Monday, July 23, 2012

Wall for Pattern Pieces and SewSet

I've been thinking about organizing my sewing space.
Thinking about it, but have actually done very little to make it happen.
It seems I have to clean the whole room after every project, although I don't clean it and it builds up until I can barely walk in there.  Or the other day my husband needed the broom and it was in the sewing room.  He came back empty handed and I told him it was in there, I was positive.  After a few minutes he came back with the broom and said: "You should have told me it was in there under a foot of junk!"  First of all fabric isn't junk, but yes, it was a disaster.

So one little thing I've done is try to get the pattern pieces under control.  
I'd say about half the time I sew I make a pattern or use a pattern I've purchased.  
I'm bad about transferring the marks to the fabric, so I usually keep any pieces with markings available to reference as I sew.  It can just become a mess of paper everywhere as I usually work on a few projects at a time.

So a simple solution would be to buy the professional pattern hooks and punch.
But I don't have a rod for them or the money to dish out just to temporarily hang a pattern piece.

So I just hammered a few long nails in my wall above my cutting board.
To hang each pattern piece, I use a round 3/4" hole punch to put a hole in an area that won't affect any important info.

These are the patterns I'm currently working on so it doesn't look pretty, but it's been nice to know any important pieces are up there...somewhere.  Because sometimes I am trying to clean up and a piece of crumpled wrapping paper just looks like trash when it was really a third version of the french knot blouse I've been working on.  
So it's a little white trash but has helped keep the random paper, thin tissue paper, etc. together where I know I can find it again.


On another note, have you heard about
Jessica from MeSewCrazy started an online tutorial/ pattern directory.

It's free and you can upload your patterns and tutorials to allow people to search.
Sewset links them back to your blog post for the tutorial details.
Uploading your projects is quick and easy.

Or you can browse the growing directory rather than hopping blog to blog looking for the purse pattern you'd like to try.
You can search a specific category, recently added, or by designer.
Here's my little designer profile here.

It's a pretty cool way to share your ideas and browse other's in a quick, easy, free directory with photos and easy linking to the original designer's blog.
I wish I had sewset pages on my own blog to organize all my tutorials to make them easy to access!
I've been wanting to have them organized by category with a linked baby image to make it quick and easy and it seems so daunting and time intense.  I wish there were an easy way to make my own directory of all the stuff I've made!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tana Frock: chevron, ombre dyed, summer dress

My niece graduated high school in May and as a little gift I made her a dress.
She’s beautiful, fun, and tall…she’s the only girl on my husban'ds side of the family taller than me, she’s 6’ and I’m 5’10”.

So I had this design in my head for a dress that is an adult version of all the other chevron dresses I’ve sewn recently:

aqua smallrainbow7

inspiration graph
I was thinking of a 1950s silhouette with a circle skirt and higher boat neckline, pretty much the rainbow dress but grown up without all the colors.
The style seemed young, so I thought it would be a great summer dress for an 18 year old just heading to real life and college.
I wish I could have had her to model the dress, but we live far apart and it got mailed to her…so it’s just me.  I think it would look a lot better on a fit teenager than myself.
I added a few accessories in the gift for Tana, some high cork heels, a mustard belt, and orange filigree earrings.
This photo is probably the best example of the actual color of the dress.
With all the structured piecing going on in the bodice, I chose to go with a neutral in the grayish slate blue. 
Not very bright and summery, but I figure she could style it with fun, bright accessories.
With the higher neckline, I cut the skirt to be just above the knee.  
A little more flirty than what I wear, as my kids view my skirts as a tent they should crawl under and everyone would definitely see my undies in a skirt this short and full…but hopefully for a young, beautiful girl it will be cute and fun to wear.

The back has an invisible zipper and the chevron repeats to mirror the front.
The ombre effect with the dark waist and the angles of the pieced chevron was really flattering I thought.
I’m totally sucking in my gut here, but if you had a trim waist, I think this would be a really form flattering design for most body types.
I don’t have a full tutorial, but here are a few of the steps in case you’re interested to try a similar design or use the piecing/ dying techniques.
So to figure out how all these angled chevron strips could work together in a uniform way and still bend over boobs was a challenge in my head.  The two little girls dresses I’d sewn before didn’t have this element of design as little girls are flat chested and the bodice front was pieced as one flat panel.  So as I was figuring out all the technical ways to create each section, I luckily remembered a tutorial from my friend Kristin {skirt as top} on piecing a bodice using freezer paper.  So I took the bodice pattern from a dress I’d made, and adjusted a few things, but cut it out of freezer paper.  I was then able to draw my chevron strips in the freezer paper and cut each piece out, iron it on my white cotton, then carefully cut out each strip adding seam allowances.

