Saturday, October 29, 2011

The BB Dress Bow

This morning I finished the bow for the back of the dress. It' an important feature of the design as you will see. I have decided to also do some additional embroidery on the BB part of the dress so it will be a bit longer before the full unveiling. Hmmmm, what's that BB stand for?
The bow is interfaced with a hair canvas that has been preshrunk. The HCanvas is cut on the bias. This will be attached to the back of the dress with a few tacks on the left and on the right with snaps so it won't interfere with putting the dress on and off. No big fussy sash and bow. Sophie is getting a bit older and this tailored bow will be more appropriate I think. Now to go work on the BB part. ...Bunny

Friday, October 28, 2011

BB Dress Sleeves

I am determined to finish the BB dress today or early tomorrow. Then it will be moveon.bunny. There are a lot of gathers  where the sleeve meets the sleeve band. To space them out properly I used my oaktag pattern piece, aka template. Little clips came in hand to clip the ends down and then spread out the gathers evenly. I have one row of gathers (2)  riding each side of the 3/8th inch seam line, NOT on the seam line. This will allow for more even pleats that stand up nicely.

Next, I lay a strip of Wonder Tape to one side of the piping. The ends of the piping get snipped off to fit. I can now remove the sleeve from the template. All is to the correct size. The piping gets sewn down but not snug up to the cord, maybe a couple of needle widths away. Then the band is placed on top. Yay, it fits just right! Flip the pieces over so you can see the stitching line you just made to attach the piping. Stitch the band on going a needle's width closer to the cord. I find an edge stitching foot can help here as you just run the blade down the first stitch and move your needle one click to the left towards the cord. Now inspect your work. Do you see what I see? 

Yes, I have already ripped out a section of stitching. Do you see how the print snuck out of line? That looks nasty. So I unstitched, pulled the band back to where it was supposed to be and stitched the line again. It worked. My point here is something I have found out about piping that nobody ever mentions. After stitching you must inspect your work. Is some fat, some thin? More than likely it is. Even with today's great machine  feet I still almost always have to do some adjusting to the width of the piping. Don't get mad and walk away. Just expect it and just redo it. To me, if you want tiny piping you need to work at it till its just right. So inspect and redo. That's the piping game. Now I know some of you, I won't mention any names, can do it all perfect the first time around. But for us more mortal sorts this is the reality. I also find piping requires slow sewing so don't do this when you are in a hurry. I love doing piping and sure hope I haven't discouraged you. Now two sleeves are complete and it is back to my cave to keep moving on....Bunny

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brilliant Pincushion

 I take no credit for this idea. It all goes to Kathryn at I Can Take The Time.   She came up with this remedy to the always frustrating dilemma of where do I throw the pins as I am whipping down this long pant leg seam. Brilliant, Kathryn! I wasted no time making my own little pin cushion. You just make a little tube with elastic coming out of each side, stuff it with fluff, sew it shut, and tie it around the machine. I can't thank Kathryn enough.  I found Kathryn's clever idea and blog through Pinterest.  Don't know what Pinterest is? It's a virtual bulletin board where you can pin images of any great ideas you come across. You can divide up your boards into various categories. I have one for sewing room ideas, gifts, organization, etc. If you click on the button on the right you can see my boards. Once you join pinterest you can repin anyone's pin to your own boards. There is inspiration on here in serious doses whether it be a clever pin cushion or a wedding gown. Everything, and I do mean everything, is on Pinterest so it is great fun to search. Hope you give it a try, that is both the clever cushion and the Pinterest bulletin boards. I know many of you are already "pinning". Such fun!...Bunny

