Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sweet Dreams . . . .

The lovely Rhonda has been blogging for some time about sewing pillowcases for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, and says:

. . . . They have a very interesting charity, pillowcases for the children who come to the hospital. The hospital gives out over 900 pillowcases every month. The children are allowed to choose their pillowcase from those that are donated. This was the sponsored charity event of the Sewing and Stitchery Expo held in Puyallup, WA this year. They have found that the pillowcases bring so much comfort to the children. . . . .

Rhonda thought (quite rightly) that this would be a fabulous project to be involved in, and is co-ordinating the collection and disbursal of 900 pillowcases - one month's supply.  As of today's date, she has received 260 pillowcases.  Wow! That equates to 260 comforted children.  So I have decided to play . . . .

Although I do not sew that much 'non-clothing', I do have a rather impressive amount of quilting fabric passed down from my Mum.  There is more than I would ever use with my projects, and I thought that this would be a great use of the fabric - and I know my Mum would approve!  Last weekend I cut out some fabric and got sewing . . . . 

As you can see from the picture below, I used slightly different instructions than those that Rhonda has suggested, (I got a bit confused, did a Google search, and used this great tutorial).  What I particularly liked was that there are no raw seams - they are all hidden! 

These pretty flowery pillowcases were the first ones I made.

And then I hit Mum's Christmas fabric.  What I like about this project is that three metres of fabric makes three pillowcases.  Out of each metre you cut one main piece, one accent piece and one trim piece, mix them all up and you have three 'co-ordinating but slightly different' pillowcases.

It is interesting to see how the patterns and colors play out against each other :)

And here is my little stack!

Sew, 10 pillowcases that will be on their way to Rhonda, and I hope that means 10 children whose hospital visit is made a little easier.

If you fancy taking part - drop on over to Rhonda's blog, and get sewing!!

ETA:  You can see Rhonda's post about my pillowcases here!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

And 40 Buttonholes Later . . . .

I had two more shirts for Mr. SDSC and two for me!  A most productive week indeed!  As we would say in the UK - I've been cooking on gas!!!

Mr. SDSC was so pleased with his last shirt, that I thought I would make a couple more to practice techniques before I start playing around with the pattern and making it a better fit.  I used the same pattern, Kwik Sew 3422, and other than being more accurate with edge stitching a using a new foot for my Pfaff for the topstitching (boy that foot is spot on!), not much else changed. 

The first shirt is made from a gorgeous cotton with width-ways stripes, so I cut the pattern pieces out accordingly - I did not want horizontal stripes.  The thicker blue/grey stripe is woven like satin ribbon and has a different finish - it looks rather classy.

In retrospect, I think that the buttons may be a little big - they are 13mm, but I am thrilled with the buttonholes again (used the Featherweight).

The second shirt is a plain 100% cotton - slightly thicker fabric (I have a feeling it may actually be quilting cotton) and will make a greater cooler weather shirt.


Both shirts have 'grandad' collars which I think really suit him.  I will probably put some proper collars on the next shirts (although I have a black stretch poplin version already cut out).  I can cut one of these shirts out from 2m of 45" fabric and each one uses 12 buttons.  I must try and find somewhere where I can buy a 'bag' of buttons, as I am using rather a lot, so it is quite an inexpensive make.  You may have noted some blue marker around the buttonholes - the shirts have had to be washed to get this out - what do you use for marking buttons and buttonholes?  I do have a pen that fades within a day or two, so that may be better.

I made myself two more Singer Shapely Blouses, but the blue marker shows up so much on those that they cannot be photographed just yet!  They use 8 buttons each - I placed them 2" apart, and will probably go for 3" on the next versions, so all-in-all, four shirts = 40 buttons and buttonholes.  Phew!

So, alterations, the yoke on these shirts is somewhat flat in comparison to the roundness of Mr. SDSC adn I have read that you shouldn't alter them - but alter the backs and front pieces instead.  I will have to do some more research on this as the yoke appears to be (to me) where the fitting issues are.  In any case, they are not significant enough to cause a problem, and I know that these shirts will be worn to death!

A quick word before I go about divas models.  I am happy to make Mr. SDSC shirts, I am even happy to go out and purchase the fabric (it is tough but someone has to do it!), but I do expect some co-operation when it comes to photographing the finished garment.  This is what I was faced with today . . . .

A little less attitude next time methinks . . . . .

