Wednesday, August 13, 2014

JanMade Labels

I have had this little project spinning around in my head for a few years. I've googled, and pondered, and analyzed, and tried to decide what kind of labels I need for my sewing projects. I knew that I wanted the labels to match the font on my blog header. I also wanted them to be simple. I finally decided to create a sheet of labels on Microsoft Word and print them on fabric sheets. I experimented with spacing so that I could fold the labels and insert in a seam, or, press the edges under all around the label and stitch directly on my sewing project.

I used June Tailor Sew-In Colorfast Fabric Sheets For Ink Jet Printers. They were about $10 for 3 sheets at Hancock Fabrics and I used a 40% off coupon. That is over 100 labels for $6! There are instructions included for making the labels colorfast. 

June Tailor fabric labels

I did a little stash-busting and made my son-in-law a pair of shorts with the fabric he picked out last year in Hawaii when I promised to make everyone something if they would let me stay a while in the fabric shop. I inserted my tag in the back of the waist. The shorts haven't been laundered yet. I'm hoping the little tag doesn't fade.

fabric sewing labels

Hawaii shorts




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hayden

In a few short months, I'll need to update the "About Me" on my blog. I can hang on to the 50 something for just a little while longer, but wife and mother will need to be changed to wife, mother, and grandmother!
Woo Hoo! Yep, a little grandson is on his way!

My sewing room looks a little different now. Minky, ribbon, flannel, cotton chenille, etc. One of the first things I pulled from my stash was this Tiny Toon fat quarter pack which I bought a few years ago just because I thought it was cute. I've pulled it out over the years, stared at it, and put it back in the closet. Finally, a project came to mind for Baby Hayden and this is what evolved.

Tiny Tunes baby quilt

I used the stitch in the ditch method to quilt the floor mat sized quilt, stitching around each block. For the binding, I cut the backing fabric larger and brought it to the front, turning under the edge and stitching.

Tiny Tunes baby quilt

With the leftover scraps of fabric, I made little soft blocks and balls. I added ribbons to the football because, apparently, taggie toys are good for babies.

Soft baby toys

Then, of course, we had  to have taggie blankets. This is just a small blanket, about 15" by 15" for Hayden to hold and feel the different textures and grasp the ribbons. The black fabric is minky and the print is flannel.

taggie blanket

My grandma sewing is somewhat on hold now because I still don't have my Bernina embroidery system back from the Bernina repairman. I drove 75 miles last week to pick it up, brought it home and it still doesn't work. I drove the 75 miles to take it back and now I'm waiting for my phone to ring with the message that it is working perfectly and I can pick it up. Needless to say, I'm getting a little frustrated!





Saturday, July 26, 2014

Coverstitch Update

I decided to write an update on my decision to buy the Janome Coverpro 1000 CPX since I have received several inquiries lately related to my past posts about my search for a coverstitch machine.

I sew a lot of knits and, honestly, should have purchased a coverstitch years ago. Most of the knits I sew can be done almost entirely with the serger and the coverstitch. The Janome Coverpro 1000 CPX works great for my needs. I must admit it did take a little practice. It does not sew quite as smoothly as a regular sewing machine. But maybe it is not supposed to. I wasn't able to test drive any coverstitch machines before I ordered the Janome from a local dealer who carries Janome machines, but no coverstitch machines, in stock. I based my decision on the information and support from the Janome Coverpro forum at Patternreview.com. I can't imagine any question that couldn't be answered on the Coverpro discussion group. They even suggest the best suppliers for needles and accessories. There are little tricks to be learned, such as how to end the stitching in the middle of the fabric, such as a sleeve hem,  rather than sewing off the end of the fabric. There are great Janome tutorials for this on YouTube and I still refer to them if I haven't used the coverstitch for some time. Believe me, if you don't end the stitching correctly, your entire row of stitching ravels out!

As with any new machine, it takes practice and experimentation with the different fabrics. For example, I soon learned that, when hemming a lightweight knit, I needed to add a little support to the fabric so that the hem doesn't tunnel. I use Design Plus ultra-soft double sided fusible to fuse the hems in place and to prevent tunneling. I haven't tried other brands but I'm sure there are other options available as well.

