Sewing Cafe

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fabrics and Goodies

We have a new quilt store in Minocqua! 
Its called Around the Block Quilt Shop and is located at 9785 Hwy 70W, Suite B Minocqua
The hours are Tuesday thru Friday 10-6 and Saturdays 9-3

Candy has recommended this "store" in Minocqua as well, called What Daddy Doesn't Know...
You can find antique linens, lace and buttons at 9248 Hwy. J
Her hours are not set, so you can call ahead at 715-356-3616

I have not had the pleasure of visiting either one of these stores yet, so please leave your comments and review them for us.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MadMen: Sewing Darts and altering for a sway back

 Sewing darts is an important skill to learn and perfect for dressmaking.  After all  almost all garments have them in one form or another.  The dress pattern selected for this Mad Men sew along has 10 darts altogether.  Here you can see how to pin them properly. 

I begin by folding the dart, right sides together and matching the stitch lines.  I place my first pin at the very end/apex of the dart and pin along the stitch line being sure to stab the pin through the front to the back being very careful that the stitch line matches up. 

Since you sew a dart from the cut edge to the apex, you want to place your pins with the point heading towards the cut edge and the leg of the dart to your right.  This way when you start to sew the pins are easy to remove as you approach them.
During my fitting I pinched out some excess under the dart to provide a better shape for my bodice.  In this picture I am transfering those markings by using dressmakers carbon and a tracing wheel.  I will only use the carbon on the muslin, as it might leave color in my final fabric.  I will repeat this on my tissue/pattern as well.

One of my figure issues/pattern adjustments is for a slight sway back.  While trying on my muslin I noticed that the side seam pitches forward.  To correct this I pinch out a fold of  skirt fabric horizontally just below my waist until the side seam hangs at a right angle to the floor.  Once I take the garment off I measure the fold.  The fold tells me how much to remove/lower at my center back waist line.  I then mark the amount, 1/2" and fold my dart over the corner of a table so that I can draw a smooth line from center back to side seam.  I use my Fashion Ruler for this, as you can see and draw in and cut my new back skirt waist. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mad Men: Muslin

Today while completing my muslin I watched the film for which you see the trailer above.  It's a visual feast which is a large criteria for studio viewing and my especial favorites have period costuming, so this fired on several layers.  It was based on the book by the same name and if you are looking to be inspired, I promise this film will deliver.

This has nothing to do whatsoever with my Mad Men sew along, wrong period of course, I suppose I should be watching some Mat Helm, James Bond, or how about something fabulous with Audrey Hepburn in it.  Seems a little more appropriate for the occasion but as usual I digress.

My muslin which is what we are all here for, went from ....what was I thinking? to...Okay this could actually be fabulous.  It still needs some tweaking at the hips, where it bumps out a little more sharply then I do, but all in all its complete.  The fabric hanging off to the side is the yellow silk I plan to use.

Other then my personal fit alterations the only thing I changed was the shape of the neckline and the pocket placement.  My weight is at my hip/thighs and my waist is a touch on the short side while my rise is a touch on the long side.  Placing the pockets about 1" higher helps to balance this out as well as make my legs look long....okay longish.
This dress demands a belt, and I love that they are back on trend because belts work for me.  I found this vintage buckle in my stash, not what I was initially looking for, but how sweet is this? I think it just requires some black velvet ribbon.  What do you think? 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mad Men Pattern Alterations

When selecting the correct pattern size for a dress or blouse I always choose  the size by comparing my above bust measurement with the bust measurement on the pattern envelope. This indicates a size 12.  Now for my favorite part -  pulling the tissue out of the envelope. 

 I have decided to make version A but of course it must be modified..right, after all what is the point of sewing for yourself if you don't take a few liberties with the designers.  All right version A has the side bust darts transferred to the neckline, and in the pattern they have sewn these just like darts, but added some top stitching.  I on the other hand what to treat them like pleats which means hopefully they will stay the same, but I will not be sewing along the leg of the dart but simply pleating them up.  Sounds simple enough yes?  The sleeves show a similar stitched detail which I am not crazy about, so I will be using the sleeve from version D instead.

Once I have identified my pattern pieces I am please to note that the actual garment measurements are printed on the pattern with the ease amount included.  Hooray!  This saves me the time of having to measure the pattern pieces.  So that's a point scored for New Look.  The bodice lining tells me that the garment measures 36.5" at the bust for a size 12, but my bust measures 37...with the right bra.  The size 14 on the other hand measures 38.5" which give me 1.5" of ease around my bust...2" is what I normally like, but I also know that I will most likely be making a fba so to keep it simple I will cut out the pattern using the size 12 for the neck, shoulder, armhole, and sleeve, and the size 14 at the side seams.  The only other adjustment I am making is to the length of the skirt...I need mine to hit just below my knee.  I measure from my waist to my desired hem length and find I need to add 2" to the length of the skirt....wait....really...add to the length of the skirt?  I am only 5'3"  and they clearly show this length as below the knee....and the average height is 5'7" ...curious.  I imagine it saves them tissue though. 

