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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

DIY Christmas 2013

    So what do you give friends and family members when they have everything or can buy whatever they want............I know, sew up some pretty things.  (Some where between sewing up two costumes and managing a business during the holidays, I didn't get to sew up as many things as I wanted too, but I am pleased with the quality of the things I did sew.)

    For inspiration, I went directly to 100 pretty little projects  book.  (Please note:  if you decide to sew up projects from this book, check measurements.  I found some of the calculations to be off.  Also, I should mention this book assumes you already know how to install a zipper, clip curves, bind seams, etc.  In addition, the sweet gentleman at Kinkos helped me enlarge the patterns in the back of the book, cause seriously I couln't figure out how to enlarge the xerox to 200%.......and the book assumes you know how to do that too!)

     Check out this sweet little crepe back satin beaded purse I made for friend Rachael.  Oh, this purse was made to complete her costume, Simplicity 2172. (Will include those photos later in the post)  Fabric used: crepe back satin in a brownish fabric for  shell, inside the purse I used a cream crepe back satin, then a satin ribbon for straps and of course glass beads that I hand-sewn down.  Adjustments from book:  enlarged fabric to 16", ironed a lightweight interfacing to wrong side of shell fabric. Used brown embroidery floss to sew beads down. 

"Hand Beaded Purse"

     Another inspired project from the book is......well, meet Ms. Tokyo Rose.  I love this little wallet. (ended up making 3 of them....she is so cute) Fabric: cotton and felt.   Adjustments: I used a black & white polka dot  cotton fabric instead of the heart fabric.  Also,  used a 5" zipper instead of a 5 1/2" zipper.  (I cut down a 7" zipper)

Meet Ms. Tokyo Rose

     Another set of Hello Kitty pillowcases and this wonderful french seam pillowcase tutorial .  Fabric: Hello Kitty cotton fabric, black cotton sateen, and cotton purple print:

"Hello Kitty Pillowcase"

      This little baby dress is a donation for Little Dresses for Africa .  From what I read, they are in need of smaller dresses and boys pull up shorts.  I opted for a small  baby dress pattern. Simplicity Pattern:  4243    Fabric: Kona cotton for sleeves, collars and band, and cotton for body.  Adjustments:  instead of installing a zipper,  I hand sewed little pieces of velcro on the back.   (I used cotton thread to sew two little flowers on the collars, but embroidery floss would have been better. Oh, well lesson learnt) Check out the photo:

"Small Baby Dress"

      Finally, my friend's finished costume, using Simplicity Pattern 2172  The photos aren't the best.  No need to go into all the adjustments details.  Fabric:  shell, cotton broadcloth.  Lining: Bemberg Rayon.  Trim:  an organza from Vogue Fabrics.   The instructions for this pattern are  pretty straight forward.  The front pockets are super cool.  I learned how to sew in boning with casing  along with sewing in a seperating zipper. (Never did this before till this pattern.)  I will mention, since Featherweight boning didn't mention this in the instructions,  iron out your boning and wash and dry your casings before sewing.  Also, I wish I would have seen Burdastyle's lesson on sewing the pleats, cause they suggested you sew down the inside of the pleat to maintain the shape.  Oh well. Another lesson learnt.   Check out the photos:

Lined Jacket with Lined Bustier

Pleated skirt

      Now that I have another year of sewing under my belt, I thought I would mention a few things I learned this year.   Maybe they will help you too.

1.  Make a muslin for the top half of your body.  For example: blouses, top half of dresses.  Once you get the right makes sewing up your real fabric so much really saves time in the long run.

2.  Create a paper template  for a good fitting bodice and skirt.  It makes adjusting patterns a lot quicker.  For example, when I cut out a new skirt pattern, I pull out my paper skirt template (which is a perfect fit for me) and check waist and hip measurements.   I will already have a starting place for adjustments.

3.  Cut curves on inside seams.  This should become second nature to a sewist.  No matter if  the seam is a neck seam,  or a pricenss seam.  This will keep ripples down.

4.  It is ok to sew things out of your comfort zone............that is how you learn.  Since I have had no formal training........I would not have been able to achieve the  quality of sewing I long for if I didn't keep pushing myself.

5.  Have a collection of quality books on hand.  Here are some of my favorites:

      Fitting Finesse          Fit for Real People        Handsewn

     Happy Creating in 2014.  


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Completed: Simplicity 2207 Victorian Steampunk Costume


           Here it is, my costume for Dickens Festival.  


At the end of the night..........I am still standing

        Happy Holidays!