Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Difficult to Sew Knit Fabric - and how I tamed the wild beast.

I am currently sewing Simplicity 2369 - a knit dress with a wrap front with tie and buckle details. I bought the fabric from Ebay using a store I have previously purchased from. I have been generally happy with these buys and hence why I have gone back for more. The fabric is a wild and loud royal blue, grey, black and white abstract knit and I really like the design .
However when I went to sew with this , it was the fabric from hell- stitch repellant material. I was trying to sew using a slight zig-zag stitch as I have done previously and has been recommended innumerable times. But the stitches would not take. I changed the ( new ) ballpoint needle to a ( new ) stretch needle and still no luck.I also used some tear away stabilizer but not all the stitches worked and when I tore away the stabilizer it really pulled at the stitches ( besides you really can not use this on all those seams ) . I ended up sewing the initial seams with 2-3 rows until enough stitches were staying. I then came to sew the pleats in the front wrap detail and it was just a mess and looked horrible. I had ( evil ) thoughts of chucking this project away but I was determined to succeed.
The internet really can be wonderful and I came across a simple tip from Threads and gave this a try. It worked and the previously stitch repellant fabric from hell became putty in my hands.

Set the sewing machine stitch length to 3 and stitch width to zero. As you sew the seams,  gently stretch the fabric and it worked - ALL the stitches took , no skipped stitches.

The above photo shows what the stitching looks like - zig-zaggy and springy. On the other side the stitches look more `normal`. When you stretch the fabric, the stitches  straighten up . Having stitches that can stretch and move with knit fabric is of course important to prevent broken stitches. So thankyou to  the sewist who wrote this article and thankyou to Threads for publishing this on the internet. You have saved this dress from the rubbish. Cheers Janine .

P.S - We saw the Australian movie Red Dog and we highly recommend it- lovely and quirky but gosh at the end I had to use all my willpower not to sob out loud. ( I am a sook though - I cried at Walt Disney`s A Little Mermaid when she married her handsome Prince Eric ! ) . I was surprised to see at the end credits it was based on a book written by Louis deBernieres  who also wrote Captain Corelli`s Mandolin and Birds Without Wings.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Butterick Dress 5523 - Miaow .

Presenting Butterick 5523 - a knit dress pattern .I used an animal print knit -jaguar I believe, purchased from an Australian Ebayer. This is my attempt to try different clothing choices from my  usual fare - it seems to have passed the family fashion police test which is always a good start - I really do need all the help I can get .
This pattern is very very easy - I could have finished this in one day . The  busy print covers the features of this pattern which are an above waist closely fitted  bodice with pleats in both back and front skirt portions and small pleats in the sleeves where they meet the shoulder seams. It also has a large rolled collar .  The only reason I didn`t finish this in one day was to change my overlocker threads - not really hard when you get down to it but always seems a good reason to procrastinate !
I made two changes to the pattern - I lengthened the skirt portions by a good 12cm or a few inches - my legs are not up to above knee styles anymore . I also lengthened the sleeves but since this was such a quick tissue fit I didn`t allow enough for seams here - this actually ended up being fortuituous because I was forced to use fold over elastic to finish the sleeves and I like this look. One really good aspect of this dress is that it seems to conceal a bit of a tummy ( I may well be deluding myself here though )and is figure flattering .  Overall I love this pattern and am glad that I am experimenting a little - this will not be my last animal print outfit ( only because there is enough fabric left over to make a top ) .
Cheers Janine
PS- Very excited - my next project is to assist my eldest DD to make a skirt during the holidays  - the Vogue Issey Mikaye maxi skirt I muslined earlier this year. Fabric has been chosen and cut out with some small design changes she thought of herself.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Simplicity 3786- Third Time Lucky .

simplicity 3786 and cotton voile fabric 

close up of pintucks

inside seams of simplicity tunic 
Not really third time lucky , just the third time I have made this pattern but the first time it has ended up in my wardrobe having previously sewn a muslin and a version for my Mum.
I have been wanting to sew this for 2 years now - but you know how it is - too much to sew and too little time.
I am glad I finally did though. I love the little pintucks and the gently gathered  lower sleeves. The material is a cotton voile that just called out to me - I think it is the yellow colour and the smaller flowers outlined in taupe look vaguely native.
The pattern was easy once the pintucks were made - I just carefully mark and pin them - I do not have a pintuck foot.
THe only change I made was to shorten the tunic a few centimetres as I found it too long for my personal taste and I added some lace between the upper and lower sleeves.
I will definitely sew this pattern again - in a solid colour and want to try the other view as well.
Cheers for now , Janine.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

New Fabric and Patterns and Sewing Plans

I love reading and drooling and getting jealous about others fabrics and patterns.
I have been very virtuous this year and last bought fabric in April but could contain myself no longer.
The top picture shows a royal blue, black. grey and white print knit - I love it and there is enough for a dress.
The middle picture is an animal print knit - I am trying to be more adventurous or try different styles. Previously I have only had one animal print anything - a pair of snow leopard print ballet shoes .When I bought them my eldest DD said to me ` Mum that is the only trendy thing you have in your wardrobe !`. Guess where those shoes are now.
The third photo and my favourite is a soft burnt orange jumper ( sweater ) type knit - I may make the above Burda pattern - a wrap style cardigan - but since this will not be made this year this plan could alter.
I am now off to cut out the animal print knit Butterick dress. Cheers Janine.

