M6913: How I did…. Part three

Final part to the lovely sailor dress pattern and how I did. The bodice is the hardest part on this pattern, and so now this is done! There are a couple of fiddly bits on the skirt part.

First there is a cut line on the front bodice pattern piece IMG_3100

You need to mark onto the fabric on both sides where this line is – giving you a V once the piece is opened out. You stitch along this line – stay stitching – and then slash inbetween these two lines so you have an open V.

The piece for the opening is just a rectangle piece, which you pin and stitch to the right side of one side of this V.

Next you turn this to the inside of the skirt and then stitch the piece of fabric onto the other side of the V, and stitch the bottom shut, giving you a V pocket. IMG_3106

Next I put two rows of pink binding onto both the front and the back skirt pieces, measuring where I felt they needed to go so they were at the same height front and back.

Next, you sew the front and back skirt pieces to one another. IMG_3140

Then you need to gather. I did this in 4 parts: 2 at the front either side of the V, and 2 at the back breaking in the middle.

I do the lazy way of gathering. You don’t get as even gathers or as good looking results with the ‘proper’ way to gather, but at the moment its good enough generally. All you do for the lazy way of gathering is to set your machine to the longest stich with the highest top tension and sew 🙂

There are 2 threads, the bobbin and the top thread, you need to pull one of these, I like to pull the bobbin thread. When you pull it properly gathers the fabric 😉 viola 🙂

Next is to attach the skirt to the bodice. I pinned and stitched the skirt to the bodice right sides together, starting at either side of the V and matching seams.

One thing I always seem to do when stitching a gathered skirt to a bodice is catch some of the bodice so I end up with this: IMG_3156

Soooo, unpicker time…. and restitch.

The pattern requires 3 buttons on the opening of the bodice. So you sew button holes onto one side of the bodice (above the V in the skirt) IMG_3157

I have been lamenting only having a automatic button hole more than normal recently. I wish that I had a 4 step buttonhole as an option, as it is such a nightmare when bulk etc stops the buttonholer working to complete the buttonhole fully. You have to unpick and restart every time, where as with a 4 step buttonhole you just select the stage you are at and continue. IMG_3161

In order to keep the sailor collar ends together there is a stitched on ‘woggle’. This is just a loop of fabric stitched between the button holes on the bodice.

And then hem the bottom

Lastly to sew these pretty pink buttons on 🙂 I did it whilst watching the great British sewing bee 🙂

And the final product, in age 1-2 years this time. I do love a sailor dress and can’t wait to see my niece wearing it 🙂

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M6913: How I did… part two

Welcome back to how I did for the gorgeous sailor dress pattern for my niece in Australia.

I’m now going to briefly cover how I did on the bodice. I say briefly because I didn’t take many photos. This was because I rather struggled so was concentrating too much to remember to take pictures! sorry :/ I am very much learning at all this 🙂

The next stage was to attach the collar to the bodice. You only need attach it by the unsewn bit around the back of the neck on the inside of the collar.

You pin this to the right side of the bodice, with the wrong side of the collar to the right side of the bodice, just the way it will be once the dress is complete. IMG_3014

Next is to make up the bodice lining, this is made up the same as the bodice, sewn at the shoulder seams. This is then placed right side of the lining to right side (so upper) of the collar. Once again stitched at the gap. Once this is turned to the inside all the stitching on both the collar and bodice should be encased between the lining and the bodice.

Clever, yes? IMG_3020

Next is the sleeves. Now, I made a booboo (again haha) with these. With set in sleeves I usually don’t sew up the side seams until after I have sewn the sleeves to the sleeve curve, it makes it so much easier. I was on auto-pilot and following the instructions on this pattern so I had already sewn up the side seams! ooops! so of course I had to do the sleeves the hard way.

