Catching Up

One of my goals this year is to better document my sewing.  Keeping track gives me the feeling of accomplishment, even if I have to admit to  wadders defeat from time to time.  I decided to try something portable and relatively easy and not necessarily dependent upon a computer:  my faithful Sketch Books.  I’ve picked a slightly used one, ripped out the few scribbled pages and started to document

  • pattern number
  • quick sketch
  • plans
  • problems
  • swatch


After a few days I also added the date completed and the date posted to my blog.  I don’t plan to photo and post everything.  For example I just completed 20 makeup bags and 1 doll blanket which will be donated for charitable purposes. I know I’ll complete numerous more of these little jewels and probably won’t even mention them here.  But they will have a page in my 2011 Sewing Sketch Book(s).  There are some things though that I do want to share and I’ve missed posting.  Such as this Dark Chocolate Tshirt:


It was cut from a fabulous fabric that resembles double guaze but is not double guaze.  It is two layers of very thin cotton knit joined together periodically similarly to double guaze.  I wanted to do something different with embellishment so I put 3 double-ruffles down the front and sticthed insertion lace in the center of each double ruffle.  This was one of the first garments I blind stitched the hem with my new HV Designer Ruby machine.  I selected the blind stitch for knits, followed directions and zipped through the process.  It worked wonderfully.  I’ve never had a machine that blind stitched so perfectly.  I mean I could get my Bernina 1630 to blind stitch satisfactorily if  the fabric was beefy and if I watched the needle carefully, stitching slowly and wiggling the fabric underneath the needle point.  At times, I felt like hand sewing would have been faster.  I will say that my “Blind Stitch” machine purchased from Nancy’s Notions worked somewhat better.  But it too was iffy.  It did beautifully on curtains and drapes (probably was designed for that function), but not always reliable for dressmaking purposes. Oh and if I wasn’t careful instead of a sharp jerk to “set’ the stitches, that sharp jerk ripped out 20” of hemming.  Nope. The Ruby is by far the best at blind hem stitching.  I’ve now used my Ruby repeatedly for hemming and it does a m-a-r-v-e-l-o-u-s job everytime.  Everytime.


Another top not posted is this lovely Oatmeal colored, knit  top from Vogue 8616 the view with the split stand up collar.  I think View A. 


OK I loved the embroidery ( don’t I always)  but hated the split front collar.  I messed and I fussed. I fussed and I messed.  Finally I cut the neckline just above the embroidery, attached a bias strip, turned to the inside and stitched it down.  It’s a little higher on the neck than I prefer, but I love this top now, especially with scarf.



No pics but let me make a few comments about the Threads Circle Vest (Dec 2009).   It’s an elegant idea.  I goofed on the first one.  I didn’t read the schematic correctly and made the armhole too small. OK. My Fault.  The 2nd I corrected the armhole length and position, but goofed the armhole finish.  OK, My Fault II.  I considered ripping out the armhole finish, but really I didn’t like the fabric.  That’s where I left it yesterday and you (via my blog post).  Today I decided to check the fit of Circle Vest before going further.  So yep, I cut into the fabric and tried it on.  It fits!  Yes.  It looks ugly. NO WAY.  Yes, somehow it adds 20 pounds to my frame.  I looked carefully at the fabric.  I know that a stiff fabric can add pounds to anybody.  But this crepe fabric was draping as expected–close to the body, skimming curves, not clinging.  It did however create this huge wide, very wide, did I say WIDE shawl collar.  There was a dramatic V and inverted V line converging about at my belly button, which was anything except attractive.  I was puzzled.  It looked nowhere near acceptable.  Hardly attractive as the model.  OK, I’m sure she’s much thinner than I am and probably a little taller.  But this simple garment shouldn’t have looked that different on me, than it did on her.  I didn’t trash it.  I really want to know why this doesn’t work.  I folded and put it in my projects closet.  I will think about it, try it again and maybe make some changes.  You may see this again. But official, it’s a wadder.


