Saturday, June 30, 2007

I've been playing

I got my new machine last night and I am so excited. We were just going out to dinner shortly after it arrived, so I didn't get time to do anything except unpack it yesterday.

We had a great time last night. We went to a relatively new Japanese restaurant in town with our bible study group. There were 8 of us there and some had never had sushi before, so it was fun getting them to try new things. This is a really diverse, and great group of people and we always have a good time.

Today I got up early and have been playing. I've read about 1/2 of the manual and have tried out many of the sewing features. Then I took a trip to the BabyLock dealer because I knew there were some things that I needed. (A couple of feet, stabilizer, embroidery thread, extra bobbins, and a twin needle.) After that, I came home and set up the embroidery unit. It was a lot easier than I expected and I played with a few designs. I want to make a passport/boarding pass case to take on our trip and I want to monogram it in the front. I was really happy with all of the embroidery results I practiced. This is what I did:

There are a lot of expensive stabilizers out there, but I did these with the same tracing paper that I use to trace my patterns! I think I will be able to use it for lots of different fabrics, but I bought a sample set of a variety of stablizers so I can try them and see what I like best. I liked the tracing paper just fine.
Sewing with an electronic machine is SO different than a mechanical. the thing that is hardest for me to get used to right now is the fact that the presser foot lift is on the right hand side of the needle so you have to use your right hand to lift it.

Also, I have been working on the vogue dress. I've kind of put it aside, because I'm not sure I like what I'm doing. I decided I wanted to put bra cups in the top so that I wouldn't have to wear a strapless bra with it. according to the finished measurements on the bodice and the style of the dress, I didn't think I needed to do a FBA. However, I should have added an inch in length and didn't. I also needed to line the bodice front in order to add the cups. Because I did not add the inch, I decided to use the lining to make the casing for the straps instead of folding over the 1" allowed. I'm hoping that this will compensate for not adding to the length, but now I'm afraid to finish the dress. I did just run a piece of seam binding through the casing before I took this picture to see how it will fit, and maybe it will work. I guess I'll have to get on that.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

If it seems to good to be true...

Then you know it is! In my quest to find a new sewing machine, I decided to look on ebay. Yesterday I saw a Bernina Artista 730E for auction. I emailed the seller and he said he had a buy it now price of $700.00. This just seemed too good to be true. I emailed him some questions, and he responded to most of them. I went back to re-read the auction and it had disappeared. I emailed the seller and asked for the eBay ID and auction number and he never would give me that information. I checked on eBay to read up on spotting fraud. This guy fit every part. He wanted to complete the transaction outside of ebay. He wanted the money wired and would not accept pay pal. He sent me an invoice that said it was from eBay, but it was not. ALWAYS check your "my messages" on ebay before ever responding to anything that says it comes from eBay. If it's not in my messages, it didn't come from e bay. Well, I was so sad. How I would love to own a Bernina Artista 730! Had he been asking several thousand dollars I probably would not have been as suspicious. But $700??? I'm sure the machine costs closer to 10,000. Yes, I would love to have one, but I cannot spend that kind of money on a machine

I have really been having trouble deciding between the Bernina that I can afford and the Baby lock Esante. They each have their pros and cons. If I could afford a higher level Bernina, I would get that. But, the Esante gives you more "goodies" for your money. I'm sure I will be happy with either machine

Now, the good news. I did find a legitimate auction for this.

The Ellageo is the step above the Esante. It used to be the top of the line Baby Lock until they came out with the Ellegante. This machine is 3 years old, and supposedly in excellent condition. It has lots of extras - extra hoops, feet, accessories -total value advertised at $7000+ I won the bid at 2600. This is about 600 less than I would have paid for the Bernina Aurora that I was looking at. I'm sure I would love the Bernina, and someday I will have one. But for now, I think this will be the best bet for my money. I know there are advantages for buying from a local dealer. I have only been impressed by the Bernina local dealer, but only the last time I went there. Not the several times I went before. So, I suppose I can offer to pay for a lesson or two on the new machine at our BL dealer if I need one.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

