Monday, 23 November 2015

Pattern Give-away

Well, I need to find a good home for McCall's 6875. It is a cute pattern and all, but I can honestly say, that I won't be sewing this up again. Would you like to give it a try?  

Pattern has been cut to child size 3.  

It is an Laura Ashley design for a matching set of dresses. Child and 18" doll sizes. I did cut this child dress pattern to a size 3 so if you're looking for a pattern for itty bitty dresses, this might be the pattern for you.  

Itty-bitty dresses all made up. Give-away is for the pattern only.  
I am willing to ship internationally. Please note that I will be shipping regular mail via Canada Post and it might take some time for international packages to arrive and it might not arrive prior to Christmas. If this sound fine and you promise to not to sell it, then go ahead and leave a comment below and I will draw for the pattern on Friday.   

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Warning: Pretty Darn Cute Dresses

Stash-busting 2015:  Matching Child and Doll Dresses

I wasn't going to sew for my co-worker's children this year but one of the teachers that I work with asked if I would make a matching dress for her daughter and her American Girl® doll for her upcoming birthday. She said that American Girl® doll clothing cost about eighty dollars [insert jaw drop] and she didn't want to spend that kind of money. Yes, everybody wants you to sew for them so they can save money [insert eye roll and slowly shaking head]. After checking out the website, I see that a matching dress and doll outfit would come to that much. I thought it was for one! After sewing a combination girl and doll outfit I don't think that eighty dollars is unreasonable nor warrants a jaw drop. But I digress... I already had the angel costumes to work on and told her that I can't make any promises. Well, I was able to finish the costumes prior to her daughter's birthday so how can I say no?   


I only agreed to this because the pattern the teacher picked out doesn't have sleeves. I remember what a pain in my finger tips it was to sew these sleeves into these tiny armhole openings and I wasn't willing to go back there. I paid for all the materials so that I had control over the fabric I would be sewing. Heaven knows I would be swearing like a drunken sailor if I have to sew tiny curves with slippery fabric. I told the teacher that this would be her Christmas gift in exchange for some bit of creative control. Yup, go ahead call me a sucker? Okay, moving on... Despite giving up fabric, supplies, my free time and a bit of sanity during the busiest time of the year, I do have to say these matching dresses are pretty darn cute.

The Pattern:

The teacher picked out McCall's 6875 for her daughter. It is a Laura Ashley pattern with a gathered skirt. I do have to say that McCall's does offer a wide selection of children patterns including matching 18" doll outfits. Who knew this was such a big thing?

McCall's 6875
I am not a fan of sewing dolls clothes. I have to admit that I do admire folks who have the patience and skill to maneuver those quarter inch seams. I had more fun sewing the little girls' dress over the doll dress.

I will admit that even though I'm thrilled with how these dresses turned out, I am not a huge fan of this pattern for several reasons.

  • There is no notch marking on the front skirt to match up with the bodice front. There are notches for the back pieces.  
  • I did not find the instruction sheets easy to follow. The instructions were given for version A unless otherwise specified.  
  • I did not like the front band which looks like it is part of the belt but it is not. It is a pattern piece that is folded in half and the raw edges match up with the bottom of the bodice. It is held into place at the waist and side seams. I left this off because it just seemed silly and I thought would only function as a crumb holder since it is not stitched down on the upper folded edge. Plus, it would add unnecessary bulk at the side seam where the back ties were stitched in place.  
  • I didn't also like how the lining and sleeves were handled so I changed how things were pieced together.  
If you head over to Pattern Review I seem to be alone in my complaints. People who have sewn with this pattern love the instructions and highly recommend the pattern. I don't know if I would go that far. Actually, I wouldn't. I think Vogue 1455 is my favourite girls' dress. But again, I digress...

I did cut out lining pieces, but I didn't use all of them. I used the sleeve lining as a sleeve facing instead of lining the bodice. Mostly because I was working with small pattern pieces and with the tendonitis in my hand acting up this weekend, a tight deadline with the little gal's birthday coming up this week, and a drive-way to shovel, I didn't want to deal with turning pieces over and all the hand-stitching. I do have to admit that I do like the finishing and there is less bulk. 

I stitched the sleeve with the facing at the hemline before sewing the sleeve to the bodice pieces. The edge at the underarm was finished on the serger and then rolled hemmed. For the neckline, I used bias tape and top-stitched.

I couldn't find a 14" zipper to match my fabric so I used a 22" zipper and cut it short.

I sewed an invisible zipper, just because I love the way it looks. In order to sew the invisible zipper I sewed the skirt to the back bodice first straying from the pattern instructions.

The little girl's dress was sewn in a size 3.

Sewing the doll dress did not go as smoothly as the little girls' dress. I had a hard time working with the 1/4" seam allowances for one. And turning over the ties on the doll dress was painful. I wish I had a loop turner in my tool kit for that part of the project.