2nd wadder for the day (this week has not been stellar) was a T shirt I had been cutting down to size.  I purchased a lovely pastel yellow T for $3 in a size 1X.  I do this from time to time because I love a sale but also I know that I can’t get the current seasons colors at any fabric store.  They’re always 2 years behind or so it seems.  By buying at the store, I get current colors.  By buying large I can recut the T shirt to fit me.  I use Pamela’s Pattern #103 or 104.  Either will help you reshape the common T shirt into something womanly and flattering.  This TShirt I envisioned with, what else, machine embroidery.  But I was being subtle.  I stitched 3 large leaves diagonally, in white on the front of the T shirt.  It looked pretty good.  In fact I had planned on 4 more smaller designs but looked at these 3 and said, this is finished.  It just looked that good. Unfortunately, since I was planning my embroidery I had fused mesh to most of the front of the T shirt and now needed to remove it.  When removing, I sttretched the fabric out of shape.  No amount of ironing was working, so I threw it into the wash.  Probably a very good happening.  Because when it came out of the wash I discovered all these pin holes.  Pin holes occur in knits when a sharp needle is used which pieces the fabric instead of pushing it aside.  Nope I inserted a brand new size 10 ball point needle. OK can also occur when a used needle had been damaged. Nope I inserted a brand new….  OK can happen when the needle is too large.  Not hardly this was a size 10.  I have a few 9’s but never use them.  Lastly it can happen when the fabric is cheap.  Ummm possible I mean it was on sale for $3, new they were about $14?? Cheap fabric would appear to be the culprit.  I’m acutally glad I discovered it now instead of recutting the garment, wearing out someplace and publically discovering holes and runs.  I glad I discovered it now, but it is a disappointment.


Last garment to report is the slinky knit that I begin embroidering yesterday and got caught up in the circle vests instead of finishing. I used Butterick 5525 View B. It’s finished.  I do believe you’ll think it is lovely.



 I’m on the fence.  Yes it looks beautiful to my eye.  I was able to check ease across hips and stomach and most of the sleeve.  I wasn’t sure about the bust and wasn’t real confident about the depth of the neckline; and therein is my problem.  It was too wide across the chest and gaped badly.  I ripped out from the top of the neckline back to the notch and moved the sleeve toward the center front by almost an inch, on both sides of course. Well that was close to the final step.  First I stitched it together, tried it on, ripped it out; basted deeper seams front and back in the armscye; let out the back armscye seam, took more in the front; Oh and BTW turned and stitched that stupid neckline and ripped it out.  By the time I got to the final fitting, I’m sure I had stretch the knit.  It almost fit the way I wanted.  I really wanted some insurance that it would continue to fit.  So I stitched 1/2″ clear elastic on the front facing and then just a 1″ guiding line center front through facing and front.  That’s why you see a little gathering across the front neckline.  I’d rather have a little gathering than exposing myself embarrasingly.


I hate turned and stitched necklines.  They always end up stretched out of shape and gap like this:


In that pic the shoulder dart is right in the middle of the shoulder, like it should be.  If I pull it forward, the gap goes away. See?


But then I get gaposis at the front:


I think the elastic in the front will control the gaposis.  At least I hope so. 


I cut a size 16 across the hips size 14 across the top, and shortened above the waist 1″. Otherwise I made no pattern alterations even after my fitting woes.  Partly, I think I stretch the fabric with so much handling. Partly I think the slinky itself could be affecting the fit.  I did however carefully write down everything that I did to get the top to wearable condition.  I won’t make this version again for winter.  With short sleeves, I’s love it for summer and may make it again then.  Unless I get smarter and can figure out how to raise the neckline.  It’s just too low to be comfortable in winter; and pardon me girls, but if you are still working, still professionally employed, you don’t want a neckline this low.  It says you’re here for fun not that you are serious about working.  I’m retired; it’s all about comfort and fun for me.


Sorry this was such a long long ol post.  I’ll even skip my paragraph on my goals. That’s how apologetic I am.  Thanks for following along in my fun.