Sewing with Lace: Part 2

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31 Days of Sewing: Day 11

This is the third day of working on this simple lace blouse, Vogue pattern #V8927.

There is something about trying to finish a project on a deadline. I remember being up all night sewing when I had a design project due while in college.

There were always uncontrollable factors.

For example, thread getting caught in the machine that ruins a seam. It must be ripped out and re-sewn. Sometimes more than once.

Unexplained mistakes were also a hazard, such as extra fabric getting caught in the seam on the wrong side, an iron that scorches your fabric, or even accidentally cutting a small hole in your finished work.

This is the nature of sewing. There are only so many things you can control. The rest is left to the mercy of the universe.

Sewing at home doesn’t give you as many outs as a design show room does. In the show room, it’s easy to just recut a garment and start over. At home, you can’t just recut a garment that is messed up, no one can afford to do that.

When you sew for yourself you have to just go with the flow of things, and figure out how to minimize the damage.

Like today, I was determined to finish this blouse.

I had to run to the fabric store for more fabric (this would be the second time) because I forgot to cut two of the facing pieces.

Fortunately, they still had the fabric I needed.

I got home and began to sew, sew, sew.

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The facings on this blouse are pretty straight forward, but there is a trick to making them flat and straight.

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I like to under stitch everything as I go along. This technique of sewing the trimmed seam allowance to the facing keeps the fabric straight and flat.

It also gives you a nice guideline for topstitching on the right side.

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On the right side, topstitch directly over the rows of under stitching. No one will be the wiser, and you will achieve a nice straight seam.

I also don’t bother with slip stitching any of the seam allowances, if you under stitch and topstitch it’s not really necessary and you get a better finish.

The hardest thing about sewing this garment is trying not to get the lace stuck in the feed dog of the sewing machine. I did alright to the very end, then I went to rip out the basting (the lace and the under pieces are basted together), and I cut a little hole in the lace.

Fortunately, it’s not really noticeable.

A dab of Fray Check keeps the hole from expanding.

I love that stuff, I can’t imagine sewing without it.

After my hole disaster, I only had the button holes left to complete. Two button holes into the project and I ran out of thread.

This is ridiculous, I haven’t run out of white thread since 1996.

Another trip to the fabric store is in order, this will be the third time for this project alone. Argggh!

Somethings have to be left up to the sewing universe to understand.

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I persevered and finished the blouse. I do like the contrasting placket, collar and cuffs. The lace turned out quite nicely even with the tiny hole in it.

I look forward to starting my next project despite the odds.

Sewing with Lace

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31 Days of Sewing: Day 10

This sewing project has taken me more than 3 days. So much for my 31 day sewing goal. I think I need to rename this series 31 posts of sewing.

Every time I think I am getting ahead, something comes up and I end up being behind again.

My days revolve around doing our home school, making meals, doing laundry, dishes, etc.

Then there are the trips to soccer practice, the grocery store, the post office.

Not to mention trips to see colleges, going to church, and of course, the fabric store.

After all that, it’s time to sit down and get some actual sewing done.

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First, I make a fire on the porch (my “studio”). Have I mentioned it’s cold out there?

Then I can get down to the days work, cutting out the garment of the day. Sometimes I cut out two at a time.

After making a cup of tea, I can sit and sew.

By this time, it’s typically about 3:00pm. I have a working window of opportunity until about 4:30pm when it’s time to start dinner.

By 6:00pm it’s too dark and cold to work on the porch any more.

That means there is only about an hour or so of actual work time.

Humm…..this could be why I am not accomplishing much these days.

V8927

This pattern is Vogue #V8927. I loved it the minute I saw it.

Something about the combination of the black lace and white crepe made me swoon.

I also swooned when I found some ivory crepe on the clearance table for $2.00 a yard.

I swooned even more when I got a 50% off coupon in the mail to use on the Chantilly lace I bought.

Yup.

Sewing with lace is actually easier than you might think.

The best part about this pattern is that the scalloped edge of the lace is used at the hem. Less work to sew, and looks great.

The rest of this pattern is quite easy. The lace pieces are sewn at the same time with the body of the garment, so it sews really fast. Lace doesn’t unravel, but you should probably finish the seam edges just to be sure.

Assuming you don’t have a million other things going on and can actually get some sewing done.