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Magazine Organization

Several days ago my husband discombobulated the back basement, two rooms worth. This was all to make room for cords of hardwood to be stacked in the house. Like a runamuck bulldozer things were tossed, piled, and shoved left and right to accommodate the wood. We are now prepared for winter. We will not freeze. But, Alleluia, what a friggin mess was left behind. So, since my company has been gone I have been putting things back in order. One moved item meant two others had to be moved to accommodate it. Long story short, I reorganized the back rooms of the basement, one is my good sized fabric room, as well as the fabric closet. That's all OK. I wanted to make some moves to do more decorating and got to do a bit. 
This baker's rack was reconsigned to the sewing room . I needed a place for my new magazine boxes. I made six and have 3 more to go.
 I picked up six shiny, gray,  corrugated cardboard magazine holders at Office Max for 16.98 (I think). I covered them with fabric using Elmer's Spray Glue. The hardware was tied with a double layer of black cord elastic run through the screw holes. It fits really nice and snug. A few fonts printing out the mag names to be tucked inside and I was done. It was really quite easy. I need to do more name plates but have used all my cord. I'll finish shortly. People also make these out of Cheerio boxes as well as Priority Mail boxes from the Post Office. The Priority Mail boxes must legally only be used for mailing. They are given out for free with the understanding that you will return with them having something inside to be mailed. But if  you have some used boxes you are holding onto, (I never throw them out), they make great magazine holders as well.
I also spray painted a wicker CD holder. In it are all the goodies I need for cutting: rotary cutters of various sorts and sizes, rulers, hip curves, tracing paper, pressing tools and more. I find this very convenient. It sits right at the end of the cutting table. I like this a lot. 

While doing all this cleaning I did find a few neat items. Is this cape pattern on trend or what? Ok, the hat is a bit ridiculous and the length a bit off but the basic cape is yummy with those huge welts.Gotta love it. 

I also found the first sewing book I ever owned, one given to me by my mom when I was 13. It was published in 1961. I remember using this as a reference to make my wedding gown. It sure needs a good wipe on the cover. That will easily be taken care of.  This book served me well for many years.
One more accomplishment today: finding a home for my hard copy patterns, the TNTs. I hung a curtain rod on a blank wall in the fabric closet and can stand back far enough to see it all at a glance. I think I will like this a lot.
A simple curtain rod and some paper clips used to string up each individual pattern and hang them on the rod worked really well. 

Now its time to get back to sewing. You all know how I can't sew with disorder. Disorder is now in order and I am good to go.......Bunny

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The BB Dress , #5

Here is where we are with Sophie's BB Dress. All smocking and embroidery is complete. The insert will be hand then machine stitched to the bodice side panels. Piping is made and installed on the bodice. There will be more on the sleeves and back. For the bullions I used a solid floss for the centers and first ring. The next bullions were made with a combination of the original floss choice and a variegated deep red floss, one strand of each. This helped give the flowers a bit of dimension. I did not want this to go the pink colorway. The bullion roses needed to match with the silk of the piping. 

I had an "aaack" moment while stitching the piping. I got one section on the insert and went to snip a wayward thread with my pelican billed scissors. Wrong choice! That damn pelican took a bite right out of the piping so this needed unsewing and a total redo. All is well now but I did have a walk away moment. 

We have had great company the past several days  and a wonderful visit with them. They left this morning and now it is back to the regular routine which you know includes lots of sewing. I have SO MUCH in the queue. It will get done, it will get done, it will get done.........Bunny

