Liberty Sureau Anniversary Dress

I haven’t forgotten sewing or my blog or your blogs, I’ve just been out and about but now I’m back.

I made my first Deer and Doe Sureau dress with some of the Liberty Tana Lawn I bought in London. I think Deer and Doe is fast becoming my favorite sewing pattern company because I just love everything about this dress (and their blog!). I used Anna from Paunnet’s Sureau Sew-Along (which was very helpful). I didn’t have to make any adjustments to size, but the neckline was a little too deep and slightly gaping. So I used Anna’s trick, and also took a tuck out of the neckline as well. I made two bodice muslins before I cut into my Tana Lawn. I didn’t line this dress because I don’t like so many layers in summer. I finished this dress at midnight just 6 hours before we had to head to the airport. Here’s are some (headless) pictures of the dress in action (it is a little wrinkly in the pictures) on the Hollywood walk of fame! I got compliments on the dress and the print! I left out the buttons but I may add them later on.

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If you want to adjust the neckline, you can do what I did. In addition to straightening out the shoulder line (be mindful of seam allowances please!) as Anna posted, I took a small tuck from the neckline that eventually tapered into a point, a tiny dart from the front bodice.

Sureau Bodice Front

From the back I did the corresponding shoulder adjustment, and also shaded in the area that I would need to cut out for the neckline (see red circle) as it had to match up with the front bodice shoulder line. As usual, I had to redraft my facings with the new adjustments but that’s easy.

Sureau Bodice Back

For the next few days I’ll be catching up on all my favorite sewing blogs and seeing what you guys were doing!

 

Bloglovin’ and Buttons

Greetings to you, to April and to spring!

First things first I’ve been using Bloglovin for while now but I didn’t actually claim my blog though so if you’d like to follow me on Bloglovin, click here:

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3766806/?claim=zanzgcuz9hp”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

In other news, I’ve been working towards a light and airy summer wardrobe. Summer for me means lots of lightweight cotton clothing. I’m not finished  with this particular project yet but I did get to try out the one step buttonhole feature on my Janome Magnolia 7330 (I love this machine more and more). I trained myself to make  4- step buttonholes using my mother’s old Singer Merrit 1812 so this was quite an experience for me. It took a few tries for me to realize that I do not need to actually do anything  except gently keep my fabric straight so now I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the 4-step one!

I didn’t use any interfacing on my placket (I want to minimize facings and linings on my summer outfits) so I just used fusible webbing tape (stitch witchery). They’re not as straightly lined up as I’d like but not bad eh?

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They’re not exactly straight and even, so I had to improvise on marking my button placement. I placed my buttonhole plackett on top of the button one, lining everything up as even as I could.

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Then I took my marking tool and used the opening of my buttonhole as a guide to mark where I would place my buttons.

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And here is the corresponding button placement!

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I try to make buttonholes as evenly spaced as possible but sometimes it doesn’t happen, so the next best thing  (assuming you don’t want to start all over again with buttonholes) is place your buttons in the corresponding place to minimize fabric distortion. I think it turned out fine, I’ll share pictures of the completed dress as soon as it’s done and you can tell me what you think.

Back to it!

Essential Sewing Tools – The Sewing Gauge

I have to thank Liz over at zilredloh for choosing me as the winner of her awesome March Giveaway! Look at all the amazing stuff I won!

March Giveaway goodies from zilredloh!

Guys, that’s a real sewing book from 1957! Can you believe it?! And a belt making kit, and vintage rayon seam binding (I love the stuff!) and vintage buttons!

I also have to thank my sewing gauge, that little inconspicuous but much loved tool that was the subject of discussion in my winning comment (a response to Liz’s question over what sewing tool we wished we had known about when we first started sewing), I said:

“Oh goodness that’s easy, I wish I had invested in a sewing gauge when I first started sewing because my seam allowances were never correct and I ended up with very strange-looking garments and used to get so very frustrated! It’s a good thing I smartened up and got one later!”

Liz suggested I demonstrate how I use my sewing gauge so here it goes, sewing gauge, this one is for you. It is ridiculously easy to use (people who can count with average math skills and a steady hand probably don’t even need it).

