Friday, 24 April 2009

smocked sundress

I made this adorable smocked sundress using the pattern and instructions from Heather Ross's weekend sewing. But really all it is, is a width of fabric, about double the chest measurement of the child for, by the length you need. Smock 6-8 lines, 1.5 - 2cm apart. Sew up the fabric into a circle, add straps, hem and you are done!

Incredibly satisfying, and incredibly quick, if only all sewing projects were like that! I also made a headband to match (from same book).

It's now in the post for my 5 year old niece, it's quite long, so may need to be taken up another few inches! But it's probably ok!

All we need is for the sunshine to continue!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Quilt #2

I have started making a new quilt for a friend, who is expecting her second child, any day now! I'm not sure if I'll get it finished before the baby arrives though!

It is a crib size c46"x 60" and I looked at loads of quilts and decided to go with a square with a border, on white. It's pretty bright and in your face at the mo! The inner squares are all animal/ fish prints which were quite hard to find. What I mean by that I needed prints which were sympathetic with the prints. I especially love the Robert Kaufman Metro Chickens and the Alexander Henry Zoo fabrics!

I'm not sure how the back will look, as I don't seem to have much fabric left!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sumptuous Smocking

I never thought I would say that, as smocking is reminiscent of my early childhood (70s) but it is SO MUCH FUN! To sew, I mean.

If I had daughters (here I go again) they would be getting a gazillion summer dresses. I took the advice from Heather Ross Weekend Sewing (yes, that book, again!) and went with her directions.

Basically, I had NOT intended to make this, I even said, no more sewing today! But I realised that I had a big strip of fabric left from my Kimono Dress, and I laid it out, and thought, maybe I could squeeze out a dress for my 5 year old niece, who is tall but very slim.

It's the kimono dresses' fault, as you only get to sew 1 measly line using elastic thread! And I just HAD to have a go!

I have not hemmed it at the top or bottom, as I'm not sure if it'll be a skirt, a top or a dress, as we speak! I'm waiting for my son to get home, so he can try it on for me and I can decide! He's a few inches taller than her, but just as slim! I'm sure he'll be thrilled. I'm not sure how much longer I can go on making him try on girl's clothes, I had him testing the hairbands for me the other week! I think I'll make her another hairband to match the dress, as that is SO cute!

All I need to do now is make sure we are never in the same fabric together!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Weekend Sewing - My Way!

Ok, ok, when I say my way, I mean all my mistakes, not some wonderful interpretations of the patterns!

My first piece of advice, is check out the errata, flickr, and blogs of people who have cut their fabric first to make these clothes! I did do this, but to a degree, you will still find your own issues!

I will start with the weekend blouse:

Firstly I am 5'6", a UK size 12, 34D bust. So I went with the small size. (if you are a UK size 10 or under, you will have to make this smaller, than the pattern, as this will swamp you)

I added 4" to the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces, as many people had said it came up too small. I also added 2" to the arms, although this may have been overkill, 1" probably would have been sufficient. Better to make it longer, and cut it shorter if it's too long (I think). The above photo is before I have hemmed the sleeves and the bottom, to give you a feel of how much longer it is. The arms are very long! I think the body is just about right though.

I used 2m of fabric, and I did not cut the pattern out as Heather suggests. I folded the fabric, not down the middle, but just enough to cover the pattern on the fold. I was trying to save fabric. I cut the front and back pieces on the fold first. Then I jiggled the fabric around to cut out the arms. This gave me all my extra length that I added and some fabric over.

To make the bias binding, I used the method described by Amy Karol in Bend the Rules Sewing, which worked a treat. It is also described here. I also got to use my new quilting ruler, which I bought on ebay, for half the price my local shop was selling them for.

Sewing the blouse up was fine. That is until I got to adding the bias binding around the neck. After looking on the interweb, I resorted to my ever ready Readers Digest Guide to Sewing, which always gives me a rock solid solution of how to do things. If you do not have a decent sewing guide, this is the one I recommend.

So I attached the binding by lining up the raw edges of the binding to the blouse fabric. (you have right side to right side on the outside (right) of the blouse. Pin in place, and sew on the first fold of the bias binding. Now flip the binding over, so it pulls the blouse over to the back of the fabric (wrong side). Make sure binding is refolded. You can now sew this down with a top stitch (or a blind hem). Other people have attached the binding differently, by encompasing the neckline with the binding and stitching it down. Either way works. My way will pull your neck line lower.

The neckline is very high. I was aware of this, but a bit concerned how best to alter it. So next time I would either lower it by an inch or do a total reworking like Ashley. However, I did not bother with the button or loop, as I would always wear it open.

The placket is very long. It was straightforward to put in, and cut down the middle. If I made it again I may well shorten it. I have zigzaged the two sides of the blouse together, but I think I will undo that and sew it up by hand, and then zigzag it for strength. My machine didn't do a great job of joining the two sides together.