Monday, October 17, 2011

Smocking Inserts


The smocking on the sideways insert continues and is actually close to being done. It is really just a simple baby wave. The magic happens with the bullion roses which I should start  soon. I will take my time with those as they are not something I do as well as I would like to do. Usually a few practice bullions on scrap fabric gets my fingers going. Each rose looks better than the last. My goal is to have them all look good and the same but I will start in the least obvious place to begin, probably at the bottom of the insert. I might do a lot of them. I'm not sure yet. 
I'm starting on a new window treatment for Audrey. It will be rod run with thin tabs and maybe bows. We'll see. What you see above is my next home dec project for ourselves. I am trying to turn this old sow of a bench into a silk purse of one. When you are short you have to have a bench in the kitchen and this will serve the purpose. At this point it is sanded down and the first coat is on, another today.
Beckie of Sew Consult asked, " I always block after smocking. I find that if the pleating threads get wet (and dry) they don't want to let go of the fabric when time to remove them. Do you have this problem?" 
Becky, I block before I start smocking, after getting it all pleated up and again after the smocking is complete and before embroidery. I like the idea of "training" my pleats and getting them in their correct positions before I start stitching. Once complete, I can do any re arranging necessary and "lock them in" with the second blocking. I haven't noticed any issues with removing the pleating threads except when I have picked one up with an embroidery stitch.... ETA: Just wanted to add that when I block I don't soak the fabric with water. Instead I use a couple of thin coats of spray starch. It is usually a bit damp throughout but not overly so. ... Bunny

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pattern Weights


This is that candle time of year. I love the smells of cinnamons, sages, cookie doughs, apple pie spice that permeate the air now that the windows are closed up for the winter. What's that have to do with sewing, you ask? Lots, I tell ya. 

Thanks to the geniuses at Pinterest I just learned how to clean out one of these used up jars and get that dang plastic thing off the cap. You can learn how to here at the Sew Many Ways blog.  Thanks, Karin, for another brilliant idea! (check out her sewing room while you are there. You have never!!!) Karin wanted to know uses for the lids. Well they make absolutely great pattern weights. They are heavy, can be used either side up, and are just the right size for your hands.
 Is this not cool? But it gets better. You can put little things in them to decorate. You can glue beads in them, decouplage your grandchildren's pictures along the bottom, or how about pics of a perfect vacation spot to give you that mini vacation moment? They can be painted with the glass paint found at Michaels. The ideas stagger me. So get those old jars out, recycle the wax as Karin describes, and make yourself some personal, neat pattern weights. ...Bunny

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The "B" "B" Dress

I have started with the BB dress for Sophie. I was  paranoid to the point of insomnia over whether I had enough fabric to work out the design of this dress like I wanted to. I did, whew! I am using two coordinating fabrics, one an allover print, the other a large stripe. To get what I needed out of the allover print for the bodice and sleeves required some finagling but I think it ended up better for it. First I laid everything out in a trial layout for the allover print. It was not enough to do the design as I had envisioned. So I did two things.

  • First, instead of cutting the back bodice opening edge on the fold and doubling it to make a lining, as is traditionally done in heirloom sewing, I cut one layer and will do a separate lining. This will give me a seam at the edge of the placket but that's ok. Bodice taken care of!
  • Second, I had to squeeze these very wide (major puffy) sleeves into what remained. Not gonna happen. With a bit of move and shove I realized I could cut the sleeves on the true bias and have the fabric needed. Who doesn't love a sleeve cut on the bias, particularly one with a lot of fabric like this little puffy number? So bias sleeves it is and challenge number two met. Sometimes you just have to think out of the box. 
In the end there was enough fabric. I have more than enough of the stripe and that is somewhat cut out. I have to make a mockup of the skirt, maybe a half size, in some muslin before I cut that out.  The plan is to do only the smocking at the moment while I get going on another window treatment for Audrey. More on that to come.

You can see in the pic above the insert is all pleated and now blocked to size. It will  be dry by morning and I can start stitching. I spent most of yesterday searching through my AS&Es for smocking plates and have been inspired enough to figure out what I want on my own. It will really be quite simple. The pleats, unlike the norm, will run horizontally as in the pic. I have never used this technique before so should be fun. I chose one of the stripes in the skirt print to center along the pleating. Hope it looks good when done. Has anyone out there ( know Kathy D has) ever done any sideways smocking? ...Bunny

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Choosing Color When Smocking

I was determined to do better with my color choices for the smocking on the BB dress. I wanted to take my Aussie smocking friend's advice. She suggests taking either the lightest or the darkest shade found in the fabric and then going the next shade lighter or darker and use that as your main color choice for thread. With that in mind I went to Joanns yesterday and purchased assorted beiges and assorted greys, the two colors of my fabric. This is what I brought home to try out:
Nothing made me happy. If I did naything it would be the gray, which really was quite blue. Not being happy with this choice I took my fabric with me back to the store this morning and this is what I came up with. The deep red will be for the bullion roses.
Its a rosy sort of grey that works beautifully with the bullion rose thread. Now I'm happy. Nothing is easy if you care.

