Wednesday, February 29, 2012

When Patterns Claim They Are Easy....

Exactly what is an easy pattern?  Easy to sew because the instructions are well written?  Easy to sew because you have some experience and are aware of the unwritten steps? 

This is an absolutely adorable pattern designed for sheer fabrics such as voile, chiffon and georgette.  The fabric selected is a black chiffon print which also has a secondary design of a stripe. 

Here is a section of the instructions.

Easy, sure, if you have had some sewing experience.  It is such a great design that I thought I would blog about some ideas to help if you're tempted to sew a pattern in a sheer fabric, or even this pattern .

If the fabric you're going to be sewing is washable, give it a heavy dose of spray starch or sizing.  This is great for taming the fabric making it crisper to handle when laying out your pattern.  How much starch....  I really give it a nice heavy dose.  Your garment can always be washed when you're finished sewing, so don't worry about going overboard.

Lay out your pattern on a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter rather than scissors to cut out your pattern.  Since the layers of fabric are sheer they have a tendency to shift when using shears.

When the pattern calls for gathering ....  make two rows of basting stitches, one row at 5/8" and another at 1/4".   The second row of basting controls the fabric in the seam allowance.

The bodice front and blouse back are sewn to the yoke using an envelope method.  The bodice front and backs are rolled up and tucked inside the yoke while the seams are sewn.  This allows for the seams to be enclosed .  While it is an easy technique, the fabrics rolled up are difficult to keep in place while trying to sew the seams.  This problem is solved by rolling up the sections and then pinning with safety pins.

This looks strange, but the results are quite nice:

Even though the sleeve is a smooth set in, the sleeve needs a row of basting stitches.  I sewed a 1/2" seam with basting stitches on the sleeve cap.   I pulled the basting stitches slightly my 1/4" seam for the french seam would be smooth.  I trimmed the seam with pinking shears, turned it to the inside for my 3/8" seam.

You can see the basting stitches still in the sleeve fabric.  If you need to clip the basting stitches to relax the sleeve fabric, go ahead and clip away (but just clip the basting stitch, not your fabric).

Just the extra step of the basting stitches makes a great set in sleeve - nice and smooth!

Almost finished.......  finishing touches tomorrow!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wedding napkins into a Wedding Napkin Quilt

I can't make excuses about such a lull in my blogging EXCEPT I have been too busy enjoying winter.  I can't believe those are my thoughts, but to have sunshine and no snow has been such a reprieve from our recent bouts of harsh winters.

I am excited to say, the napkins for my daughter's October wedding are boxed and ready!  A selection of thirty yards of different cotton prints from landed on my doorstep last month for the cutting, hem pressing and sewing.  My daughter has selected so many different, sentimental, lacy, graphic and modern items to coordinate with these napkins that I am excited thinking about this very special occasion! 

There was only one problem with making the napkins; the pile of6" x 18" remnants remaining. 

It is fortuitous (isn't that a lovely word!) the April issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine came in the mailbox this past week.  In this issue is a quilt, Sticks & Bricks, which requires 5" x 7 1/2" and 1 1/2" x 7 1/2" rectangles!   (The link is to a variation of the pattern called City Lights.)

I have more than enough napkin "scraps" to make the quilt.

Here are the "bricks and sticks" up on my wall so I can plan their placement.

I'll be able to keep moving them around while I'm sewing on other projects until I think I've got the right balance.  I added a red and a butterscotch solid cotton to break up the prints.

Again, another fortuitous event.....    a valentine came in the mail!!  :)   and on the return envelope was the script for the wedding envelopes.....   How much fun to secretly embroider their names, date, etc into the quilt border with a floss that blushes.  This way it will be in the quilt, but not glaring and overpowering.

I had given myself a deadline of February 8th to finish the napkins, so I'm giving myself a deadline of May to have the quilt finished.  The deadline is more than enough time, but I'm allowing for cabin fever and other responsibilities.  Cabin fever could last anywhere from a 24 hour period to several weeks, so I'm allocating the later. 

Now to tell you about my valentine that I found in my mailbox the other day...

I am a kid at heart.  How much fun to open the mailbox and find something as sweet as this inside!  Thanks Sweetpea.  You made my day!

I'm editing this post on March 1st.  The wedding quilt has been finished and I thought I would give you a little peek ...

like I said....   just a little peek!