Tag Archives: Garment sewing

Sewing with Daughters

I am a lucky woman – I have three daughters. I sewed a lot of things for them when they were little.  This included not only dresses or other clothing to wear, but also costumes – dress up clothes, Halloween costumes, dance costumes and school or church play costumes.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them.

My three daughters wearing Easter dresses I made them. Circa 1990.

They saw me sew a lot of things and now as adults they all have sewing machines and can sew themselves – when and if they have the time! Sometimes I feel silly that I named my blog “I Finally Have Time”, because I actually never feel as though I have that much time to spend on sewing. However, compared to my young professional daughters – I do have much more time. Nothing pleases me more than to actually sew with them.

My youngest daughter, Megan, asked for a sewing day with me for her birthday in May. She wanted to make the Moneta Dress by Colette. We made plans to spend the day at the Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA where we knew we could purchase the pattern, some great fabric and have lots of space to work without the interruptions that come up at home. We also knew that if we got into trouble with sewing the pattern, Nicole would be there to bail us out. We have already taken a variety of classes from Nicole, but this time we decided to just use her wonderful sewing studio space. Although she does have classes coming up for this dress pattern!

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

Knit Moneta dress by Colette

I didn’t take any process photos and Nicole took this one right before we left for the day. Don’t you LOVE this polka dot dress! And those pockets! Megan did a great job putting it together and there were some tricky parts. Actually, it is not a tricky pattern, but if you chose the sleeveless version, the bodice is lined and there is a magical way of sewing it in which requires extra attention to the directions. Colette also provides a video link to the process for people like me who would like to see it done instead of just reading the instructions. The waist has a narrow clear elastic sewn onto the seam allowance which will keep the knit from stretching out of shape there.

A week later I met my oldest daughter, Lindsey, in Montana and she had a knit maxi skirt that she had bought last summer and some fabric that she wanted to use to try to replicate it. Here is the original skirt on her.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

Stripes horizontal on the front and back with Chevron on the sides.

We did not have enough fabric to do those chevrons and so decided to run the stripes vertically on the sides. This had an added benefit of not having to match the stripes. Here is the result:

New skirt

New skirt

The waistband of the purchased skirt looks like this on the inside:

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Inner waistband and elastic

There is a strip of clear elastic sewn into the seam allowance of the waist – just like with the dress above! Do you see the line of stitching about an inch below the top of the waistband? That is where a second strip of elastic is sewn inside the waistband. As nice as it is to have a knit waistband, my experience is that cotton knit fabric does stretch and it is nice to have the security of that extra elastic. We did not have access to clear elastic but where able to find 1/2″ white elastic to sew into the new skirt. It worked perfectly. The side seams of the waistband also had some elastic in them to cinch the sides which looked nice.

Cinched side seams.

Cinched side seams.

If only we had one more clothespin!

If only we had one more clothespin!

Lindsey happily left for home a few days later wearing this skirt.

I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to sew with my middle daughter, Sandy, but I hope it is soon. Most of the sewing she has done recently is to make pillows which she sells. She has a process to create a stencil using her computer and a Silhouette cutting machine. She can take words that are meaningful to someone and “paint” (actually ink) them onto fabric and then create a pillow. Below is one of three pillows she made for my brother and sister and me regarding our childhood summer home commonly referred to as “camp”.

Front

Front

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

Back (zipper hidden underneath)

My family will all be gathered at camp soon and can not wait to get there!

 

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Filed under Family, Garment sewing, Pillows

Sewing Day with my Daughter

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Cutting the fabric. The lining was cut and sewn first to check the fit.

Monday was Columbus Day and Megan had the day off from both school and work and asked if we could have a “sewing day” and make a skirt that she had purchased wool fabric and a pattern for years ago. Luckily we knew where they were!

When I was at the fabric store for something else, I saw they had some leather pelts and one was just the color of the fabric for her skirt, so I bought it.

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Leather!

I’ve done a little bit of sewing with leather before, but I wasn’t completely confident. At least I had a leather needle for my sewing machine!

Here is the pattern she used. Notice the word “EASY!” Not even a dart and we cut the front on the fold of the fabric and so didn’t put a seam down the front either. Nothing to mess with the houndstooth pattern of the wool fabric.

Simplicity 9825 - No longer available

Simplicity 9825 – (No longer available)

Here is the mostly finished skirt. (Still needs to be hemmed)

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It came out great!

Since both the houndstooth wool and leather were precious, we ended up making two muslins to make absolutely sure we were going to be happy with the fit. The leather was not difficult to work with. This piece was pretty pliable. It wasn’t much different than working with the heavy wool. We were concerned about messing up the zipper but found this blog post that showed an amazing red leather skirt with an invisible zipper in it, so we went for it.

Invisible zipper

Invisible zipper

We even made the inside as pretty as the outside!

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Inside yoke and lining

All in all, we’re pretty proud of this skirt. Megan did almost all of the sewing but was pretty much hand fed all of the pieces by me as she went. You can not put pins into leather so we used clover binding clips instead. The only other comment I would make about sewing with leather, in case you’re tempted to try it, is that it does stretch and so you do have to be careful of that. I sewed a piece of twill tape to the upper edge to keep it from stretching as she wears it.