DH and I are on an interior cleaning and freshening up blitz. I think coming back from DD's lovely new home has given us either inadequacy issues or just plain guilt. I think it is mostly the guilt. As I have been freshening up the sewing room and hanging out on Pinterest I am seeing opportunities everywhere in our home to get out of what we've gotten used to. Its time to shake things up. Yesterday we moved furniture, changed wall displays, reorganized cabinets. I feel like it is just the tiniest tip of a big iceberg but we both enjoy this type of thing and will share the burdern. This afternoon I am painting a carpenter's bench that I have been using as a coffee table off and on over the yesterdays. I got it at a yard sale and it has all the paint globs and gouges but lots of character and actually looks good with our primitive furniture. Well, globs and gouges are going and its getting a beautiful new deep maroon finish, much the color of the floss. I'll post pics when done.

I also hung yesterday my Dior poster that I have been carrying around for years. I gave my Mom's pic a new frame as well and am on the hunt for one for my grandmother, Mamee. They are my sewing mentors and as such deserve a place next to Dior in my sewing room. Or, rather, Dior deserves a place next to them....Bunny

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Peak Color in the Adirondacks

Last night we came back from NH to peak color up here on the Northern border. It is just breathtaking. It was getting close to dusk when the pictures were taken but they are still brilliant. This morning they are even more so.  Humor me with this fall pictorial. 

This was the view from the dining room window.  The Deer River is in the background and running typically low for this time of year. 

Above is the path to my BFF's house. 

It was an incredibly gorgeous weekend weatherwise and the kids spent every moment possible in the pool. Sophie and I did get one project going, a gingerbread haunted house. DD and I also looked at furniture, window treatment snoop shopped, and discussed a lot of decorating for her new home. The master bath may be next.

Another beautiful day was spent in Boston at the Boston Athletic Association half marathon. DD#1 and DSIL both ran and finished respectably. DD was not in it to win it , but finish, but came in with the middle of the 7000 racer pack with a 2:15 time. She was able to raise 3000.00 for Dana Farber Cancer Center.  DSIL did really well with a 1:40 time. Their children cheered them on with shouts and cowbells and had a ball. We are so proud of them and look forward to another half marathon in New Bedford in the spring. Don't all devoted  parents of twins and a single, working more than full time, run half marathons?


Today it is back to serious fun with some work on decorating the cave as well as starting Sophie's Christmas dress. We worked out our toile and I am ready to cut and start smocking. This design is out of my head so it needed to be draped on her to be worked out and it was. More to come..Bunny

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Selena's Bishop Completed

Another Bishop style dress is completed! This was made for my BFF's new grandaughter, Selena. It is a size one and is a Trudy Horne's Shoulder Button Bishop design. I chose to do the center back opening view of this dress. I have lost count of all the bishops I have made from this pattern. The directions are VERY clear and I highly recommend it for a beginner. I love making these for gifts as they are the gift that keeps on giving. Bishops can often be worn by the child for two to three years because design really has no fit other than the neckline and cuffs. I did cut back the sleeve length one inch but that is because I put on a cuff instead of smocking them. I like cuffs on those sweet little chubby arms. 

I began the smocking with a plate but by the end of the first row I decided to do my own thing. I like the little bullion accents. I should have paid attention to my smocking friend Lexie's instructions about smocking colors. Lexie, an amazing stitcher, always picks a much darker or much lighter thread than the shade of the color found in the fabric. This dress is a perfect example of why you should do that. Why I did otherwise this time who knows but I will listen to my expert friend from Oz next time and ever more. It's still pretty and we will call the smocking softly colored.