Here is how I measure my 3/8″  (1cm) seam allowance, I count three little fractions (marked by small lines at the top). The little blue slider helps position the fabric precisely, use it!

And here’s how to measure a 5/8″ (1.5 cm) seam allowance – count five little lines!

Most patterns call for a 3/8″ or 5/8″ seam allowance.  All you have to do is just count the little lines until they match up with the right fraction of 8. If I’m stitching on slippery fabric (I mean you, chiffon) I just make tiny pen dot marks at the end of my gauge and follow it with my needle (you could use that circle at the top left hand corner to mark your fabric, but people like me get confused because the circle takes up 1/8″ and then I have to add another 1/8″ at the end to even it out – I’m making this sound more complicated than it really is).

I know it might sound unnecessary but I think all beginners need one, it makes the difference in fit and a clean finish for whatever you’re sewing. It’s also ridiculously cheap (unless you want to splurge and buy one designed by those brilliant German and Scandinavian companies). I bought this for 1$ at the local dollar store, and it came with a seam ripper and a needle threader (yay!).

There you have it, the sewing gauge, an essential sewing tool.

My Pads4Girls Sewing Tutorial

I was originally going to post this later during the month but after joining the Sew Grateful Week challenge hosted by the lovely and super talented Debi at My Happy Sewing Place, I’ve decided to go ahead with this today since it fits in with the theme of Sew Grateful Week so well.

But first, a little history:

I really like crafting/sewing for charity and non-profit organizations because it allows me to put a personal touch on causes that I really care about and give back to the world in my own little way. This past November I buckled down and did just that by making 19 sets of resuable menstrual pads for Lunapads Pads4Girls campaign.

The Pads4Girls campaign is organized by the good people at Lunapads who make and sell environmentally friendly, organic, all natural and reusable menstrual supplies. Pads4Girls facilitates the donation of purchased and handmade reusable menstrual products for girls in developing countries so they can stay in school longer and not feel ashamed of something so very normal. As soon as I heard about this campaign, I knew I had to contribute.

I contacted Lunapads and they sent me an email detailing the material and design requirements for accepting donations of hand sewn pads (you also have the option to financially donate pads through their organization if you prefer). I also spent some time thinking about how the design could encompass the needs of girls from diverse socioeconomic and physical environments. So I came up with a checklist for a pad pattern that had to take these three things into consideration:

1) All pads had to be made of all natural materials, I went with 100% cotton flannel.

2) The design had to adjust to individual requirements (i.e – girls should be able to add/reduce layers as they see fit)

3) All pads had to be easily washed and dried by hand (in case the girls did not have access to laundry machines and/or electricity).

There are tons of really great patterns available on the net, check here, here and here, but in the end I decided to use those as inspirational starting points and come up with my own. So now in honor of Sew Grateful Week, I’m going to show you how you can do it too (If you’re doing this to contribute to the Pads4Girls campaign, just send Lunapads an email to let them know you’re doing this).

Tutorial for One Cloth Pad Liner and Pad Holder:

You will need:

–  Pre-washed 100% cotton twill tape (or ricrac), cut two 10 inch strips.

–  Pre-washed 100% cotton flannel pieces. Cut 2 pieces measuring 10 inches by 11 inches, this will be your pad liner (I rounded the corners for comfort on the large pieces). Cut another 2 pieces measuring 4 inches by 10 inches, this will be your pad holder.

– Button or closure of your choice

-Thread

-Scissors

– Sewing Machine (or if you’ve got tons of sewing mojo, your hands :))

Let’s begin!

Step 1:

Stitch your two 10 inch by 11 inch pieces right sides together around the edges (don’t forget to backstitch), leaving a small opening to turn it inside out later. I used a 3/8′ seam allowance. Press your seam, notch your corners (don’t they look like monster teeth?) and turn inside out and press again.

Step 2:

Zig-zag stitch all around the piece you just turned inside out (including the opening) and press. You just made the pad liner! Set aside.

