Thursday, December 13, 2018

Do you sew fast?

I know, I know you think I mean do you finish garments quickly!  But nope not talking about that.

I'm asking, "Do you run your sewing machine on the fastest setting?" See my sewing machine has a slow, medium and fast setting on it. I've set mine to sew almost as fast as my machine can go. I've sewn with it on this setting for the last 3-4 years.

Just recently I moved it back to the medium setting. I've started sewing slower to get more control over my projects as they go under the needle. I'd never thought about it before. I just wanted to sew as fast as my machine would go to get to the end of the project. However, when I was applying the lace on my Black Ponte Jacket, I had to slow down to be more accurate.

By slowing down I noticed that I gained so much more control over my project and my sewing machine. It made me wonder why was I speeding through garments before?  Didn't I realize the power of accuracy I was giving up?

So here's the "Question of the Day?" Is your machine set at it's fastest sewing speed?  If not, what setting is it set at? And if you sew really fast, are you accurate? Do you feel like you could be more accurate if you changed your sewing machine setting?

Me, I've changed the setting on my sewing machine. I've slowed down. I've gained some more control and I'm seeing better results in my finished garments.

Talk back to me...cause I'm really interested! always more later!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Black Friday Fabric Purchases

I can honestly say that this was my last big fabric buy of 2018.  I bought way more fabric than I intended. The sales were really good and I found some fabric that just wanted to come and be neighbors with the present members of the collection. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! *LOL* 

Seriously though, I'm documenting this because I want to have it as a reference for future makes. At one time, I documented almost all of my fabric purchases. It was great when I finally used the fabric to figure out when I bought it and I could point back to it in the garment post. 

Since I get to start new in 2019, I'm going to try to document all new fabric purchases. Hopefully that will make me more conscious of what I purchase especially if I'm sharing it with all of you! Famous last words I know. Anyway here is what I bought...

Sewing Studio:
I bought a black stretch corduroy and a floral chambray to make a vest and shirt combo. Honestly I haven't purchased from them since they changed owners and I wanted to try the new site out.  The sale was good - 25% off your order.  The website was easy to navigate and the shipping was FAST! If you haven't looked at their site or purchased from them lately, I highly recommend this site!

How the fabric arrives

What I purchased...

Stylemaker Fabrics:
I love Michelle's selection. I'm constantly checking it because she's set her website up so that I can check fabric by color or by type. Many times, I just click the color type I'm interested in and ramble through until I find what I need. That's how I found this latest piece. 

Its called Metropolis Cotton Lawn Navy. I bought it to go with a blue faux suede that I'd purchased from the craft store in August when I visited the Lancaster one with Gaylen. I want to make another vest/shirt combo with these. However, if you're interested in the same color/fabric combo, Michelle has a blue suede on her site too.

Fabric Mart Fabrics:
Fabric Mart always has wonderful sales so I usually skip them during Black Friday. But this year they pulled out all the stops ~ 60% off everything, 1/2 price shipping and a free gift. Then each day there was one extra discount - one day it was 30% off patterns. Thankfully, I bought fabric on Thanksgiving Day without the extra enticements! *LOL*

Entire FM haul with the free gift - about a dozen zippers

A cotton jacquard border print

Floral Cotton Sateen

Black & White Polyester Floral Crepe 

I bought the most fabric here.  A black & white polyester floral crepe, a walnut cotton oxford shirting, a cotton/jacquard floral print and a floral watercolor sateen print. These will be held for spring sewing. I know, I know but I loved all of them so much and you know nothing lasts at Fabric Mart long. I can't even link to them because they're no longer on the site.

Blackbird Fabrics:
I purchased two pieces from Blackbird Fabrics. The thing you should know about ordering from Blackbird Fabrics during a sale is that it takes a minute to get your fabric and that is clearly stated on their website. So if you're looking for a quick fix, think about it. This fabric arrived Saturday, December 8th when I ordered it on November 23rd. I'm sure crossing from one country to another is also a factor.

Lousy photo of the black denim but decent photo of the navy viscose linen noil

Black denim (out of stock)

This color is sold out but there are more viscose/linen noils on the site

I own a lot of denim but no mediumweight black denim. So I bought that and a viscose/linen noil. I purchased the viscose linen noil fabric because I was intrigued by the fabric combo. I know I don't own anything like it in the collection. It's an interesting piece that I will use once the weather warms up.

Honestly I get caught up in Blackbird's IG account. The way they showcase fabrics on social media really entices me and is why I keep going back for more!
This purchase was a couple of days after Black Friday. had a bunch of Liverpool knits on sale for $6.99 a yard. Seriously $6.99 per yard. I bought three very unique prints.

Liverpool Double Knit Plaid Navy/Ivory Fabric - is no longer available

I know exactly what I want to make with these. One is destined to be used during my Winter Break, the other two have been shelved to wait their turn. I know has taken a beating on the internet recently and I ordered from them holding my breathe. Thankfully, not only was my order correct but it came quickly. I actually was surprised at how fast it shipped. I guess that means give them a chance if you really want something!