The fabric is a pastel batik with the outline of butterflies here and there on it. It is 100% cotton. I probably got this at Joanns. That is usually the only place I buy such prints but it was a looong time ago. Selena's sister, not quite a year old, has a bishop I made her in a similar lavender colorway and bff Grandma is going to have their portraits taken together in their bishops. I am honored.


I will leave early tomorrow AM for our weekend in New England and can't wait to see family and the beautiful trees driving down. I will bring the camera. We had a killer frost last night, 22ยบ degrees, but it promises to be a glorious weekend. DD says it will be too warm for the half marathon. She and hubby were hoping to run in 50 degree weather. Grandma Bunbun prefers to cheer them on in the predicted 80 degree weather! I'll be back next week to get started on the D&G jacket muslin and a new clutch. Till then I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian neighbors.......Bunny

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Much in the Queue, S2771 and S2284

Yes, its been a few days since I have posted. I have worked through more of the same "cushion" work so did not feel I  could post anything you hadn't already seen. I  have also been working away on Selena's Bishop and that should be completed and up on the blog tomorrow, so thanks for your patience on that one. I've also had some local client work as well as some big issues in DH's family so it has been hectic and not much time to focus on anything new, BUT I DID! Oh, throw in how we need to prepare for winter, seriously, up here and you can see why not as much has been completed or started around here. Monday, our plan is to get all cordwood possible stored in the house ( a lot) and more stacked outside. Gardens need to be dealt with as well with much needed cleanup. 

Now that all my disclaimers have been laid out on the table here is what is coming up. You can see on the cabinet door a muslin bodice and separate sleeve. I will bring this down to New Hampshire this weekend to fit on Sophie. I already know that the sleeve is big. It just looks it, maybe too full. Once this is fitted and I am back home I can get going on her Christmas dress. I am really excited about it as it will sport some very on trend aspects despite being an heirloom smocked dress. More to come.

Also on the cabinet is the pattern I will be using for the boy's jammies. I have decided this will now be my go to TNT for the boys instead of the traditional New Look with its collar. Why? I do love that pattern but when I see the boys in the jammies the collars are just hither and yon and could benefit from a good press. A good press for jammies for little boys? No Way! It's just not going to happen so when Grandma Bunbun goes to visit they look a bit sloppy in their granny mades. This Simplicity pattern,  2771, has no collar and the piped facing look stays looking fresh through lots of wearing. So 2771 is my new TNT go to for the boys. 
Also in the queue is this red leather. It is just waiting for me to turn it into a clutch bag with some chain embellishment. The findings are an onyx metal finish and look really sharp with the red F. leather. I am  VERY excited about this project. I know it will lead to more clutches. That's good because the gift of the season this year will be clutch bags. Be forewarned. You will see a bunch coming.
Many irons are in the fire. We will be leaving early Friday for Boston and NH. We will bring Audrey her window treatments, watch our grandson play baseball, and enjoy all the grandchildren.  We will watch our daughter Jen and her hubbie pull down a half marathon starting at  Franklin Park on Saturday in Boston. Let me know if any of you will be there. Then Sunday evening it will be back to NY and a good nights sleep before facing that wood pile on Monday morning.  Hopefully Tuesday will bring on some serious uninterrupted sewing time. Wahooooo! I hope you all get to have a glorious fall weekend.....Bunny

ETA: It just occurred to me that I didn't mention 2282 from Simplicity. This is for the Dolce & Gabana jacket and I need to work up a muslin. That will happen soon. In the meantime, the leaves are falling but we are not near peak color. I am thinking maybe Monday peak color will be here and I can get some good photos....Bunny

The Periwinkle Linen Dress

The Dandelion Dress served as the muslin for the Periwinkle Linen Dress. I love them both and they  are really both quite different as...