A New Pincushion and SSS Day 10.

Here is a little pincushion that I just whipped up - no  , of course it is an echidna. This little fellow ( or girl - who would know) hangs around our house about once a year for a few days before snuffling off somewhere else. This is such perfect timing because at the moment we have a Japanese exchange student staying with us for a few days.

Now SSS stands for Silly Sheep Saga. Last week we bought two whizz bang self shearing sheep ( SSS! ) - dorpers. A certain someone reassured me the paddock was sheep proof. The next day my youngest DD tell me the new sheep are in the next door neighbours  paddock. I checked this out and found a 10 metre gap in the barbed wire fence big enough for well sheep !The next day we spent 3 hours chasing sheep trying to get them back.Have I  mentioned I live on the side of a mountain , that the next door neighbours paddock is about 50acres with NO fences. We finally got them back to our property only to discover that a certain someone had fixed the fence and the sheep although they tried could not get back in !!Oh the irony .  They then ran off into some bush and haven`t been seen since. ( Don`t worry there are lots of waterholes and lots of green grass - they will be very happy ) . The only relevance to sewing here it that after 3 hours of running up and down hills etc I declared the next day to be a sewing day and neglected my motherly and housewifely duties . I made very good progress on my pintucked simplicity tunic and hopefully will have another finished garment to blog and wear. Cheers until then Janine.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Simplicity 2418 - Again !

 I actually finished sewing this last week but honestly getting someone to take a photo of this took longer than the sewing ! I think perhaps learning to use the self timer will be on my list of things to do.
I recently reviewed Simplicity 2418 view A and now I have sewn View B . The majority of my patterns are repeat performers  .Sewing the same pattern in close succession usually makes the construction easier and quicker.
I used a vintage cotton - pale grey with small white 3 leaved clovers . I only had 1.3 metres of this 90cm wide fabric so I was very pleased to be able to cut out this top. Fabric constraints meant one yoke was cut on the cross grain and I could not cut out the belt but this did not matter in the end. My small metreage also meant that I made  absolutely no attempt to pattern match but everything in the end did align up , even the fronts and yokes ! I suppose the closely placed print had alot to do with this but honestly had I tried I am sure I would have mucked this up. 
I really like this top - I like the yokes and the way they are constructed , I like the little pleats at the shoulders and the V neck is not too low but makes putting on the top easy. The top is nicely shaped and not boxy and too baggy. Also sewing with cotton is always a pleasure and this another op shop find was a treasure ( oh I am writing poetry now !)Overall  I would highly recommend this pattern.
I have made good progress with my next top today on account of a nasty sheep incident yesterday - I will explain all with my next post .Cheers Janine .


Monday, 5 September 2011

A Retrospective - Burda dress 103 02/08.

While I actually do have a new top completed to blog about I do not have a photo with the garment worn so I decided to blog about a previously made dress which I do have a photo of .Last Friday my middle teenage DD and I attended a book signing with her most favourite author Maggie Stiefvater in Melbourne City - this photo is on a tram on the way there.  This dress is out of the box for me - I am a conservative person in a conservative job BUT I am extremely pleased with the result and this shows that I should challenge my style sometimes. I reserve this dress for wearing at more fancy occasions not  for work as this dress is close fitting and sometimes there is a propensity for the front wrap to open up revealing a bit of leg.
I made this dress some 18 months ago and it was very popular on Pattern review. I have made a comment on the envelope housing my pattern that I have referred to Pattern Review and the blog Couture et Tricot in the makings as there was some mild confusion about markings on the dress patterns. I do recall though that once this issue was sorted out that the directions from Burda did make sense ( if you read them long and hard enough ) and the dress was not incredibly hard.
I have used a very fine stretch jersey as recommended and this is good for the drapey parts - however I am not sure how long wearing this dress will be . The material was a great find in an op shop - 4 1/2 metres for only $5.00 ( sometimes I think I should rename this blog the Super cheapo sewing blog ! )
Anyway I would highly recommend this dress pattern to anyone.
By the way the book signing was alot of fun - Maggie was a very funny young woman and my daughter was in heaven and all starry eyed - so much so she managed to leave my handbag lying around unattended in a shop for a few minutes until I said where is my handbag ( middle DD had asked for my handbag to get her camera out and look at all the photos of the book signing ) !
Cheers until I can bribe my 12 year old photographer to take some shots of my new top.