Conclusion ~
37.5 yards of fabric have shown up in the last three weeks. Honestly, most of it is still laying on the cutting table waiting to be put away. That definitely was my last buy of the year...and hopefully I won't be purchasing anything before I head to Sew Camp too. At least that's my goal! *LOL* 

If you are interested in any of the fabrics, I've provided links to them. I can vouch that all of them are amazing.  Except, someone contacted me on Instagram regarding the floral cotton sateen from Fabric Mart. She had issues with the dyes running when she prewashed the fabric. Fabric Mart did graciously refund her money. However, I googled it and I'm going to try to set the dyes before I prewash the fabric. I will follow up here and let you know how it works out.

The last two shirts in The Border Print Series will be up shortly. I've been slowly working on them so they will be photographed on me next weekend. always more later!


Saturday, December 08, 2018

Cashmerette's Rivermont Top - Second Version

Last year when I made the Rivermont Top I said that I would make it again.  As usual it took me a minute to get back to it...well actually it took me an entire year! *LOL* 

I also said that I would make my next version just like the pattern...mmmmmm I lied. This one is basically made like my first version. I love high/low hemlines and really wanted another version like that. The difference in this one is that the high/low peplum is made from a polyester chiffon.

Some stats ~
Navy rayon/lycra ponte purchased from Mood Fabrics for this project
Polyester floral chiffon purchased from Fabric Mart

9" navy invisible zipper
Seam tape

Construction ~
This is a simple sew. I made it exactly like I did the first one. Of course, I complicated it by using the chiffon as the high/low peplum. There were two things that changed with this make. One, I added two layers of the peplum to the front to give a little more length to the front.

The second thing is that to insure the chiffon doesn't pull from the ponte (one fabric being heavier than the other) I stitched seam tape into the waistline seam to stabilize it.  Since I used chiffon for the peplum, its unlined...another difference from my original version.

That's it. There are no other changes to the construction of the top.

Then I took pictures of the top and decided that I didn't like it with the second layer. The pictures made it look like I was wearing a tutu over a onesie. Those knit pants just weren't working for me.  So I removed that layer by just cutting it out of the seams and retook the pictures with some jeans.  That's what's pictured below.

A few pictures ~

I wanted something a little casual and funky, out of my wheelhouse. I think I accomplished that with this make. I like it better with just one layer of chiffon as the peplum and I like the swish in the back. Maybe some day I will make the top as it appears on the pattern envelope. Since this is a great pattern hopefully some day soon I will make another maximized version of the dress with a flared skirt. Something else I've been thinking about for a minute! always more later!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Black Ponte Jacket with Lace Trim

This jacket is made using McCalls 7481 as the base and it's Chico inspired.  

I found the inspiration jacket on Chico's website and it started this sewing journey.

All of the pattern alterations were completed that's why I started with it. I have two successful versions of the jacket in my closet another reason to use it.

Supply List ~
- 2.5 yards of black ponte fabric from Fabric Mart
- 1.5" lace from Joyce Trimmings
- 3" lace from M&J Trimmings
- black 'n white bias binding from the collection via Fabric Mart
- Five 7/8" black buttons from Pacific Trimmings
- One 1 1/8" black button from WalMart

Construction ~
I made no alterations to this pattern besides choosing the length and omitting the lining.  The Chicos inspiration jacket has a mandarin collar. I decided to use the collar from the pattern. Then I made it a journey because I added lace to the collar. Being extra again...

Side seam pockets were added but they hung funny. I thought of a couple of ideas to make the pockets work but ultimately decided that I didn't need them.  So I unpicked all of that black thread on black ponte fabric. As I was doing it, I realized that I've really grown because there was a time when I would have just chucked the outfit. But my unpicking heros, Grace and Lara have convinced me that ripping is worth it. Sometimes you've just got to do it to make your design idea work.

My silk organza pressing cloth got a work out on this project. I normally don't use one on ponte fabric but since I was doing some heavy duty pressing, I didn't want to put a shine on the fabric.  It was a good decision!

The highlight of this jacket is the lace on the collar, the sleeve and jacket hemlines.

The bias binding finishing on the inside just makes my heart sing. I only had enough in the notions stash to trim out the facings and the hemline.  So the side seams are just serged. BTW, while this bias tape came on a roll, it had to be pressed into shape to be used. It's some of the leftover binding tapes I bought from Fabric Mart over a decade ago.

A Hong Kong finish was used because I love how cleanly it finishes the seams. To me its worth the extra time and effort this finishing takes. There are loads of tutorials on how to sew Hong Kong binding in a garment, just Google it. I would hate to recommend one since there are various sewists showing how the technique is done and probably one of them is a fave of yours.

A few pictures ~

Wearing it with my TNT sleeveless white 
shirt made earlier this year!

This picture illustrates why I should stand up straight!

Wearability Factor ~
I wore this to work and out to lunch with a sewing friend this week. I dressed it down with sneakers and a ponytail and even then someone at work mentioned how dressed up I looked! LOL! I'm just not winning that one. However, since I made the jacket from ponte, it was very comfortable to wear. My other two makes include an outerwear jacket and a special events jacket

Conclusion ~
This is my third version of this jacket and I still haven't made it the way it appears on the pattern envelope! I think that's why I like the pattern so much ~  because of it's possibilities. I did check on the website and this pattern is now out of print. Which is sad because it's a great pattern to take creative journeys.  The pattern is still on the website if you want one. I'd like to use this pattern to make a few more everyday jackets, so expect to see it again.

