Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Crocheted Edges

Along with my hexi quilt, my rag rugs, and a couple of knitted rugs, I have been busy making this crocheted throw.  I am definitely one of those people who prefer knitting to crochet, but I thought a change of pace would be a good thing. 

After searching the Ravelry database for something suitable, I settled on this pattern.

I liked the idea that this particular design requires that the squares be connected as you work through the pattern.  That meant that there would be less joining to do at the end, and that appealed to me.

One of my favorite things is that, along with instructions written in prose, there is also this lovely diagram.  Without one of these, I tend to get lost in all the sc and dc in 3rd ch of turning ch, and ch-space, etc.  Whoever came up with this diagraming is a genius - it even looks like the finished product!

With such a clear set of instructions, it was a fairly quick project to make up.

The most tedious part was weaving all those ends in (which I anticipated, and was dreading).  In the end it wasn't all that bad.

And all that work was definitely worth it in the end.

I even find myself wanting to start hooking a new crochet project in the near future!  But for now, I am concentrating on that quilt.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Guest at a Wedding

Okay, so technically, I was not a guest at a wedding.  This was, in fact, my entry in The McCall Pattern Company's "Royal Wedding Sew Along."

The contest was exactly the motivation I needed to dive right into Butterick 6556 using a lovely upholstery fabric.

I ended up adding the belt + buckle, and I used the other rhinestone buckle to make myself a hair accessory.

Note to self:  hand sewing multiple layers of upholstery fabric is not a good idea, especially when a person has an aversion to using a thimble.

I am beginning to think that I am an old dog who cannot learn a new trick when it comes to thimbles. Perhaps one of these days I will spend a few hours trying to figure out just how to use one, but there are just so many more interesting things to do in the sewing room . . . and so many more interesting things to learn when it comes to sewing, right?!

It is also incredibly frustrating to have something that is second nature to me (like hand sewing) become awkward and clunky.  I do expect to do some hand quilting in the near future, so that may be the final push I need.

But back to this dress.  Yes, I love the pattern as much as I expected I would.

There is nothing earth shattering about the design, but it is classic, and very flattering.  I just adore a square neckline.

And no, I didn't win the contest.

But that's okay - because I have a new dress that I love!  And I suspect that I will be using this pattern again.  I have been meaning to make myself a pleated skirt, and this is high on the list of possibilities . . .

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cheerful Daisies

Last year, I decided I needed to try out View B of Butterick 6453.  And I actually managed to make myself a dress from said pattern.  Of course, I didn’t manage to blog about it in a timely fashion, but this warm weather reminded me that I should get through the photos of the finished dress.  (Seems much more appropriate than posting pictures of a wool skirt, right?!)  

As with the full skirted versions in my closet, this was a successful project, and this design continues to be a favorite.  But the main difference is actually one of the best parts, which is just how little fabric the straight skipped version requires!

So I cut into a small amount of cotton I picked up from a fabric swap, expecting this to be a wearable muslin.  Turns out, I really liked the dress.

So I finished edges, and added bra cups to the bodice lining.

And I hate a back slit, so I added a vent instead.

A hook and eye, and a couple of ribbon hangers later, and I had a new dress.

And now that warm weather has returned, you had better believe I will be pulling this dress out to wear!  I may even have to find that black and white cotton gingham that was going to be another version of this very dress.  How many is too many of the same dress in one closet, do you think?!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Upholstering the Body

I was given this length of upholstery fabric a few months ago, and immediately knew that I wanted to do something special with it.

Then Gertie released Butterick 6556 and I knew I had found the perfect match . . . if only I had enough yardage.  And by some miracle, I did!

The Royal Wedding Sew-Along that McCall is hosting was the motivation to get started!  I also thought I would step up the look with a couple of rhinestone pieces since this was a more fancy schmancy occasion.  The smaller of the two pieces is a buckle; the larger is actually a shoe clip, but I am missing the matching clip.  The idea was to add one to a belt and use the other for some kind of hair accessory.

With such a large scale print, I though it would be a good idea to match prints as much as possible.  And I had enough fabric to make my center back bodice line up nicely which was the spot I was most concerned about.

I am beginning to run out of solid colored cottons that I hoard from past projects to use for sew-in interfacing.  I have plenty of little pieces, but facings are often strangely shaped and take up more real estate than you might think.  This beige would not normally be my first choice of color for this print, but it means I am sewing with stash fabric, and that has become a bit of a mission around these parts.

Other than a bit of time and energy spent on pattern placement, this project went together very smoothly.  I gambled that the pattern would be a good fit with my standard adjustments, and everything turned out great.  In fact, this is a fabulous design, and if you think you might like the silhouette, grab yourself a copy because it's a keeper!

Then it was just a matter of finishing everything nicely with a little rayon seam binding.

I know a lot of people avoid quilting cottons and upholstery fabric for garment sewing, but I have really had amazing results with both.  For upholstery fabrics, I make sure to launder before sewing since some of them are treated with fire retardant chemicals that I would just as soon not have next to my skin.  And just look at the fabulous volume on the pleated skirt with no petticoat!

I also managed to eek out a bodice lining from some leftover bemberg rayon.  Hooray for stash busting!

I do wish that the lighter colored bemberg was not quite so sheer, but it is a lovely fabric to work with, so I continue to use it.

The neckline treatment on this dress is wonderful, and I wanted to get that center front notch just right, so I marked my stitching line with a fabric pen.

And while it may be a bit of a pain to match up every pleat with its corresponding dart or seamline, it is worth the effort.  I am beginning to think I need more pleated skirts in my life!  Gathers are fun, but pleats are so very chic!

I hand picked a lapped zipper for this dress.  The fabric is just a little too thick for me to be comfortable using an invisible zipper - those things can be super finicky with bulky seamlines, and I did not want to chance it.

And then, of course, the remaining raw edges get hidden behind a lining, or bound with seam binding.

I am quite pleased with how this one looks, inside and out.

And I will definitely be making another version at some point in the future.  There are quite a few finished dresses popping up on the internet, and I anticipate there will be many more of Butterick 6556 appearing in the near future.  This pattern is definitely a winner!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Feeling Scrappy

My rag rugs have gone a long way to lessen the amount of quilting cotton stashed away in my sewing room.

But just how small is too small when it comes to useful scraps?

Well, I now have an excuse to keep tiny pieces of cotton . . . a paper pieced quilt top!

Most of these fabrics were used to make dresses over the years, then my rag rug, and now, a hexie quilt.

This is going to be very time consuming, but so far, I am really enjoying the process.

It's the perfect excuse for tiny hand stitches - my favorite!

I have been using Gutermann quilting thread.  It's coated specifically for hand sewing to help keep tangles and knots at bay, and it is considerably stronger than a standard machine thread.

There is a lot of paper cutting, wrapping fabric scraps around tiny paper pieces, and miles and miles of hand sewing left, but I am looking forward to it!!