And just when I thought I was finished, I realized that I had goofed.

Out came the seam ripper because I sewed both strips of the Velco® to the inside. Oops! Thankfully, the stickiness didn't damage the fabric and it was reapplied to the proper side.

The Fabric:

I had four fabrics that I was willing to sew the dresses out of and the teacher picked out the blue raw silk. This was much to my delight because it is one of my favourite fabrics to sew. I did warn her that it is silk and will require delicate care instructions but that did not seem to be an issue. I pre-treated the fabric by steaming it in order not to compromise the hand and drape of the fabric.    Although raw silk can be machine washed, I prefer to hand wash with a gentle soap.

The fabric was a very narrow width and the skirt pieces did not fit and could not be cut on the grain line. Instead, they were cut on the cross grain. Same with the ties.   

The Stats:

Fabric:  3.2 metres $$39.78 ($22.00 / metre - 50% off + taxes)

Zipper:  22" invisible zipper $3.53 ($3.90 - 20% off + taxes)

Velco:    25 cm $2.47 ($2.19 + taxes)

Seam binding:  1 package $2.26 ($2.50 - 20% off + taxes)

Basting tape:     30" length $0.00 (Birthday gift)

Pattern:  McCall's 6875 $9.57 ($15.95 - 40% off + taxes)

Thread:  I have budgeted $4.00 for the thread used in the serger and sewing machine. 

Additional Supplies & Tools:  Sewing machine, serger, shears, pins, steam iron, ironing board, cutting table, and seam ripper.

Happy Sewing!  


Saturday, 21 November 2015

In Sewing News Today...

I'm back in the sewing space ready to clear off the unplanned Christmas gifts that have entered my workspace. I was all set to do Christmas baking in the cutest tea cups for the teachers I work with but plans changed. I have another Vogue 1455 dress cut out earlier this week. There was enough Indigo Wax Katagami fabric left over from this project to cut one side of the upper dress. It is a beautiful cotton so I'm thrilled I'll be able to do one side in this fabric. And I love this pattern so I'm actually looking forward to making another one. I believe this will be the seventh one I've made in various sizes.  

And this evening I cut two dresses using McCall's 6875. I'm not as excited about this project. It is cute and all but looking over the instructions I think I might need to make a Bodum® of coffee before I get started.  

Butterick 6285 is the pattern that has kick-started my sewing mojo. I found the pattern at my local Fabricland store, much to my delight, since this is from their Winter/Holiday collection and I feared it may not be in stock. Now, I'm all set for Gertie's sew-a-long due to start in a couple of days.  And that would be why I need to clear off these little dresses from my sewing table. It looks like I have a busy weekend ahead.

How about you? Anyone else joining the wrap top sew-a-long?

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

In Sewing News Today...

The other day, someone yelled out to me, "you have to make another angel costume!" No "good morning" greeting. No "thank you" what's so ever for the four costumes that I had already made. Just a demand that I make one more. Out of the mouths of babes.    

There is no fifth costume in the wings. There is no more white fabric and there is way too much on my sewing table. People around me are sucking the joy of sewing out of me. I don't even want to go into the sewing space after I get home from work. Right now, I have a little girl and doll outfit to make. Not looking forward to this project. Not at all. It is a guilt project. There is no joy in it at all.  

So, I didn't sew today. I made muffins and then washed the kitchen floor. There is more joy in washing the kitchen floor than there is in sewing right now. Some days the thought of sewing just makes you feel sad. Today is one of those days.

Now, I'm going to listen to some Xavier Rudd tunes and eat carrot cake muffins. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel differently about sewing.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Hot Pink Dress

Stash-busting 2015:  Vogue 9101

Okay, I will admit that there was once upon a time that I would never believe that a hot pink dress would be part of my wardrobe. I have since learned to never say never. Now, I just need want a pair of floral Doc Martens to pull this dress off. 

The Pattern:  

Vogue 9101 is a recent addition to my pattern collection. It is for a very comfortable pullover dress with a close fitting bodice, raised waistline and very, VERY, full skirt. 

The dress is cut as a straight size 14 with one error. I happened to cut the bodice front on the fold instead of cutting and stitching a centre front seam. This turned out to be a happy mistake because I really like the fit and feel that if I didn't have this 1 1/4" extra ease, the dress bodice may have been too tight.  

I raised and changed the shape to a curved neckline, as well as lengthening the short sleeves to full length. These were the only changes until I came to the hem. On my five-one frame it just skims ankle length and makes me wonder just how tall are those gals on the pattern illustration? I cut three inches off for a midi-length dress. The hem is finished with a three-thread overlock finish.    

Can I just say that I really like this pattern. Not only is this a quick sewing project, this pattern is well drafted. And I really like the self-lined bodice front. I can see myself making another one in a cotton knit for the summer. This pattern is a keeper that I certainly plan to revisit.    

