Until then, best wishes to everyone for long, happy summer days with family and enough time for your sewing! :)
Friday, July 23, 2010
Until then, best wishes to everyone for long, happy summer days with family and enough time for your sewing! :)
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The answer was a resounding, unanimous, YES! Everyone who responded has done at least some sewing for, or of, toys. I thought it was particularly cool to learn that several folks actually got their sewing start making dresses for their Barbie dolls and stuffed animals when they were young.
Clothing projects mentioned included clothes for stuffed animals, Barbie dolls, 18-inch plastic dolls and a goose. Summerset actually made matching SWAPs for her daughter and her daughter's American Girl dolls - check it out here. How cool is that?!?!
Other projects included actually making the stuffed animals. Amy made the beautiful doll, Bianca, pictured above, and she gave links to pictures of an adorable hedgehog and robot that she has also made - warning: if you look at these you may wish that you were a kid again and she would adopt you! ;)
Elaina, whose son (obviously) doesn't play much with dolls, has had the honor and privilege of sewing sleeping bags for Transformers!
Lois pointed out some of the great advantages to sewing clothes for dolls - they stand perfectly still for the fittings, never outgrow your clothes and don't complain about the fit, style or color! ;) Shannon said that sewing Barbie doll clothes made sewing real baby clothes a breeze! And Sarah likes sewing doll clothes because it's a fast and fun way to try out a new technique.
My nieces are growing up, so my doll-clothes-sewing days may be mostly behind me - too bad, because I just found the coolest website - a size chart for dolls! It even includes armscye measurements! I don't even know MY armscye measurement! ;)
Thanks again to everyone who commented - I loved reading about your miniature projects and seeing your pictures!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
And, yes, that IS glitter you see sparkling merrily in the jungle cat fur. That's how you know it's REAL! ;)
We actually drafted the pattern for an elastic waisted skirt using the directions in this book.
We made a practice version while she was here and it came out pretty short. (Think French maid - but without the frilly underwear.) I think I'll add an inch or two to the length of this one.
It's one of the quickest patterns in the world to sew up - a single pattern piece, cut 2 (front and back), stitch side seams, stitch casing, insert elastic and hem it.
So, I should be able to get it done pretty quickly - I'm just not sure when exactly... But don't worry, it's in the queue! :)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I've been sneaking into my sewing room recently, and managed to finish a blouse from my queue! The end result reminds me of my first foray into interior design. I picked out a teeny-tiny little paint chip of the most beautiful pink and determined that this was the perfect color for the room.
You can probably imagine where this story is going...
Once the "beautiful pink" was applied, floor to ceiling, on all of the walls in the room, you needed to put on sunglasses before turning on the light! ;)
I thought those days were behind me, but I may have relived that experience with my fabric choice for this blouse pattern:
Regarding the pattern, I enjoyed making it. One feature I really liked was that the blouse is self-facing along the center front:
I was hoping that the "darts" along the waistline would be slimming. It turns out that they weren't darts at all, but rather were tucks. So there is no blending or merging at the edges - they just end abruptly.
The way the sleeve set-in was new to me. I'm used to shirts where the front and the back meet at the shoulder. For this pattern, the sleeve itself connects the front and the back and fills in part of the neckline.
Here you can see the seam-line joining the front and the sleeve:
And here you can see the seam-line joining the back and the sleeve. There was no seam along the top of the shoulder, although there was a dart in the sleeve at that position.
The instructions called for bias tape along the edge of the sleeve, to hold the elastic:
I ended up making the elastic 1/2 inch shorter than recommended, and it is still comfortably roomy on me (even pushed up just over my elbows).
Initially I was planning to put trim around the neckline. Once it was steam-a-seamed on, however, I decided that it was WAY too much. This led to a series of abortive attempts to get the trim removed. Don't let anyone ever tell you that steam-a-seam doesn't work! ;)
It was finally a tip from patternreview (here) that saved the day! Thanks, Leslie! :)
So, the top is done and I have worn it to work (over black pants).
Although, possibly in something just a tad more subdued... ;)
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!