Time to prep my muslin prior to cutting. As you can see the edges do not match as they need to.  I begin by tearing off the desired amount of fabric, and then tearing off the selvage.  To do this you simply make a small snip, grab hold on both sides of the snip and start tearing.  This process helps you "true" up the grain of your fabric.  Once I have pulled the grain into submission I press it and lay out my pieces
That's much better!  My edges match and my pattern pieces which have also been ironed are ready for me to trace onto my muslin.  The owls stand at the ready to hold my pattern pieces in place. 

Here are my fabric choices for this dress.  The yellow is a silk herringbone remnant that I purchased several years back from Ginny's Fine Fabrics and support group in Rochester, MN.  I am not sure I will have enough of this fabric, but its my first choice.  The burgundy is a silk dupion with a gorgeous lustre and it would make a lovely cocktail dress, but we don't have much call for that in the North my great displeasure.  Maybe I will show some real ambition and make the dress out of both!  I can always throw my own party...right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wonder Woman

Today in the studio while watching/listening to Alice in Wonderland (with Johnny Dep) I completed the handwork on the base of the Wonder Woman costume.  What this means is that the belt is sewn on, the corset is sewn in, the bodice edge is sewn down etc, etc, etc.  Next its on to sewing the stars.  After the stars I will bead the feathers that spread across the bust, and after the beading more hand sewing of the feather sections onto the base.  It sounds like a lot right, but I am feeling really good about the progress so far.  The proportions are feeling right to me and are Chuck there you have it, as he always get the final word here in the studio.  


Here we have a close up of the beading on the Eagle.  There are 3 different colors of beads, a clear, a gold and a dark bronze.  Each section is gold lame flatted to a base fabric, stitched around the edges and then beaded.
And here we have the lasso of truth as it is attached to the belt.  A gold snap with gold elastic attached to the same lame as the belt.  The lasso itself is gold leather, which is only one of several different types of lassos Wonder Women used.  I can't believe I now know that!
Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I am enjoying the project.  Let me know your thoughts.

Mad Men Sew Along

Today I have joined a Sew first really.  It caught my attention, because 1st I like the PresserFoot Blog(see blog list at right) who is facilitating this sew along and 2nd..I really enjoy Mad Men.  Although I do not get AMC through my cable I have been able to watch the show thanks to NetFlix.  My husband and I are currently watching season no spoiling please from those of you who get to watch it in real time.  Mad Men is all about adult behavior to a world that has become obsessed with youth and apparently remaining one for as long as possible.... This show reminds us what a rush we used to be in to become adults, the best part...they dress like men and women...wonderful suits and ties, exciting and super fitted dresses....Yeah!

But about this Sew Along..we have our inspiration(what every good design process needs)

Next the pattern is supplied New Look 6968 ( you can download it here) but I picked up my copy at WalMart(sigh) but it was mighty handy.

Today I will alter the pattern which I will post about a little later along with my fabric options. 

Any one else care to join me on this adventure...who couldn't use a classic sheath dress?

Getting all my owls in a row

These are simply to cute right?  These little guys have been on my to do list for at least a year.  Needless to say everytime I picked up my pattern weights they looked dingy and sad, although they never seemed that way to me prior to seeing this idea on the moonstitches blog.  Ah, but once I had seen her adorable adaptation I simply had to have some. It's one of those projects that has been burning a hole in my you know the kind I mean?  I had finally had enough, I ripped open my fabric boxes and started pulling bits and pieces out, then I cut 12 little owls out, and sewed their bodies together.  Each evening for 3 evenings I then completed the handwork on them while watching tv with my husband.  I just set the floss, buttons, rice and weights next to my most comfy chair and really in no time I had 12 fantastic owls gracing my studio and brightening my day.

They make wonderful  weight/studio companions.  I will never be a lonely stitcher again with these guys hanging around.  If you would like to make yourself some you can go to this LINK and she has provided the pattern as well as a wonderful tutorial.  I filled mine with some rice and my old pattern weights, but drapery weights and rice or sand would work as well. 

Did I mention that they would make a fabulous gift for your sewing friends and family?  Think of all the fun and fabulous gift presentations you could come up with....egg crates, nests, etc.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter has arrived....brrrr

I just completed posting the new class schedule for January thru April.  All of our classes will be held in the Birchwood Center either in the room we were in for Nov. or the room just across the hall.  But the space sure seems to be working out well for us.  The parking situation is close and the handicap doors make entry with machines and equipment so easy.  For those of you who have not seen the new space here it is prior to your arrival.  We can fit 6 in here comfortably I think.

There is also a nice lunch area with vending machines and a microwave for when we take our lunch break.  Really do we ever actually do that?

There was some confusion over our Friday class schedule so there will be no, I repeat no Friday classes in January, but  we will be offering them in February, March and April.  Please note I will also be taking the month of May off, so there will be no Friday or Saturday classes in May.

Looking forward to seeing you in December, just think of all the Christmas projects you will be able to complete!  The first Saturday in December has been canceled but the other 2 Saturdays are still contenders.
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