Sewing a Fitted Blouse: Part 1

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31 Days of Sewing: Day 6

This week has been an unprecedented disaster. We have had a family crisis, an electrical outage and a plumbing problem.

This little one hour blouse has taken me 4 days to make with all the distractions.

My week started off okay, I realized that I probably should have planned better for this series and had a stash of fabric and patterns to pull from for my projects.

Have I mentioned that organization is not my thing?

I don’t have a fabric stash, so I spent far too many hours this week roaming the fabric stores.

Found a fabric I liked at store A. Forgot the coupon for 40% off at home. Bought the fabric anyway.

Found a better fabric at store B. Signed up for the store B discount texts, only to realize I left my phone at home and couldn’t use them. Bought fabric anyway.

Returned fabric A to store A. Found an even BETTER fabric for the next project. Forgot phone and coupons once again.

Returned to store B to buy buttons and interfacing for project A, remembered the phone and coupons, but buttons were only $1.00 so it didn’t really save me anything.

Went home to wash fabric, washed it all, put it in the dryer. Dryer didn’t work.

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Checked fuse box, fuses were melted and wires fried, box smelled hot. Called landlord who in turn called electrician.

Roamed fabric stores again to pass the time, totally confused as to why I was there, and what dang coupons I was supposed to use.

Electrician came, out of power for the entire day. No sewing, computer or blog posts. Ate an entire bag of chips from the stress.

Fabric finally air dried, time to start cutting!

Cut out entire pattern, realized I should have bought more fabric. Made it work any how.

Electricity back on.

Sat down and actually sewed a few seams before I realized I never bought interfacing. Darn.

Went back to fabric store once again, remembered the phone, coupons are now expired. Darn.

Remembered to buy the interfacing, bought a bunch of fabric I didn’t need. Returned home to find I had 3 more pieces of identical fabric I bought the other day and forgot about.

Put fabrics B and C into washer to prepare for the next days projects. Left the room, came back later to put them in the dryer, discovered the wash basin had over flowed water all over the floor.

Turned on the dehumidifier and calmly left the room.

Watched Castle and Forever to forget my problems.

Blouse A still not quite done. Darn.

The good news is that it is going to fit great. At least I think it will.

The bad news, is that this was supposed to be an easy project. It has not been easy. This pattern is easy Vogue #8747. Spent two hours trying to set the sleeves correctly, this pattern has a very large sleeve cap and it took me three tries to get it in the armhole without puckering. This is one of my pet peeves, I hate big sleeve caps for this reason.

Spent two additional hours trying to figure out why the front facing didn’t look right. Realized far to late I only cut 2 facing pieces instead of the 4 marked on the pattern. Darn.

Had no more fabric to cut facings from, refused to be seen at the fabric store again. The lady there now knows me by name. Can you say Embarrassing?

Searched for my fabric scraps. Realized too late I had thrown them away. Ran to the curb and rummaged around in the dumpster to save enough fabric for the blouse facings before the garbage truck came.

Pieced scraps together to make a facing, sewed until dark when I couldn’t see anymore and my hands were ice cold.

Have I mentioned there is only one light in my “studio” back porch and that I can’t see well enough after dark to do anything? There is also no heat other than an old fireplace.

Collapsed into my chair exhausted, curled up in the fetal position in my new fuzzy bathrobe.

Will try again tomorrow to finish this project.

By the way, tomorrow is my birthday. I now have 4 garments to sew in one day and make up for lost time.

Thank goodness the week is almost over.

Sewing a Fleece Robe

Sewing this fuzzy robe doesn’t take long. I used the same easy Vogue pattern V8888, but I cut it a size larger to compensate for the heavier fabric.

 How to Sew a Fleece Robe - FB

31 Days of Sewing: Day 5

Robes are loose fitting, so there aren’t really any fit problems. If you use regular fleece you won’t even have to finish the seams.

This furry print sheds like crazy so I had to finish the seam allowances as I went along.

I do recommend a different sewing process for this robe, contrary to the pattern directions.

I like to speed things up a bit whenever possible.

It should take less than an hour to make this garment, assuming you have it all cut out and ready to go.

You will be cozy by the fire in your new robe in record time, I promise.

