Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Sewing Duds Rut is over!!

I have been very disappointed with the last few garments I've sewn.  With limited sewing time over the last few months due to our remodel, to make something that ends up in the donate pile when you are finished is even more discouraging!

But - I'm happy to say the Sewing Duds Rut is officially over!  I am lovin' my new blouse!  

This is Vogue 8979.

This garment was part of a recent challenge issued by my local sewing guild group.  We were given two fabrics and had two months to come up with something.  My fabrics were this very pretty greenish linen with a matching 1/4 yard floral piece.  I had been wanting to make this Vogue blouse for awhile a figured I had nothing to lose with this free fabric so decided to give it a whirl!

Things didn't start off to nice with the muslin.  The shoulder was a little to big with a case of gaposis going on. 

The sides were too big and I was sure this too was destined for the garbage can.

However, with a few alterations to the shoulder and side seams, things were looking up!

I am so happy with the finished product.  

I modified the pleats in the front which I think is better. There are 3 pleats on the front panel - 2 small ones and one large one.  The pattern says to sew the two small pleats and then encase those pleats in one large one which made no sense to me.  All of that beautiful pleat work and they want you to hide it - no way.  I decided to reverse mine and the one large pleat is neatly tucked behind the two smaller pleats.  I think it looks much better this way. 

The back has an invisible zipper and two fitting darts.  The fabric is a little wrinkled here, but after a drive into work, this doesn't look too bad for linen!

And if you are wondering where the floral fabric came into play - I used it for the bias binding on the armholes.  I cut the armholes an inch lower on the bottom and about 1.5 inches in on the shoulder.  The original armhole wasn't too flattering so it needed to be modified.

I can't count this fabric towards my stashbustin total, however, the muslin fabric did come from the stash so of course I'm adding that to the total.  The muslin was 1 7/8 yards bringing the YTD total up to 41.375 yards.

Special thanks to my work colleague Andy for snapping the final pics.

Happy sewing everyone!


Monday, August 24, 2015

September Sew for 30

September is National Sewing Month in the United States.  To build upon that theme, I'd like to encourage everyone to "Sew for 30" minutes everyday during the month of September.

It's amazing what you can get done in little increments of time.  I understand that physically sewing on a machine isn't possible for everyone, everyday.  But, dedicating 30 minutes everyday to your favorite hobby is easily achievable.

Here are some ideas:

The goal here is to spend more of your time doing what you love.  So, if you are up to the challenge, leave a comment below and take the pledge to Sew for 30 during the month of September.  Feel free to grab a Sew for 30 button and add to your blog.  Just copy the code in the box on the upper right of this post and add a widget/gadget to your blog.  This is my first time creating a button so if it doesn't work correctly, please let me know and I will attempt to fix it!

Here's my pledge:

I, Star of pledge to dedicate 30 minutes of every day for the month of September to some sort of sewing related activity. 

Now it's your turn.....

Happy sewing everyone!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

July MAGAM Finished and a few helpful hints

I recently read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo, and I have since gained a new perspective on the clothes in my overstuffed closet.  My biggest takeaway from the book was that if a possession doesn't bring you joy - get rid of it.  I have expanded that rule in regards to my clothes - "if it's fildly, uncomfortable or just darn annoying (thus not bringing me joy) - Donate it!"

I had high hopes for this blouse pattern because it looked so darn cute in the book, but sadly, I was disappointed with my end result. After being worn once, my new clothing rule will be claiming this blouse too.  I have to confess that my theme for the past few months of sewing clothing duds seems to be continuing (Vogue 8596 and Butterick 5856 - both of which I wore once and then they ended up in the donate pile).

The task for the July challenge was to sew something from a book.  I selected the Origami Blouse from the Twinkle Sews book by Wenlan Chia.  The instructions in the book were "less than ideal" to be nice.  I had intentions of turning this post into a full tutorial for the entire blouse and took pictures of every step along the way, but since I was so disappointed with the end result, I decided to just highlight a few of the trickier parts of the construction process that could use some further explanation if you choose to make this blouse for yourself. This is a long post so I've broken it up into sections.

What happened?

The Origami Blouse from the Twinkle Sews book looked good on my dress form, whom I have nicknamed Elizabeth:

But less than stellar on me:

Some key "points" to note on this blouse -

Notice the difference in the bust point and the low point on the front cut-out.  There is about 1 inch difference on these two points on me and this was not a good thing.  When getting ready for work the other day, I had the blouse on and must have seen about 10 boob/bra flashes in the mirror just while getting ready.  I knew this random exposure would drive me crazy throughout the day so I quickly grabbed a piece of scrap fabric out of the trash and haphazardly pinned it in place to remedy the flashing problem.  I could have worn a camisole underneath and this would have alleviated the problem, but who wants to wear a double layer when it's over 100 degrees outside - not me!

