Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Simplicity 1314: done!

The fall colors at Princeton

Soooo....thank you for all of your comments regarding the post in which I asked "am I done or not done with S1314?"  You all agreed, call it a dress.  And so I did.    I have worn it to work twice now.  The first time was with dark brown stockings and brown Mary Janes but my coworker felt the brown was too dark for the dress and was pulling the eye downward too much--but I didn't take a picture.

Yesterday I wore it with medium-gray stockings and black Mary Janes, and a long light gray cardi.
Here's a closer shot.
without the cardi

And here's the back.  I'm letting my quest for back perfection go with this one.  :)

sewing the princess seam of S1314
And this is a "note to self" in case I make this dress again--Deborah from Simplicity showed me how to sew this seam in her booth at the ASE as I was totally clueless with what to do with the seam allowance here.    As for the points in the front of the dress, she offered some tips that will be in her CreativeBug class on how to sew this dress.  Honestly I struggled with the points as I wound up with a 4 seam juncture because of the way I cut the waist seam completely all the way across.  I think I will buy the class when it becomes available (she estimated November) because I'm interested in seeing how to sew those points perfectly!

S1314 inside out
And here's the inside of the can see on the lower right side of the photo, how there's a bit of the cream flannel middle layer peeking out.  This is because I'm not a quilter and couldn't keep the three layers from shifting somewhat while quilting it.   Somehow I find that to be a fun secret on the inside of my dress and not an "I don't know what I'm doing" annoyance.

I'm just realizing I never sewed a tag for this dress--hmmmmm...

Be well!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Binder Clip Method of Fitting

Thank you for all your comments on my last post.  I think I'm actually going to wear the dress tmw and see what happens!!!  Also there are a lot of new-to-me people commenting on my blog--welcome!  I need to go check out your blogs!

So, this post is for you Summer Flies!

I wrote "The Binder Clip Method of Fitting" in the title like it's an actual method of fitting, but I've only seen one other person use binder clips before, on a blog several years ago (unfortunately I don't remember which blog).  I thought it was a great idea to use the clips instead of pins and generally have been doing so ever since.  I have generally been making muslins but I have some difficulty translating sway back alterations to the flat pattern.  Or sometimes I ignore things in the muslin that magically don't work themselves out in the real deal.  So I make the muslin for basic sizing and then fit the back in the real deal, generally, using my binder clip system.

Why binder clips and not pins?
  • Pins are, as my acupuncturist would say, "ouchy".
  • Pins also have a tendency to fall out.
  • Binder clips are relatively strong and stay in place when I take the garment off and on.
  • Binder clips come in many sizes so you can change your seam allowances as you go (if you'd like), or use the same size clips but don't clip them in as far to create less seam allowance.
So here's how I clipped out the front wrinkles on S1314.  I have not seen these wrinkles on the other versions of S1314 that I've seen but there they were on my body so here you go....

I have been using flickr for editing but it cuts off the words on the edge when it saves it...hence "vrinkles" instead of "wrinkles".

Anyway, it was kind of like those wrinkles wanted to make their own "pocket".  :)

I got out my clips and start clipping.  Look at that, the wrinkles went away!  So the length there in that area is too long for me. Another guess as suggested by ASE friends could be the weight of that front panel, since it is quilted...but those wrinkles were in my non-quilted muslin and I thought they were because I didn't know how to sew the point.

This pattern only had a waist seam across that middle panel front and back, so to "fix" this I created a waist seam on the side front and side back panels, via the binder clips.

From this point on it's basically like fitting with pins....I turn it inside out with the binder clips still on the outside.    I use tailor's wax to mark where the binder clips are.  I prefer wax for interior marking because it doesn't brush off like chalk.

Then I remove the clips. This looked pretty wonky so I straightened/evened it out a bit (no picture of that)...but you can see I needed more taken out from the front panel than the back panel, so when I straightened/evened it out, I graded it down in the back.

I then basted it together and tried it on, did some more tweaking....and realized I had not serged the side seams/princess seams.
So I opened that horizontal seam just enough to serge the side and princess seams, then sewed the horizontal seam.