Here’s my quick assembly method:

How to Sew a Fleece RobeSew the shoulder seams together. Finish raw edges.

Don’t worry about clipping threads.  You can do that later.

Don’t worry about pressing your seams, this thick furry fabric doesn’t show pressed seams anyway.

How to Sew a Fleece Robe

Hem the sleeves using a 1/4″ narrow hem, switch in place.

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Turn the sleeve hem over again, and stitch 1″ away from folded edge.

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Assemble the sleeve and the robe body, just match the notch ( I use notches instead of circles) at the top of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, match the back sleeve notch, ignore all the other markings, easing the fabric into the armhole as needed to match fabric edges under the arm.

Stitch the sleeve in place. Finish raw edges.

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Sew the underarm seam from sleeve cuff all the way down the side seam of the robe (I did not add the side seam pockets, they are too cumbersome for this heavy fabric. I used a patch pocket on the robe front instead).

Finish side seam edges.

Sew collar pieces together at center back. Join collar top and bottom.

Install under collar to robe neckline, stitch in place.

Clean finish edge of top collar to robe neck, and facing by stitching a 1/4″ fold of fabric the length of the collar.

Fold facing over collar. Topstitch collar and facing to garment, leaving a clean finished edge at back neck, and down the entire edge of the robe facing.

Sew robe hem with 1/4″ narrow hem, then turn again and sew 1″ from the folded edge (same process as the sleeve hem).

Using a scrap of fabric, sew a narrow channel for belt loops and back neck loop. Turn right side out, cut into pieces 3″ long, and topstitch in place with one loop at each of the side seams and a loop at center back neck to hang the robe.

Sew belt right sides together, turn and topstitch 1/4″ from edge.

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You did it!

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Put your new robe on and cozy up to the fire with your tea. You deserve a break!

Come back tomorrow for more sewing tips on blouses!

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How to Sew a Fleece Robe

Sewing Camisoles

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31 Days of Sewing Day 3

Back to the drawing board today, finishing the last piece in this sassy little lingerie collection from easy Vogue pattern #V8888.

I don’t think this pattern is as easy as they said it was.

It’s cut on the bias, which is notoriously stretchy and hard to handle. It makes cutting and sewing harder because no matter how hard you try, the fabric always moves.

A few extra pins help, be sure your needles are sharp. You may need to baste here and there to make sure it all comes together the way you want.

One more thing, I used a slightly bigger stitch length and looser tension than on the other pieces I made (this will also keep your seams from puckering).

Most of the time when I sew, I use a small 2.5 stitch. For the satin camisole, try a stitch length of 3 or 3.5. If you do need to rip the seams out, it will be easier and won’t stretch the fabric as much.

This little camisole has contrasting lace on the bodice and yoke.

I also added some extra lace trim at the hem since I had it left over from yesterday’s pj pants project.

I must admit I changed the sewing process a bit on this garment.

Have I mentioned that I consider the pattern directions to be more like guidelines?

Many times there is an easier way to sew things.

I don’t know why they make things so complicated when they can be simpler. I think more people would learn to sew and be less frustrated if commercial patterns were more straight forward. This is my soap box.

I didn’t use elastic on the top edge of the back piece (which the pattern called for), preferring to just use a narrow rolled hem on it. Not really sure why they would put elastic on the back edge of a camisole to begin with, I think it’s rather cumbersome.

I also eliminated the extra lace on the back part of the body, who really pays that much attention to the back of things anyway?

Ideally, I would have used a narrow lace trim to finish all the way around the top from the front bodice strap, around to the back, and to the other side. However, my local fabric stores didn’t have any 1/2″ black laces in stock. I ended up using a narrow rolled hem instead.

Hard to believe that a simple item like narrow lace is hard to find, but it is. You may have better luck with white lace if you want to use this technique, the stores had plenty of that.

The rest of the camisole construction turned out pretty well, I didn’t really have to redo much of it.

There were only 4 seams after all.

Thank heavens for little blessings!

It was a better sewing day today.

I really appreciate all your sweet words of encouragement during my time of sewing struggle.

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The stretchy bias cut fabric in this pattern can make this item a bit harder to fit, I had to cut it down slightly because it was too big. I would recommend basting the side seams together and trying it on before doing your final stitching.