shorts - finished

I must think I am thinner than I am because it seems that lately everything I make is a bit tight. I cut these shorts using a 40 for the waist and tapered to a 44 at the hip. They were so tight I couldn't even get them over my big butt. I let out the seams all around and made the sas 3/8 and that was enough to make them the right size. The funny thing was, I didn't have to make the waistband smaller, even though I made the side seam smaller. It must be the curve of the fabric that made it fit. Anyway, I really like these shorts now, but would like the a lot better if they were made out of a fabric with a little stretch. They're a little tight on my legs when I sit down. Of course, I got hit with the refrigerator door when I was walking into the kitchen with a cup of coffee in my hand, so they're already in the wash!
As I think I said in a previous post, I did not like the way the pockets were designed on the original pattern, so I made these piped pockets instead. They turned out pretty well, but not perfectly. I think I would like to try putting little tabs on them next time.

Also, next time I will move the button hole up just a smidge because the top of the waistband wants to fold over a little bit.
If you've never tried Sandra Betzina's method for a fly front (from Power Sewing Step by Step) you ought to try it. It really turns out nicely. I believe there is also a video on the Threads site that shows this same method.
This afternoon I cut out the pieces for the Vogue sundress and am going to make it out of some really cool striped fabric I got last year in a FMF bundle. It is cream with brown, gold and black stripes - kind of "ethnic" looking. I don't know the fiber content, but I threw it in the wash and dryer and it looks fine. I'm hoping to get it cut out this weekend. But for now, it's off to get a haircut for me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Decisions, Decisions...

I have been working all summer to earn the money to buy an embroidery machine. I thought I would go with the Pfaff, but two things concern me. One of the big reasons I decided to go electronic in the first place is that I want better button holes. In many of the reviews I've read on the Pfaffs, people have expressed that they wish it made better button holes. Also, the Pfaff computer technology seems out of date to me. Now I am looking at the BabyLock Esante and the Bernina Aurora 440QE

The Baby lock seems very cool with lots of features. It is a beautiful looking machine. I love the large touch screen and variety of embroidery stitches. Also, it takes a USB drive rather than hooking it up to your computer"

On the other hand. The Bernina is, well, a Bernina. Right now the 440 has a special where the embroidery unit comes with for free. Of course, their top of the line machine is to die for, but I'd probably have to die before I could get it! The aurora doesn't look as snazzy as the Babylock and probably doesn't have as many features, but the stitch quality is beautiful. The other thing is the sales person at the Bernina store used to be a custom clothier, so understands all about garment construction, which is my main focus. The Babylock "sewing expert" is all about embroidery and quilitng, and I get the feeling that she's not all that up with clothing techniques.

I'd love to hear from any of you who have opinions on these things. I have never done machine embroidery before, and I really want to get a quality machine (on a limited budget)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

BWOF 7/06

Last night I practiced pockets. And more pockets. I wasn't thrilled with any of them but decided to go ahead and use the piped pocket. I also got my shorts cut out. Today after work I got started. And I am SO PLEASED with the pockets! OK, they're not perfect, but they're definitely better than any of my practice ones. I think the rest of the shorts will go together in less time than it took to do the pockets. These are the "practice pair"; I'm making them in black linen for the "wardrobe contest"

Monday, June 18, 2007

pocket practice

Yesterday I traced out the shorts from Burda WOF July 2006 issue. They have two little welt-type pockets in the front. I read through the directions a couple of times and they still don't make sense. Also, they tell you to cut 2 binding strips 5 inches long and 2-3/8 inches wide (incl. seam allowances) THis sounds like the seam allowances are included in the 2-3/8, but apparently it means you need to add seam allowances in addition to the given amount. They do the same thing on the pocket pieces. The directions for the entire pocket application (which, by the way you have to look at the directions for the pants on a different page to find them) are utterly confusing. I thought perhaps they would be more clear if I were actually doing them so I cut some scrap fabric to practice. Well, I think I figured out what you are supposed to do, but they kind of are weird. I tried to take pix, but you can't really see because my scraps have a crazy print on them. They are kind of like a bound button hole with only one flap. Since the flap lines up with the lower seam allowance, you don't really see it, so I don't see the point of the flap at all. I decided I would try the piped pocket that I learned from Kenneth King on PR, so did a couple of practices of those. Not perfect, but acceptable. I will try these on the shorts when I cut them out. I cut a 40 in the waist and 42 for the hip, which should fit according to their measurement chart, but the tissue fit was too tight. I think I will cut with extra large seam allowances and try them out of some broadcloth I bought at JoAnn's today.

