Monday, October 29, 2012

Embellished Pillows

I continue to decorate my lake house. I have two sepia colored sofas in a modern style that are begging to be dressed up with some color. A mass of pillows of varying prints and textures should do the trick. To begin the collection I made two pillows in this bright, transitionally styled print. Its a home decorator fabric in a good medium weight, so the pillows should hold up well and present a nice, crisp appearance.

To give the print a bit of a punch, I embellished it with some cording that was simply zigzagged onto the fabric following the lines of the pattern. So easy to do!  To add a bit of 3-D I tacked on a small bow made of the same cording. I used a simple 2cm cording I found at Jo-Ann's, but it could have easily been a very narrow ribbon or fine rick rack. 

I backed the pillows with a coordinating solid colored woven and inserted an  invisible zipper along one of the sides for easy removal and cleaning. 


I love the way the pillows turned out, but more pillows are needed, so phase two is in the works

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fabric of the Day Knit Shirt

Every day the employees at the fabric store where I teach select a bolt of fabric to display as their "fabric of the day".  Their selections are usually quite lovely and too often I can't resist buying a piece. One such purchase was this lovely medium weight cotton blend knit in a charcoal and off white zebra-ish print. 

I will admit my experience sewing with knits is limited. I don't have a serger machine and until I am convinced knits are for me, I won't spend the money to buy a good one. But, its hard to resist some of the beautiful knit fabrics that are on the market. The few projects I have made have turned out well and given their popularity I am determined to master sewing with knits.

When making any garment for myself, fit is a huge issue. I always have to make numerous adjustments to any pattern to get the fit just right. When sewing with knits this becomes my first priority. I will not put a machine stitch into a knit garment until I get the fit right. The last thing I want to do is to have to remove or undo a seam that has been zigzagged or overcast. Those types of seams are a pain to remove, not to mention you risk puncturing a hole in the knit with the seam ripper. So, I hand baste my knit garments together first and adjust until the fit is right. Once that's done, stitching the knits garments together are indeed a breeze.

This was a fairly easy garment to make once I got the fit right. For this garment I needed a size smaller than what I cut, so I needed to take all the seams in quite a bit. I also repositioned the seam at the bustline so it was below rather than on top of the bustline. I also added 2 very small darts right under the bust to give the garment some form and a slightly tighter shape. Without the darts it looked too much like a maternity top. 

As I said, I don't have a serger, so all of the seams were sewn with a small zigzag stitch. To finish the seam edges, I used a lock cutter that attaches to my machine. It both trims and finishes the seam edges with zigzag stitching. 

The pattern I used is Vogue 8634. The finished top is quite casual, but very comfortable and it looks good with both jeans and casual dress pants. 

Cowl neckline and raglan sleeve detail

Sleeve and hem detail - I used a double needle for a mock cover stitch
Inside seams

Monday, October 8, 2012

Samples Week

As an instructor at Jo-Ann Fabrics I am responsible for making samples for the classes I teach. Heavens no! Not the ugly ones you see in their brochures. Mine look more like something you would want to make. 

I am making samples for the November & December teaching schedule. They include a new clutch style handbag, a cute little girl's party dress and a cropped, raglan sleeve jacket with trim. 

The clutch bag was simple to make. The trick is to use an interfacing that will provide the body the bag requires but not so stiff it makes the bag very difficult to construct. Can you tell, I made that mistake and had to start over.   I used a zebra print synthetic with a simple velvet ribbon trim. The pattern is good for making a casual bag. While it shows a dressy look, at 12" x 9" for me it would be a little too large for evening use. Inside there are 2 pockets on each side, all large enough to hold a cellphone.

The second project is this darling party dress for toddler girls.  A great item to make for the holidays. As you can see the skirt features 2 layers with a slip lining and netting ruffle to give it flare and flourish. The pattern called for using bias tape to face much of the neckline which I didn't like, so I fashioned a full facing around the entire neckline which produced a much nicer finish. This was made in a toddler size 2. 

The third project is this cropped, unlined jacket with raglan style sleeves and a simple braid trim. Since it is unlined I covered the exposed seams with cotton bias tape I made from black colored muslin to give it a very clean finished look inside the jacket.  The project called for plaid patterned material so I used this Pendelton wool I happened to have on hand. Matching the plaid throughout was a bit time consuming but cutting each piece as a single layer first made matching the plaids easy. The real trick was attaching the braid trim which called for precision placement and straight, even stitching to look good. The jacket is in size 6.