Monday, May 30, 2011

My No Sewcation

Today is Day Nine of my self imposed 14 day sewing hiatus. I have been getting much done, much that has been begging for attention. It has been a battle to deal with the rain and yesterday I planted my flower beds in the mist. Finally today the sun broke through but gardening was not on my schedule today. I have a plan I am working to get done all I need to and then it will be back to the sewing life.

During all of this I managed to get to the Joann sale yesterday and scoop my five patterns and a few fabric bargains. What you see above and here is the boucle I scored. I can be a bit of a fabric snob and rarely touch acrylics. Actually I avoid them like the plague.  My Chanel jacket was rayon and cotton. This boucle is 100% acrylic but would you look at these selvedges?  TDF, I tell ya'! I bought all left on the bolt at 2.50 a yard, over three yards. I love the color, but my doubts kept resurfacing so I did some research.

When it comes to acrylics I have visions of sweaters I owned, before I got smart, that would stretch out and become massive carpets of pills. I remember shaving these things with my husband's razor and then finally swearing off  the stuff. But impulse set in and this jumped in my cart. The way it looks and drapes, Fabulous! I came home and did some research. It seems today's acrylics are now treated to not pill. We shall see. I also found some very good information that pointed out some positives that I was not aware of. You can read it here but I will share this paragraph with you. I found it pretty enlightening.From eHow.com,

"Acrylic fabric tends toward fast drying, natural stain resistance, durability and color fastness. Acrylic fabric holds a bright steady color and ultraviolet ray resistance and is great for rugged outdoor wear. It removes dampness, moving it away from the skin and toward the outer portion of the weave thereby allowing the moisture to evaporate more quickly than a natural fabric. Its stretchy quality keeps the shape of the garment far longer than natural fabrics. Acrylic fabrics do not shrink and are moth proof. There are those who find acrylic fabrics to be itchy and uncomfortable and some who claim they are allergic to acrylic. Static electricity is a hazard when wearing acrylic because it builds up between the skin and the fabric as a person moves."

I guess I may not wear my outfit on a cold dry day in February, ZAP! Bemberg is anti static so maybe that will help. I am also iffy about the "stretchy" quality but when I use this it will be fused to a tricot interfacing. So I am feeling it is worthy of a semi couture Chanel jacket, one with a Bemberg lining instead of silk. 
My other purchase and more bucks than the boucle is this 4 way stretch knit stripe, a chocolate and ivory combo. I think this will make a great top, just not sure which one I will make. The stripes are a half inch wide. I would love to do something that really plays with that feature.
 
And of course I picked up my five patterns. Those Amazing Fit pants are the exact same style as my TNT pants and I am basically curious to see how the two compare. Speaking of, I do have some pants lined up for June, a neat linen pair from New Look. That may be my first effort when the hiatus is over.In the meantime it is back to gardening. We have the veggies and a couple of shrubs left to deal with. Tomorrow is another sunny day but gardening is not on the schedule. I am a real bugger about sticking to my schedule. I did a major simplify and have tons to bring to town to the consignment and GoodWill stores so that and a few other errands and chores are on tomorrow's list. So far the schedule is working. Back to sewing soon....................

Hope you all have taken a moment to give thanks for the brave men and women guarding our freedoms. Say a prayer for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to guarantee our lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness....Bunny








Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Bleeding Heart!

 
One Bitty Baby dress complete! This is from the Joan Hinds Smocking patterns for AG dolls. The patterns include sizing for the 15 1/2 inch Bitty Babies and also for the 18 inch AG dolls. These are such fun as it takes short time to do a little piece of heirloom work that will make someone very happy. 
Fabric: The dress is 100% cotton micro check, a gift from a fellow blogger who so generously sent it my way some time ago. Thanks again and you know who you are! the collar is  a 4 1//2 inch wide Swiss eyelet. It is a really fine batiste and another goodie from Ima's legacy. The sleeves have a lace edging attached. 