You can see all the freezer paper pieces ironed on for the front bodice, including seam allowances around each piece and the 5/8” center front seam along the fold.
This is the best representation of how the boob darts were factored in to each strip of the chevron pattern.
1 box Rit pearl gray + 1/2 cap full of Rit liquid royal blue + 1/4 tsp liquid Rit black in 4 qt water
and the recommended 1 T liquid laundry detergent + 1 c. salt for any cotton dye bath
I knew I’d be dying each piece, so I needed to use a natural fiber that would accept dye.  I considered linen for it’s light, cool, aspects in the summer heat, but decided what a pain linen would be as it wrinkles so easily and stretches/ distorts through out each use.
So I ended up going with a satin cotton that was 97% cotton and 3% spandex.  This gave the fabric some stretch to help in being a fitted dress, and the 97% cotton made it a high natural content to dye well.

SKIRT:  The skirt was a circle skirt and I dip dyed it for the ombre effect.  I didn’t want to go too dramatic and go from dark charcoal to a white hem.  So I felt the hem of the dress was obviously an ombre, but on the subtle side, ending in the mid-light tones.
BODICE:  To dye the bodice, I first safety pinned the four pieces (2 front, 2 back) that would need to be the same color.  Then I labeled each bundle with a fabric scrap and wrote the color order in marker.  So the very top was “white” and I just numbered each bundle down to the darkest at the waist.  This helped me dye each strip color shade all together, and to compare to the shades above and below.  The turquoise dress I made for Ellie had the majority of the dress on the light side and ending with the saturated color.  I wanted to go the opposite direction with this one and have the majority of the dress in the darker shades with just touches of the lightest.  I actually dyed this dress prior to making Ellie’s and this is my tip:
I started with the lightest here and felt some of the higher or lighter shades got too dark too fast in the dye bath and so I’d say start with your darkest pieces, then move to the lighter so you have more control in the color graduation of each individual layer.
To sew the bodice together, I stitched and serged the seams to prevent fraying and just try to clean up the inside.
Because it’s meant to be a summer sun dress, I chose not to line it and add another hot layer.
You can see here on the inside of the bodice how the front and back darts lined up with the individual pieces to make the smooth chevron lines that ended up not being broken up or misaligned.
So I hope Tana likes it, and hope it fits as I was totally guessing her measurements and it was such a fun dress to design and watch come to life.
Much more complicated design with the bodice piecing than I have ever done.

Friday, July 13, 2012

No David!

I'm hoping to have some posts soon.  Some photographs have been taken which is a big step to get back into blogging again.
But here's the full post that originally posted at no big dill for her once upon a thread #3 series.

I wanted to share No David! by David Shannon.
There’s a whole series of David books, all inspired by the author’s mom sending him a book he had written as a five-year-old.
The only text in his childhood story was “no David” repeated on each page and drawings of himself doing things that made his mom say “No!”
So he wrote another version as adult which portrays the antics common to most little boys.
I love this book because it’s funny and the illustrations really tell the story. 
The portrayal of David is childlike, wild, and his pointy teeth resemble my own son’s self portrait.


David wears the same signature outfit throughout the series, red jeans and a blue and white striped tee shirt. 
His mom is shown with a green skirt and blue polka dot blouse.
So I chose to recreate the clothes for us after my, RJ, kept pointing out “David shirts” when he’d notice any top with blue and white stripes.
David’s shirt is pieced knit, and I used a pair of H&M jeans to make the pants from narrow red corduroy.
Rather than using a polka dot print for the mom top, I made a blouse with old ivory drapery and added a dot texture to make the french knot blouse, to go along with the pleated pocket skirt.
So this is a story about a little boy and his mom and all the things he does that make his mom say “No!”
In the book, David gets into trouble on every page,
sneaking cookies….

dragging mud in the house…
and picking his nose.
My son, RJ, sometimes makes the same sad choices that David does, like not cleaning up his toys…

getting mad and earning a time out,

or jumping on the bed.

animated gif maker


But RJ also makes some choices that make his mom say “No!” that weren’t in the book:
Finally, there’s a page where David’s mom says Yes!
It’s the last page and despite all his sad choices, David’s mom says “Yes, I love you.”
We love this book and it’s a good opportunity to talk about good vs bad behavior and it’s really fun to follow David’s antics throughout the whole series.

For today I thought I’d quickly show you how to make the tee shirt with the pieced stripes.
I used knit yardage for the blue, and upcyled a men’s white t-shirt for the white strips, using the original hem on the men’s shirt for the body and sleeve hems (easy cheat!)
I used a serger to sew the entire tee shirt except  the neckline, but a stretch stitch on a regular machine would be great too.
For the body, I started with 4” wide strips and sewed them together into two (front and back) big stripe blocks.davidn
From a big square block I used my son’s rashguard as a pattern to cut the sleeve holes, angled shoulder seams, and the curved neck.
At this point you can sew the front to back at the side seams and shoulder seams, making sure to match up your stripes as you sew.
The idea was the same with the sleeves, just sewing a stripe block and cutting out the sleeve shape.
This time I used 2.5” tall strips.
At this point you can sew the armpit seam on the sleeves and insert them into the shirt body.
For the neck I cut a 1.5” wide strip of blue, pressed it in half, then sewed raw edges touching around the neckline.
Then to finish it off, I top-stitched around the neck seam with a double needle to hold the seam allowance down.

Thanks for having us, we both had fun participating!


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