Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Simplicity 8014

My recent love of garment sewing continues with this Simplicity shirt dress. The simple A-line, button up front and pockets are what attreacted me to this pattern.  The Anna Maria Horner yarn dyed fabric was a dream to work with. Having pre-washed the fabric, I am hoping not to have any of the bleeding issues I had with some of her fabric last year. My friend, Krista, and I talked about the "tablecloth effect" of this fabric and wondered if we could get away with it for garments. I'm hoping it doesn't look like I'm wearing a tablecloth.

The pattern was straight forward and easy to follow. But, let's talk about the sizing on patterns these days. Seriously, I know it's just a number but sewing patterns are cut so much smaller than ready to wear clothing. I don't remember this from sewing garments many decades ago.

As usual, I cut the size to fit the best through my shoulders and bust and then graded to accommodate my hip measurement. I am not one to make a muslin, but in this case it might have proved helpful, because when I tried on the nearly finished dress it was tight in the bust and way to small in the hips.

To correct the sizing without having to scrap the whole garment I settled for it being too big in the neck. Here's what I did:
The front finishes with a double fold the length of the front opening. On the left side I finished it with a single fold, first interfacing the front to give it some weight and stability to support the buttons.
On the right side, I finished it the same way the instruction said to finish the sleeves, also adding interfacing to give stability for the button holes and also to prevent any problems making the button holes. (To finish the sleeves the pattern said to make a double folded 1-1/4" hem, stitch 1/4" all around from the bottom of the hemline, then open out the "hem" from the inside, pressing the stitched pleat up)

I have to admit, I was pretty pleased that this worked and allowed me to still have a wearable garment.

Here are a few close-up photos of some of the details. I followed the suggestion of an Instagram friend and added red buttons. You can see that I paid careful attention to match the checks on the front, but failed to match the secondary pattern. I'm going to say it was a design choice to break up the lines in the front giving me a thinner look :-)
My Bernina buttonhole attachment made easy work of making the buttonholes. In no time I had eleven uniform buttonholes. I also sewed the buttons on with the machine and finished the hem with the blind hem stitch. Gone are the days when I dreaded all the hand finishing and my mom would do it for me. Mom was so good for that. She loved the finishing but not the actual making of the garments...the opposite of me!

Another change I made was to line to yoke with the same fabric. The pattern did not call for any lining but I like the idea of it having a finished look inside and out.

All seams were finished with my Brother 1034D serger. Sadly, it died this week and I have decided not to have it repair. The repairs are equal to what I paid for it two years ago and I have already gone this route with repairing it last year when the cutters broke. The good news is Mr. Romance said to buy myself a new one, so I will treat myself to a new and more reliable, albeit way more expensive, serger soon.

Monday, May 8, 2017

More Socks

I finished two pair of socks a while ago. 

The first was the striped pair.  I like the fun stripes in the yarn. I decided to use a plain aqua for the toe, heel and ribbing on the cuff. I made the after-thought heel on this pair, which was both fun and stressful. I had a little bit of difficulty picking up the stitches. I find I learn something evey time I make a pair of socks. This time I learned that if I use a thicker waste yarn, it's a little easier to pick up the stitches when it comes time to make the heel. 

The green socks are one of my Finish-Along projects for this second quarter of 2017. Holy cow, this year is flying by way too fast!
This pair was a simple, no frills, stockinette stitch. I tried to make them a bit fancy by changing the ribbing on the cuff.
I also dropped my needle size from a 2.5 mm 24" circular needle to a 2.25 mm and I think the fit is better for my foot.

I started another pair of socks last week and will have them finished soon.

Capitola Quilter

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Gingham Tunic

I made a tunic. Please tell me it doesn't look like a tablecloth! I just love gingham fabric and found this twill weight gingham at IKEA last year. I pre-washed it and it really has a lovely weight and feel, like a high quality fabric, so I decided to make the Green Bee Lela Tunic and Blouse pattern.  I have had the pattern for several years. It was part of a swag bag from a retreat I went to...I think.

