Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spider Peony

On February 18th, Colette Patterns had a book signing party and trunk show at Sew LA. You could receive 20%  off all Colette patterns but if you wore one of her designs, you could get 30% off! Now I had been planning on making a Peony for some time and had some fabric set aside for it...and guess what? The fabric was red! So not only was it perfect for me to make for the event, I can also enter it into the Red Dress contest on pattern review and use it for the Sew Weekly theme from last week---red. (You can see my entry here. I am not a contributor because I did not know at the time, but I did said they were still accepting people...but I have not heard anything yet.)
Fabric detail close up---those are not wrinkles! Those are the striped gradation in the fabric

For this pattern, I did make a muslin of the bodice because I know Colette patterns are designed for bustier gals than I. Of course I somehow convinced myself the muslin idea what I was thinking...and went and sewed it than way. Of course it did not fit! So I made up some changes that resulted in an SBA but it is not the correct way to do it if you do it before you make up your garment. I went to the waist dart and moved the dart legs each in a half inch on each the darts were each 1 inch shallower...and i continued the line up to the same point as before. Seemed to work...because the bodice fits perfectly now. I also altered the bodice to be 1/4 inch longer...or I intended to anyway. I did the front bodice correctly while I was tracing off the pattern...and while I was not thinking, I traced the back bodice off 1/4 inch shorter---I moved the paper the wrong way! So the front and back bodice were 1/2 different from each other. I just eased the back 1/4 inch and cut off the other 1/4 inch so the bodice ended up being the exact same size as the original pattern!

Another change I made was to add piping to the sleeves and the ended up being a super cute detail but I of course did it because adding piping is yet another way I cheat around hemming!

sleeve piping detail
piping detail on belt and spider broach!
If anyone wants a tutorial on how to use piping in place of hemming let me know...I can do one but I just figure you all know this trick by now. To make this piping, I used the Clover wrap and fuse piping and ironed the Wrights gold lame bias tape around it..ironed on low!  I melted some of it right off when the iron was on high...I also used the Clover mini iron to iron it because it was very hard to use the large iron to press the fabric around the fusible piping. You can see my detailed review of the Wrap 'n Fuse piping here.What can I say? I'm a gadget girl! I love anything that makes it easier and faster...I want my finished garment!  But of course I also want I am careful to try and strike a careful balance.

Back belt detail
excess belt room

I love this dress so much...I have plans to make another. I loved it the minute it came out...this is actually the first Colette pattern I ever bought and I'm glad I made it work so well. I have a couple more pictures to show you more details.

Awesome shoes...and awesome puppy!

A couple things, the back belt, if you can see in the above picture, pulls some...but its not tight so I dont understand the pulling. I think on the next belt I might try a vertical buttonhole and see if it helps with the pulling because on the pattern, it was a horizontal buttonhole and I am wondering if that is what is contributing to the pulling. Just something to mention.

Also, I wore my fun makeup to match the dress! I only get to wear conservative "court" makeup so often nowadays, I never get to wear to the fun colors so I definitely took advantage of the opportunity. Sarai (Mitnick---Colette Patterns designer) even commented on my matching makeup!
Gold eyes, red lips

Scary close up eye makeup shot!!

This will be the first contest I am entering on PR. I'm excited! It was also the first Sew Weekly post that I made. I hope you all enjoy my entry!  Also, I did this entire project from my stash! Did not buy one new thing for it...crazy! I am not sure I have ever done that before! One last thing of note--can anyone spot the problem with the dress?  It's here in the post...anyone notice it???? 

What do you all think of my fabric? Classy enough? Or too Halloweeny?  I try very hard to strike a nice balance between spooky and elegant---you should have seen my wedding! Perfect example. I think this fabric fits the bill perfectly. Love!

Check out my review on PR here.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Butterick 5559 and Tutorial on Hemming

My cute Buffy had to jump in the pic

I had been seeing this dress, Butterick 5559 by Maggy London, reviewed for awhile and I had to make it. I read about the difficulties of marking and had doubts about my motivation to complete this dress because marking is my least favorite part! But I took my trusty Frixion pens and marked the right side of the fabric with the tucks. I just folded up the tissue and drew the lines.You can read my review of the Frixion pens here.