Construction: So simple! Hinds provides the smocking patterns in addition to her eight doll dress styles. Her instructions are very clear and easy. This would be a great way to dabble in a bit of smocking if you want to just give it a try. The smocking is done with two strands of #12 perle cotton. In making doll clothes you can get away with things you might not do on a "real" garment. To keep everything in scale the bound neckline really needed to be very tiny and have no bulk. A bias strip of 
1 1/4 inches was cut. One edge was pressed under a 1/4 inch. This was then attached temporarily to the neckline with Wonder Tape. The bias was stitched to the neckline and then stitched again 1/8th of an inch away. I then trimmed back all to the second stitching. To attempt to turn under this bias on such a thin binding would have been fruitless. Instead I folded the bias to the wrong side, wrapping tightly. I then stitched it in the ditch but when I was done it was all topstitched instead. My inaccuracy couldn't have gotten it closer to the edge if I tried so I am happy with that error. I then turned over the garment to the wrong side and catch stitched the remainder of the bias to the pleats. I really like this finish and may even use it on a "big"  garment. It lets the binding be really thin visually but also thin because there is so little bulk. The neckline binding is about an 1/8th of an inch wide.

Tracey asked, "Do you always do your pleating by hand or do you have a pleater as well?"  I do all my pleating with a pleater, an Amanda Jane 24 row. What you saw me doing in the last post was recovering from a broken pleater needle situation. The needle broke while pleating. I so hate that crunching sound that indicates that happening. I continued to pleat which let all the other rows get pleated except for the one with the broken needle. I took the thread out of the broken pleater needle and threaded a regular sewing  needle. I finished the missing row by just doing a running stitch in the right places. It was easy because I could follow the row above and the row below which still had their pleating threads. I do not hand pleat other than a situation like this and God bless any of you who do. I am not sure I would like hand pleating. About five years ago I was so enamored by what I saw in Sew Beautiful magazine that I bought a pleater without ever having tried smocking! It proved to be a purchase that has given me much pleasure and was worth every cent.

I know this is just a doll's dress but it was a pleasure to make, at least other than breaking those needles! I am moving on to other garments but will not tell you any more until I come back from a bit of a hiatus. I will be leaving this week for some time with my grandchildren down in Mass. Then it will be back to face the vegetable garden and some more landscaping around the house. I love to garden and am so behind because of all the wetness we have had to endure. I figure I will be back to sewing and blogging in about two weeks. Hope you are all enjoying your gardening as much as I am.

Today I got much planted. One of my favorite perennials has always been the Bleeding Heart. I am particularly proud of the white one I planted two years ago. Here's a couple of pics of the pink and the white bleeding heart plants in my shade garden...Bunny


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

simplicity 2771 - Camo Spiders!

Oooh, I like these and I know Zackie will just love them. I thought I would have a great facing trick for you but that was because, despite having made this before, I really thought the neck band was an inside out facing, NOT! It is an additional piece stitched on to the bodice. If doing this pattern I highly recommend reading and following the instructions closely when it comes to the neck band. That's all I'm sayin'...
Cissie asked where I zigzagged the pocket for reinforcement. You can see it more clearly in this photo. The ZZ is right at the top of the little triangle, where a pocket would get the most stress.

Fabric: 100% "designer" cotton from Joanns, can' t remember who the designer was. It's a pretty decent quality and stayed non wrinkly throughout. The piping is a black poly cotton. Buttons were some I inherited and really fit in with the camo theme.

Pattern: Simplicity 2771, a unisex jammie pattern with sizes from 4 child to large adult. I made Zackey the four.

Construction: This is really quite simple. Just follow the neckband instructions closely. They are nothing difficult, just a little different from the norm so bear extra attention. All the seams were stitched, serged and topstitched. I want these to last. My grandchildren tend to wear the jammies I make them over and over. They will get a lot of washing, which is another reason I like this pattern. Because there is no collar, it comes out of the wash looking pretty decent. A bit of folding and its neat as a pin. I really didn't veer from the pattern instructions on this one at all.
I know I will be using this pattern again and again. I really need to commit it to some oak tag.

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This morning I cut and pleated a bishop for the AG doll. The fabric is a cotton microcheck and it has an eyelet collar smocked into the microcheck. They are pleated as one. This extra bulk made for some challenging pleating, but after three needles broken I was able to get through and finish the pleating by hand. Here you can see me picking up the pleats where the needle broke. I simply used the same thread and pleated by hand.
 
