Sunday, March 31, 2013

McCall's 6078: this foot is made for walking

McCall's 6078 done
I was in need of some "instant gratification" sewing, and McCall's 6078 fit the bill.(Pictured here with my J Stern Designs jeans, and bathroom clutter.)

It was a PR "pattern of the year" in 2011, and I saw Bonnie wearing it at PR weekend last year and had to have it. I'm always in search of a good cowl.
McCall's 6078 in progress
There is some swayback pooling but in this fabric, it doesn't bother me.
McCall's 6078 done

With View C, you can move the contrast loops up or down to change the shape of the cowl.

It's still too deep for me. These pix are "carefully adjusted".
McCall's 6078 done

I'm thinking, there must be a way to change the pattern so the cowl isn't so deep.  Cowls always want to fall into a V naturally on me instead of an arc....Also, in its current state, if you bend over, the world can see down your shirt, easily.
McCall's 6078 in progress  
I have an idea and will test it soon... it seems like it's better when I hike up the inside of the strap for about an inch above the loop.

 Anyhoo, I used a walking foot for the first time.
McCall's 6078 in progress
My friend Debbie showed me how to use one in January. This fabric needed it, it's an ITY that I bought with Vanessa in Atlanta last year, one that I was scared to death to work with. Turns out this scary looking contraption foot is easy, the hard part is the boatload of patience to sew sooo slowly (my instruction manual said to "sew at a speed between slow and medium". I bumped it up to medium. )

I even used it on my twin needle hem. 
McCall's 6078 in progress
A whole new world has been opened to me....I can see more ITY knits in my future.

Oh hey, look, here's a pic of the fabric I bought in Atlanta last year--I've actually sewn 2 of the 3 fabrics up, woo-hoo! (the clock fabric is an apron, sewn last summer...)
fabric and elastic purchases, ahoy!
I made more cookies tonight. Last week I shared too many cookies and didn't keep enough for myself. This week, I'm holding on.
Nestle Toll House cookies with walnuts from scratch 3/31/13
Hope you had a great holiday! Be well!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

McCall's 4664 skull cap: done

So I am still working on the muslins for the Sewaholic Renfrew top and Thurlow trousers.  Jennifer Stern is helping me with the top via her "fit the tee to a t" class on PR, and Angela Wolf is helping me with the trousers via "Altering Pants" on PR.    I think I paid $27 each for these classes, and have definitely received more than $27 worth of help on each!   I will start muslin #3 of the Renfrew (determined not to have armpit wrinkles!) and here's muslin #5 of the Thurlows:

Thurlow Muslin #5
Thurlow Muslin #5
I had grand plans to start the third renfrew muslin this afternoon, but made this skull cap and took a gigantic nap instead:
McCall's 4664
Yes, the first day of spring was on Wednesday, but I still need another winter cap. I've made this before in brown, and then pink .  This time I wanted something more subdued....
McCall's 4664
It's supposed to be hemmed 2" but I like it to completely cover my ears, so I only hem with 1". McCall's 4664
Also it was the first time I have ever, ahem, used the "stretch stitch", though I guess I should have been using this stitch all along on every knit garment.... There, confession is complete!
It looks like an italicized zig zag:
stretch stitch
Here's a quick sample:
stretch stitch
stretch stitch
and because of it's italicized zig-zagginess, it allows the stitch to stretch with the fabric instead of breaking the thread.
So even on something really simple, I learned something new.

Oh,and I had to laugh, I had plans to make this cap before Christmas, and bought the fleece during one of Joann's big sales. I had guessed I'd just need a third of a yard.

Joke was on me:
McCall's 4664 oops
That's the center strip. OOPS.  Totally forgot about that.
I folded the pattern piece in half and then cut two center pieces and sewed together.
It worked.
I braided my hair for this shot:
McCall's 4664
I didn't feel like cooking tonight, so I baked instead:
My specialty, Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies with walnuts, from scratch 

It's supposed to snow tmw, but here are some lovely daffodils from the supermarche:
I love spring! It's my favorite season! Daffodils!
Be well!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How I wore McCall's 6518

Awwww...thank you for all your kind comments about McCall's 6518. Wow Jenny, is it really my best dress?  I think it might be!  Definitely my most elegant dress.

