312-6200 Mashup

This picture doesn’t tell you how immensely pleased I am with this project, but here it is


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You know those days I was silent?  Well I finished a garment. Took a 4 day vacation. Came home and sewed 2 other garments. But I didn’t post.  I might just skip the posts on these, except, just for me, I like make a record of all my sewing. My blogs have replaced my need for a sewing journal. So let’s start with the garment I finished before vacation:


Jeannie’s Top

I love the clever things PeggySaggers does with her “Let’s Sew” YouTubes.  Usually, I think “I’ve got to do that

…. as soon as I finish the project I’m working on.”  Then a few days pass and I”m onto something else.  This time I think the stars aligned because just as I felt I had finished fitting the Sweater Set 195, she posted this video of  Janines Top


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Bad Sewing Days

This post is mostly for me. If you can’t stand my whining one more time, feel free to click away. 

Everyone has sewing disappointments and even, as is my case today, periods of sewing failures.  That this happened after a recent spate of failures was especially disheartening. I would like to ignore these, but I think it would be better to document the failures not to be humble but to have a future reference as to what went wrong.

I was feeling pretty good about my BeforeAnd After maxi dress. A little down about Summer Jacket #2 mostly because I had thought I had a solution for adding and RBA to the basic Bog Coat. Said solution didn’t work which had me a little down but I did have ideas for future versions.  The Summer Pants while not really good were wearable and felt like a starting point for something better.

The summer pants were encouraging enough that I pulled out a rayon woven to resemble linen, and paired it with a gauze underlining. I was a little short on fabric and opted to cut a separate waistband vs the cut-on of the Summer Pants. Well it was not to be. Even though the gauze was cut from the same pattern as the Rayon, when serged together they did not match. The gauze was somehow larger and all attempts to press them to equal size only made the discrepancy worse.  Oddly, the gauze gathered to some places; the rayon in others. I must have lightened the room when I suddenly understood that the wrinkles on the Summer pants were probably a result of the same mechanical issue i.e. that the two fabrics when joined at the outside edges were not the same size. Bias is a 8itch. (No pics of this project. At this point I was looking at the 8 pieces joined to be 4. Never got as far as a try-on.) I looked at all the serging and decided I was not ripping all 4 pieces all 4 sides. Besides the rayon was of such an age that cost was negligible. However, I learned an important lesson. Underlining with a non-fusible is possible but may not be desirable. Especially for someone such as myself who prefers to spend their time on the creative, the artful rather than the technical, perfection-demanding engineering of clothing.  Future guideline:  I will not underline with non-fusibles.  Doesn’t match with my personality.

A day later, I totally bombed with an attempt to tweak the empire portion of the BeforeAndAfter maxi. The BeforeAndAfter was quite nice but I’m working towards using an expensive knit and I want to start with the perfect pattern.  I felt that the BeforeAndAfter Empire line was higher than I desired.  Yes it seemed to cross just beneath my ni9ple. I wanted something an inch or so above the waist. (You know. Like the Ebb that I’m always be moaning.)  Since the BeforeAndAfter was almost perfect, I copied the bodice top (back and front) and added 2″ length.  I considered that I might need to make one more test before cutting the expensive fabric but I’m OK with that. I have a vision that I want to achieve or at least get really close.  But I’m pretty confident of the fit from the BeforeAndAfter and selected a nice fabric to make a top.  My fabric is a border print Egyptian Cotton.

I think this fabric is beyond beautiful. I almost didn’t believe it was cotton. It was so smooth and silky.  I washed it expecting to pull out at least a somewhat rougher surface and was stunned at how smooth it remained. I burned it just to be sure there wasn’t at least a little poly. Nope. Definitely rope burning smell. I do believe it was the 100% Egyptian cotton as advertised. My heart swooned over the Jacobean print.  I ignored the fact I prefer a more peachy pink. The border was confined to one side which I envisioned applying to the center front of the bodice. Which I did. I carefully cut, appliqued and stitched shoulders together.  I even finished neckline and armscyes with aplomb. I mean, this pattern fit, I was just tweaking a detail. Right? I basted the sides together and stopped to check fit because fabric can affect fit. I’ve often needed to increase the 1/2″ SA to 5/8 or let it out all the way to 1/4″.  There have even been times I’ve added a panel at the side seam because a particular fabric just didn’t adapt to my body like most fabrics. Anyway, I basted the side seams and tried it on expecting a near perfect garment and was absolutely stunned. This is like going all the way back to the pattern I’ve never even tried fitting

Not attractive is putting it mildly

What’s worse, is that every attempt to make it better, made it worse. In utter desperation I looked back at the BeforeAndAfter maxi. Surely these drag lines had not occurred out of the blue? And I found that by lightening the BeforeAndAfter all the way to white, then backing up to about 97% I could indeed see some of the drag lines. Specifically the V’s on the side. (Although none of the shoulder drag lines were evident).  My guess is that the Ponte of the BeforeAndAfter could stabilize against the drag lines whereas the knit Egyptian Cotton could not. Then again it is possible that time will cause the same wrinkles to appear in the BeforeAndAfter just as time caused all my pants fitted with Peggy Sagers’ procedure to develop my dreaded X wrinkles. Time my friend and sometimes not my friend.

