Sewing Cafe

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Slipcover to beat all.

This tired tattered chair has been given a new life by my student Lisa.
Lisa is fairly new to sewing and quite honestly when she brought me this project I was frightened for her.  Sewing was a new skill for her when she learned how to take a pattern off of this existing slipcover.  She made a number of pillows, and two roman shades while her sister shopped for a fabric she liked for the new slipcover.

More fear ensued when I saw the chosen fabric.  A heavy upholstery weight which I knew her borrowed domestic kenmore would struggle to sew.  Not to mention my fears that Lisa would lose patience and get discouraged....after all this is a large chair, with a lot of cording....

I had no need to fear though.  Lisa has excellent fine motor skills and a great deal of patience especially for such a young woman.  She perservered with nary a complaint or tear.  Allthough she did buy herself a beautiful new Viking machine which handled the bulk quite well.  I understand though that she did end up having to hand sew the skirt to the body of the slipcover because the bulk would not allow her to stitch close enough to the cording.  Yes you heard me right...she hand sewed the two together through the bulk...her little fingers must be pretty blistered.

I am so impressed and excited for her.  Check out her sisters newly slipcovered chair

Please let Lisa know your impressions by commenting below.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Who Let the Cougar Out?

It is time...past time really, for another knit tutorial. 

This top is a great wardrobe staple.  The pattern is Butterick 3344  it's out of print, but still available.  The pattern has 5 styles....a great basic pattern.

The fabric is still available at Sawyer Brook and is aptly named Jungle Fever.  It is a viscose stretch jersey from Italy.  Whisper soft and comfy.

If you are yearning for a quick sewing project look no further.  This top has 4 pieces to it ,and can be cut and sewn in one day, or two afternoons if you are like me and like to cut out one evening and sew the next.  Additionally this top require only 1 yard of fabric!  Great for remnants or using up bits of stash.

The directions that come with the pattern are simple, correct and easy to follow, so I will just add a few tips of mine, along with a different way to bind the armholes to make it even more enjoyable.

 Sheesh..this is a rather blurry picture of the front of the top, which has an attached facing.  Both the front and back are cut on the bias, which helps to create the lovely fit, as well as causing the cowl to drape beautifully.  Right after cutting out, and preferably before moving a thing.  I mark the fold line of the cowl with a hand basting stitch in a contrast color.  Simply fold the tissue back onto itself along the fold line, and baste next to it. 
 This is one of my favorite studio tools.  It is made by Making Memories for scrap booking, but is an awesome hole punch and eyelet setter.  It all comes in this neat little tin with its own cutting mat.  Now what I use it for is for marking my interfacing, as seen here.  I simply punch a hole through the interfacing where the pattern has any dots.  If you cut your interfacing first, before your fabric this can save you marking some of your fabric pieces, as once the interfacing is placed on the fabric you can clearly see the marks, eliminating some of the tailors tack, or in this case all of them.
Here you can see how accurately this marks your symbols for you.  You are looking at the interfaced back facing, with the wrong side up
 Butterick supplies facings for the armholes, which I generally fine problematic.  I prefer to bind them as you would see in ready to wear with a narrow strip of self fabric.  It's easy enough to do and much cleaner.  You start by measuring you armhole along the stitch line.  Do this after stitching your shoulder seam, but prior to stitching you side seam.  Once you have that measurement cut a strip 2" wide by your length.  The seam allowance on this top is 5/8" and I want my binding to be 3/8" wide when its finished.  I added those numbers and doubled it to get my 2"
 Press your strip in half lengthwise and pin to the right side of your armhole.
Stitch at 5/8" and then edge stitch along your binding through all layers of seam allowance.  This facilitates the rolling of the binding to the inside of the garment.
 Next trim back all of the seam allowance carefully folding the binding out of the way.  I trimmed mine back to a skimpy 1/4".  The key is to have it shorter then the width of your binding so that all of the seam allowance is hidden by the next step.
 Press your binding to the wrong side and stitch 3/8" from armhole edge.  In this picture you can see how the finish looks on both the right and wrong side.  Neat yes? 

After your armholes are complete you have your side seams and hem to do, just follow the pattern directions and you should get great results.

I cut this top out on Friday, sewed it on Saturday and wore it on Sunday.  You can't beat that right? 
 Sew satisfying! 
 My husband loved it and told me I looked sassy...yeah that's right Sassy

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