Couture, DIY Sewing Room Projects, Sewing, Sewing Patterns, Vogue 8543

Vogue 8543 – Part 1

Current works in progress: this list is embarrassingly long:

  • a couture Chanel jacket a la Claire Schaeffer, muslin is cut and stitched, I just need to make corrections to the fit – since this is a sew-a-long for the Sutura Club I’ll be finished by Christmas (I hope!)
  • three pairs of slacks (I cut them all at once to save time and then stitch when I am have time)
  • my black evening ensemble – I actually fooled myself into believing I could get sewing done on a busy Saturday – silly me! The muslin for the corset is done and a new pattern is drafted but I need my Pfaff to pull it off – see below
  • Vogue Pattern 8543 – I am making this in a fun wool tweed from Mood Fabrics – changes will be made to the sleeve. I have long skinny arms and a trumpet sleeve just makes matters worse.

Vogue Pattern 8543

The tweed is a pink-grey color and has a lovely drape to it – you can check it out here Pink Wool Tweed.

The great joy of sewing is that there is never an end to what can be made there are always new ideas, new fabrics, notions etc – sigh. That said, my sewing time has slowed somewhat – here is a look into my crazy sewing world.

dressformparis

It’s been just 2 short years since I set up the living room/dining room as my designated sewing space. I loved the bright natural light in there so much more than the dark, gloomy basement! After two winters however, it has a single, major drawback – all the walls (except the one above) are grey. The room feels chilly and dark during the cold months so, before the snowy days arrive the walls are getting a paint job.

Here’s what my studio looks like at the moment:

makeover2

makeover22

Drop cloths, and shambles! Oh well, it can be put back quickly enough. And the color, which appears white in the photos is actually a very pale pink with a tiny drop of yellow to warm it up. Much brighter for winter sewing!

In the meantime, Nina Rose is still going strong in her little corner:

makeover3

allowing me to keep up with some sewing whilst the work is under way.

All in all, sew much to do and sew little time!

Happy Sewing!

Natalie

DIY Sewing Room Projects, Easy Sewing Projects, Fabric, Free Sewing Tutorial, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery, Simple Sewing

DIY Circular Sewing Attachment

A repost from my old blog. As we are stash blasting, this is a quick and easy way to add style to home decor and garment projects. The full PDF file for making a DIY Circular Sewing Attachment is available on the website at Sutura Style. Enjoy and Happy Sewing!

The Sewist Club

CAfringefoot

Happy New Year! Over the Holidays I got busy and reviewed a whopping 8 (!) sewing machines. I will post the results on our new main website at http://www.seeitandsewit.com once it is up and running (hopefully over the next two weeks). In the meanwhile, as I was messing about, I decided to push the limits of the Brother Laura Ashley CX-155, to see how many of the great features, found on it’s bigger (read: much more expensive) cousins; NX2000, NX5000 Isadore and the NX800, I could emulate. One of the features that I really love about the Laura Ashley line is the ability to create perfect circular sewing. So, I made myself a little circular sewing attachment and gave it a whirl. Here is how I made it, and the results. Happy Sewing!

For this project you will need: a thin flat ruler, sticky Velcro, a fine tip marker, a utility…

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Easy Sewing Projects, Free Sewing Tutorial, How to use a Serger, Maxi Skirts, Sewing, Sewing Patterns, Simple Sewing, skirts

Sewing Summer Circle Skirts Tutorial

Summer is officially here and has arrived in Indy with sweltering humidity. Last week I whipped up a circle skirt in a few minutes and after some very kind comments decided to write a tutorial. There is nothing really scientific about making circle skirts, they are dead easy and can generally be whipped up on serger in about 25 minutes or less including cutting time.

Summer Skirts

To make a circle skirt you will need approximately 2.25 – 4.5 yards of fabric, depending on your size how full you want the skirt to be. You can use pretty much any fabric that suits your taste; I have used a knit and two woven fabrics for the three skirts that I made. I also saved time by using a decorative 1″ elastic waistband on one skirt – I just serged it on and voila – waistband done.