This is an example of a sleeve hem on a very lightweight knit which I fused first with 3/8" double sided fusible. Not only does it prevent tunneling, it also helps me to press up a very even 3/8" hem. Since coverstitch hemming is done from the right side, it is important to work with an even hem.

Janome coverstitch hem on knits

For this medium weight jersey knit top, I was able to use the coverstitch machine to finish the neckline band, the sleeve hems and the bottom hem. I made a self-fabric binding and sewed it on with the regular machine first because, sometimes, I  pull the binding a little too tight as I sew it on. I try to get it right with a long machine stitch before I serge or coverstitch so I can easily remove the stitching and sew it again until I get the look that I like. I have experimented with a row of stitching on each side of the seam as I coverstitch as seen in RTW, but decided that I have more control with this method.

Janome Coverstitch neckband

This is the sleeve hem of the same top. I fused the hem with the double-sided fusible and sewed the hem before sewing the side seam. Since this is a medium weight knit, I could have sewn this hem without the fusible, however, I have found that it is much easier to coverstitch narrow hems with the fusible.

Janome Coverstitch on sleeve hem

This is the bottom hem of the top. I sewed the front and back hems on the coverstitch before sewing the side seams and adding the ties. I didn't use the fusible on the bottom hem since this is a medium weight knit. It worked fine without it and did not tunnel.

Janome Coverstitch hem

Now for the fun stuff! I tried to find ribbing for this Kwik Sew 3090 knit baby gown at the local Hancock Fabrics. They don't carry it at all. I went next door to Rugged Wearhouse, an outlet type store, to search for a ribbed garment I could cut up and use for ribbing. I found Gap tank tops in the junior department for $1 each! That's a lot of ribbing for $1. I was able to remove the ribbing from the neck and both armholes and use it for this gown and bib. It was already the right size and pre-folded for me. I guess it doesn't take much to excite me because this find made my day! I still have the rest of the tank top to cut up and use for ribbing on other projects.

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch neck binding

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch binding

This little gown is made from two boys t-shirts I found on the clearance rack at WalMart, a stripe and a coordinating solid. I used the solid for the neck trim, sleeve band, and for the hat. The hat is Kwik Sew 2433.

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch

For this type of binding, I sewed it on right sides together, stretching slightly. Then I pressed to the inside and pinned without turning under the edge. I sewed with the coverstitch and then trimmed close to the stitching. I notice this method used often in RTW knits when I do "snoop" shopping.

Kwik Sew 3090 coverstitch neck binding

I like the elastic at the bottom which pulls in the gown a little to help keep baby's feet covered. I quartered the elastic and the gown bottom, pinned, and stitched with the regular machine before turning to the inside and final stitching with the coverstitch. I used two different colors of thread because I was too lazy to change the thread but I don't think baby will mind.

Janome Coverpro elastic hem

I made all these projects in just a few days using primarily the serger and coverstitch machine. I have sewn knits for as long as I can remember, but never with the professional results I enjoy with the coverstitch machine. It would have been great to try out several machines before purchasing but they just aren't available to me locally. I especially would have liked to try out a serger/coverstitch combination machine. However, it would have to be extremely fast to convert back and forth to make me happy.

Good luck with your search for the right coverstitch machine. I would still be sewing knits if I didn't have one but, as I mentioned earlier, I wish I had purchased one long before I did!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Sewing Emergency! and a New Summer Top

I had a little sewing emergency over the weekend with the Bernina that I use for most of my sewing. The machine is fine but it stopped communicating with the embroidery unit. And, of course, I have a stack of projects that I need to monogram. I drove 75 miles on Monday to get it to a reputable Bernina dealer who promised to have it ready in about a week. Of course, he also showed me the new generation of Bernina embroidery systems in a non-pushy sort of way. I was quite impressed with the Bernina 780. Things have come a long way since I purchased my system in 2003.
  • The bobbin holds 80% more thread.
  • Freearm embroidery
  • Dual feed
  • 1000 stitches per minute
  • USB connections
I have begun my research but, hopefully, my old machine will be a simple fix, maybe a short in the cable.


I miss my Bernina and really wanted to sew a summer top last night. I have a lightweight Brother travel machine on loan to my daughter. I pulled out my Singer Genie that I purchased in 1973 or 1974 when I was in college. Last year, I had it supposedly "restored" but knew that it still wasn't quite right. Oh my, it sounds like a freight train with all it's parts about to fall off. It had no stability to sew even a straight seam. Frustrated, I put it away and pulled out my dependable Singer featherweight which was made the year I was born. It sewed beautifully!!!

