Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kwik Sew 3740 and Knit Tips

I'm still working on my one and only New Year's Resolution which is to reduce my fabric stash. This is my 12th sewing project this year. I don't blog all of them because some are actually a little boring to sew so I'm sure they would be even more boring for you to read about!

I decided to make a few long sleeved t-shirts since all of my RTW tees have shrunk nearly up to my belly button! I used my Kwik Sew 3740 and cut the neckline about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 higher at center front. I found this dark gray cotton blend knit in my stash which, at first, I thought was pretty ugly. Why did I buy that? I offered to make my daughter something out of it but she wasn't interested. Determined to use the piece, I cut out a long sleeve t-shirt. I had to add a center back seam since I only had 1 1/4 yards. I cut self-fabric neck "ribbing" about 1 1/2 inches wide and folded in half.

sewing knits coverstitch
Patternreview link

Once I got past fighting with the curled edges and got the thing seamed up, I couldn't stop stitching on it. I used my coverstitch to topstitch the neckline and the sleeve seams.

sewing knits coverstitch

I decided to add one of those little decorative V's in the center front just because I see them on all things casual and sporty.  I discovered that stitch 309 on my Bernina looks very similar to what I see in RTW. I drew a V with my chalk marker, added stabilizer underneath, and updated my plain, gray t-shirt.

sewing knits with coverstitch

I convinced hubby to help me with the pics. He is actually pretty good! This is the Plain Jan(e) version.

sewing knits coverstitch

A little sporty with a touch of Burberry plaid.

sewing knits coverstitch

Brightened up with a red fleece vest.

sewing knits coverstitch

I showed my daughter my trendy V in the front and she replied, "Ooooooh".  I'll bet she wishes she had taken me up on the offer to make her one!

A few of my Sewing with Knits Tips. 
  • Prewash the fabric in the manner that you plan to wash the finished garment, especially if it is cotton or a cotton blend.
  • If you are sure of your sleeve length, hem the sleeve before sewing the sleeve seam, especially if hemming with a coverstitch.
  • Sew one shoulder seam, add the neck ribbing, and then sew the remaining shoulder seam. Press the shoulder seam towards the back and stitch it in place at the ribbing/neck edge so that it lays flat.
  • Sew the sleeve in before sewing the sleeve seam and the side seam which can then be sewn in one continuous seam.
  • I usually hem the sleeve just a smidgen longer than I think I want it to be. It always works up a bit with wear and elbow bending.
  • When hemming with a coverstitch from the right side, I sometimes draw a line on the right side with my Chakoner marker. If I press up 1 1/4" for a hem, I draw a line about 1 1/8" from the folded edge. I can then "straddle" the chalk line with the presser foot.
  • If the knit is especially stretchy, I secure the hems with 3/8" double sided fusible before hemming with the coverstitch. This also prevents the hem from "tunneling" and the stitches from becoming buried in the fabric.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Little White Dress Contest

Back in January I entered a Little White Dress Contest on Patternreview. I've always wanted to enter one of their contests but always got sidetracked. This time I clicked on the "enter contest" button determined to follow through. I got a late start (a week before the end of the contest) but that's okay. I need a deadline to motivate me.

I decided to make a white pique dress for my daughter since she wears more dresses than I do. It's difficult to find patterns in size 4 but we agreed on Simplicity 1650. We looked beyond the peplum to the basic lines of the pattern. I made a muslin to check the fit and it's a good thing I did. One adjustment that definitely needs to be made before cutting is the width across the front neckline area. I had to take out about 3/4 inch from the front width by moving the pattern over at the fold about 3/8 inch at the top only. Otherwise, I would have been adding darts to the front neckline!

Simplicity 1650

The front princess seams needed to be taken up a bit but I decided to adjust that after cutting out the bodice so that I could pin the adjustments on her body. I compared the skirt to a favorite skirt pattern and it was very close so adjustments were easy for the skirt.

We liked the cap sleeve but not the gathers at the top especially for the weight of the pique. I spent more time on the sleeves than any other part of the process. I don't know a lot about sleeve drafting so I laid the cap sleeve pattern (with the extra fullness folded out) on top of tracing paper on top of the basic short sleeve and drafted a new sleeve with the parts that I liked from each.

I added self-fabric piping to the neckline and to the bottom of the sleeves. I love piping! I used a Bernina #3 buttonhole foot which has grooves in the bottom and I was able to get a lot closer to the cord than with a zipper foot. I also used the #3 foot for the invisible zipper and it worked just as well, if not better, than my invisible zipper foot. 

This is the sleeve piping before understitching with the lining opened out from the sleeve. The piping is tapered at the underarm seam to reduce bulk.

  sewing piping

sewing piping

sewing sleeve piping

I made thread loops at the side seams with a method I learned from a Children's Corner pattern many years ago when I smocked for my daughters. I think I might be a nerdy seamstress because I counted the number of loops so that the thread chains on each side would match! 

how to make a thread loop
Here she is all accessorized for an evening out.

Evening out without the belt.

Patternreview Little White Dress Contest

This is the casual daytime version with brown leather belt and strappy wedges, brown wood beads, and a denim jacket.

Patternreview LWD Contest

Simplicity 1650

Simplicity 1650

This is the blank canvas. My daughter loves the dress. I think she will be able to wear this very classic style for many years, dressed up or down, or somewhere in between. 

Paternreview Little White Dress Contest

I lined the dress with a poly/cotton batiste and inserted an invisible zipper in the back. Total cost of the dress is $16 for pique, lining, and zipper with coupons and my "over 55" senior discount at Hancock Fabrics!

Link here to my review of this dress on Patternreview.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Cape for the Cold

Lucky for me Daughter wore Stashbuster #5 to church this morning and I was able to get a picture before she changed clothes. We have noticed lots of capes and ruanas in the stores in recent months and liked the idea of throwing on a quick wrap on a cold day. I picked up Simplicity 1521 (a Sew Simple 97 cent pattern) on a WalMart shopping trip and made a quick, lined cape with a button closure at the neckline.

Simplicity 1521

The fabric is a very inexpensive gray wool blend from Hancock Fabrics lined with a black polyester lining. We decided not to make the buttonholes in the underarm area for a belt. At least, not right now. She likes to just throw it on without having to bother with a belt. Sometimes, simple is best.

2014 Stashbuster Totals
Yarn - 295 yards
Fabric - 7 yards

Stashbusters #3 and #4

Okay, I know it's February and I should have at least 4 stashbusters posted. I really have been sewing and knitting every night but I just can't get outside to photograph because it's always cold, raining, or snowing.

Stashbuster #3 is a dress for charity from one of my underwear factory remnants. I added a bit of rick rack and little heart buttons to the pockets.

Pillowcase dress charity

Stashbuster #4 used up a seersucker remnant for two more little dresses. I already had bias binding and elastic so I didn't have to purchase a thing!

pillowcase dress charity

Coming soon is my entry for the Patternreview Little White Dress Contest. The deadline is Saturday and I got a late start because my daughter and I couldn't decide on fabric and a pattern. I've always wanted to enter a Patternreview contest and the timing was great on this one. Daughter needs a dress to wear to the Kentucky Derby and this just might be the one!

2014 Stashbuster Totals
Yarn - 295 yards
Fabric - 3 yards