The other change I made was to the neckline, the pattern called for bias binding on the neck and the lace appliquéd on top. I couldn’t find a lace I liked for this, so I used the scalloped edge of the yard goods to finish the neck and zig zagged it in place over the lining.

It’s a bit simpler that way, only one sewing process. I am always looking for ways to speed things up.

I am impatient, have I mentioned that?

Whenever possible, I like to use lace edging instead of hems, its faster and easier to zig-zag it on over the raw edges instead of hemming. This is one of the reasons sewing intimates are easy to sew. Unless you are having a bad sewing day, of course.

Tip: Use two different colored threads to sew on the lace. I used black on the spool of the machine, and red in the bobbin for an “invisible” stitch on both sides.

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This is the finished 3 piece set. I am contemplating adding a tiny rosebud bow to the center front of the camisole bodice.

What do you think? Rosebud? Yes, or no?

You should have seen the looks on the faces of my teenage sons when they saw me sewing this trio. They raised their brows and gave me funny looks.

The questions in their eyes said: “Mom, what are you doing?”

Wisely, they never said a single word.

They know better than that.

I would tell them that I do these things to just keep them on their toes.

And to keep them guessing.

Just so you know, this probably the only time you will ever see slinky lingerie on this blog.

Hope you will still be here tomorrow.

 I will finish my last piece of intimate apparel, this one will be a fuzzy warm robe!

Then it’s back to the practical items, blouses will be next!

Sewing PJ Pants

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31 Days of Sewing: Day 2

Day 1 of sewing went great, no real issues. Day two on the other hand was a different story. Nothing went the way it was supposed to. Some days are like that I guess.

My issues started with cutting today’s garment, a cut little pair of satin pj pants. Okay, technically they are panties, but I won’t call them that because it might direct the wrong type of traffic to my blog.

Anyway, I skimped on buying the yardage for this project, trying to save a buck, only to realize when cutting it that everything was supposed to be on the bias and I didn’t have quite enough fabric.

Of course, I crammed it in anyway. I cut the back on the straight grain instead. Life will go on.

No way was I going back to the store in the rain today.

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This is easy Vogue Pattern #V8888. I made the satin robe yesterday, today it’s the panties, tomorrow will be the camisole top.

Sewing the pants is really easy, if you are having a good sewing day.

Today was not my day.

I sewed the side seams together, and added the lace at the leg hem.

Then it was time for the elastic.

After stitching the center front seam together and measuring the elastic, I set about making the waistband.

First, stretch the elastic the length of the waist (from center back, across side seam, center front, and to the other center back), single needle stitch with a basting stitch stretching the elastic all the way across the garment as you go.

Just make sure you are sewing on the wrong side of the garment. This was my mistake, I was on the right side.

I had to chop off my elastic, and begin it once again.

Things like this irritate me.

It should just work right the first time.

I am impatient all the time.

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After basting, turn the edge of the elastic to the inside of the garment and zig-zag stitch over the elastic again near the top garment edge. This one process will finish the inside elastic edge and leave a nice finish on the outside.

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I had added a bit of extra fabric at the waist of my pj pants, according to the pattern measurements I needed to make this adjustment.

There is nothing worse than finishing a garment only to try it on and realize the pants are cut well below the waist.

It sure would have been nice to know that before I started. However, the waist of the panties weren’t pictured on the model, and the pattern wasn’t marked so there was no way for me to know exactly where they fit, and that my alterations weren’t going to work.

A.K.A. I added too much extra fabric at the waist and had to take them in again.

More impatience. More time wasted.

There are only 4 seams in this garment, I had to redo two of them, twice.

I also decided that my chosen lace is as stiff as a board (some laces are made just for crafts and not for apparel. Sewing intimates requires the softest fabrics and laces, be sure to choose wisely when you are purchasing supplies). It was on clearance for $1.00 per yard, now I know why.

The lace will probably give me a nasty skin rash. However, I am not taking it apart again to fix it, at least not today. It can wait.

Not a great sewing day, but I will persevere.

At least I didn’t cut any holes in my garment, I have done that before too.

Tomorrow has to be better, right?

Stop back to find out!

