Wednesday, May 21, 2014

May - Make a Garment a Month Garment Determined

I'm going to try a little reverse psychology with this month's challenge garment.  Since my April garment (a fairly simple dress) turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, I'll start with something that looks very complicated and maybe it will turn out easy?  Who knows but I'll give it a whirl!

I'm going to make Vogue 1309 - An Issey Miyake pattern out of some wonderful Ikat fabric I picked up at StoneMountain and Daughter recently.

Wish me luck!

Until next time - Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

April Garment of the Month Challenge Completed (Finally!)

I've finally completed my April Garment of the Month Challenge - only 3 weeks late.  New Look #6224. I originally selected this dress and rayon fabric thinking I'd be able to knock it out in a weekend, but sewing disasters just kept happening with this garment.

First, I decided to make a muslin of the top of this dress.  The muslin fit perfectly - a little bit snug, but I was ok with it - after all, my muslin fabric was a cheap cotton and my garment fabric was a nice flowy rayon so I figured it would drape and hang a "little" differently than the cheap cotton muslin.

Great.  Now that I had a good fitting muslin, I cut out everything- adding 2 inches to the length of the skirt and sewed the entire dress together.  Of course it was getting late and I needed to start dinner, but I wanted to put the zipper in.  Having not tried on the dress so far, I quickly put the zipper in and then hung the dress on my dress form.  Uh oh.  Something was wrong.  As my husband walked into the room, I said, "something's wrong with this - my waist isn't that low".

So of course I had to try it on and sure enough, my waist was indeed not that low.  The whole dress had shifted about an inch!  Next, I did what any sane sewer would do - I wadded it up and threw it in the corner and had a glass of wine!

The next day, after contemplating about it all night, and I think dreaming about it too, I fished it out of it's hiding place and tried to figure out what happened.  I put the muslin on the dress form and yes - it fit nice and snug - like it originally did.  Then, after ripping out the zipper and the skirt, I put the top over the muslin on the form and here you can see the problem.

The muslin is a full one inch sorter than the garment.  The deep V in the front, was way, way too deep on the purple, but fine on the muslin.

Shoulder seams lined up, and the sleeves on the purple finished top fit perfectly.  If I would have put sleeves in the muslin, they would have been too far up on the shoulder line.

On the back, same thing - muslin is one inch higher than the purple rayon.

On the bottom, you can clearly see how much longer the purple is than the muslin.  

At this point, you can imagine that I was frustrated as could be because I couldn't figure out why it had changed so much.  I decided to compare the finished garment pieces with the pattern pieces and Bingo - that's where I figured out the problem.  

The purple finished pieces were exactly the same size as the pattern pieces.  The muslin pieces, however, were smaller - 1/4" here, 1/4" there and it all added up to a smaller muslin.  But why when they were both cut from the same pattern pieces?  

Next, I decided to do a "steam" test on my extra muslin fabric and sure enough, it was shrinking before my eyes as I was pressing it. My purple rayon fabric had been pre-shrunk already, but the muslin fabric was not.  My muslin shrunk both in width and in length - almost exactly one inch in both directions.  Why I didn't see this shrinking when I was pressing my muslin originally remains a mystery.  

So now, after figuring out what the problem way, I needed to start fixing it.  So much for making a muslin! I'll be sure to shrink my muslin fabric in future - I've never had that be an issue before but I guess there is a first time for everything.  

First fix - I needed to raise the V in the front 1 inch.  That was fairly simple to do.  

Next fix, I needed to reattach the skirt. On the picture below from bottom to top, you can see the original cutting line, followed by the original stitching line.  The folded line is where the muslin ended, followed by my new stitching line above that.  The front of the dress needed to be raised up a little further as well to make it hang evenly - that's why the stitching line appears to be a little off in the front.  

Same procedure to attach the back skirt as well. 

I also ended up sewing in a zipper by hand instead of machine.  Something I had never done before, but absolutely love the results.  You can barely see the hand sewn in zipper versus the mess of a zipper I had before.  That's one good thing that came out of this dress!