Firstly I put the pink binding on, and gathered the sleeve caps

Next, I sewed up the centre seams on the sleeves

and turned them right way out. IMG_3027

Next is the hard bit – setting in the sleeves. You have to insert the sleeve into the sleeve hole, with the sleeve right side to the bodice right side (always check when its folded back out the right way it is right as you don’t want to set it in more than you have to!)

then (very slowly and very carefully) sew – if you have a freearm and its small enough to do it put the sleeve around the free arm as this makes it very much easier. IMG_3028

Once this is done turn the sleeve right side out

Bodice done! phew! in part 3 I’ll move onto the skirt – it does require quite a bit of different techniques this pattern and it took me 3 days to complete 🙂 I enjoyed it though and the end result is definitely worth it!

M6913: How I did…part one

One of my lust makes before I started sewing was a sailor dress. I absolutely adore children in sailor collars – maybe its a sound of music thing – I don’t know haha.

I saw this pattern and just had to have it. IMG_2843

It says easy, but I find it challenging (in a good way).

One day I’m sure I’ll make it up in a print, but I have only made it in contrasting solids. This time this baby blue and darker pink. The first time I made it in a taupe and a mint green.

I really liked this colourway.

I like the collar shape of the back of view C, but the rest of the dress and collar of view B. That’s what I made up.

Firstly is interfacing! I use medium weight, iron on interfacing for most things, but especially as I mainly use cotton in my sewing.

In this pattern you are required to interface the two front bits and the collar. You cut these pieces out of the interfacing and iron on according to the interfacing manufacturers instructions.

The interfacing I use asks for the iron to best on a medium heat ie wool,IMG_2961 and for the iron not to be moved, to be placed, and for no steam!

As you can see I couldn’t be bothered to get out the ironing board haha

As I like to keep all the pattern sizes for each pattern – unfortunately I don’t have the cash to splash to get a new pattern for each size. I often need to cut out the biggest size and then trace and trim to the correct size on the smaller, fiddlier pattern pieces.

Next I sewed the front bodice pieces to the back bodice pieces, at the shoulders and the side seams.

Now I put this to one side, and work on the collar. First is to sew the two halves together. IMG_2987

As you can see, you don’t sew the inside middle of the collar.

Then I trim the seams so as to (hopefully) get a crisper finish once it is turned right way out.

And because of my love of topstitching… IMG_2994

I do enjoy this next bit – applying the binding that really makes this sailor collar. First is to mark the distances on each side where the binding is going to go. I did make a mistake in this but didn’t realise until I’d finished – see if you can spot it after!

Once you have marked on the position you just pin on the binding

and sew at top and bottom edge

I think such a simple thing looks really effective (if you don’t make any mistakes like me haha – although mistakes make you better at sewing I think!) I also put some binding onto the points of the collar as I like the look of them.

That’s the collar finished!

I have had to split this how I did into several parts as there are quite a few steps to it 🙂 in the next part I’ll cover how I did the bodice 🙂

Custom (spotty!) mixer cover….

A friend asked me to make her a mixer cover, after giving me the dimensions.

 She asked for it to be made in spotty duck egg fabric. I had no idea how I was going to do it so queue my saviour pinterest (again!)

I drafted the measurements and some ideas down based on he other projects pinterest users had uploaded. IMG_2758

Very rough, but this is how I plan, I just vomit ideas onto paper helps me organise my thoughts. Would be interesting to see how others do it?

Next was the cutting out. Having watched the sewing bee I wanted to try one of these new fangled rotary cutters. No idea what to do with them, but thought I’d give it a try…. I just bought a cheap 45mm one and I already have a cutting mat. IMG_2765Next was drafting a pattern piece for the end pieces. Just a rectangle would do for the side pieces. I just did this on a piece of greaseproof paper (necessity I find, sooo much cheaper than pattern paper etc) and used my quilting ruler to draw an dome at the top.

Next I pinned and cut out the pattern pieces. I really should of practised with the rotary cutter on a scrap piece of fabric – and I knew I should – so that didn’t go too well! But I ended up with usable pieces (2 end pieces and two side pieces)

Not content with using a rotary cutter for the first time, I also decided to use backed quilt wadding for the first time too. So I needed to cut out the same pattern pieces form that. I wasn’t confident using my rotary cutter on these so I went back to my trusty scissors.