Friday, July 16, 2010
* aka teddy bears
How about you? Does your sewing history include outfitting any dolls or stuffed animals? I'd love to hear your stories! And, if you have links to pictures, I'll include them in my "Talk Back Thursday" post. :)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Oh my goodness! What an incredible set of answers I got to my Friday Confession two weeks ago! I asked how people store their used patterns, and I got the most wonderful set of responses from Lori, Sarah, Stitchywitch, Branka, Webfrau, Rose, Elaina, Lisa Laree, Gwen, Marysews, Mary, Cindy, Lady Jenn, Carla, Mitch, Karin, Julia, Shannon, Becky, Summerset, Faye and Claire! :)
First let’s consider patterns that are purchased individually in their own envelopes.
The two most common ways of dealing with the cut pattern pieces were to either (a) just fold them as best as possible (but not along the pre-existing lines) and stuff them back into the envelopes (4 commenters) and (b) fold them as best as possible (but not along the pre-existing lines) and use a dry iron to press them flat before returning them to the envelope (5 commenters). And 2 of those 5 "pressers" use a ruler to get really straight folds!
As for respecting the pre-existing fold lines, 3 people carefully re-fold the UN-used pattern pieces along those creases, and 2 people carefully re-fold ALL of the pattern pieces (un-used and used) along those original lines. I am in awe! :)
Another two people reported that they don’t always save their used patterns - after making a pattern once, they are generally ready on move on to something new! :)
Finally, a couple of people don’t try to get their used patterns back into the original envelopes, but use large clear envelopes or zipper bags to store their used patterns...
...and this leads perfectly into my other question:
How do people preserve the patterns they trace, for example, from pattern magazines like Burda World of Fashion?
Zipper bags (7 commenters) and manila envelopes (6 commenters) are the most popular methods of storing traced patterns – although not everyone uses the same size. Both quart and gallon sized zipper bags were recommended, as well as 5 x 7 inch and 9 x 12 inch envelopes. Other storage methods mentioned were (a) folders with pockets (3 commenters), (b) clear plastic page holders in 3-ring binders (2 commenters) and (c) pattern keeper bags from Nancy’s Notions (2 commenters).
What was really interesting was the different methods for labeling those packets! Here is a list of all the different types of information that people include on their labels:
- The type of garment (dress, pants, skirt, etc.)
- The pattern brand and number
- The size made
- A photocopy of the garment from either the pattern envelope or the magazine
- A photocopy or sketch (or tracing) of the line drawing for the pattern
- The name and date of the magazine that it came from
- Yardage requirements
- Construction notes
You can see a nice example of a system at work in pictures on Carla's blog, here.
Summerset and Mary also include a scrap of the fabric used to make up the garment, because, as Summerset pointed out, that can help you remember a garment more easily than a pattern number or magazine date.
Speaking of construction notes, when I’m sewing for others, I jot down (on the pattern envelope) the name of the recipient, any alterations I incorporated into the pattern pieces, and the date when I made the garment. The date sewn is especially helpful when I’m sewing for young relatives who do not live nearby. I can just ask, “Does that shirt I made for you last year still fit?” and that will tell me whether I can use the same pattern or I need a bigger size.
Lady Jenn does one extra thing for her traced patterns – she puts a star next to the pattern in the magazine, so that if she ever decides to make that pattern again, she won’t accidentally go to the trouble of re-tracing it. Isn’t that a good idea?
Lisa Laree has a very well thought-out system for managing her magazine pattern collection. She keeps a 3-ring binder with copies of the line drawings from each magazine issue. And she separates out the pattern sheets from the magazines and keeps those in labeled gallon size zipper bags. Once she traces a pattern, she puts those pieces into a smaller zipper bag and slides that bag into the larger one, to keep it with the appropriate pattern collection. She can browse her binder and easily find the pattern she wants! I may have to experiment with a system like this, as my pattern magazine collection grows…
Another neat idea – Carla takes the storage bag idea even further, and she establishes a big project bag to hold everything associated with an ongoing project – the pattern, thread, buttons, zipper, bias binding, etc. This sounds like an excellent idea – especially if you ever have more than 1 project going on at a time!