I am trying something different here. I will be smocking with two strands of #12 perle cotton. I just happened to have the perfect color so will give this a try. So far I like the look. It has a bit of a gloss and the two strands are nice and full. Recognize the fabric, Meg?...Bunny

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Aaackk..It's Spiders, Camo Spiders!!!

 
This is my TNT boy's pajama pattern, Simplicity 2771. I say boy's because I just have never used it yet for girl's jammies. I like that it doesn't have a collar, the facing its turned to the outside and it uses piping for accents on the outside facing, sleeves, and pocket. 

I sew in units and the first thing I usually attack are the details. I made and installed the pocket and piped facing. Today I will show you the pocket as it handles the piping issue a little differently than some other patterns I have seen.  

The pocket consists of a lower pocket, and a band of fabric folded in half at the top of the pocket with piping in between. First you make the piping and attach it to the top of the pocket on the right side (top right pic, sorry for the blurs).As with any piping installation you do not want cording in your seam allowances. With your nail or some tweezers pull out the cord until you feel the SA on the opposite side empty. You should have 5/8ths of an inch of cord in your fingers. Now put a pin in the piping to secure the cord. Pull again some more until you have another 5/8 ths of an inch pulled out. You should have 1 1/4 inch of cord showing. Now snip it off at the edge. Let the cording retreat back into the piping and you should have each seam allowance free of any cord. This is really important in order to get a sharp fold on the pocket edge. 

Next you take the band and the pocket right sides together and stitch a hair inside the piping stitching line (top left drawing). Grade seams and press toward the band. You can see in the drawing that the band seam allowance has been pressed under and trimmed on the free side. Fold the band over, right sides together so that the pressed edge meets the piping, not crosses it (middle pic on right). Stitch across the band and continue stay stitching along the seam line around the pocket and back across the band on the other side. Doing the pocket this way really helps keep the bulk down and gives you a sharp edge in the piped area. Trim and turn the band to the right side and fold under the SAs on the stay stitching line and press under. The pocket is now ready to stitch to the bodice. 
 
Nearly all patterns give you little more than two dots to match the top corners of your pockets to. I find that isn't always conducive to accuracy. I run a 1/4 inch width of masking tape from dot to dot and then at right angles down the sides. Now I can place the pocket perfectly.
Last but not least comes the topstitching. Don't attempt to topstitch over your piping. Topstitch the lower pocket up to the piping and bring threads to the back and tie off. Start fresh and topstitch separately each side of the band once again bringing threads to the back and tieing off.  I like to finish my topstitching at the corners with a tiny zigzag.

I think doing the pocket band the way shown here makes for a much neater finished piped pocket than just folding under the edges. I also handled the facing a bit differently, again due to the piping, and will show you that tomorrow. Isn't this cute fabric? If I were a three year old little boy who is really into bugs I know I sure would like it. Can't wait to see Zackie's face when he sees his bug jammies....Bunny

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Joan Hinds

My dolly patterns have arrived and I am thrilled. This group of patterns is from Joan Hinds who designs for Vogue as well as for herself. She has a website called Fancywork and Fashion with all sorts of things for dolls, particularly AG dolls. This pattern has 8 different classic children's dresses all with smocking. The pattern offers different size options saying it will fit both the Bitty Baby dolls, AG dolls, and other 18 inch dolls. Like most heirloom children's clothing, these styles require near zero fit so there is not much worry there. I can't wait to get started on a few of these for Sophie and her AG and Bitty dolls. I think it is a nice outlet for some heirloom work particularly when reality does not allow me to make frothy little dresses for my granddaughters to wear on a daily basis.

Sophie is a very mature five and a half year old. She will be in second grade next year, having skipped kindergarten easily. And yes, she made that adjustment beautifully and is still in the top of her class. The apple didn't fall far from the tree in this case with both parents being extremely bright. It helps that she is so mature for her age too. My point is that she takes very good care of her AG doll and its clothing and could spend hours, and does, just playing with her dolly, changing outfits, discussing wardrobe options with grandma. It is such fun. This is how I started my own sewing lifestyle and I can see Sophie jumping right on that bandwagon. I hope to steal her away for some alone time up in the country with grandma Bunbun this summer and get her started.

