Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thread snappage question...

When I started sewing my hand pieced hexagons together I just used some polyester Gutermann thread in white that I had lying around (on the right below), but I noticed that the thread sort of stretched out as I sewed with it, and the end became slightly untwisted and was prone to cause tangles if I didn't regularly snip the end off.

Remembering that I'd been recommended in the past to use cotton thread for patchwork (which I have not done so far), so when I was in spotlight I bought a spool of white cotton thread to try that instead (again Gutermann). However, I've tried sewing with it a bit now, and it's REALLY prone to snapping while I'm sewing. Has anyone had any experience with this? Am I doing something wrong? Do you have any advice on which type of thread to use for hand sewing?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pendrell Blouse - Seam finishes and first stitches

After making alterations to the pendrell pattern I got to cutting out my fabric.

I cut out the poly-chiffon plaid (on the right in the picture above) last week before my wrist surgery, which was a good call, as it was tricky enough with the full use of both hands.I think the choice of a plaid for my first chiffon project, and a chiffon for my first plaid project was somewhat a mistake! Nevermind, if it doesn't work out it wasn't expensive so it's not the end of the world. However, due to these difficulties, I decided that matching the plaid properly was too difficult, so I've only attempted to match the horizontal lines of the plaid. Hopefully it'll still look ok.

After the poly-chiffon, the poly-satin (on the left in the picture above) was a piece of cake. For cutting both types of fabric I pinned the pattern to the fabric, cut about 1-2cm around the edge, and then cut it carefully with my rotary cutter.

Today's post by Tasia for the sewalong involved stay-stitching, sewing the first seam and seam finishes. So to start with, on some scraps of fabric I worked out my sewing machine settings. I also changed machine needle to a size 70, sharp microtex needle.

The poly-satin was easy - the machine stitched beautifully, and a small zig-zag (length 2.5, width 3) finished the edges nicely in a way that wasn't visible from the outside.

Having successfully decided on seam finishes I did do the first few sewing steps:

I've stay-stitched the neckline, and sewn the front and back pieces together at the shoulders. I then went onto fold and press the draped sleeve, but haven't basted it yet as i'm eagerly awaiting any snippets of wisdom from Tasia on that score.

Next my second version of the blouse... the plaid poly-chiffon one.

The poly-chiffon was a little trickier. Shown above is a normal seam with a zig-zag along the edge. This would adequately finish the seam to stop it from fraying but as it has an uneven edge it was obvious from the right side and wouldn't look very good in a finished garment.

Next I tried a french seam (above). This solved the issue with it looking messy, it looks lovely from both sides (incase it's hard to see, the top image is the outside, the bottom the inside). However, it's a technique i've never done before  and will need a bit of practice to get the seam allowance the right size etc. I'm also not sure how to do a french seam on curved seams? Is it even possible? Does anyone know anything about this?

The second issue that you can see in the above photo is my failure to match the stripes. So, I had another go:

This one is better, but still not perfect. It was very difficult without the full use of both of my hands, and as such I have decided that I will not work on this version of the blouse until I can use both hands properly again.

I can't wait for the next post tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Taken a turn for the slow...

Things round here have taken a turn for the slow. I had surgery on my wrist on Friday, and now my right arm is in a splint. I'm left handed so thankfully I am not completely hopeless, but it has made many things, including sewing, a lot harder to do!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Still hexing away

I've been chugging away at my hexy-flowers when I have the time, and over Christmas I made particular progress. My flower count is now 36 flowers with 5 green hexys for the border (having 5 green hexys will allow me to tessellate them all together to make the quilt top) and another 34 flowers without the green border yet.

Soon I'll need to choose a layout so that I can start sewing them all together. Exciting!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tutorial: Pendrell Blouse - Muslin and Pattern Alterations

This evening I stitched up a muslin for the Pendrell Blouse. In the sew-along schedule this week was choosing a size, fitting and pattern alterations. From my measurements I fit quite well into the size 10 column. I measured my high bust as suggested by Tasia and found that the difference between my bust and high-bust is 2" - right on the boundary of the guideline of whether you need a FBA or not. As it's a relaxed fit blouse I decided to go without the FBA and make a muslin first to check the fit.

Sadly I forgot to take photos of the muslin, and didn't remember until after I'd cut it up again to mark the changes on my pattern pieces, however I did take some photos to document how I shortened the pattern, as I did it slightly differently to how Tasia did in her post on the topic.