I took a day or two to think. Cleaned my sewing rooms. Cleaned the house. I came to the realization that my pain was largely self-inflicted and that I’ve been at this cross-road time and again.  The thing is, I keep thinking I can pinch out darts where my curves are and then move the darts to other places. That’s what the books say. Sigh, Gale Greig Hansen (apologies, I’m not spelling her names correctly) was right way back in 1990 you have to make the change where the body demands the change. The books are correct for the young, rectangular body. But those of use who have curves must see, listen and accommodate our curves. No amount of wishing or ‘experts’ rules can override what we see with out very own eyes and what we feel.  Truth is, I need patterns with seams. Multiple seams.  I must step away  from the atypical 3-piece T-shirt, 2-piece tank top and 3-piece pant.  Gather, rouching, darts all OK but expecting a flat piece of fabric with straight edges to fit my rounded body is my first mistake.  Not respecting the fabric, is the second. As Peggy says “The fabric always wins”.

So tomorrow, I begin again.


Summer Jacket #1

I’ve started my summer sewing. I’m not sewing a 6PAC.  Much as I love the system, I realized I needed not a full  6-Piece capsule wardrobe, but some individual pieces to complete a coordinated wardrobe.  Also I will want 3 coordinated wardrobes, one in brown, one in black one blue .Instead of the dark colors I’ve worn all winter and most of fall and spring, my colors will migrate into lighter blues, tans and greys. I made a complete list of what I need at the end of my Closet Review and now I”m sewing.

I know I’m good for basic tops and bottoms. It’s my 3rd layer pieces that are sorely missing. I searched my stash for fabrics for 3rd layers.  I want very light weight.  I will die if I have to wear a heavy jacket.  I need gauze or voile anything light almost transparent.I also want light colors. I wear darker colors 3 seasons of the year mostly to disguise the dirt and stains winter offers up. Now, I want no I crave lighter colors. Unfortunately, my stash didn’t offer up very much. Just as I have accent 3rd layers in the closet, I seem to have accent 3rd layer fabrics. I  finally retrieve a wool gauze in black.  Frankly I was hoping for a grey but a black will work for now and I will keep looking for a suitable grey fabric.

I bought this gauze at a garage sale. It says it is 2 yards of wool gauze.  It didn’t smell like wool when I steamed it. Also it is not 2 yards. At best 1-7/8 yard.  Except it’s not even that. Both ends are cut at odd angles.  It was squirmy.  I finally sprayed heavily and on both sides with Terrial Magic. I allowed it to dry and sprayed a 2nd time.  I didn’t really want to dunk this wool in liquid starch and then need to wash the finished garment. I mean who knows what size the final garment would be after that event? Nor did I want to apply the Terrial Magic with a paint brush. Can you imaging painting nearly 2 yards of fabric with a sponge paint brush?    I was relieved when the 2nd spraying did not make my wool gauze stiff but did control the slithering and bunching.  I was able to lay it out on-grain. At which point I discovered that none of the patterns I had in mind would work. There was less than 1.5 yards to work with. Plus of course some big odd shaped pieces on either end.

What kind of coat/3rd layer can you make with less than 1.5 yards of fabric? I opted to use the Bog Coat. It is amazingly fabric conserving. For my stature I need  38″  fabric plus a little for cuffs and edge finish.  Let me point that out again 38 inches and some scraps!

Usually I measure and chalk the fabric from a diagram I made a number of years ago.

I double-check the measures and chalking before cutting.  This works really well except that as I age I’ve run into a couple of issues. (1) The back of the neck binds and rubs. (2) I really need an RBA (3) The sleeve length varies. Sleeve length is the result of how wide the fabric is plus how deep the sleeve is cut. Even knowing that, I can start with 60″ fabric and finish with a 3/4″ sleeve.  I’m hoping by having a pattern I can  avoid the pit falls.

Worn with grey jeans and knit sleeveless top.