Speaking of JoAnns, I went crazy there today. They are having a big sale and all of their clearance fabric is 50% off. I bought the following fabrics, all for about $2- $3 a yard!
Black poly crinkle chiffon for a blouse
gray mid weight p/c broadcloth for "muslin" for BWOF shorts
Black striped suiting for pants (this was re
gular $12.99/yd)

I also got this floral cotton stretch sateen for a dress in the May 2006 BWOF

A brown geometric poly crepe for a skirt (I don't know which pattern yet, but I have some brown solid jersey that I want to make the top at the top of this post out of and this fabric will be perfect for a skirt.

The find of the day for me was this beautiful dark gray matte jersey with glitter. It didn't photograph well, but it looks really pretty. I saw this last winter and fell in love with it, but for $12.99/yard I thought "I don't have anywhere to wear that." Well, sure enough you know that someday we will get invited somewhere, or plan on going somewhere, and I won't have anything nice to wear. So, even if I don't have anywhere to wear it - I'm making it! I bought it for this vogue pattern. I'd like to make the first one on the left.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Looking Back

Wow - I just looked back at all of my posts since I started this blog. It's been about a year now that I've been back into sewing. I can't believe how far I've come. I was not just a little rusty when I started sewing again. I didn't even realize how much I needed to learn. One of the best things that I've discovered in this past year is Pattern Review. I have learned so much from all of the contributers on that site. The other thing that has truly inspired me is blogging and reading other people's blogs. It's just amazing to me that someone would actually take the time to read my blog. It's even more amazing when I go to someone else's blog and find a link to my own! I just really want to let everyone know how much I appreciate you and your great ideas, support, and wealth of information. I am continuing to learn and grow in the sewing world and I love it!

I didn't get to do any sewing (YET) this weekend, and I'm not even being good like Cidell and cleaning!(Lord knows I need to) Yesterday I had to meet with my grad advisor and then union business took care of most of the rest of the day. Today, after about 10 mini crises (Do you know how many square feet one bottle of laundry detergent can coat when spilled? And did you know that if you yell at your daughter the cat will jump off the window sill spilling a large glass of water all over said daughter's laptop computer and cell phone rendering them both useless?) I got to play Stacy from What Not to Wear on a much smaller scale (and budget I might add) My friend Debbie is going on an Alaskan cruise in four days and needed some help in putting together her wardrobe. FOUR DAYS??? What are you thinking, girl? Well, first thing we did was go through her closet and see what she was planning on taking. After talking her out of about 4 pairs of pants too many and about the same number of jackets, we made a list of needed items and went off shopping. I met her at her house at 9 this morning and didn't get home until about 7 tonight. I'm exhausted, but it was fun. Unfortunately, I didn't get any sewing done, so I'm hoping I can at least get something cut out tomorrow. I have plenty I need to do for the 2 contests at PR, but I really am wanting to make Vogue 8380. I'm not sure what I want to make it from yet, but maybe a matte jersey.

Also, I'm wanting to make this New Look 6547 dress. I have some white cotton floral print that I've had for years that would look really good. Maybe the halter version.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nothing to do with sewing, but...

I am teaching summer school for the month of June. Yesterday we made Father's Day cards. You know you're always going to have one or two children who do not have a father so I always give the disclaimer that they can make a card for a grandparent, uncle, or even their mom. Well, yesterday "Johnny" raises his hand and says, "I don't have a mother or a father," (we get no personal information on our summer school kids, or I would have known this) so I say "OK, sweetie, we'll talk after I finish giving directions." In a moment, I go over to his desk and ask if he has any grandparents. "No" Other family? "no" Who do you live with, Johnny? "I live in the group home" I just wanted to cry.