Simplicity 1314
So look at that!  No wrinkles in that area!

But maybe you're wondering how I clip to my back....that's where the bathroom mirror comes in handy.
Jalie 2921 in progress: dinosaur!
The dinosaur!

This one is Jalie 2921 that I sewed in 2010.  I used the binder clips to create a CB seam for swayback.  The problem was it went through their very clever collar!  but I did it anyway to get a better fit.

I just reach around to the back and start clipping, then straighten it out when I take it off, then put it back on again.

The next time I fit for swayback on a dress by creating a horizontal waist seam I'll take more detailed photos but basically I clip two clips, one on each side of my lower back, with the approx location of the seam I want to create.  I take it off and then binder clip out to almost nothing at the side seam.   I try it back on with all those clips and look in the mirror.  I then adjust as needed, mark it with wax on the inside, baste and try on again.
clipped V8571
I have also used big binder clips for decreasing bodice length, like the Vogue dress above.  In my muslin I had used the 14 with a 12 at the shoulder and it was too big all over, but especially too long in the bodice for me--without those clips the underbust seam was way too low.  When I recut the bodice I used a size 8 in the shoulder which brought the whole top part up (I now know how to fix that officially after taking Joi's Fast Track Fitting class at the ASE).

Let me know if you're going to try this method the next time you sew, or if you have any questions.

Be well!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Simplicity 1314: done or not done?

Simplicity 1314
Does this view make my dressform look tall?
Simplicity 1314
I spent pretty much all day working on Simplicity 1314 and I had to take some quick pix to show you where it's at.

Simplicity 1314

Simplicity 1314
Well, they were quick pix.  This is the only one  I took from the side.
Simplicity 1314
I'm pretty ok with the front now, and the front points.
Seriously, it's not going to get any better than that.
Simplicity 1314
It's the back that I'm concerned about and I'm not sure I can just binder clip a solution.  Should I attempt to fix it next weekend?
Simplicity 1314
Or should I use this kludgey, duct taped solution and call it a dress?
Simplicity 1314
Or should I focus on the good parts instead?
Simplicity 1314
The quilting is pretty awesome for the first time I've ever quilted.  More about that process here.
Simplicity 1314
I bound the neckline instead of using facings
Simplicity 1314
I twin needle stitched the hem
Simplicity 1314
I serged most of the inside with my new serger, the BabyLock Enlighten
Simplicity 1314
...except for that horizontal line in the front panel--that was with my old serger
Simplicity 1314
Soooo..the new serger is pretty awesome.  When I serged the CB seam, it glided over a very thick fabric intersection that would have made my old serger go clunk-clunk-clunk and then a thread would have broken....or it would have started wrapping the fabric over instead of cutting it off, etc etc etc.  The Enlighten serged right over it no problem!  (I cannot wait to serge embroidered fabric with it--my old serger *hated* embroidered fabric!!!  Clunk clunk clunk snap)

I do have to play with the DF on the Enlighten a bit to get non-wavy results.  No matter the setting I had my DF on, it always made slightly wavy seams that the Elna Press did not eliminate.

I intend to show you next post how I binder clipped out the wrinkles on the side front panel--it will answer your question, Summer Flies!  (Spoiler alert--yes, I clip it out myself and I will describe how)
PFM flowers (lisianthus) from 10/9/14.  They have a Victorian, rosey feel but they're not roses.

Ok, what do you think I should do with the back?
a) leave it as is--don't cover it up--it's beautiful
b) try to fix/improve it
c) wear it with a cardi
d) other

Be well!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

It's here! My new Baby Lock Enlighten

Me and My BabyLock Enlighten
Thanks for all your comments on sergers--new, used, Baby Lock, Juki, industrial--all good points!

It happened today darlings!!!

Dad and I went to American Sew and Vac in Princeton, NJ, very conveniently located, to buy his birthday/Christmas combo present to me:  A Baby Lock Enlighten serger.  Thank you Dad!!!