The Bog Coat is very adaptable.  Balenciaga was famous for this drafting  which elevated this simple garment into the couture arena. I’m not doing much this time because I’m testing my pattern and I want the simple garment. I want a supporting player in my wardrobe. One that I can wear with jeans on errands or into a restaurant with nicer clothes on date night. So, I made my pattern, cut my fabric and stitched it together.  I cut 4″ strips to finish the sleeve edges (folded in half results in a 2″ cuff). I cut a long 2″ strip and finished the raw edge with french binding. I love how a french binding perfectly encloses all the raw edges so easily. I wanted that edge to be  sort of a fat, heavy roll.  I wanted it to weigh down the gauze and hopefully avoid some velcro butt.

I got what I wanted — a very plain 3rd layer that goes with every grey-to-black + accent outfit I can put together from my closet. But I’m  not entirely happy.

  • Usually I place a nice thick raglan pad in the shoulders. Which completely offsets the seamless nature of the Bog Coat and elevates it to a classier garment as it  conceals my asymmetrical shoulders. Shoulder pads were not an option because they would have been visible-a sight I think is gauche.
  • My sleeves are just slightly shorter than I would prefer.  My fabric was only 54″ wide. My cuff 2″ wide. Not quite the 59″ of my wing span.
  • I was unable to adapt for my rounded back. I simply didn’t know what to do. In the end I trimmed 2″ from the front curved across the side leaving the back the original chalked length

Which barely helped:

The back still appears to rise at CB and if this black was more revealing you would see drag lines and folds of cloth coming off the cross back. Interestingly enough, the V’s are not forming.

Also, deep in my heart, I’d still like to make this a little more special. Although my black 3rd layer is finished and ready for wear, I may yet take it back downstairs.  I’m thinking nail heads  hot glued into place.

Summer  Wardrobe Sewing List Update:

  1. Casual Pants/Jeans
    1. Black ranging to greys
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blues.
  2. Dressy blouses:
    1. Black ranging to greys
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blue
  3. Third Layers
    1. Black Wool Gauze DONE
    2. Brown ranging to beiges
    3. Blue ranging to light clear blue

AcuDesign: Editor: Mirror, Skew, Resize and Rotate

I spend most of my time selecting the design(s) I want to use. With over 100,00 files that can take some time.  I think my next largest investment in time, is selecting colors.  I sometimes agonized over colors before I even open the stitch file for editing.  Changing the hoop color and thread colors are very important to me.  Probably 3rd in my list of time investment,  is pre-arranging. I’m arranging the designs through mirroring, resizing and moving into how I want my finished project to appear.  I often duplicate, ie. make multiple copies of a design and then arrange the duplicates. Frequently, I mirror or rotate. Sometimes I do both.  It’s amazing at how many times I’ve rotated a design to make it fit perfectly into my hoops. I don’t resize all that often. Mostly I resize when a design is just slightly too large for a hoop. I prefer to split the design and make multiple hoopings rather than resizing. There are times however when I want the size to change, and those times are often enough, that resizing designs is one of my considerations when looking for an embroidery editing program.  More often than resizing, I rotate.   So for this post, I’ve decided to address the functions I use so frequently: duplicate, mirror, resize and rotate.

For my project, I wanted two copies of design to stitch out.  Yes I could have rehooped and stitched the design a second time. But why when I’ve got a hoop big enough to hold both?  I touched my design opening Editor. Touched hoops and selected the Royal hoop. I’m not sure why, but AcuDesign turned the background to pink. That’s supposed to indicate that the design is too big for the hoop. It isn’t.   When I pinch (standard Touch gesture), the hoop background returned to the natural linen color.


after pinching:


I know that I want to stitch my design twice and it will just about take the full height of my hoop as it is now. So I click the rotate button on the hoops menu.


No idea why it’s pink again, but I have plenty of room for what I want to do and the pink disappears with my next action. I spent a lot of time and made many mistakes discovering the fastest way to duplicate and mirror. I touched the Hand icon to exit Hoops and clicked the All button which in the Select menu. I made note of the length of the design (not shown in the pic above). Just copied the length to a bit of paper next to the table I was working on. This gives me a reference, something to check back against to ensure that my new copy stays the same size as the original.

Then I selected Copy followed by Paste from the very top menu on the right.


There is also Cut and Trash/Delete up in that menu; functions that were previously not available. On the left is Done which exits the Editor, Search (which I don’t yet know how is used in the Editor) Undo and Redo.  Pretty much standard functions. Copy and paste are the functions which are used to create another copy, a duplicate the original design, anywhere. Keep this in mind for the next post.


It’s the Clothes Line that tells me I’ve done something beyond select. OK, the design does look a little darker. But it is seeing 12 objects pinned up there instead of the 6 I’m accustomed to that tells me I now have two complete copies of my design. I don’t want the same repeat exactly. I want the 2nd design to horizontally mirror the first. I touch and hold in the center of the design (or thereabouts) and pull downward so I can see both copies and work just on the duplicate.