The elastic looks like this:

Fuschia Waistband Elastic

and is available in a variety of widths and colors online.

Step 1

Measure the length you want the skirt to be. Start at your natural waist (just below your navel) and let the tape measure drop to the floor, then with the aid of a friend, spouse or in my case a full length mirror, determine how long you want the skirt to be. In this example, I am using 30″. Add 6″ and double the amount. So I have 36″ x 2 = 72″. I need another 3″-4″ for the waistband casing. Total yardage needed is 76″ or a little over 2 yards. I buy 2.25 to be on the safe side.

Step 2

Measure your waist with the elastic . Take a length of elastic, wrap it around your waist and cut it. Next, pinch about 1″ off the ends. Then pull it down over the hips to your thighs to ensure there is enough stretch. The amount of stretch can vary with different types of elastic and if you have decided to use the decorative type, you may be surprised to find it has less stretch than the typical white, no-roll goods one finds at fabric shops. Adjust your piece accordingly, decreasing the 1″ if needed or trimming off any excess.

Step 3

Based on the measurement in Step 1, I need two 36″ lengths of fabric. I cut these and place them on the cutting table. Both pieces are folded lengthwise as shown (please pardon my cutting mess :)) I cut two skirts at the same time using a rotary cutter so you are actually seeing both skirts cut. On top of my cut circles is the extra yardage needed for the waistband casing.

Step 4

Measure your hips at the fullest part using a tape measure and add 1″. In my case that adds to 40″. I now need to cut the waist opening 40″ including seam allowance. Since my fabric is folded in half, that means cutting a 20″ semi-oval shape for the waist opening. BTW turkey platters make great templates 🙂 Once the oval is cut, I use my tape measure to mark the 30″ length all the way around the bottom edge of the fabric as above, then cut. Make a notch at the folds to indicate center front and center back. This is a vital step to ensure that the fullness is evenly distributed. Cutting a Circle Skirt

Step 5

It actually takes less time to serge these together than to cut them! If you want more fullness in your skirt, cut four sections instead of two. Next, using a four thread safety stitch, overlock the side seams together.

Thread Blending for Sergers   Thread Blending for SergerThread Blending

FYI: I used a home sewing method called Thread Blending, which I learned eons ago from a Singer Sewing Reference Library book. I mixed up the thread colors allowing me to serge two very different fabrics at the same time. It saves time and money, because you only need a few colors of thread and then blend to match.

Step 6: Three Waistband Options 

If you want to use decorative elastic

Butt the ends together and stitch them on a conventional machine. Fold the elastic in half and mark the halfway point with chalk or a pin. Match the seam on the elastic to one of the side seams and the halfway point to the other sideseam. Serge the elastic to the skirt using the notches at center front and center back as a guide to distribute the fullness.

If you wish to make a conventional elastic waistband

Cut the waistband casing from the fabric on the crossgrain about 3″ wide by your hip measurement from Step 4 – in my case that was 40″. Sew the elastic to the casing with a tricot or stretch stitch on one long side only, leaving 1/2″ of seam allowance all around as shown. BTW Ihave used contrasting thread so that you can see what I am doing. Normally I would use a matching thread to blend when sewing.  The side with the thread showing (photo 2 below) is now the INSIDE of the waistband so the threads don’t show.

Elastic Waistband Casing DIY   DIY Summer Skirt Tutorial

To make it easier you can draw a line to indicate the elastic placement position. I don’t normally do this but if you are a new sewer or just want the assurance that it will be even, it only takes a few seconds to make the lines.