More pics on Flickr should you be interested!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Singer Perfect Plus - update

I am excited to say that I have been on a bit of a roll sewing wise.  It is interesting to note (well, it is for me anyway!!) that I work better when I have a number of items cut our and ready to go.  It can take a good day or so to get lots cut out and then I can disappear into my sewing room and can work for ten minutes, three hours, whatever time I have available.  So, when I cut out Mr. SDSC's shirt, and my Chartreuse Sorbetto dress, I also cut out a couple of pairs of trousers and a top for myself.  And here are the results!

First up is a pair of grey trousers made out of suiting with a touch of lycra.  They hang really well, but are a little too heavy for the summer - they will be really warm in the winter.  I put side pockets in these and I am not that happy with them.  Pockets don't excite me like they do with others, so I will probably not put them in the next pair.

Just look at how they hang at the back (forget the dodgy pocket peeking out on the left!), I am just thrilled that they don't bunch up under my butt like my old RTW trousers do.  I used McCalls 5239 again - I love that pattern!

Hey, I hear you shout - that's a cute top . . . you know what, I have all sorts of conversations in my head, and I guess this is one of them . . . well thank-you!  I really want to make a great co-ordinated work wardrobe.  Although I work in an environment where casual clothing is acceptable, I personally like to dress up a bit and 'look the part'.  Using the information and suggestions in the Singer Perfect Plus book, I made the 'shapely shirt' out of some cotton with lovely woven thick and thin stripes.  I made a number of alterations such as a FBA, sway back and rounded back adjustment.  All in all, I am happy with this.  Seeing the photos of the back, it looks as though I can take in the excess fabric under the swayback adjustment - you can see it in the photo above where the fabric sticks out and catches the light.  I like the cute little sleeves and I love a collar on my tops as they help disguise my rounded upper back.

As with Mr. SDSC's shirt, I used my old, old, Singer Featherweight and buttonholer attachment to make the buttonholes.  Boy that is a good combination!

The other pair of trousers are from some black suiting that has woven black on black stripes that you cannot see in these photos, but they do look rather smart.

Again, I am really please with how they hang, and I am happy to be able to knock these out with some consistency, quickly and easily.

The same pattern (with more generous seam allowances) also made these jimmy jam trousers:

And the cute socks?  They were a 'mystery sock pattern' on Ravelry.  They have little glass beads down the side and are very soft and smooshy!

Well, having polished off that sewing, I am ready to have another cutting out marathon.  I have three lengths of linen/rayon in grey, natural and chartreuse, so I plan to cut out a 'shapely blouse' and a Sorbetto from each of the lengths.

These will be part of my 'Antipodean Adventure' collection for my trip to Australia.  The blouse and the Sorbetto can be worn on their own, or layered with the blouse acting as a lightweight jacket.  I also have fabric for three more shirts for Mr. SDSC and finally, oh yes finally, I am going to cut out my Oscar de la Renta shift dress.  The fabric has been washed (a 70/30 wool/silk houndstooth) that I planned to make for the Pattern Review RTW competition that  never made.  Here is the original version that I love so much!

So there we go, that should keep me busy for a while - what about you?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Buttonholes - Featherweight Style

Picture the scene . . . I had almost completed the first shirt for Mr. SDSC, and all I needed to do was add the button and buttonholes.  I checked out how to make the buttonholes on my Pfaff 2020 Tiptronic machine.  Put some test fabric under the foot and voila.  What a nightmare.  I was so disappointed.  Despite an intertubes search, I could not find any top-tips, and the manual was sadly lacking.  I considered chatting up Mr. SDSC and seeing how he felt about me spending @$1000 on a new machine that would make fancy smancy buttonholes, then thought how I would prefer to spend it on fabric instead, and so I dragged out my lovely Singer Featherweight.

It is in really good condition, and I knew it would work with my singer buttonhole attachment:


I just love how it all fits into the space age container.  This attachment cost about $25 and made perfect buttonholes on the shirt.

OK, so maybe it is a little hard to see white buttonholes on white stripey fabric with white buttons, but I am trying!

All-in-all I am thilled with these buttonholes - the time it took to set up this machine and buttonholer took only a few minutes - and will use this set up in future.  I know that I am lucky to have more than one machine, but it makes you realize why professional dressmakers (and non-professionals as well) have dedicated machines for different processes.  It is also interesting that a machine that it over 60yrs old and a buttonholer of about the same age still make perfect buttonholes.  I love my Pfaff in so many ways, but buttonholes are not its speciality!

What about you?  Do you have any equipment/notions that you find are far superior to their modern day counterparts?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chartreuse Sorbetto Dress

Following on from the success of my Pointer Sisters Dress, I decided to make another, this time with sleeves, some embellishment and in a solid color.