I have worn it to work on Monday *and* today (I got away with that because today I went to an off-site work event that none of my direct co-workers were at.  And I unexpectedly won an award at this event so I was photographed in my new dress, yay!).

I thought I'd show you how I styled it (though I actually wore it with my hair down).  Gray cardi, gray tights, black Mary Janes.  Kathy suggested black sheer stockings but those are currently out of my stock. of stockings.  So, gray tights it was!

Here I am channeling Marisa from New Dress A Day.  Can't quite get my hair into a top-knot like she does, but I felt the pose was vintage Marisa.
McCall's 6518 worn twice in one week!
Here it is, without the cardi
McCall's 6518 worn twice in one week!
And hee for your comments asking why I was vacuuming in the dress. It was because I had the dress on and then decided to quickly vacuum for the photo shoot.

It's a very comfy dress to wear.  No one said anything to me about the dress today, but on Monday I got a lot of nice comments from my co-workers.

If you missed the post with the detailed pix, it's in this post...

Be well!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

McCall's 6518 DONE!

McCall's 6518 DONE
Oh yes. It is DONE baby. Done.
McCall's 6518 DONE
I even signed it with embroidery floss, and dated.
McCall's 6518 DONE
I actually vacuumed the house in the dress this morning. I decided for a mid-morning photo shoot so there would be some good light and no shadows.
McCall's 6518 DONE
Well, here's a photo from yesterday with shadows, that shows how bad the back is. I think I can live with it, but just barely.
McCall's 6518 DONE
I think I took too much of a swayback tuck. Hmmm...
Anyway, here are more pix....
McCall's 6518 DONE
Some are from this morning, so no shadows...some are from yesterday afternoon, so with shadows.
McCall's 6518 DONE
Love the ruffles
McCall's 6518 DONE
Here's the ruffle underbelly, so you can see what's going on:
McCall's 6518 DONE
So what I did was use the rolled hem foot to hem the outer edge, and serged the inner edge. I applied fray check to the serged edge, then clipped so I could sew the ruffle on to the dress in a reverse curve. So I hope that the serging and fray chekcing keeps everything nice and neat under there.

Back on Izzy:
McCall's 6518 DONE
Side on Izzy:
McCall's 6518 DONE
Front on Izzy:
McCall's 6518 DONE
So, first time items with this dress:
 Oh, and I decided not to shape it.  A belt is a possibility.

Thanks for seeing me through til the end!  Now back to my sewaholic muslins (renfrew and thurlow).  With maybe a little gingham pajama top action thrown in.

Be well!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Machine blind hemming mini-tutorial

This is the penultimate post about McCall's 6518, I swear!

I was really having difficulty with blind hemming last Sunday.  It was my first attempt and I could NOT get the hang of it.  I tried for about 2 hours on scraps while watching YouTube and Craftsy videos.

I tried again Thursday night with limited success.

I tried again today after a two hour nap. BINGO!

So I'm calling this a mini-tutorial because it's all the things the videos I watched didn't mention or didn't emphasize enough.

Most tutes show how the blind hem stitches straight for about 3 stitches, then zig zags once to catch the folded fabric. And the tutes show "the flip" multiple times. I'm not showing that here. I'm just showing the additional "goods".

First, have a two hour nap or be otherwise well-rested.  Don't be in a hurry to finish the item you've been working on for 40 hours.  Stretch.   Then, pin up the hem. The pin heads should be directed like this (see, on the serged/raw edge of fabric):
Blind hemming....
Why?  So that when you make "the flip", the pins are easy to remove.

Then I ironed the folded edge and used a clapper to set the fold.

Take some deep breaths.  Put your blind hem foot on your machine.  Set the stitch length and width.  On my new machine, it's stitch 17, and once I select that stitch, my new machine is showing me I need to use foot R, and it started as 0 width  and 2.0 length.  I changed this to -1 and 2.5. Honestly you have to practice to see how far over the zig zag should be to catch your fold but not too much of your fold.    Just pressing the left arrow once resulted in -1 which is fine for me, as long as I keep everything else "straight" (see below).  I had experimented with -2 and -3 but that was when I didn't know what I was doing.