The other thing I really liked about constructing this jacket was the details. All those extra special things really made the sewing fun. This is the type of sewing that makes me happiest. I can sew a quick project but it's not what makes my creative being sing. Give me a sewing challenge, throw in as many elements as possible to end up with a cohesive and unique garment and I'm happy. I was very happy making this jacket! *LOL*

This was the last garment I made during my Thanksgiving Break and my favorite make of the bunch. It was also the most intensive. I honestly didn't think I would get it finished in time to be photographed during the last session with my daughter. I'm glad I did. 

There is one more garment left from the photos, the Rivermont Top. It will be up next. The last of the "Border Print Series" shirts will be on the blog after that. always more later!

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Myosotis in Velvet

This is a total left field make. Especially since it seems like so much of my sewing lately has become "statement sewing" instead of basics. I've reached the point in my sewing where I'm taking creative journeys instead of sewing necessary garments. I can pretty much guarantee that 2019 is going to be all about creative journeys! 

Originally I purchased this fabric to make a peasant style maxi skirt. You know the kind with the gathered tiers.  Since the fabric was only 45" wide I bought six yards of it. It was inexpensive because I bought it during Chic Fabrics "moving locations" sale.

It was purchased prior to making the Deer & Doe dresses. I love all three versions that I've made and each was worn several times during the summer and early fall. 

When I was moving some fabric I touched this velvet and knew it needed to become a long sleeved maximized version...

Supply List ~
5 yards of polyester tie dyed velvet from Chic Fabrics
A scrap of coca brown ponte for facings
Blk & printed piping from Joyce Trimmings
5/8" 4-hole buttons from the button collection
Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller

Construction ~
1. I chose to leave the collar off this version and make it true to the pattern. I added piping to the collar edge and the front edge of the bodice.

2. Ponte facings were used to add interfacing to the collar stand and front facings. That made it easier to apply the fusible interfacing and the piping.

3. I also lengthened the sleeves so they were full length. Then I added cuffs.  The cuff pattern was taken from my TNT shirt pattern.

4. Care had to be taken because the velvet handles differently than other fabrics.

5. I used my needleboard and silk organza pressing cloth to press seams open & flat.

6. Typically, I use tailor tacks to mark darts and markings on garments from velvet.  Though with this one I did mark with tracing paper and a tracing wheel because the fabric is crinkled and absorbed the tracing markings.

7. Used my straight stitch food and straight stitch throat plate on my sewing machine when I sewed the dress, it made sewing the seams a tad easier.

8. Also added seam tape to the shoulder seams to stabilize them since the fabric had a little give.

9. I wavered back and forth over adding piping to the sleeve cuffs. Since I had a lot of piping left (because I typically buy 5 yards at a time) I decided to have fully piped cuffs. Adding the piping to the cuff is explained in this post.

10. I thought for this one that I would make a longer cuff but it didn't work out - see below...

11. Made a shorter cuff and I handstitched the cuff to the sleeve. It's a little tight and I didn't want to squeeze it under my sewing machine needle. I think it will be okay since this dress won't be worn much. However, I'm so happy I chose to make the cuff tighter and smaller. It works perfectly with the sleeve and dress proportions.

12. I added piping to the waistline seam to take the piping all the way through the garment.

13. The last thing is that I basted the bodice and skirt together before I sewed the waistline seam. That way I could make any needed adjustments without ripping out seams in the velvet and possibly marring it.

I know there's a lot of information here but in case anyone is thinking about making a version of the dress, I hope this will help you.

A few pictures ~

Conclusion ~
If you've never sewn with velvet before there are a few things you should know to make the sewing journey easier.  May I recommend Sandra Betzina's book, "More Fabric Savvy" for instructions and a guide on how to handle sewing with this fabric. 

Cause I broke all of the rules/suggestions.  
     - I used fusible interfacing on the cuffs.  
     - I marked the fabric with a tracing wheel and tracing paper. 
     - I did not use a walking foot.  

However, I did baste a lot and I did cut the dress out using a "with nap" layout.

Also, this was sew slowing...some ripping out and replacing and A LOT of piping with hand basting. As with all projects I get neck deep in and start to wonder if I should have waded in with all those special touches on a difficult fabric. Then when it's done I'm almost always glad I went for it.

This dress turned out so much more luxurious than I imagined it. It's comfortable while having a "Tudors" vibe! BTW, I originally dreamed up this dress with a leather collar, collar stand and cuffs and no piping. The only reason I didn't go that way is because the two pieces of pleather in the collection, didn't match the fabric.  

I have no idea where I'm going to wear this beauty. However, I'm glad I made it! Also, there will definitely be more of these added to my spring/summer wardrobe. I finally understand why some sewists made 3-4 of these right away. I will be joining their ranks next spring. always more later! 


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