So to summise:
- large pattern piece, but not long enough (add 4 inches to body length and 1-2" to arm length) - rejig the way you cut it out to waste less fabric
- adding binding to neckline - look up ways to do this, I haven't found a decent online tutorial for this, see Readers Digest Sewing Guide for a great description
- Consider lowering the neckline
- Placket, maybe it should not be cut so low. You will be sewing it back up! Make the placket shorter.
- Hand sew placket together, then machine zigzag it!

I'm sure everyone will find their own niggles, not necessarily the ones I have described!

Kimono Dress

Not many people have made this, so I didn't have much to go on, before I made it.
These are my main findings, and how I wish I had done things!:

The bodice: It cut out and sewed up easily. At this point, before adding the skirt, try it on and pull the two sides of the wrap around your body, until it is sitting in a place across your chest that you are happy with. Clearly bust size, and body size will alter this, but it's a forgiving fit, so should fit many sizes. Pin the two sides firmly in place.

The skirt: Sew skirt up, and follow Heather's instructions of attaching bodice to skirt. It is very important that your bodice top is at the right place, otherwise you will be ripping out the stitches and resewing.

The elastic thread, kind of worked for me. I did do a test run, that bunched up better, but with up to 3 layers of fabric it didn't bunch up as well. Hand wind your bobbin with the elastic thread, putting it on with a degree of tautness onto the bobbin. Do do a test run, to see if you have put it on correctly. After sewing, iron this seam, lots of heat and steam, as per Heather's instructions. If anyone thinks I did this wrong, please let me know!

Now you can hem! The dress unhemmed fell a few inches below my knee. I was happy with that length so just did a double fold of the fabric and hemmed it.

The obi sash, is a key part of the dress, to pull in the waist and give you a great shape! I have yet to make it, but this is the fabric I'll be using. The dress cost me £16 to make, so not bad really!

This is a lovely summer dress.

(When I finish off the hemming and sash I'll pop on some more piccies, that might be a while as my sewing machine, again, has let me down! I was in a sewing machine shop today, I was advised on getting a Janome!!! Just need the money! Why did I torture myself like that?)

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

And the winner is........

True Random Number Generator Min: Max: Result: 13 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Number 13 who is Coralee.

Please contact me ASAP so I can post the bag to you!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Weekend Catchup

Firstly, if you haven't entered my 200th post giveaway, do so now! Deadline is Tuesday c10:30 PM, GMT. I will delete any multiple commenters, so everyone has a fair chance! 1 person, 1 vote!

Secondly, thank you all for your kind comments, very kind of all of you.
Anyway, thank you to Sew Hip, I'm in print!

Yes, Issue 6, which came out last week, has my charm pack quilt on their letters page. My husband can't believe it's one of my badly exposed photos in the magazine, rather than his wonderful shots!

I thought I'd give you a peek at what is inside in the magazine, you can buy it as a download now, if that appeals.

Contents, there are quite a few interviews with designers, plus 10 patterns and news and reviews.

Close up of patterns in this issue

Gorgeous Oliver & S dress to make, includes pull out pattern. If only I had daughters!

A Mystery Quilt that I won't try until I've seen the finished result!

Tea towel reviews from Print and Pattern's monthly collumn. Check out her website. I'm very tempted by a few on the page! They might make drying up more appealing!!!
As for my weekend, well it was a great one. On Saturday we walked into Brighton, meandered through the North Laine and the Lanes, where we came across, Angel Food Bakery and all went in to try their cupcakes. I went for a Lemon Cupcake, my eldest son the Chocolate Chocolate and my husband the Strawberry and Cream. Everything is freshly made, on site, but personally all the frosting is too much for me. It kind of ruins a lovely cake underneath. I find it too sickly sweet. Do you know what I mean? I like frostings that are not all icing sugar! I think cream cheese frostings work well, as you get a tang!

After our sugar hit, we headed down onto the beach. The children played a bit on the beach, but went onto the playground. After that, we went our separate ways by gender, ie I was by myself! I "had" to pop into fabricland. I needed some bobbins, you may recall my ongoing bobbin dilemma. I picked up another 10, plus some machine oil and a sewing gauge, all as usual, reasonably priced. I looked through their fabrics, for weekend sewing projects, but nothing sprang out.

So I went onto C+H fabrics, and picked up some quilting safety pins (the bent ones!), I looked at their quilting rulers, and I thought they were far too expensive, so left them.

Then I walked onto Ditto Fabrics in the North Laine, and yes, as usual, found some fabric! Some Red with dots on for the Kimono Dress and some sage green with white polka dots for the Summer Blouse, from Weekend Sewing. It just needs to be washed and ironed, and then cut out. I traced the patterns yesterday afternoon, but I think it'll be a few weeks before I get to make them. I have my in-laws coming to stay over Easter.

(this is a sage green with white polka dots - photo didn't capture colour very well)

Then yesterday, I put on my recently made top, was told it looked great on me and took the children to the park in it. And I didn't even feel uncomfortable or anything! In the evening we went down to another beach and had a laugh building sandcastles, a moat, and then a stone wall to defend our castle as the sea came in! Great outdoor fun!

Hope you had an enjoyable weekend too.