Dad carrying my Enlighten
Dad carrying my new serger into my sewing room

Opening it up!
Me opening the box
running the white thread out
Running out the white thread it was threaded with
unwrapping the maxilock thread
Unwrapping the "vibrant turquoise" MaxiLock thread
what do I do?
reading the manual on how to thread it
Hey!  The first stitches I've made!
My first run of the serger!
Me and My BabyLock Enlighten
Such a good serger!
My sewing machine collection

Mark, the guy who sold us the machine, asked what sewing machine I have, and I said I have 3 of them, to which he replied, "You really sew!"


My collection of machines, left to right:

  • Baby Lock Enlighten serger
  • Mom's Singer from 1964 --one of her wedding presents--the machine I learned to sew on til I was 18
  • My Baby Lock sewing machine from 1994 --my high school graduation present--sewed on it half my life until...
  • My Brother Project Runway machine from 2012 -- Christmas gift from my parents--my only computerized machine
  • My White Speedylock (estimated to be from 1994) --freebie from a former coworker circa 2009-ish?

first Englighen shoulder seam
Above is my first Enlighten serged garment seam: Simplicity 1314 (the quilted dress)
And I made some progress on fitting S1314.
By having a waist seam all the way across, it means no more drag lines ! !!!
But, that "point" is a bit wonky....need to work some magic on each "point" tmw.  I'm limiting myself  tmw to 30 min per point or 2 hours....whatever it looks like after 2 hours is how it will be, then I move on to finishing the dress.

Thanks again Dad!!!

Be well!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Look 6071 part 1: the back

New Look 6071
(Thanks for all your comments about sergers!  I'm taking them all under advisement!)

I have a lot to say about this dress, New Look 6071, so I'm going to break this into a few posts.

Here's how I fit the back of the dress.

It's a double knit dress, with a dartless back with a CB seam.

When I first made this dress, I added 2 darts in the back and maybe overfitted it a bit.  It's my favorite knit dress though and I've worn it quite a lot.

This time I tried the darts but it looked bad (no picture of that)

I ripped out the darts and it looked like this, back to start, with just a CB seam:

Before with swayback issues

So I got out the handy dandy binder clips and got to work.
binder clip straight across
That's much better, but that has nothing to do with the front.
binder clip, clipping slightly upward to meet the crossover lines on the front
So I clipped it to curve it up to meet the stylelines in the front.
It adds some new drag lines but I like that it connects this new line in the back to the line in the front.
So now it's sewn:
After, sewn up

And here is the before and after:


Not perfect, but MUCH better.

And here's what it looks like on the side:

New Look 6071

Does anyone else fit with binder clips?
Be well!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Life-altering news: I need your advice!

current serger ugliness
I would have written a post asking what is going on in the picture above...that results in this....
New Look 6071
and then asked how to fix it...but....

So when we were in New York, I announced to ATP over dinner that I had some big news to share with her.   Her eyes widened in that way that eyes widen when people think they are about to hear huge life-altering news, which is very much what this is:

I am getting a serger that threads itself and adjusts its own tension, as a combination birthday/Christmas gift from my dad.

This is a very sweet and expensive and life-altering gift.

I am thinking of going with the BabyLock Enlighten.  I have seen it demoed a few times, most recently at the ASE, and it is pretty awesome.

My questions to you:
1.  When is the right time to buy it for the best deal?  This weekend is Columbus Day weekend, will there be dealer sales?  Would it be better to wait until December in the weeks before Christmas?  Or doesn't it matter?

2.  Is there a different serger I should be considering instead of the BabyLock Enlighten?  Different brand?  Different model?  (I have read a few reviews on PR and I don't care that it doesn't come with the cutting catcher--my current serger has one and I've never used it).

3.  I thought these kinds of sergers did everything, including adjusting their own differential feed, but it appears that they do not.    Is that true that I still have to adjust the DF?  Part of my frustration with my current serger is figuring out the DF on every knit, in every direction I will be serging (crosswise, lengthwise AND diagonal) and taking into account if I'm serging one layer or two, if I'm cutting the edge or not cutting it.   It takes a lot of time and tweaking to get it to be where I want it to be for most scenarios (which is to say, completely flat).  Will I still have to tweak this with the Enlighten?