It’s important to know that there are two sets of control actions.  The set above and the set below that skews/rotates.


Touching any of the purple circles changes between the two. It’s a toggle action. Touch you get one set. Touch again, the other set reappears. It’s another time when I was a bit slow on the uptake and it took me several seconds to realize I had two sets and what they did. In my defense, those arrows do look a bit alike and they are in the same color circles. It would have helped me if the circles changed color when the control functions changed. However now that I know about the 2 sets of controls, I’ll be OK. When you want to take action (not just switch between control sets), touch and hold one of the arrows.

Touch and hold while pushing or pulling any of the arrows below resizes the design. Just stop when it is the size you want. I touched and held the arrow in my orange circle below and pulled straight across to the right. At first the design shrinks, resizes to a line,  then it starts flipping.


I continued pulling to the right Until my design had completely flipped and was the same size (6.503 in these pix) I had noted at the beginning. It can be tricky to end up with exactly the same number.  It can be done but is a skill I had to build i.e I did this over and over to finish with exactly 6.503 length.


Design mirrored!  Happy Dance. !!! In times past, I would save a copy of the design at this point just because it took me so long to figure out and get it right.

I wanted the new mirrored copy to be stitched out on the same horizontal line as the original. So  I touched and held in the center of the 2nd and lower design and moved it up and across from the original. This is the design I want to stitch on my FTT’s.


I’m once again concerned with stitching order. If I take it to the machine now, I will change threads 4 times even though I’m only using 2 colors. I touched on an empty part of the hoop which deselected all the objects. In the Clothes line, I touched in turn  the 3 red objects visible on the left of the Clothes Line. (See pic below). The design in the hoop also showed that only these 3 are selected. On the Clothes Line I touched and moved the 3 as a group to in front of the last set of red icons.


The design in the hoop didn’t change only the stitching position in the Clothes Line. As far as what I want on my finished FTT, my design is complete. I have two copies of the design. One is a mirror image. Also, they will stitch out in an order that requires the fewest of thread changes.

I touched Done which saved my changes in the MyDesign category of the Manager.

To be honest, I miss the icons of Embird which allowed me to duplicate and mirror so much faster. The AcuDesign controls are very powerful but were harder for me to master. Embird provides icons to do the most common changes and also provides  separate  functions and multiple ways to specify minute changes.  I can’t reject AcuDesign out of hand just because this time it was more difficult. I know that I am on a learning curve. As I build knowledge and skill, AcuDesign may become as easy for me as Embird. But I can’t help missing those quick rotate and mirror icons.





AcuDesign: Purchase and Download

I was really pleased at how quickly the Apple Store took my money and downloaded AcuDesign.  I’m used to the Google Play Store on which I choose an app and it appears a little while later.  It’s not a horrible delay. Just a few minutes.  I do like the Play Store’s interface. Being able to see all my apps and all my devices. (I’m a fan of Android’s).   Really, I was satisfied with the Play Store until I bought from the Apple Store.  I searched for my app. Found it in seconds. Verified it was for IPAD compatible (what works on MAC may not work on IPAD). Clicked ‘Get’. It cranked and said “enter your password”. I grumbled but  thought OK there really should be a check and balance.  Especially with all the stories I’ve heard of parents getting a $5000 bill from toddlers clicking OK. I put in my password. It cranks for a few seconds and says “OPEN”. Wait! It’s ready?  Yep it was.  Cool buying experience.

But let me back up because I almost didn’t buy AcuDesign. I was surprised at the low rating. So much so, that I read all the reviews.  Most of the complaints centered around the ‘free’ designs. Either cartoonish, no recent freebies, limited text etc My comment is,  generally you get what you pay for. Not to be rude, but $50 is hardly nothing for 500 designs. I’ve paid that much for a set of 5-6. I believe the $50 is intended to cover the costs of developing and maintaining the app.  The free designs are just advertising the companies use to get you hooked. Let’s face it, an embroidery machine is a money pit. They have to suck you in. I’m sorry you were disappointed.  Based on the designs installed on my machines, I never expect to use a single free AcuDesign file.

The other complaints related to file transfers. A topic for an entire post. I will say it’s a complex routine involving not just AcuDesign, but all the software and equipment used for file management. I hope to have a few tips for you but I may not be using the same set of software and equipment; and sadly may not be much help. But that’s for a future post.



Another Pinterest Test

Can you see my board:

Slash (copy link address)


copy url






.My Pinterest SLASH board click here


Personally, I can only see the last one “my Pinterest SLASH board click here”.  What do you see?


I just cant tell somethings unless I get feed back.   Thanks so very much for your responses.  Hugs.