Step 3:

Place the two 10 inch strips of twill tape across the right side of one of the 4 inch by 10 inch pieces and stitch in place.

Step 4:

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for the 4 inch by 10 inch pieces. The twill tape will be sandwiched between the two pieces at this point.

Step 5:

Yell at machine for making wonky zig-zag stitches. Don’t hit it though, might make things worse. Take a deep breath and just keep stitching (I’m sure it’s not that bad…)

Step 6:

On the two ends of the right side of your pad holder (the one with the twill tape pieces across it), mark your buttonhole and button placement. Think of the pad holder as the “wings” of the pad and fold one end over the other at the back to estimate placement. Sew buttonhole and attach button.

Step 7:

Fold up the liner and slide it in the pad holder and voila! You are done! As a general rule, for every pad holder I made two liners, you can stick with one or add more because the twill tape is really accommodating while holding everything in place.

I wish you all a happy and crafty Sew Grateful Week!

Transferring Dart Markings from Pattern to Fabric – Tutorial

I mentioned last time that I was working on Colette’s Crepe pattern, and so far it’s coming along all thanks to Gertie’s Sew-Along posts! I’ll have more construction details later but I thought I’d share a tip about how I transfer my pattern dart markings to paper because I’m really not a fan of thread tracing (but I will do it if I have to) and I don’t always feel like using tailor’s tacks and I haven’t used a tracing wheel/carbon paper yet so this has been working for me so far! Before I begin, let me just highlight that I always work from a tracing of the original patterns, and you may wish to as well if you’re using this method and don’t want to damage the original pattern. Let’s begin:

Here is my traced copy of the bodice pattern and you can see it has bust and under bust darts.

I snip one side of the dart marking, usually the right side, all the way up to the tip and stop there.

Then I lift the flap that I’ve just created and fold it to the left.

I repeat the process with the bust dart and I’m ready to trace onto the fabric.

Wanna see it in action? Alright, let’s do it again!

Here’s the traced pattern with the cut fabric pinned underneath (ignore the other markings – I make a mess of my patterns, just focus on the dart)

Snip n’ fold!

Trace it! (preferably with a Halloween themed pencil, lol)

and….voila!

I can’t emphasize how important it is to keep your fabric pinned to your pattern while you’re doing this, it keeps everything in place so you don’t end up with a wonky marking. Pattern weights (or your preferred substitute) are great for keeping the dart flap firmly on one side as you trace. Feel free to share your tips and tricks for transferring pattern markings!

Faux-Serged Seam Finish for Knit Fabrics in 5 Easy Steps!

I love sewing with knit fabrics but I know they can seem intimidating to some us of, especially when you don’t own or use a serger to finish off your seams. No fear! I’m going to share a quick and easy way to get a seam finish that is similar to using a serger and all you need is your sewing machine and the zig zag stitch! Let’s begin:

Step one:

Here is my 3/8″ (roughly 1 cm) seam allowance, as you can see I’ve used a smaller zig zag stitch to sew up my side seams as per the pattern instructions.

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

 Step 2:

Snip your seam allowance in half.

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

Step 3:

Using your zig-zag stitch at the widest setting and a stitch length of about 3 (or whatever suits you!) position you fabric under the presser foot and just test out your stitch (manually) and make sure that when your needle goes to the left, it comes down right beside the farthest part of your original seam.

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

Then move your needle (manually) to the right and make sure that the needle falls just outside of your fabric.

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

Step 4:

Start stitching away, don’t forget to backstitch in the beginning and go slowly at first if you need to.

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

Stop and check to see if it’s coming along nicely, you want to make sure that the thread catches the ends of your fabric, think of it as “left stitch on the fabric, right stitch off the fabric” (I just realized that I didn’t snip all my stray threads off…lol).

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

Step 5:

Finish it off! Voila!

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

All images property of Beautifully Sewn

How easy was that?! Now you try and keep on delaying that serger purchase you’ve been mulling over in your head (be honest we’ll all cave in one day!).

As always feel free to share your own tips and tricks for sewing with knit fabrics, the more the better 🙂

Peace,

Salma