Monday, May 12, 2014

Grumble Grumble

Youtube problems are still a problem.

My sewing machine needs a tuneup and the place that I took it to last time is closed.

On the upside, I made this:

It was a ton of fun to make, and I might make another. If I do, I will try to make a post, although it might be photos only, and no videos.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Technical difficulties

I have a series of posts lined up, more is on the way. Life's been a bit busy of late and I'm having some technical difficulties with Blogger. Coming up are more "Let's make..." articles where we focus on the lower half of the body.

How to make single-fold bias tape

Bias tape comes in a multitude of colors, but sometimes it's hard to find a good match, or your fabric is so busy that a solid color would attract too much attention.

Fortunately, it's not difficult to make bias tape out of the fabric you're working with. In order to do this, you will need to buy extra fabric -- bias tape cannot be made out of the "scraps" that are left over when you're done cutting out a pattern. Since you want to cut out the fabric at a 45° angle, you want to get as much fabric extra as the fabric is wide. e.g: If your fabric is 60" wide, you will need a full 1⅞ extra yards of fabric to make the bias tape (1½ yds for 45" fabric). Plus, you need to get a few inches extra for shrinking as you will be washing and drying the fabric. Depending on how expensive your fabric is, that could be a serious investment! For your first few rounds of making bias tape, I heartily recommend using clearance/discount fabric.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Putting in a set-in sleeve (version 1)

My first fitted sleeve.
Fitted (set-in) sleeves aren't hard, but they can be a little fussy, and they definitely require patience and a careful hand when sewing in. And it's a great feeling when you turn the sleeve out and see a clean join without puckers or wrinkles.

I highly recommend getting a tailor's ham before you start putting in fitted sleeves -- It's not too much money and it makes the part where you iron the seam flat much, much easier. For most sleeves a proper sleeve roll or sleeve board isn't necessary, but I have to admit I do like mine a lot. If you can only get one, definitely get the ham first and get the sleeve roll/board later because the ham will come in handy for many different sewing projects.

Cutting out
When you're cutting out a fitted sleeve, there will be a bell shape where the sleeve will join with the shoulder of the shirt. There will be notches on either side of this curve (and usually a few dots in between) -- one side will have a single notch and one side will have a double notch--these will correspond to single and double notches on the front and back armholes. When you're cutting out the pattern, you definitely want to pay attention to the cutting layout's instructions. If you're not able to fit the sleeve piece on a folded piece of fabric during the cutting layout and you have to cut the sleeve piece out twice, mind your p's and q's about the right/wrong side of both the fabric and the pattern piece, because those notches will tell you which side is the front and the back of the sleeve when you're trying to put it in, and it would be very easy to end up with "two left sleeves" so to speak if you have the notches in the same orientation for both sleeves.

So far I've run into two ways to put in a fitted sleeve. Version 1 appears to be the more common way. If you did the previous tunic project, you've done this already.  This involves stitching the front and back of the shirt together at the side-seams and shoulders, easestitching along the sleeve's shoulder, then stitching and hemming the sleeve arm, then fitting the sleeve into the armhole of the shirt with a slight gather and joining from there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let's make a tunic with fitted sleeves, split cuffs and trim (Butterick 5390 - View C)

View C is the upper-left view
Note: This pattern assumes you have become comfortable with the Beginner's Stuff. This might be tricky as a first effort. I will continue to link to related posts.

One of my absolute favorite patterns out there right now is Butterick 5390, especially view "C" which has a scoop neck with trim, and fitted sleeves with split cuffs. I've made view C once before and it was my first attempt at fitted sleeves and it turned out great. I've also made View A and it's become one of my favorite shirts to wear out.

While in Philadelphia, I picked up some lovely peachskins and I'm going to make view C again, with a royal blue body and light grey cuffs. Definitely not something I should wear while gardening, eating ribs, or cleaning the gutters.  I also picked up some 2" trim that I'm going to make a go of, although it might be a little wide for a scoop-neck and not work its way around the corners very well. We'll see!

Fabric and matching thread, Contrast and matching thread,
Pattern, Trim, and Interfacing.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Please enjoy this dance number while I get more posts together for you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Oh no...

It appears that Jack B. Fabrics, which I had previously raved about in a post about Philadelphia's Fabric Row, suffered a 3-alarm fire earlier this month. Tragically, a veteran firefighter lost his life in the blaze and another was injured.

I'm just heartbroken. I will be in Philly next weekend and I was looking forward to seeing my friends at that store. Now it's gone.