Making a Waistband Casing

Serge the casing closed. Pin the prepared casing to the skirt matching the side seam to the casing seam as shown. Since I am working on black fabric, the seams are hard to see but one has the pin through it and the other is indicated with my brush tip. Place the band on a flat surface. Make a notch at the natural fold, opposite to the seam. Fold the band in half and make two more notches. Match your notches with the center front and center back notches in your skirt

DIY Elastic Waist Circle Skirt

Crank your differential feed to the max. Using one hand to pull the elastic flat as shown, and the other to ease the fabric in, attach the wasitband to the skirt. This is MUCH easier to do than it is to explain 🙂

How to Sew an Elastic Waist Skirt

If you want to make a High Waist Skirt with an Interlock (soft) Waistband

Finally, if you want to create a dropped waist with a high band effare using a piece of interlock for the waistband, as I did with the knit skirt, cut it the width that you desire, I chose 5″. The length should be your waist measurement but since the stretch value of interlock varies so much, cut your strip generously and then test it by grasping the ends and sliding the band over your hips and thighs. Adjust accordingly. I cut mine at 29″ and it turned out beautifully.

High Waist Knit Skirt

Serge the ends together forming a tube and serge the whole tube to the skirt. To do this, place the band on a flat surface. Make a notch at the natural fold, opposite to the seam. Fold the band in half and make two more notches. Match your notches with the notches in your skirt. Serge your waistband to the skirt.

Step 7: Hemming the skirt

To finish the hems, the cutting instructions have left you with some options. You can used a rolled hem on a conventional machine, do a stitch and turn hem or simply finish off the edges with a rolled hem on the serger, which is what I chose to do for all three skirts. In order to prevent the hemline from rippling, I reduced the differential feed to setting 5 for the Juki. Using the rolled hem you can create a super-fast, clean finish to your skirts and the differential feed takes care of the natural stretch caused by the bias or knit fabric.

So, I have three new skirts for summer and my quest to replace my entire wardrobe with custom sewn clothes continues.

Happy Summer and Happy Sewing! Natalie

DIY Sewing Room Projects, Easy Serger Projects, Hobby Spaces, Overlock Machine, Serger, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery

Juki MO-50E Review vs MO-51E

JUKI MO-50e 41U5RfC9FYL._SY300_

This year I decided to add 4 new sergers to the exisiting pair of Singer sergers that have been doing yeoman’s service in the classroom. Prior to purchasing the MO-50E, I did some research online and found out that it is basically the same machine as the MO-51E but without the cute flower decal (I don’t need it). I decided to compare the two carefully myself so that I could be sure that I was getting the best value for my dollars.

My conclusion is that the two machines are indeed identical.

The good stuff about these machines:

They both feature lay-in threading with the easiest looper threading I have ever encountered. There is a lever for the lower looper, just lay the thread on it and flip the lever. The machine automatically threads the end portion (the hard part on most sergers) for you. But, just in case there is a problem or you have decided to use fancy thread, the sewing bed opens up to give you access. Top to bottom this is the fastest serger to manually thread that I know of (jet-air is faster and costs about $1000 more:) ). It is also heavy and very strong. I have tested all four of my units and they do not bop around like my Singer Pro 5 and Finishing Touch 14SH654.  The presser feet for my Singer Pro 5 fit on the Juki, just like sewing snap-on feet fit most brands of sewing machines. Anyhoo, the fact that such an inexpensive machine is capable of expansion allowing it to perform tasks using the additional attachments is very cool.

The metal feet shown below are the ones that came with my Singer serger and also fit on the Juki MO-50E. (Clear plastic are cover stitch feet)

sergerfeet

These include: 1. Blind Hem / Lace foot   2. Cording / Piping foot   3. Shirring foot    4.  Taping foot 5. Pearl (Bead) and Sequins Foot  6.  Elastic / Elasticator foot .

The two feet that I find the most useful are #6 for attaching elastic to swimsuits and athletic apparel and # 3, the Shirring Foot which is a fantastic way to rapidly attach ruffles to clothing. It is also the fastest way to make a Dirndl skirt that I know of. These sets go for between $65 and $75 online. The nice thing is that the purchase can be made later, when needed. I tried the blind hem foot but it leaves a really obvious ladder on the front side of the garment. It might be nice if done as a contrast but I haven’t figured out how to make the ladder small and discreet yet. All in all, I am happy that I can use the same feet on both Singer and Juki.

