Sewing with Lace: Part 2

    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…
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Sewing with Lace

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. 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. 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…
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Sewing with Peach Skin

Sewing with peach skin is something that many people shy away from.  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. 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. 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…
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Sewing a Cowl Blouse

    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. 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. 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. This is how it looks on the finished garment. 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. Fold the bias in half lengthwise. Pin…
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How to Sew a Fitted Blouse: Part 2

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. 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…
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