I have read much discussion recently about when to get this doll for a little girl as they are expensive and there is concern about how  a small child would take care of such an investment. In Sophie's case, beautifully which thrills her sewing grandma.

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Now that the Blogger is back on line I see that my comments on the tapestry bag are missing other than those posted after the shutdown. Just know that I did see them, appreciate your positive expressions and thank you a lot for putting in your two cents. I read and value every comment that is written here, just wanted you all to know.

I wish Blogger had a way to maintain the follower list so that the most recent followers were at the top of the follower list. This way I could greet and thank all of you individually for joining in the fun here. It appears they are always jumbled up differently with each post so that prevents that, as far as I know. If anyone knows otherwise please tell me. Just know that I thank you for following and appreciate your visiting and your comments very much.
This is a scag tree near our home where a pileated woodpecker has recently been carving out a nest  or digging for bugs. At the bottom of the tree was a pile of fresh sawdust that looked like a chainsaw left there. Pileated woodpeckers are one of my favorite birds. They make a loud resonating sound through the forest with every headbang of their huge heads. In our last home we had one make a nest in a tree like this and have babies. It was fascinating to watch.....Bunny

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Tapestry Bag is Finished!

All done and I am doing the happy dance. It's big. It's got lots of pockets made to fit my personal goodies. It's pretty. It opens W I D E open, the better to search for such goodies. Here's the lowdown:

Pattern: It is Vogue 8406, an OOP that has three various styles in the envelope. This one is a "satchel" type bag with a gusset bottom. Above you can see the  two zippers that meet at the center top and go 2/3rds of the way down each side. The zippers have a small folded piece of strap fabric inserted at the end into the side seam. This bears some of the stress on the zipper when it is being pulled open. It also makes a nice transition between bag and zipper, always a tricky part of the design. Straps go on each side of the bag and connect to the handles.
The bag is lined . A bagged technique is not used in this pattern. Rather, the edges are folded under on the lining and handstitched to the zippers.

Construction:  The directions in Vogue 8406 are quite clear. The most difficult part is attaching the point of the gusset to the sides and zippers. It took a lot of fiddling and finessing to get this part right. This went much more easily in the lining construction.This is a pattern where marking is very important, specifically, to get the gusset points matched up to the zippers so be careful there.The pattern comes with one darted pocket. I wanted more and you can see in the pic the pocket goes all the way across the bag. One pocket is darted and divided and the other on the opposite side is flat.

Fabric: The public side of the bag is made with a tapestry picked up at the last Joanns clearance sale. Cost all of 2.50 a yard and I didn't even need that much but what the hey, so I bought it. The straps are a poly microfiber, another upholstery fabric, not easy to sew through.  I got the best results stitching the straps using a size 12 Microtex needle and tightening up the tension a tad.  The lining is one of those poly brocades from Joanns also. It has a nice heft and a bit of "luxe" going for it.

Interfacings: I was very concerned about the tapestry unraveling and block fused fusible fleece to the back to help prevent that. It worked great. On top of that I used hair canvas which is what the pattern specifies. I like the combo. In the bottom is a piece of Peltex fusible. A post on the installation of the Peltex in the bag bottom is on yesterday's post.

Conclusion: I will see how this bag works in the real world but it is holding promise as a great bag that is very functional. It was not difficult to construct and I definitely can see myself making another. On to the spider jammies!....Bunny

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tapestry Bag Part 2

It's really important a bag have a good rigid base. The down side is that a rigid base made from a fusible can be really difficult to maneuver around the machine. I've got more than one broken needle to prove that point! I've also  used foam core for many of my bags. I find the foam core can break down if I wash the bag but have like it otherwise.  It just sort of breaks in the wash. What? you don't wash your bags? I probably should just make a new bag but instead I wash! I've  also used plastic canvas. That is specified in many instructions for bag making. I find it not rigid enough. It just sort of bends. I want my bag bottom to stay flat and stiff and be easy to sew. Another recommendation is to used template plastic. I haven't tried this yet but understand it is washable. While trolling the net recently I came across a new method. I have changed it up here to accommodate my supplies on hand and this particular pattern and will show you what I did. 