Blind hemming....

Very important:  Put the raw/serged edge of fabric at the edge of the foot (no one said this on the videos I watched, but if I use the foot edge and fabric edge as a guide, it keeps things straight.  I guess you can use some other landmark on your presser foot or machine.  The edge of the foot worked for me).

The "fold" in the fabric should be kissing the flange.  At the same time, you're opening up the fabric to lie flat.  It makes more sense when you're doing this.
Here's another view:
Blind hemming....

Now go slowly. It's not a race.

Before you know it, it's done.  My machine wouldn't reverse on this stitch, it would just stitch in place if I tried to reverse.

So then it looked like this from the outside.  There are little tiny stitches from where the zigzag caught the folded edge.
Blind hemming....
I then ironed and used the clapper and the stitches disappeared quite a bit:
Blind hemming....
This is what it looks like from inside.  You can see the ___^___^___^ stitching just above my serged edge.
Blind hemming....

The dress is nearing completion! I have some hand sewing to do on the inside to tack the bodice lining to the bodice and sew the bodice lining to the zipper. So the final post on this dress should be tmw night!

You can see the blind hem in this photo of Izzy and me. I think in real life, it's not as noticeable:
Izzy and me
Oh, and here's something so good, I ate it up without freezing any of it:

Hand-torn pasta alla bolognese
Hand-torn pasta alla bolognese from Now Eat This!  Italian by Rocco DiSpirito

Good night and be well!  Final dress post coming tmw!  Because I *am* finishing this dress before the weekend is over!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

McCall's 6518 *still* in progress, but nearing finish...

So my mission for today was to finish this dress, before the sun goes down, to get some good pix, and so I can move on with my life (er, rather, back to my Sewaholic Thurlow and Renfrew muslins).  And LinB, thanks for the cheerleading!  It turns out to not be too small, yay!

So, tossing all chores to the side, I started sewing at 9am and it still isn't done.  I decided to learn the blind hem technique on my sewing machine but it is not happening for me.  And there is some handsewing to be done on the inside.  And maybe some shaping to do... But I took some pix anyway....while the light is good...

McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
The hem is pinnedfor the photos.
McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
The light was bright!
McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
And the stash was deep....

There is some funkiness going on in the back of the dress...but I'm done playing with the back. I took a 1.25 wedge out for my swayback...
McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
On Izzy..
McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
Still loving the ruffles.
Ok, the bathroom shots...
McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
I think it needs some shaping to make it cuter.
McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
I thnk this goes to show, A-line is the way to go for me. Straight sheaths do not look as good on me as the A-line...but I don't think I'll be able to breathe sitting down if I shape it, ha ha.

Oh, so  I had added 5/8 to the neckline and here's how I did taking my new clover double tracing wheel out for a spin.

McCalls 6518 *still* in progress
Seeing double!
Above I am tracing the pattern onto the black lining (so I'm using white wax tracing paper) and raising the neckline by 5/8 at the same time.  It's adjustable...I could have raised it up to 1.25" in one swoop.  Pretty amazing.

The wax tracing paper is the biz.  Leslie first wrote about it on her blog, and I bought it from Richard the Thread (rolled up, must buy 9 sheets of paper, 3 of 3 colors) but you can also buy it from Fashionable Stitch (comes folded, but you can buy one sheet at a time).  There is a HUGE advantage to using the wax tracing paper, which is that the sheets are huge and the markings actually transfer, unlike the little strips of paper from Joann's.  However, you have to be careful with the wax, it is marking your fabric and while I have seen the iron remove the white dots from black fabric, I have some red markings on the right side of my turquoise fabric because I wasn't careful....

Here you can see the two lines of the neckline on the left side...the original cutting line and my new raised cutting line...
McCall's 6518 *still* in progress
So I think I will do some chores or whatever now, and go back to the blind hem-ness later tonight or next weekend....
So as the sun sets on Izzy..
As the sun sets on Izzy...
Be well and good night...