 I actually really liked this material! But I have no idea what you’re supposed to do with it so I just made it up as I went along (as usual! haha)

I decided I wanted to put piping around the end pieces, so made it up as usual (see my post about binding and how to)

Next I decided that I would just attach each wadding piece to each corresponding fabric piece, so as to get 4 pieces with the wadding on.

So, wrong sides to wrong sides I pinned and sewed.

Next was to attach the piping to the end pieces so that they would run around the edges once the cover was complete.

NB: due to the thickness of the material I used a nicely thick needle, 100/16. IMG_2791

it was at this point I was mortally wounded: IMG_2806

A blood transfusion later and I survived – so it wasn’t a mortal wound! phew! haha

Next was to put together the pieces, starting with the side pieces, right sides together to form one wide piece, with the seam in the centre of the top of the cover.

As you can see this straight rectangle has straight sides. The end pieces have curved sides. It is pretty hard to get straight fabric to curve around curved edges. The way I get around this is to put small snips along the straight edges so as to help them to curve easier.

Once I am satisfied with the curve its time to (carefully) sew

I then need to trim the bulk off the seams and any excess fabric at the bottom

Next, I attached binding around the bottom edge so as to finish it off.

All done! Hope she likes it 🙂 here it is covering my sewing machine 🙂

Simplicity 1318: How I did…

In a word: horrendously. I don’t know why. I think it was a combination of things. I was a bit apprehensive about using such fine material. I also had several ill children, therefore very mithery children, making it hard to concentrate. I was also having a bad few days with regards to my mood – I don’t know, why, perhaps because I’ve been a wee bit under the weather. IMG_0574

This pattern is simple, and effective. However I managed to mess it up royally in virtually everyway imaginable. As I said I was apprehensive before sewing it as I’ve never sewn with such fine material before. I used a 70/10 needle, and this was ideal, about the only right decision I made haha.

When cutting out I found that the material was much more see-through than I thought, the stripes are completely see-through. IMG_1158IMG_0660

I was unable to find lightweight iron on interfacing, so I had to make do with sew on interfacing. I have never used this before, so I just sewed it onto the fabric with a minute gap at the edge.

The pieces that require interfacing are the collar and front edging pieces.

Once this was done, I went to begin sewing. I decided then that the fabric was too transparent for its use, so it needed a lining. I used one of my charity shop bedding sheets, cut it up into the pattern pieces I needed. I then stayed in interfacing mode and sewed each piece of lining onto each fabric piece. Arrrggghhhhh! What can I say? I’m an idiot! I of course was on auto-pilot and didn’t realise until I’d sewn both the back seam and the shoulder seams what I’d done wrong and how dreadful it looked.

The only thing I could think to rectify it slightly was to use bias tape (thankyou dottie angel for introducing me to that finishing technique!). I didn’t have any of the right colour in my notions at home. The hubby was promptly dispatched to the local haberdashery once he had finished work. I attached the bias tape over the back and shoulder seams. Of course the stitching shows through to the right side of the fabric – but I do actually quite like this look (thankfully!)

The Next bit to attach is the sleeves. This is fairly easy as you just match up the centre seams of the shoulders with the centre mark of sleeves, its a straight line and I decided to use bias tape to finish the seams. IMG_1183

Next, is to sew up the sleeve and side seams, very easy, straight lines. That must be the mistakes over with? Its an easy pattern – so how can any more mistakes be made. Well, here is the biggest one: I had attached the fronts on the wrong sides….

Spoiler: its not supposed to go up at the sides like that! doh! and because I’d decided to use the bias tape to finish the seams, they were well and truly finished meaning if I unpicked this flimsy material then it would be wrecked. Unexpected gap at the side it is then! I must admit I don’t hate the gap.

Next is the collar – this you stitch the back neck piece to the two side pieces, on both the interfaced pieces and the non interfaced pieces. Because I’d attached the front pieces the wrong way, this threw up more problems, namely that the front collar pieces weren’t long enough. I trimmed the front pieces a bit, but even then I needed to add extra bits onto the long collar pieces.