I am happy to say this pattern also has a great sleeve, no issues with the sleeve cap here.

Yeah!

I was working away on this project, trying to get it done before dark, when I realized I only cut two of the front facing pieces instead of 4.

Not again! Seriously???

Time for another trip to the fabric store.

Guess you will have to wait to see the finished product tomorrow.

Sewing with Peach Skin

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31 Days of Sewing: Day 9

It’s been great to experiment with all new fabrics on the market. Right now there is a wonderful choice of fabrics in the fabric store.

There are even more choices online, it can be hard to choose.

I prefer buying things in person, I like to touch everything. If it’s coarse or stiff, it’s just not for me. I am super sensitive when it comes having fabric against my skin.

The other day I came across a bolt of peach skin fabric in the clearance section at the fabric store. It is so soft, it feels like butter.

Peach skin is unique because it has a slightly brushed texture to it that gives it a time worn appearance. Kind of like your favorite faded blue jeans. It just looks like something you have had in your closet forever.

It also feels like something you would wear forever, until it falls apart.

I do a washing test before choosing my fabric for cutting. I always wash the fabric to shrink it before I cut (fabrics can shrink as much as 10% the first time in the laundry). Some fabrics pass the wash test, and some don’t. Because I haven’t cut the garment yet, I am not so concerned about shrinkage, but I do like to see how well it will hold up after washing.

I have a couple of cotton broad cloth pieces that I bought to make blouses out of, they looked good and felt nice in the store but they came out of the washer in a wrinkled mess. They also unraveled quite a bit on the cut edge, making me realize how important it will be to clean finish the cut seam edges.

I am not so sure if I want to even make them up, I don’t like the idea of ironing anymore than the next person.

Do you iron? Probably not, most people don’t anymore.

The peach skin, washes really well and doesn’t shrink. It passed my test with flying colors.

This cowl blouse is the long sleeve version of Vogue Pattern #V9771. I made the sleeveless version yesterday and loved it. You can read more about that here.

The peach skin is similar to the feel of silk, but it is manmade, and has an incredibly soft hand.

I love the way it drapes in the front.

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The fabric has a slight stripe in it, which shows the bias cut. I like the texture that the stripe adds to this garment. I made the mistake of not using a new needle on this item, and I should have. The peach skin is rather tough to puncture, so a sharp needle is essential. It’s also rather slick to sew on, probably due to the bias cut of this garment. Pins don’t go through it very easily, so use them sparingly. Over all I liked the fabric and would use it again.

I do have issues with this sleeve pattern though. This is the second Vogue pattern sleeve that I have had trouble easing into the armhole. The directions call for two rows of basting at the sleeve cap which helps to gather the sleeve enough to fit in the armhole. This is a rather standard procedure and usually it’s not a problem to set the sleeves without getting any wrinkles in the sleeve cap.

I couldn’t get the sleeve on this garment set the way I wanted it. Some fabrics just ease better than others. For example, cottons and wools are quite flexible (shrink easily with steam) and work well in sleeves. The polyester peach skin is so dense and doesn’t shrink, it didn’t work well at all. If I was to make this pattern again, I would take out some of the fullness at the sleeve cap in order to get a really smooth fit.

I hate to say it, but this sleeve reminds me of the 1990’s when all blouses had shoulder pads. The sleeve cap had to be larger in order to make room for the shoulder pad. I would venture to guess that originally this was designed with a shoulder pad and the pattern was never updated to work without one.

Things like this happen all the time in the sewing industry, it’s easier to just change the pattern directions than to re-work the pattern.

Just my two cents.

It’s not a huge deal for this blouse, I will probably wear it with a sweater or a jacket most of the time, but those little puckers bothers me, easing shouldn’t be that difficult.

The blouse was made without the neck facing as before (did I tell you I hate neck facings?), this time I just turned down the back neck and made a 1/4″ rolled hem. I also opted for a rolled hem at the bottom of the blouse instead of the 2″ hem in the pattern directions.

Just so you know, right now the Vogue website has great deals on their patterns, only $4.99 each. Super bargain! They also have some beautiful new styles for the holidays. Now is the time to stock up!

Not sure what to make? Check out my other projects in this 31 Day Sewing Series.