How to Sew a Satin Robe

 

This satin robe features a shawl collar, lace trimmed sleeves, matching belt and can be made in two different lengths.

How to Sew a Satin Robe - FB

 

Welcome back to my 31 Day Sewing Series! The goal for me this month is to sew 31 garments, in 31 days. Sounds crazy right?

Not at all.

I am choosing super easy Vogue patterns that anyone can whip up in about an hour. With a few designer sewing tips, of course.How to Sew a Satin Robe

I love Vogue patterns for their unique style, but also for their Figure Flattery System. Here’s how it works:

Each pattern is labeled with a graphic symbol that helps you decided what style is best suited to your figure. How smart! Here’s the explanation I borrowed from the Vogue website:

Figure Flattery
Determine your body shape from the explanations below and use our KEY TO FIGURE FLATTERY diagram to select styles that are particularly flattering to your figure.

Choosing styles suited to your body shape can also eliminate the need for most pattern adjustments. Look for the figure symbol that indicates your body shape, then proceed with confidence, knowing that your pattern adjustments will be minimal and your finished garment will be pure figure flattery.

Inverted Triange THE INVERTED TRIANGLE: Large bust and/or broad shoulders with narrow hips.

Triangle THE TRIANGLE: Small bust and/or narrow shoulders with full hips and/or thighs.

Rectangle THE RECTANGLE: Balanced on top and bottom, but boxy, with little or no waist definition.

Hourglass THE HOURGLASS: Equally balanced on top and bottom, with a trim waist.

After you decided which pattern is for you, take your measurements and buy the size that is closest to your body measurements.

Just because you are a size 6 retail doesn’t necessarily mean you are a size 6 pattern. Check your measurements, and don’t cheat! No one will care if you need buy a larger size. The fewer alterations you have to make to the pattern the better!

Fortunately, most Intimates are rather loose fitting, so there shouldn’t be a lot of alterations anyway.

Here’s the first project! This robe is part of Vogue pattern #V8888. I will be making more pieces in this collection, so be sure to stop back!

Sewing Intimates is really much easier than you might think. These garments usually have few pieces and facings. Trims can take the place of time consuming hems, so construction goes pretty quickly. It’s also a lot cheaper to make your own then to buy them in the store. I recently saw a night gown that was almost $100.00. Yikes!

The only thing that may slow you down is the use of satin fabrics. Especially trouble some for the inexperience sewer, satin can be difficult to work with if you aren’t used to it. Some other fabric choices for this project include crepe, crepe back satin, medium and lightweight polyester wovens and cottons.

I used brushed back satin for this project. It’s one of my favorite fabrics for robes. Soft on the skin, but not quite so hard to handle while sewing.

Vogue Pattern #V8888 Sewing Tips:

1. I used most of the manufacture’s directions for this pattern. The only changes I made were with the sleeve hem, I used 2″ lace to finish the sleeve instead of the sleeve band with lace inset. 

2. Be sure to use sharp pins and needles. I recommend using a brand new satin sewing needle to avoid runs in the fabric. You can also purchase satin pins which are very helpful for this type of fabric.

3. Use pins sparingly, as they can mark the fabric and cause runs in the satin. I only pin at the top and bottom seam edges and only in the seam allowance.

How to Sew a Satin Robe

Apply the finished edge of the lace over the raw edge of the sleeve, over lap by 1/4″. Use a zig-zag topstitch to secure the lace. Easy, huh?

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I like the delicate look of the lace on the finished sleeve.

4. Sew all seams without pressing them open. After the entire garment is finished, then press it. Over pressing is never a good idea, especially with satin. Satin is easy to scorch and watermarks easily so use a dry iron. Seams should be pressed to the back of the garment, or facing down. Finish seams as you go with a zig zag stitch or serger if you have one.

If you don’t have an iron, simply hang it on a hanger and put it in the bathroom when you take a shower. The moisture in the air will help steam out the wrinkles.

How to Sew a Satin Robe back

I also liked the back of this robe. The belt is rather unique in that it doesn’t go all the way across the back and creates flattering waistline tucks.

More flattery is always a good idea.

That’s all for today, tune in tomorrow!

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How to Sew a Satin Robe