I can't take credit for this. I was on Nicole Mallalieu's website  and credit her with the technique. If you are at all into making bags, she has some great patterns and really creative interpretations. This link is for her original tutorial using a heavy two sided fusible. The shape of my bag required some adjustments to her plan and I did not have any two sided fusible. I did have Peltex and here is what I did. 
First I cut a piece of Peltex one quarter inch smaller on all sides than the actual bottom area. I clipped off the corners. Peltex is a VERY heavy stiff fusible. Many patterns have you cut this piece the same size as the bottom. I find invariably, that is just too tight.
Next I cut a piece of muslin to hold the Peltex bottom. Mallalieu has you eventually stitch the short sides to the bag. Because my bag had a bottom that continued up the side of the bag and ending in a point that wouldn't work.  I chose to stitch this piece in to the long sides of the bag bottom instead. So you will need a piece of muslin that is twice the width of the short side plus 4 inches. Cut the short sides of this piece one inch wider on each side. Fold the muslin in half and press. Open back up and place the Peltex on the muslin one inch away from the fold. Center the piece of Peltex. Fuse. Fold the excess fabric under the fused Peltex leaving and inch margin at the fold line.It's inside out.

Next, go to the machine and stitch along the short ends, butting the needle right up to the Peltex. A zipper foot comes in handy here. Trim the short sides down to about an 1/8th inch and turn right side out, enclosing the Peltex inside.


Turn the bag wrong side out. Pin the seams of the long sides of the Peltex pocket to the bag bottom seam allowances and stitch. You are stitching closer to the edge of the fabric than the original bag seam allowances. You are not stitching on top of the original seam line. You need some play here for all to lay nice. Do the other long side seam. Your rigid bag bottom is now free floating in the bottom of the bag. It is going nowhere! This technique feels really secure to me. I found it easier to fit into the bottom of the bag. It also eliminates fusing the bottom from the start and maneuvering awkwardly around the machine. I think any bagmaker knows the uneven stitching lines and broken needles that can produce.

I started on the lining and it is nearly done. That will go in tomorrow morning and I will then have my summer bag, at least one of them! The lining is one of the Joanne poly brocades. I like it for bag lining as it adds a bit of luxe to the inside. 
I'm awaiting a delivery from Joan Hinds of a pattern for some smocked dresses for the AG doll. I think this could be really fun and can't wait to start on one. I have a feeling they will be like eating potato chips. 

Next in the queue after this bag is a pair of jammies for Zachy, Camo Spider jammies to be exact !....Bunny

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Tapestry Bag, Vogue 8406 OOP


Thanks  everyone for the comments on the Bumblebee ensemble. It was lots of fun.I will make a hair ornament too but will spare you that detail! Enough already!

Also, I did finish my April pants and I really like them. I finished them a day or so before the accident so they kind of got shuffled to the side. I do have a  knit for a coordinating top coming up so will save the pants reveal until the top can be worn with it. Now to get going on the May pants before May slips by!