We have a new group home in our town for kids that are about 8-12 years old. These are children who have been in foster homes and kicked out. Apparently this boy has some anger issues - gee, ya think!?????? but he has never been a problem in my class. He is trying and doing his work. He is polite and offers to help. He is proud of himself when he does something right. He is ten years old.

I tell little "johnny" that he can make any kind of card for anyone he would like; a teacher, friend, his group home leader. He tells me he is going to make the card for Mrs. Gates, my ss aide. Mrs. Gates also does bus duty in the morning at our school during the regular school year. She yells at kids who are acting out of line. They deserve it. She has a big heart. Johnny is proud of the card he made for Mrs. Gates. He brings it to me a couple of times to help him with spelling. In side he writes, "Mrs. Gates, Thank you for waving to me in the morning."

Another boy brings me his card. In it he has written, "Dear Dad, This is your son. I miss you. I know you are saving us. I hope you will come home one day. I will never forget you. I hope you will remember me." His father is in Iraq.

Teaching is hard.

BBW Top version 2

I'm really loving this version of the top in the Sew U book by Wendy Mullin. (See previous post for pattern information.)
It was fun doing the changes on this blouse. First, I added 2 1/4 inches to the CF to make a fold over facing. I thought this would look better with the softer lines of this blouse. I folded it twice so that it also served as interfacing. I also cut it 1" longer. I should have made the armholes slightly larger, since I had to rip them out and do them over. The bias tape makes them draw up a bit. Plus, I made bigger at seam allowances at the shoulder, which made them smaller as well. I eliminated the vertical darts in front and back and only left in the dart under the arm. Side seams were sewn together before the shoulders. I applied bias tape to the armholes and finished them before sewing the shoulders.

In order to make the casings for the shoulders, I made 5/8 seam allowances instead of the 1/2 inch called for. I serged the raw edge before sewing together, but turning under probably would have worked as well and looked neater. I cut 4 - 18" pieces of cording. I laid the cords in the "casings" and then stitched them down with a zipper foot. This worked nicely because It would have been almost impossible to thread them through. I basted them at the neck edge and then they were sewn down when the neck stand was applied. I still had a little problem with the neck stand. I even walked the pattern pieces together to make sure they lined up, but I still felt like the stand was a shade too small for the neck edge. I had to do a lot of "easing" to get that neck to fit in the stand without puckering all over the place.

Next, I tried on the blouse and marked my waist. I cut a 1-1/4 inch strip of fabric to make the casing. I sewed a button hole on each side aprox. 2" from the edge to bring the cording through. Once again, I laid the cord in the casing before I sewed it. I added pony beads to the ties at the shoulders and waist. (I would have never thought of this - the idea was in the book, and I really like it.)

I made 5 horizontal buttonholes down the front. Lesson to be learned: A. I like to use the water soluble pen to mark on fabric. It always comes right out. B. I like to use fray check on my buttonholes to keep them from looking ratty. WARNING: remove the pen marks before you put on the fray check! I still have one buttonhole with a little blue mark (hopefully it will come out with another washing)Fortunately, it is hidden under the button.

I am really pleased with this blouse and know I will wear it a lot.

Saving S4173

As you know, I was not happy with the flounce at the bottom of Simplicity 4173. I thought of many options and appreciate all of you who gave input. I finally spotted some Viennese lace at JoAnns that I thought would work. I couldn't believe that it was $14.00 a yard! Thank goodness for the 50% off coupon. because I needed about 1 1/2 yards. I also got a coordinating lace for the sleeves. I would have liked to have just hemmed the bottom, but after cutting off the flounce, it was too short. I didn't have enough fabric to make another flounce or band at the bottom. All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with it, although it is a little more snug around the hip than I would like. BUT, I LOVE the feel of this fabric.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Built by Wendy

Earlier this year I purchased the book "Sew U" by Wendy Mullin. I was disappointed when I got the book because it seemed so elementary. I kind of put it aside for a while.

When I started thinking about the one pattern, multiple looks contest, I remembered that this book showed many variations for each pattern. (It comes with a basic shirt, pants, and A-line skirt patterns)I decided to switch some of my tops from the "Wardrobe Contest" to use this pattern so that I could do both contests at once. Plus, I just really want to get a basic shirt that fits well. I finished this one last night and sewed the buttons on this morning. I really like it.

