Friday, April 11, 2008

Showing off

Hey, here's my new shirt! I love it!

Review on PatternReview to come...these will be the same pictures that I will use in the review. Overall, a very easy pattern. Plenty of ease so not a whole lot of fitting issues.

One of the things I love about my hobby is that I can change my mind :) I was going to make another top but I had a brainstorm tonight and decided to make this Vogue 8229 dress instead. From this fabric, at the right.

Isn't it fabulous? It has tiny black polka dots with a border of vinyl appliqued flowers.

I bought it in NYC at PR weekend about a year and a half ago. It's been gently aging in the stash ever since. But I digress. I'm going to see a musical next weekend with some friends and I wanted to wear something nice. I bought the above Vogue pattern last weekend and thought to myself, hey, if I sew like a fiend over the next week, I can wear that dress to the show! Looking through the stash, this fabric just popped out at's perfect for that pattern! (I'm going to have to do something creative about the flowers. I won't be able to sew through them easily. ) So I for the past two hours tonight, I had a marathon of pressing the fabric, then cutting out and pressing the pattern, then laying out the pattern on the fabric and finally, cutting out the pattern. I just finished cutting out the interfacing for the neckband and armholes. Tomorrow, I will start sewing it. I will literally have to sew every night so that the dress will be ready in time. I have a beautfiul black wrap that will go very nicely with the dress. I'm sew excited!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One shirt down, another one to tackle

Super quick post. I finished the shirt 2 nights ago. It looks pretty good. I might shorten it a smidge more should I make it again. And I have an idea for the next shirt. But more on that later. And pictures and review of the completed shirt probably tomorrow night. Yippee. I love new clothes.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I lurve my mini-iron

So to continue from last night, my wee iron was called into action as I flipped the sewn facings to the inside. To help the facings roll to the inside, I pressed the seam allowance towards the fashion fabric. This is different than nearly every pattern instruction out there. But I find my facings roll better (and stay on the inside better) when I press the seam allowance that way. The wee iron was able to sneak inside the neckline very easy...and it allows for precision pressing where needed. Then I flipped the facings to the inside of the garment and pressed them in place...that's the glory of the little iron! Have you ever tried getting your big iron to press a neckline seam? Yeah, you know what a pain it is. (I have a pressing ham but didn't use it for this project because the neckline is so straight. Any other neckline or collar type I would use the ham.) So yes, the little iron takes longer but it saves me aggravation, which is totally worth it. I then edgestiched to keep the facings in place (and stitched in the ditch at each of the sleeve seems for the same reasons). Doing edgestitching without pressing first is a total pain. The neckline looks great, if I do say so myself.

Tonight I sewed the side seams and finished the raw edges of all of the hems. Tomorrow I will press the hem and if I have time I will sew the hems and the shirt will be done! I probably won't, as I will be getting home late due to a sewing guild meeting. Yes, I am that geeky about sewing. But then you already knew that from the way I gushed about my wee iron. MY LITTLE IRON RULES.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Clover Mini-Iron rules!

I have started setting a timer for one hour while I'm sewing, because otherwise I would become so engrossed in it, I would do nothing else. Since I have two concerts coming up, I have to spend at least some time in the evening practicing my music. I enjoy that too, but I don't get as wrapped up in it.

So the sewing hour this evening was spent tackling the facings on my spring blouse. Remember my rants about slippery fabric? Yeah, it's all slithery and hard to cut correctly. Well, that particular demon came back to haunt me today. The facings didn't really match-up on the neckline. Lucky for me, I cut them a bit wider and longer to me "fudge" room. But it also meant I spent a lot of time lining them up so that the neckline seam wouldn't pucker and doing some creative trimming and marking.

There's a saying goes that pressing is sewing. Pressing is kind of like ironing, except you move the iron up and down rather than sliding it across the fabric. Unless you are me, in which I "iron" my fabric. You need to be a sew-er to get it. During sewing, you/I are pressing/ironing the seams so that they lay flat and in the right direction. Side seams and shoulder seams are pressed the back. Center seams are press right or left (I usually do them to the left). darts are also pressed, usually towards the sides of the garment.

