Feb 25, 2014

So Adorable & very Clever!

Isn't this little girl just adorable?  And she has a mom who's been very clever and creative in sewing this 'dress'.  Actually, mom, who's name is Samara, took a ready made man's shirt, her daughter's SFD Children's Kit pattern, cut the shirt all up, and sewed it back together.  I'm including her instructions so you'll get the total picture of what she did.

'To make the bodice, I took a man's shirt with all the buttons buttoned up.  I flattened and straightened it as much as possible.  Then I took my daughter's front bodice pattern (from the Children's Kit), laid it over top, and line the center front up with the middle of the buttons.  I matched the pattern's shoulder seam (not seam allowance) with the shoulder of the shirt.  Then, with a pencil, I traced around the armhole, side and bottom of the pattern.  I did that on right and left sides, then flipped the shirt over and did the same with the back bodice pattern.

Then I cut on the drawn lines...of course, the collar and shoulders of the shirt were still intact.

Next, I cut the sleeves from the original shirt and laid my daughter's sleeve pattern over top.  Because I wanted a few more gathers in the sleeve, I first slashed and spread it open to make it a bit fuller.  I matched my desired hem level with the pre-hemmed shirt sleeve - meaning I didn't need to do any hemming at all.

Next, I set the sleeve in and then sewed the entire side and sleeve length...similar to how one would do a raglan sleeve.  I do this with smaller clothing because it's a little easier to sew in the sleeve when the side seams are still open.

For the contrasting tie/belt, I stitched two large buttonholes an inch apart in 4 separate places on the bodice (8 buttonholes in total).

For the skirt, I left the shirt hem intact, measured how long I wanted the skirt, cut straight across the man's shirt and then gathered and sewed it to the bodice.

The collar, sleeve and skirt hems and CF buttons were already done.  I loved that!  The entire dress probably took about 1 hour from start to finish.  All the sewing I needed to do was to set in the sleeve, sew the sides and add the skirt.  And of course, with her SFD pattern laid over top, I knew it was all going to fit.

Oh...and the tie...I also made bloomers from the tie fabric just because I couldn't resist.'

Samara...cute, cute, cute...and so clever and creative!

Not too many ladies share their children's sewing projects with me. Thanks so much and also for giving permission to share your experience with all my readers.

Feb 18, 2014

What can I do with that dart?

Last week I showed you how to transfer the side-fitting bust dart down into the high hip area to create a curved French dart.  This week, you'll see that the dart can easily become gathers.

In the 2013 October Fit & Sew Retreat, we had lots of variation in what each lady wanted design-wise for her tank top project.  Denise choose to relocate the dart up into the scooped neckline and to stitch the newly-opened dart space into gathers.  In the following photo, Denise is testing the distribution of the gathers before applying the neckline binding trim.
 ...and a close-up
This is what her pattern looked liked. Notice that she distributed the dart space fairly evenly over 3 different slash lines coming down from the lowered neck edge up to the apex mark.  Whatever size your dart shape/size is, it will be maintained during this transfer process.
The neck edge, armholes and hem line are now completed and the fit is (yes, of course) unique to her body shape.
This Tank Top design with the Center Front Neckline Gathers, can be found on this page of downloadable Fashion Leaflets (just scroll toward the bottom of the page).

Isn't that color perfect for her?  I know we're looking at sleeveless in our colder winter months, but you can see she'll be ready for warmer weather as the new year progresses.

Denise...thanks so much for sharing your accomplishments.

Feb 11, 2014

Our Not-so Neglected Men!

Most women sew for themselves...and we love it!  But one of my Fit & Sew Retreat students took upon herself the task of sewing jeans for her husband.  Kathleen initially sewed him a 'muslin' test.  Dan is a slender man with a bit of a flat butt, but Kathleen did a fabulous job of reducing fullness in the back for his unique shape.

Then she went on to design and sew his first 'home-made jeans'.  And all I can say is, 'Wow, Wow, Wow!'  Here are the photos of the front, back and side views.

Yes, the fit is great for Dan's build and posture, but wait till you see the expert stitchery up close!

They took some time to do, of course, but this kind of attention to detail requires time, care and love of her craft.  Not a thread or stitch out of place!  Kathleen deserves to be proud (and congratulated) and so does he.

This was all done with the Men's Instructional Package with the Leaflet inside on designing men's jeans.

And you should see the machine Kathleen sews on...yes, it's an (old) Singer.
Just goes to show ya' that you don't need a top-of-the-line machine with fancy stitches to do precision work.
What can I say, but Wow, Wow, Wow!!

Feb 4, 2014

Lining Know - How

I'm sure you've often wondered whether to line a garment or not. Yes, it does take extra time, effort and cost, but usually the instances when you'd line a garment are well worth the extra investment. Here are a few pointers, facts and details - what lining is, why to use it and some fabric choices.

Basically, a lining is a replica of a garment that is attached to the inside of the garment at various points. It is an inner garment made of thin, silky fabric that is sewn on the inside of the fashion garment.

The following are excellent reasons why you'd line a garment.
It is used to cover internal constructions details.
Lining makes garments hang better, fit smoothly and hang more comfortably.
Lining a garment makes it easier to put on and take off.
Lining is often a hallmark of quality clothing.
A lining will conceal the raw edges of a garment and prevent fraying.
Lining provides a beautiful finish to armholes and neck edges.
It provides warmth.
It replaces the need for a slip.

Silk-type fabrics are often used for the lining fabric, however, there are many choices available. A general rule is that the lining fabric should never be heavier than the garment fabric. It is also wise to choose an anti-static fabric to avoid static cling in the finished project.

Typically the lining is cut the same dimensions as the fashion fabric, though if you want prevent some of the stress on the outer fabric, the lengthwise seams of the lining can be sewn just slightly wider than those of the fashion fabric. When wearing, the stress on the fabric will then be on the lining, not on the fashion fabric. Also, you'll want to shorten the hem of the lining about 1/2" to 1" shorter than the fashion fabric.

Some fabric choices for linings are:
Silk Crêpe de Chine - softly textured, available in a variety weights, provides excellent drape, does not fray.
Acetate Satin - beautiful drape and sheen, easy to take on and off, no static
Polyester Habotai (also know as China silk) - economical, durable, drapes well, wrinkle and stain resistant.
Though linings are often the same or similar color tones to the fashion fabric, you can also choose more bold colors or attractive prints.

There is a difference between lining and underlining. Underlining is a second layer of fabric cut from the pattern and sewn as one piece with the fashion fabric. It is used to add weight, firmness and stability to the fashion fabric.

As an alternative to lining, underlining backs the fashion fabric and is attached by hand or machine basting wrong side to wrong side of each garment piece before sewing the garment together. Then the underlining and the fashion fabric are treated as one piece.

This method does not conceal the raw edges, which must still be finished.
It does, however, reduce clinging, stretching and wrinkling.
It provides firmness to the outer garment and can reduce the buildup of static electricity in some fabrics.

Underlinings may also be referred to as Mounting.

Some fabric choices for underlinings are:
Cotton Voile - sheer and thin, provides stability for light to medium weight silk, absorbent
Rayon Challis - soft and light, adds depth but not bulk to garments
Cotton Flannel - provides warmth and absorbency, lightly napped surface

And then there's interlining. This is a term used for a layer that sits between the fashion fabric and the lining fabric. Batting or wool would be a good example for interlining.