Sewing Cafe

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lot's to talk about

For our final Friday and Saturday of October, class was at capacity! 10 people sewing, 9 machines a going, some rippers ripping and lets not forget the eating. Its difficult to know where to begin so I suppose I will start with.....who showed up first....well that would be Lee who is always so punctual.

Lee is a retired beginner sewer with a hankering for quilting. A lovely lady with a large fabric stash just yearning to be sewn together. She has made a few tote's but this weekend was working on some table runners that she had pieced, but then was having some difficulty quilting. I had her hand baste her layers together, and then she learned how to stitch in the ditch, and sew on her binding. She also learned how to use a stencil to mark her quilting and is looking forward to stitching what she marked. Lee has an older machine that has one flaw...the needle will not hold it center position, so I let her borrow my machine and then added the magnifier that comes as an attachment to the Bernina machines for good measure. It sure helps to see where you are sewing! I think Lee agrees.

Pam is our other always punctual person. She is making a "Frazzled Franny" doll. A project she wanted to do for a family member. After making the doll body, she started in on the clothing, hair, and soon to follow accessories. The instructions for this doll were a bit hard to follow but Pam showed her usual patience and pushed through all the questions. Now she has a doll as sweet as she is although certainly more frazzled looking then Pam ever is. This picture just shows her body, but we are looking forward to seeing her dressed shortly.

Judy was back to work on her Thimbleberries quilt. This quilt started as a block of the month project and the center of each block has a different printed panel. Judy's mother enjoys embroidery and so she embroidered each of the blocks using the printing as a guide. How special is that. Judy has 24 of these blocks in all and so was able to make 2 quilts. The one shown here is for her mother and Judy plans on making one for herself using a slightly different color scheme.

Judy also worked on some pillow covers for her couch from some lovely decorator fabrics she picked up on her last trip to Texas.

Candy now, has completed this bright green corduroy jacket. It has a fun and contemporary style collar, and 1 button closure. Due to the size of the button Candy learned how to make a "Spanish Snap" This button hole is featured in "Couture The Art of Fine Sewing" by Roberta Carr. Its a simple technique that gets you spectacular results and a technique I have found useful on many other items. Grass does not grow under Candy's feet let me tell you, and she is already well into another corduroy jacket, this time in Periwinkle.

Then we have Betty's inspirational Apron. I say inspirational because we all liked this vintage apron pattern so well, we were all inspired to copy its functionality. The key is facings along the bodice side edge which allows the tie to adjust easily over the head so that no matter our height the apron will serve to protect. Love the little chicken print. Rumor has it this is a gift project. I dare not mention for whom lest they be lurking.

Elizabeth finished a new dress in the most amazing shade of rose silk. She promptly set in then on a leaf green cotton dress. This is a pattern I developed for her which she calls "perfectly plaid dress" because up to this time this dress has been made in many wonderful plaids. Some of them by Peg here in the studio but now Elizabeth has decided to cut her teeth on this pattern. It is a very comfortable style due to a smocked midriff section. The smocking is achieved by putting elastic thread in the bobbin, using a long stitch length and then sewing every 1/2" across the cut midriff sections. Elizabeth really enjoyed this step. She also learned how to bias bind her neckline and armholes using bias made from her dress fabric. She made wonderful progress on this dress and I expect we will have pictures soon.

Kathy Chester also returned to our growing group for a day of pattern work. She wants to make herself a winter coat, and purchased a dark teal/grey wool from Karens Quilt Corner for the project. She is off to The Cutting Edge to purchase a light weight flannel to use as an interlining, but in the meantime she spent the day tracing and altering her pattern pieces. The Coat pattern is by Neau Mode and therefore does not have seam allowance added. This is wonderful for the alteration process but requires patience to add that after your alterations are figured. Personally I think this is a nice project for class time as you are appropriately distracted from what can be a tedious task. It was nice to have Kathy back, we have not seen her in awhile due to family and work issues.

Liz has been working on a Dresden Plate quilt in blacks,browns, and golds. This project is something she picks up and puts down as time and patience allow. She is making good progress though, and I believe all of her plates are pieced and she is now appliquéing them onto her background blocks.

Our 2 newer students Chris and Heather are both making button down shirts for themselves. Heather spent a few classes altering her pattern, making muslins to check fit and then was excited to actually get to cut "real" fabric. In the meantime Chris goes out and buys Kwik Sew pattern, no muslins, but some pattern fussing as he wants to learn how to do a flat fell seam and the pattern only allowed for 1/4" seam allowance. On a shirt really? Rather odd I thought, but we did do some additional pattern work for him as he has a slim but athletic build. We went with a smaller size and then added the width at the chest where he needed it. He learned about pattern layout, the importance of grain line, how to make a perfect pocket using a freezer paper template, edge stitching and accomplished his first yoke....put all the layers together,twist it up and through, sew it, pull it through and Voila' a miracle has been performed. All seams neatly encased within the yoke!

Paula has returned from her wedding, which was marvelous, and we know because we of course saw the pictures. Beautiful bride, amazed groom(grooms always look so amazed to me) a well dressed wedding party, and a lovely location. What a nice celebration, but I digress. Paula enjoyed sewing up a quick purse with the new large grommets and once that was done decided to make a Sandra Betzina top. The one that looks like its 2 shirts, a tee shirt with a shrug over it, but in reality its just 1 top. Simple enough and a good quick project after the months of making the silk dress for the wedding.

I think that is all the current news for now. Just a note about the upcoming classes though. The schedule is posted to the left as usual, but they are filling quickly now, and I do want to remind everyone that there is a maximum of 10 students allowed. I will post again soon about the Spring schedule. I have added some new classes, and some evening classes. We will certainly not be bored this winter.

Sewlong for now.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Silk Charmeuse

Here is Paula's completed silk dress. She is at the wedding today and no doubt looking even lov
elier. I will post more later, but wanted to show this off! Drink some champagne for us

Here we have Paula's dress unadorned. She learned how to make a foundation corset complete with boning and how to do a hand roll hemmed. As mentioned in a
previous post she started with a muslin, altered her pattern based on the changes to the muslin and then went to work on the silk. This is only her 2nd time working with this lovely but tricky fabric. She no longer hates Silk charmuese I am happy to report but plans on something quick and easy for her next project. Great job Paula!
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