Thursday, February 28, 2013

McCall's 6518: the back in progress

McCall's 6518 in progress: the back
Here's the far as I got tonight. I am a little worried that it is too small even after 2 muslins...I might baste it together tmw night sans lining, install a quick and dirty invisible zip, and see what's what.

I sewed much of it during the PR commercials tonight.

My tailor's ham and clapper are making a big difference. Hurrah for that!!  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

McCall's 5618: making progress

McCall's 6518 in progress (front sewn together & pinned to my dress form)
So tonight I serged the midriff front band and front skirt, then sewed it it is pinned on Izzy.  (New name for my dressform:  Isabella; nickname Izzy).

Next up: sewing the back.
Still to go:
  • cutting out lining.
  • serging lining.
  • sewing lining
  • sewing lining to dress
  • inserting zipper 
  • hem
  • gleeful photoshoot
 I have a crazy idea to start a new blog about cooking my way through Rocco DiSpirito's cookbooks...hmmmm...
Rocco DiSpirito's asparagus with pecorino romano
Monday night I made his asparagus with pecorino romano. Really loved it. YUM!
Be well!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

McCall's 6518: ruffliciousness in progress

McCall's 6518 in progress
Thanks for your comments on my rolled hem post.    Give it a whirl and don't expect to get it right the first time--give yourself 60 or 90 minutes to play.   I bought my foot off ebay last summer as part of a variety pack of feet.

I finalized the fit of my muslins from last week. I made two muslins, size 12 and size 14, and have settled on a hybrid of the two, more like a "13" in the bodice grading to 14 at the hip. In the 12 I was getting a "ducktail" look in the side view derriere, and this was because I needed more room at the hip.   Grading out to 14 there was the resolution.  Easier fix than I anticipated.

I cut out the exterior of the dress. It has a lot of pieces and I was somehow overwhelmed working in my fashion fabric, which is from Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak, Michigan, purchased on the way from the airport to the American Sewing Expo last September.

Then I needed to switch my serger threads from brown to black to do some pre-serging of raw edges, especially for the underside of the ruffles.. I always get a little sweaty palmed at the idea of cutting my serger threads and threading from scratch, but I did it!

I had read (somewhere, sorry I don't remember, it might have been from the serger class on PR) that the loopers use more thread than the needles in the serger--here I can see that is true! So when you rethread your machine, put the cones with less thread on the needles and put the cones with more thread on the loopers to "even out" the thread usage a bit.
serger thread:  looper cones use more thread than needle cones
I rethreaded and yay, it ran a great stitch the FIRST time!! Confidence boosted!
I did it!
Then it was back to my old machine to do a narrow hem on the ruffles:
McCall's 6518 in progress
Here's the underside:
McCall's 6518 in progress
Tension 6, stitch width a little over 2, stitch length 1.5 (on my old machine)
McCall's 6518 in progress
And from the front:
McCall's 6518 in progress
Before ironing:
McCall's 6518 in progress
After ironing:
McCall's 6518 in progress
You can see the underside of the fabric on the ruffle, so be aware of that if you choose to sew this pattern:
McCall's 6518 in progress

So I've switched up my routine a bit. I've been working on a few home projects in addition to my sewing on the weekends. So the past few weeks I have cooked early in the week instead of on the weekend.  Here's what I made last Monday night (Gwen, it's vegetarian!)
Low cal fettucine alfredo from Rocco DiSpirito
The mishaps I had while cooking this dish (fettucine alfredo with asparagus from "Now Eat This Italian") are blog post worthy, maybe I'll write about it sometime.  It still turned out tasty anyhow.

Be well and good night!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

McCall's 6518 muslin: rolled hem extravaganza

McCalls 6518 in progress
McCalls 6518 in progress, size 12 above

I have a bit of sewing ADD right now.  I'm "working" on three projects at once, which is unusual for me.  Usually I work on one project at at time.:
  1. Sewaholic Thurlow trouser muslin (will soon start muslin #5.)
  2. Sewaholic Renfrew top (Started muslin #2, will soon start muslin #3.  Thanks for all your suggestions regarding armhole wrinkles, Jennifer Stern is helping me fit this via the PR class Fitting The Tee to a T, check out this photo to see part of the solution!)
  3. McCall's 6518 dress muslins #1 (size 12) and #2 (size 14)
I saw the McCall's dress last summer.  I needed to learn how to use the narrow (or rolled) hem foot on a curved edge to finish the ruffles.  I learned last summer how to use the narrow hem foot on a straight edge for this dress.

On Saturday I started with a free Craftsy class about sewing machine feet, but it only covered using the foot on a straight edge.  Then I found a great BrianSews video on using the narrow hem foot on a curved edge. Perfect!    I spent an hour playing around and "perfecting" the technique.

Here's what works for me:
  • short stitch length (1.5 on my old Baby Lock--my new machine doesn't have this foot)
  • stitch width of around 2
  • tension of 2
  • use the narrowest foot (the 1/8", not the larger one I have--going around a curve with that foot resulted in a mess)
  • go slow! it's not a race.
  • and follow Brian's directions.  Basically, your fabric entering the slot must not be wider or smaller than the slot, otherwise, trouble! 
So here's how the ruffle began:
McCalls 6518 in progress
And here's how it looked as I was sewing it with the rolled hem foot.  You can see how the foot rolls the fabric under to be stitched down.  Sweet!
McCalls 6518 in progress
Cute, right?
McCalls 6518 in progress
The front side:
McCalls 6518 in progress
Here's what it looks like straight from the machine (and unironed):
McCalls 6518 in progress
Nice front:
McCalls 6518 in progress
Here's the underside:
McCalls 6518 in progress
Here's an underside where the fabric width exceeded the slot length. Those little bits can be cut off with double bent embroidery scissors.
McCalls 6518 in progress
SO, here's the three tiered ruffle before ironing:
McCalls 6518 in progress
and after ironing:
McCalls 6518 in progress
And then on the dress:
McCalls 6518 in progress
And close up:
McCalls 6518 in progress
As it turns out, I think the 12 is fine on top but too small on the bottom (I'm not showing you what the back of this dress looks like--it's very goofy--not enough ease for sure in the hip/derriere area). Since I already started the 14 bodice, I will put the 14 skirt on the 14 bodice and see if the back looks any better. If so, I will make a 12 grading to 14 in the hip in the real deal.