I trimmed the width to ensure they matched. The next is to stitch the interfaced piece around the neck of the jacket.

Right sides to right sides. You then stitch the non interfaced pieces onto these, again right sides together. IMG_1211

I then trimmed it down at the bottom to ensure that it lined up with the bottom of the jacket. You then turn this collar piece right side out, so the non interfaced piece becomes the facing to the collar. This then made the next issue I had become apparent. The collar. I have no idea what is wrong with it, why it looks like that. I’m going to have to ask my more experienced friends I think – it is a mess though and I don’t know how to rectify it.

I have mentioned previously that I like to topstitch when I can as I like the extra finish it adds, and I also hoped it might sort out the collar a wee bit, it didn’t.

The next step is to turn in the edge of the collar and slip stitch along the seam. I have lamented my lack of ability when it comes to hand sewing previously. I actually don’t mind the stitching showing often, hence why I’ll often use a contrasting thread. So I machine stitched the bottom edge of the collar, this predictably made the collar worse.

Next, I hemmed it, which, the gap at the sides that shouldn’t be there made that process even more interesting haha.

Finally, onto the last step – phew! Attaching the sleeve cuffs. I lined these also and you sew the seam right sides together.

Next you attach them to the main sleeve body, once again right sides together, then hem.

I am so upset with how badly I made this, the mistakes I made, as he pattern is a great pattern and had I made it well it would have turned out great. The next time I can I’m going to buy some less transparent material and I’m going to make this well, learning from my mistakes. with concentration, and I cant wait to put it to rights as it should make up really well (still unsure on what to do with the collar though haha). I’m so cross with myself.

On a more positive note I did manage to produce a garment that is wearable and I’m happy to wear it, I just have to keep the collar flipped down haha.

Bias Binding maker

Firstly, let me say I am a newbie to the sewing world. Up until September 2014 I had never even used a sewing machine. I can also say it was not love at first stitch. I have dyspraxia so anything that involves even the most remote need for hand eye co-ordination is a struggle. I was incredibly enthusiastic and desperately wanted to learn to sew childrens clothes, it is probably the first and only time in my life I have shown any tenacity! Moving 19 months on from that and here I am with a tiny bit of knowledge, some experience but still tons of enthusiasm!

There have been many techniques I have struggled with and many more I am struggling with and am not even aware of! One of the techniques I have recently learnt is making your own bias binding. I have always bought my bias binding ready made, off the shelf, and to be honest I still do for most of my binding as unless I’m wantin something specific or for my binding to exactly match my fabric its just easier that way! (and often cheaper).

I used to look at bias binding makers and think there t be some sort of magic to them, there must be some mechanism inside that makes them work. Nope, I’m afraid its much less complex than that. It is just a shaped cone! They come in different sizes according to what size you want your binding to be. Hot-Selling-Set-of-4-Fabric-Bias-Tape-Maker-Binding-Tool-Sewing-Quilting-6mm-12mm-18mm

You cut your fabric on the bias (so crossways) to the width and length you need (for the record in the pictures my binding isn’t bias cut as it wasn’t used as binding but as a waist fie – but its the same technique).

As you can see one end of the maker is wider than the other. You slide the fabric into the widest end of the binding maker: IMG_9781

You then slide the fabric through the binding maker, pulling it out of the other side, taking note that there is a fold on either side, starting to look like binding? IMG_9782

Now turn it so the flat bit is facing down, and gently pull a small amount of binding out of the thinner end of the maker, ensuring to keep the folds in place. This needs to be on a flat, iron-able surface (above is my sewing desk wit a tea towel on as I was too lazy to erect the ironing board!) IMG_9783

Next, get your iron on the appropriate setting for the type of fabric. This is cotton so nice and hot! Slowly slide the binding make along the binding ironing the folds it has made as you go:

Once you get to the end you are finished making your own binding! Really very easy and no big mystery!

Have fun making lots of lovely, cute binding for your projects!