Side view

Here's a close-up of the fabric. I love the cute little buttons!

And the back.  The dress really does hang straight, I just couldn't get the tripod and camera to cooperate with me.

Until next time!
Happy Sewing!

Monday, May 19, 2014

I have a quest

It's been almost 3 weeks since I last posted, but I have a good reason - partially sewing related but mainly more of the "garden variety" excuse.

Last year for my birthday - yes, in 2013, my husband started building me a garden in the backyard.  Now, this doesn't sound like a big undertaking to most people, but for us, it was a huge project.  Because we live in a very rural area, we have deer that roam freely throughout our yard and munch on whatever they happen to like at the moment.  This constant munching is a battle between us and the deer every year.

So my innocent vegetable garden couldn't consist of just a few beds in the backyard.  No - we had to incorporate a very large fence (8 foot tall) around the beds and make it blend in with our current backyard landscaping - which was nothing at the starting point, except a big dirt patch.  After many days of planning, mapping, measuring and "thinking like a deer" to determine our fencing strategy, we had a plan.

Here's our starting point.  Our very plain backyard.  We decided to place the garden next to our existing brick wall and incorporate the brick wall and the fence behind it as part of our deer defenses.

Here it is after some of the framework is in, the plumbing calculated for the beds, and some of the pea gravel rock hauled from the front of the house to the garden.  

I certainly don't miss hauling rock.  When the rock was delivered, the only place the rock truck could dump it was in our front parking area (yes, we have parking meters - a birthday gift from my husband a few years ago!).  Many a night after work was spent shoveling and hauling.  This is the pile after about 1/2 of it had been moved.

Here's the garden after one bed is in position and filled with dirt, all of the pea gravel rock moved and now, there was a pile of dirt in the front yard to replace the rock.  Yippee - more shoveling!

We're getting closer.  Here, all of the framing is done and we've purchased a screen door for the entrance.

Next, the metal fencing is installed and the finishing boards nailed to the outside.  After the second bed was installed and the temporary "deer defense" erected on the remaining open areas between the brick wall and the existing fence, I started planting.  To get to this point, it took us about 4 months of hard work last year, but it still wasn't finished.  The weather was heating up and my husband was fed up with the project.  I ended up producing more tomatoes than I knew what to do with and learned alot about herbs and cucumbers in the process.  But remember, we still weren't finished.

So low and behold, 2014 rolls around and yes - the garden still isn't completed.  My husband agrees that in the future, he's not giving me such elaborate birthday gifts that take a long time to finish.  It's gift cards for me from now on!  

For the last month, we have been working very hard to get this project finished and we are 99% of the way there!  Here's the garden with the 3rd bed in and planted, the remaining fencing on the back almost finished, and everyone is a happy camper!

Here's a view from the inside.

By now, you are probably wondering how sewing relates to this at all.  I titled this blogpost "I have a quest", but have yet to mention what the quest is.  Well - here goes.  "I have a quest to keep my work jeans going as long as possible."  A good fitting, comfortable pair of work jeans is hard to find and when you finally do have them, when they start getting holes in them, it's time to start patching.  I have patches upon patches on these jeans.

The patches all started out innocently enough with denim squares on the knees - but that was getting a bit boring, so I started grabbing odd bits of fabric out of my scrap bins as more holes appeared.  I particularly like the leftover patchwork I incorporated on the knee area of the right leg.  This was leftover from a quilt I made for my niece's first born child.

But then one day, I got a hole in the bum and wanted to do something a little whimsical with this particular location.  I searched and searched for a patch looking like a pair of lips, but couldn't find one.  I did find this lovely pink flower that looked quite fun so decided to place it over the offending hole. It's held up quite nicely over the last few years.  Everything time I hear a hummingbird flying around though, I get kind of nervous - hoping it doesn't mistake my patch for the real thing!

As luck would have it, the latest weeks work has created a new patching opportunity.

 How about some apples for this one?  That's very "gardeny" don'tcha think!

 Until next time - Happy Sewing!