Now we just have to wait for the weather to get cold enough for Megan to wear it.

(Well, I guess someone’s got to hem it first too!)

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Maxi Skirt Class at the Finch Sewing Studio

The Finch Sewing Studio is Leesburg, VA

The Finch Sewing Studio in Leesburg, VA

I took the Maxi Skirt Class  with my friend, Anne, and daughter, Megan, at the Finch Sewing Studio a few weeks ago. It was so much fun (as is any class offered there!) Nicole showed us how to draft a custom pattern for our skirts after taking our measurements.

In our new skirts after the class

In our new skirts after the class

We chose cotton knit fabrics from the beautiful selection she carries and got to work. I learned so much about sewing with knits. We used special needles and special pins and a walking foot. Being a quilter, I have not sewn with knits very much at all so it was well worth taking a class to learn all about this and to come away with a fun skirt.

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Maxi skirt and my Passport Jacket

I’m going to be able to wear it into fall with my Passport Jacket. The fabric I chose is organic cotton and bamboo and has such a nice feel to it. Megan and Anne picked a lighter cotton fabric and Nicole showed them how to add a lining to theirs. We all learned a lot and had a fun morning together.

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Passport Jacket by Lisette

Passport Jacket

Passport Jacket and my Proper Attire Skirt

I’ve been working on this jacket for the past 3 weeks. It didn’t take that long to put together, it was just a matter of making all of the decisions about what adjustments to make regarding fit, length, number of buttons, etc… This is a Simplicity pattern by the designer Liesl Gibson of Oliver & S fame. Oliver & S in an independent pattern company that has the absolutely most adorable children’s patterns.

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Jacket & dress pattern

The jacket was part of the online garment sewing class I’ve been taking. Sadly the class ended this week and I have not started the 4th and last piece which is a dress. I am very pleased to have the jacket done, and just in time for cooler weather.

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I made the View C jacket which is unlined and has a straight collar. I added a little bit of embroidery to the collar and the pocket welts.

Embroidery to collar and pockets

Embroidery to collar and pockets

This was very simple to do on the individual pieces before they were attached to anything. I did interface them before doing the embroidery. I used a variegated thread in a black/gray color that doesn’t show up too strongly – taking this picture was a challenge. It was my intention to add this little detail but not have it be too “in your face”.

Embroidery on finished collar

Embroidery on finished collar

Alterations I made to the pattern:

I added 3″ to the length of the jacket and to the sleeves. This made my sleeves long instead of 3/4 length.

I put 3 buttons down the front instead of just the one at the top.

I made an adjustment to the center back to make it fit better on my shoulders.

What I like about the pattern:

It fits really nice and the black twill I chose to use is very soft and nice feeling.

It can be worn with a lot of different clothing.

The button loops are a lot easier to make than buttonholes!

What I don’t like about the pattern:

I’m not sure I love the asymmetry of the front closure or that the jacket is not lined. I’m pretty sure I will feel as though it has to be worn closed rather than open. What do you think?

Would I make this pattern again?

Maybe. If I did, I might try the ruffled collar, make it smaller and only put the top button loop on. I would also lower the pockets which are a bit high.

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Pockets!

Pockets!

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Filed under Garment sewing, Pattern review, Uncategorized

Online garment making class.

I’ve been really wanting to do some garment sewing. There have been a number of friends lately that have sewn up the cutest summer tops and dresses. My past attempts to sew for myself have not been terrific and it’s pretty disappointing to spend both the time and money to sew something and not have it fit correctly. A month or so ago I found this class by Deborah Moebes on sewing a 4 piece wardrobe and decided to sign up.

fall-wardrobe-2012

 

Deborah teaches sewing classes both online (at http://www.whipstichfabrics.com) and in person at the Whipstitch Lounge in Atlanta. She also has a class on Craftsy called Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt.

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The wardrobe e-course started today and is still open for enrollment through next Sunday (register by 8/11/2013). The garments we will be working on include:

1. The Sorbetto top from Collette (a French pattern maker) which is a free download.

2. A skirt pattern by Anna Maria Horner which has 2 different versions.

Proper Attire Skirt Pattern

Proper Attire Skirt Pattern

3. A lined princess seamed dress pattern from McCalls

McCalls 6741

McCalls 6741

4. The Passport Jacket which was designed by Liesl Gibson of Oliver & S (known for their wonderful children’s patterns) which has two collar versions – either ruffled or peter pan.

Simplicity 2209

Simplicity 2209

Deborah picked these 4 patterns because she believes they will fit and look good on all body types. Here’s hoping!

We have started to introduce ourselves to the class in an online forum and some of the other participants have taken an e-course from Deborah in the past (sewing with knits, sewing for children, etc.) I think this is the highest recommendation. Obviously these ladies had a good experience and are back for more. I have also learned that, Heather, one of my DC Modern Quilt Guild friends is enrolled so that will make it even more fun for me as well.

Wish me luck! (I may need it).

 

 

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Filed under Garment sewing