What I am going into all of this? Because unlike making muslins and linigs and such, I am a HUGE fan and proponent of pressing my work as I go along. The #1 reason why I like it so is that it makes sewing the project much easier. Seams lie flat (and when they cross, like at a crotch or a sewing in a sleeve, I don't have to worry about the seams interfering with each other). A pressed seam is ten times easier to edgestitch (along with a stich-in-the-ditch presser foot). I press my hems prior to stitching them down...and my hems are more accurate for it. When rolling a facing (a fancy phrase for making sure the facing stays on the inside of the garment), I use the iron to keep the roll in place. I could go on and on...but that would be boring.

And the best thing to come along in pressing since the actual invention of the iron (aside from sewing machines themselves) the Clover Mini Iron. This little thing ROCKS. I got it about 2 years ago at Christmas (by my request) and it's been in constant use ever since. It is perfect for little spaces like collars and sleeves where a full-sized iron would just be too big and bulky. In fact, I use it for nearly every seam/dart except the long seams in pants. It's little nose is very precise. If I need moisture, I use a sponge-tipe paintbrush and dab water right where I need it.
Oh, they joys of the mini-iron.

I was going to go on about how I used my mini-iron while sewing the facings, but my clock is reading nearly midnight and I'm about to turn into a pumpking. So I will continue this post...later.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bias is amazing!

I got the bridesmaid/prom/hottie dress last week in the mail. My sister has given her approval and I have a bridesmaid's dress, yay! Muchas gracias to my sister to finding the dress on eBay.

So here's the back story: I had gone to visit my friend out of town with the express purpose of finding and buying a bridesmaid's dress. The color scheme is chocolate brown and burnt orange. I went for the brown, figuring that it would be so much easier to find a dress in that color. I was so wrong! Yo, it's Spring Time! Brown is so not spring! My friend went to the Southpoint Mall, the local super-mall. Containing such wonderful stores as Ann Taylor Loft, and Banana Republic. Beautiful stuff there, but nothing BROWN. Then we hit all of the department stores...Macy's, Belks, Nordstroms...there were some gorgeous dresses but nothing BROWN. We did find an interesting orange dress reminiscent of tang...and I nixed it for that same reason. I just wasn't feeling it. My friend suggested JC Penny as our last resort before calling it a day (we had spent barely an hour shopping...which is unusual for us!). We did find two very good possibilities and here's where it gets cool/geeky. My friend took a picture of me in the dresses with her camera phone and emailed them to my sister. Isn't that so cool?? So right there in the store, my sister could give her yay or nay She lives on the other side of the country, so this fabulous use of technology saved time and money. She said, well, they're okay, which I said, no, you really have to like the dress and my friend put them back on the rack. So cool.

Later that day, I checked my email and my sister had sent me links to several eBay listings for beautiful brown prom/bridesmaid's dresses. I liked the first one, bid on it, and ended up winning it 3 hours later. So here's a picture of the dress:

Isn't it beautiful?
(I have not idea why or how this link got here. Really. I guess google just decided that everyone needs to see a 200% zoom-in on my backside. Uber sexy.)

There's like, an extra foot of fabric pooled at the bottom. I was irritated about that until my friend pointed out to me, and I quote, "Newsflash: You're short." I conceded the point and I forgave her for being tall. Because I'm generous like that.

Now on to part deux of my entry tonight. I worked some more on the polyester spring top today. It's now to the point where you can tell it's a shirt and I'm pretty impressed by the print on the's going to be a pretty shirt. I've learned that I need to use moisture to really press the seams flat... the poly just springs right back to life with a dry iron. I'm just plain happy that the seams will press flat at all. Polyester is notorious for being resistant to holding a crease...and nothing screams homemade like un-pressed seams. Yuck.

I had taken out some length through the torso and in the sleeves...right now I'm thinking that might have been premature. A quickie hold-it-up-to-myself "fitting" reveals that it might be at the right length already..which means that I'll have to get creative with hemming. I'll really try it on when I've finished attaching the facings and sewn the side seams. Then I'll see if it's too short...I hope not!