I decided to shorten the pattern by 2.5" so that it sits just above my hips (just at the level of the top of the pockets of my jeans). Tasia has done a great job drafting the pattern and the hem goes in slightly in the hem allowance to make it easier to hem and I wanted to re-create that detail in my alteration.

Below is what the bottom of the side front pattern piece looks like (as an example, but the process is the same for all four pieces). The notches indicate the hem line, which I've drawn in in black pen:
As you can see, below the hem line the pattern piece tapers in slightly in the hem allowance on the right hand side; this is to assist with the hemming - if it didn't you'd end up with extra fabric in the hem and it would be a pain. (On a related note, on patterns that taper in at the bottom, for example the Jenny Skirt, you get the opposite - the hem allowance tapers outwards).

I shortened my pattern pieces by 2.5", so the first thing I did was measure a line 2.5" above the hem line I marked on the pattern piece to designate the new length:

I then measured back down the length of the hem allowance, which in this case was 1.5" to mark my new cutting line, and cut along it:

This gives me the basic adjustment to shorten my pattern piece, but I no longer have the handy tapering in the hem allowance, so I need to mark that back on.

To do this I folded along the "new length" line:

You can see above the little triangle of where the hem allowance is bigger than the actual blouse once the hem is folded - that's the bit we want to get rid of or it'll bunch up when hemming the blouse.

So I drew along the edge of the pattern piece onto the hem allowance to mark that triangle:

And snipped it off:

Now my pattern piece has the nice tapering in the hem allowance, which will make hemming the blouse a much nicer experience. (If you try this yourself remember to do the same to all the bodice pattern pieces!)

I hope these photos help anyone else that wants to make the same alteration - please comment or email me if you have any questions.

The other alteration I made was to take out about 1cm on each side of the centre back piece along the princess seams, tapering off to start and finish at my shoulder blades and about 3" above the hem. I decided to do this because it was looking very baggy at the back (particularly as my back is very sway-ey). As I was making the changes to the muslin I could double check that I can still get the blouse on and off over my head, which I can.

Now I'm ready to cut out my fashion fabric, but I want to wait to see what tips Tasia posts in her sew-along first.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sew-along season

It seems to be sew-along season in blog land at the moment, there's so many going on.

Sadly I only have time to participate in one of the sewalongs (and even that's pushing it), as I already mentioned, I'm taking part in the Pendrell Blouse Sew-Along from that started this week.

In case you do have the time and want a sew-along to join in, I thought I'd post the links to the other ones I've come across in the last few weeks (those I can remember at least):
- Casey at Casey's Elegant Musings is doing a swing dress sew-along 
- Peter at Male Pattern Boldness is doing a mens shirt sew-along 
- Gertie at Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing is still doing a crepe sew-along
- Helene at 25reasons is doing a liberty stars quilt-along
- There's a whole assortment of bloggers taking part in the Bloggers Block-a-palooza (waiting for spring)
- And last but not least Rachel from p.s. i quilt is doing a postage stamp quilt-along

Oh to have unlimited sewing time... *sigh*

Are you taking part in any sew-alongs at the moment (or soon)?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pendrell Blouse - Fabric

Yesterday afternoon I went on a field trip to choose some fabric for my Pendrell Blouse as the sew-along starts next week. After ducking into Textile Traders and coming out empty handed, we carried on down the road to Spotlight.

Tasia suggests "slippery, shifty fabrics like silk or polyester charmeuse, chiffon, rayon challis, crepe de chine" for the blouse. I ended up (due to my mum's bad influence) getting two fabrics - the first one below is some kind of chiffon I think and the second is a lightweight silky satin (both mostly polyester I think).

Pendrell Blouse Fabric

This one will need to be worn with a cami underneath, you can see how see through it is in the above photo - you can see the white selvedge. This fabric was on Sale - $3 a metre and as it's a wide one I only needed 1.8 metres, topped off with a 10% birthday discount - so the total fabric cost was $4.86 + $2.41 for thread.

Pendrell Blouse Fabric

.Here is the second fabric:

Pendrell Blouse Fabric

This one had $13 a metre on the ticket, and as it wasn't as wide, I need 2.5m for the fabric, making it a relatively expensive blouse... but on my mums urging I decided to go for it as it's got such a nice hand and is so incredibly soft. When she put it through at the till it came up at 70c a metre!!! (but really 63c a metre because of my birthday discount) So this one cost $1.58 for fabric! Bargain.

Pendrell Blouse Fabric

All in all, a very successful sewing trip! I can't wait for the sew-along to start.