Anyway, the rolled hem (or narrow hem) foot is a pretty sweet foot.  

I had breakfast for dinner.  I even had orange juice--that's another unusual thing for me.  I made the lasagna again by the way last week--it is THAT good.
McCalls 6518 in progress
Be well! Good night!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sewaholic Renfrew Top view C: how do you get rid of armpit wrinkles?

Sewaholic Renfrew Top DONE
I love a good cowl.

I started a muslin of Sewaholic Renfrew Top, view C, size 8, today.  I was striving for "wearable muslin"...mission accomplished!

When I first basted it together, it looked like this, lots of armpit wrinkles, it was riding up and it felt too tight to wear, defeating the purpose of the wearable muslin:

I then undid the side seam and sleeve basting and ripped out the most beautiful sleevecaps I had ever sewn. I then resewed the armhole seam almost a full half inch over, while retaining the original seam allowance of the sleeve. I also sewed the side seams as 3/8 instead of 5/8 SA, and voila, there were less wrinkles:

But how do I get rid of the wrinkles? KID MD suggested on twitter that I lower the armhole then cut another sleeve wider to fit.  That means cutting another muslin.  So I did the things as I wrote above,  as I not only wanted a wearable muslin, I wanted a finished wearable muslin today.

Here it is, done. (hands on hips is another way to get rid of armpit wrinkles)
Sewaholic Renfrew Top DONE
I love the sleeve bands when I didn't think I would. I'm not sure about the band on the bottom. I might take that off and use a stretch twin needle for a regular hem.

There's a touch of swayback pooling that I think I can reduce on my next muslin:
Sewaholic Renfrew Top DONE
Yeah, not sure about that bottom band.  But hey, I'm wearing the brown J Stern Designs corduroy jeans I made, yay!
Sewaholic Renfrew Top DONE

This was also my first time using my seam roll and stand from Stitch Nerd. Honestly, where have you been all my life?

I used the seam roll for pressing seams, including pressing open the sleeve bands.

Here,the sleeve band is on the roll, waiting to be pressed
Stitch Nerd Seam Roll and Stand
I then pressed it with a pressing cloth and iron:
Stitch Nerd Seam Roll and Stand
and then used the Angela Wolf clapper to set the press:
The Angela Wolf Clapper, Stitch Nerd Seam Roll and Stand
Look at that, gorgeously pressed open seam:
Stitch Nerd Seam Roll and Stand
I folded the band in half and then used the seam roll for pressing a crease horizontally so as to not create a crease vertically.
Stitch Nerd Seam Roll and Stand
Pretty sweet! It was also my first time using gigantic sheets of wax tracing paper, another concept that has changed my life, but I'll save that for another time.
Be well!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sewing related wall hanging suggestions?

Sorry, some of these are cell phone pix.  My group moved to a new building, so I have a new office. 
I still need to get a plant stand and bring my orchids back to the office.
I bought a boatload of Martha Stewart Home Office products (all the aqua colored stuff on my desk) and some new notebooks, squee!
And I'm back into the "flowers at work" thing:
I love it even more than my old office. And the location is much better. SO MANY POSITIVE THINGS.

I went a little overboard with baskets, but have settled on this combination: brown, aqua and pink. If only Martha had big boxes or baskets to match the stuff on the desk, I would have gone Martha all the way.  But her boxes were 3" tall.  That's not enough for my stuff.
I love how the glass in the door frames the coat--I can imagine hanging dresses here for photos like museum pieces, ha ha:
My new office!!
I have some large blank spaces on the walls. I'm looking for sewing-related wall hanging suggestions. Like, the cover of a sewing book, blown way up, was the first thing that came to mind. But it's not like I want Pants for Real People watching over me.   Vogue's Book For Better Sewing?  Suggestions??blank canvas
Here's another blank wall:
blank canvas
And another:
blank canvas
Please let me know your ideas!!
Be well!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cute t-shirt refashion FAIL

I took a 2 week break from sewing, but started back up with my Sewaholic Thurlow trouser muslin yesterday.  From the front and side, they look pretty good.  The back needs some more work, still.

In other news, I had a cute shirt refashion in mind today.  Here's how it wound up:

t-shirt refashion
I had the cutest post I was going to write about my cute shirt refashion. The shirt was too big, now it's too small and my attempts to make it just right are a big FAIL.

I'm thinking next weekend I will try sewing the Sewaholic Renfrew shirt. Any tips about the sizing???

Tonight I cooked Rocco DiSpirito's Baked Ziti from "Now Eat This Italian"
Rocco DiSpirito's baked ziti

I made it after dinner so it will be for lunch tmw. I tweeted it and Rocco retweeted it and he is now following me, yay! He has retweeted other pix of food I have made of his before. Twitter  is fun and I wish I could get my latest tweets working in the side bar of my blog again.


Here are the flowers I bought this week at Whole Foods. These are green dianthus. They are a delight to look at and to touch!
green dianthus
It just so happens that I have a green vase from my mom that matches them:
For some reason, it makes me think of the Lorax.
Good night and be well!