4.    Sometime in the future I would like to get a coverstitch.  If you have an all-in-one serger and coverstitch (like the BabyLock Ovation or Evolution), do you like it or would you prefer having separate machines?

Ok, let me know!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

American Sewing Expo 2014 Recap in 22 pictures

Soooo....I went to the American Sewing Expo last weekend for a looong weekend.  Here's the recap in pictures:
Fast Track Fitting Live with Joi Mahon (Thursday, 9-5pm)
I'm wearing a RTW shirt with my New Look 6843 skirt.
Anna Christina, me and Joi Mahon
What the class looked like
Being fit by Joi
Baste it, Anna Christina!  Baste it!
Can I just say thank you to Anna Christina for taking the class with me.  Classes are waaaay more fun with friends, especially when it comes to things like identifying each other's bust apex and bust curve.

Leather 101 with Kenneth King (Friday, 8:30-11:30am) and his doctor bag
I seriously want to sew a leather bag now. Sewing with leather is much easier than I ever imagined. Just don't mess up.
And of course Kenneth was his usual witty and entertaining self.
In the Simplicity booth with Deborah from Simplicity and Connie.  Deborah helped me with my Simplicity 1314 quilted dress!  I brought it with me for her advice.  Now I know how to finish it off.  Thank you Deborah for helping me!!!

I'm wearing New Look 6071 above.  I haven't blogged it yet but will soon!
Connie won second place in the half scale dressform challenge!  Congrats Connie!  Hers is the pink Coco Chanel ensemble. She hand beaded it.  Sorry it came out so blurry!
On Sunday they moved Grand, First, Second and Third prize winners to the top level.       Now you can see her winning outfit much more clearly!
Me at the McCall's booth in Vogue.  I talked with Meg Carter who does the social media for McCalls.  She introduced me to the head honcho for McCalls and mentioned my blog name.  Should I change my blog name?  Hmmmm...anyway, I wish I had been more prepared when I met the head honcho.  Wish I had said that I appreciate how much they are reaching out the home seamster.  I told Kathy the day before.  She had led the focus group I was in the prior year, where I mentioned I wanted them to be on they are and my blog was one of the ones they started following their first day online.  Yay!  Kathy says it takes time but they do listen and implement changes.

Anyhoo, I'm wearing Vogue 8571.
Me with Gertie.  I bought her new book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.

With Rhonda Pearce from Schmetz Needles.  LOVE her sparkly shirt.

Lynnelle checking out the hem of at the McCalls booth, wearing her AMAZING Jalie jeans.

Trying on Joi's coat in the McCalls booth. That coat must have weighed about 15 pounds. HEAVY!
I *love* it when the pattern companies bring garments for us to try on (they were also in the fashion show).
Polar bear impression
The Claire Schaeffer Chanel jacket
The back of the Islander Sewing Systems Jacket Express jacket, size small. Just need a little swayback tuck.
The Islander Sewing Systems Motor City jacket in small.  It's the same fabric as Lynnelle's jeans.
I bought Mimi G's new patterns!  I asked and YES the pants are drafted for a pear shape--AWESOME.
I'm wearing Simplicity 1609.

What else?  Three dinners out (sorry I didn't get a picture with you Kristine!) and Passion for Fashion.  The Simplicity/New Look fashion show and the McCall's fashion show.  I went to one of Katherine Tilton's classes and found out she meditates!  Also went to Andrea Schewe's class about how she became a Simplicity designer.  Anna Christina gave me a dress that she made that fit me like it was made for me--how incredibly generous!!    She also bought a dressform.  I bought this:

Just a few odds and ends are missing from the pic above. The fabric is from Haberman's. Once again I drove straight from the airport to Haberman's.

Thanks to Anna Christina, Connie, Kristine, and Lynn for a great weekend!

Be well!