However, first I have an important decision to make - I'm not sure which views I'm going to make out of the fabric. I definitely want to make Vew A, but I'm not sure about which fabric. I'm also not sure about the ruffled version... when I had ruffles on my JJ I removed them because they didn't come out well after washing, I'm worried the same will happen again with this. So - opinions please?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild - January Sit and Sew Day

Are you going to the first Sit and Sew Day of 2011 for the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild?
Sadly I'm not as I won't be back in Melbourne in time. But if you're in Melbourne you should go!

A whole day of sewing and great company in one of our swanky new venues for this year (Ashburton Library). Click here for information about the venue and a link to register (so they know numbers to expect)

If you go, be sure to report back how much of a great time you had!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Revisiting the wardrobe project

As you may or may not remember, near the beginning of the year I posted about the burdastyle wardrobe project. I thought now would be a good time to revisit it and see how it went.

Esprit Dress - This dress was completed earlier in the year and I have discovered that I didn't end up posting about finishing it. The dress turned out well, except that some of the alterations I made to the pattern after the muslin resulted in the dress being too big, resulting in the dress feeling a little sack like. I need to take in the side seams. Also, the pockets are a bit low, which I didn't realise in the muslin as I didn't add the pockets. It's something i'll have to remember to think about for future projects.

Sencha Blouse - When I bought this pattern I loved it, now I've made it up I still love it. The one that I made was a practice garments (also known as "wearable muslin") from some unknown blue fabric from my stash. It is a great garment but a bit big, I am still planning on making another one in a smaller size.

Emily Shirt - I made a black version of this shirt (again a practice garment), and if i wear it i look remarkably like a waiter. It also has a number of fitting problems (mostly in the shoulder and sleeve), so it's been put aside for now.

Jenny Skirt - I initially had hesitations about this pattern, but so far I've made two version of this skirt and I LOVE it. The black version is a bit big and I need to take it in, but the grey one is fantastic! I'd like to make another one with a narrower waistband in a colour, I just haven't found "the" fabric yet.

Vogue Trousers - Sadly (as seems to be a bit of a theme with these items), these trousers weren't a huge success either. While there was nothing particularly wrong with them, the biggest problem was my fabric choice - the fabric (as shown, although exaggerated slightly, in the photo below) was a bit too shiny for the style I was going for. Also the fit wasn't ideal, however I think I know how it could be improved. I'm not sure if I'll bother though, as I've since decided that i'm not the biggest fan of wide legged trousers - they look fine when you're standing but they're annoying the way they flap around your ankles when you walk.

Hikaru Jacket - This is definitely the biggest success of my wardrobe plan. Probably a little warmer than my initial plan, but definitely a huge success.

A few successes, a few not-quite-successes... not too bad, especially since the project was abandoned part way through the year in favour of working on my thesis.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 in review...

2010 was much less 'productive' than 2009, for the exact reason I predicted at the beginning of the year; much of this year I've been focusing on writing my PhD thesis. I also took up ice skating, and have sacrificed some of my little remaining sewing time to do that, as exercise is particularly important when I'm sat on my bum writing all day rather than up and about in the lab all day.

Having said that, I've still amassed a respectable number of completed projects, including 8 new items of clothing, 3 finished quilts, some smaller items and three quilts that i'm still working on. Not all those items were a success, but most of them were.

Hands down my favourite item of the year is my Hikaru Jacket

I'm a summer person through and through, but I'm already looking forward to next winter so I can start wearing it again.

I'm also very excited by the progress of my Genome quilt:

The other main highlight of the year was the social aspects of sewing; while the Burdastyle Sewing Club I was attending closed down, I did manage to attend a meeting of the Perth Burdastyle Sewing Club. I also feel lucky enough to have been involved in the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild. I have made some great new friends at the monthly sit and sew meetings, and look forward to getting to know them all better and meeting new members during 2011.

I've looked back at my post of goals for 2010, and I completed some but not others. 

In relation to garments sewing, I wanted to sew with a plan, which I was quite successful at (another post about that to follow). I also wanted to make some trousers, which I also did. However I didn't make swimwear or undies so that goal will have to carry over to another time. I also wanted to improve my construction skills, which I've been slowly working on, but there's still plenty more to learn.

In relation to non-garment sewing, I wanted to work on precision in my patchwork, which I think I've been doing, and to practice my quilting, which I have also done.

My biggest goal this year was to "take my time, enjoy the process and take on the challenge of learning new things", which I feel I have successfully adhered to, and is the only goal I am going to give myself at the moment for 2011.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...