Today I went to the Pfaff store to look at their embroidery machines. I think I am going to get the Pfaff Creative 2134 with the money I am making teaching summer school. It is exactly in my price range. I've always wanted a Pfaff, and actually they are the only brand that has service in town. Now I have a tangible goal that will make teaching summer school worth while!

And WHAT is up with the "contest formally known as SWAP"? Too much ado about nothing. Now they have changed the rules. Only ten garments instead of 11. Tops only have to go with 2 of the 3 bottoms. And now, you must make an accessory such as a hat or handbag. Hmmm... lets see, one person makes a 15 minutes scarf and another makes a week-long bag project. We also have the option of slippers. Huh?????? Yes, I can see wearing slippers with my Marfy dress or black gauchos. Of course, I suppose I should have planned a lingerie SWAP (yes, I'm using the "s" word.) OK, I must be tired because I'm griping and complaining. It's almost midnight. I better shut up and go to bed

I only got back on the blog to post this picture for Karla Kiser who says that my cat looks like he lost all his stuffing. I don't think he ever had any to lose. Poor thing, He's the longest, skinniest cat I've ever seen. LOL

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bustier - finished

I have all of the details on my review at Pattern Review

The one bad (good?) thing about taking all of these pictures for patterns is that you can't lie to yourself about thunder thighs or big hips. It's right there on the printed (electronic) page for all to see.

New Look

Many of you have noticed that I have a new look on my blog. Many thanks to Cidell for giving me the tip. One of my biggest frustrations (really the only one) with blogger is the fact that everything runs in a column down the middle of the page and everything else is blank on the sides. I liked the template I was using before as far as color and pattern, but wanted more space. The trick is to change the template. Go to "customize" and then choose to change the template. The only one that goes full page is called "stretch denim" It's pretty plain, but you can then select "change fonts and colors" and change the look there. I haven't played with the fonts yet, but came up with this color scheme. I hope its working. It looks good on my computer, but for some reason, things sometimes display differently on different computers. Again, thanks Cidell, and thanks Elaray for asking.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The "S" word

Apparently someone got their panties in a bunch over "intellectual property" that apparently wasn't their property to begin with. I understand infringing on other people's rights and ideas is not a good thing, but neither is slamming someone in a newsletter to thousands of people when the person in question was not even aware that there was a problem. What's up with that? Anyway, there may have been an issue, but the whole thing was just handled poorly in my opinion. If you want to know more of the ugly details, you can look on the newly renamed "wardrobe contest" board at Pattern Review.Starting in the middle of page 86. I've changed most of my posts here, but I'm not going to rename all of my photos and re upload them. Yikes!

My bustier is finished except for 2 buttons. I will try to get them on and a picture later this evening if possible. I like the way it looks, but it is a little tight in the waist and a little to loose in the ribs and bust. I'll know what to adjust next time. My fingers are still sore from all of the hand sewing!The killer was sewing through all the boning. First, basting it in, then tacking it, and finally sewing the buttons to it. Here is a picture with the boning in place.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Not too pleased

Well, I've been working on this top for my swap, and I'm not too pleased. I love the fabric (silk twill), and now that I've lowered the armholes, the fit is good. The problem is the hem. I should not have chosen this type of hem with a stripe - especially of such slippery fabric. The striped would not line up, and them when I got them to, it seems that the fabric is stretched and lies funny. It also is not very flattering. I think I will have to take off the "skirt" and do something else. The top will be shorter than I want it, but I'm not sure what else would look good. Maybe a ruffle of the same fabric (short) or some black lace or ??? I still need to do the buttonholes. And darn it if the timing did not go out on my machine again! Always on the weekend - I'll have to wait until Monday to take it back in again.

I'm also plugging along on the bustier. I spent a couple of hours this morning feather stitching all the seam allowances on the outer fabric and then hand basting the piping onto the foundation piece. Next I will attach the waist stay and the boning. I have things I need to do today, so I probably won't get as much done as I'd like before tonights chat. Plus, I still have a headache - day 3.