The differential feed is sweet. And this is where the Juki leaves Singer behind. It has settings from -5 to +8. The Stretching effect (1-5 under the N on the dial ) prevents certain fabrics such as fine jerseys or tightly woven light fabrics from puckering or make gathers. Cool. To prevent waving on knits I can use the numbers over the dial. For the fun of it, I cranked the dial all the way up to 8 on a single layer of interlock and it created gathers beautifully, but I still prefer the Shirring foot since it allows me to gather, serge and trim all in one shot.

61tfbpnDYcL._SL1200_

It does a nice rolled hem with a flip of the switch – which is the same as my other sergers so no big deal here.

The really cool this is that this is the only serger I have ever owned that has a built-in drawer (look under the differential feed dial) to store the accessories, shown below.

 

81T64a9GWSL._SL1200_

The bad news:

These machines are limited in their scope of work by the dismally small amount of space under the presser foot. Barely 1/4″. Ugh. While this is fine for the classroom where we are working on garments, I wouldn’t want to try to wedge thick fleece or heavy fabric in there.

All in all, this is a great machine for the dollars. I have used my MO-50 for a number of projects but mostly sewing light interlock and stretch wovens. Each project has come out perfectly with nicely balanced tension. On that note, since the MO-50 and 51 are the same machine, why not pay less and get the 50? It’s a savings of up to $100 and that’s a big difference for something that is identical.

If you are in the market for a serger and are thinking about Juki, I hope this review helps! Happy Serging!

Natalie

Easy Serger Projects, Easy Sewing Projects, Free Sewing Tutorial, How to use a Serger, Overlock Machine, Serger, Sewing, Sewing Patterns, Simple Sewing

Sewing a Summer Shrug Tutorial

summershrugThis is a perfect easy sewing project for those who are new to using a serger. This simple serger tutorial for a summer shrug was inspired by all those public spaces with the AC cranked to the max! :)) The draped piece adds an elegant touch for date night or an evening on the town.

To download the full tutorial, please click here to get the PDF file. 

The best fabric for this project is a light sweater knit, but interlock works just as well. I have found these online and at my local fabric store for as little as $1.98 per yard for the cotton blend I am wearing, which makes this a very economical project. The pattern works for either 45″ or 60″ fabric, but if you are using 45″ just be aware that your shrug will have 3/4 sleeves instead of full length, unless you go with insertions. (Method is at the end)

The most important aspect of the cuttting instructions is to note that the fabric has to be folded twice. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise (on grain) and then make a second fold along the cross grain. The second fold should be at least 12″ deep.

S2030011

This picture shows what the fabric looks like partially cut out. I cleaned up the ragged cut I made after draping it but forgot to take a picture. The drawing in your pattern shows what it looks like as a final cut. The nice thing about this shrug is that it whips up on a serger in no time. Using a 4 thread safety overlock stitch, sew the sleeve area first. Then complete the project by finishing all the raw edges with a 3 thread rolled hem. Done.

Pretty simple right? If you are just learning how to use a serger, this makes a great first project as it will give you the chance to use both the 4 thread and 3 thread abilities of your machine.

Style Option: Insertions

If you are using 42″-45″ fabric and want to extend the sleeves, you can opt to do an insertion. I had some plain white sweater knit that was really light – just perfect for taking the chill off the AC without making me hot, but it was only 42″ wide. I used some of the scraps of fabric and some yarn that I really love (Starbella Lace) as inserts and as the cuff. It adds such a delicate lacey touch.

To do this, cut a length of yarn to go around the cuff plus about 1/2″ for seam allowance. Next, prepare the yarn for stitching by lightly misting it with spray starch and pressing the yarn flat. Use a rolled hem, which is already set up, to create a tiny seam and connect the yarn to the cuff. Next, use the rolled hem to attach the fabric scrap to the other side of the yarn. Add a final piece of yarn and voila! A full length sleeve with pretty lace insertions.