Singer featherweight

For the neckline of this top, I always make bias binding rather than facing as the pattern suggests.

Kwik Sew 2866 neck binding


This is one of my fabrics that I purchased last summer at FabricMart in Honolulu. It is a woven rayon and feels wonderful. I don't know why I waited so long to sew it up. Kwik Sew 2866 is such a quick pattern and can be made in about 1 1/2 hours. 

Kwik Sew 2866

I can't seem to get that Bernina 780 off my mind. Any advice from others who have this machine or have taken it for a test drive?








Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cute Little Newsboy Hat

Need a quick little gift for baby? I found this adorable crochet pattern on Etsy for a little baby newsboy hat.  I appreciate that someone has the time and patience to figure out a pattern, write it down in easy-to-understand instructions, and make it available on Etsy.

crochet baby newsboy hat
Ravelry link
 
Rather than striping as the pattern suggested (which is pretty cute), I added a band with buttons. I was using leftover yarn from other projects and didn't have the right combination for striping.
 
I made the 3-6 months size because I think I crochet a little tight. I need to work on that. The pattern includes sizes newborn to large adult.

I can't wait to see the little guy in his stylish hat! He might need some little crochet loafers to go with it........

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dressed for Derby

What a fun project this turned out to be! My daughters went to the Kentucky Derby this year and, of course, needed new dresses. The Oaks is the day before Derby and is partnered with Bright Pink, an organization which focuses on risk reduction and early detection of breast cancer. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink and they do!

Remember the Little White Dress Contest sponsored by Patternreview.com? Well, Hannah wore her little white dress with a beautiful pink hat which she bought on ebay. The hat has a stargazer lily which is the official flower for The Oaks.

Little White Dress Kentucky Oaks
 
The Oaks

Just for fun, Hannah entered the Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest. Simon Baker from The Mentalist was one of the judges and told her that she looked "beautifully understated". Made her day!

The Oaks Longines Fashion Contest


The next day was the 140th running of The Kentucky Derby. Sarah wore Vogue 1236 in red/white striped seersucker. I made the same adjustments that I made for "The Underwear Dress" and it turned out great! I lined it with a cotton batiste and added a zipper to the back to make it easier to put on and take off.

Vogue 1236 Vogue 8648
Patternreview link

She wanted a monogrammed bow for her hat because it's all about the hats at The Derby.

Monogrammed hat

Hannah's dress is Vogue 8648. I've had this pattern in my stash for a Susan Khalje class on Craftsy but haven't had the time to start. The pattern was designed to be cut on the bias. Instead, I marked the straight grain and cut the medium weight linen straight. There are lots of seams for taking up and letting out so it was extremely easy to get a good fit.

Vogue 8648 Kentucky Derby
Patternreview link

My daughters loved their classic Made by Mommy dresses. While Hannah was standing in line for the Longines Fashion Contest, one of the contestants asked her if her dress was Lily Pulitzer. She told her no, it's a JanMade! That makes it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Vogue 1236 (Sarah's Underwear Dress)

Well, hello blog! It's been a while. I've been too busy sewing (and remodeling bathrooms) to sit down and blog. My daughters attended the Kentucky Derby and Oaks a couple of weeks ago and kept me busy making dresses. One of my daughters lives 100 miles away and chose Vogue 1236 for her dress. I thought I had better sew up a "muslin" first for fitting. I grabbed a piece of cotton fabric from my stash of underwear fabric from the local underwear factory. I thought I would seam this dress up just enough to check the fit. The more I sewed, the more I liked the cool cotton print so I decided to finish it up. I raised the front neckline just a little and a couple of other minor adjustments. Sarah didn't seem all that excited at first about wearing the "muslin" but I left it with her anyway. She texted me last week to tell me that she wore her underwear dress to church! She decided that it's a pretty comfortable little summer dress and that she might like a couple more.  I guess I'll have to let her go shopping in my underwear stash.

Vogue 1236

The pattern doesn't have a zipper so I didn't insert one in this version. I decided, however, that for her Derby dress I would add a zipper to the back to make it a little easier to get on.

Coming soon....Derby seersucker version of Vogue 1236.