Need inspiration? Consult my Pintrest board for a peek at what I will be working on next!

Sewing a Cowl Blouse

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31 Days of Sewing: Day 8

I am finally back on track with things here. The miscellaneous trials of this last week have come and gone, and I am glad to be back to sewing.

This project is truly a one hour accomplishment. This is Vogue Pattern #9771. It’s only two pieces, you sure can’t get any easier than that.

I chose a blue poly knit for this one, it is one of my favorite fabrics to work with.

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The knit has a wonderful drape, washes easily and is easy to sew.

This blouse is cut on the bias which gives it a great fit.

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The pattern calls for a facing around the armhole and back neck. I personally hate facings. Why would someone want to have a wad of extra fabric and stiff interfacing under their armpit?

This will always be a mystery to me.

There is an easier way.

Most garments today aren’t made with armhole facings, but are finished with bias binding.

It’s easier, faster, and is much less bulky.

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This is how it looks on the finished garment.

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To make your own bias binding, find the true bias of the fabric by folding the selvedges at a 90 degree angle (as in the top of this photo).

Cut along the folded edge to separate the fabric layers.

Cut 3 strips of fabric along the cut edge, mine were 2 1/4″ wide. I mark them with pins, but you may prefer to draw it out with a ruler.

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Fold the bias in half lengthwise. Pin to the right side of back neck and armhole.

Stitch through all layers. Trim seam allowance to 1/4″. Under stitch seam allowance to binding along neck edge.

Turn binding to wrong side, edge stitch 1/8″ from rolled edge.

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The finished edge should look like this.

It will save you time has a nice clean finish to it.

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I use this technique on both the back neck and armholes.

Can’t wait to move on to the next project!

How to Sew a Fitted Blouse: Part 2

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31 Days of Sewing: Day 7

 

My first blouse is finally finished. I am not quite sure I would make another one with this Vogue pattern #8747.

This blouse pattern has it’s good points, I love the gathers at the bust line. The pattern is a custom fit using your bra cup size, and offers several different collar and sleeve choices. It does fit very nicely over the bust and didn’t require a lot of alterations.

I chose to make the shorter sleeve version with the mandarin collar.

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My main problem is that I just don’t care for the curved facing at the neckline. Most blouse facings are on the straight grain and are therefore easy to sew, this one is curved and I just don’t care for it. It looks rather straight in the sketch on the envelope, but is quite curved on the finished blouse.

I don’t think it’s any more flattering than a straight neckline would be, and is therefore not worth the sewing hassle in my opinion. It was rather confusing to construct stretching and being on the bias, and I don’t think most sewers would consider this blouse an easy project because of it.

I do like the way the blouse fits through the body, flattering without being too tight.  Plus, the sleeves fit the upper arms nicely and aren’t too snug under the armhole.

I generally don’t have a lot of prints in my wardrobe, but I loved this teal and navy paisley the moment I saw it (from JoAnn Fabrics). I can see it complete with a pair of blue jeans and a long sweater.

This poly/rayon blend fabric didn’t seem to wrinkle when I washed it, so I am hoping this will be an easy care item.

Over all though, my one hour project took me days longer than it should have. I did have a few other distracting issues this week, you can read more about them here.

I used most of the pattern directions on this project, however I did sew the facing to the seam allowances (called under stitching) before turning it right side out. It was then easy to topstitch over the under stitching, through all layers to keep it in place.

Time consuming, but effective.

I am putting this pattern aside for some simpler projects to finish out my series on blouses, not sure if I will come back to this one or not.

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My organizational tip ( I do have them occasionally): I came across these little grey fabric totes at Aldi’s the other day. I picked up a few of them to use for organizing my project fabric, patterns, notions and supplies. Each project will have it’s own bin while I am working on it.

The bins work great to keep all those little pattern pieces in without having to cram them back into the envelope every time. I tend to reference them frequently as I work on the project. I also like having all the notions etc. visible in the bins so I can easily grab what I am looking for.

I think I will need to get a few more of them on my next trip to the fabric store.

Alternatively, I have used those little plastic zippered bags that come with purchased curtain panels and other household goods from the store. I used to throw them away, but they are handy for storing patterns and the like as well.

Looking forward to a relaxing day at home with the sewing machine tomorrow!

What are you sewing this week?