If you don't yet know about Frixion pens, they are pens that were originally developed to be erasable by friction. But as it turns out, the heat of the iron erases the marks. (They also wash out) These pens have been a huge hit in the quilting world but I haven't noticed anyone mentioning them in the garment sewing world so I thought I would make a special mention. These pens made marking the tucks so much easier than the routes others had to take and they just iron right out!  Of course I tested on a scrap before I began marking. The only thing is I had to sew all the tucks on each piece before ironing them down so the marks would not disappear...but I don't think it harmed anything. The tucks were not affected at all.
haha...look at little Wednesday's paw

Aren't they gorgeous?
I made a straight size 8 in a golden yellow ponte knit. The trim on the sleeves and the hem is a brown ponte knit. The size 8 is slightly large in the hips and I might go back and take in the side seams a little there but I'll see what you guys think first. The only alteration I made was to take in the lower edge of the armscye in an inch...and therefore made the sleeve smaller at the bottom by one inch. I felt like the golden yellow might be a little too strong all on its own (even though I love it...yellow is my favorite color!) plus my favorite shoes in the world were this color yellow leather with a leopard trim--Marc Jacobs--so I added the brown trimming. I LOVE these shoes...I have had them since early 2005. I even wore them in a torrential downpour, through  tons of puddles, and they looked ruined and the next morning?? pristine condition! That's what you get with great quality...but I this post is not about shoes!

Another reason I added the brown is because I loathe hemming! And it just made it that much easier to complete the dress. This is a method I use on knits a lot...and I believe its the method used in the new Renfrew top from Sewaholic. I am just guessing based on the ones I have seen--I don't have the pattern..but I want it! I don't know how many people use this method so I thought I would post a little about it. 

First I decided how much brown I wanted to show and ended up cutting a crosswise strip of the brown  at 2.5 inches. I cut crosswise because that was the way the stretch of the fabric went and I needed the stretch to match the hem of the garment where I had the stretch going around my body. Next I ironed the strip in half. Then I placed raw edges of the brown to raw edges (where I want to hem) of the sleeve. I did this on the sleeves before I set them in.
Raw edges together (Sorry the stitching is already there...I did not think to take pictures until it was complete

Then I stitched with a quarter inch seam all the way to the end for the sleeves. For the hem, I measured the amount that was needed and added a half inch for seam allowance and sewed the strip in a circle before placing it on the hem and sewing the quarter inch seam. The circle was not needed for the sleeves because they were still lying flat and not inserted into the garment.

Next press the seams up towards the garment. Then we are going to top stitch extremely close to the seam to hold the inner seam allowance down...and plus it gives a nice finish.  Also a little tip...use your edgestitching or blind hem foot. I am using the blind hem foot here and I set my needle almost as far as you can go to the left...two from the farthest left and ran the center of the foot (the blade) along the ditch.  Below is a picture of my machine settings which show the dot two from the left position so you can see where I had the needle positioned. Also a picture showing how to use the edgestitching or blind hem foot to do this kind of stitching.

my blind hem foot running in  the ditch

machine settings


And this is what it will look like when you are done. Two really close rows of stitching on the inside and the seam allowance on the inside is held down on the inside so it doesn't flop around.

Finished seam from the inside

And now for the big finale! I know you all are dying to see some in person shots of the dress! But first, my bragging shot. By reading all the reviews, I knew matching the tucks at the side seam would be I paid extra careful attention when matching them up and pinned in more than 5/8's so they would match. If I just pinned at the edge, they would have been out of alignment where the seam was stitched. So because I was forewarned...I ended up with side seams like this!

matched side seams!

And now for the shots on me...I kept my hair out of the way so you could see the neckline on both the front and the back...and don't miss my shoes!

I hope this helped someone! And please ignore my giant watch in the picture...I should have taken that is a nice dress after all :-) You can also check out my review of this dress here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Magna Hoop vs. Snap Hoop

I own both the Magna Hoop and the Snap Hoop. Because my embroidery machine is a Babylock Ellisimo, I was able to get the snap hoop as soon as it came out. I have now used both of them enough times and tried them on a significant variety of projects that I now feel comfortable reviewing them for you all.

My personal preference of the two is the Magna Hoop. Now I can hear all of you screaming your love for the Snap Hoop---the Snap Hoop is great also!  They both work for very different just turns out that the type of embroidery I tend to do more often works great with the Magna Hoop.

So, first things first. Magna Hoop is NOT A HOOP! I think that is the biggest misconception. Magna Hoop only works with the hoops you already own for your machine. Magna Hoop is simply inserts for your hoops. This works well if you are often embroidering on oddly shaped items such as clothing pieces or quilt blocks, purse pieces, towels, etc. It holds the fabric down in the hoop in every area but where you are embroidering. So this gives it more stability than say, just using a sticky stabilizer.
Example of the 5 x 7 Magna Hoop-the other sizes come with different shaped inserts
Here is also a link to a video Eileen Roche (the inventor of both hoops and editor of Designs in Machine Magazine) did on describing the Magna Hoop. I also want to include a link to her blog where she writes about the comparisons between Magna Hoop and Snap Hoop and when and she uses each one and why. That post can be found on her blog here.

Now the Snap Hoop is an actual hoop.