I hope you enjoy this one! Happy Sewing!

Natalie

Atelier, Bridal Wear, Couture, DIY Sewing Room Projects, DIY Wedding, Free Sewing Tutorial, Sewing, Sewing and Embroidery, Wedding Dresses

Sewing an Organza Wedding Dress

IMG_0510.JPG

There was a question on PR regarding this dress and my reply is below but I would love to get a second, third and so on…opinions. The train is stunning ideas?

I took the time to make a miniature/quarter scale version of this. Of course, you have been sewing for thirty years so I am sure you will figure it out.It was a fun way to pass an otherwise dreary day. In case anyone else is interested here is what I did.

My model required the skirt to be made of:
The organza layer
an very thin satin underlining.
A second underlining
A lining

The organza sections begin with a long strip of cross grain fabric. There are four sections shown in the photo so I made four rows. The bottom layer (based on my count) has at least eight strips of organza. Layer one, for all rows, is a strip of cross grain at least 3 times the length of the section circumference of the skirt. Using a template for the crescent, I made festoons of various lengths. This is done by cutting wide strips of cross grain fabric into swag shapes. Create the strips by cutting (I am converting this to full size) 20″ WOF. Using a French seam, connect the strips until there is a length 9 times the length of the skirt section. Use a piece of Bristol board to make a template for the swags. Each swag needs to be 12″ at least to allow for overlapping (I don’t know how tall the bride is). The deep swags put the fabric on bias without using circles. Take the strip and fold it so that you get a manageable length but do not over fold or you will lose the “organic” look and wind up with more of a crinoline look (I did this and had to tear it all out). Stack all eight layers together, basting the layers to prevent shifting. Now place your template and begin cutting swags. BE IRREGULAR in the intervals. Next, I used my ruffler attachment to gather the swag layers onto the first strip of cross grain. The ratios of three times the length being attached to nine times the length (it has to be divisible) worked out perfectly for me but I was working on a small scale so maybe do a test run. That completes the first row of organza. The second row seemed to have six layers, as do the subsequent rows. Repeat the process until all four rows are done.

I am assuming that to even attempt something like this you have a dressform. I also assume that other than the boning showing through (seen on another thread) the bodice has gone well, which is great because corsets can be difficult and a downright beast to sew long form IMHO. To create the first underlining I used a half circle skirt for the front portion and a full circle for the back as the back clearly has much more flare and fullness. Place the underlining on the dressform and then put the bodice on so that the skirt is under the bodice. I then marked the end of the lace, (it is uneven) so I would know where to place the first row.

I laid out the underlining on a lap desk so that I could mark the location of the remaining layers. The distance between one layer and the next seems to work out as about 9″ but of course this is variable based on the height of the client.

The organza layers should be manageable now that they are gathered. I pinned the layers, draping each one using my lines as a guide but not sticking to the lines perfectly. This ebb and flow of the rows leaves a very pretty effect. Stitch the rows to the underlining.

The second underlining I made was just a single full circle. I put it on Mary (my scale doll) and then hand stitched the first underling to the second underling, folding and draping as pleased my eyes. The rest is easy, just sew the bodice to the skirt and do the final lining. Done.

There is always more than one way to get the job done but I am pretty happy with how my mini version worked out. I didn’t bother, too tired etc, to make so many layers nor finish the dress but it was fun to figure it out. Good luck and I look forward to the photos!

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The Ten Commandments of Great Sewing

There is a lot of room for creativity in the world of sewing but to get good results there are some hard and fast rules that have stood the test of time, and indeed are applied to many hobbies, not just sewing. Here are the Dawn Abbey Ten Commandments of Sewing.