I have been working on my Tapestry bag, Vogue 8406. There is lots I am liking about this pattern so far. It seems to be well drafted, not something I always see in bags. The pattern suggests a hair canvas interfacing. I chose to fuse a fleece first and then added the hair canvas. This was to mostly help control ravelling which tapestry is notorious for. For whatever reason the tapestry shrunk in the fusing process and I did prewash and dry the tapestry before cutting. So I cut and marked all the seams on the hair canvas so all would be accurate and used that to sew by.Here you can see the difference in the sizes. The hair canvas is accurate.
This bag has straps and for that I used a microfiber upholstery fabric. No special reason why other than the color  and texture worked better than anything else I could find. Past experience told me to use a microtex needle as this stuff can be miserable to stitch through.It was but I got through with this bag. 
The pattern requires that the edges of the straps be turned in and pressed 1/4 of an inch along the length. . For this I use a template, folding the fabric over the edge to the proper line and pressing.
Once the straps had the sides pressed in the end needed to be wrapped around the ring. This fabric leaves wicked pin holes so I used a hairclip to secure it as well as Wonder Tape to hold the edges down for topstitching.
One of the things I really really like about this pattern is the thought that went into the construction around the ends of the zippers. The bag has two zips that meet at center top. They go about 2/3rds of the way down each side of the bag. I think every pattern I have ever done with zippers has you insert them into an unsewn part of the seam. I always feel like I have to fudge the ends to make them look right. In this pattern you get an odd looking pattern piece, sort of a slight ellipse with a swallowtail at each end. This is then folded in half  and the swallowtail is reinforced with stitching. You then clip up into the "tail" as you can see above. That clip is where the gusset will be stitched in. So far it is looking like a really smooth transition. Hopefully the rest of the construction will finish smoothly. It should be done in a day or two....Bunny

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Non Bumblebee Bag





This bag pattern is included in Simplicity 2464, the one used for the Bumblebee Dress. I love the shape. It is only five and a half inches wide at the bottom! It is lined and closes with a bit of velcro. I used a bias cut strip of check placed on the wide ribbon. Then I covered the stitching line with the narrow ribbon. I think it is just darling. Today I will make an outfit for the AG doll to match.
So many of you have asked and emailed me about my face. I am doing great now. All swelling is down except for this hard bean sized knot inside right where I took the direct hit. There is just a little color left too and I am no longer scaring little children. Thank you all so much for your concerns. They are really really appreciated. We now have a nightlight in the bedroom!

This morning's project  is the AG dress which will take a half hour at most and I will spare you that simplicity. Next up in the queue is my tapestry bag and a pair of pajamas for my Zackie, spider camo jammies as a matter of fact! The garden is beckoning so I will be spending more time outside and less in the cave.We are faced with some really good weather this week and I hope to have all cleaned and planted by the end of the week.....Bunny

ETA:  Just had to add the AG dolly dress. It didn't warrant a full post, that's for sure, but it's cute. Now Sophie has the Trifecta, her dress, the dolly dress, and a bag to match, whoo hooo!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Flight of the Bumblebee!

All done with the Bumble Bee Dress, simplicity 2464, a Daisy Kingdom design! Here's the details:

Fabric: The white bodice and bands are a poly linen blend, the better to wash and wear. Like many her age, DD isn't into ironing so 100% linen was out. The check is 100% cotton from JA's. I was impressed. It was one of the quilt designer fabrics and quite a heavy weight. It washed beautifully and barely needed ironing. The lining is 100% poly and the frou frou (ribbon) just a poly ribbon, yellow with white dots.


Design: This is a Daisy Kingdom design from Simplicity, 2464. Like most DK designs, this has lots of pieces. I find I am attracted to DK patterns because of their uniqueness and heirloom quality. They often take large amounts of fabric but this one wasn't too bad, 2 1/4 yards total. If I made this again I would make the skirt fuller going the full width of the fabric. I love really big skirts on my children's garments, usually 90 inches plus. This one is about 65 or so. 
              The white part of the bodice is one continuous piece starting at the front midriff, going over the shoulders, and down to the back elasticized midriff. These pictures would look better if they were filled with a bit of flesh to stretch out the elastic areas. I am sure it will look great on my lanky, leggy Sophie. On either side of the midriff are bands. The lower band is meant to face up toward the shoulders but I liked the way it sort of fell into place this way and covered the gathers, so I left it. 
              I love the back of this design.It is a peakaboo hole with a tie at the top and elastic below at the waist, no zips or buttons. I know this will be really sweet once my Sophie fills it out.


