Sewing Cafe

Patterns, Tutorials and Works in Progress from the Sewing Studio of Lynne Williams

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Surviving shirt making

For this project I feel like a drum roll is in order.....can you hear it?  Our new student Chris has completed his button down shirt!  I am most impressed with his progress, his work ethic, and his focus to name a few.  This shirt is by Kwik Sew #2000 and because a picture is worth a 1000 words just take a gander at these:

This is his first shirt ever and he did some very smart things to insure a successful garment.

  1.  he took the class - ha ha,
  2.  he did on-line research as well as purchased and read shirtmaking by David Page Coffin. 
  3.  3rd he practiced techniques that he thought might prove difficult, for instance, the collar, sleeve placket and buttonholes.  

By taking the time to do these things he not only improved his sewing skills but it allowed him to understand the steps prior to working on his "good" shirt.

  So what all did he learn on this one shirt?

  1. How to choose the correct pattern size
  2. How to alter the pattern for his desired fit
  3. Tracing the pattern
  4. The importance of grain line
  5. Correct pinning, marking and cutting
  6. Shirt yoke
  7. Collar and front placket
  8. Patch pockets
  9. "flat felled" seams
  10. Sleeve plackets
  11. Cuffs
  12. Narrow hem
  13. Buttons and buttonholes                                                     

Its not to surprising that Chris was such a fine student, after all he is a teacher himself.  His desire to learn shirt making stems from his need for suitable outdoor clothing for his job teaching survival skills here in the North woods.  His next shirt will be from wool, that is after he has "tweaked" this pattern to his complete satisfaction.  Apparently due to the many layers worn out in the woods the fit of each layer is critical to comfort and survival.  I am looking forward to his future projects.  Great work Chris!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Recycled Wools

Liz who is a cheerful retired grandmother, and self proclaimed bed and breakfast manager has been much inspired by wool.  Liz recently took a class by Judy Kingsbury(through Nicolet) called Recycled Woollies in which Judy shows you how to make many wonderful items from old wool sweaters and such.  She has been making many wonderful wool goodies in class and sharing what she has learned.  Her passion for all things wool led to the purchase of a felting/embellishing machine!  One Friday this month she spent experimenting with the different ways to dry felt using her new machine.  She found it very soothing and thinks her grandchildren will really enjoy "coloring" with felt.  he next Friday she made some wonderful mittens and hats also made from old wool sweaters and embellished with buttons and wool pom-poms.

The items shown here are Liz's work as modeled by our never bashful Betty.  In the Spring Nicolet is offering: Mittens from Sweater, Purses from sweaters, Recycled Woolies, Stash jacket,Painting with wool, Felt making techniques, and Machine needle felting classes!  To learn more check out your 2010 schedule or go to Nicolet's website here 

As always you are welcome to learn many of these techniques during self-paced sewing as well, or continue your education there as did Liz.

Let me just take a moment to clarify the terms in regards to wool felting.  Felt unlike fabric is generally not woven but a "mat" of fibers(often wool) which creates a soft, pliable, moldable material.  Hats for instance are made from felt.  Wet felting is a process by which you combine wool fibers,called roving with water, soap and agitation to create material for different projects.  You can also felt a wool garment by washing it in hot water and soap in a washing machine.  The washing machine provides the necessary agitation to felt the fibers together.  This results in a much smaller garment, which is then cut apart and used for hats and mittens like you see pictured above.  It makes great slippers by the way as well.  Now dry felting is a process which requires barbed needles that you repeatedly punch through the fabric bonding the fiber on top with the material you are using as a base.  You can use a hand tool for this, or a needle felting machine.  My bernina has a needle felting attachment which is pretty cool.  The machine works exactly the same as by hand it just speeds the process up.  Below is an example of some needle felting I did on a wool skirt this past winter.

 So there you have it a rough overview of why wool is so wonderful to work with.  By the way you can also "felt" with silk,angora,cashmere,alpaca, etc.   My thanks to Liz for sharing her projects with us in class and reintroducing a useful and fulfilling craft.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Scholarship Fund and New Class Schedule

  We have  started a scholarship fund for individuals who have been hard hit by our economy.  This last month we did a Tastefully Simple Party which netted us about $40.00 for our fund. If you know of anyone who is in need of financial assistance for the class please contact me.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like to donate some funds to the scholarship as well.  We will continue to try to build on this, and would also be interested in other fund raising options.

There was much talk during class about the new schedule.  Please take note they are all listed in the right sidebar.

The Learn to Sew class is for adults or children.  In tis series you will learn how to sew on a machine, how to use the basic tools, the importance of grain line, sewing terminology, correct pressing techniques, correct pattern selection, hand sewing stitches, how to cut out a pattern, how to follow pattern instructions.  This is for first time sewers, beginner sewers, or those who would like a refresher course.  The instruction is informal and self-paced.  A variety of beginning projects will be suggested or you can bring a project of your choice.  Sewing machines are available for those who need them, but please contact me to reserve a machine

The Frayed Jacket class uses this pattern and can be
 ordered directly from their site.  Its a fun and simple
quilted jacket using 8 fat quarters.  It features a notched shawl collar, belted back and is reversible.  You can leave the edges to fray or clean finish them, its up to you.  You can see more images of this jacket by going back through the archives.  Betty, Michelle, and Peg have already made this useful jacket.  I know I wear mine quite a bit.

Intro to Shirt/ Pant Pattern Alterations - You will learns Lynne's technique for altering patterns to fit you correctly before you sew.  You will learn how to select the correct size pattern, how to make bust cup adjustments, crotch adjustments as well as length and width adjustments to achieve a perfect fit.  You need a basic understanding of pattern terms and pieces for this class.  

Build A Better Wardrobe - Whether you purchase your clothes, sew them or both you will learn an economical and efficient way to create a wardrobe wher all the pieces work together.  Eliminate the frustration of not having the right thing to wear, or having a blouse you love but nothing to wear with it.  Join us for this lecture/discussion and never waste money on the wrong clothes again.

Find Your Style - /stop wasting money on clothes you like, but that don't like you.  Discover and define your personal style.  In this class you will learn how to determine what colors and shapes are best for you and your body type.  You will look and feel happier and thinner when you wear clothes that flatter your shape and personality.  You will leave the class with an understanding of the elements within a garment that flatter you.  

Painting on Fabric - Do you have fabric or garments that are plain, tired, or even stained?  Using paint sticks, fabric paint and some fun tools Lynne will show you  how to jazz your fabrics up.  Bring a variety of fabrics and or garments to embellish with these fun and easy techniques.  You do not need any artistic ability just a willingness to try something new.

Learn to Crazy Quilt- Learn how to crazy quilt while creating a wonderful and useful tote/purse.  This is a great way to explore all those fancy stitches on your machine, and use up scraps of fabric and trim.  Kits are available from Lynne for $25.00 pattern included, or you can purchase the pattern for $8.00 and use your own fabrics.  You must be familiar with how your machine works.

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