This hoop makes squaring up fabric and getting rid of puckers easier. This is because the top of the hoop is magnetic and does not latch in like normal embroidery hoops. Therefore the fabric can be slid around underneath it until it is square and has no wrinkles. This cannot be done in a regular hoop because of the tightness of its grip and the probability that it will cause puckers if you pull after hooping. Here is a link to Eileen Roche's video on the Snap Hoop.

Now the reason I prefer the Magna Hoop is simply because of the type of embroidery I tend to do. I do a lot of onesies so I bought the 4 x 4 hoop to make hooping square easier. Problem is, it does not hold tight enough for the small 6-9 month onesies I embroider. These are TINY! So I have to pull the fabric all around the hoop and stretch and hold it so the presser foot doesnn't catch it while it is embroidering. With all this pressure, the snap hoop magnets tend to slide whereas the normal embroidery hoop holds everything tight. So the Snap Hoop simply does not work for me for this purpose.

Additionally, the Snap Hoop is not good for applique...which I also do a lot of! You do not want to have a ton of stitches on baby items so applique designs are better than fill stitch designs for baby clothes. The instructions that come with the Snap Hoop even caution about using it for applique because of the potential for the fabric to slip around with the constant removing of the hoop from the machine and manipulation to cut around stitches for applique. However, Eileen Roche has found a solution for this problem. If any of you have any of her Stipple collections, you can see in the videos she does them in the Snap Hoop. Now why does this work?  This is because her applique designs in the Stipple collections are all raw edge. She does layer after layer in the hoop until the entire design is done. Only then does she remove the hoop and cut around all of the edges. By doing it this way, she removes the possibility of the fabric slipping from the constant removal of the hoop from the machine by not removing the hoop until it is done. (You can see this process in a video here.)

This is a great idea if you like raw edge applique! I happen to use the more sturdy satin stitch around the edge of my appliques but again that is because I do a lot of baby items and they get washed frequently and it will hold up better. The kind of items that the Stipple kits make won't need that amount of sturdiness and it works well.

 The point of me writing this post is to make sure you are all well informed on the pros and cons of each item. I still use the Snap Hoop on plenty of other items. It was just that it was not ideal for the main items I had bought it for or regularly do.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Black Ponte Pants

I recently decided to participate in the Wardrobe Basics Sew-Along put on by the wonderful Girls in the Garden blog. Our first order of business was what was called the black ponte pant!  Now this could not have come at a more opportune time. I had just received my Silhouette Patterns 3 Piece Yoga Pant pattern and had some gorgeous black rayon poly lycra knit left over from what I used on my bridesmaids dresses (more to come on that later!).

There is the front silly shot of me wearing my new Yoga pants. They fit perfectly and work well with heels which is important for work. Also, they are elastic waistband so they are extremely comfortable. Just like the description of the pattern, the pattern is 3 pieces. A front, a back, and a waistband.

Now I have made tons of pajama pants and I am perfectly comfortable at putting on an elastic waistband. In fact, I make all my pajama pants entirely on my serger. (It is a Babylock Evolve so it has coverstitch capabilities) So I did the same thing here. I used my serger for the entire yoga pant. Only my attempt at putting in the waistband was disastrous! It definitely was not the patterns fault, I think it was the elastic I was using. It barely stretched at all. I got some heavy duty stuff called waist band elastic or something. In the future I will just use the regular pajama or underwear elastic.
back view

So as a result of this heavy duty elastic, the waistband didn't stretch to fit quite properly. So I had to undo the waistband and I stitched it first on the sewing machine and then took it over to be serged and that worked just fine. I do not think I will need that extra step when I use the different elastic next time.

Ok so now for the fun stuff! Any of you who do not yet know about Silhouette patterns, Peggy Sagers, or their webcasts need to go over there stat! I say this because not only are all her webcasts amazingly useful, but she has one specifically on yoga pants! She shows you some neat tricks to get cool different waistbands and even describes how you can use this pattern with a woven for a more professional looking yet still comfortable pant! Now I know you all want a back view to see the fit you go!

I cut a straight size 4 (the smallest size) and made no alterations whatsoever. I thought for sure I would need to shorten the crotch length or make the waist smaller or something! But nope! Not a thing. She even mentions that repeatedly that there are so few alterations people need to make with these specific pants because they are so forgiving. The one thing to take note of though is that the 4 is not marked on the waistband piece for some reason. All the other sizes are. But easy enough, I just used the same measurement as is between all the other sizes and used that to measure where the 4 cutting line would be.

All in all, I had a great experience and I am so excited to have the first item done in the first sew along I have ever participated in. I hope this inspires some of you to make your ponte pants! Lastly, I will leave you all with....

a silly picture of me in my new pants! You can see my review here.

P.S. The pictures on the front of Silhouette patterns displaying the garment are horrendous! HORRENDOUS! Just ignore them and look at the line drawing or a review on PR or on her webcasts. These garments can be truly gorgeous!