Construction: I lined the bodice and am glad I did it this way. The changes to accommodate a lining are in yesterday's post. I also underlined the midriff, in other words, used a layer of lining on top of the wrong side and treated it as one piece. All of the seams were stitched and serged. The back has you stitch channels on the back midriff and insert 1/8th in elastic through them. That worked really well. When connecting the white bodice to the midriff in the back it took me three tries. Make sure you read the directions here. You do not stitch the raw edges together. Instead the elasticized midriff is laid on top of the white bodice and stitched through the top channel of the elastics. You can see that in the picture below. The hem goes very quickly as it is all machine done with a layer of contrasting linen peeking out. 
Embroidery: The bumble bee embroidery design came from Creative Needle, August 2006. I made one change however. The designer specifies doing turkey work for the wings. To me they did not show enough. I chose instead to use four strands of floss and a simple lazy daisy to make the wings. Two strands of floss were white and two strands of floss were 3756, an extremely light blue. The two colors gave it a little depth and contrast to the snow white bodice.

Conclusion: I really like this pattern and recommend. I think it has lots of style for a little fashionista, as do many of the DK patterns. It also comes with a coordinating pocketbook and I will be starting on that shortly! I hope those of you who have this sitting int the stash get some fabric and stitch it up. It is not hard to do at all. Caveat: this is one of those patterns where you really do have to read and follow the directions closely. 
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As I was taking pics of Sophie's new dress, I turned and knocked over my nicely organized box of needles. Oy........Bunny

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bumblebee Dress Part 4 (?)

The bumblebees are all done so the really fun time begins, sewing machine time! Several of you have let me know that you have this pattern and are anxious to get going on it but are waiting to see how I handle it. With that in mind I will share some details on what I have done differently with Daisy Kingdom 2464, a Simplicity pattern.

The only big difference in sewing this pattern, aside from normal fit adjustments, is how I handled the bodice. I decided to line the bodice for various reasons. First, due to the bumblebee embroidery I would like to cover the back side of my embroidery with a lining. Also, I like the way a lining will give a clean finished edge to the neckline and sleeves. So I studied this a bit to see how best to do the bodice lining. For those planning on making this pattern, here is what I did.
*If you remember, I fused a block of linen for each side of the bodice. Edges were serged and the pattern outline was traced on to the fabric block. Above you can see that the bodice is stay stitched 1/4 inch away from the edge, all around\, while still in block form.  Once all around was stay stitched, the bodice was cut out of the block on the traced lines. I found my quarter inch foot invaluable with this pattern. Keeping the bodice in block form as long as possible helps with preventing stretch of all the odd curved edges in this pattern piece.
* Next the "bodice front trim" #7, was attached to the bottom front edge on each bodice piece.
* Next the tie was stitched and attached to the bodice back as per the pattern.
* Lay the lining on top now, right sides together. Sew across the short seam where the tied end is attached. Trim. Sew the neckline seam on the front up to the tie. Sew the back peek a boo seam edge from the bottom back waist to the tie end. Be very careful that you do not stitch the tie end into your seam. I found I had to roll it out of the way, burrito style. You now have the entire neckline, peek a boo hole, back bodice center edge stitched to the lining.
* Trim and grade. Press the trimmed seam toward the lining, using a seam stick if you have one. Put on your edge stitch foot and understitch as above  on the lining side as far as you can up to the tie. You will be about an inch and half short of the tie.
* Press sewn edge flat, wrong sides together, favoring edges to the lining side. Now if you lay the bodice out flat, you may find the lining doesn't match in some places. It always amazes me how fabrics can stretch from just the most minimal of handling. Trim your lining to match the bodice.
* Turn right sides together again and stitch ONLY  the sleeve edge of the other side, as you see below.
  Once done that, grade seams and press toward the lining, using a seam stick. Your bodice is pretty much lined now and pressed nice and flat. Stitch one half inch away from the edge all along the sleeve edge. This is making a casing for the elastic. Using a Fasturn or whatever method you are comfortable with, pull the elastic through the casing. Stitch at the top and bottom with a 1.5 stitch length to secure. I cut my elastic one inch shorter than the guide in the pattern to give it a bit more of a gather.
*Your bodice is complete now and you can proceed as the pattern directs from here to completion. Remember, what I have done here is to have a lined bodice, clean edges, and hidden embroidery backs.
* For the midriff I simply underlined with the same lining fabric and serged all the stitched edges. More on that later.

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Part of the path around Meachum Lake in the Adirondacks....Bunny