I wanted to make contrasting facings and this Rifle Paper Company for C&S fabrics was a perfect choice.  Another design element I changed was to cut the yoke and lower sleeve cuff on the bias. 

Ugh! See that little spot of orange at the top of the slit...the iron away marking pen didn't disappear. I'm probably the only one who would know except now you all know, too!

I cut a size medium yoke and then graded out the rest of the pattern through the hips to the extra -large size. I probably should have shortened it through the waist length and then I would have been OK fitting a large through the hips and adding back the length on the bottom. I wish independent pattern makers would mark the suggested waist and give a back waist length measurement. This is my biggest frustration with making my own clothes. I am so short-waisted and need this measurement to get the best fit.

I'm pretty sure I see another tunic in my future. Now that I know how it fits I can make a few adjustments and use up some more of my hoarded stash of garment fabrics.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ode to Rita

I am so excited to share with you my alternative pickle dish quilt. I first fell in love with this design when I saw the one made by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts in 2015. Last year, for my turn in the Stash Sewciety Bee, I asked my bee mates to help me make this quilt. Each member made 8 of the quarter star blocks. I asked them to use a fussy cut in the square part of the block to give the quilt a fun and playful theme. Colors were not really specified but I did want low volume fabrics used for the background fabric in each block.
I made all the quarter circle blocks and more of the quarter star blocks to have enough to assemble fifty-six twelve inch blocks. 

After sewing all the 6.5" partial blocks into the 12.5" blocks it was time to assemble the quilt and get an even distribution of color in this very scrappy quilt.

This quilt is big! I quilted it on my Bernina 820 using lots of wavy lines, circles, words, hearts, flowers and arcs. I know that everyone sings the praises of Aurifil thread and I do love it too, but only for piecing my quilts. My machine and I love Connecting Thread's Essential cotton 40 wt. thread for machine quilting. 

I really had fun quilting this piece. I used Bamboo batting for the first time. The batting was a little difficult to baste because it stretched a little every time I would try to smooth the quilt, but it was a dream to quilt and after laundering, the quilt has wonderful texture.

To say I am a huge fan of Rita's work is an understatement. I have drawn so much inspiration from her and feel privileged to have actually met her and taken a class from her at Sewtopia a few years ago. That being said I ordered a ton of Carrie Bloomston's newsprint fabric to use as backing (thanks Rita). It's a favorite because it comes in extra wide, 108", making for a seamless backing. 
I used a black gingham for the binding for the first time. I struggled with the cutting of the fabric because it is printed slightly off grain. Several people gave me some good tips for working with plaids and checks so next time I will pre-wash the fabric and cut it along the line of the print instead of on the grain.

I'll be heading to retreat, in Wisconsin, with my Stash Sewciety friends next week. I wish I had room in my suitcase to take this quilt along, but it is too big and heavy. I'd love the girls to see it and also to get a photo with all the contributors and the quilt. 

After laundering, this quilt measures 80" x 92". I think it's my new favorite finish...until the next quilt is finished, that is!
This is my first finish of the second quarter 2017 Finish Along.

Capitola Quilter

Friday, April 7, 2017

Three for me.

I think I'm finally ready to admit that three projects should be my maximum when listing my Finish Along wishes. I'm so easily influenced by projects I see my friends making that I rarely get around to finishing what I stated on my list. 

Here are three I know I can get done this quarter. My proposed second quarter finishes are:

1. My pickle dish variation quilt is a classic example of me being influenced by my Instagram friends. Rita posted her quilt, with a tutorial last year, so I used it as my inspiration for my Stash Sewciety Bee. I asked my bee to make the starry looking blocks and I made all the drunkard path blocks. I have finished machine quilting this large quilt. It just needs to be bound. 

2. My knitting project for this quarter is a simple pair of socks. 

3. My third project is a repeat performer on my Finish Along list. I need to make several more blocks for this flying geese quilt before I can quilt and bind it. My Stitch Tease Bee made these blocks. I really want to make a partial ring of flying geese to incorporate into the design and also add some negative space.

Linking up with the Finish Along hosts. Thank you for hosting!

Capitola Quilter