Here is my 'teaser' pic!

And here are a few photos!  I know it does not look like it, but I had showered and brushed my hair . . . . . but onto the dress!  I used a very lightweight crepe and a charcoal Bemberg lining.  I bound the neckline with some black cotton/lycra home made biased binding.  I did not insert a zipper as I was able to pull the dress on over my head without any issues (perhaps that is why I am having hair issues?!)

The pattern was very simple.  I used my Simplicity 7740 dress pattern and 'Sorbetto'd' it!  I sewed the black ric-rac down either side of front pleat (I copies this idea from someone - if it is you please let me know so that I can give you credit), holding it in place and added three buttons to the front.

It would appear that due to the lightness of the fabric, I could have made a few more tucks in the back to enable it to sit better, however, when I am actually wearing it, that excess does get used as I move about.  Despite this excess, I still like the shaping that it gives.  There is not so much shaping at the front, and Mr. SDSC tried very diplomatically to tell me that it was not his favorite because of (a) the color) and (b) the shaping - he said it looked sack like.  I am a little disappointed that he does not like it, but appreciate the feedback.  He preferred some separates that we also photographed during this session.

So, where to go from here?  I have to say that I love this dress, and will most likely wear it to work with a little black cardi that I have made (oops, forgot to take a photo of that!)  That will also take care of the spare fabric round the back!!  I have pinned a lot of inspirational dress photos on Pinterest and have bought some fabrics to try out some of the color blocking.  Maybe by introducing some shaping with color, I may gain some positive feedback from Mr. SDSC!

In the meantime, I need to work on a collection for my Antipodean Adventure in September.  Yep, I am lucky enough to be going to Australia for a month, and want to make some clothes to take with me.  Whadaya mean 'it's only two months away'????  Well, if I get some clothes made, all well and good.  And if I don't - I'll just have to use what I already have in the wardrobe!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A New Shirt for Mr. SDSC

I have been promising to sew a shirt for Mr. SDSC for as long as I can remember.  He really is a good sort.  He built me some great units in my sewing room to house my fabric collection/patterns etc., he doesn't complain when I disappear into said room for hours at a time, he is the main photographer on my 'shoots', and even helps me pin garments in areas I can't see/reach.  So, after many pleas from him, I splashed out the cash on the Tailored Shirt Class from Craftsy which included Kwik Sew 3422.

I dipped in and out of the Craftsy class (I haven't seen it all the way through yet!!) and also referred to a fabulous You Tube video by a great lady called Jacqueline Johnson.  Her way of attaching a collar is fabulous - I had really 'tight' edges.  Thank-you Ma'am!

A request was made for this shirt to just have a collar stand - no actual collar, so I was happy to oblige  I also decided not to add the front pocket.  I'm like that!!  The fabric is a woven cotton that I bought from Marshall's when I was in Edmonton on a business trip.

I am really pleased with this shirt.  It came together surprisingly easily and looks rather professional.  I used the seam allowance that the pattern had built in - 1/4" and my 1/4" foot - easy peasy!  Some of the seams (adding the sleeves to the armholes and the side seams) I serged and then sewed down those seams.  That gave a 'faux fell' seam look that is great for this wearable muslin.

Comments from the man himself?  He loves it (phew)!  He likes that it is longer than most of his other shirts - which is good as he is just over 6ft and needs the length.  The thought that the sleeves were a little baggy in comparison to his RTW shirts, so I will take a look at them and try a slimmer sleeve next time round.

My thoughts?  I would like to try fitting the yoke to his shoulders and upper back.  I think that would make the shirt hang better.  I need to be more aware of lengths - for example the plackets were fitted, the cuffs added and then I realized that the placket lengths were a slightly different - not enough to cause a problem, but I just need to measure the length prior to attaching the cuff.  Other than that, I can't recommend strongly enough Kwik Sew 3422, the Craftsy class, the Jacqueline Johnson video and also David Coffins' Shirtmaking book.  I will certainly be making this again and although this took quite some time, I am sure that I can shave a lot of time off the process next time round.  I have a lovely black cotton poplin with just a touch of lycra in it and I think that would look great.


This was Mr. SDSC's first photo shoot - he is usually on the other side of the camera, so he found it kind of hard to concentrate . . .

More info can be found on Pattern Review and I've loaded and more photos on Flickr.

Final view:

Mr. SDSC asked for a label to be inserted.  Your wish is my command, Sir :)