Where does Pattern Piece Number 5 come into play?

The instructions call for purchased bias tape - yet it provides pattern piece number 5 - which is bias tape.  No where in the instructions does it mention using this pattern piece. The instructions should say you can either use purchased bias tape or cut out the optional pattern piece number 5.

The bias tape (or piece number 5) will need to be sewn on the neck edges (as shown below) and the top of the back (not pictured). Fold the tape in half and sew to the edges right sides together.  Trim seam to 1/8 inch.

Press and turn bias tape to wrong side and stitch along edge.  The front and back pieces are pictured below:

You Call This a Sleeve?

The sleeves are just weird to say the least.  First of all - here is the sleeve pattern.  It states to "Cut 1" which is clearly incorrect - last time I checked I had two arms, so I need two sleeves. I sewed a size 8 pattern - maybe the other patterns are correct and say to cut 2 instead of 1?  And - just where is the sleeve seam?  I have it marked in red in the picture below.  It's sewn from the small notch on the side (just above the dotted line) to the bottom. That's it for the sleeve seam.

The way the sleeve sets into the rest of the garment causes a weird triangle looking pulling action underneath the arm that was very annoying when wearing.  See pulling action below:

When sewing the sleeve into the garment, you are asked to have 1.25 inches hanging off the top end of the front and back sleeves.  Here's a picture of what that looks like.

The piece that hangs off the end is then turned under and hand tacked down to make up the top of the sleeve.  You'll notice that I have pins in the bottom of the sleeve too.  I opted to sew the casing for the elastic in the sleeve after the sleeve was sewn into the garment rather than before (as the book says to do).

Constructing the Origami Squares

Step 1 - Cut out 8 squares from fabric.
Step 2 - Fold in half.
Step 3 - Stitch 3 sides of the square using a 3/8" seam allowance, leaving a 1 inch gap for turning.
Step 4 - Clip corners.
Step 5 - Turn and press.
Step 6 - Slip stitch opening closed.

To form the triangles:
Step 1 - Press square piece in half.
Step 2 - Open up rectangle and now fold one side in so the top edge of the fabric lines up with the edge of the fold you just made in the middle and press again.
Step 3 - Fold down the remaining side to match and press again.

When sewing these shapes to the garment, you will open up the folded shapes and sew along the "triangle shape" that was formed when pressing.

Pin in place as shown below (or if you want a different arrangement, go for it!) and then open up shapes to sew them down.

Sew the front neckband extension in place and the aluminum foil trick

With right sides together, pin the front neckband extension piece in place matching the small clip on center front of the shirt to the mid-point on the extension piece.

Here's what it looks like pinned together:

Using a 3/8" seam allowance, sew neckband extension in place.

Now for the aluminum foil trick on the front placket facing:

Make a photocopy of the front neckband extension and cut off the outside seam allowance.  Using a piece of tagboard, trace the pattern piece (without the outside seam allowance) onto the tagboard and cut out again.

Now for the clever bit:
- Place a piece of aluminum foil larger than the neckband extension on the table.
- Place the fabric on top of the foil with right side down.
- Place the tagboard piece on top of the fabric lining up the top and inside edges.

Carefully fold up the foil and fabric around the tagboard using the tagboard guide as your edge making sure to keep the top and inside edges of the fabric and tagboard lined up.  Smash the foil flat against the tagboard and press the edges with a hot iron.

Remove the foil and here's what your facing piece will look like - a perfectly rounded curve with no burnt fingers in the process!

Here's the right side - just look at that great curve!

Next, with right sides together, sew the faced neckband extensions together along the top edges and inside curve.  

Clip, press and turn and voila!  A perfect curve on the inside to either hand stitch or machine stitch down.

Here's another look at the triangles on the front.

And a few of the back.  There was lots of extra fabric in the back too.

If you choose to make this blouse, I wish you luck and hope that yours turns out better than mine. Although the idea of the blouse is a good one, it just didn't work for me.  

Work or not, this blouse was still made from fabric from the stash so at least I can count this into my total for the year.  This blouse only called for 1.5 yards, but I ended up using about 2 yards and threw out the remaining yard of fabric because I was so disgusted - so I'm counting that extra yard too! This brings my YTD stashbustin' total to 39.5 yards.  Yippee!

Happy Sewing everyone!