Finally, Cindy and Branka suggested alternatives to regular tracing paper. Cindy likes to use the medical paper from exam beds in a doctor’s office. She said that sometimes you can get a roll for free if you are friends with someone who works there. And Branka uses PVC foil – something I had never heard of - she blogged about it, but I had a little bit of trouble finding her blog. I did find this cached version of the post.
I never can predict which topics are going to elicit the most interesting responses, and did not dream that confessing to cramming my used patterns back into the envelopes would elicit such an outpouring of excellent ideas! Thank you SO much to everyone who took the time to respond and tell us about your systems!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Preparations begin for the polar bear. First, I tested the pattern by trying to sew it up in fabric.
Actually, FIRST I spent an embarrassingly huge amount of time trying to blow up the pattern to the correct size (it was scaled down in the book). Nothing is quite so humbling to a person who uses computers all day long as not being able to make sense out of a new software program. ;)
THEN I sewed it up in fabric scraps.
This exercise identified 2 issues. First, the pattern is a bit awkward where the back part of the top of the head joins the neck. I'm going to have to work on that a bit.
Second, the legs splay outwards quite a bit. Another thing to think about and try to fix...
Next up, picking the yarn! You know how some fabric stores will sell you a collection of swatches to help you pick the fabric for, say, a wedding dress? Well, it turns out that yarn stores will do a similar thing and when I first got my loom I purchased this "Yarn Store in a Box" from Halcyon Yarn:
The instructions call for 20/2 cotton and chenille. The 20/2 cotton is the THINNEST thing I have ever tried to weave! Here I compare it to sewing thread:
Well, I've figured it out. The effort-savings aspect is in the planning the project, not the weaving itself. It turns out that there is quite a bit of math involved in figuring out how much yarn to buy for a project!
The first step is to figure out how long the total warp will be. In the image below, the numbers in red were given for the project, and the numbers in blue are standard across many projects.
Next, you have to figure out the total length of weft yarn(s) you'll need. This project is a little bit complicated (for me) because for every 2 "rows" of the thin cotton I establish, there will be 1 "row" of the much thicker chenille. I need to figure out how many rows of each there will be in each inch of fabric.
Finally, you combine the warp measurements and the weft measurements and figure out how much yarn to buy...
Next weekend I'll have a sewing update for you! :)
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Friday, July 2, 2010
How about you? How do you put your patterns away after you use them? Do you put in the time and effort to keep them super neat?
I'm also curious how people store the patterns that they trace from pattern magazines like Burda World of Fashion - you know, the ones that don't come with their own envelopes. Any special systems you could share with the rest of us?
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I was braced for a sound chastising, and found myself relieved to escape relatively unscathed. ;)
It is true that 4 people responded that they can sew equally well on either side. And CarlaF and Gwen gave me some good advice - practice and go slowly!
But 9 people commented that they, too, prefer to sew with the seam on the right. Not only that, but they had a couple of very good justifications. The main one, made by 6 people, is that anytime you are sewing with any size-able amount of fabric, if the seam allowance is on the left, the bulk of the fabric is likely to get bunched up on the right, between the needle and the machine body.
Cindy made a nice analogy with carpentry and using a table saw - you need to have the fabric move through smoothly and all at the same speed - you won't get a quality seam if you have bits and pieces of the fabric tugging ahead or being held back.
And 2 others pointed out that some machines only have the measurements marked on the right side...
I wondered if my preference had anything to do with being right handed, and Elaina indirectly supported this argument from the opposite direction. Being left handed, when she first started to sew it was easier for her to put the seam allowance on the left. Now, however, she can sew equally well on either side.
Two other interesting comments - Cindy pointed out that her right side preference only holds for sewing seams. When it comes to edge stitching, for example, she can work equally well on either side.
And JustGail pointed out something I had heard in conjunction with driving, sketching and cutting, but never with sewing - her work benefits from looking further ahead, rather than at the section of road (or paper or fabric) directly in front of her. I'm going to keep that in mind and give it a try the next time I sit down at my machine. :)
Thanks again to everyone who took the time and trouble to comment! You make even the tiniest details of sewing very interesting! :)