best patterns I have ever bought. It is simple and smart. The pattern is all about fitting. I learned a lot. 

It is a very simple pattern but as I said earlier, the  true  worth is in the fitting tips and instructions. I learned more about darts from this single pattern than I have from any book or video. I actually sewed two skirts very quickly with this pattern. It will definitely be a go-to pattern when I have less than a metre of fabric to use.

Here' s my kitty, interested in the pattern too.
Here is a link to the website for Pamela's Patterns.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Door Stops

I didn't make these. But they're fabric - and plaid- and I wish I had made them. These cubes , with handles, are door stops. 

I've been keeping the air conditioner off, mostly, this summer in  an attempt to meet the goals of my financial diet. So I open all the windows. If there is even a bit of a breeze, doors begin to slam shut. I bought these door stops to stop that.

The plaid is adorable and the cubes are so cute. I love the handles on these too. If you wanted to design your own, making a cube shape would be quite easy. Or any shape for that matter. You want to choose heavier cotton fabric - a canvas or a twill - that won't pick up dust and pet hair so easily.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What to do about Puckered Seams

Have you noticed that puckering happens more with some kinds of fabric than others? There's a reason for that. All fabrics, on all grain-lines, stretch to one degree or another. All threads stretch too. The stretch of the thread depends on what the thread is made of, the length of the fibre contents, the way the thread is spun, and the type of stitch that is used to sew the thread. The trick is to line up all of these factors - which sounds daunting. In general, the more stretch in the fabric and grain, the more stretch that is needed in the thread and stitch. Puckering happens when the fabric stretches more than the stitches. 

Here are a few tricks:

  • Pre-wash fabrics, interfacing, zippers, etc. Shrinkage puckering can be caused when one of the components sewn into a seam shrinks at a different rate than the other components. Typical components include the shell fabric, interlining, zipper tapes, stay tapes and the thread. All these components should have minimum shrinkage to produce the flattest pucker-free seam.
  • Use a stretchier thread. Instead of 100% polyester thread, try cotton-wrapped polyester, it has more stretch. Try a thinner thread (2-ply over 3-ply); thinner threads are weaker and have a bit more give.
  • Stretch the fabric firmly but not forcibly in front of and behind the needle. Think of your hands as a frame, and move them forward in unison as you press the fabric against the machine bed as it feeds under the needle. This is especially important on cross-grain seams or bias seams.
  • Let the bias seams hang overnight before you stitch them permanently Pin-bast or hand baste the seams of all A-line or flared skirts and hang them on a coat hanger overnight. 
  • Press the seam flat before you press it open. The heat of the iron can discourage puckering.
  • Underline the garment - this reduces stretching.
  • Use a stretch stitch or serge the seam. 
  • Stay the seam. Stretch the fabric gently as you sew but stabilize the seam with stay tape, a strip of fabric or even a strip of (lightweight) interfacing. 
  • Wind bobbins slowly, this avoids stretching the thread.
  • Sew slowly on fabrics that tend to pucker. 
  • And if all else fails, reduce the tension slightly but be sure that the stitches produced are still good quality. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fixing A Pattern So It's a Better Fit

This is the pattern. Notice the "very easy very  Vogue" tag on the label. This may be easy but I don't find it easy to fit empire waist dresses or blouses. I think my fitting skills are not all that great and in a more fitted dress, it all balances out. In an empire waist dress, it is only the short bodice that is fitted...and I have a hard time getting proportion on such garments.

This is the muslin - made from an old duvet cover. I don't make many muslin and when I do, I don't like to spend money on them. (I have to get myself some Swedish Tracing Paper or something of the like so that my pattern and the muslin can be one in the same).  Anyway, notice that I added a piece at the end of the fitted bodice - I didn't pattern fit and then had to improvise when I didn't like the length....

I lined it with fat quarters. Generally I would choose a more slippery fabric for lining but  I made do with what I had hanging around....


I used contrasting thread because this is a very light weight denim...

The pattern doesn't call for a back slit but I added one because clothes are first for function with me. I have to be able to move quickly....

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back to sewing......

I am finally felling better...for some reason a flu that hits in summer always seems worse. Thanks to everyone who posted or emailed me with well wishes. I plan to spend the weekend catching up on my sewing. And my goal next week is to find a way to organize the things I have....all the while, saving money for a serger....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

School's Out and I Have the Flu


I am taking a few days off from this blog, because now that all the hustle and bustle of the school year is finished...I've come down with a bug. Figures!!!!.........

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Organizing My Sewing Notions

I want to clean up and organize my sewing space. This is a huge event for me as organizing is not my strong suit. Mind you, once it is organized I will be good at keeping it that way. 

Sewing machine cover:

I want to keep my machine dust-free for various reasons. I am simply not someone who wants a fitted, cloth cover. Right now, I drape a piece of fabric over my machine. But I like this idea from Martha Stewart

It is made with a tea towel and some twill tape. It's simple, effective and it works!

For my threads: I love the use of this vintage tool tray from pickup some creativity 

Realistically, unless I make a great find at a thrift shop, I am going to have to find a shallow tray that can display all my thread and hold it as well.

Other Notions:

Zippers: I store these by colour in clear zipper bags.

Needles – small jars or boxes are what I am planning

Empty Baby Jars – Great for storing snaps, buttons, sequence, beads, and pins. Really anything that is small stores well in baby jars.

Spice Rack – Works just as well as the baby jars, a rotating spice rack will make it so much easier to store and access those small items.

So basically, I want an organized and useable sewing room that I can make with recycled items. Does anyone have any tips?


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