The Fabric:

The fabric is a recent addition that I found at Fabricland. I was actually searching for a crepe knit to make this pattern but this textured polyester captured my attention because of its hand. This is not typically a colour that I would go for. As matter of fact, I was torn between this fabric and a teal blue knit. The teal blue knit was lighter in weight so I went with the hot pink. Never thought I would be typing those words but then again, never say never.  

I pre-treated the fabric with a tumble in the washing machine and dryer. It handled this process quite well. My only trouble with the fabric was cutting it out.  

Since it was a heavier knit and the skirt pattern piece was so wide, wider than the table width, I thought that I had to cut the skirt pieces by laying the fabric on the floor. The thought of this almost resulted in abandonment until Mama R came up with the perfect solution. Lay out the cardboard cutting surface I was going to use on the floor over the edge of the table. I'll tell you, Mama R is a genius! It worked perfectly as I held up the overhang with the top of two chairs and my knees and back were saved from floor fabric cutting.  

When it came to sewing this fabric, I used the lightning bolt stitch on my sewing machine and a walking foot. I found that if I went slowly while stitching that I didn't have too many issues. Although starting at the beginning of a seam did provide its own challenges. I just had to make certain that I had a length of upper thread to gently tug at through the back of the walking foot in order to make sure my fabric didn't end up pushed down towards the bobbin case and feed plate.  

The hem was supposed to be a rolled hem but I found my fabric to be quite difficult to sew a rolled hemline so I went with three thread serged edge. 

                                                                             The Stats:

Fabric:     4 metres $46.80 ($18.00 - 50% off + taxes)

Pattern:    Vogue 9101 $13.56 ($29.95 reduced to $12.00 in-store sale + taxes)

Thread:    I have budgeted $4.00 for the thread used in the serger and sewing machine.  

Needle:    I had to replace one of the serger needles during the making of this project. $0.76 ($5.40 for a package of four - 50% off + taxes) 

Additional Tools:  Janome sewing machine, serger, walking foot, steam iron, cutting table, cutting mat, scissors and pins.  

Happy Sewing!  

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Pattern Give-away Winner

Good Morning!

Butterick 6253 will be finding a home with...

Congratulation Dk's Wife!  If you could drop me an e-mail, grrracar (at) gmail (dot) com, and let me know where to mail it, I'll pop it in the mail for you.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Weekend Wear

Stash-busting 2015:  Butterick 6253

I've wanted to make another hooded jacket since I made my first one. And here it is!

The Pattern:

Butterick 6253 is one of my favourite patterns released this year. It is a kAtheRine Tilton design, need I say more?  

I have no dislikes about this design and love everything about it. It has pockets, a hood and it is crazy comfortable which makes me happy. Oh so sew, happy! 

The pattern is well drafted and everything came together nicely. I didn't follow the directions all that closely on this one since I've already made one and it is pretty simple to put together once you already had a go at it. I should mention that I typically sew a size 14 (medium) but this is described as a "loose-fitting" jacket so I went with a small (size 8-10). I'm glad that I did use the smaller size because I like the fit around the shoulders, upper bodice and sleeves. And since I'm a petite sized gal, just skimming five feet, I shortened the length on the two lower tiers. This alteration gave me the length I wanted and it didn't throw off the proportions of the tiers.     

The Fabric:

I picked up this sweatshirt fleece at Fabricland a couple of months ago. This sweatshirt fleece has a higher percentage of cotton than the first jacket I made. It has more body to it as well and even though it's cotton it feels quite warm. Perfect for this weather. The fabric was pre-treated with a tumble in the washing machine and dryer on a normal setting before I cut into it. And it handled this treatment very well.  

I used cotton twill tape along the shoulder and the front edge where the zipper was inserted. I used a two-way separating zipper. I would have loved to use a bright coloured metal zipper on the front, maybe orange or yellow, but I couldn't find one long enough. There are lots of plastic zippers in longer lengths but they look cheap. I didn't want the cheap look, I wanted fun. Even though, I didn't find the zipper I had in mind, I'm thrilled with the look of the two-way zipper.  

Oh and the finger, the throbbing has stopped and it's healing nicely. I can't believe that I ran the sewing machine needle into my finger. Such a rookie move!  

I guess it was just a reminder to not rush a sewing project.  

The Stats:

Fabric:    2.6 metres $23.50 ($16.00 - 50% off + taxes) 

Ribbon:  2.5 metres $0.99 ($0.35 + taxes)

Zipper:    2-way separating zipper $12.40 ($21.95 - 50% off + taxes)

Thread:   $3.00 for the thread used in the sewing machine and serger.  

Additional Tools:  Serger, sewing machine, scissors, pins, cutting table, tweezers, screwdriver, walking foot and zipper foot.  

Happy Sewing!  

P.S.  If you would like to give this pattern a try, I'll be drawing for a uncut Butterick 6253 tomorrow. If you're interested leave a comment here.  


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