1) Thou Shalt Love Thine Self and the Body You’re In
I make no bones about being a Christian and believing that every human is created in the image of God. You are beautiful just the way you are. Before you can create something that will look pleasing to you, there needs to be love for the person in the mirror. We all have fitting adjustments that need to be made, and after more than thirty years of sewing for myself and others I have yet to encounter “the perfect body”. Perfect in whose eyes? In His eyes you are stunning. Give the body you’ve got a big ‘ol hug and know that with a little time and effort, you’re gonna look fantastic in the things you create.

2) Measure twice cut once.
It may seem obvious but I cannot overstate the importance of taking accurate measurements to ensure properly fitting garments. Measure yourself once per year (birthday perhaps to remember?) and then again right before you cut your pattern and fabric. The human body goes through many changes in life, and during the course of a single day your body weight can fluctuate by two-three pounds. Take your measurements at night, after dinner when your body is at its maximum size for that day and do your fittings at the same time if possible.

3) If it doesn’t feel right, it’s wrong
This rule applies in several ways. Firstly, when you are shopping for fabric, take the time to drape the fabric across the inside of your wrist which is much more sensitive than your hands. If the fabric feels rough, uncomfortable or just “not right”, keep shopping. Secondly, when pin fitting a pattern, if the fit feels wrong, it is wrong. Either make some adjustments or try a different pattern.

4) THOU SHALT TEST EVERY PATTERN WITHOUT FAIL!!
Lol! Okay, I just did the online equivalent of shouting but honestly that question has come up one time too many times for this instructor. Your time, money, effort and creativity deserve the small effort of making a muslin. Once the task is done, only minor change are needed unless there is a major change in size (see the Second Commandment)

5) Look Before You Leap
Pattern Review.com has assembled the largest online database of pattern reviews in the world. I know how deliciously tempting those $.99 patterns can be, (I have drawers full of them) but the best approach is to make a list of patterns that you like, check the reviews and once you are satisfied that the pattern will work for you, shop on! :))

6) Keep Natural Laws on Your Side
Gravity. Momentum. Inertia. When sewing, sew on a flat surface. Whether you have treated yourself to a top of the line custom cabinet or you’re using a piece of foam from the hardware store, or something in between, let the table hold the weight of the fabric for you. The best way to keep large projects for slipping away, weighing you down or downright hurting your shoulders, wrists and back, is to make sure that the project is properly supported. Using a comfortable chair will reduce fatigue and strain and make your sewing time more rewarding.

7) Take Joy In the Journey
Yup. It’s true. Taking the time to baste, make a muslin, pin fit, search for the right fabric, buttons, linings etc., will bring better results than rushing through. When time is short, remind yourself, “I am worth it” and put the project aside and come back to it when you have time to focus. You will reap the rewards of your patience in the end

8) The Strength of a Team far Outweighs the Sum of the Individual Parts
The Internet is flooded with all kinds of tutorials, online classes (shameless plug here: naturally I’d love it if you take some of mine!). Plus, there are how-to videos, books and DVDs galore. The point is, if you need help, there is plenty to be had, just ask. A frustrating project can turn into a conversation point in a forum, and not only get the help you need; but you might be able to help someone else along. Also, remember that The Sewist Club has a contact page, and I am always happy to help if I can. 🙂

9) Protect Your Creativity like Your Child
Your time and talents are gifts from above and in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to push aside the Human Being and become a Human Doing. Sewing, like any other hobby or creative outlet, is meant to be enjoyable. Book some “me time” with your hobby and protect it like a precious child. We are only given 24 hours in each day, make sure to use some of them to express yourself, whether it is at the machine, shopping online, looking for new ideas or just day dreaming about your next project. The workplace, dust bunnies and dishes will still be there when you get to them:)

10) Good Ingredients Yield Good Results
I left this until last because it is actually the least important. Buying a good quality sewing machine, nice fabrics and notions is simply common sense. But the best ingredients can come to nought if the hands are rushed, the mind is stressed or the body is out of harmony. Yes, good fabrics count for a lot, but loving the skin you’re in counts for so much more.

Happy Sewing!
Natalie